"As I continue to build my business and my brand, I need to constantly be maintaining me and be building myself as well.
Every year like clock work the resolution fairy comes and delivers false hopes to many. It takes a strong willed courageous person to make changes. Many people are comfortable and complacent in their lives and blissfully make resolutions that they knowingly will not follow through on. I have never been one to make a resolution. I am however one that enjoys a lifestyle of reinvention. As the years pass, our careers and personal lives allow us to reinvent ourselves to fit new rolls while maintaining our personality. As the year winded down and came to a close I was seeing more and more posts on social media saying “2016 needs to end." I believe everyone was ready for a change. The truth is there are a lot of people that are frustrated, given the social and political climates that have been changing daily. We are currently in a liminal state of change as we await our President Elect to take office just after the start of the new year. 2016 was a tough year for a lot of people, myself included.
During the last year I met some great people, produced some awesome shoots, and traveled to new places. Work was good, all-in-all. There were some health obstacles to overcome that made work a bit challenging. I started the year off in the gym and taking a yoga class. I ended up with a slight knee injury due to the yoga class, pre-existing issue that worsened with the yoga, that became a compounded during a hiking trip along the Oregon Coast in February. The compensation from the knee injury over the course of a couple of weeks following our return from the Pacific Northwest led to a misalignment in my back that nearly put me out of work for two weeks. Due to these issues I had stopped going to the gym. After healing up and moving on from those injuries, the warm weather was prime conditions for riding. I am big into mountain biking and cycling. I started slowly with a few rides a week. Between trails and bike paths, I started to rack up the miles. One late afternoon in June I ascended a mountain nearby. I rode 25% of the way up and walked the remaining 75%. It took me a total of 45 mins to get the the peak. I had climbed up using an access road that was in no way shape or form designed for downhill mountain biking. Regardless, I had set a goal, ride back down. Within minutes I was carving down, taking the tight, very tight turns. It took me less than 9 mins to make it down the mountain.
During a few passes riding around the former ski slopes I had a few quick chats with some hikers. One of the girls was impressed someone would tackle such terrain, given that it was not groomed for riding. There were small to medium sized rocks that grew in numbers the more I climbed the trails. Ultimately that would lead to me turning back. As the group passed me a third time, making their way down the trail, one of the girls looked back and said, “good luck. If it were me, I would fall on my face.” Moments later while I was making my way down a path. The path began to open up, expanding in width as I maneuvered my way towards a body of water that had a trail looping it. I increased my speed and looked ahead to see how much further until I took a right onto the path leading off of where I was coming from.
My left hand floated off the handle bars as the front wheel turned 90 degrees sideways. My left hand and wrist broke the fall, taking the brunt of the hit as the front of the bike began to summer-salt forward. As my hand made contact with a rock, my wrist gave out under the tremendous weight of the fall and my shoulder was the next to make contact with the ground. I continue to move, sliding on my shoulder. My face was the third part of me that made contact with the ground. My left hip came crashing down as I slid a bit more and then continue to roll over. I rolled another 90 degrees before I looked over and found myself wrapped up in the bike. I sat up, pushed the bike away from me and recounted what had just happened. I could feel a cool rush on the left side of my face by my eye. My nose had a tingle, kind of like the sensation of being hit with tennis ball at a slow speed. My left hand was throbbing and my wrist was in pain as my hand instinctively curled up. My hip was sore and my shoulder was killing me. Within seconds I was on my feet and digging my phone out of bag, that sat under my seat. I needed to check my face to see how bad the damage was. I slide the screen open, launching the camera. I reversed it and looked at myself. Dazed. There was blood, nothing major. There was more pain than crimson colored blood running down my face. I could feel the swelling starting to form. I slide the screen closed for the camera and began calling my wife. No answer. I had to vacate the path as fast as I could with the sun well beyond the other side of the mountain. I was in agony and need to get home to determine if I needed medical treatment. I walked a short distance up the path, mounted my bike, pedaled up a short hill. I cradled my left arm against me as I passed a group of guys walking. I cant for the life of me remember what they said, nor my response, but the acknowledged that I had just taking a shitter. The biggest shitter of my life. When I reached the car I tried my wife again. No answer. At this point I was now upset, because that meant that I had to drive home. I did not feel that it was a wise decision, but the alternative, calling an ambulance seemed over the top. I could function, the fall to my face, at the time, didnt seem so bad, and I knew the date, my name, and where I was, a I kept mentally checking in, trying to make sure I was not having any signs of possible head trauma, more than the obvious. When I walked into the kitchen my wife was not completely surprised, but she was fearful of the injuries.
I awoke the next morning. The black eye arrived at some point during the night. My left hand and wrist were locked up and I could not move either. My shoulder was tender and my hip was cut and sore. My left eye socked, on the side of my face, was in extreme pain. How the hell was I going to work like this, I thought to myself. I had a small shoot that afternoon and a few shoots lined up over the next few days. After speaking with my wife and trying to call our Dr, I ended up driving to the very same urgent care she visited that same morning. By the time I was able to get in, she had already left. Long story short, my wife and I had the same Dr treat us. She, too, could not reach our primary care and ended up going in for a cut that was infected. My injuries were a growing concern, which of course brought me into the office. After having some X-rays and finally speaking to the Dr, it was determined that due to how fast and rapidly the black eye grew and spread, a CT Scan was needed. If you take a blunt force impact to the face near the eye and a fracture occurs, air can get in through the eye socket and cause an infection that can spread to your brain. No one has time for that kind of shit! I took her very seriously and promised I would make my way to the hospital and get check out. If there was a fracture to my face, I would need surgery to repair the damage and avoid any future issues, such as a killer brain infection. I did not have a break to the wrist. It was as sever strain, which as the Dr said, can sometimes be worse than a break. Pardon me while I stop typing for a moment so I can crack my wrist. For about 8 weeks after the fall I had my wrist tightly wrapped up in a fabric and velcro splint. It was black and had a thin sheet of medal that contoured my hand and wrist. Not very comfortable for working 10-12 hours a day. The next two weeks following the accident were miserable. The pain in my face was annoying and the limited use of my left hand was troubling for work. I felt like I had been in a major car crash, except I wasnt. Instead I had a major accident falling from my bike, which was seemingly worse.
Now, six months later, most mornings I wake up with soreness in my left wrist. The left side of my face has scar tissue on the inside of the skin, near the eye socket. I can see it when I smile in the mirror. My shoulder recently has been sore. My hip, healed up a while ago. 2016 was a tough year for me. I spent a great deal of time healing from all the injuries. The obvious one, the bike accident, took the most time to heal from. For the last 4 weeks I have been back in the gym. My friend and I have been on the stationary bike, less likely to end up with a contusion from that kind of riding, than being out on a mountain, and really getting our asses into gear. I have been longing to be back in the gym the way we have been the last few weeks. The gym is a place that is devoid of all of my work and is a place where I can go to escape almost anything and be free to be active. I am still a bit limited though. The wrist injury, as I said with a sever strain, can be worse than a break, which has caused me to have a slower start with using weights. I was once fairly fit and in the gym regularly, before I met my wife and before I started working 60-80 hours a week. So it has been a long and tiresome road to get to the end of this year.
2016 was a year of self actualization. I produced some great shoots, took projects to new levels, and have begun to reprioritize my career with a focus on specific goals. The latter part, “focus on specific goals,” really began towards the end of 2015, but sometimes we need to take time to ensure our interests are more than that, just interests. I spent a large part of 2016 learning new things about myself, my interests in photography, and how all of this applies to our future, my wife and I. It takes a lot of understanding of ones' self to realize what they want. The hard part isnt figuring out you want to do something, it is figuring out how to make that happen. In November I was doing some portfolio work in New York City and I connected with a photographer, who is now a new friend. She writes for SLR Lounge and is trying to figure out her place and path within the fashion world, but trying to concur New York City as she does so. It is rewarding to connect with someone that is in the same area as I am, a great photographer standing at the front door to a dream, knock, peering in the window, trying to figure out how to unlock the door and gain access to work, lifestyle, and career.
Not to long ago, sometime in mid-November I was searching through hard drives and came across some old work. Work that I was making blindly, with no idea and no consequence. At the time I was a contributing photographer for a small publication. I was hungry then, which meant I was naive enough to pursue things without vision or knowing what I was truly doing. All I knew is that I wanted to shoot and be published. The rest would get figured out as need be. That juvenile mindset allowed me to blissfully shoot without vision, knowing that it would lead me somewhere. Which it did. It lead me to other opportunities, which lead me to shooting my first published fashion shoot. It obviously not Vogue or Vanity Fair, or else I would have said so by now. While searching that hard drive I looked back at the photos and realized that not only have I developed a vision, a set of skills that I have worked hard at, but I have evolved. That is the key word, evolved. As a photographer, an artist, a business, you must evolve. If you fail to evolve it means you are failing to live and learn and grow. If you are not living, learning, growing, you are not succeeding. If you are not succeeding, well, you're shit out of luck in the game of life and you will be forgotten in a New York minute.
2016 was a good year for me in terms of business. I had some great shoots, met great people (as mentioned) and have begun to internalize my dreams and goals for the next year, two years, and the career I am looking to expand. I will say this, the highlight of the year was shooting Dale Noelle in her Upper East Side apartment for the cover of a magazine. Not only did I connect with a great person, but I was able to make some incredible images of her. In order to make a dream a reality, you must go through processes, such as the learning curve it will take in order for you to get there. It starts with the internalizing process. You must prepare yourself for the hard work that is ahead. You can not just say, “I am going to do this,” and the next day you are there, at the top of your career, doing exactly what you want. It just does not work like that. To rise to the top or to any level beyond where you are takes time. For some it is shorter than others, that is the learning curve. However, for others, it takes more time and more hard work. This is where I am at. I am at the self actualization stage, where I can see where I have come from and how I got to where I am, and am now in the “figure it out” phase of the next chapter of my career. Not a lot of photographers openly discuss this. I am not sure if it is because they are too busy, fear letting people know to much about themselves, or just do not care to discuss the intimate details of their business and lives. But as photographers, we must grow and adapt and always be focused on moving our careers forward.
Have you ever wanted to travel some where and finally you get there and realize that it is everything you hoped it was and then some? That is how I would describe the Pacific Northwest. In February we landed in Seattle. We stayed with friends for a few days before we drove down to Portland Oregon. Portland like Seattle is funky city. They are going through a gentrification that was fascinating to see. Their culinary boom is incredible. We ate great! Literally. I connected with a friend from back east and we had some great beers and the following day he cooked us lunch before we made our way to Cannon Beach. While we stayed in Portland we drove down to Multnomah Falls. WHOA. What an incredible place! I was able to see Mt. Hood from a distance and captured that scene from Pittock Mansion. Cannon Beach was an eerie area. We arrived on a foggy afternoon that looked like a scene from the Goonies. We stayed in an awesome bed and breakfast that was within 200' of the ocean. I slept great. I was heavily inspired by Cannon Beach and the surrounding area. It was my first time touching the pacific ocean and experiencing the pacific coast. My vague translation of my internal feelings is due in part to the fact that I could write a novel about the area. I will say this though, I had the great hike of my life as we meandered and wandered up the pacific coast. I saw things and found things I never thought I would, but always hoped. I will be writing some travel posts in the very near future.
From the last week of September into the almost second week of October we were in the south. We had a house on Isle of Palms, South Carolina and spent a few days exploring Charleston. It was our second time down there together. This time we drove, bringing out dogs with us. We faced numerous issues. Our puppy was injured at doggy day care, ended up with kennel cough a few days later, same puppy, and we were evacuated from the island 2 days early due to a hurricane. What a bunch of crap! We had a great trip though, regardless of the issues we faced.
I want to travel as often as I can. I want to see as much of the world as I can. I want to be able to share what I see with others, especially my wife. My goal for 2017 is more travel, both for work and for leisure.
I have had some failures, successes, ideas and desires. At the end of the day I keep going knowing that my good days will be matched by days that are less than desirable. However, the days that are bad, seemingly monumental failures, will pale in comparison to the days that yield the highest rewards. As we leave 2016 I offer this piece of advice. Let us not forget where we have been, but let us remember where we want to be. Keeping yourself focused and determined will ground you to your ambitions as you work towards those goals. For me, 2017 is going to be a great year filled with a lot of work, a lot of networking, promo distributing, and opportunity seeking, in addition to consistently and constantly developing my work. I want to wish everyone a happy, safe, injury free New Year. Let us not forget the talent that we are saying good bye to as we exit 2016, but let us remember how they changed the world.
I once had a business partner. Things did not work out and we parted ways. He moved away. I stayed here and continued running the show. In a way, I always ran the show and held things to a higher standard. The parting of ways was an eye opener. I was able to discover things about myself, my business, and most importantly, the direction I wanted to be going in. While we had a business and a studio and worked toward building a reputation and taking on larger studios in our area, I was building a reputation for myself. I was doing the work that I really wanted to do, which was most important to me. When the time came and things were ready to end, after a small messy battle, I kept moving forward and have made changes with my business.
You will not see me discussing the past business beyond how I did so above. I will not discuss past shoots that occurred under that business. By all accounts, I am that business, have always been that business and will always be that business, that is, until a time comes that I chose to follow other leads in life. I have a new partner now. A new business parter, my wife. She believes in me and wants me to succeed more that the former business partner did. She cares about my business, nurtures my creativity, and wants me to be the success that I am and will continue to be. She does so out of love and care, but also because the more successful I am, the more we prosper as a couple.
My wife, Sue, is always quick to point out the importance of downtime and knowing my limitations. Sue has endured her share of physical set backs. Her health at times is like a roller coaster, up and down, peaks, highs, and lows. She is always encouraging me to rest and get better sleep, which I am finding out makes a huge difference. I have cared for her when she has needed it, never giving her many opportunities to reciprocate. Her mother is a retired nurse. Sue grew up in a house with two other sisters, her father, and the best possible kind of caretaker there is, a nurse. She learned to be more compassionate, undoubtedly, from her mother, who I may add is a sweetheart, and if she is reading this, I'm sure she is now blushing.
Yesterday, while running some errands for the house and picking something up at the Home Depot for a project I am starting, I experienced a pain in my back. It was familiar, yet strikingly new. By the I made it home, I could not walk up the driveway. I attempted to help with a few minutes of yard work and found it to be a challenge. I retired to my new leather chair and ottoman. I fell harshly into it and painfully began to find a spot of comfort. With minimal strength to even lift my legs, I was able to sit into some sort of contorted position that was as pleasant as it was painful. I texted my uncle to let him know I would be unable to join him that evening. I closed my phone and laid back watching season 7 of Californication. I had no idea the rest of the night was going to be a painful spiral downwards.
By the time I was able to get into bed, wiping the tears from my eyes, I was near delusions. Some how she managed to make me laugh, which amplified the pain, which increased the tears and laughter. Oh I was more of a train wreck last night than anything I have seen in a while. After some pills and a few sips of water, I checked out for the night.
12 hours later I rose like the holy man himself. I was in pain, yes, but had to get up and stretch out as well as empty the bladder. Today was a new day with a new possibility of gaining some mobility. Around mid-night I had texted one of my long term clients, whom I am friends with and informed her I had to reschedule the shoot. That is something I do not commonly do. As a business owner, there are times when meetings and shoots have reschedules, and things need to be adjusted. Happens in all industries for countless unforeseeable issues that arise. Today mine was a physical limitation. I was upset and concerned that I would either end up in the hospital or worse have to cancel the first few days of my week.
While I was seeing the light and nearing the level of pain that induces a coma, my first thought was my business, my second thought, was my business, my final thought before passing out, was my business. This is where knowing the importances of your limitations are and knowing how to shut off from time to time comes into play. This week was not horribly crazy, compared to the past. Friday was fast paced day, day before injury, and was not super, over the top crazy. However, the fast movement from place to place, shoot to shoot, in some way contributed to my Saturday collapse. Not that I fell, but that metaphorically I did collapse. It was time to rest. The biggest bummer of all, Sunday, today, was one of the most nicest days we have had this spring. I was looking forward to a successful shoot in the morning, a nice road trip with my wife and our fur kids, and a grilled dinner, with a fire to top it off. So far I have managed to sit in the sun, read 8 pages from a book I am in love with, and barely eat a frozen mash up of rice and beans cooked by one of the finest microwave ovens Best Buy has to offer. However, during all of that, my new partner has been there by my side, holding me as needed, walking with me to loosen up the tight muscles, and tend to the yard work that so desperately needs it.
It is incredibly cliche to say, "don't take things for granted." In some ways, we are as human beings take everything for granted at one point or another in our lives. The flexibility to get in a car and drive anywhere and do just about anything, so long as we have the proper resources, enables us to take for granted what we do have, life. During my struggles and my pains over the last 24 hours, 12 of which we unmeasurable in terms of pain levels, I never kept my wife in mind and thought of how well she is doing with taking care of me. I am not easy to manage when I am in pain and she did a stellar job. While this blog post is more about the undertone, "don't take what you have for granted" and know your limitations and rest as needed so you can avoid injury and risk to your job, life, or business, it is also a way of me publicly saying thank you to my wife. Without her I would have suffered insurmountable levels of pain that would have kept me out for days to come. But her encouragement and support is what has gotten me up. She believes in me in ways I still don't yet understand. But the level of support and creative freedom she gives me gives me courage to fight on and be better than I can imagine.
Thank you Susan.
My career as a graffiti writer was short lived but plays a key roll in my photography. I was introduced to graffiti when I was 14-15 by a friend who showed me a legal wall. Painted from top to bottom on an expansive wall, ironically across the street from the police department, there were characters, lines, colors, every single element of a well composed piece by a reputable crew of talented writers.
At that time I had just finished my first photography class and was already hooked. I made a point to go back and shoot some photos of the painting. Walking in a straight line, left to right, I framed up sections of the painting until I captured the entire piece. Did I mention I did this with an old 35mm film camera and stitched the pano together in camera. When I received the 4x6 prints I taped them down to a piece of cardboard. I still have that photo, 16 years later, sitting in the studio.
i began documenting the places that had the best paintings. I always went alone, never when anyone was painting. I would photograph the paintings that I admired, by the artists I admired. I started doing research, bought sketchbooks and markets and gave myself a name. In high school I was known for drawing, the graffiti. I always had a camera around and was always drawing graffiti. Occasionally Id scribble on a desk, but mostly in my books. Chicks loved it, so did a few of my friends Id skate with. Graffiti went hand and hand with skateboarding. I introduced the medium to a few friends, some of whom either curse me commend me for getting them hooked because they are still at it.
Where I grew up was a haven of writers for years. In the backgrounds I would follow the artists by photographing their work. During that time I began painting, developing my style, learning and researching. I once came across a few paintings on website. I searched the interwebs, way before Google was around, and found something beautiful. The paintings always stuck with me. One eventful day I climbed through a fence, walked down an embankment, stepped onto the train tracks and looked at the wall. I was flabbergasted to see the same paintings I adored. I somehow thought these painted existed in some far off place in the world, not anywhere close to me. I began snapping away. I maneuvered around and kept shooting. There were two sets of tracks and a train quickly approaching. I was in awe and hadn't noticed the impending freight train. What seemed like inches away, the train engineer blew the horn, scared the crap out of me so hard I graffitied my underwear and ran for my life. It was a close call, but I caught some amazing paintings.
For years I followed one group of artists. I was never in their league, not even close. I had a few friends that knew them, but I never met them. I kept my silent distance and photographed their work. Of the group there was one artist in particular that I was inspired by. I admired his work, his style, his bold use of paint. Over the years I heard the rumors of the trouble he got in, the time he did, and that one time a judge let him off by painting a piece right behind the courthouse that had a positive message, "The future is in your hands." It was a beautiful painting of a pair of hands extended from a character the artist made.
One evening I was with a friend. At times he was a chill kid, other times he was a raging dick. That particular night he was a dick. He told me I should never pick up a can of paint again and that I should just make photographs of the writers and their work. He said the world needed someone to document the work and make the books instead of someone that couldn't paint. Id like to say that I took his advice, however I did not. I was not discouraged in the least. I continued painting and documenting what I saw. It would be a few years before I put the cans down. In full disclosure, I was never one of those offensive artists that would maliciously paint everything I could, racking up a case of vandalism. Graffiti for me, as it has been and always will be, is art.
Recently I found out from a friend of mine that the artist I idolized for so many years passed away. I was saddened by this news. While I did not know him personally, I took the loss in my own ways, knowing that another talented artist had left this world too soon. The day I found out about his passing, my long time friend, the one who loves to curse me for getting him hooked, was at an undisclosed location painting a mural with a group of friends. The mural was the last piece the artist was working on. They were painting it in his honor. He invited me down, but due to a shoot, I was unable to make it down. This past week I had a shoot in the neighborhood of the wall. I had a few minutes to stop and admire the work, so I did. I snapped a few photos and thought back to all those short years of the smell of Krylon, markers, discovering new paintings by the artists I admired, and that sensation I got from graffiti. It is sad to think that the artist I admired so much will no longer be producing work. There comes a date when we all retire from what drives us, the things we love and the work we love to produce. Enjoy the days you have and the work you make. Keep sharing, you never know who you will inspire.
The following photos are from the memorial mural.
Key West is the southern most, final destination in the state of Florida. Key West is by all accounts a tiny island in the Florida Keys. My wife and I rented bicycles and were able to ride around the entire island very quickly. Before we got on our two wheels and made our way around the island we took one of those uber, not the car service, touristy trains. Being a tourist, you can hop on a freight train for the unadventurous and get a history lesson of the island from one of the plump drivers. While bopping around the seat, photo-bombing the group in front of us taking "selfies," I spotted a restaurant that spoke to me. I made a mental note of where the restaurant was based on how the driver navigated his choo-choo train.
From the moment we rode past Frita's Cuban Burger Cafe, it was my mission to eat there. The first time I had a cuban sandwich was in Boston. Not the most ideal place to have such a sandwich. It was lack luster, but when you eat something at the bottom of the barrel, that just means that when something is how it should be or when it is served in an authentic environment, it will be life affirming. Frita's would be both culturally relevant and decadent.
We handed over the credit card, signed the papers, and saddled up on the wheels that have probably been ridden more than a Brazilian prostitute. Our bikes moaned and creaked as we cycled our way around the island. Around a corner, down a street, up the block, to the left, followed by a right, we found a beach. Our bikes were equipped with locks, which we used to safely secure them to some bike racks. The water was beautiful. We had a swim, a few moments for photos, and a few minutes laying in the sand and we were off. During our train ride our the island I made a few photos of things we passed, mostly with my Gopro, photos I'll save for later. As we navigated around I built a map of the island, making note of visually appealing landmarks along the way. This mental database would be what helped me pedal our way to Frita's.
You should never judge a book by its cover just like you should never judge a restaurant by how many people are dinning. My wife was a bit reluctant when we rolled up Frita's. I was ecstatic because after half an hour and a wrong turn, we arrived. There wasn't a single person eating, drinking, or doing what people do at restaurants. I didn't hesitate or think anything none-the-less. I first learned about Frita Kahlo when studying Art History at The University of Massachusetts. I knew that if there was a restaurant dedicated to her, the food must be as well composed as her paintings were. I am by no means a food critic. I know what I like, love, hate. I am however one for a culinary adventure. I was eager to sit down, order, and stuff my face.
Everywhere we turned there was portraits of Frita looking at us, greeting us, asking us what we were hungry for. Our table had a bust of Frita painted on it. No matter which angle you sat, she was looking up at you. No doubt the artist who painted her knew a thing or two about perspective. We sat outside, as it was a beautiful, hot day in Florida. Groups of people passed by. Occasionally the brave would stop and read the menu, but most people kept passing by. I kept thinking to myself, "are these people crazy for passing a place like this up, or are they just not in the mood to eat?" My camera was torn from the bag the moment we sat at the table. It was obvious by my behavior that I am not a tourist. Most people get that the moment they see my set up. I made a few photos of our surroundings and a few while the manager came out and took our order. I stood and approached the guy behind the grill. I asked if I could make photographs while he cooked our food. He obliged, even showing a bit of excitement for being photographed, sort of as if it made his day. Dewan from Bangladesh worked the grill like an artist, perhaps the same artist who painted Frita on our table. He was happy to tell us his story as to why he was in Key West, grilling our food. At some point we had a more personable conversation with the manager who took our order. He handed me a business card with his name and email address, so as I could forward him this very post, but during my travels, the business card slipped from my notebook and became a reminder of why I should also write things down in addition to taking a business card. Some book make that card was..
I ordered 2 Cuban Tacos, Sue ordered 1 Cuban burger, I had the ear of Cuban grilled corn, and we shared 3 churros. Like I said, I am no food critic, but what I can say is this, my life changed with every bite I took. The juxtaposition of each element of our food created sinful, lusting, flavor bombs of transcendence. Frita's is the type of restaurant where you will eat something that you will remember. Located off the main road and 90 miles from Cuba, you would think that your eating at a restaurant on the Havana Port.
I am not a food photographer. In September 2014 I produced and photographed a fashion shoot with the theme, "The Perfect Date." This shoot was a spin from a shoot I had done a year prior entitled, "The Perfect Picnic." Both shoots incorporated fashion and incorporated food. The food was just one small accessory to the shoots. Both shoots were fun. Other than that, when food has made an appearance in my work it is been brief.
In 2013 I filmed a photographed a Pop-Up Restaurant that took place a few blocks up from my studio. There I met Chefs Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta. Together they own "Whisk," a pop based restaurant. One of my photographs of Jeremy from the night of "Deposit," the first pop I filmed, was featured on Guy Fiery's show, "Guy's Grocery Games." Later that year, in December I went to their small pop-up restaurant in the North End of Boston. The food was incredible. I tried a few things I hadn't before, such as black squid ink pasta and a sort of beet dish. Prior to that night I had never liked beets. How they prepared it changed my perception of beets. I was hooked on their food. Shortly after they closed their pop-up in the North End, they opened up another restaurant that I had never tried.
This past Friday night I went to their latest pop-up Restaurant, "Whisk at Fazenda." Located in Jamaica Plain, within a cafe, with plans to expand, this pop-up has been the culmination of their careers, as how I see it. I met with my friend and visual artist colleague Chris Davis. Chris is a super talented designer that I met when I attended the Art Institute of Boston for a short period of time. Recently Chris produced a new logo for me. I was in the middle of a visual rebranding and he was responsible for the new logo that is being attached to everything that gets mailed out, featured, shot, whatever I can put it on basically. I invited him to join me.
I must admit, the following photos were shot at the table with my iPhone 6. In addition, that was the first meal I had physically eaten in 4 days. Yes, that is right, first bites of food eaten in 4 days. Before you call me crazy, let me quickly explain. On Sunday I had watched a doc, "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead." The gist of it, he was sick, over weight, almost dead. He embarked on a 60 day course of drinking just juice. He lost the equivalent of a small human being, in terms of weight, stopped taking drugs that were prescribed to him, and became healthy. His work inspired people that he met along the way. As I watched, I said, wow, what a way to become healthier and lose weight. I figured, Ill give that a try. So I did. I set a goal and began working on it. I knew that I was scheduled to eat dinner on Friday night, so I figured that would be the only meal I would have and until then and after then I would keep a strict regiment of fruits and vegetables.
By the time I sat down to dinner I was starving. My brain knew food was about to be introduced into the body, well prepared fine dinning. I was beyond ecstatic. I chose the pescetarian option. It was a no meat but fish 5 course dinner. It was incredible. I am going to spare you the boring, wanna-be food critic breakdown of each dish and allow you to enjoy the photos.
NOTE: I am traveling to the Pacific Northwest at the end of February. I will be producing some travel photography work while we navigate around a few different cities in that region. In addition to the travel photography, I am going to be starting a personal project. When I return I will be sharing the details along with some of the images from the personal project. I am very excited for this project and I hope that you enjoy reading the photographs as much as I will be making them.