I’ve added 10 new prints to my Etsy store, 7 of the 10 being from 2014 shoots (somewhat censored here but uncensored on the Etsy page). So far I haven’t been making editions of images, which keeps the cost down and makes the prints available to anyone who wants to buy them. Models are Lauren Ashley, Mosh, Ammalynn, Aurora O’Brien, and Victoria Lee.
Starting to write people of interest to photograph in Vancouver for August.
If Macedonia + Greece taught me anything, it’s hard to go to a new place and not know anyone to photograph. My wife knew so many people in Macedonia, or met people through other people, that it was very easy to find subjects and even do 2 model shoots. We knew nobody in Greece and didn’t have time to meet anyone and it’s just snapshots. I like photos with living things (people and animals) and even if I shoot interesting landscape and textures and historical things, those images don’t fit in with my style of art. I don’t have a whole lot to say with landscapes.
I could travel and not shoot models, but a large part of my art is based around model photography (as much as many classic painters and illustrators base themselves around painting people/ women in particular) and thanks to social networking it’s relatively easy to make art while traveling. Go to a city for a day or two, have a couple models lined up and shoot for 2 hours, get out of there with all the raw material for art.
But I really hate writing and sending that opening message! You have to explain yourself, what you want, if there’s any compensation whatsoever (which there usually isn’t beyond the promise of my particular style of quality photos), and pretend to know all the details of something a month away, and do it in about 3 sentences. It’s like being a door-to-door salesman.
One bit of my recent European trip I haven’t posted much about was our day in Thessaloniki, Greece. I’ll preface this by saying, “mistakes were made,” but they were all our own. I invite other photographers and travelers to take note of our mistakes and don’t be like us.
Greece is to the southwest of Macedonia, and a 3 hour drive. We chartered a private driver to take us there, 90 Euros roundtrip. The driver found a busy street corner where he said he’d pick us up at 5pm, then dropped us off at a different spot near the waterfront by the obvious landmark “The White Tower.” “Why didn’t he just say he’d pick you up at the same spot?”, I hear you ask through the interwebs? I don’t know but that gives a clue to our problems.
Now, my experience in major cities is A. the good stuff is usually close together B. signs are in English C. there are maps available to give clues as to what one is doing. Also, I’m used to having my phone to access information and directions. Thessaloniki has:
a tourist board with no maps
signs that point you towards tourist destinations with no clue as to how far
far less English signs than Macedonia, and no Macedonian anything (Greeks and Macedonians quarrel over the name Macedonia)
no service for my phone, or Wife’s phone which we needed to contact our driver
lots of hills and heat
no beach by the waterfront, just concrete
Rough stuff. Within this scenario, Wife loaded up a backpack with unnecessary items which was ridiculously heavy, especially walking around the hills of the city. I had spent only 4 minutes prior to the trip looking up museums and locales and picking out things to do, not even bothering to draw myself a map on a piece of paper. I had a totally different concept in my head of how simple it would be to get around, communicate, and be picked up.
After a couple hours of walking in circles, we took a cab (Wife presuming it would be an overpriced 40 Euro drive to a zoo when it turned out to be 3 Euros). The Thessaloniki zoo, while entertaining our children as intended, was basically a bear and some chickens and deer- not worth the effort for the journey. It was free though!
We visited some Roman ruins, which were cool to me but of no interest to the kids.
We went to the Archaeological Museum where the kids remained tired in the lobby while Wife and I took turns exploring. I love Greek sculpture, so this was by far the highlight for me. No fun for complaining tired kids.
There was an Expo area, sort of a “World’s Fair” type of place, that I would’ve fully explored had I not been carrying two youngsters with me. Let’s not pretend that we can shoot anything well while saddled with children who just want to be out of the heat, fed, at home.
Finding our driver, or him finding us, the less said the better, but we left the city maybe 20 minutes later than intended, no one died and we didn’t waste money beyond expensive Coke. On the journey back the kids were thrilled to get American toys at the Duty Free shop, and our driver smuggled cigarettes into Macedonia using the old “I’m showing these American tourists around” ploy.
In the end… I chalk it up to a similar experience to any other major city I visit for the first time, where I’m totally a tourist and all the pictures I take are very surface snapshots. Wife and I both agreed that this was the most difficult day of the trip, but at least I got another country stamped on the passport!
LYYRSELF and love this no-budget video I shot at Rooster Cogburn’s Ostrich Ranch between Chandler and Tucson.
The track itself is one of the more guitar-oriented Artificial Human tracks which bears signs of U2, the Verve and Curve in its DNA. Vocals are by Luxbot Lacheln. The phrase behind the song came from a conversation with model Glass Olive who described to me her philosophy of self acceptance.
For more AH music and info go here
One of the most underused elements of a photograph’s composition is the relative scale between things. Making objects appear bigger or smaller, nearer or further, is a way of conveying an idea as much as having a portrait subject smile or frown or dress stylized. These images were shot in Macedonia- Skopje and Gostivar, respectively. I’d done plenty of panos of the Archaeology Museum above, but the only one to break away from the “postcard aesthetic” was this one featuring a rare Skopje police car in front.
Imagine a school portrait- it’s a subject in front of a background, plain and simple and boring. The photo can be jazzed up to some degree- for example, these vintage ethnographic images, or any of Richard Avedon’s classically minimalist portraits- but my personal feeling at the moment is, I want to create portraits that involve a person with an environment.
This interaction means some touching, some elements in the foreground as well as the background to give the illusion of depth on a 2-dimensional plane.
The overall effect is to make use of more “real world” settings and create more of a scene in the sense that old movies had big practical sets that the actors rampaged around and everything had an aura of authenticity.
Model Angel Lin with facepaint by Jamie Graden, two old friends of mine in LA. Jamie and I had discussed “extra features”, inspired by an illustrator, but when it came time to actually do the painting on the face, it became clear that Jamie’s style on a real-life face wouldn’t blend exactly like it did in the artist who was completely illustrating the image. We ended up with this interesting facial pose to emphasize Jamie’s contributions without mixing too much with actual eyes and lips.