37mm f/8.0 1/125s ISO100
I remember from the days of Saturday morning cartoons and after-school specials the television commercial for 'Toys R' Us' touting their status as 'Where a kid could be a kid' as though children could only act their age at a special place. Although the implications of that statement were not lost on me, I couldn't help but love the trips to that holy grail of toy stores.
I have taken many adult trips to Toys R' Us and I must admit it has lost much of its appeal. It's not that toys lost their importance to me, and it's definately not the quality of toys having declined, quite the contrary. Being an adult has given me the ability to afford bigger and better toys, and the quality of toys today far surpasses those of my youth. I am amazed at the detail of an action figure of modern times. But Toys R' Us is still 'where a kid can be a kid' and that's where my interest wanes.
I am now an adult, and therefore restrained by the responsibilities of adulthood. I am no longer looking for where a kid can be a kid, but where an adult can be a kid. Too often do I find being an adult rather dull. I long for the days of action figure battles of epic proportion and waiting in suspense for the next issue of my favorite comic to advance the story that fuels my daydreams.
There are few places that actually allow an adult to truly feel like a child. Sure, you can act childish anywhere, but it's not as much fun without other adult children to play with. One of the few places I truly felt like a kid again were at a game store. I dug out my old Magic the Gathering cards and thought I could wow these new players with my vintage and rare cards and old deck building theories. I was beaten by every kid in the store in no time flat, there's nothing like old-fashioned humiliation to remind you what it feels like to be a child. It was a magical experience.
If you want to remember what it feels like to be a kid without the competition and possibility of being decimated by someone a fraction of your age, why not try a comic book store? The comic shop has always been a place where you can revive the fantasy of youth while keeping your adult ego intact. The child in you can enjoy the stories and be free to become lost in a world of fantasy, while the adult in you can enjoy the art and appreciate the technical skill reqired in creating a book.
This is the second blog I have posted photographs I have created for Solo Comics, the first comic book store to grace Lake County in more than several years, and it's for quite a few selfish reasons. Of course I love to show off the images I create, and being a family photographer more often than not requires a bit of privacy on the client-side. Many of my clients wouldn't like their private photos plastered all over the internet, and I owe them that right, so when I get to do promotional images the whole point is to plaster them everywhere - to promote! In addition to the joy of creating great images meant to be shared with the world, I am looking forward to the grand opening of a store built for the sole purpose of uniting children of all ages, even the children that live within adults, and allowing us a place where we can become lost in imagination and fancy.
Click the photo to be taken to Solo Comics website and learn more about them.
40mm f/8.0 1/125s ISO100
In these times of cellular phones and cheap digital cameras the power of the portrait is often overlooked. This technique is not lost nor dying, many powerful and successful men and women use the power of a portrait to shape their image in your mind. Every politician and author knows the importance of a good portrait, so does every CEO, lawyer, stock broker, and the list goes on. Even realtors take the extra step of obtaining a great portrait.
A great portrait isn't simply a good photo. What makes a good photo a great portrait is less about the subject and more about the reaction. It's easy for a portrait artist to compose an image that portrays you in any number of ways, and the power portrait is simply a good photo that makes people feel your power when they view it.
There are a variety of 'powers' that people use in great portraiture, depending on what the subject wants people to feel about them. Many realtors use portraits that give the impression they are successful and professional, but easy to approach. Most authors choose a portrait that visually portrays the personality they wish you to believe them to be. Many CEOs select a portrait that makes them look dignified and polished. Power portraiture is a big industry.
You don't have to be a CEO or Wall Street executive to reap the rewards of a powerful portrait, having a great photo of yourself can remind you of the best in you, and being reminded of our best encourages us to do and feel our best. The power portrait is a kind of magic we work on ourselves. Choosing to see ourselves in a certain way actually coerces us to act more in that manner. If you want to feel powerful, looking at yourself as a powerful person will increase your chance of actually being powerful. If you want to feel attractive, look at an image of yourself that IS attractive. Too often we humans fall into the habit of feeling ugly, old, worthless, and a visual document proving otherwise is just what the doctor ordered.
Anyone can take a picture, but it takes a special type of individual to make you feel powerful, attractive, young, successful, etc. and that's exactly what a good portrait artist does, and the emotion you feel will translate to an image that will remind you who you are not just
every time you look at it, but every time anyone views the image you will be reminded that THEY view you in that wonderful way as well.
I encourage you to try this simple trick.
28mm f/8.0 1/250s ISO100
It is often said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this is a concept often brought up in the realm of photography. People often praise me for my ability to 'make them look so beautiful', but really all I do is frame up and push a button. Photographers don't make people look any different than they already do, we just set a scene that forces the viewer to see the beauty that is already there. Sometimes it's a matter of perspective, sometimes is composure, and sometimes it's lighting, but it's never me. It's you. I don't make you beautiful any more than I make a sunset more beautiful, I just present you with a perspective that forces you to see it my way.
When I make an image, I search for what makes a person, place, or object beautiful. I don't take a picture of something bland or mundane then use photoshop to 'jazz it up'. I find the perspective where there actually IS beauty. And not just the Vogue magazine type of beauty, that's glamour, not beauty, I have a talent for finding what makes a person interesting and turning it into an image. Let me spend some time with you, and I'll find what makes you interesting, and that's when I'll beg to take your picture.
I made this image on an overcast day with a drizzle. It's out front of a hotel in Clearlake, California and has been standing for thirty years that I can personally verify and probably much longer than that. The hotel has a number of rooms with tattered vintage wallpaper, hole-filled walls, and bad plumbing. It's a sight to behold, invoking fear and interest with it's stillness juxtaposed with the visage of decrepit chaos. This structure sits over the lake, and during sunset the entire abandoned site becomes a wondrous carnival of color and shadow.
This empty, rotting structure that many would call an eyesore has yielded me many striking images, proving that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, but perhaps in the perspective of the seeker of beauty.
2012 has been a good year for me so far, and it shows no sign of changing. Despite the very wintery weather, the Spring issue of Old Nick Magazine has been released, and features some photographs of mine (Yes, I do photograph models). It IS a gentleman's magazine, so if that will be a problem, please do not click this link: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/342442
If you do enjoy classy nudity, fine wine, and expensive cigars, please click the link. The magazine is available in print as well as digital so you can read it on your phone, pad, or computer.
300mm f/5.6 1/180s ISO100
Sometimes I like to break the rules, I think we all enjoy playing the rebel from time to time. Sometimes that rebellious act can yield positive results, and sometimes not, but if you don't give in to your inner rebel every once in a while you might find yourself depressed, frustrated, or angry.
Breaking the rules can feel thrilling, we never feel as alive as when we're doing something we shouldn't. Children know this, and revel in their sneaking, and we often let them get away with more than they should because we enjoy seeing it on their faces.
Of course, some rules are made with our best interest in mind. Most of these are called laws, and I suggest you follow the majority of them the majority of the time. I'm not talking about breaking the law, I mean break the rules. Take this image I made in my mothers front yard. It was an overcast day with a strong breeze, my camera was set at a slow shutter speed for my focal length and the aperture was not what most would consider right for shooting flowers and I was shooting hand-held. There are at least four 'rules' of photography that I broke to make this image, and I'm glad I did.
We all have rules that we follow at our jobs, or even in our hobbies and passions, that we follow without thinking about them, and it feels refreshing to hang the rules and just do what you want. Color outside the lines, try a new way of doing something you used to love but have grown bored with, give in to your creative urges by ignoring the rules and attacking your project with raw emotion, and never be afraid of how people will react. When you break away from the conventional, some will love it, some will hate it, and some will be indifferent. Do what makes you feel free, proud, strong, be glad for those that love it, and ignore those that hate it.
The greatest people throughout history have never been conventional, they all broke the rules and followed their inner voice.
70mm f/8 1/160s ISO100
On May 3rd 2012 Solo Comics will have it's grand opening in Lower Lake, California. I have had the pleasure of doing some promotional images for them, and will be doing more in the near future. You can learn more about Solo Comics at www.solo-comics.com
of on facebook at www.facebook.com/solocomicshop
Comic books have alwas been a source of inspiration for me artistically, they showed me that people could create wonderful stories with words and pictures, and that I could do the same. I am still a sucker for a really cool comic, and I still do my best every day to create images that people will enjoy.
The comic industry has changed over the years, matured along with its fans, and together we watch the internet quickly change the industry. I hope that the opening of this store inspires the next generation to read the comics of yesterday and today, and to create their own.
Tonight, I raise my glass to you, Solo Comics. May your reign be fierce and long!
300mm f/8 1/60s ISO100
For birds, the male is usually more beautiful than the female. Take the peacock for example, the male has bright greens and blues, feathers that extend into a beautiful fan, while the peahen is shades of brown and grey. In the bird world, the males compete for the females attention, and one of the standards she judges them on is appearance. Quite different from the habits of humans.
In general, appearance is pretty low on the list of qualities males cultivate, and humans spend a great deal of time convincing eachother that 'looks aren't everything'. The heart of the truth is that we naturally judge appearance, usually before we start judging other qualities.
I grew up being told 'don't judge a book by it's cover', and I think that's a good way to live, but it never stopped me from judging books by their cover, or people by their looks. We can learn so much about a person by their appearance.
Each day we spend at least a bit of time putting ourselves in a state that we find presentable, and what a person finds presentable speaks volumes about their personality. I always make assumptions based on how a person chooses to look, not just how their genetics shapes them, but how a person dresses, styles their hair, etc. These are insights into what they like and who they think they are. It's natural and there is nothing wrong with evaluating a person on their appearance. Of course, I think you should always be open to changing your opinion on a person, don't just judge them and write them off, evaluate them and let that opinion grow and change as you get to know more about them. But don't ever write off that visual cue that you feel as soon as you look at a person. If your gut tells you that person is attractive or interesting, introduce yourself and expand your social network. If your gut tells you someone is dangerous, approach them with caution. Judge, but never make your judgement final.
When you think you look good, you feel better, and that feeling spills over into your personality. Dress to impress yourself and you will always be impressive.
This week I finally got a free second to set up my permanent domain name
I also had the pleasure of getting voted into the Pentax Photo Gallery
My all-time, hands-down favorite subject to photograph is people. I've always loved creating images of people. When I was young I would trace comic book characters, and when I got older I moved to creating my own. The greater majority of my paintings involve images of people in one way or another. I've always been a portrait artist using a variety of mediums to create what I want to see.
Portrait photography is very similar to portrait painting, but much cleaner. I also feel that the subject has a greater part in the creation process of a photo than a painting. While painting a portrait, I can easily change the expression, positioning, etc. but with a photo, the subject has to actually change thier postion, expression, etc.
45mm f/8 1/100S ISO500
This image is from a set that wasn't actually my idea, it was one of the models'. I was helping a model to develop her portfolio and we came across a long abandoned building. The ceiling just behind the models is actually rotten and literally falling to pieces. The green lines in the background actually form a doorway that has been replaced by a door-sized piece of plywood and nailed into place from the inside.
We spent a few hours there, shooting in different places of this forgotten structure, until the evening cold convinced us to call it a night.