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.
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.
Some video pieces grow out of a plan, and others form organically; “Bernardo” is definitely one of the latter. I had shot with artist Meredith Adelaide, and it went so well we scheduled another day the following week. I had used up my more fully fleshed out concepts on our first day, so we ended up visiting the Phoenix Art Museum and shooting around the Salt River based on 2 ultra-basic FX ideas I had written in my notes (“light painting in firefly room” and “hovering with trampoline”). There was a random encounter with a frog at the Salt River that seemed to shape the experience- Meredith randomly dubbed him “Bernardo”, and somehow he ended up being the focus of this particular video art piece. A random encounter between a woman and a frog leads to a cosmic experience for both. Filmed on the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera> and effects in Adobe After Effects.
Model Annie Montgomery, hairstylist Laura Buenrostro and fx artist Brittany Moody, shot August 2014. It was shortly after I’d returned from Greece and Macedonia and wanted to shoot something evoking the ancient statues, though it definitely has a vibe all its own and it’s better for it. Today I think it’s like a fantasy character stalking suburbia.
As a minimalist, I look for environments that are clean and open without chaotic elements. It doesn’t get any more open and less chaotic than the Great Salt Lake outside Salt Lake City. It’s one of those areas, like White Sands in New Mexico, where people frequently say how it feels like being on another planet. When leaving Salt Lake City, there is a pull off from I-80 with paid parking, and about 2 minutes further down a dirt road is a large tagged up rock with free parking and not much in the way of interference from other lookie-loos except for sunset time. A beautifully empty, if smelly, place.
The most purely fun thing I’m working on currently is my series of surreal Fuji Instax Mini which I call Twisted on my site. It’s not much more than the same old in-camera effects, but coupled with the lo-fi flatness of instant film, it’s almost prehistoric in its vibe. I attribute this to the “truthiness” of what we traditionally expect from Polaroid or any of its knockoffs- whatever is in the picture is really real. This image of model Victoria Elle shot in Brooklyn last May, and I have the original for sale on my Etsy site.
Ever since the positive feedback I received for my instax mini work at Photolucida and the Palm Springs Photo Fest workshop in April, I’ve been laser-focused on getting better with that particular style. Luckily I have some friends, like Lacheln here, who enjoy being shot this way, and love experimenting with the weird in-camera effects. The above image used the Fuji Neo Classic double exposure capability, and the below image is just a well-placed fan.