Thursday, December 18, 2008


---James Joseph Corbett Jr. ----
October 31, 1943-December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008


So, I'm sitting in my usual seat here at Nadoz Euro Deli and I see this incredible woman a couple of tables away. Holy mackerel, I think, she must be somebody very important. Well, she is. Marjorie Hoeltzel is an artist and wonderfully vibrant person. Soon to be 88 years of age, she makes me feel like a sissy when it comes to clarity and youthfulness. Much like the "General" from an earlier post, she is a serious portrait photographers dream. Thank you Marjorie for allowing me to show off a little bit._______I've added Marjorie's choice (top) soon to be hanging in a prominent place in the family archives.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Beginning of the End

I suspect maybe I need to move on from this sisters thing but I would be wholly negligent if I didn't post how this project really started. I guess it may have 25 or so years ago when this shot was done. This beauty is the mother of the sisters. As I recall it was done as a wedding present for the bride and groom. There was a series, the rest of which I haven't come across of late. I guess there is something to be said for good genes.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sisters Together

With nothing more to add other than those red dresses should say "Thank you", for they have found the perfect home.

Back Again and More Beautiful Than Ever

Many post back you may remember my contemporary Mona Lisa, titled "Sister Act". And even further back a post entitled "Red Gown". This year it's Erin's turn at the red gown and what a lovely photograph she makes. I'd like to make a living doing regular glamour portraits of this family. Part of the test of this image was to keep the look similar to the shot I did a year ago, that of her sister, Jordan. There's still some tweaking to do on that front but I really believe the content itself is extremely worthwhile. In an effort to help visualize this lovely, I've added a closer version. So many times I won't post an image because the size limitation of the blog keeps the impact to a minimum. As in this case, the original has the overall feel of the composition but starves for the lack of detail in her innocence.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Rise and Fall of Autumn

I wanted to get away from the whole autumn theme but I keep finding marginally interesting tidbits. This is the Statue of Saint Louis located just in front of the Art Museum in our beautiful Forrest Park. I went to shoot the tree rows of these brilliantly red Sugar Maples and came back with hundreds of shots and one tourista image of the statue.

Monday, November 17, 2008


She gave it all she had but this lonely little Rudbeckia finally succumbed to the frost and the chill of the coming winter. The remnants of a flourishing wildflower patch, this little gal held out way beyond the Black Eyed Susans that had surrounded her for the summer.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Not only in Canada

I was kinda stuck on body copy for this when my good friend Laurie Shoulter Karall posted a poem within the comment section. I think I need say no more. Enjoy. I love the image and will add it to the stock offerings.

The Happy and Sad...

I hope you don't mind if I indulge myself a bit but three years ago today my Dad passed away and there's hardly a day goes by that I don't think about him. I thought maybe he was up there helping the Cubs out this year but I guess he doesn't have enough seniority yet.

Three months ago Emma was born and since then there's hardly been a moment gone by that she doesn't insist that we think about her.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's with Mixed Emotions

It's getting to be that time of the year. I love the fall, the clean crisp air, the lower, warmer sun angle, it is however dampened by the unfortunate prospect of winter just around the corner. Don't get me wrong, I also love the first month of winter, the first snow and the fires in the fireplace that are nearly as welcome as the first sounds of the peepers in the spring. After the first of the year though, I am so done with the whole gray monochrome thing. There have been One Million Trillion (slightly less than the national debt) autumn color photographs taken, so I dare not try to compete with many of those. I'm not one to find much motivation in shooting the cliche image. If I put my camera to my eye and see the same shot that I've seen so many times before I'll back off and reconsider it or at least give some thought how to make it different. I will not dally though, because I rather just stand there and absorb the moment for future remembrances. I do however, have many many stock images taken for the season.

Did you know that the color of the leaves is there all summer only hidden by the chloralfill that dissipates in the fall? (or so I heard on NPR earlier this week)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eyes and Hands and now Ribs

Several posts ago I ran a quick pick of Mike "Smokey" Emerson called the Godfather of Pork. Now that I've sorted through the remains, I found this image, which will probably become a PR picture for Pappy's Smokehouse. I rejected it originally because the rib didn't read very well but with a little tweaking, I think it works. I'm also helping him develop a Kosher BBQ sauce called, it comes... Orthodox Juice for Pork.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Expanding the Neighborhood

Well, I've gone on about the neighborhood and my love of rural architecture, so now I range a bit out of the hood and find roughly simple architecture within a long stones throw of my studio. It has the same simplicity but with the time worn and weathered look that comes from an era of disrespect and ruin. I've been eying this location off and on for some time. By the same token, I've been dabbling in a technique called HDR. This may be the first time I've gotten close to it's full potential. As I look at the proof of this page, I can see it is another image that can only truly be appreciated at one hundred percent of the original file.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Good Luck Katie


When I visited my friend up north over this last week end, the first thing I noticed when I walked into his house was this GIZMO. I could see what it was but what a strange conglomeration for modern society. It struck me as almost pop art.

BTW, I hate those new bulbs. I truly believe that incandescent bulbs provide a warmth and romance that these weird looking replacements could only hope to duplicate.

King of Corn (not porn)

Over the past several years my Father In Law has asked me a number of times, 73,323 times to be exact, how many ears of corn are there on a stalk. I confessed that I didn't know but that I was pretty sure there had to be more than one. What a waste if each stalk only had one. Over the week-end I visited a friend in Ottawa Illinois and on the way back I decided to get the answer once and for all. Well, I'm here to tell you, most stalks, probably 99 per cent, only had one ear. I did find one that had two and it's the close up image. For the sake of art, the cropping kind of disguises the second ear but there it was, 2 ears on one stalk. Makes me wanna find out why there hasn't been more research done on growing more ears per stalk. The yield per acre could very easily triple. I ramble but I miss the days when I shot a lot more for an agency that specialized in AG products. I loved that work.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Godfather of Pork

Mike “Smokey” Emerson has become quite a celebrity of late. He and a small band of Apple and Cherry wood smoking aficionado's have started what may arguably be the best BBQ joint in the country and that's saying something considering the competition. Mike and his mates have traveled the pit contest circuit for a bit now and finally he's sharing his wares here in my own little neighborhood. I coaxed him into allowing me to do his portrait knowing he would never be able to show enough gratitude, and forcing me to take home beau coup amounts of ribs and brisket and pulled pork in hopes of somehow repaying me for my efforts. Seriously, the man has a great smiling face and it was my pleasure to shoot his image. If'in you're in the area, it's Pappy's Smokehouse near Saint Louis U... Pass the butt dude.

Stop this ride, I wanna get off.

A couple of years ago we had to make a call on the Exchange and they weren't particularly thrilled about letting photographs be taken, so I shot a few frames without actually putting the camera up to my eye. It's something I've been doing for a while now and hopefully a source for another essay or even a book called "From the hip". I wanted to blur the image so that it might convey the frantic activity you could normally see on any given day at the Exchange. I think it works well and no one in the shot was single out, nor could you see the tears streaming down their faces. (smile) Yesterday's market caused me to dig into the archives for this very appropriate image.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lest not we forget

The General and his Missus. I wish my memory of famous people were greater, for this wonderful woman reminds me of someone significant in world history. I'll keep them coming. Stay tuned.

Today in the Studio

"The General". Actually Lieutenant General Gill, who, at one time, was the second highest ranking officer in the Indian Army. The General is responsible in part for the procreation of my friend and landlord, Amrit Gill. When Amrit told me of his father a year or so ago, I was very impressed and anxious to meet him but I had no idea just how fascinated I would be. This is a face that photographers dream of shooting. There are many more images worthy of posting and I'll do that a bit later. Thank you General, for the opportunity to try and capture that spirit.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Goes without saying

The good news is, "Anyone can be elected President of the United Sates." The bad news is "Anyone can be elected President of the United States." Lewis Black

You're on

I'll bet Pete Rose gets inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, posthumously.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

So take this

I must tell you that from time to time I'm chided by some that I seem to shoot only people who have reached an age where life's tolls have begun show in their faces. For the most part, that's true but it is that character that my camera craves. It's just ripe for the picking as they say. Now here for those skeptics out there, this is beauty and character without age. My young architect friend, Erin O'Brien, was on my list of people I wanted to photograph from the moment I was first introduced to her. Yet another project on my long list is to do an essay or book on freckles and this certainly would or will be a great start for that.

There it is again

It keeps surfacing... simplistic symmetry that's both clean and interesting. It's that rural theme pulling me back in. This image was captured on the way back from Indianapolis a couple years ago. There is not much I can say other than I'm drawn to it and I'm glad.

No roll in the hay

This is one of those rural images that I shot on the same day as the earlier post,"A roll in the hay". I am very found of this shot because it's how I pictured it in my mind as I was traveling out to shoot it. When I got back to the studio and started editing I found myself disappointed in the base image. I was briefly discouraged and set it aside for the time. Some months later I just had to take a second look at it, because I really loved the original concept and refused to let it die. I must tell you that while I use Photoshop everyday in my commercial work, I have this nagging ache inside me that won't let me totally rely on it's smoke and mirrors to make something out of a nothing capture. I would rather that my images come from my mind and heart and translate nicely through the camera and computer on their own. Maybe that's idealistic but today, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. As it turns out, I'm not the only one found of this image as it has become highly requested. Thank you for that.
I am pretty sure this was the cornerstone image to my Black and White Masters Portrait series.
I was working for Kodak then and I suspected that they were missing a huge corner of the market by not promoting the greyscale imaging opportunities that came with digital photography. I would guess that it never occurred to the marketing geniuses there, since they were so focused on color, color management and skin tones, all Kodak strong points. I saw the enormous potential and shot this demo featuring my good friend and world class shooter himself, Kevin O. Mooney. The process as to how I arrive at the final rendition has changed so dramatically since this was first shot. Nevertheless I think you'll find more and more shooters and artist realizing how dramatic black and white images from digital capture can truly be.

The Pulitzer

For those of you following this blog, you'll know that have several themes going. Portraits, the neighborhood, Black and White, rural landscape, architecture, etc. Well, this images covers several bases. Shot in the neighbor hood in infrared digital and converted to black and white, it may be as close to art as I can get. The building is, ironically, The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, one of several significant museums slash galleries located within a couple of blocks of my studio. There are a lot of techniques mingled into this image and I find the merge works very well. Enough so that I may pursue a series from this.

Monday, June 30, 2008

How to Lose Friends and Influence People

What I do in my Black and White Portrait work is not "Glamour Shots." It is down to the skin reality and sometimes it's hard to handle the truth. These old friends reluctantly subjected themselves to that possibility. Without getting too wordy, I will say, I love this work, it's what keeps me in the game. They can sometime be striking or even riveting. The bigger I print them the better they get.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

So, that's it.

This image illustrates the scheme for stitching the images together. Taken just a few yards away from the Arch shot and turning to the right, is very long levee wall stretching, they tell me, for miles, which is dedicated to public art. You can see how the separate images are shot to be blended or stitched in the photo editing software. Unfortunately, this view lacked the appeal of the earlier Arch composition.

Southern View-Street Level

The Saint Louis Arch is one of the most photographed scenes in the world and in a relatively recent exercise whereby several images are stitched together, I shot this unusual vantage point. It is actually three vertical captures stitched together. It is certainly one of my favorite recent images. It is also one of the most requested of all my recent work

Saint Francis Xavier College Church

One day I grabbed the camera and headed down Lindell one block. I was out to do my neighborhood thing and I decided to check out the interior of SLU's Church. It is quite impressive and is the center for many a celebrations.
Traditional and striking,
it's a landmark here in the city and rightly so.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sorry, I lost my focus for a moment

Hands of Time

Any of you that maybe familiar with my portrait work will know that I am fixated on hands and eyes and of course, spirit. In a recent photo shoot for a local company's web-site, I encountered this young woman who had been on the job for over 30 years and her hands have the resultant character to verify that. If I didn't know better I could squint my eyes and conjure up images from one of thousands of National Geographic images. The color and tone of the skin and the stressed knuckles and abused nails had caught my attention since first editing for the original project.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Again in the hood, a drive by shooting

In keeping with the theme of my neighborhood and on the way to the studio, I had an opportunity to grab, literally, a couple of frames of the new Saint Louis University Medical Building just down the road a piece. I'm bad for this. I'll see something and rather than get out the tripod or take any time at all, I'll roll down the window and shoot as many angles as permitted from the car. I always promise myself that I'll go back later and do it right. My bad. I do however like this one and I think the Marketing folks at SLU will want access to it as it features the new building and in the back right is the old hospital facility.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

As per your request

While the entire blog has gotten rave reviews, I get more and more inquiries about the black and white portraits. When I do my portraits I really strive to capture the character or the essence of the person. Hands, eyes and spirit are vital to the style all captured with the hint of the old Masters of Portraiture. In this case anyone who has ever met this man immediately says, "Hey that's Kip." No matter how long ago it might have been. He has that kind of persona.
I call this image "Cyclops" but it doesn't matter because his captivating eye(s) and renown wit will always be known as "Hey, that's Kip."

My Girls

So, Sunday was Fathers day and by default, Grandfathers Day. Both boys came over and brought our granddaughters. It was a beautiful day, one that I'll remember for some time. Everything a grandpa could want or need. BTW, yes it does say "Spoiled" on the back of the Gator. Hmmm, whoda thunk?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Portrait, by Jody Feldman

I have a friend, an author, who asked that I do a portrait for her new book. The results prompted her to disclose her diary of the event on her blog. I find it quite amusing. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It just feels right

Sometimes I'll be looking for something special when I'm shooting and I'll click a lot of frames hoping maybe something will come of a couple of them. Then there is that time when one of those actually grabs me. This image is one of those. I don't know what it is, it's feels comfortable, pleasant and memory grabbing and yet to most folks, they'll look at this and say "What in the heck is he going on about"? I guess it's very personal and I wish I could explain it better. It will never end up in any famous art gallery but it will make me feel good, at least for the moment.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I still know how to catch the Chick's eye.

We visited some dear friends on their farm over the weekend, and it reminded me of this image I shot the first time we visited them. My mom was raised on a farm and I'm certain I have a lot of that in my blood. I once thought the ideal job would be to live in a small farm community, teach basic photography and coach the JV basketball team, all the while shooting to my hearts content in my barn converted to a small studio. Come to think of it, maybe I still do. I keep a mental log of many rural architectural scenes I want to capture some day. It all seems so peaceful and simple.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

She's Back

If you were to go back several post you might remember my new girlfriend. That image was a quik pik and unsculpted, so to speak. Here she is in a nearly final state. Still as lovely as ever but with a bit more character than the first image.

Peace, please.

I can remember when I was very young, we'd get up early on Memorial Day and go to the cemetery for a sunrise mass and then go visit my Nono's (Italian for Grandpa) grave.
Back then I'd normally get to sleep in and the coming of summer would reveal itself with the warmth of the sun and the distant buzz of the neighbor's 4 cycle lawn mower. Lying there in bed taking it all in, it was such a peaceful time. I didn't have a worry to my name.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quote of the day

"The true portrait of a man is a fusion of what he thinks he is, what others think he is, what he really is and what he tries to be."

Dore Schary

Carlos Santana

Last week, after scheduling, negotiating, changes and finally confirming, I was set to shoot Carlos Santana for a very good client of mine. Normally, I would be on site the day before to make sure everything is in order and verify I'm able to accomplish all that is necessary to provide the images that I have become expected to produce. In this case, that was not an option, so we showed up early as possible to set up and run test. We were there but a short time before word came that Carlos was feeling like he was coming down with the flu and he wanted an extra hour to sleep in. Shortly there after the next word came. Carlos would not be able to come at all. Not wholly unheard of but disappointing none the less. It is probably most disappointing because Carlos has the persona that is perfectly suited for what I'm doing. In honor of the occasion, I have posted the results.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

On Second Thought

Several months ago when I first shot Marcel, I asked that he wear a hat. One would only assume that he would come with a Beret or something akin to the cliche Artist wear. No, not Mr. Salinas, he bops in wearing this Nike model. After we had finished shooting him without the hat, I thought what the heck, let's see how it looks. One shot and I looked at it on the monitor and said to myself, nah, this a sacrilege. Now, having re-examined my conscience, I find the image sooo appropriate for the times. "Just do it", I said.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Morning Business Group

Every week for over 20 years the four of us extremely wise businessmen have gathered around a local greasy spoon (sometimes not) to discuss the opportunities the world may have presented us since last we met. Sometimes, maybe too often, we discuss politics. The lines are fairly evenly divided in that arena. Bob and I are the sensible clear thinkers of the four. Kip and Ed are not, usually. As you look at the image you'll notice "I look the best". That's because it's my camera and my blog. I'll let you all know if and when any of them get their own and you can see if they look any better. Yes, we have fun and most certainly support each other through the occasional times of crisis and despair.

My Latest Girlfriend

This is my newest gal friend, Ann. She is the mother of a couple of my best friends and will soon be 85. She allowed me the privilege of trying to capture her warm and wonderful spirit.

Seen here with the lamb from her children's early years, I'm not sure whom or what is the more gentle.

I must say, I thought I was going to have wrestle away a particular prop I have in the studio that she became very attached to.

It was an old settee that I had recovered and she was so enamored with it I could only promise to leave it to her in my will.

Monday, March 17, 2008

My Pride

Up til now, most of the postings on this blog were fairly lightweight. However, this image represents the work that is closest to my heart. My black and white portraits reflect the inspirations with which I've grown up. They strike me as a combination of several of the past Masters of the Trade; Josef Karsh and Victor Skrebneski to name a few, the latter I consider a good friend having made an indelible impression on my psyche. It is not my intent to emulate or copy either of these great men but rather it is their soul within me that find its way onto my canvas. Fifteen years ago I would not have gone in this direction but with the advent of new technology and a renewed perspective that apparently comes with age; I find that this work comes quite easily to me now. The young man in this post is Marcel Salinas. At 95, he is the last living collaborator of Pablo Picasso. Initially a lawyer by trade, he transitioned to an apprentice lithographer and developed into a master of that art and then to a painter of significant repute in his own right. Now, failing in both sight and hearing, I try to find time to spend with him whenever possible. The man is a walking history book, from his birth in Alexandria, Egypt through his days with his friend Henri Cartier-Bresson. I have mixed emotions as to the best way to approach a portrait. Most of the time I think I would prefer to have some contact or conversation before I begin a session but in this case there was little said before the shutter began to click. I think the results were excellent and I fear that had I known much more beforehand I may have tried to steer his poses in a different direction. This was pure Marcel. If time will allow I want to schedule another sitting and see just how the results might change, now that we have come to know one another. Giving direction in this case is very difficult because his hearing has diminished so. I will post more from that first session as time goes by.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sister Act

Not having posted anything for a bit, I remembered how much I loved this image. It strikes me as a bit of a contemporary Mona Lisa. This lovely lady is the sister to the lady in the Red Gown. Another endorsement for good genes.