Here are some shots so from the weekend. Most are from Gaudi's lifelong project Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, the Spanish church that has been under construction since 1882 and is expected to be finished in 2026.
Stay tuned for more (if I have time). I've also got a fantastic story about me and Chris carrying a two 4x9 foot long sheets of foamboard (cartón pluma as I learned in Spanish) in one of the windiest days in Barcelona. Oh yeah, we also had to carry it about 1.5 miles at 8PM on a Sunday with half of the people of Barcelona watching and pointing. I was laughing on the outside. Not on the inside.
The holidays are approaching fast! The snow, gifts for loved ones, party prep work, hot chocolate drinking and many other things are going on over here at the studio. Many more things are going on in San Francisco (where my new site is being chiseled out of the finest brain power in the world). Sneak peeks for all!!
This is BY FAR my least favorite equation during the winter months.
Chicago blustery winter
GIGANTIC loft windows
clear insulation film for windows
Cocktail hour beginning at noon on a Monday
Seriously, someone bring mamma a cocktail ASAP!
Breath. 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . Whew!
I can't wait for Friday to be here. Mostly because I leave for Barcelona for a few days for work and a tiny bit of playtime.
This was forwarded to me from a friend. It was written by DC-based freelance photographer, John Harrington. It is a must read for all freelance artists, illustrators and photographers.
Today I was out on assignment photographing Arlo Guthrie. It was among the assignments this week that I was most looking forward to, hopeful that he'd sing Alice's Restaurant. Alas, he did not, but he did posit a thought to the corollary: "The problem with doing nothing is that you never know when you're finished."
Gutherie said: "The art of doing nothin' is probably one of the most profitable things you can do, because it sets you up to be doing something."
This then begs the question - What should you be doing? Well, the right thing, of course. What exactly is the right thing?
Well, in the abstract, when you justify taking an assignment for fees that are too low, or an excessive rights grab, with the sentence "well, it's better than doing nothin'", that should be a sign to you that Arlo's thinking should be kicking in.
If your justification for taking an assignment worth $1,000 and doing it for $200 because the client has said, "$200, non-negotiable, take it or leave it", and you said to yourself "$200 is better than making nuthin' tomorrow" then you might need to be thinking like Arlo.
If your justification for taking an assignment and being paid $400 but having to transfer copyright is because "$400 for images that have little resale value anyway is better than not making the $400", then you might need to be thinking like Arlo.
Arlo was talking profitability by "doing nothing." At first blush, it seems contradictory.
Yet, upon further reflection, it's not. Instead, free yourself up on that day to seek out a better paying clientele base, and one that does not demand an excessive rights package. These clients are the ones who respect you and your work, and thus, your constitutionally guaranteed right to control the rights to your work.
One of the more unpleasant conversations I had today was with a client for an assignment tomorrow, who, after his subordinate signed my contract with a rights-managed rights package, called saying "I just want to make sure we own all the rights to these photos", to which I had to explain that that wasn't the case, and that, outlined in the contract was a rights package that, for the press conference we were covering, was all the common rights needed and that we grant as a part of our standard package. Further, we weren't granting rights to him which we did not have (i.e. those that require model releases when people attending have not signed model releases, and thus, cannot appear in marketing materials). I noted to him that I couldn't convey to him "all rights", since "all rights" includes the right to use the photos in ads and brochures and so forth, and I'd be charging a fee of him for something I didn't possess.
He then said, "We just have a fundamental difference about how to approach this." And I said, "Well, mine is a perspective based upon copyright law and rights granted under the Constitution. Are you suggesting that if an artist produces a song and earns money off the CD, that they then shouldn't be paid additionally when their music is used in a movie or a commercial?" And he said, "Well, that's different." I said, "No, actually, it's the same copyright principle."
We are doing this assignment tomorrow, not because the client is happy with the terms, but because they signed a contract with a standard rights package and then, after the fact, just a few (business) hours before the event was to start, thought they would try to renegotiate the terms of the agreement - to terms which we cannot convey, and which we principally objected to. Thus, the power of the signed contract.
Today, Arlo didn't play Alice's Restaurant, which is all right by me, since what he did play was incredible in it's own right. At first, I thought I'd be disappointed that he didn't, but afterwards, and upon reflection, I was exceedingly pleased with what he did play. So too, will tomorrow's client be pleased with the work we produce for them, even if they don't get every right under the sun, they will get quality work from a professional photographer, who is "doing something" profitable tomorrow.
My friend (and trusty assistant) Mark introduced me to the fantastic online gallery 20X200. They have a great concept: introduce two new pieces a week; one photo and one work on paper. Each is available in three sizes. The smallest (8x10) is sold in editions of 200, medium sized in editions of 20 and largest sized in editions of 2. A great idea that allows access to limited, hand signed editions for a great price. And, it supports emerging artists from around the country.
This week, I snapped up Unleaded, Unleaded, Premium Unleaded by Eric Graham, a Brooklyn-based artist. I'm excited for its arrival and eager to see what's in store next week!
My burf-day was last week. Another year closer to yelling at the rugrats to get off my lawn (with a furrowed brow and waving my sleek aluminum walker with two tennis balls for gliders). I received one of these Bandits from my friend Emily.Such a simple concept that I couldn't wait to stick a photo in it. Currently, its an image of Sammy the Squirrel from Design Is Kinky. Whats next? The lovely Dolly Parton.
This year has been awesome so far. The last two months seem like they're going to rock too! New clients, our holiday party, friends flying in from everywhere, new test shoots, and yes, MORE SNOWBIRDS!!!
So as it gets closer to the end of the year, I'm beginning to dust some of the shelves of our server. One of my favorite producers (you know who you are) always pokes fun at me for being such a hyperactive, over-organized, OCD, funny, tech-savvy photographer. These are from a whirlwind of a shoot for a fantastic client. 15 models, over 2 dozen setups, a simple theme, a cohesive color palette, and a blizzard in the middle of February.I cannot wait for what 2008 is going to have in store. If you're a regular here on my blog, you'll be along for the ride!
For years, I have been reading and admiring the Australian-based online collaborative, Design Is Kinky. It was an honor to be featured in their printed annual, Semi-Permanent back in 2004 with my Snowbirds portraits. This book has some of the coolest designers, illustrators, painters, photographers and new media artists from around the world. This year I feel even more proud because they've asked me to be a part of the 2008 edition!! It will be published this winter, so stay connected to find out when you can get your grubby little hands on one!
So, my brother Kevin (the other cowboy in the family besides my father) is starring in WE-Tv's newest reality show - Girl Meets Cowboy! His episode airs October 21st. Check the local listings for showtimes!
In the meantime, check out some of the pics they took of my brother Kevin here. Be sure to click on "Dating tips" to see some funny tips from Kevin too!
Yep, going deep into the heart of Texas tomorrow. Traveling to Houston for a week and then onto Austin for a few days - YEEEEEHAWWWWW!
Gonna try to shoot something for myself too. Perhaps with my super talented friend and kick ass photographer Tania.
See you in a week or so - who knows.
Sweetness! The beauty of hot friends and friends with hot rides. These are some outtakes from a recent test. Thanks to Kevin for the stellar Vespa and thanks to Tess and Joey for letting me snap a few picks of them in the middle of the road and in this sweltering summer heat.
A pretty package arrived today.
Can I just say, the improvements to Photoshop, Bridge and Illustrator are so incredible it literally gave me butterflies in my tummy when I used them for the first time.
I HIGHLY recommend purchasing this little bundle of joy.
(And yes, I did just refer to my stomach as my 'tummy'. Shut up.)
Here are just a few of the people that we encountered during our downtime from photographing the Superheros. This place had the most interesting mix of characters, all of them incredibly friendly and interesting in their own unique way.
Jon from Albuquerque and the Miss Supergirl Beauty Pageant 2nd Runner-Up
Cowboy and 'Papa Santa'
Dale from Metropolis, IL and a clown with her mobile face painting kit.
Tantrum by the Corn Dog stand. Elvis/John Travolta impersonator from Nashville.
Keep checking back! More images of the Superheros are coming!
Man oh man!
Just got back from the most fantastic weekend filled with the most eclectic group of Superhero Super-fans in the country! Emily and I captured some serious portraits of over 60 superhero look-a-likes, a handful of goofy kids and a gaggle of locals. I'm so excited to process the images it makes my head hurt!
Here's a quick snapshot from the weekend! Stay tuned! Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!
Great design is an addiction of mine and I rarely go out of my way to purchase 'designer' items. I acquired a much anticipated frame designed by Harry Allen today. I'm quite please with my purchase and am shuffling thru imagery to place in it that will do it justice.
What: My Brother's Frame from the Reality Series
Artist: Harry Allen
I'm off to San Francisco and will be gone thru next Saturday.
Looking forward to hanging out with Deb and Janae and then working all next week with HP and Foxconn.
I'm also gonna try to check out the Picasso and American Art exhibit at the SFMOMA as well as the San Francisco Film Fest and the Artsfest.
Have a great week!
One of my dearest friends, Dana Altman was recently featured in Chicago Home Magazine. Her unique, eclectic and colorful style and eye for the best vintage-modern furniture are featured in the article.
Included amongst the amazing collection of furniture is her vast collection of fine art. I am fortunate enough to have Dana be the owner of two HUGE prints from my Snowbirds series - Robin & Jean and Mrs. Cook. Each of them measures 40"x40" and look amazing in her home. The print featured in Chicago Home is of Robin and Jean, a shiny, colorful and tan Canadian couple. Robin and Jean were my first subjects when I began this series back in 2003.
If you're interested in purchasing any prints of my Snowbirds series. Please contact me here
Many have asked me about the process and inspiration for the Not People section on my site.
The Relic Series is a collection of the places that I have been. Some are from the places I used to live, some are foreign travels, some are conceptual and some are simply from playing around with the dozens of antique cameras that I own.
A barn outside of my hometown, Minooka, Illinois
The process and techniques behind the aesthetic quality of the collection is always a topic of interest to others. From the internet, they are often interpreted as large prints, or at least sized for viewing from a nominal distance. In reality, they are quite small. Most fit within the palm of your hand, and some are about the size of your thumb.
The inspiration from this series stemmed from my childhood. I was always a collector of crap. Bottles, coins, wood boxes, model cars, marbles, empty frames, and old printed photos. I used to swarm the photo boxes at local antique stores and purchase old tin-types and daguerreotypes from the 1800s and into the early 1900s. They fascinated me. Not only did the hidden story behind who these people were interest me, but the size did too. They were always small, no bigger than a business card or even a pack of matches.
After moving to Santa Barbara, CA then to Portland, OR and then finally settling back in Chicago, I was asked to create a body of work for a local gallery. It was going to be the 5th anniversary of a previous show that Warren Miller and myself did as students.
Porland, Oregon and San Francisco
As I unpacked boxes from traveling and moving around the country, I began to pull all of my favorite photos that I had from these places of my past. From Paris, Rome, California, Oregon, Mexico, my small hometown of Minooka, NYC, Chicago, mountains, underwater, forests, deserts, snow, rain, fog - they were all moments in my life that formed part of the foundation of who I am today. I wanted to use these images and turn them into relics of my past, thus preserving them and allowing others to see them.
Santa Barbara, California
The technique. The stacks of printed photos started to grow. After mounting each of them onto thick cotton ragboard, I began the degradation process. Each image was stained with coffee or tea, sanded, shellacked, microwaved, painted, scratched, sanded again, left outside, even put in the dryer. I wanted to age them as if they were those photos I used to collect as a kid.
The current set of images are contained in hand bound cases, complete with a recess for the print to be placed in. Over the past year, I began to give them away as gifts to friends and clients. I've thought about selling them, but tend to get more satisfaction in giving than receiving.
Snowy field in Minooka, Illinois
If you're interested in purchasing any pieces from the Relic series, please contact me here. The original sizes are all editions of 1. Archival prints are available of the clean versions as well.