Spring 2015 Conquest Magazine for MD Anderson

Technical portraits, documentary photojournalism, illustration - the latest issue of Conquest Magazine put me to the test. 

I met Meisha Brown, who was treated at the center as a child and is now a cancer advocate pursuing a Ph.D. in health education, studying chronic disease and health disparites research at Texas A&M University. She hopes one day to be an MD Anderson scientist working with other cancer patients who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

I did an on-location shoot with a patient who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at 21, a much younger age than the usual age range for diagnosis.

I lit up Dr. Sam Hanash who has made it his mission to find a way to detect lung cancer in its earliest stage, when it’s still curable.

My favorite by far, though, had to be the Little Yogis, a program for young cancer patients to practice stretching and breathing techniques. 

The excellent design is by Blue C Studios. Editing by Andy Olin.

TransCanada Keystone XL Terminal facility for the National Post

It was dumb luck that I was able to pick up an assignment recently that fit in with an ongoing project I'm shooting on the Keystone XL pipeline. The National Post of Canada asked me to tag along with a reporter to visit TransCanada's Keystone XL terminal facility they are building 30 minutes east of Houston in an area brimming with petrochemical refineries.

I was really happy with the photo play. This is the biggest I've seen my photos play in print in a while and is most likely my first ever broadsheet double-truck. Sweet stuff, indeed.

Mark Stefanik for The Wall Street Journal

Shooting a portrait about cybersecurity for The Wall Street Journal, I had spontaneous inspiration to purchase a chain and pad lock 15 minutes before the shoot and to have the subject stand behind a chain-wrapped computer monitor. Of course I also shot the portrait without the chain, which is what eventually ran in today's Wall Street Journal. Nonetheless, my computer monitor in bondage lives on here, at my blog. Enjoy.


Mark Stefanik of Advantage Benefit Solutions was hit by ransomware when his computer files were locked by a cybercriminal. Stefanik paid $400 ransom to unencrypt his data. 

2014 M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Annual Report

I'm proud to share some tear sheets from the 2014 M. D. Anderson Cancer Center annual report. It's been a great experience working with them and I continue to shoot for the research institution for their quarterly publication, Conquest Magazine.

We had to ditch the beauty dish shortly after the shoot began since the Alien Bees vagabond battery decided to give out at that very moment. We used a backup Quantum Flash instead.

Our brave subject and cancer survivor.

American Photography 31 selected winner

I'm honored to announce one of my images from my Keystone XL project has been selected for inclusion in the prestigious American Photo 31 annual award book, to be published in November 2015.

From 9,376 pictures entered by 904 photographers, magazines, agencies, publishers and schools, the jury selected, by a majority vote or better, only 328 images to appear in the book and represent the best pictures from 2014. - AI/AP

Rosemary Kilmurry, 93, in her living room near Atkinson, NE. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would cut through her property.

Hospital Discharges Rise at Lucrative Times for The Wall Street Journal

"A Kindred Healthcare Inc. hospital in Houston discharged 79-year-old Ronald Beard to a nursing home after 23 days of treatment for complications of knee surgery.

The timing of his release didn’t appear to correspond with any improvement in his condition, according to family members. But it did boost how much money the hospital got." - WSJ

I photographed the widow of Ronald Beard, Barbara, with a sizable stack of paperwork related to her husband's hospitalization and resulting conflict with Medicare. The story can be read here.

Barbara Beard by a stack of paperwork connected to her dispute with medical providers Feb. 5, 2014 in Katy, TX. Beard's husband was discharged from a long-term hospital after a 23 day stay to rehab following a botched knee surgery, and later died.


Arcade Fire tearsheet from January 2014 issue of Q Magazine

The discovery of tearsheets of my work with Arcade Fire continues with this double truck photo of their first performance for Reflektor in October 2013 in Bushwick (aka East Williamsburg, don't get me started), Brooklyn, New York in the January 2014 issue of Q Magazine, a British music publication. 

They began the evening in jest on a side stage with giant paper maché heads, and continued with a surprise performance by the full band on the main stage, which was hidden behind a heavy black curtain held with velcro.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Reflektors!

Win serenades the crowd.

Arcade Fire for Metro

For two weeks in October 2013, I was living the dream as a photographer for the band Arcade Fire as they played a series of warm-up shows for their Reflektor tour in New York City, Miami and Los Angeles. During our time in Miami, we produced a portrait shoot at a Haitian restaurant called Tap Tap, which has lovely paintings inside and great natural light. The images below made it into print in Metro, a British newspaper based in London. The shoot was produced on 800 ASA Porta 35mm film using natural light.

One of me by the band during the shoot.

Mo' Muscle Cars for The Wall Street Journal

I had a last minute assignment for The Wall Street Journal yesterday - a story about how small business owners are dropping their insurance as more of their employees choose plans provided by the Affordable Care Act. Owner Blake Meaux had a lot of beautiful cars to choose from, but with the overcast sky, this gray 1957 Chevy Bell-Air seemed like the perfect choice. A cropped version of the first photo ran on page B5 of today's WSJ. 

Conquest Magazine for The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Recently I shot a couple of portraits for a new client that I'm happy to share. Giulio Draettta, Ph.D, M.D., a professor in molecular and cellular oncology and Andy Futreal, Ph.D., professor in genomic medicine, are both part of the Moon Shots program at M. D. Anderson. The goal of the program is to accelerate both research and practical application of the most current cancer treatments possible. The program researchers are targeting eight cancers: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), melanoma, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and triple-negative breast and ovarian cancers. 

Giulio Draettta, Ph.D, M.D

Andy Futreal, Ph.D.

Red Ox Bar & Grill for Texas Monthly

I enjoyed a recent last minute assignment from Texas Monthly to shoot for the September 2014 issue dining guide. It's the most real estate I've had in the magazine to date. Below is the page and one of my favorite images from the outtakes. 

Welder Anthony Solis for The Wall Street Journal

Not everyone has big dreams of going to college. Some cut to the chase and learn practical skills to get started earning as soon as possible. One example is welder Anthony Solis, 19, who is a welder working in Houston. I was assigned by the Wall Street Journal to photograph Solis against a grey background. The example page the editor sent was shot by extraordinary photographer Spencer Heyfron and was told to match the style as closely as possible. Heyfron's images are pretty spectacular so I knew I had my work cut out for me. An issue I've been trying to work out recently has been catchlights in the eyes. After some online research, I decided to use a gridded beauty dish on a boom directly over and above Solis, and pop a shoot-through umbrella to his left just to add a tiny bit of fill and put a nice light in his eyes. I was happy with the result and am especially excited about the huge photo play on the front of the WSJ's weekend Review section.

Below are a few of my favorite outtakes as well as the image that ran and the tear sheet.

Country musician Mary Sarah for the Houston Chronicle

Rising country musician Mary Sarah joined me on the roof of the Houston Chronicle parking garage, as well as the paper's decommissioned loading dock, to make some portraits for a feature about her new release. Sarah has joined forces with the likes of Dolly Parton and the Oak Ridge Boys recently and her new album appears to be building a lot of steam. She was great to work with and was game to break away from the photography studio at the paper and shoot outdoors, even in the heat of mid-summer Houston. Yee-haw!

Tear sheet

Studying the minds of fishermen

A shoot for Monitor on Psychology introduced me to Sharon A. Croisant, PhD, a researcher studying the epidemiology of fishermen affected by the mental health effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, among others.

From the cleanhouston.org website: "Croisant is a specialist in translational research. She describes this approach as “taking science from the lab to the bedside, and to the curbside”: The information gained in the research lab enhances patient care, and is used to understand and prevent disease in the community. Croisant currently is working with a consortium of researchers from four universities and community groups on the GC-HARMS study to understand the impact of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill on the safety of Gulf seafood and the health effects for those who consume it."

The editor wanted something "gritty." Thankfully, a retired oil rig sits near a dock two minutes from her office, and she agreed to meet me just before dusk. Using a Quantum flash with a soft box attachment, I was able to use the small light source to illuminate only her face and let the background take care of itself.


Favorite image


Patrice Pike for the Houston Chronicle

I love photographing musicians because they're open to just about anything. It's not that this shoot was so wild and crazy, but Patrice was happy to share in a moment of innocent mischeviousness when I asked her to get on top of the bar. Below are a couple of my favorite shots from the session.

Patrice Pike in front of Houston's Mucky Duck

Patrice Pike on the bar at the Mucky Duck

Doug Dreher for Houstonia magazine

I had the recent opportunity to do a good, old-fashioned day-in-the-life story on collector and barber Doug Dreher. Doug runs a legendary barber shop in the Heights neighborhood in Houston (look for a three-minute barbershop scene in "Rushmore," for example). He is also an avid collector of all things. His home is stuffed with a litany of objects including vintage ceramics and old 45 record albums. Doug has an eclectic past as well as an eclectic present and is certainly one of the people that make Houston unique and fun to live in just by his existence.

Houston mayor Annise Parker for The Advocate

I'm stoked to see my photos of Mayor Annise Parker on the cover and inside story in latest issue of The Advocate magazine. In 12 minutes, I was able to pull out a shot against a full-body seamless and a shot with the city seal in the background. The tear sheets look great, with only minimal water damage. Thanks, United States Postal Service!

Terrence Malick and the five-alarm fire

In late March, a five-alarm fire utterly destroyed the huge Axis condominium project in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston, a huge city with no zoning laws. Because of this, builders have a lot of flexibility in where and how they want to erect a project. That being said, this condo was pushed right up to the very edge of a historic cemetery. I live nearby, and after hearing more than the usual amount of fire engines screaming past my home, I went out to my deck and looked north, where a huge plume of black smoke engulfed the sky. I grabbed my gear and opened up an app on my phone that tracks fires and traffic accidents and headed out the door. When I finally got to the scene, I hopped the fence of the Magnolia Cemetery where I saw an obelisk with the word "Father" written on the pedestal. With a surreal fire raging in the background, I immediately thought of the whispery voice-overs from Terrence Malick's "Tree of Life," (although I think in the movie, it's the word "mother" that is urgently voiced by Sean Penn).