February 27, 2007

Practicing Business...

Music | Charles Mingus Interviewed By Nesuhi Ertegun

I've always followed basic business principles when it came to my commercial photography. I think because of that, I lost a lot of business when I was more specifically "into" it. My futile attempts at breaking into the market for years was constantly and abruptly pushed into the ground. At the level I was working towards, no one wanted to hear about creative fees and usage fees. Often they worked with "photographers" that charged a single rate and gave up all rights to the image. This is a sure course to doom for the industry.

But thru out it all, I kept plugging away trying to get my rates, according to this supposed industry wide standard. Eventually, I was forced to stop pursuing commercial photography here in Portland and move on to other means.

One thing I never gave up on however was to not sell a photograph outright. I am always the owner of each and every image I took and will take. Because of that, I have the ability to license out a usage contract to my images.

Check off a point for me today! I photographed a portrait of 2 business men at their facility for a magazine about 3 or 4 years ago. It was actually the very last editorial image I took. I got an email from them today asking for permission to use the photo for some advertising they would like to do. So long as they agree to my fee, they can license the image for a stated usage for a period of time with limited distribution rights. The beauty of this of course is that this is an existing image I all ready photographed. I will be getting paid for merely licensing out the image. Besides that, they want to commission me to shoot another photograph for them! Good Karma!

Unknown Eugene de Salignac

Music | Passing By by Zero 7

The New Yorker : online : content

Make sure you view the slide show.


Music | O Mio Babbino Caro from Gianni Scicchi by Kiri Te Kanawa

Not everyone gets to photograph great looking people as much as I do. Others of course have the opportunity much more than I but I feel rather lucky to be in the position I often find myself in. Today was no exception. My shoot was for a client that hired this model for 1/2 the day. I got to spend the entire time behind the camera looking at her and photographing her. The job often is rather stifling and uncreative, but during downtime, I ask the models if they want to just shoot. Not in the context of the job, but just to shoot.

The scene often involves me scurrying around moving lights and changing sets and props, making more simplicity than the chaos all around us. There is chaos in my actions to get to the point of shooting in this way, but lots of times, it is worth it...

And today worked out extra great because this was only one of M A N Y shots that were fantastic.

February 24, 2007


We are treated by the internet, a fantastic interview by the great Charlie Rose with Mr. Cartier-Bresson...

Richard Avedon says, "If you had a career that had 5 great photographs, that would be pretty good... [Cartier-Bresson] had hundreds..."

The Interview

February 23, 2007

No Rest for the Weary...

Music | Stereo Freeze by Stereos

So as the end of February approaches, I can say that 2007 has started out really encouragingly. And yet, I'm still on edge... I really want this ride to keep going and moving forward. I'm trying to do what I need to, can think of, to keep it going.

Creatively, I've stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and shot some unusual material. Maybe down the road, if a series emerges, I'll post some photographs. I think shooting with discomfort can be enlightening, no...? yes...?

I know there is still SOOOOOO much more to do. I'm feeling like I can see some colour where the surface is emitting light. It looks attainable, but I'll need all the fortitude I can muster.

February 17, 2007

and so we move on...

Music | Luna by Lila Downs

In early March, I get to go Here, for a short weekend gig. It's no wonder why I love what I do. I don't get to travel as much as I used to, but these special gigs are always a nice change of pace.

February 15, 2007

Café du Monde

I'm having the most wonderful cup of coffee this morning, right here in my own home. I used to have this only at M's when I'd stop by and visit, which was the discourse of my calling M, yesterday. I found a place years ago to purchase the Chicory Coffee, made in New Orleans, here in this fare town. I had a yearning for it for years, but just never made the effort to get it. Well the other day while passing the little shop, I ran in and got my can of ground up coffee of the gods.

Café du Monde can also be ordered online if your curious enough to try it. I'm of the blue collar coffee drinker where milk or cream and sugar is a must. No Beignets, sadly, but french rolls make a decent substitute.


Music | Umi Says by Mos Def

I've been thru stretches of this before, where the building blocks seem to arrange and keep up appearing. It's when the stars line up for a period of time to assist in the gain of growth - spiritual, artistic, or and not to lesson the zen of things, financial. I'm trying very profoundly, not to fall into the traps of the past, where instead of using the growth to build a foundation, flounder it to put me back into the same familiar setting that I have been for far too long.

My confidante, very good friend, a little Chinese lady from back home for quite sometime, enlightened me with such a delicate, but acute message about myself while talking on the phone yesterday. There are things about all people, who create barriers in the chakras of our soul. Like a zen master, she speaks little, but when she does speak, listen because volumes come out in a limited number of words. I knew she hit upon something big, cause I felt it like getting hit by a truck.

If I've listened well, there will be change. A new direction will take course some of the aspects of who I am. If not, I'll fall into the same PIT, that I've been in for quite sometime. She said the change will be difficult, because it is a new direction that I've tasted before, but wasn't ready to accept. Eyes wide OPEN, with much time behind me to be ready to accept, I move forward...

She's been an observer, very good friend and I'm beginning to understand, a guiding spirit.

Thanks M.

February 13, 2007

Man from Another Planet

Music | Grace by Kate Havnevik

Last Friday, I got hit by a whirlwind of words by an older gentleman who claims he was from outer space. He spoke in a manner a robot would speak in the beginning. Thoughts of blowing him off subsided as some of his message was about removing fear from the mind and to go after the things we desire. I tried to reach him and tell him that some of his musings were way over my head. He listened and knew I was sincere, then he lowered his guard and spoke to me more as a person.

I'm not sure how we went from Outer Space, to the strength of fear, to him needing a chance to promote and work his magic, what ever that was... but I found him a very interesting character. One would have no idea if in fact he was not from outer space. He certainly was interesting and entertaining.

I'll say that his ability to come up to a stranger, give his pitch in the manner that he did and still hold attention was unusual. There is a lesson in our encounter. It will come to me when I need it most...


Music | So Beautiful by Millenia Nova

We create our own inspiration when we are open to the world around us. I've found even thru embattling times, the muse can still appear and allow us to create. Sometimes she is waiting for us to turn the corner to reveal herself. She may lay hidden, just below the surface needing the most simple act to reach above. I know now that the key is motion, the act of moving that is the pivotal enabler. No pain no gain... What makes the muse so powerful is that she is intoxicating. She not only affect the artist, but anyone around the artist. With her, there's always strength.


Today I learned my friend SJ Hammack had her opening last week in St Louis. Her works of art are nicely displayed for her solo show. Make sure you click and let load the panoramas.
...Really impressive!


I've noticed some uncertainty in some of the photographs I've processed lately. I know I'm struggling with what I do and what is all ready out there from others. I thrive in believing that my approach is unique. I've served years and years developing what I hope to consider my style (if I have such a thing...). I'm shaking myself up and I know it. It isn't a pleasant place to be, but I've got confidence that growth lies on the other side. My muse is with me thru this and I'm comforted by that.

February 08, 2007

The Air Smells Good Again...

Music | Just Friends by Amy Winehouse

Breathing again, the air of the past when commercial photography was pretty much all I knew. My professional career as a photographer began in commercial photography, assisting photographers that shot national ad campaigns, annual reports, catalogs... The structure of a shoot often balanced chaos on a tightrope. The deadlines, limited communication, and the stress of trying to put together concepts for an idea that has no structure - a day in the life of what I would like to live again.

Within the past 7 days, I got my opportunity again to put together a small ad for a regional health organization. I got a very general idea of what the shot was for, who I was going to be photographing, and that was about it. I didn't get most of the pertinent info until Monday afternoon. My location scout only provided me stress, but my subject was pretty laid back and I knew we would be able to work well with each other. More stress came in the form that the principal contact I have with this organization made special effort to come to the shoot.

Sometimes pressure is a good thing. A lot seemed to be riding on this photo shoot for me. I found that the organization might be in transition with photographers, which is the reason I got this shot. The location for this "Ad" was less than optimal and I had serious fear that I was going to fall on my face on this one. The principal will be there, watching my every move to see how I put this all together... My confidence could take the biggest hit!

Long story short, with help from fellow photographer, Randy Kepple, some discussion led me to some ideas where I knew only the execution was in doubt. My big hurdle was that the location was not at all conducive for an advertisment, but we had to use it as it was part of the story. My main concern was capturing my subject with her personality, but making the location as nondescript as possible...

February 06, 2007

Rain and Pouring Rain...

Out of the blue, the biggest commission to date plops right in front of me. I got interest yesterday via email, then a phone call this morning. I drove out to meet with the client and just like that, I received 1/3 down of my biggest commission.

Other fantastic news is that I just booked a commission yesterday and one a few days ago as well. February is swiftly passing thru, but I'm feeling much better getting these bookings. I hope they keep flowing thru!

February 03, 2007

Quote of the Day...

Music | Impressions by John Coltrane

My long time friend from Chicago, Tim layed this quote on me from his father... "The things I used to do all day long, takes me all day to do" and after 40 it gets tough man"

February 02, 2007

Artist Portrait...

Music | Move with Me by Neneh Cherry

I just had communicato with a bride I shot 5 years ago. Thru an artist friend, I was introduced to Roberta, who was looking for someone to photograph her wedding. In our consultation, I learned she was an amazing artist, getting ready to quit her 9 to 5 to work full time as an artist. She showed me her studio, which I found to be amazing as well. I love to see where people who have specific places, create. I find little objects, clues, inspiration as to whom they are and what and why they conceive.

I knew that I wanted to photograph Roberta as part of my artists series that I was working on, and as you know, still am. It is nice to see the threads from 5 years ago stretching across time and continuing with some semblance of what I'm shooting today. Actually, I really love this shot of Roberta and is one of my favorites.

February 01, 2007

the blues...

Music | Little by Little by Groove Armada

I was going to write about how disgusting viral gastroenteritis is, but then I realized writing about it is even more disgusting! Never mind...
-- --