Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's about time

I has been so looooong since I even considered a new post that I may have forgotten how to proceed.
Let me give this a try.

Firstly, I'm in such a different place than I was since my last piece.  My life has been consumed by the TMHBH project but now I'm semi-retired and looking for some more peaceful times.

I may even start a new blog that is fully dedicated to that peace. We'll see.

Not that long ago we had some friends visit from KC and while we were giving the standard St Louis tour, I came across something that I didn't know existed. I have been to the Pulitzer Museum on several occasions but never ventured outside the interior walls. I think we spotted the sculpture by Michael Serra from a view inside the gallery. After exploring the walk through piece I found it hard to believe what a joy it was compared to otherwise dreadful work of his that has been a mystery to the many who have viewed the large panel piece that occupies a prime space in St Louis' "City Garden". Every time I see it, I think, I wish I had the guy who sold that, working for me. I have had some dreadful outcomes and would prefer they never be seen again yes much less put on display in a major civic location.

I think this work is called the "Spiral" though I could have remembered it incorrectly. I'm thinking that it would make such a wonderful opportunity to shoot some very tasteful, fine art nudes.






I don't think this posting does the image justice but I'll dig back into my previous research to see how best to maximize the image quality on this forum.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Think It's Time

I have tried to preserve the last posting because it was a natural lead-in to my Project for Homeless Veterans.  I think after nearly two years, it has served it's purpose and the Veterans site, "They May Have Been Heroes", can stand on it's own now.

What an amazing two years it has been.  The initial gallery opening started on July the 6th of this year and has been such a huge success.  "I Was a Soldier" exhibit

For these two years the wheels in my head have been grinding away pretty much 24/7.  The success of the show has birthed many new supporters and hopefully we'll begin the second phase of our project shortly.

I will, if I can separate my thoughts from the project, try to pick up with some new blog entries.  That may be harder said than done.  Thanks to all for their patience.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Consumed But Not Forgotten.

I just this evening posted a fairly wordy piece to the Homeless Veterans Page but it truly sums up our encounters and shortcomings in my grand plan.  Please take a trip to that site and feel free to express yourself afterwords.


It's not my intention to neglect or abandon this site but the other one has consumed my life for a while now.

BTW, we could use as many liaisons around the country who would spend some time locating homeless veterans in their towns or communities. We are finding it extremely difficult to locate and schedule shooting sessions out side of our area. If you or someone you know has a fix on 2 or more Homeless Veterans, please give us a heads up

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pardon the interruption

I suppose there are a couple of loyal bloggers out there that are probably wondering if I had passed away.  I won't insult you with the old, "Rumors of my demise..." saw.

The truth is, I have launched, what may well be the most important project of my photographic life. 
Titled,


"They May Have Been Heroes" The Homeless Veterans Project."


In what could be a year long quest, I, along with a small troop of support friends, will be traveling all across the country, photographing, videotaping and otherwise recording their images and their stories. Rather than be totally redundant, here is our official Mission Statement.


TMHBH is dedicated to raising the Nation’s awareness to the plight of the hundreds of thousands of homeless Veterans, by photographing, videotaping, and otherwise recording their stories. Additionally, we are producing a major traveling gallery exhibit in the hopes of inspiring personal involvement and the donation of funds to programs designed for shelter, education, rehabilitation, job training and resocialization, for those too many American Patriots currently doing without the basic necessities. 

Logistically, this, in itself, is a daunting task and with that in mind I have asked my longtime friend Vivian Ogier, to take over that charge.  She not only has embraced the task but equally embraced the cause.


We have almost completed the paperwork for our NonProfit Status and fund raising has begun.


We will be blogging along the way and are currently building a website, from which we will be able to accept donations and sponsorships.


That address is http://theymayhavebeenheroes.com


Please stay tuned to our journey and we encourage your support.


Many of you received an eMail from a blast we did several weeks ago, that contained a link to a YouTube video, that was a teaser for the start of the project.  In this rather haphazard video, (I never espected to use it for this purpose) that signifies where we took our first few steps.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPQjy2TErFg

please click on "Show More" below the actual video clip, it explains a lot.




We have done some trial and error shooting and I can share a couple of those images.










I must note, not all of these men are veterans but we shot them as a sampling of the work to follow.

Please support our mission and pass this along to anyone that you think may be interested.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

As a Veteran, I salute you...

Last night started as a very uneventful night.  I was particularly drained from a trying week at the studio and neither Kath nor I wanted to fix dinner at home and similarly neither of us had any strong craving for a style of food or restaurant.  The only craving I could muster was for the double crunch Shrimp at Applebee's but I was still unmotivated to get off my butt.
As I sat and nurtured my Glenlivet, I remembered that Applebee's was on the list of businesses catering to veterans on this, Veterans Day.  They have a promotion that serves, free of charge, an entree from a select menu, to all veterans active or not.  Since I've been so deep into my Homeless Veterans Project, it just seemed to be the right choice.

As we got close to the restaurant we could see there was quite a crowd waiting to be seated. Kath moaned her displeasure at the thought of waiting at an Applebee's but we forged on.  Once inside I was entranced by the flow of veteran customers and their friends and family. I'd say probably 95% of the tables were veterans.  Some wore their branches on tee shirts, others on hats and some with nothing. (I had to wonder how many poachers there may have been, only saying they were Veterans, for the free meal, because the restaurant took everyone at their word). The coupe of the visual for the evening were the few who wore their old uniforms.  Some were obviously stretching to the threads maximum tensile and others fit like they were new yesterday.  My big regret, and how would I have known, was that I didn't bring a camera and some business cards because there were Tovo portraits available everywhere.  By the time it was too late, I decided to make a few frames of important subjects with my iPhone.





For those of you that don't know, a week or so ago, I had as soft launch of a monster project I have taken on, called "They may have been Heroes".  It will be a nationwide endeavor to photograph and document as many homeless veterans as I can in an effort to raise the public's awareness and support of the more than estimated 175,000 of their kind.  The culmination of that work, as planned, would be a gala gallery opening in Washington DC.  Hopefully, by that time, we will have also produced a coffee table book of that journey.  It is an exciting prospect as well as it may be a logistical nightmare.  I have found early on that my subjects are not prone to timeliness or willingness.

Back to Applebee's, I was so moved by the promotion that I hope to make Applebee's a partner in my process.  Whoever orchestrated the event did a superb job right down to the attitude of every employee there.  Our waitress, literally offered to give me the shirt off her back.
When she came to the table she asked what branch I was in.  I proudly said "Army", I was a Drill Sergeant.  She reacted with a "Ooooo, I've heard about how bad you guys were"  I Iooked at her confidently and said, I must have done something right, all this guys made it back OK.  I definitely took some liberties there, since many of the clientele were from WW II. She was very impressed when I told her of my project, she ran off and brought back several of the pins the wait staff had been wearing and said if I came back at the end of her shift, I could have the Applebee's, Veterans Day Tee Shirt, she was wearing.

I left totally energized and had trouble sleeping with all of the new potentials I had conjured up for my project.

As a Veteran, I salute you Applebee's and I hope we continue saluting each other for the months to come.

Note: beyond all of the above, I'd like to remind everyone, if you ever take advantage of a free or promotional meal, it's proper etiquette to tip your server on what would have been the full amount of the bill, had you not received the discount.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Overlooked but Not Forgotten

Some months ago you may remember, I ventured up to Chicago to shoot some new portraits.  I ran several of those images on this blog and was proud that some of my best work was among them.


Well, I've been harboring one of them until I had the right story to go with the image. I don't know that I'm there yet but then I'm not sure I will ever be.


That was the trip where I was introduced to me new best friend, Francois Robert.  The charming Swiss Frenchman, with whom I become instantly intrigued. During one of our first phone conversations, I invited him to bring his wife along and maybe we could do her portrait as well.  I'm sure you all have experienced that moment when you instantly have a vision of a person in your mine's eye.  I picture Mrs. Robert to be, well, elderly, and most likely wearing a mink stole and a 40's hat, pin and all.  When Francois made his entrance I didn't see the Mrs. as I had expected but instead by his side was a very lovely younger woman who I assumed to be his assistant. Oh contraire , it was indeed the Mrs. and certainly nothing like I had envisioned.




Meet, Jane Gittings Robert.

Of course the next thing one might imagine is, Francois, you old dog you, sly old fox that you are, marrying a trophy wife. A pet poodle to show off and keep you warm at night.  Wrong again.

So now I'm thinking, she is just hanging on to learn what she can from the master.  Wrong again.

During their recent trip back to Switzerland, I began following Jane on her FaceBook page and eMails and boy was my face red.  Her work from that trip blew me away.  I fancy myself as an above average photographer or more precisely the "Greatest average photographer in the world", but then there is Mrs. Robert who has a photographic eye similar to mine but her results are far superior to those that exit my camera.

Aha, here is where I have the edge.  I have done a beautiful portrait of her that is far better than anything she has done of me. (Do you see the obvious trick in that sentence. Of course, she hasn't shot any of me.)

Seriously, I do love this portrait, not only because she looks mavelous but because it shows that my work doesn't have to be dark and gritty and contrasty.  The sparkle in her light clear eyes and the silvery skin are something I'm very pleased with.

Live and learn.


Addendum:  I should mention, while I don't have first hand experience and thus unable to write 
with authority, legend has it, that Jane's design skills, rival if not exceed her photography.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sometimes, It Just Happens

So, I'm sitting in the restaurant minding my own business and this stunning woman comes up, smiles and say, "You come here often?.  Yeah, I know, I couldn't believe it either. I should have known, the next thing that comes out of her mouth is, "are you a coffee drinker?"  Then it dawns on me, she's gonna try and sell me something. She's in one of those multi level marketing companies.  Oh, have I seen this before. Turns out she's very nice and I have to tell you, she knew her stuff when it came to selling coffee but before she could get her teeth into me I shot back, "I have you ever modeled?"  Good one, Tovo. Well, it seemed only fair to fight fire with fire or in this case, cliche with cliche.


"Not modeled, she said, but I've been involved in pageants."


"Let me give you some coffee samples," she came back.  "OK, but you'll have to let me do your portrait," I said.    She agreed.






A week or so later she came in, as promised, and we had  marvelous sitting. 


I try to incorporate hands whenever possible.  A lot of people, even professional models and actors just can't pull it off.  This woman has it mastered.  Not only mastered but she has wonderful hands, very appropriate for her person.


She left, thrilled with the images and promised to bring back more samples.


I must say, I'm more thrilled with the images than I am with the coffee but I'm very glad I was in the right place at the right time for this one.


As I look at the portrait, I'm thinking to myself, Grace Jones.  Maybe there is some greater opportunity to come.



Thursday, September 8, 2011

Voila'

In the fashion part of the business, there is a lot of re-interpretation going on.  When designers introduce a new line, in a matter of days you can find a hundred different manufacturers who have borrowed, swiped, re-interpreted that same design.


Every student is taught to keep an idea file, the same with stylist, hair and make-up people, models and photographers.  We have always called them, "Swipe Files".  It's not the malicious, copyright infringing process that is an absolute no-no in our industry, it's just a starting place.


A little over a month ago Kat Hinkle and I were contemplating doing a fashion test and we came across one of those inspiring images that got us energized and set the wheels in motion. We had found several similar images and melded them into one solid idea. Kat went off to find a willing, aspiring model type to be our subject but was having trouble casting the right face for what we were targeting.


I suggested, though she doesn't aspire to be a model, my friend and part time muse, Ashley.  You have seen her on this blog before. She has amazing blue eyes and an electric smile and yes, a willingness to be photographed. She's not a ham by any stretch of the imagination but more of a curious sponge always looking to explore a new opportunity.


That being said, we found a date we could all live with and Kat began her lyrical magic with make-up and hair spray.  We did a little video of the process and it has been floating around cyberspace for a while now.


The payoff for me was the culmination of months of working with a light source that I had yet come to master, well evening manage, let alone master, but things fell into place and the lighting was perfect.



Actually you're seeing the second version first because, while I do love both versions, the first of the two is my favorite.  The comments have been flattering and the comparison have been creative and varied.  The latest was, "It looks so very, Sweeny Todd".

Kat pulled out all the stops on this one as she made each individual eyelash by hand. Very admirable and original.





I was recently talking to a client about how digital photography had changed the business in general and how it really changed my life in the business.  If it weren't for digital, I told him, I wouldn't be doing this right now.  It has given new life and excitement to the art that film would have struggled to engender.

Just look at these three images. All came from the very same lighting, camera and photographer but each has a unique beauty unto it's own.  That to me is exciting. To do this with film would have been a major undertaking and frankly, I would not have had the energy or patience to get there.

As I look at these, I realize that we may have wasted Ashley's incredible smile but the mood here was perfect.  I did in fact shoot happier versions but they just didn't carry the feel of this more melancholy look..

Johnny Depp and the recent Alice in Wonderland movie and even a little Buster Keaton surfaces from these images.

I have always said being able to work with young fresh people has kept me from becoming the old curmudgeon that I would have been without them.  Thanks kids.



The Last of an Unintentional Series

A couple of Post ago, I remembered and shared a story about my dear sweet Nonna. In that dissertation I got sidetracked and mentioned the Alton Giant , Robert Wadlow.  As a follow up, I posted an image of Mr. Wadlow that I found during the process of editing through my Aunt's stack of photographs.  In the post about my Nonna, I also mentioned she was a towering 4 foot 10, or something like that.


Well, here is the long and short of that tale.  Coincidentally I found this snap of the two of us.




I was probably 16 at the time. Soaking wet under a full moon, I may have weighed the same as her.


I can still hear her scolding me, "Jeddy, Jeddy, Jeddy, waddamy gunna dew witchew?"  (Now don't think of this in a Tony Soprano voice, think sweet saintly grandma)


Recently we had our cousins, cuginas, over from Italy and she, all five foot two, christened me, Gigante' or as it sounded, GEE gant tay.


Those short Italians are very formidable people, but you gotta love em.

Monday, September 5, 2011

...follow up. A tall story.

In my last post, I mention Robert Wadlow being the Tallest Human on record, in the world.


While cleaning out some of the thousands of pictures in my Aunts collection, I came across this print.


As you should be able to read, his father was almost 6 feet tall.  If this doesn't impress you, the next time you drive through Alton, there is an actual size statue erected in his honor.  That should make a believer of you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Greatest Person I Have Ever Known

I'm guessing most of us have someone in their lives that stands out as the most wonderful person ever.


A blog that I came across recently, dearphotograph.com, has probably inspired thousand of folks to rummage through their old photos in search of material that might work for that exercise.  Mine was  a double whammy. I've been going through my Aunts house, trying to get it ready for a renter, and I have come across boxes and boxes of family photographs and this one really stuck with me.


This is my Nonna, or grandma for you non-Italian readers, and she was the sweetest, most wonderful person I have ever known. Towering at 4 foot 10 inches, tops, she immigrated to this country from Northern Italy with my Nonno, Grandpa, in the story book fashion that included traveling by ship and landing at Ellis Island to be processed into this country.  I came across her immigration papers and they listed her as a Contidina, or Peasant Woman. It must have been quite an adventure back then. Heck it would be quite an adventure now.


In this picture, she sits with me on her lap in the old porch swing.  I remember that so well.  Of course it creaked and that sound to this day, is so reassuring and comforting to me. I think if I could somehow bottle it, we could do away with Valium and Prozac and every other brain mugging drug we currently have.  We'd sit there for long periods of time watching the neighborhood kids playing Indian Ball or even Corkball, which I think may be peculiar to the St Louis area.  Eventually my dad would buy the lot across the street so we'd have a place to play ball that wasn't in the street.  It only helped a little because we always ended up running out of space so we'd stretch the field to include the street anyway.




This image looks, to me, like something out of the "Grapes of Wrath", though they traveled no farther than Alton, Illinois.  This house was located on the "Hill", as the Italian section was called.  I don't know if every town had a "Hill" section but I do know St Louis has a famous neighborhood of the same name.  Ours was certainly a bit different from that one because it was indeed perched on top of one of the many steep hills in Alton.  As a little known fact, Alton has the steepest paved street in the country, unless someone built one newer since I was a child and at some 8 feet 9 inches, Altonian "Robert Wadlow", is the worlds Tallest man on record.  He lived around our neighborhood and was about the same age as my dad. He died very young from a toe infection.


I wander again.


My Nonna's  maiden name was Lovato and if you say it with her first, Anna  (ah nah), it flows so softly and rhythmically off your tongue.  I keep a small sign with her name printed on it above my computer because I think some day it will make a lovely name for some worthwhile endeavor. Annalovato.


I never knew my Nonno, he died when my dad was just eleven. 



Friday, July 22, 2011

Mrs Wright

When I first moved into my studio, Erin was the Architect in charge of my project.  She was one of a handful of Creative types that had some role in the hierarchy of management.  One by one they started drifting away to their own little corners of the world.  She was the last to move on. For the most part, we stay in touch but Erin and I keep pretty close contact with each other. 



Back then she had blonde straight hair and oh, those freckles.  Someday I hope to do a book on Freckled Faces and that is precisely how I came to photograph her the first time. A lot of people who have freckles don't appreciate them during the course of their lifetimes but of late I have found more and more of them come around to embracing their uniqueness.




When we shot the first time, I was refining my black and white style and she wore a black top like most of the others from that time. This time she dressed in her favorite evening wear and yes mom it's strapless, so everything is proper. I just think this crop is so much more Erin.


I must be getting the hang of this photography business because we have so many really great images to choose from and I really haven't spent the proper amount of time editing through them all... Wait, maybe it's not me at all but the subject that makes this work.  I'm so darned self centered.


Thanks kiddo, you made me look good again.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oh No...Thank You

One of the main reason I took the job with Kodak Profession, a few moons ago, was the prospect of dealing with students and educators, and in this man, I hit the Mother-load.




Peter LeGrand has been the principle photo educator at the prestigious Colombia College in Chicago for longer than he cares to admit. He has steered more young people into and away from careers in Photography that I can begin to count.  He is himself a photographer and artist of no small acclaim. Teaching workshop in France and around for many a year.




I tease him sometimes because of his age and his stubbornness to retire, when in fact I only hope that at 72, I have just the smallest hope of hope to look as young and healthy as he.


The odd thing about this session was that he was so grateful to have me shoot his image and it was I who was honored to be doing it. 


Thank you Peter, my dear friend. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Out...Standing, Out...Rageous...

This is Marc Hauser.  For years now, he has been one of the absolute top names in Portraiture in this country.  I've said this before but his life is a book waiting to be written.  It's just that I'm not writing it here. 


On my recent trip to Chicago I imposed on Marc to sit for me.  It almost never happened because a recent accident left him at the mercy of decent transportation that would allow for his crushed leg to be properly maneuvered without distress. 


I don't know if his injury or something else prevented him from really letting go but I felt he was holding back.  I have seen him perform antics that would embarrass most people, just to get a rise out of his subject.  As I browsed his Face Book pages, I saw many a zany, crazed, totally loose Marc Hauser but none of that was available the day we shot.


I'll be the first to admit, this isn't my best work, maybe I was a little intimidated by his superiority. 







Personally, I think he should charge people to meet with him. He can be the most off the cuff person you might ever meet.  A showman and an eccentric, he still commands the room.  On the other hand, if you ever catch him in a quiet moment, he can be as sweet as anyone.


I'm grateful that he gave me an audience and his patience, though I hope someday we can reprise this opportunity on a day when his full personality is in bloom.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What to say...what to say?

I've been hanging on to this post way too long but I have never just posted an image with no commentary. Alas, I am at a loss for the right words. I'll chalk this up as verbiage to follow as it becomes more clear to me.






My new friend, brother, admirer, photogenic man, Francois Robert.


(click on image for better viewing)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Apple a Day



So I'm sitting in the Apple Retail store here in St Louis and sitting next to me is this photograph waiting to happen. As I get older I have no hesitation to speak to total strangers, especially if they have photographic beauty at their behest.



Maybe it was a grasp at some retribution for the inconvenience I had incurred while dealing with the repair of my otherwise dependable Mac Pro. She was dressed in fairly normal seasonal attire but her hair and make-up shouted pin-up girl or at least a retro 40's style. Without so much as a hesitation, I introduced myself and asked if I could properly photograph her.  I guess she must have been in a similar state of mind, because she quickly accepted my invitation. 

She had been in a pin-up frame of mind for a while and recently changed her style to a 40's look. At any rate, she was indeed an image waiting to be captured.



She showed up at the studio less than a week later and was prepared to make her mark as a would be subject. We shot for several hours and we still had more options to explore. She worked to the camera very well for an amateur model and was willing to accept direction and encouragement with out skipping a beat.

Normally a new model lacks in hair and make-up experience, hers was as good as anyone could have expected, especially her hair.  

We'll pick this up again in a couple of weeks after I make my way through some others projects of significant importance.

Near Disaster

Yesterday, I invited an old friend to sit for a portrait.  Rob is his name and he is an extremely talented artist who specializes in surfaces.  Faux paint and textural manipulation if you would.  Rob has been the go to guy here for years and one of the most pleasant folks you'll ever meet.  Rob's link


Come time to start the session and everything feasible went wrong; camera, computer, lights and cords, failing at an amazing rate.  I couldn't figure which to address first.  To top that off, I had decided to try out a new pair of glasses that I had made at the V.A.   My god, everything was key stoning and finding the right space in the progressive lens seemed an impossible task. The trick is to remain calm and act like you have everything under control, not that difficult for the experienced shooter...if you can see.


Luckily Rob found some reason to excuse himself and give me a chance to regroup.








Once we finally got started, things went very well. He has a great facial structure with a strong jaw and chin. If it weren't in my nature to mature most subjects beyond their age, he looks years younger than he is.


Thanks Rob for your patience and willingness to stick around through my disaster.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Zia Gloria

She has always been special


I've reached that sad, odd, time in my life where I have become the care taker for the people that once took care of me. This is my 87 year old Zia (Aunt, in Italian) Gloria, for whom I've been chosen to be her responsible overseer or more legally, Power of Attorney.  She had a stroke almost a year ago and has since diminished in capacity a little everyday. Her spirits are still reasonably good but her mind is forsaking her.  It's not an unusual story, many of you will be familiar with it.

Yesterday when I came into to her room, she immediately grabbed my hand with both of hers, rubbed it gently and then held it to her body as if it were her teddy bear. My heart felt the rush of love and it made my responsibility seem so meaningful.

When my grandfather died, way before I was born, and her brothers married and moved out, Zia decided that she would devote her life to caring for my Nonna (Grandmother). Forget all the suitors who would want to be her beau or even her husband.  She would care for Nonna until she died.

She was a beauty and will always be remembered for her youthful appearance even late into her life.  People come up to me today and say how they remembered how beautiful she always was  and always looked years younger than she really was. This is not to say she wasn't intelligent but on the contrary. For years she was the admin, as we call it today, for the head of the Glass Factory in Alton, Illinois. Since there were no women in management back then, her position was about as high a woman could get.

A funny story arises more often than not these days, at least since it was brought to my attention. My mom tells me that shortly after I was born, she over heard Zia talking to Nonna and saying "I'm not standing up for that kid, (Godmother) he's the ugliest baby I have ever seen".  Now, every chance I get, I remind her of that, and tell her I'm not sure why I'm being so nice to her now.

We laugh of course because she knows I like to tease her.

This could become a book, but since its just a blog, I'll leave the rest of the story for a later date.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fini?

I really didn't plan on making Cicadas a life's work.  I took a minute to record video and sound this morning and posted it to You Tube but then I found this professionally made version and I thought I'd share this with you instead. 


 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYLxxALTfAQ


There will be no more posting on this subject, I promise.  BTW, I did taste one over the weekend.  While I was firing up the grill to do some Brats, I tossed one in and closed the lid.  When it looked sufficiently crispy, I applied a touch of Lawry's seasoned salt, plucked the wings and feet and took a nibble. I can't tell you what it tasted like but it wasn't bad. I was fearing a squirt of some kind but it was more like eating a shrimp shell.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I don't think I shall ever see, a tree as lovely as a Peonie


I had the need to secure some documents from my recently debilitated Aunt's house and I was absolutely floored by the bed of peonies growing, without her care.  I have long thought peonies were visually the perfect flower, surpassing the rose because of its complexity, but yet, in its simplicity and without the thorns. 

Historically, peonies have been a major attraction to ants and the weight of their blooms cause them to fall over, hanging close to the ground.  Maybe this is their swan song, in a tribute to my ailing Zia (aunt) but they all stood tall, not wavering in the breeze and and nary an ant could be found.


Friday, April 29, 2011

and Last but Not Least


Finally, the guilt is being lifted from my shoulders.  This is Steve Hoke and he is the last of the portraits I shot on location last summer.  Steve is the musical partner of David Eakin, seen in the previous post.


I am ashamed on two counts. 


One, it took me sooo long to finish out this project and that's just bad form and unprofessional, but it has happened more than I care to mention.  No sooner do I launch into a personal project and the phone begins to ring with real jobs. 


Two, it's been such a while, I don't have a great recollection of Steve and his life story. Unforgivable. 


Having said that, look at this face and tell me what you see.  I have already hinted that he is musician.  What else might you discern from this face?


Thank you to all those who have helped in this project, I truly appreciate it and Sallie, I'll give you plenty of notice the next time so we can sit down and have dinner with Sally Mann.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Manson


Over the last few years, I have created a wish list or maybe a hit list or a bucket list, something to set priorities for Portraits I'd like to do, people I'd like to photograph.  At the top of that list is Fidel Castro, because of the historic significance and he is of prime age for my technique.  Then would be my friend and mentor, and I assure you those descriptions are a bit of a stretch, Victor Skrebneski. When I say a stretch I mean, yes, I would call Victor a friend though I'm not sure he would call me one, especially since I have become a bit too persistent in asking for him to sit for me.  A mentor? Not so much directly but he was and still is a major influence. Then on that list, though I don't remember where he ranks, is Charles Manson. Again, a prime candidate for my style.  


Last summer while in Virginia I photographed Dave Eakin and if you were to believe us Portrait photographers when we go on about capturing the true essence of a man, you might think I had my Charles Manson.  Well, the fact is, Dave is as nice and sweet a man as you would ever hope to find. Not sweet as in unmanly but considerate and...um, kind.


The story goes, as some of you may remember, I rented a store front that was air conditioned but it turns out the AC didn't work and in Virginia that time of year it was very warm. Dave came in very anxious about this ordeal and as you might know, anxiety builds on anxiety and he began to perspire and his hair absorbed some of it and the more we shot the more unhappy looking he became.  So what does a good photographer do?  Run with it. I asked Dave to let the uncomfortableness prevail and encouraged him to work the angst. We both loved it. He seem to thrive on acting the part and I just kept pushing.


Now should I get the opportunity to photograph the real Charles Manson, I'll have had a little previous experience in hand.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Better Off Ed


My friend Eddie has been on this blog before but it was last night that I was able to pry him away from his secure post inside of his house seated in his wheelchair.  


Ed's last 10 years have been something I wouldn't wish on anybody.  He is or was one of those people that everything he touched, turned to gold.  However some years back his wife suffered an injury playing tennis and never ever became functional again.  What was a seemingly minor neck strain became a surgical procedure that became another procedure and it only got worse as the days and years progressed.  She was in such pain that the hospital had to special order meds because they didn't carry anything strong enough for her need.  She eventually passed away a year or two ago and we all let out a sigh of relief.  Now Ed, who had been by her side for nearly every moment since that day, could now relax and pull his life back together.  Don't think for a second that any of us were glad she passed on but after years and years of searching for and trying anything that might help, it was obvious there was nothing in sight that could stop the downward march. The sigh of relief we all felt for Ed was short lived, as he was diagnosed with a variant of Lou Gehrig disease and his prognosis was almost as grim as his bride's. 


A couple of weeks ago several of us from the advertising community got a call to a reunion of sorts and Ed was at the top of the list.  I called and warned him that he had a few days to come to grips with leaving the house, because we were going. 


I called yesterday and as I expected he was quick with an excuse for not attending.  Luckily his housekeeper was as prepared as I and she would not take no for an answer.  She had him dressed and ready promptly at 5.


Skip over the boarding of the car and the drive, and picture this man sitting in his wheelchair, beaming with delight at seeing his old friends and comrades as they one by one came over to him and expressed their delight at his presence, chiding him, scolding him and even hugging him for being hesitant to attend the evening's program.  They doted over him, getting him first a sweater, then a hat and eventually a blanket and while he doesn't care to be waited on, he loved the way they were paying their homage.


Eventually the crispness of the night began to wear on him and he confessed he was tired and needed to go home, but not till the door of his house closed behind me did that smile on his face even think of relaxing.  God love you Eddie.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ah Spring

A couple of friends, good friends, and I were having lunch and we talked about going out and shooting the tulips or a recent snowfall and I think we all agreed that after all these years there's just not much to shoot that we haven't tried to shoot before.


Well, on the way out to pick up the morning paper, I couldn't help to be taken by the newly blossoming dogwood in the front yard.  


Yes, I have shot just about every possible scenario of the dogwood but the iPhone/Hipstamatic combination brings something quite painterly to the scene. 


It's another one of those feel good shots. I love it I hope somehow you're feeling a bit better as well.



Keyword search might be, Spring, Blossoms, Japanese, Wallpaper, Flora, Pillow cases and sheets, Dogwood and what else.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Old Friends New Music

Classic
Approachable


Not long ago I ran into an old friend and former model, well not so former model, she still works when her family and career will allow. We talked and I mentioned that I got frustrated at times that when an inspiration hits, subjects are not always readily available.  Seeing as how we worked well together years ago, she seemed thrilled at the possibility we could collaborate on new projects together.  When her time allowed of course.


This time I was excited about a series of images to pitch to a client and she was ideally suited for the challenge. We shot for a couple of hours and in the process, I got sidetracked experimenting with video along with the stills.  The videos are definitely a work in progress but the stills turned out beautifully. The videos unfortunately ate up too much time, seeing as I am fairly inept with the process. We had many more ideas that we never even approached, so another day we'll forge ahead with those.


In this image you can see why I'm not a professional fashion stylist.  When show time comes, we'll have the right person there to make this sing.


Thanks Melissa.


We are experiencing a major metamerism issues on this post. The color really over saturates on some screen and settles in nicely on others.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I know, I know...

I know, my blog has slowed over the last month but that's one of the byproducts  of being busy.  This morning I had a wonderful meeting about some exciting opportunities and on the way back I drew my trusty iPhone and started recording the season. The Hipstamatic didn't exactly fullfil my visions but I certainly like the results of this overly systemed shot.


Easter, Easter Eggs, Japanese, Wallpaper, Upholstery, Lingerie and a few other key word search titles come to mind.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Man with the Amber Eyes




I'll have to remember to thank the HR person at Nadoz, the restaurant I frequent here in my building.


This be Floyd, and he is the second Chef from there to grace the walls of this blog. His story is long and fascinating.  A veteran of the Military service and cancer survivor, Floyd has a very impressive resume that started by steering away from the food industry. That because his father was a Gourmet Chef and Floyd wanted nothing to do with that.


Unfortunately we had a very short session and I really didn't get to digest all of his history, maybe I'll update this page at a later date when I've have more time to spend with Floyd.

It was good to get back into the mode of shooting character based black and white portraits. I tend to get sidetracked and that's not always a bad thing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Better Homes and Gardens


It gets harder and harder to find buyers of Art, particularly those buying for the artist and his style.  It seems as though buyers are more home decorators than collectors.  Something green for over the sofa or something beachy in the sunroom. I think more and more lesser known artist are delivering those options.