Fifty from 50 - Images from US Highway 50, from California to Maryland, fourth in a series of posts

Constructed in 1926, US 50 was part of the original United States highway system and extends from California to Maryland. Our recent move from Oakland, California to Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC inspired me to travel on this historic byway and document my journey. All work was shot on a Mamiya 6, a film camera that creates negatives that are six centimeters square. This camera really forces me to shoot with intention. The film stock is mostly Ektar 100, for those who are curious.

Fifty from 50 - Images from US Highway 50, from California to Maryland, third in a series of posts

Constructed in 1926, US 50 was part of the original United States highway system and extends from California to Maryland. Our recent move from Oakland, California to Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC inspired me to travel on this historic byway and document my journey. All work was shot on a Mamiya 6, a film camera that creates negatives that are six centimeters square. This camera really forces me to shoot with intention. The film stock is mostly Ektar 100, for those who are curious.

Fifty from 50 - Images from US Highway 50, from California to Maryland, first in a series of posts

Constructed in 1926, US 50 was part of the original United States highway system and extends from California to Maryland. Our recent move from Oakland, California to Silver Spring, Maryland near Washington, DC inspired me to travel on this historic byway and document my journey. All work was shot on a Mamiya 6, a film camera that creates negatives that are six centimeters square. This camera really forces me to shoot with intention. The film stock is mostly Ektar 100, for those who are curious.

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.

Right-wing rally at Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park

It was a busy weekend here in the Bay Area, ending with a sometimes violent rally held at at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park. The event began quietly and then quickly ramped up into violence. I avoided the main scrum and stayed around the edges. However, quite a bit of activity happened where I was stationed near Allston and MLK, where I made the photos below. 13 people were arrested, but thankfully nothing happened as tragic as what took place in Charlottesville a few weeks ago. 

On Assignment: Cover shoot for The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Amy Lampi, a development director at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, is using analytics to help boost fundraising for the organization. The Chronicle of Philanthropy asked if I could shoot the cover photo for the feature on Lampi, and had a great idea that I was excited to be a part of.

The publication wanted to see Lampi seated in the theatre, with individual, random theatre seats lit up around her to symbolize potential new donors. A great idea, but it was now up to me to carry it out. My initial solution was to use grids on strobe heads planted on stage and pointed toward individual seats. I got a wakeup call, however, when I noticed that the light spread, even though I was using 10 degree grids, became too wide once the light made it to the individual theatre seats. To solve this problem, I decided to turn the power down on all the lights and position them right in front of the seats I wanted to illuminate. This created a new problem, that I could now see the top half of the lights in the frame. A quick search backstage and I came back with black(!) towels to put over the tops of the reflectors. With three lights balanced on seats and camera cases, and a reflector with a three-degree grid on the subject (positioned from the stage), we were good to go.

In post-production, I photoshopped out the tops of the lights by copying the top of the seat next to which ever one was illuminated. The editor later also wanted an extra seat illuminated. Again, a layer here, a quick mask there, and voila! - an extra illuminated seat.

August 2016 cover of The Chronicle of Philanthropy

 

 

On Assignment: Laura Jo Degan for Newsweek

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Tuija Kalpala for Ekonomi magazine

Back in March, I got a message on my Blink app notifying me that a photo editor in Finland needed someone to shoot a cover photo for Ekonomi, a Finnish publication for economists. I had the pleasure of photographing Tuija Kalpala at Neste US, a company that produces bio-diesel. A pretty sweet gig, and all just for having an app on my phone.

On Assignment: Travis Arnold for MD Anderson Cancer Center's Conquest Magazine

I'm proud to have another great-looking tear sheet from an assignment I completed for MD Anderson Cancer Center's Conquest Magazine. Travis Arnold, a 17-year old from Spring, Texas, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia - a fast-growing cancer of the white blood cells. With the help of the doctors at MD Anderson Childrens Cancer Hospital, a half-match bone marrow transplant was performed. Travis recovered and is now a top-rated golfer on Klein High School's Bearkat golf team.

Page 28 and 29, Spring 2016 issue of Conquest magazine

Tom Bastian for Fortune Magazine

A couple of months ago, I was fortunate to complete my first assignment for Fortune Magazine. The assignment was to photograph Tom Bastian, who manages the Invesco Equity and Income Fund. 

 

I had great backend support from a photo editor at Fortune, Michele Taylor. We discussed options and even location snaps I made before the shoot. It was great knowing that at least the background environments were approved before I even began. We shot in what is probably the biggest boardroom I've ever seen but in the end, went with a couch on the periphery that had a nice, mirrored grid as a background, courtesy of the building next door.

 

 

Tom Bastian in the Invesco Houston office.

Digital tear sheet from Fortune Magazine.

New work from my Karen refugee project

I spent a few hours today working on my project on Karen refugees. I couldn't have done it without the help of a member of the Karen community who took time out of his day to introduce me to families and translate for me for the time I was there. I'm not sure how cool he is about putting his name on my blog, so for now, he'll be anonymous. I will say he's been in the United States for almost three years and besides English, knows Burmese, Karen, and some Thai. He's a pretty impressive guy. That being said, I think I made some progress as far as getting a little deeper into the community. So far everyone has been great.

 

EK

 

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Karen refugees project begins

I started on a project today on the Karen refugee community where I hope to tell the story of their daily lives here in Houston. The Karen, to my knowledge, have been emigrating to the United States in large numbers since 2008 and are repressed by the government regime in Burma/Myanmar with genocide frequently used to describe their situation. The Karen, however, are a strong, resilient people who have been in active conflict with the Burmese military government since the end of World War II. I hope to find a number of stories in this community over the following weeks and months. It's so interesting to me what stories we can find in our own backyards.  

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http://vimeo.com/31701106

 

"Scenes from the Suburbs" - Day 1

In April, 2010, I had the opportunity to shoot the behind the scenes still images for the Arcade Fire/Spike Jonze production of the short film "Scenes from the Suburbs." The movie, screen-written by Arcade Fire, illustrates themes explored in their Grammy-winning album of the year, "The Suburbs."  

For five days, I shot a mix of Illford HP5 and Kodak Tri-X film using two Nikon F5 cameras to shoot the images that eventually were included in a booklet released with the DVD of the movie. The grain you see in the film is a result of "pushing" the film three stops in some cases. It effectively raises the ISO (sensitivity) of the film. The trade off is increased grain in the film. For this assignment, it seems to work well.

100421_suburbs_KAYNE_0224
100421_suburbs_KAYNE_0224

To view images from the first day of shooting, check out the link to my website here.

Artist Jordan Sullivan at Peel Gallery

I recently had the pleasure of photographing artist Jordan Sullivan at Peel Gallery for Gloss, a fashion and lifestyle publication produced by the Houston Chronicle. Sullivan was a little shy in front of the camera, but I think it's this sensitivity that is a part of what makes him a successful artist. [gallery orderby="rand"]

April portraits

Hi folks,  

I have some portraits I made in the month of April, more or less, for your perusal. Thanks for looking and I hope you're enjoying the spring weather, especially in Houston.

 

Cheers,

 

Eric

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