this is a portrait of my neighbor fran. below you'll find the same photo in black and white. color or black and white - which do you like best and why?
In one of my classes at Brooks Institute, I asked my students to describe the type of photographic style they aspire to by comparing it to food. Their answers were colorful and interesting.
One answer that stood out was from Dawn, a student from Texas. She enthusiastically explained, “I want my photographic style to be like a soufflé. At a distance it seems simple but really it’s layered and complex…. and it’s filled with a surprise!”
Oddur, a student from Iceland (pictured above in the hallway outside of the classroom) replied, “Every New Year’s day my extended family would gather and we would eat one special spoonful of caviar. I want my photographic style to be like caviar – it’s not something everyone likes, but those who like it are committed beyond means.”
How would you describe your style (or the style that you aspire to)?
there is not much that compares to the anticipation, disappointment and sometimes surprise of shooting with film. the above picture was the later. i had gone on an early morning walk at the local santa barbara harbor. fisherman readied their gear, the fog floated among the boats and a faint horn blew out at sea. i walked and only made a few frames. this is the one i love the most.
so often i feel like my photographs are cluttered - like i'm trying to fit everything in. this one reminds me to stop stuffing full the frame. it teaches me that so much of photography requires a delicate, not domineering, touch. the best pictures, or at least the ones i like the most, are those that result from taking a deep breath and floating on the surface so as not to disturb the beauty that is already there.
above is an iphone pic of my daughter with my new fuji x100. the camera is unbelievable - simple, quiet and intriguing. what's even more unbelievable is that the camera was a gift from one of my best friends who is a colleague, mentor, co-conspirator, photographer and all around uber creative guy. he gave me the camera with no strings attached, yet it did include a challenge.
here's what he said, "create, have fun and... the only thing i ask is that you somehow, at some point use the camera to do good for others." it is an opened ended challenge and i've been trying to think about what could be done. do you have any suggestions? i'm all ears.
i like the intrigue in this picture - the stacks of books (which happen to be photo books),the soft light and an empty chair..... it was captured with a leica m6 and bw tri-x film. this camera is teaching me how to see in a whole new way.
every face tells a story - click on the image to view it larger and to read some of his.
one of my favorite things to do is to get up before the sunrise and to wander around the water's edge with camera in hand. i love the quiet whisper of the morning - its clears and refreshes my mind, my vision and occasionally my soul. the following photographs were captured on one such morning. each photo was captured within just a few moments of the other, yet each photo is distinct and unique. here's how all this involves you - what perspective or "story" do you like best? it would be a honor to hear your thoughts. (be sure to click on the photos for a larger view)
photo above: defiance - vertical
photo above: defiance - horizontal
photo above: walking alone
on sunday i will be speaking at a tedx event on the "poetics of pictures". if ever there was a time that i needed you to wish me luck, it's now! the presentation will be recorded and when it goes live i'll post a link. until then - i'll take all the good words i can get! :)
here's a link to the tedx event site: tedxamericanriviera.com
in this month's issue of santa barbara magazine there is a feature of shawn stussy. i was excited to see that they used one of my photos to compliment the article. you can check out a brief version of the article here: http://sbmag.com/2010/08/doubledown/
it was a huge privilege to photograph christian beamish last week. he is a surfer, traveler, writer and modern day adventurer in the truest sense of the word. he is a seafaring man with a stout mind and strong character. a deep thinker and good story teller. we met up out at the channel islands and then again in santa barbara. i recorded some of our conversation and will post it when i get the chance. for now enjoy the large format photos above (click on the images for a larger view).
if you live anywhere near santa barbara you won't want to miss this film premiere. it is the perfect combo of story, stunning cinematography, surfing, climbing, travel, and adventure. to top it off, the movie is made by one of my favorite film makers - chris malloy... and it features some interesting people like yvon chouinard, keith malloy, jeff johnson and others.
as a side note, below is a iphone snapshot from my office today. the huge picture of the graveyard and ocean was captured by jeff johnson while filming 180 south in the easter islands (click on the image for a larger view). this image, along with others will be featured in a coffee table book to compliment the movie.
i've been having some fun with a plastic twin lens reflex film camera called the blackbird fly (the orange camera pictured to the left) - click here to learn more.
the camera is a bit tricky but there's something about the limitations that i've found refreshing. i've set it mine up to expose on the entirety of the film, sprockets and all. the shot above was the last frame of my most recent roll of film.
as certain film gets older it starts to degrade and fall apart, yet i find beauty in the decay that marks the passage of time. even more, the image above is a scan of something that you are supposed to discard - it is the flipside of the "real" image. almost like a soft reflection of a more concrete ideal. is it just me, or does this type of idea/image connect with you? i'm curious to hear your thoughts. click on the image for a larger view and enjoy!