Thursday, December 30, 2010

Xavier, Part 1

I shot Xavier for the first time in June, as I wrote about briefly in an earlier post. I was doing the shoot for someone else's company, and was still acclimating to shooting indoors with artificial light, and so the shoot was problematic. I got a few decent pictures but wasn't thrilled, over all, with the way the shoot went.

So I was happy to shoot him again the weekend before Christmas. And perhaps to make up for that previous less-than-successful shoot, I shot a ton of pictures in this most recent session. So many that it's taken me over a week to get only halfway through processing the images.

Here are some of my favorites so far.

I'm much happier with this shoot, overall.

These pictures were taken on Dec 19, 2010.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fun: Farhad

One of the more fun shoots I've had recently was with Farhad. Just a day after my "off" shoot with Trent, I cleared my head and rolled up sleeves, so to speak.

Farhad likes to talk. I liked talking to Farhad. It slowed down the shoot significantly, but the easy personal chemistry that we had -- almost immediately joking and teasing -- made it a really enjoyable, and I believe productive, experience.

If I shoot Farhad again -- and I hope to -- it will be a bit different. I think he works best when he has a character to play and the truth is, I do too. When I know that I'm telling a story, I think the results can often be much more powerful than when I just riff. So we just need to figure out what our story will be.

How difficult could that be? I'm a storyteller by nature, I think, and I think my best pictures already tell stories of their own, so I just need to hone in on that and discuss with him ahead of time what we plan to do. When the weather warms up, a whole world of outdoor shooting, and outdoor stories, will be open to us, but in the meantime, I'll see if I can come up with something.

The photos taken on Dec. 16, 2010.

Off: Trent

I won't lie, I was a little off when I shot Trent. It would be nice if I was one of those people who could always and completely separate personal and professional lives, but I'm not. Aside from ongoing difficult emotional situation, which I won't go into here, I was feeling a lot of pressure about my other job, and while I tried to stay in the moment with Trent, it was hard.

That said, I think we did okay. I am probably too critical and allow my knowledge of what was really going on in my head -- little of which did I let on to Trent -- to color the way I viewed the photos when I edited them a few days later.

There's definitely some strong moments in here and the lessons I need to take from this are that I need to learn to keep the world more separate, allowing my personal life to inform my photography, not derail it, and to also forget about what might have been running through my head at the moment any given image was taken, and evaluate it on its own terms.

In that light, it might have been a good day, after all.

These photos taken on Dec. 15, 2010.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Not My Job

Sometimes when I'm doing work for someone else, or someone with a very specific idea of what they want, I still try to sneak in a few shots that are just for my own amusement.

This photoshoot with Frank was intended to be strictly erotic, very straightforward, but I had to sneak in a few portraits, a couple abstracts, and some that I found to be pretty but somehow ambiguous. I can't help myself.

These photos were taken on Dec 13, 2010.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December 10

I've started going in the early afternoons to a coffee shop down the block, one of the few businesses that has survived since I left Brooklyn in late 2002. The previous day had been well below freezing, but yesterday, while still cold, was tolerable, so I decided to bring my camera out for the short walk there and an hour later, the short walk home.

I'm a sucker for bare branches against a mottled sky.

I'm really not feeling Christmas this year. There's years that I try to and fail but this year I just don't have it in my to really even try. I find I'm more likely to photograph holiday-themed things on years that I'm not into it, probably expressing some internal irony.

On the walk home, I passed a parking lot, and while I originally stopped there to photograph ivy on a wall, I found this pool of antifreeze fascinating.

I took a few other pictures yesterday, not too many, but enough considering that I really only had my camera out for about ten minutes. I've selected these three images and am just now realizing that all three feature trees in one way or another. Discuss.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Revisiting Joe Y.

I think of Joe as the first, but he really wasn't, exactly. He wasn't the first person I'd photographed, for sure, even discounting self-portraits. He wasn't the first person I'd shot with my more professional camera, and he wasn't even the first person I'd asked to come over for a session once I'd decided to try taking this more seriously. Maybe I think of him as the first because he WAS the first person to actually accept my offer to be photographed, with my better camera, after I decided to try giving people photography a more dedicated focus.

Or maybe it was because it was with Joe that I began to find my voice.

I shot Joe twice. The first session, on April 28, 2009, I was really nervous, partially because of some very stressful things going on in other aspects of my life. I didn't shoot much that day. I got really sick a few days later -- again, stress-related -- but once I was better I immediately planned a second session. That one took place on May 8, 2009.

I was supposed to shoot with Joe again this past September in San Francisco, but we had a scheduling problem. I'm still hoping for the chance to shoot him again. We never really know what's going to come next.

I feel like part of my expression is not just the photo taking but how I filter them through Photoshop, so, a year and a half later I decided to re-process some of Joe's images and see what came out. These are the results. Some are not so different than what I had before, but others more strongly highlight the voice I was just beginning to uncover back then.