Maggie at the Petrified Forest/ Painted Desert

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I’ve always had a problem: I live in the Southwest- surrounded by exotic, beautiful environments like the Painted Desert- but it’s just far enough away that it’s not feasible to take a pro stylized model with me to shoot out there.  Enter my daughter Maggie, who at age 8 has been in enough of Daddy’s shoots in her lifetime to finally get styled and shot way out amongst the petrified wood.  Hair and makeup done by her mom/ my wife Vesna Miller.  We’re going to make this a routine thing- once a month- with the goal of building up a youngster to be an ultra stylized look.

All images done with Fuji X-T2 and either the 35mm 1.4 lens or 23mm 2.0 lens.

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REmixALina Fashion Video

REmixALina is a new kind of video for me – a fashion art piece in collaboration with actress and model Alina Lee.  The music is a thing I created way back in 2014, and I’m thrilled that somehow it all gelled together.  Remix and collage culture is the largest artistic influence on me- greater than pop art and surrealism.  The title, “REmixALina” was the result of leaving the caps lock on and then paying tribute to a hidden intention.

Fashion videos are of a huge interest to me currently!  Any fashion videos anyone wants to recommend to me?

 

 

Surreal Pop with Gel Lighting Techniques

One of my favorite ways to get the kind of surreal pop I love in my photography is to use the simple combination of colored gels and LED lights.  Here we look at a few ways to use gels and why they are a valuable addition to any art and portrait photographer’s toolkit.

All images in this video shot with the Fuji X-T2 and the Fuji Neo Classic Instax Mini 90, models include Shasta Wonder, Kaila Stone, Mckenzie Eckels, and L. Shima.

Out of Control Photography

I usually cite 1997 as the year I started taking photography seriously as my main form of artistic expression, so over the last 20 years of creative practice, school and teaching others I’ve absolutely internalized a lot of photographic rules and commonly accepted wisdom.  It’s very easy to make a photo that ticks all the boxes of what’s supposed to happen in a photo- which is why I’ve been stretching myself in the last few months to make work that surprises myself.  One of the main strategies is to use a camera where I can’t 100% full compose the picture, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, and I shoot material where either I’m in motion, the model is in motion, or we do some random effect to it like double exposure or damaging the film.

Inevitably this leads to some garbage shots, but no higher percentage than the ones I would say I get by doing straight “composed in the viewfinder” type of work.

The above images were shot with model Kaila Stone in my Tempe studio, and we had a blast getting crazier and crazier with the instax- tossing them in the air, doing non-portrait portraits with the leg jammed through a backdrop.  These were voted favorites over all the more straighter, “everything in its right place” type images.

A few words about Ren Hang

It’s been a week since one of my favorite photographers, Ren Hang, apparently took his own life at the age of 29.  Ren made very stark, minimal, ring-lit images of people in piles, nude, doing strange things with animals or genitals, but all very unsexy.  It felt to me like a statement on the weirdness of just being a walking organic mess.

I’ve been showing Ren’s work to everyone I work with for the last year or so- a Pinterest board full of loose, random, colorful, “unposed” poses- and to some extent I’ve gotten some successful images, but nothing like the kick in the balls that Ren made with every image.  He left behind such a mountain of images, each one a masterpiece.

Rest in peace, Ren!