On Saturday, 4 of my fellow graduates to be, were interviewed by Ibarionex Perello for his podcast, The Candid Frame. It was an interesting day, because the power was out in the whole school, so there was this quiet that filled the space of a usually hustling and bustling place of students and designers. There was definitely something very special about that moment, wherein we were all given the opportunity to record some of our thoughts as emerging photographers. I'm bad at journaling or even taking photos just for the sake of memories, so to have this experience recorded with my friends was really something special. Check out the blog, and have a listen.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Speaking of graduation, I am going to be graduating in 2 weeks!! That is so crazy, and scary, but exciting as well. On the positive note, I am going to be graduating with 16 of some of the loveliest most talented group of people that I have had the pleasure of getting to know during my time in school. Our final show will be on August 14th at 7 p.m. Come and see some great work! And click on the image to see who all is in the show.
I have not blogged in quite sometime, but I am back and finally feeling ready to share again. I have been bogged down with my own demons and the stress of graduation, but I am now feeling much more auspicious about the transition to come. Yesterday was a rather special day. Dan Winters came in to give us our own private lighting demo, for the 16 of us that will be graduating in just 2 weeks. I have never met him, or even seen what he looks like, and I have to say, he was much different than I expected. I don't really know what I expected, but definitely not the force that I was encountered with. Dan Winters is a man's man, he's the guy who knows the entire history of photography, the origin of other peoples work, and loves to create. He is definitely a force, and wields his will in a non-threatening, but sure fire way. He is large in stature and in spirit, but is also forthright and honest about his process, his lighting style, and his influences. He is not afraid to share and speak about himself or his work. He truly is an inspiration and someone to follow in the footsteps of. He has a new book at, which he was also in town promoting. Dan Winters we all love you, and thanks for coming in to share with us :)
Saturday, May 23, 2009
So, the commissioned portraits for the Art Alliance of Pasadena are finally on exhibit at the Armory. The show was a fundraiser that helped to raise money for over two-dozen organizations that include the Armory and other arts based organizations. The show was a great success, and includes the long awaited viewing of the final image I produced with Skip's car from Craigslist. I worked with two different patrons, and ended up with two successful pieces, that I am finally posting, after who knows how much time! Have a look.
After a few days in S.F., I was off to New York to visit, yet more old friends, and check out some some great photography. Right now, the photo exhibit at MOMA is amazing!! I tried to visit the Center for Photography, but it was closed to hang their next show. This ended up working out just fine, when I realized that there was a great show just up the street. My friend Erica and I hit the MOMA for the free entry time, and couldn't have been more pleased. The show had images from all the greats, people like: Richard Avedon, Cindy Sherman, John Baldessari, Edward Weston, and many more. One person that really stood out for me was Joel Sternfeld, a photographer whose name I've known, but not had so much knowledge of. The prints were incredibly rich with color, and his palettes were slightly haunting and beyond beautiful. After looking up a little info about him, I was not surprised to find that he was one of the forerunners of putting color photography on the map as a serious medium. Anyhow, if you are in New York anytime from now until, June 2, you should definitely go!
So, I have been away for a while, and this is a sample of what happened while I was gone.
First I stopped off in San Francisco to visit some old pals, and also photograph my friends Amanda and Sonny's wedding. This was the first wedding I've shot, and I have to say it was a lot of work, but surprisingly fun as well. It's fun to go to a friends wedding and to have a purpose. Anyhow, luckily I didn't rely on good weather, as the wedding was supposed be outside, but it ended up pouring rain. The wedding got moved to the inside venue, and I brought the back up canon speedlight 580ex along with a quantum battery. I was really hoping for natural light, but this ended up working just fine.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
So as I have mentioned before, I am working on a series of monochromatic portraits. I have been trying to figure out a way to pursue the project beyond the white on white, so I tried this for a change. Instead of just the single color, it has now become sort of a duotone, just meaning that there are only two colors now. Anyhow, this is Nellie, an amazing dancer from Denmark that I met on the set of the music video I posted about earlier. We had a great time, and it's really great to work with people who have a real awareness of of their bodies and how to move. I couldn't have asked for more.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Shelf life is an event put on by the amazing Ewa Wojciak at USC, this was hopefully the first of more to come. The event was a day to bring independent publishers, artists, writers and designers together to share their work and meet other like minded peeps. This is a poster I saw that was being sold by the awesome people over at primary information. I have to say I was very amused. Check out their website at
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Being in school is a really fun way to break out of your normal habits by collaborating with the people that inspire you. Lucia Loiso is a Romanian photographer here on scholarship and she is very talented. A little while back, we decided to collaborate on a project, that involved using taxidermy bugs. I haven't shot any still life scenes in a while, but you can certainly see the influence of the white on white, for my monochromatic portraits.
Last week, I went to the set for a music video shoot for singer, Imaeyen, she is an r&b artist out of Los Angeles. My friend Amy Greenleaf directed the video, while her boyfriend Joey Lopez, also my good buddy, played the part of D.P., and I shot some stills for her. It was really fun to see them work together, seems to be a theme here in these posts. Anyhow, it's crazy to be on a set where the goal is "moving pictures"! It's wild to me how many people you need to accomplish something of that magnitude, but it seems really fun too! I wanna try it :)
Last week, my friend Joe Kim and I were invited to come to the set for a Black Eyed Peas shoot. Michael Kochman, the photo editor for Entertainment weekly is one of our instructors, and he brings his students to the sets when he can. This shoot, was being shot by husband and wife team, Williams and Hirokawa, the name alone is cool. Anyhow, it's nice to see how they work together as a team, they have a good dynamic, and are very chill on set. The Black Eyed Peas were super cool too, they were very nice and not divaish at all. That's Michael Kochman, and Mark Williams having a good time on set.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Right now I am working on a project that explores the theme of monochromatic portraits. The first one I shot was of Jen Turner, as was posted earlier on my blog, and the second one I shot is of Carrie Gifford, the illustrator. After I made her portrait for the book, I had her put on all white, of which the only white she had was her wedding dress. The wedding dress ended up being perfect!! It has this somewhat gothic quality to it that I really enjoy, and the light that day was perfect for the shot. I like the dreamy, angelic quality to the images, right now I'm not sure what direction I'm going, I'm just having fun exploring the concept. This shoot, really sort of took a different turn than I expected, but that's what I really like about it.
Last night I had the opportunity to meet photographer Jeff Lipsky, in Michael Kockman's class. He came in to give a guest lecture and to talk about his work, as well as how he got his start. Jeff is a really lovely guy, and takes gorgeous photographs. He has a very distinct sensibility that comes through in his images, which convey a real sensitivity to his subjects. It is immediately apparent that he has a very gentle touch, and a sweet demeanor. Meeting him was no let down. I've been a fan of his work for a while, and he first really caught my eye, when I saw the cover of Los Angeles Times Magazine, with Ellen Page on the front cover. There are some celebrities who get f*$#@! over by having incredibly bad photographs taken of them. I think that can happen when someone thinks, oh they're good looking, whatever I shoot will look good. Anyhow, I digress, the photos of Ellen Page are really gorgeous, and she's one of those celebrities that I think often gets photographed horribly! When I saw what Jeff did with her, I couldn't believe how gorgeous they were.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
For those of you who don't know, there is something really exciting happening in Los Angeles right now, regarding photography. On Friday March 27th, The Annenberg Space for Photography will be opening its doors to the public, and will be exhibiting the works of 11 Los Angeles Photographers including: Julius Shulman,Tim Street-Porter, Douglas Kirkland, Greg Gorman, Lauren Greenfield, Carolyn Cole, Lawrence Ho, Kirk McKoy,Genaro Molina, Catherine Opie, and John Baldessari. On their website, they are excited to state that they are the first photographic cultural destination in Los Angeles. I think its going to be a really great venue for seeing new work, and they will be having ongoing lectures by different photographers throughout the year.
Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Monday, March 23, 2009
Yesterday I had the great pleasure of photographing my dear friend Carrie Gifford. She and her Husband Hal Mertz are the owners of the greeting card company, Red Cap Cards. They make incredible illustrated and letterpress greeting cards, and they are very lovely people. Carrie is going to be illustrating a children's book and needed a photo for the book jacket, so she asked me to do it, and they turned out really great.
This is a sample of what we did, and it's really fun because she is wearing the top she wore on her first date with Hal.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
After being in school for so long, you have to remind yourself you stay fresh and always check yourself. It's not just being in school though, as an artist you always need to refresh yourself, and push to work in ways that are different than your usual regiment, which is what I am trying to do right now. I went over to my girlfriends house the other day, and just shot while leaving everything in its place. Instead of trying to control everything and rearrange the whole house, which I would normally do, I just walked in the door, saw her crazy outfit and the messy room, with the amazing color palette and shot. It was liberating and the results are beautiful. I really love these photos because they are out of my comfort zone, but I still think they are quite elegant, even amidst all of the chaos of the house.
As I have mentioned before, I am mesmerized and inspired by PJ Harvey, she never ceases to amaze me!! She has just put out a new album with John Parish called, A Woman a Man Walked By, and it's perfect! I was just talking about how I wish her videos were as good as her music. I've checked out a lot of the music videos for her songs, and I always feel like they are not as good as they could be. Days after I said that, this video was released and it's gorgeous. The slow shots are mesmerizing, and haunting, and I'm so glad to see someone pushing for making great visuals to accompany her music. Lastly, I have been working on thinking up what my dream job would be, and it would be to shoot PJ, and to make a music video for her. That's what I really would love to do!
I'm just puttin' it out there.
I'm just puttin' it out there.
Monday, March 16, 2009
So I have started the shooting process for Cecilia's movie debut. This image is a still from the hilarious shoot we did on Saturday on stage 1. Teresa looks so awesome!! Everyone dressed up, and it was too funny! By the way, this was shot on the Canon G10, and I love it!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Well, all of these posts are about great women, so here is one that I met when I was just a young lad, Erica Quitzow, musician/singer extraordinaire. I met Erica and her boyfriend Gary, in 1998. I had just moved to San Francisco with $500.00 to my name. That was one of the craziest things I have ever done, it was the height of the dot com era, and it was the most expensive time to move there ever! What was I thinking? Anyhow, through a service called "roommate referral" I met these lovely people, and they seriously changed the course of my life!! This is her song, and d.i.y. video. That's what was most inspiring about her when I first met her. I'd never met anyone who actually did everything themselves from scratch. Erica is always pushing herself, and guides her own creativity and path from every direction, and I don't know how she does it. It's very inspiring!
I recently revisited an interview I did with one of my classmates, aka Postmodern Cat Lady, and wanted to share this with ya'll. I really love writing, and this was a fun piece. Also I am going to be directing a film that features her and her photography, which is why I am looking back at what I have worked on with her before. Unfortunately, I cannot direct anyone to photo link right now, because she is still working on her website, but this will give you some insight.
That girl is poison. Never trust a big butt and a smile. Poison.
She’s dangerous. Poison. Oh yeah. Poison. Bell Biv Devoe, now you
know you’re slick blow. That’s what band Cecilia Gavia’s photographs would be if she translated them into a sonic experience. A throw back to 90’s hip hop, gold grills and shiny props. Her inspirations range from LOL cats to craft culture. She’s an avid knitter and likes to incorporate pink and yellow into here repetoire of elements. She describes her work as funny, tacky and cute. Which would explain her love of Rosewood, a font that only few can pull of with the sophisticated mash up of gaudy, humorous, clever know how that Gavia imbibes her work with. Her work is a reflection of pop cultural mythologies and feminine archetypes while she is intereseted in constructing images that are at once confrontational and celebratory. The hyperreal becomes the point of interest in a world where suburbia meets the underbelly, but in a way that isn’t angry, that’s very important to Gavia. She leads her viewers to a place of the uncanny, rather than down the back alley of teen angst. She is interested in exploring themes that deal with the politically incorrect and in your face aspects of femininity. The work she makes is meticulously planned, and every detail is accounted for.
Essentially, she seeks to bring her audience a vision of the “other”, but not from a place like Diane Arbus, who she sees as having a more pessimisstic view of the world, Gavia wants to celebrate the giant in the room. She wants to celebrate eating the popsicle after it’s been dropped on the ground on a hot summer day and take your picture while loving all the grime the comes with eating a dirty treat.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
So I made it to the closing weekend of the Vanity Fair Portraits at LACMA. I had seen the show a while back, but I didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked, so I went back today with my old friend Sandra. We were in there for probably 2 hours, looking carefully at every piece in the exhibit. Anyhow, there were a couple of pieces that really stuck with me from the show. One of the shots being of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. with Joan Crawford, by Nikolas Muray on Santa Monica beach. The photograph really made me start thinking about a narrative, and symbolism, and all the things you want a viewer to get into when looking at your work. Something that is interesting is that neither of them are looking at the camera, yet there is so much happening. Also, the image is very still, and again so much to think about. In the image, the horizon line creates so much of the narrative. It separates their gaze from each other, other than the fact that they are looking in opposite directions. His gaze breaks the horizon just above the water, while her face falls just below the horizon line. His body acts as the anchor, while she lies with a dreamy pose against his back. It's so interesting to think about what that means, as if he is the protector looking out over the sea, and she trusts him to stay in her own dreamy state. His pose is active, and hers is passive. It's really interesting that so much can happen in a single still pose. The second image that I found myself really wanting to look at was of Madonna, by Mario Testino. I just couldn't get over the color palette, and her glamorous, yet vulnerable gaze towards the lens.
So I just bought the new 5d Mark II, and it is amazing!!!! My first shoot was of baby Elton, who is the cutest little baby who's hair grows almost in a little mohawk. His parents were kind enough to let me in and shoot with their family, even though I had only met them 2 days before. An old family friend has written a book about babies and communicating with them, so she asked me to shoot some little ones for her book. Lets cross our fingers that I can get something for the cover. Apparently Elton is too old for the cover, so I am still looking for a baby to shoot, under 6 months of age if anyone knows.
Monday, February 23, 2009
My friend Jen visited me this weekend from New York, and I made sure to get a photo shoot in while she was here. I knew I wanted to do something somewhat monochromatic, because her skin and hair color really lend itself to that sort of thing. I really like how they turned out, and once again, I used shoot through umbrellas.
So, I did my much anticipated shoot this weekend with the fleetline that I found on craigslist. For a moment, it seemed like Skip was not going to show up, but he did, and he was so awesome!!! Skip was a real pleasure, and he was promptly on time, but had to leave to make sure to catch the hokey game. Anyhow, this is him in his super awesome car. I can't show the photos from the shoot yet, because I have to wait until the show goes up, but everything worked out very well!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
So, I am doing a shoot this weekend that is inspired by mid-century modern aesthetics, and it's going to require a few things to bring a level of authenticity to the shoot. I am doing a commissioned portrait for some members of the Art Alliance of Pasadena, and the people I am shooting are a husband and wife with a small child. The woman's mother lives in a mid-century modern home in Pasadena, so I thought it would be fun to do an old style portrait with the house as part of the backdrop. It's very inspired by the fact that many old portraits that we see of families are always taken standing in front of their house and you can always see their car as well. Anyhow, since I am using the house as a background, I thought it would be really fun to have an old car in the shot as well. So I started thinking, how am I going to get the perfect car from the 50's to be in the shot? I looked for some rental places, but that didn't seem like a viable route. Then I looked to my trustee craigslist, when all else fails, ask Craig. Seriously, my whole house is furnished by craigslist, I even found my house of Craigslist. Anyway, enough about Craig. Basically, I thought, I will look on craigslist to see if anyone is selling an old car from that era. Low and behold, the perfect car is for sale. So I shoot the guy an email, telling him that I don't want to buy it, but I would like to rent it for a few hours for a photo shoot, and to contact me if he is interested. Well he is, and he's even going to drive it down for the shoot, and hang out until we are done. A miracle I tell you, a miracle!
The moral of the story is just ask Craig.
The instrument Ravi Dhar is holding is an instrument called the Shai Baaja. I couldn't resist having it in the shot. The keys on the instrument are actually made out of old typewriter keys. Freaking amazing!!! I did this shoot last weekend, and it went super well, I love the range of colors in his house, and the cool props we used for the shoot. As you can see, much of my life is influenced by music, so I shoot a lot of musicians, and try to make interesting images that intersect with their style. For these shots I combined the use of available daylight with a shoot through umbrella to fill in where I needed. I'm really happy with the way they turned out!!
This is Joseph Arthur and the Lonely Astronauts, the two ladies are dear friends of mine. Jennifer Turner and Sibyl Buck. Jennifer is the blond guitarist on the left, and Sibyl is in her amazing pink and green attire rocking on the bass. These two ladies are some of the most inspiring women I know!!! They make me wish I was the greatest!! Some people have called Jennifer "The Greatest Guitar Player in the World"! She's the person that I got the title of this blog from. It's something we used to say to each other when we thought something the other did was really awesome!
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
To delve a little deeper into last nights highlights, I wanted to mention two of my favorite parts of the evening.
First of all Danny Clinch is a great contemporary music photographer, who has really great stories to tell about all of his images, and I have to say that goes a long way! He really seems like a lovely man, and his photos are super inspiring as well. Secondly, Lucinda played a couple of songs last night as well, and that was really a treat!! She is truly an amazing, inspiring, and genuine woman. I actually had the pleasure of meeting her at a party last weekend, and she was so fun and super warm, with an incredible sense of humor. Everything has taken on this strange kind of serendipity lately, and has been closely linked to each other, like meeting Lucinda randomly at a party, and randomly being invited to this event that she was going to play at. Anyhow, what made meeting her really special was her excellent words of advice, she said to me in her raspy southern drawl, " You know, I'm kind of a late bloomer..." This concept of the late bloomer has been coming up a lot lately, which has been somewhat reassuring. On http://www.aphotoeditor.com/, Rob posted this video of Ira Glass talking about how long it took him to get good at what he does, so I feel like I have been getting these reminders from great people all around, about the fact that things take time, and to be really great at what you do, takes a lot of time.
Last night I was invited to attend the Music in Focus event put on by The Grammy Foundation. It was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, which is an amazing old theater. My new mentor Jeri Heiden, of Smog Design invited me to attend with her and her husband. They really are a great couple who own their own graphic design firm in Silverlake, and have worked with some of musics heavyweights for more than 20 years. They mostly do album cover work, and have done designs for Tom Petty, Madonna, K.D. Lang, and the Silversun Pickups, to name a few. The night was really fantastic, and featured some of rockn'roll and jazz musics great photographers that have captured the spirit of music throughout the years. The photographers they featured were Herman Leonard, Danny Clinch, and Robert Knight. It was amazing to see Herman Leonard kicking about at a great event, partly in his honor, since he is somewhere over 85 years old at this point. Not only were the photographers there, but some really great performers as well including: Sara Bareilles, Tyler Bryant, Daniel Lanois, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Lucinda Williams. The show was really fantastic, and super inspiring!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
The second show I went to was on Saturday night at the O1 Gallery, downtown. The show had an amazing turnout for photographer, Greg Bojorquez. The Los Angeles native photographed his friends and neighbors of East L.A. over a period of ten years, documenting the lives of his fellow Latinos, and gang bangers. The images are gritty documents of life as a cholo/chola living in the colorfull backdrop of the mural laden East side. Bojorquez was interested in shooting as someone from the inside as a means for creating a true portriat of a community, rather than having it be represented by an "outsider". I think that that's a really great place to be coming from because the idea of the "outsider" providing a document of a community can sometimes be a miscommunication of sorts, while Bojorquez attempts to make an insider portrait.
This weekend I attended two really great photo exhibits that inspired me. The first one was the closing show for Lillian Bassman, at the Peter Fetterman Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. She was one of the main photographers for Vanity Fair magazine from the 40's and 60's, and brought a beautiful and unique vision to fashion photography. She did a lot of darkroom manipulation, which gave her the effect seen in her imagery, using bleach to make the images very contrasty. Anyhow, looking at the giant black and white fiber based prints was amazing. There really is something about traditional darkroom printing that is magic.
Monday, February 2, 2009
This is Zanda's house, wherein we shot musician, Weston Hudson.
We cleared out this half of Zanda's living room and used it as a simple and graphic backdrop. We used a pro-photo 7b to light from the outside, the only modifier we used was a reflector. We also set up a a shoot through umbrella from the inside to provide some fill to his left side. I speak in we terms, because I shot with my friend and often times, assistant who is crucial to the success of my shoots. I also assist him on many of his shoots, and we are a perfect compliment to eachother, because he is more technical than I am, and he is more easy going. That makes for a very harmonious relationship. His, moniker Toky, is always accompanied by the title of his profession, i.e. Toky Photography. Everyone finds this a little strange at first, but most people get used to it.
For this portrait, I photographed my friends mom. Her name is Zanda and she is the matriarch of the Hudson family. She was kind enough to let us do a photo shoot in her home, but I don't think she realized what she was getting into when she said yes. To compensate for her time, I made a portrait of her with her son, as well as a portrait of herself. She wasn't expecting to be in the shots, so her hair was a bit disheveled, but I love that, it looks more natural, and I relate because my hair is always messy. I used a shoot thru umbrella for the soft effect, and a bounce card on the left side, as well as a silver reflector below to make her eyes sparkle a little more.