The Light Is Fantastic

Photography: Portraits of a stage artist, student and tech wiz

I love working as a photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. The light is fantastic, there are numerous locations offering great architecture or interior design, and because of the culture’s embrace of creativity and innovation, many of the subjects are game to play and experiment during photo shoots.  To show you what I mean, I’ve selected just three images from some recent assignments.

Theater artist Taylor Mac won a MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2017. Mac writes, directs, acts, sings, and performs experimental works that work as theatre and social commentary. I had about 15 minutes to photograph Mac for the MacArthur Foundation. Between performances of the groundbreaking “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music,” Mac was staying at the Hotel G in downtown San Francisco, built in 1909. The hotel room abutted a stairway; I peeked inside, saw the color of the walls and the window light, and immediately knew this was the place to make a picture. I had Mac play the ukulele, which was slightly difficult due to a hurt finger from stumbling in high heels during last night’s performance. Nonetheless, Mac was able to strum two or three chords, humming a quiet melody as I made pictures.

Photographed for the MacArthur Foundation.

Aaron Chow, an economics freshman at UC Berkeley, decided to research and investigate a real estate investment trust that a friend had invested in, only to discover that the trust had failed to file all kinds of SEC paperwork. Oops! Good for him, and probably bad for shady investment firms, once this young man graduates and starts his career. Chow suggested we shoot at the Asian Studies library because it has "cool architecture." By the Japanese periodicals, I custom white-balanced the fluorescent light by his head, which pushed the huge skylight in the background into a deep blue. I love it when I can employ optical physics instead of a dolly full of lighting equipment to make a compelling portrait!  Photographed for The Wall Street Journal.

Aaron Chow, an economics freshman at UC Berkeley, decided to research and investigate a real estate investment trust that a friend had invested in, only to discover that the trust had failed to file all kinds of SEC paperwork. Oops! Good for him, and probably bad for shady investment firms, once this young man graduates and starts his career. Chow suggested we shoot at the Asian Studies library because it has "cool architecture." By the Japanese periodicals, I custom white-balanced the fluorescent light by his head, which pushed the huge skylight in the background into a deep blue. I love it when I can employ optical physics instead of a dolly full of lighting equipment to make a compelling portrait!

Photographed for The Wall Street Journal.

David Wallerstein, the “Chief Exploration Officer” for Tencent, works in a converted church in Palo Alto. We made a number of moody pictures by the stained glass windows, and thought we had it in the bag. As we were walking back to the front door, we passed through the kitchen area where I saw the yellow-green wall with symmetrical clocks. At this point, we were warmed up and talking. David was using his phone to play some of his band’s heavy metal songs for me, and I commandeered his public relations assistant to hold a strobe. As you can see, David rocks!  Photographed for The Wall Street Journal.

David Wallerstein, the “Chief Exploration Officer” for Tencent, works in a converted church in Palo Alto. We made a number of moody pictures by the stained glass windows, and thought we had it in the bag. As we were walking back to the front door, we passed through the kitchen area where I saw the yellow-green wall with symmetrical clocks. At this point, we were warmed up and talking. David was using his phone to play some of his band’s heavy metal songs for me, and I commandeered his public relations assistant to hold a strobe. As you can see, David rocks!

Photographed for The Wall Street Journal.

New Arcade Fire tearsheets

On a random visit to the magazine store, I picked up a copy of the Nov. 28, 2010 edition of The Observer, a newspaper from the UK. I happened to find one of the photos I made of Arcade Fire on an inside page (the cover shot is a brilliant portrait made by Carl Lessard [fancy website - it will take some navigating to find his work, but it's well-worth the effort] originally shot for Vanity Fair). I was pumped. Then, I moseyed over to the music magazines and lo and behold, some other work of mine I did for the band is featured on the cover and also some inside shots for Billboard Magazine's Musician's Guide. Lastly, I received an honorable mention in PDN's Ultimate Music Moment contest. For those who don't know, PDN (Photo District News) is an industry magazine for photography. Christmas came early this year, or Hannukah came late, whichever suits your needs :-)

[gallery]

Vote for me!

Gentle reader - At the risk of sounding obnoxious and self-serving, I'm asking for your help by voting for me in a photography contest. I've entered a few of the photos I made of Arcade Fire in the long shot that I might actually win. It wasn't cheap to enter - $35 an entry - so as you can see, I'm all in on this one. I have 13 images entered into the contest and you're allowed to vote for each one if you so please.

That being said, please vote for me in the Ultimate Music Moment contest. It would mean so much to me - specifically a free tripod, a gift bag, and, quite possibly and best of all, publication in the photography industry magazine PDN.

Place your vote here.

Fall 2010 Print Promotion is ready to start!

There's nothing like the smell of 815 promotional booklets in the morning! This weekend will be spent stuffing and stamping a 16-page CD booklet format that premieres work I did over the summer for indie band Arcade Fire.

It was designed by Greece-based designer Michael Karakostas and coordinated by photo consultant extraordinaire Jasmine DeFoore. It took about 10-12 weeks or so to complete from beginning to end.  The printing was done by Jakprints and they did a phenomenal job.

It will be sent to 815 art buyers, ad agencies and photo editors across the nation.

What do you think?

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo

print_promo