One of the things that I really enjoy about shooting motion work is that it is a medium that is well suited to telling stories. I have always loved stories, I was an American Studies major in college and I think most of my enjoyment of history came from a collection of professors that turned American History into a narrative experience.
As a small business owner myself I have a heart for small local businesses. My wife works for a small locally owned company, our favorite restaurants in town are all locally owned places, and we make an effort to support companies like ourselves. Every small business owner I have ever met has a passion for the work that they are doing and more often than not there is also a story behind that passion and I simply dig that.
So if you will allow me to put this all together I am announcing a new endeavor that focuses specifically on small businesses in the Kansas City area to help them create content that tells their story. I recently wrapped my first piece of this nature for Donna’s Dress Shop a vintage/new shop in the Westport area of Kansas City. Check it out below (if you are reading this blog in an e-mail reader you will need to visit the blog itself to see the video):
A big thanks to Donna for being such a great subject and to my partner in crime/editor Steve Hagelman. I am proud of this piece for a variety of reasons and love the response that Donna has received from the piece already. It has already been featured on a popular KC based blog.
If there are other small business owners reading this that have any interest in creating some content in this regard please get in touch. I would love to help you tell your story.
My latest project for AARP recently went live you can see the image and read the story here: http://aarp.us/YTubeMO
My music video for the band “Bad Lucy” was featured on the Wonderful Machine Blog: http://www.wonderfulmachine.com/blog/2011/06/bad-lucy/
I participated in the Urban Photo Safari in Kansas City and managed to walk away with a wining shot: http://urbanphotosafari.com/?p=246
I was a featured contributor in this month’s KC Magazine see my close up here:
I have a photograph that will be appearing on the cover of a book by Dr. James Van Slyke. See the mock up here: http://t.co/LYUGQde
Oh…and I just signed a lease on what should be a sweet studio space in Kansas City. 90 Days till opening. Good times!
I have written a little bit previously about my friend Terey Summers. Terey and I met a few years back on a shoot and became fast friends. You know when you meet people that you just click with well that was the case for Terey and I. Knowing her I would be willing to bet that is the case for her with many people. Beyond her many talents she is a truly warm and loving person and I am thankful to have her as a friend first and a client second.
If you don’t know Terey was recently a finalist on the OWN Network’s “Your Own Show” vying for her own talk show on Oprah’s new network. She finished third and appearing on that show has given her a launching pad for other endeavors. She and I had been chatting for several months about putting together a shoot that would give her some fresh new material to market herself with and we finally made that happen on a recent trip of mine to Phoenix.
We set up a shoot in two parts. First she needed some updated headshots and second I wanted to shoot something that would utilize her comedic talents.
As I often do when shooting headshots I used a mix of natural light to get those great catch lights in her eyes with a mix of flash to separate her from the background.
After nailing down the headshot portion of the shoot we started working towards something that would showcase Terey’s outsized personality and our plan was to put her in full Queen regalia. With a huge assist from my makeup artist/stylist Laura Flagler who secured access to a great wig and the wardrobe department of Phoenix Theater we put together quite an outfit.
I have always been a fan of putting subjects where they are out of place (something I realize has been done many times over) but the idea of an outlandish subject in an ordinary setting just works for me visually. So in full Queen costume I took Terey on the light rail in downtown Phoenix. I knew we would encounter some interesting people along the way and placing “Queen Terey” in an everyday scenario like the train would be visually interesting.
We certainly got reactions and thankfully very little resistance from fellow passengers. In fact most people just kinda cleared out of the way which I understand given the circumstances. It isn’t everyday you encounter someone in a full Queen costume and an entourage that includes a photographer, makeup artist, and a couple videographers. We kinda stood out if you catch my drift.
Despite the size of our group we were also able to capture some nice quiet moments which is the direction my work often ends up going. I feel like this last image really captures Terey at this stage of her life. Hopeful, playful, and ready for her next destination wherever her talents might take her.
My latest motion project shot in Phoenix with my “chief collaborator” J. Miller and his posse of talented musicians including Alex Kyhn and Alex Lee who together have joined forces to form the band “Bad Lucy.”
J. and I have worked together many times and each time the production gets a little more ambitious which hopefully is an indication of our growth in our chosen creative endeavors. One of the things that I really appreciate about J. is that he doesn’t mind trying things that have the potential for failure. Having a client/friend that is willing to take that leap with you makes for a fruitful creative partnership.
The shoot itself played out over three half days of shooting. Day one with J. and the lovely Lauren Alonzo in a variety of locations in downtown Phoenix including the light rail. Our second shoot day was a quick sunset adventure with J. and Lauren at North Mountain which sadly didn’t make the final cut of the video and the third day with the entire band which makes up a bulk of the final product.
As I have said before shooting motion is truly a team effort and thankfully I had a small but agile crew of helpers including the band which in addition to J. and the two Alex’s include appearances by Gabe Williams on guitar and Samuel Vulaca on keys and tambourine. Thanks also to band manager Anita Malik and my hair/makeup artist Laura Flagler who not only kept the boys pretty but chased down guitars and helped me direct traffic. I shot the entire video on the Canon 5D Mark II using a Steadicam 1000 it was great fun to be able to move the camera so freely and not to be locked down on a tripod.
The video was edited by my new friend/collaborator Ethan Simmons. Ethan and I found each other via twitter and if I get nothing else out of twitter it would have been worth my time just to get to meet and work with Ethan. He has some serious talent and rolled with changes throughout the editing process. I couldn’t recommend him any higher. Not to mention he is tall and always wears cool shoes. Ethan is moving soon to NYC and I am excited to see where his talents take him in the big city.
So finally after many hours of planning, shooting, and editing I give you Bad Lucy with “Forward”
Again my sincere thanks to J. Miller, Alex Kyhn, Alex Lee, Gabe Williams, Samuel Vulaca, Lauren Alonzo, Anita Malik, Laura Flagler, Ethan Simmons, and Sully for the couch.
If you dig the song follow Bad Lucy on their facebook page they play frequently in some great venues in the Phoenix market and should be hitting the road to tour soon.
Until next time…
I was blessed to spend a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico last month with a great group of friends in an amazing home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I travel I spend time exploring/wandering and making images. When I do this I am always reminded of the power of the camera to document, to interpret, to stop time. I think in the day in day out grind of trying to earn a living I sometimes forget what a powerful tool the camera can be. Getting back to making images for the sake of making images I am always reminded of that power.
All images shot on Hasselblad 500C.
Some recent editorial work for Kansas City Business Magazine. This was the second “Daily Grind” assignment I have shot for them. My subject was Brady Vest of Hammepress which is an amazing letterpress shop here in Kansas City. They make some really awesome letterpress greeting cards, gift cards, notebooks and other paper goods. You can see some of their work at their website. Being an admitted fan of Hammerpress I was very excited about this assignment. I love it when work gets me access to subjects that I might not have otherwise.
Brady and I chatted briefly on the phone prior to shoot to talk about some ideas. He expressed an interest in showing his staff which has grown since he started the shop all by himself back in 1994. I knew the magazine was primarily interested in shots of Brady by himself but I am of the opinion that you do whatever it takes to make your subject comfortable. So our first setup was at a little counter space that I thought would work well for the group. I tend to direct as little as possible when I shoot with groups I think allowing some awkwardness into the scenario can help create some real interaction.
After knocking out the group shots we moved to our second setup and shot some portraits of Brady by himself. Like most photographers I love texture and Hammerpress is full of it. We shot a series of portraits of Brady against a great weathered wall and called it a day or so I thought.
After loading everything in my car but my camera bag I went to say goodbye to Brady who had gone back to work on the letterpress. I realized watching him on the press that I wasn’t done, I needed to shoot one more setup with him working the press. In the end the magazine choose an image from that series. As they say always trust your gut…
Here is the tearsheet:
Big thanks to Brady and all the friendly folks at Hammerpress for your help pulling off the shoot. Also big thanks to Matthew Taylor and Adam Sheridan my able bodied assistants and of course Kansas City Business Magazine for the assignment.
Some recent editorial work for Kanas City Business Magazine.
For their April edition I shot the “Daily Grind” feature which focuses on people in Kansas City that have interesting jobs. I really enjoy these assignments because they allow me to get my environmental portraiture on. I just shot the May edition and will share that once it has been published.
My first subject was Kansas City’s only mobile cupcakery CoffeeCakeKC which brings together the dynamic duo of E.F.Hobbs Speciality Coffee and the cupcakes of Ms.Nene “Takes the Cake Bakery.”
Brian Gurgens is the man behind E.F.Hobbs Speciality Coffee a former corporate warrior turned coffee mastermind. You can follow him on twitter here.
Renee Kloeblen or “Ms. Nene” is the cupcake maestro. You can follow her on twitter here.
Both Brian and Ms. Nene were great fun to shoot with and they gave me free reign to shoot as they took care of their customers at a stop in the West Bottoms. We mixed in some staged portraits when business was slow.
I love people that take risks and chase after dreams (after all I am doing the same thing). Making it on your own talent and ideas is a tough go and I greatly respect those that give this lifestyle a shot.
So if you are in KC and you like coffee or cupcakes follow these fine folks on twitter or check out their schedule on their website and make a visit to their lovely truck.
Here is the tearsheet:
If you aren’t aware in the editorial world photographers are contractually obligated to allow the publication that hired them to publish the images from a project first which basically means I can’t show images from the assignments until they have been published by my client. That is why I am often talking about some of my assignment photography months after the actual job has been completed.
So back in November before Hawaii and the holidays I shot another assignment for AARP. I have truly enjoyed each assignment they have sent my direction because the subjects have been interesting and the assignments have allowed me to do my thing which I would describe as conceptual environmental portraiture using dramatic light in a manner that is story telling in nature.
My subject for the assignment was Jim Sappington and the article was about credit. The article documents Jim’s experience with credit going back to days of buying groceries on credit as a young child. Jim unfortunately had accumulated some significant debt in part by putting money into updating his house. My mind immediately went to the idea of shooting him from the outside of his house with him in the doorway or a window. When we got to the house and started chatting Jim pointed out that his front windows were one of the things he put on his credit card and I thought they would be a great place to start our shoot.
I also did a quick setup in the interior of the house with Jim just in case my first non-traditional option wasn’t a hit with the photo editor. Always good to offer some options if you have the time and place to do so. We found a little opening shooting from Jim’s kitchen up to his stairs that I felt was a good mix of just enough environment to give a sense of place yet not too much to overshadow the subject.
We finished the shoot grabbing a few shots of Jim with his wife Beth. One of the nice things when you have more than one person in a photo you can create scenarios for them to play off each other. When we started shooting I asked what they did on their first date. In this particular photo they are reacting to me asking if Jim paid for the date with cash or credit. Sometimes you wait for moments and sometimes you help bring the moment into existence.
I want to thank Jim and Beth for their hospitality and flexibility in scheduling the shoot as I literally shot the assignment hours before getting on a plane to Phoenix. I also have to congratulate them both for making some changes to their spending habits and getting themselves out of debt!
Thanks also to Sabine Meyer the photo editor for the assignment and Jeffrey for his assistant help.
If you want to see which image ran you can read the full article here. Until next time…
I started in photography shooting talent, meaning I shot headshots for actors and comp card material for models. My brother Jeff of The Shot Photography introduced me to this segment of the photography industry when I started shooting full time way back in 2001. I started in Phoenix and eventually shot all over the country working with everything from actors to magicians and even a few grumpy real estate agents. It was a great place for me to cut my teeth as a photographer. I got a lot of experience directing people on camera, I learned to work with lots of different personality types (some more enjoyable than others), and met some really talented and funny folks along the way.
A number of my clients have been enjoying the limelight recently and I want to take a little time brag on these fine folks.
First my friend Terey Summers. I met and shot with Terey who is an actress based in Phoenix back in 2007.
Terey’s session was one of my favorite sessions ever. If you can’t tell from the photo above she is just flat out funny and I love funny but on top of that Terey has a truly warm and loving personality one of those people that makes you feel good about yourself. Since our session Terey has had some ups (losing 170 pounds) and downs (the unexpected loss of her husband) but she recently was a finalist on Oprah’s (yes that Oprah) show “Your Own Show.” In essence it was a reality show that documented Oprah’s search for the next TV Star. Terey finished in the top three and represented herself with class. That show has opened up some opportunities for her and I can’t wait to see what is next (including a shoot with yours truly sometime soon). She is launching an online series called terey.tv very soon which you can see here, you can follow her on twitter here, website here.
I would also like to introduce you to Josh McDermitt. I shot Josh for the first time back in 2006 just before he appeared as a semi-finalist on “Last Comic Standing.”
Following his appearance on “Last Comic Standing” Josh made the move to LA. He has made appearances in a variety of commercials along with stand up and improv work and he just recently landed a staring role on the TV Land show “Retired at 35.” Like Terey Josh is just straight up funny his career actually started when he was just a teenager when he prank called a Phoenix radio station pretending to be a filipino boy to make fun of a Billy Ray Cyrus song. You can follow Josh on his website here, his twitter here. He just headlined at the Tempe Improv recently unfortunately I wasn’t in town to see his show but hopefully some of the Phoenicians reading this did. As we like to say in the Midwest Josh is “good people” and I am very happy for his success.
And finally let me introduce you to the talented Max Adler. I shot Max back in 2004 in Phoenix when he was just starting out as an actor with the Ford Robert Black Agency in Scottsdale. Max made the move to LA following high school and worked his way up the ladder and over the past year or two he has made a name for himself as the recurring character Dave Karofsky on a little television show called Glee. I will be upfront and say that I was not a Glee watcher but when I heard that Max was appearing on the show I made it a point to watch the episode “Never Been Kissed” that he was featured in and I was blown away by his performance he absolutely killed it. I suspect Max will have a long career in the business. You can be one of the thousands of people that follow him on twitter here.
I am proud to know all of these talented folks and feel blessed to have had them in front of my camera. Hopefully I will find a way to get each of them in front of my camera again. Check them out, follow them, support them! Good things do happen to good people…
Joseph Kessington of the Capitus Group
and John Freider of Saint Luke’s Health System for Kansas City Business Magazine.
Thanks to both gentleman for their flexibility in scheduling these shoots during a blizzard in Kansas City.