I’m still on a kick of exploring hazy, golden light, with layers of texture. For this shoot with model Rachel Luree, I began by positioning her in front of a 37” octabox, in order to get an ethereal backlight. Next, in order to take advantage of Rachel’s long hair, I laid out a large sheet of glass, covered in a thin layer of coconut oil. I had her stand over the glass with her hair hanging down, and I lay underneath it shooting up. I wanted to give the appearance of her being submerged in water, with her hair swirling around.Read More
There is a region on the east side of the state called Palouse, which is comprised of rolling wheat fields. In late spring and early summer the fields are still green, making them look like grassy sand dunes. The wind moves through the wheat, making the hills move like the ocean. It is the most peaceful place I have ever been. I drove 700 miles in order to stand in those fields for an hour that day, and it was worth it.Read More
In my shoots I aspire to capture something beyond the outer appearance of my subject, and yet it can be quite hard to look past the specifics of a subjects appearance to get a glimpse of their soul. This is why I like to photograph hands. Not only do I find hands to be as expressive as faces, but they come with the added bonus of not being about any one person in particular. They are more universal in that way. As a viewer, you can more easily put yourself in the image, connecting the struggle or aspirations of a gesture.Read More
For this shoot with Maika I wanted to showcase both her power and her femininity. For the first look I used a pink accent light to mimic her dress color. I began by creating a wrapping pink glow by using a ring flash. Then I decided to use barn doors on my light to just throw a sliver of “white” light on her face.Read More
When Brandon Rike and Joel Cook, the creative duo behind Tension Division, texted me and asked if I wanted to shoot content for Korn’s upcoming album, I kinda freaked out a little. To this day I still listen to Korn’s self-titled debut album. Their music helped me through a great deal of trauma in my teen years.
At first we were trying to figure out how to shoot an actual human suspended by wires for the cover. Our plan was to use an aerial artist, suspended by a harness and wrapped in wires. Ultimately they decided it’d be better to 3D render the cover, which has the “hollow man” appearance that they were after. They reached out to 3D artist Nate Rodriguez-Vera to render the image, which was also animated into a music video. I shot a bunch of supplementary images of wires and cables to be used in the album, online, and on merch.
It was a blast to not only collaborate once again with my friends (and brilliant creatives), but to also collaborate in a small way with teenage idols of mine.
Back in April I hit the road to Pittsburgh, on assignment for Revolver to photograph Knocked Loose. The Kentucky hardcore band was on tour promoting their upcoming album, A Different Shade of Blue. I had one hour to set up and shoot five scenarios for a cover feature, all in the venue’s *ahem* modest green room. As you can see above, I had to pull two couches out of the room and into the back hallway in order to create an 8x10’ space. Due to space constraints I opted to shoot individual portraits (which could be composited into a group shot if needed) in addition to a range of group shots.Read More
The RYB color model is comprised of the colors red, yellow, and blue, which are otherwise referred to as primary colors. You can mix them in different combinations to make every other color. Red and yellow make orange. Red and blue make purple. Blue and yellow make green. Many of you learned this in art class as kid. Artists have been exploring compositions of red, yellow, and blue for ages. A prime examples is the painter Piet Mondrian, who worked almost exclusively in these colors for over two decades.Read More
I’ve been experimenting with photographing reflections in mylar for four shoots now, and I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. In order to get a good range of movement in the mylar (which translates to warped reflections), I set up an oscillating fan nearby, and turned it on to the lowest setting. The effect ranges from minimal to so abstract that you can’t even tell what you’re looking at, so there’s a bit of luck involved. Every time the fan would pass over the mylar, it would ripple like pond water after a rock was tossed in, so I basically shot like hell and hoped for something good.Read More
Did you know that I have a podcast? I launched Viewfinders in fall of 2018, with the aim of having candid conversations with photographers from around the world. The idea came to me when I was teaching at Gulf Photo Plus for Photo Week in 2018. There were around ten other photographers from around the world that were teaching there, and by the end of the week I felt full from all the amazing stories I heard about their personal journeys. I wanted more.Read More
With these latest Strata portraits, I have started to do partial oil applications, leaving larger portions of the subject visible. I have used a number of application techniques such as blotting with my fingers, blotting with a paper towel, or smearing with a paper towel. I can’t deny how heavily these are influenced by the work of painter Henrik Uldalen. I also started giving the images a cyanotype treatment in post, which I really like. I think it gives the images an older feeling. My aim is for these portraits to not feel like they are from a specific time or of a specific person, but rather capturing a mood or feeling.Read More
I’ve been shooting with the fungus-covered lens I bought off ebay for the past month. I find that I especially enjoy pairing the lens haze with warm lighting/toning, as you see above. Of course I can’t do any look or technique for very long before I find myself getting bored and wanting to move on to something else.Read More
It’s been nearly four months since I deleted my social media accounts. By “delete” I don’t mean that I simply removed the apps from my phone. I mean that I closed the accounts, resulting in the loss of nearly 60,000 followers (if you’re interested in reading my original statement on this, visit my blog post). In my post I list a number of reasons for leaving social media, such as follower engagement overly influencing the ways in which I create; an increase in anxiety, brought on my social media; the investment of hundreds of hours per year on with little quantifiable pay-off.Read More
This was my first attempt at implementing color into my oil portraits. I have been a fan of Andres Serrano’s Immersions series for a long time and decided to use Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ as a color reference. Aside from loving his use of reds and yellows, I’ve always been struck by the coexistence of danger and beauty in Serrano’s images, which are themes I’m exploring in this series.Read More
I’m beginning to figure ways to control and manipulate the honey in my Strata portraits. I’m now using a mirror for my honey images, while I still use a large sheet of glass for the oil shots. Rather than cleaning off the mirror between shoots, I leave it laying flat, allowing the honey to settle (and collect dust and grit). Once I am ready to shoot, I stand it up and and dab it with my fingers, which creates raised areas for a few minutes. The refraction from the honey can get really extreme, mimicking the distortion from a funhouse mirror. My favorite parts of the image are the areas where the face/skin begin to split away from the body, as if to disintegrate.Read More
I, for one, am someone with a limited imagination. What I mean by that is that I need to get my images looking how I want them in camera so all I have left to do is color grade them. So if I want a lens flare or glitch or haziness in my image, I need to introduce that element into my shoot. All that’s to say that recently I’ve spent quite a bit of time scavenging ebay for broken or flawed camera lenses.Read More
I’ve been working with oil and honey for several shoots now. I’ve also tried shooting through plastic wrap, which has a really nice texture. Though I really like the texture of the oil shots, I want to figure out how to show a bit more of the subject without making it too literal. I also want to try out implementing color into these.Read More
If you’re unfamiliar with the Santa Fe Workshops, it’s one of, if not the, longest running photography workshops in the US. They started in 1990 and have had some of the most renowned photographers in the industry teach there, including Albert Watson, Joyce Tenneson, and Frank Ockenfels 3. The format of the courses is especially unique, given that it’s a 5-day course where the students and the instructor are together learning and shooting, from sunup till sundown.Read More
For the past couple of years I’ve begun drifting away from the literal and heading for the lyrical. I am finding myself easily bored with well-lit (and even colorful) images. I find myself longing for the qualities a painters brush stroke brings to a portrait. I have experimented a great deal with using multiple exposures or projectors to add layers of texture and distortion to my images. Though I made images I was happy with, they didn’t feel like they were close enough to where I was wanting them to go.Read More
I recently read the short story, “The Machine Stops”, written in 1909 by E.M. Forster. In the story he lays out a dystopian prophecy wherein humans live under the earth’s surface (the surface is no longer inhabitable) in pods barely larger than themselves. They get everything they need through the machine, including sustenance, entertainment, and communication with other people around the world. Remind you of anything?Read More