Friday, August 24, 2012

Start of a Project

I've begun a new project.  It's too early to explain what it is, however I'm excited about it because I believe it's provocative and relevant.   However, I will admit that it will be all portraits of different people who have one thing in common.  I have yet to write a project statement because I would like to get at least 5 shoots under my belt to see what develops.   Without writing what the project is about I would like to share an images from my first shoot.  The subjects were Kevin and his son Spencer Gates.  I've gotten to know Kevin through a mutual friend.  The three of us surf and about once a month we car pool to the beach.  On our trips we share our stories.  It was actually Kevin who unknowingly planted the seed of inspiration for the new project.  Kevin has two children, a boy and a girl.  His oldest, Spencer, has an extremely rare genetic disease titled Mucolipidosis III.  Because it's rare and so few people are born with it there has not been a lot of research done on it, thus, unfortunately, as of yet there is no cure.  All Kevin and his family can do is give Spencer the best life they can.  I will not go into the affects of the decease because I don't really have all the details.  I will write that it is obviously crippling and from Kevin's accounts it can be extremely painful.  Yet, since Spencer was born with decease, the pain and hardship inflicted by the decease are what he has always known.  So, he deals with it.

Kevin works and plays hard, yet he is completely dedicated to making sure that his son gets the most out of his life.  I don't know how Kevin does it all, I have a hard enough time just taking care of myself.
On our surfing excursions Kevin has shared a lot of stories on the scouting trips he's done with Spencer, hence the idea for this shoot.  I have lots of ideas for photographs, yet due to impracticality very few result in photographs.  And of those that make it on film or pixels rarely do they end up like imagined.  However this photograph of Spencer and Kevin turned out exactly how I envisioned it.  Before the day of the shoot I knew where and when I wanted to make the photograph.  I knew exactly what camera, lens, film, and light source I wanted to use to make the photograph.  I had even imagined the mood and expressions.  When we arrived at the location all the elements came perfectly together, and I knew I had a great photograph when I made it.

I am very proud of this image, but not because of its quality.  It's dear to me because of its humanity.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Venus de Milo

And you assumed Venus de Milo was a part of the Louvre's permanent collection.
Years ago, upon a tree on his front yard, a Lakewood resident sculpted his version of Venus de Milo .  He has long since vacated this residence, however the new owners maintain (although she is in desperate need of new coat of paint) the landmark intact and she remains to be seen by many.  Yet, when you looked at my portfolio "Lakewood: Portraits of a Sacred American Suburb" or my website you did not see this image nor will you ever.  Why?  From time to time I'll use photoshop to remove a piece of unwanted litter, but for the most part I merely adjust my scanned images to make the colors true.  I create images on film in camera, however in this case I've attempted to make a major alteration.  You see when the creator whittled his version of the famous Hellenistic statue in his front yard he modestly opted to carve the front side of Venus facing his home and her backside towards Lakewood Boulevard, Lakewood's major thoroughfare.   Unfortunately, no matter the time of day or light, photographing the front of Venus with Lakewood Blvd in the background just wasn't appealing, and photographing her backside with her home in the background didn't work as well.  So, I tried to cheat, but my photoshop skills are so bad and my conscious so annoying that didn't work either.