Thursday, December 10, 2009

Santa_Not Santa

As a few might noticed, there has been little activity here on the blog for a couple of months.  Well, here's something.

I have been generating a mini gallery here in my building, taking advantage of a spot with excellent lighting and considerable foot traffic.  I try to change the show monthly but for the same reason as the inactive blog, the last exhibit did hang a bit longer than I wanted.  This months viewing is from a couple of older captures, however, they are significant to the season.

This one, titled, "Not Santa" is a good friend and artist, Larry Stark. When I first shot this, it struck me as near cousin to the Karsh portrait of Ernest Hemingway. Not to flatter myself but the tones and skin rendering somehow reminded me of that famous image.

Here, titled "Santa", is Warren Moellenhoff.  Warren is a rather official Santa in that he has worked for a very exclusive client base.  Not only does he look the part, Warren truly lives the part and does it year round.  He is always in character so as not to disappoint in the case of a chance happening with one of his small admirers.  That is not to say he dresses this way 365 days a year but he maintains the same demeanor throughout.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


One of my all time favorite shooters, passed away this week, Irving Penn. Sadly there are fewer and fewer of my industry hero's left in this world. He may have been the most emulated photographer ever. If you look at the YouTube link below, you can see the style dozens of photographers have taken as there own. His work will always be held in reverence, may his soul rest in peace. 

Irving, say hey to my dad when you get there.

Irving Penn Photography

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Coming soon...I hope

I feel, and it's been suggested several times, that my Portraits are very serious and highly regarded and sometimes the rest of the blog, diminishes their importance. So it is my best intention to separate the the Portraits and the Commercial, sometimes whimsical, portion of the blog, into two separate blogs. Please stay tuned and please visit both blogs.

That's Rich

So, I have this client and yes, his name is Rich. Well anyway, he stopped by to go over a project he has been working on and I couldn't help but see an opportunity to collect another portrait. An outstanding designer and architect, he just looked the part today. Luckily he did have some time for this highly impromptu session. I would normally not shoot the subjects watch as it tends to distract from the face and the eyes but this was one cool watch. He said it was an Italian Diver's watch and that only added to the intrigue. Anything, well, almost anything, Italian, has a great appeal to me. Especially Italian design. I'm not much of a watch guy but this one I would most definitely wear.

Friday, October 2, 2009

And the "Greenie" goes to...

Todays "Greenie" Award goes to Tony Gaddis and James Schwartz, for a great video they did on the website for The Saint Louis Fashion Week. Great little video clip. Very well done. I came across it while looking for the section on the website that featured Jeigh Singleton, a friend of mine, who is being given the Fashion Week Award for "Fashion Achievement". You might remember Jeigh from an earlier post. February 20th, to be more precise.
So congrats to Jeigh and our local guys for a job well done.
I'm jealous of course.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This just in...

I've been told that people, concerned of my whereabouts, have filed a missing persons report. I thank those many concerned but I'm here and fine. Just took a little sabbatical from the old blog. Hope to return soon with a fresh vitality and sense of purpose. BTW I've been blessed with a new follower from Malaysia. Kamarul Shahrin and his blog, THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF KAMARUL SHAHRIN. Welcome Kamarul. Please check it out, I find it most fascinating.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I recently had this simple little project with a very technical resolution. I have a client that needed to be able to show variations in color or various subjects. I launched into this tie exercise and it went swimmingly. One can change colors in Photoshop but I have never be able to do it up to my expectations. I do have another new (for me) software that is nothing short of amazing. The control is far superior and much simpler. As I pieced together the variations to send to the client, I began to appreciate the very nice graphic it created. Warholish if you would, only better. That's an unusual amount of Bravado for me. I do intend to do a master version to be printed and framed for mi casa.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

So, it's come to this?

I may have mentioned in the past, we have gone through some great extremes to have a vegetable garden in our back yard. It has jokingly become known as the vegetable cemetery and the place that seeds go to die. Well, this year my wife, Kath, decided to grow carrots. We watched as they went through periods of trial and tribulation.
Slowly emerging from my beautifully prepared soil, then seemingly going dormant. Then again, shooting up just as quickly as they had languished before. Anticipating their maturity, we'd occasionally pull one and they would be the tiniest of sprouts. We waited and yet we still had gherkin sized orange tubers. So we kicked our patience into gear and waited some more. (Is that an oxymoron?) The green tops flourished but the fruit of those tops were stagnant. Finally someone told us, when the foliage starts to whither, then and only then would the carrot be ready for harvest. OK, so the time seemed at hand and I began pulling. This is the first of those plucks. Holy schmoly, mutant veggies. The rest have even more bizarre shapes and clusters...ooops, sorry, a client just called and I need to move be continued...OK, back to the veggies at hand. See below.

And to think I used to laugh at Ripley's "Believe it or not" or "Our own Oddities"

Post Note: Speaking of believe it or not. The ad below from Google appeared in the edit window of my blog.

Homegrown Vegetables
Grow healthy vegetables without a garden. No digging, weeding, hoeing

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Weaver

I've tussled with this image for a while now. It is one of the few portraits that I've done on a plain background. I know it seems ludicrous but it just has never caught my fancy because that. I started with the modeled or Rembrandt background and without it, it seems wrong. People have commented that those backgrounds are so un-cool these days but somehow I think marriage of the new technologies and the old style feel somehow works for me. When you look at it, there is so little BG showing that you might wonder what is the fuss. Heck, I don't know, it's just a small splinter but it's annoying all the same..

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Clues for Watizit #4

I have attached new images to the original post. Helpful? Hopefully.
Do we have the answer? See below.

Silly Curiosity

Could someone please describe to me what milk taste like?


It just occurred to me that I have shared with you my grandchildren, dog, Father and Father-in-law but not the most important person in my life. She inherited a certain stubbornness and cynicism but she loves to laugh and has so wonderful a smile. Here, she just seems completely happy and comfortable. It's one of my favorite images of her. I just recently unearthed it while sorting through some of my thousands of slides. Yes, film, remember that? Her given name is Mary Kathryn but is known by all as, "Kath". To me, she is my partner and the love of my life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Watizit #4 (really, what is it?)

I have no clue as to what this is. It has been growing and growing in our garden for over a month now. The base plant has many stems and it's over six foot tall. These buds however, are maybe three inches across or one inch each. Please let me know what you think they are. Thanks.
Blossoms show little progress from original.
Stem Structure and hint of leaf

Anonymous seems emphatic, that it's an Elderberry. Do we all agree?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


This sweet woman is my wife's aunt and my favorite Aunt-in-law. She is a soft spoken, gentle person and is instantly easy to like. When I first began her session, I looked at her and I felt immediately at ease and comfortable. She has that pleasant and confident demeanor that one would expect from the most admired of teachers. I wanted to learn Spanish or Literature or anything from her.

For someone who had dreaded the deadly photo session, she seemed very much at ease with herself. I did let myself drift into this sepia mode because it just seemed to fit. The portrait itself is so simple and without any nonsense. Some might think it lacks the drama of some of my previous entries but I really love it because of what it really is, appropriate.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Watizit #3

This weekend's play shot. Know what it is? It's not that tough.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Admiration joins Marketing

Several years back, I decided I wanted to create an award called the "Greenie." Green as in jealous. For, I think, there is no greater compliment than one photographer being covetous of another's work. "I wish I had shot that". Over the years there have been hundreds of times I caught myself saying that very thing. So, the "Greenie" was to be an award that I would send to the shooter whose shot I envied. Now, it wasn't as one sided a thought as you might first think. I would truly award photographers the "Greenie" but at the same time I would be garnering precious free publicity. It's the reason many people or companies sponsor charity events. How many times in how many venues would the Jerry Tovo "Greenie" award be mentioned. Blah blah blah. Having gone a rambling, I now get to the point. A week or two ago the New York Times ran a feature about Lillian Bassman. I have attached that link for your convenience. Here is a woman whose work I truly admire. I wish I would have shot any one of the images included in the piece.

Please do not stop at this link. Take some time and explore Lillian Bassman. (see link: Femininity Salvaged within the Gallery page) What a terrific story.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I shouldn't let myself stray so far from my work of choice. I know it, yet it gets away from me from time to time. Stick with what you're good at. I love doing all the light hearted stuff on my blog but it's not as fulfilling as my Black and White work. Thanks to Lonnie Smith, I'm proud to post new portrait images.
Lonnie is a chef at one of my two restaurants here in the studio. Well, one of the two restaurants in the building which I call mine. A formidable man who has a work ethic that most people would wish to have. He has two other thriving businesses in addition to his culinary career. There are several more keeper shots from this session and I may choose to share them at a later date. I'm just glad he gave me his time to jump start my negligence to a craft I love.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

8 Buck Rogers

Some months back I ran an image of young boy adrift in a sea of globes. That was from the City Museum of Saint Louis, the same facility let's you wander through the bowels of the building in what might best be described as from the era of Buck Rogers or Flash Gordan. This was shot with hardly any light. The weird thing is, when you are actually down there, you lose your orientation and they have done all they can to exacerbate that lost feeling, with hallways that just end and stairs to nowhere. Very freaky and frankly I found myself a bit panicked after a while.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blown Assignment

Not the bubbles again. Well, yeah! I'm milking this baby. Actually I'm fascinated. Aside from the bubble caught bursting, I wasn't technically content with the previous effort. This got much easier with a second pair of hands and a masterful puffer. Trying to blow the bubbles, focus and capture them from a remote release was much more difficult than I anticipated. There turns out to be so many options that this could become a book. A book that some fried mind might find as entertaining as I.
I started with the white BG and changed to the black but then I became enamored with the spit between the two. Start rotating them and it becomes an exercise in proper orientation.
Then I tried stacking them. Don't think that didn't take a while.
The distortions became equally fascinating.

The FamilyI couldn't resist the concept of greyscale or black and white. Little Jewels.Totally Saturated, equal time, ya know.Enough for now, I have work to do. Check back later.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Good Doctor

For almost 5 years, the good Doctor, Hayden Hucke (Huck ee), was our neighbor and friend. An incredibly intelligent lady who had a pension for rescuing animals. Birds, cats and dogs and who knows what else. I'll never forget Rudy, a monster Newfoundland, a black St Bernard if you would. We had a six foot high fence in one portion of our yard and one spring I was busily cleaning up the remnants of winter, not paying much attention and when I stood up I caught a glance out of the corner of my eye of something very dark. There I was standing nose to nose with Rudy, who offered a friendly lick to my forehead, but I don't know that I have ever been so startled in my life. My lord, what a bear he was. Alas, I wander. Even though she was less than mobile due to the severely arthritic conditions that plagued her, Hayden was quite an accomplished emergency room physician at one of the top hospitals in the country. We stayed in touch for a while after we moved but we haven't seen her of late. We really should take a moment to check in.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Follow Up

Earlier in the Spring I did a post of the granddaughters playing with the new super Bubble Blower. At that time I commented that I'd like to try the shot again in a controlled environment, so that I could slow the bubbles down, at least enough to get a good whack at improving the quality. This is only one of many images and I'll probably post more at a later date. I wanted to get this one up on the site so I could see just how it displayed in this venue. Catching one in mid burst was kinda fun.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Call the Chamber

For many years my wife and I would take a late winter vacation somewhere warmer. It got to the point where it was no longer laughable. It seemed like without fail when we reached our destination they would have unseasonably bad weather. We joked that we we should contact the chamber of commerce of well known sunny destinations and threaten to come there if they didn't send us money. This is an image I shot on a trip to the east coast of Florida a couple of years ago. I call it a faux HDR image. I took the only exposure I had, ran it through Bridge one time creating an under exposure and the next time creating an overexposure. I then ran the 3 exposures through the HDR software and "Viola" it didn't turn out half bad.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Emma Update

I've been getting many request to update my little Emma's status. Here, in all her glory, stands my little Emma at 10 months and in estrus at that. She is still full of piss and vinegar and makes me very happy. This is a rare moment when she didn't have one of her many tennis balls in her mouth. I have seen her at times, sound asleep with the darn ball in her mouth. Our older dog, Sophie, is doing the best she can to keep up but with the warmer weather, she's not prone to stay up with her for long. (Above from a post 9 months ago and below, of course, today)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My Favorite Father In Law

John F. Gewinner passed away yesterday June 8, 2009. May he rest in Peace. I'm gonna miss you buddy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In like Flint

Don't be fooled by his menacing, somber appearance. This man, an old friend and client, is probably the most gentle man you'll ever meet. This image is an outtake from a portrait sitting I did for him as a gift to his wife. Flint couldn't decide if the whole premise wasn't, maybe, a bit too egotistical. I assured him it was not. I think his wife may have assured him otherwise. Of all the clients I've had, Flint always seemed to draw the best out of my work. Maybe it was a spiritual connection, as he was a Bishop in the Mormon church for several years. This image also represents a slight variation from my normal lighting style. I doubt anyone would actually notice.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A fish tale I'll never lie about

So, after a crazy week at the studio, I finally got to take my youngest granddaughter fishing. She had asked to go at the end of last year and I never found the time to do it. Well now, I committed to this past weekend and even though the weather looked
bleak at first, I was determined not to let this opportunity slip by. My joy was sidled a bit by the remembrance of when I took my two young boys fishing for the first time. We had a friend whose farm pond was loaded with large mouth bass. It was a day none of us will forget. We hooked several gargantuan bass right off the bat. (Well, they seemed to be gargantuan at the time). They ranged from one to six pounds. I digress a bit. The first was in the 5 lb range and I was frantic to get a picture of the boys holding it. Who would have guessed this opportunity would be so traumatic? I think the quote was "Please dad, don't make me hold it, you're gonna ruin my whole day!" Well, I have that picture and it has surfaced many a time for that special occasion. Keeping that in mind I anticipated any number of emotions from Jess, and wouldn't have placed a bet on which it would be. I think once she refused to even carry the worms, I knew there was a good chance of a repeat.
We pick the perfect spot, I assembled the bamboo pole, a grandpa pole is what her and her daddy called it, baited the tiny hook with the first of many big ol' night crawlers we had dug out of the garden. You could tell her emotions were running
amuck. So we lob out the first worm and bright new bobber with instructions to pull up the pole if she saw the bobber go under. I turned to get the second rig ready and I heard the delight in her voice, "Grandpa, help!" "You got one Jess, pull it in." " You do it grandpa, please!" "Oh, OK Jess but you have to do the next one." I pulled it up and she screamed and giggled a giggle that sounded of joy and apprehension, pride and fear, delight and worry. It was a sound, a giggle, that a grandpa will never forget. Now, the big moment. "Jess", I said, "hold your fish while grandpa takes your picture." Déja vu. "NO, no don't make me hold it!" "Just hold the bobber then." "No No No, you hold it." None the less, it was something really special. All in all, she caught 10 less than gargantuan sunfish and we both walked back to the car, full of pride and accomplishment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Apologies, but commerce has gotten in the way of my usual blog schedule.

Please check back in a week or two.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Harry Hands

Harry Weber is a world class sculptor and world class man. I met Harry through a friend and it was Harry's hands and eyes in that sitting that have inspired many a portrait. Here in Saint Louis we have monument to Stan Musial that sits outside the stadium. It's an odd looking caricature of "The Man" himself. Unfortunately, that piece was created by another sculpter and no one in charge at that time even considered Harry's enormous talent for that piece. Stan himself doesn't have a very high regard for the image that portrays him in that original work. Since then, Harry has done a second version and it has the full approval of Musial. Sometimes I think the purchase and placement art is opportunistic, something that serendipitously appears at the exact time someone is looking. Just a footnote: I hope to be doings Stan's portrait someday soon. Not posed with a bat or a ball or a glove but his beloved harmonica. Those who know Stan know just how much he loves playing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Apologies

I'm sorry I haven't posted any images of late but I've had some urgent matters to tend to.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Is that so?

"I have forgotten more than I'll ever know." Armando

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beyond the lens

Here are a couple of quotations from Henri Cartier-Bresson regarding portraiture as near as I can remember.• • • • •
"The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt."
• • • • •
"I once was commissioned to photograph an old lady--a wonderful old lady--and she asked to check on the picture before publication. I told here I've never done that, it's a question of trust. And she said, 'Oh, it's my wrinkles.'
"But that's the interesting part, the wrinkles. It's a mark of living. "It's life--the way you live life; the intellectual baggage you take with you."It's all these things. "After a certain age you got the face you deserve, I think."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Commercially Acceptable

When I started my portrait series I was really focused on a fairly narrow target market. Now I see the market expanding with almost every sitting. These images have outstanding commercial potential and could grace the cover of any number of publications, authors blurb shots and print advertising. I wish I would have started this project earlier. I love what I'm doing and hope it keeps growing.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Double Click

Here is an image I shot yesterday that I am totally fond of. It incorporates the technique that I so often espoused and it is my studio building. I've done something here that I don't normally do, in that, it's posted in a higher rez and size. I did this so that if you double click on the image, it will open larger so that you can fully appreciate the visual. Had I not done this, no one would have given it a second thought. Please be reminded these images are copyrighted and may not be reproduced without written permission

Monday, March 23, 2009

On the lighter side...much lighter

The granddaughters love the whole bubble blowing thing and we must have had 10-15 variations, from the original single small circle on a stem to a battery powered bubble blowing guns. This weekend I found a new version for a buck. It is by far the best of the lot. It has a long plastic loop in a narrow tube of solution. It's the least messy and the most effective version to date. It inspired a try at photographically capturing the possibilities. The breeze was a little too much for great opportunities but the potential is there nonetheless. When I get some free time I will be doing a more controlled shoot in the studio. Art? Maybe. We'll see.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Can't let it be

So, I find more of the the Pulitzer. Maybe I should apply for a grant to fully expose the art of the art place.

Whacky Place

Here in Saint Louis we have a unique place for kids and adults to visit. It's called the City Museum and it was designed and built by artist and weird thinking people. My wife calls it, a law suit waiting to happen. The visuals are amazing and the exhibits are hands on and made of mostly recycled material. A big part of the attraction are the miles of what I would call, a human gerbil trail. It's made from a rebar like material and it wanders throughout, with some of it going for long stretches and as high as maybe 8 stories. I photographed this young man in one of the tamer parts. If you are ever in the city, it's well worth the visit.