Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Have Fun

The great thing about working in a creative field is that, in one way or another, most of us are right brainers who are happy to have found ourselves on a team with others of our ilk. Don't get me wrong - You will occasionally find yourself on a set with someone (or several someones) who work better in under duress, and so that's the environment they nurture.

Our work can definitley get stressful - it is business, after all - but I think individuals in our field who create stress for themselves and those around them are:

1) shooting themselves in the foot, because the crew (and the client) will remember it...

2) forgetting that a crew is a team. Everyone wants the shoot to turn out well. Nurture the team, and the end product will always be better...

Here's the deal: Creative jobs are, in the end, fun. I don't envy lawyers and doctors: individuals for whom the result of their work could mean the difference between freedom and imprisonment, or life and death. We're just making good pictures. Pictures that tell stories. Sometimes, they're important stories that need to be told, and other times we're just helping advertise something or someone. Either way, we're damn lucky to be doing it.

So, when you can - and as often as you can - remember to have fun. The approach will reflect in your work, and - as an added bonus - you'll probably live longer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Behind the scenes: A Typical Travel Job

I swore I'd take some behind-the-scenes shots or road trip pics from last week's travel shoot. Unfortunately, there was so much driving, setting up, tearing down and driving again that the only time I had to break out the camera for personal use was in the hotel room. So here you go: a behind the scenes look at the glamourous life of a travel job...

- watching my favorite hotel room show: Myth Busters -

- a few wind-down beverages -

- charging the 7b batteries for the next day -

- the flight home: a $6 beer and a fascinating read -

Monday, October 19, 2009

On The Road Again

My Pops was in the Navy, so I feel like I spent my whole childhood moving around. I'm sure at the time I resented it - but as I get older, I realize how lucky I was. I've lived in just about every part of the country. And it's funny: I think I've become somewhat addicted to traveling - It feels good to get out on the road, see new things. Meet new people. 

For the next four days, I'll be flying and driving all over the great state of Texas. It ain't much of a change, I admit, but I'll take it. I'll try and post some pictures along the way...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Damn Right

I've always been a huge fan of this campaign. In fact, I will embarrassingly admit that just last weekend I purchased a small bottle of Canadian Club as a direct result of my affection for these hilarious ads. Hey - honesty is the best policy, right? In any case, there is a fascinating interview with the Art Producer of the campaign over at the venerable blog A Photo Editor. I was very surprised to read that NONE of the images are actual vintage snapshots. That fact - plus many other insights into the business of producing such a work - are revealed here.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Shnit 09!

My good friend James M Johnston wrote and directed a short film called Receive Bacon that was selected to play at the Shnit International Film Festival in Switzerland. He was very surprised to discover that the festival's graphic design team chose to use my portrait of him as the inside cover of the festival program. Needless to say, I am surprised and pleased as well. I especially applaud the use of his beard for copy placement. Excellent.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dallas Center For The Performing Arts

This was a cool assignment.  Mark Nerenhausen is the CEO of the new Dallas Center For The Performing Arts. The only direction I was given was to photograph him somewhere on-site at the new Center. I was very surprised that the magazine picked the shot it did.

Don't get me wrong. I liked the shot above. If I didn't, the magazine would never have seen it. But that's what's so great about working with a talented photo editor. They have a different set of eyes, a different take on things, a more objective - and I'll admit it, sometimes better - vision for the work than I do. I think photographers are lucky to have that second opinion built into the process. It makes us better at our job.

Seeing it printed - I love it. I love it way more than I did when I was making my picks for the gallery. The out-takes below were, in my opinion, pretty strong contenders as well...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stepping Up To The Plate

I'm launching my first e mail campaign tomorrow morning, and I have to admit: I'm nervous. You spend countless hours collecting contact info from magazines, websites, the stacks of business cards you've been handed over the years - hours typing in names, agencies, copying, pasting, double-checking that you've got the information right. You've spent years honing your skills, shooting, meeting people, editing your work into something you hope paints a picture of an artist with something to say and a unique way to say it. Then you just hope that a few of the recipients choose to open the e mail, and that a few of those few decide to follow the link to your website. Maybe one of those fewer few will even decide they'd like to work with you.

Whatever happens, it's a learning experience. And - as corny as it sounds, it's true - you can't hit a home run unless you step up to the plate.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bored To Death

As a photographer and filmmaker, I sometimes stumble across a work that is so good, so thoroughly pitch-perfect that I get a little jealous I wasn't somehow part of it. It sounds silly - juvenile, even - but it's true.

Alright: confession time. I've only seen one episode of HBO's new series Bored To Death. Perhaps it's premature to be espousing the greatness of something upon a single viewing, but if the purpose of a blog isn't to indulge oneself, then what is the purpose? The quick rundown: Bored To Death is about a writer who, after having been dumped by his girlfriend for drinking too much white wine and smoking too much pot, posts an ad on Craig's List as an "unlicensed" private eye. Clients come knocking, the writer is thrown headlong into situations he is ill-equipped to handle, hijinx ensue. In the wrong hands, this could've been a terrible premise. Luckily for us, creator Jonathan Ames blends an amazing cast and hilarious writing into a show that I have not stopped thinking about and quoting since I saw it. Do yourself a favor and at least check out the trailer.

You're welcome.