Monday, November 16, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Musings on Shooting Video

Wednesday night Pro Photo and Canon sponsored a panel discussion of photographers who are beginning to shoot video. Like many photographers who are wondering where the sea change in our industry is headed, I’ve wondered if video is the new thing. Wednesday night did nothing to clarify it for me.

After a promo reel and an introduction to some video basics by the Canon rep, we were shown clips by each of the panel members and when the evening was over I came to a couple of very vague conclusions:

1. Just because you can shoot a fine still image does not translate to being able to speak a motion language.
2. Video is as much about sound and editing as it is the visual, perhaps more. Crappy sound, bad music, choppy editing makes a bad video, no matter the visuals.

The new Canon DSLR tools are opening doors to thousands of photographers who will shoot video. They will all be competing with an already robust industry of seasoned, talented film makers for their assignments. If I were a veteran film maker I’d be really concerned about the race to the bottom in the pricing arena that we have seen in the photo business brought on by an influx of hungry young photographers/videographers. If you think I’m being cynical consider clients who are looking to Flickr for their source of still materials. Then have a look around youtube.

I think the real growth industry in video production will be skilled sound artists and editors.

When the discussion brought up the subject of royalties for music I got really depressed. They all agreed your best bet was find a musician who would hand over their work for free or for trade. Sound familiar photographers?

I thought it was ironic when one panel member stated although he had used music without permission, as it was not a commercial piece, and besides he didn’t know how to contact the famous musician anyway, it was okay to use it.

But is not a portfolio piece, in this case a video clip as part of ones reel, a “commercial” piece? And is not using someone’s work in this way no different than an ad agency using your images for comps? I know many photographers who have tried to get paid for such usages.

The real kick in the pants was the suggestion that it’s so easy to find musicians who will let you use their work for free, just search myspace. Apparently there is a French website that has over 100,000 royalty free music clips. Ironic to hear all this from photographers who fight tooth and nail to retain intellectual property rights in an age of Flickr, clipart and royalty free micro stock. Glad I'm not a musician.

All this plus the unanswered questions about pricing / ownership rights and I came away from the evening no more enlightened, or for that matter excited, about the prospect of adding video to my skill set. Then again I saw one clip that kept the idea alive for me.

One video clip really stood out from the others and it wasn’t surprising given that the director / dp was none other than Pete Stone, a famously talented and creative still photographer who has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and can run most other photographers off the field. Here’s a link:

Monday, November 9, 2009 Redesign

Lydia, Rory and I have been working on a web re-design. No radical changes, just cleaned up the old design, fixed some things that weren't working well, made the pictures bigger and of course added some new material (as well as got rid of some). Phase one will be live soon featuring a new Portraits portfolio, with a brand new Travel portfolio soon to follow and finally a refreshed Projects section. We're beta testing now, here's a peak:

If your tired of wasting time on Facebook have a look and let me know if it's working okay.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hacked for Islam

I didn't quite know what to make of it when I first saw it, whether to laugh or be horrified. Sometime around 10:00 pm last Saturday night I received an email telling me my portfolio site had been hacked. When I checked, instead all the nice pictures on my landing page that normally greet a visitor I found this:

Accompanied by ominous music. According to the official incident report the attackers found a vulnerablity and ran a rogue code that over wrote any files with the word index in the filename, defacing a number of sites hosted on the servers. The attack was traced back to a group called Milw0rm and while I will likely never know the identity of the attacker and whether they were jihadists or just bored teenagers out for some mischief, the creep out factor was over the top, coming as it did the day after the 8th anniversary of 9/11. The site was fully restored in a matter of hours and I can't say enough good things about the customer support at Easystreet.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Andrew Wheating for Runner's World

The University of Oregon star is being billed as the great American hope in the 1500. A really nice kid, I hope he make it happen.

72nd All American Soap Box Derby World Championships

My daughter, as the top points earner in Region 1, earned a return trip the All American Soap Box Derby World Championships in Akron Ohio, held the third week of July. This year she bounced back after last year's devastating crash and won 8th place in the Stock Rally division.
It's often frustrating to attend this event as a photographer because while I am constantly inspired by the rich visual environment of the event, my job as car handler for my driver prevents the kind of attention necessary to make serious photographs. So I keep my G9 handy and shoot what I can when I can. Not much race day action this year due to her staying in the race but I'll trade the pictures for the trophy any time. If you have a kid between the ages of 8 and 17 I urge you to get involved in this fantastic old school family activity.

Playing Catch Up, Fourth of July

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dave Makes Killer bread

Dave Dahl's story has received a fair amount of attention locally and now it's gone national with this feature in Inc. written by my friend and many time collaborator Bill Donahue. He's a three times convicted (Dave, not Bill), former meth dealer / addict who, with the help of his brother Glenn, has jump started a new life for himself baking amazing healthy bread.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This guy makes cool bikes in Portland

Sacha White hand builds each Vanilla Bicycle himself. The attention to detail is sublime. The waiting list is three years or thereabouts. Makes me wish I was thirty, skinny and riding one of his fixies.
Photographed for Forbes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More on Louisville

The last time I showed work in Louisville was May of 1976, a student work show at the Louisville Public Library (if my memory serves me correctly), I had the distinction of having one of my entries removed due to obscenity. You be the judge but I'm guessing someone saw something homoerotic in the image.
Here's the story behind the picture. My friend Bobby Adams and I were interested in making deliberately provocative, dada'esque images often using each other as models. We were on the roof of the Center for Photographic Studies on W. Main St in downtown Louisville. I had just shot Bobby, with his camera, nude and standing on his hands with the cityscape of Louisville behind him. As he pulled on his jeans he remarked, "damn, look at the black stuff all over my hands" and I took a couple frames with my own camera.
The exaggerated grain in the image was from deliberate reticulation of the negatives during processing, a technique I used quite a bit during that period, and one which I now look back on and mostly groan. First year photo student stuff.
Anyway, it was kind of cool having my print banished. At least I got a reaction.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Inspiring and Overwhelming.

I came away from my two mornings reviewing portfolios at Photolucida both inspired and overwhelmed by the level of talent and quality of the work, re-affirming my belief in the still image as a powerful medium. Three artists stood out for me:

Karen Davis’ series of staged set pieces using mechanical dolls that had belonged to her late disabled sister. Re-creating scenes, both imagined and actual, of their shared childhood Davis presents a powerfully emotional body of images.

Lauren Hinkin’s “Displaced I & II” series uses landscape to communicate a sense of loss and abandonment in two bodies of staggeringly beautiful B&W prints.

Alejandro Cartagena has over a period of years chronicled the affects of sprawling new suburbs in Mexican cities. He seduces the viewer by utilizing a combination of traditional landscape, abstract formalism and documentary motifs to achieve a complex simplicity that is at once both informative and beautiful.

It was such a pleasure and honor to be able to meet all the people who so generously shared their work with me. Thanks again to the good folks at Photolucida for putting on a great event.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I'm excited and a bit nervous about speaking, along with my longtime dear friend and colleague Susan Seubert, at the 2009 Photolucida Portfolio Reviews next Thursday, April 23 at 11:15am. This event is only open to those attending the conference, but if you are going to be there stop by and say hello. Susan and I will be talking about our respective and different approaches to mixing our professional and fine art careers and of course showing pictures. I'll also be slinking about as a roving reviewer on Thursday and Friday.

Also plan to attend Susan's opening on Saturday the 25th at Froelick Gallery. I got a sneak preview of the work and all I will say is it's stunning.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A door closes, a door opens. The news I had been rejected by FotoFest in Houston has since been tempered by an invitation to show 3 - 5 pieces from the same project as part of a group show in the Louisville Photo Biennial, which I wrote a bit about previously. The show will be at Actors Theater Gallery, which I understand is a quite nice space. Dates are June 5 – July 26. Below are three more images under consideration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The sting of the rejection letter cuts to the bone and crushes the fragile ego. Here are a few of the rejected works that were not selected for inclusion on the Fotofest Biennial Participating Space Website.

I have a feeling I may soon have opportunities to show other rejected works from various photo annual submissions, etc..

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Love Oregon Locations

Last Thursday in the dunes near Florence.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blatant self promotion

What keeps me going in tough times such as these is the knowledge I possess that rarest of gifts, the ability to make a living doing what I love to do, I get paid to play. That and the fact that I have no other serious marketable skills.
And while the debate over whether magazine photography can remain a viable industry may rage on in other quarters I stubbornly push forward with little more than the knowledge I’ve survived previous economic downturns and a deep love of the game.
Of course not every gig is a dream come true but I find something in most all of them. Then there are those that come along now and again that require me to pinch myself.
In that vain I present my second published story for Travel Oregon magazine in which I was assigned to photograph and write about riding my motorcycle around backroads in the central Oregon high desert. Not a bad gig, huh?

Just for fun here are some of the images that didn't make the edit.