Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Year of Moving Fast, A Creative Endeavor!

2013 has been a great year for me in photography.  I've had a chance to take a few photography trips, gotten out on several weekends, and was even able to get some images while on assignment.  Here is one of my favorites! 

I was in Death Valley during the winter solstice, an hour before dawn. Temps in the low teens with winds that were impressive to say the least. I wasn’t waiting for the sunrise, I wasn’t waiting for the perfect light, it was already here, I was just being here. I took a few exposures via cable release, quickly checked the histogram for confirmation and then bracketed a few more, and then, as the sun started to rise, the moment was over for me.
A week after I returned from “The Valley of the Red Ochre” (as Death Valley was originally named), I had the pleasure of producing and shooting a new project. I can recall taking the very first exposure thinking, "here we go...I hope this whole thing works out". The crew was gracious, kind and professional. Four days, 30 bridal gowns, and 600 shots later I was editing my selects for the client.

Styling : Lauren Raske
Model: Angela Izzo & Chantal Mamula
Hair and Make Up : Liz Jacobs

The Dad Vail Regatta  
Aberdeen Asset Management who sponsors this race in my hometown of Philadelphia hired me for this assignment the previous year and I was pleased and grateful to be called back!

Team Business USA  
The concept is simple; gather a classroom full of high school students from different backgrounds and ethnicities and teach them the importance of teambuilding to achieve business objectives while quickly breaking down conversational barriers and bringing the participants together through the intensity of a fast-paced and dynamic competition. The emotional power of these interactions has a powerful and lasting effect on these young students and is for many, a road to increased self awareness and self confidence. The project has been incredibly rewarding and it is deeply humbling to have played a role in this educational effort. My eternal thanks go out to all involved.

Healthy Steps Pediatrics
I was asked to return to photograph the staff here in Exton, PA after photographing their newly remodeled facility earlier in the month. They were friendly and cheerful and we had a great time together!

The Outlet Shoppes at El Paso  

I was hired to shoot this project after my client found my commercial website. Colorful architecture and attractive landscaping make up The Outlet Shoppes of El Paso. I decided to shoot the project in full sun as opposed to dusk. The color of the pavers and sky in full sun really complement the stucco and trim of the building. With a bold color pallet like this the buildings really lends itself to daylight images.  The photos turned out great and the colors really popped!

The Colors of Albuquerque      
I was hired by Hertz Rent A Car to photograph destinations in four cities for their “Never Lost” navigational system. It was an awesome experience to shoot this unique assignment and also a great opportunity for me to go back to one of the West's most unique cities.

Life as an Itinerant Photographer  
I exhibited at  twelve shows this year and it’s been a successful season overall by many standards. In a declining economy, my sales are trending upward (thank you!), and I’ve had better acceptance than ever at art shows.  I’ve managed to get into many of the top shows on the east coast, some of which I will apply to again, and some of which I won’t. My new work is pleasing not only you, but me as well. I've had images licensed for book publications, several gallery exhibitions and even had an image selected for inclusion in the 2014 National Park Service Calendar.

I photograph for a living. I’ve been shooting to make ends meet since I left school. It is my way of surviving, of earning a living and of navigating this world. It is my way of bringing something to the table, contributing what I believe is the best thing I have to offer for others to enjoy. I am also in the business of storytelling. I always have been, always will be. Telling stories, bringing life to characters, devising plots, visualizing scenes and staging sequences of events, images that tell a story. All in exchange for a penny, a smile and a little of your time and attention.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wandering through Time and Place

“Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing.” ~Helen Keller

We had landed in Vegas early, rented a car and were driving to Death Valley. With less than an hour to go  I thought maybe I was experiencing a mirage in the desert but as I got closer I realized that both my wife and I couldn’t be experiencing the same mirage. Could we?

When Belgian artist Albert Szukalski launched what would become the Goldwell Open Air Museum in 1984, he chose nothing less than a life-size reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper" with hollow, ghostly figures in place of Jesus and his apostles. The location of “The Last Supper,” so close to Death Valley, holds its own symbolism.  It echoes timeless themes of loss, death and redemption.  Szukalski subsequently created two other pieces here, “Ghost Rider” in 1984 and “Desert Flower” in 1989.

 Other prominent Belgian artists later added their own creations, including a rusted-steel silhouette of a prospector and a penguin and a two-story nude woman rendered in cinder blocks so she resembles a voluptuous set of giant Lego bricks.

Szukalski, who died in 2000, hoped people would stumble across the sculptures by accident and experience them without completely understanding what they were. Though accidental visits still occur, the sculptures has developed an international following -- and become a modest destination in itself -- thanks to the Internet.

If you want to visit this area be sure to check out some of the other sights we “discovered” while driving in the area including Rhyolite, the most famous ghost town in the West. There you’ll see the Bottle House, built from 50,000 beer and liquor bottles by an enterprising (and very thirsty) miner. Also the ruins of the three-story bank and what’s left of the old jail and schoolhouse. At its height, Rhyolite was home to a stock exchange, a red light district, hotels, stores, a hospital and an ice cream parlor. The town was abruptly abandoned in 1919, but you’ve still got the chance to glimpse the ghosts of its lively, wild past.