Regardless of what profession we choose we are always susceptible to falling in a rut. It's one of the worst feelings ever for anybody, but especially those in the creative profession. We depend on our creativity for our livelihood and our living. There can always be that fear of "I'm not good enough" looming in the back of our heads. This is why I love photographing other creatives. Photographing people in general always keeps you on your toes because no two people are alike. Photographing other creatives though can be inspiring (and daunting) and make you want to go the extra mile because you always feel like both of you relate on some level even if you are in different professions. It is always interesting to hear stories of others in the creative profession especially those that have multiple creative outlets. Earlier this month I got photograph Alex who is a musician, tattoo artist, and acrobat. Hearing stories from other creative lives usually inspires me to want to try new things and photograph new types of people. Sometimes the "rut" of a portrait photographer is always photographing the same types of people, (i.e. seniors, businessmen, musicians, etc). But meeting other types of creatives keeps expanding my bucket list, so to speak, of types of portraits I want to make. Thanks Alex for your time and best of luck to you on your creative journey.
So, I'm back in the swing of things after the holidays and excited to see who 2014 brings my way. My 1st portrait session this year was for another trombonist by the name of Sara Mayo. Some of you may remember the shoot I did for Jen Hinkle last year? Well it turns out that Sara and Jen are roommates and Sara is getting tired of handing over iPhone shots for her upcoming gigs. Near the beginning of our session I asked Sara "On a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you hate having your picture taken?" Sara replied, "Eleven!" In a way I kinda loved Sara's response. Most photographers forget how terrifying and awkward it can be to have a photo taken of yourself because they are always behind the lens. That's why I encourage some of my fellow photog friends to have a portrait done of them sometime. It keeps your perspective fresh and helps understand how your client feels which can help you tremendously. Because the reality is you don't always get to choose your subject but you still have to do your job and get the shot anyway. This is why I love reading books like Greg Heisler's "50 Portraits." (Which if you are a portrait photographer and have not read this is a must read my friends) There is no way you will ever know what's going on inside your subjects head or how they feel about themselves and having their portrait made. Jeremy Cowart taught us that this past week on his blog regarding his shoot with John Schneider which you should definitely check out here. That's one reason why I sometimes ask my subjects things like "On a scale of 1 to 10. How much do you hate having your picture taken?" More often than not the answer leans toward the 10 side. Either way Sara was still a trooper and it wasn't exactly that warm outside for the 2nd half of our shoot but Sara held her own just fine. Thanks Sara for trusting me with yourself and your image. Till next time.
So the winter continues to be cold, the light fleeting and I plow away at creating new work. It's during this time that I totally get why directors and movie producers have casting directors. Sorting through casting responses is tiring and sometimes greatly disappointing. For every good find there is often at least 10 crazy ones in the modeling field. The other thing is sometimes discerning a bad model from a good model with bad photography in and of itself is difficult. You think you struck gold with one and the shoot ends up going south on you. Yet the ordinary people often yield me the best results. "A pretty girl does not a model make" so the saying goes. You often want to find interesting ones. Ones that have a little extra... well thats the hard part. A little extra what? Sometimes you know it when you see it. And see it I did a few weeks back. Cathy and I communicated back and forth for a little while on Model Mayhem and email before we finally set a shoot date. The day of, she did bring a little extra... "wardrobe" shall we say. It was fun playing a little game of mix and match with her various selection of eclectic wardrobe. But on top of that Cathy did bring a little extra something to the camera. I am always use to directing people but I was very happy at times to let Cathy just do her thing. Which was not always easy on a cold November morning. The problem I had was to decide when to stop shooting. Thanks again Cathy and thanks again to Crystal Parker for assisting me on this one as well.
I know a lot of photographers slow down during the fall & winter months. The weather here in Seattle also tends to get a little crappier and we definitely lose those long Seattle days where the sun now starts to set around 5pm vs 9:05pm. People drink more coffee and artists can get more depressed. Sounds like a cliché but definitely can be true to some. I have become victim to this in the past as well. This year I decided that instead of hanging up my camera for the winter that I'd work on a new book. It is definitely still in progress but I hope by the begging of next year to have an entire new body of work to show. I as press on working more toward the editorial/commercial business I find from many other photographers about the importance of personal projects. Personal projects for me have always meant a lot. They are the times I can be most creative, and are often the times I discover new things about my methods, style and working with others. Rather than just being "me" and "my shoot" I like collaborating with all types of people, models, non-models, Hair & Makeup artists, stylist and the like. It can sometimes be challenging, disappointing but at the same time most rewarding and produces the most growth in myself as an artist.
Last week was the 1st in a series of hopefully many this fall/winter. I had the pleasure of photographing Mariel Vaca. Some people wonder "How do you find these people?" Well in Mariel's case, Craig's List! I know some people are always leery of photographers and models on Craig's List and yes it can be like searching for that one good thing at a swap meet or thrift store, but hey this is Seattle, we live off thrift shops here... don't we? Well some of us do. Anyway, we had a great session, kept it simple and got some great shots. Thanks to Tonya Carlson Jolly for doing Hair & Makeup at the last minute. Here are a few of the pics from that shoot. Cheers!
Last night after dining on oysters and chips at the Pike Street Fish Fry I had the pleasure of attending the Fox and the Law show at Neumos in Capital Hill. They were also joined by The Strange Kind, Keaton Collective & HoboSexual. There was not a bad set all night. Definitely check these guys out. Here's a few from last night.