Over the years my photography has gotten more and more focused around a plan – booking studio time, working with booked models or paying clients, even basing my own family photography around trips to exotic locations in the Southwest or Alaska or Hawaii or Mexico. It has been a long time where I just went out with the camera and shot stuff without a plan.
Tonight, on a routine trip to McDonald's with the kids, the sun hit just right and my daughter Maggie's hair was just the right combination of wild and fashionable.
I feel like to get good at a creative medium, or keep up one's chops, it's important to work at it during "off" time- like an illustrator who sketches while watching tv. Shot with the Fuji X-T2 and 35mm 1.4 lens.
In light of the massive number of gear reviews and how-tos on YouTube, I felt like making a short vlog focusing on developing a personal vision. In Part 1, I tell you about some of my own photographic heroes – Sebastio Salgado and Ralph Eugene Meatyard- and how they influenced some of my own work.
Corie Shannon is a model who I ended up working with based on a fun, talkative video posted on YouTube where she outlined some of her core beliefs. We had the opportunity to shoot around Phoenix a bit and I finally got to use my Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, though it was on a completely unfamiliar steadicam so my work was less than steady. The title of this, “Radical Feelism,” is based on a tattoo you can barely make out on the inside of Corie’s arm, and she goes into much greater detail in the actual video.
These images were “round 2” with Portland model Maryjane McLain, which is to say, the second time I got to work with her in the last 6 months or so. We had access to a dive-y bar which all kinds of psycho stuff written on the walls, and it was a complete blast to shoot amongst the bar patrons and in the creepy, ratty basement. I have been a recent admirer of the South African rave-rap group Die Antwoord who have a similar rat-like vibe thanks to their frequent collaborations with photographer Roger Ballen; it’s not quite the same as shooting with a stylish Maryjane but you can see where some of the influence comes from.
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.
I was in LA earlier this month and had the opportunity to shoot with a model long on my wishlist, Mckenzie Eckels. One of my gimmicks during this trip was a diffusion filter roll bought 2 years ago but never used; I was inspired to chop holes in it by 1950s Vogue photographer Erwin Blumenfeld, and we took advantage of messing up Mckenie’s makeup towards the end on the diffusion.
This ended up being one of my favorite images from the trip, one that barely shows the model but shows a lot of personality. Shot with the Fuji X-T2 with the magnificent Fujinon XF35mmF1.4 R.
I’ve put together a little formula for how I’ve conducted my recent shoots, which is: some video, which takes a while to compile/ edit/ do fx + sound for etc., and then some instant film shots, which are already done the moment they come out of the camera. This seems to satisfy the need for immediate results while giving me something to work on for the next couple months.
Alina aka Thumbelina
It’s fascinating how sometimes the work that gets the best response is the stuff that’s simplest or easiest or quickest to create like this. These were shot with the Fujifilm Instax Mini Monochrome Film, my new go-t0 creative tool for stills!
On my youtube channel I have a couple video tutorial/ reviews of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera…
…and the new monochrome film I use to make these!