Monday, February 23, 2009

The Greatest Guitar Player in the World

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

Just ask Craig...Stories from Craigslist

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.

Shahi Baaja!!

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!!

She's the King

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

Stormy Day

Looking at all of these amazing traditional prints is making me really want to shoot some film, so today I shot a polaroid of the amazing stormy sky in Los Angeles.  I love the  silhouette of the skyline, with those amazing clouds in the background.  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Late Bloomers and Lucinda Williams

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, 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.

Music In Focus

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

Greg Bojorquez Exhibit

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.

Lillian Bassman Show

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

The Shoot Location

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.