If your October 2014 issue of Digital Photo Pro hasn’t arrived yet, you might want to pick one up at a newsstand before they all sell out. With this on the cover, it’s likely to become a collector’s edition: Editor Christopher Robinson and writer Mark Edward Harris (also a talented photographer) did a terrific job on the article. I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s an eight-page profile with nine images, and they used their editing witchcraft to make me sound intelligent and substantive. Mark and I spoke so many months ago, he could have written anything, and I would just figure, yeah, I probably said that. You can see the entire piece online here. Their terrific layouts are below and beautifully printed at your local defunct newsstand.
Category Archives: personal
I’m immensely proud to present my latest testing / portfolio shoot. It just came out in the semiannual printed Workbook. It’s the kind of conceptual shoot I get deep into — like staging a one-act play. You’ll find more (the great Milo Cawthorne with a dead fish in his mouth) on the website.
Shooting at the beach! What fun, right?
Right. But also sort of hell. Sand gets in everything, no matter how many blankets you lay down and how many lights you clamp up high. Without warning the tide surges up and soaks your stuff. The bathrooms are a hike. Seagulls attack your food. There’s nowhere to plug in. Wind topples anything not weighed down with 50 pounds of sandbags. Whether the tide is rising or falling, you’re constantly moving your actors and carefully placed lights with it. When it’s all over, your lenses and cameras are coated with a fine layer of gear-killing salt. Now go home and try to work the sand out of your 15 rented C-stands.
For those of you who are wondering: these images were all done in-camera. No compositing or mixing and matching in post. Great talent, careful coordination and lots of lighting.
Many thanks to the phenomenally talented actors (from right to left in that last shot): Ari Boyland, Milo Cawthorne, Olivia Tennet, Mike Ginn, David Delatour and Fleur Saville. Plus Paul Bennett, who nailed the octopus-head role. And makeup/hair stylist Stephanie Lawrence and always-on-the-ball assistant PJ McMullan.
It’s awards season in the photography world, when we all congratulate each other on our fine work and resent those who won awards that should have been ours. Reminds me of a (not very funny) joke:
Q: How many photographers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Five. One to screw it in. Four to stand around and say, “I could have done that.”
I’m proud to say that some of last year’s work has won awards:
American Photography 29: Three images (here, here and here) — including two from my Night Cars series — were chosen to be part of the permanent American Photography archive online. Out of 9,000 images submitted, only 185 received this honor.
2013 Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards: My Lost Boat image (see the website and blog) is a winner in the self-promotion category. Appearing soon in the May/June 2013 Photography & Illustration Awards issue.
2012 One Eyeland Photography Awards: The Lost Boat image won a silver medal in the self-promotion category. Plus you get this snazzy certificate:
For some reason I’ve had this image in my head for a few years now. It involves Victorian mariners lost on a boat, stranded perhaps, not going to say where since this is just a teaser. I had to get it out of my head and on to film (so to speak), so I gathered props and wardrobe and brilliant actors and my favorite crew from around the city, and I finally shot the thing. Took five days of scouting just to find the location. My little 35mm f/2 lens literally fell apart after I found the location near dark on the fifth day.
It’s probably my favorite shoot ever. Look for it in the spring 2013 Workbook, out in less than a month. In the meantime, there’s a fragment of it on my website, and I offer you these fine behind-the-scenes shots from my friend, the great photographer Max Gerber:
Even sailors need a little touch-up now and then.
I swear I’m not posing. Didn’t even know Max was shooting.
Wayne “Animal” Lewis. We had to tie him to the boat.
Not sure what YOHA means.
Because every shoot needs a starlet: Rose McIver, the not-dead sister from “The Lovely Bones.”
Milo Cawthorne, another great New Zealand actor and the source of my best jokes.
That one’s perfect. Let’s shoot 140 more.
The talent and crew went way beyond my dreams for this one. My heartfelt thanks to all of you:
Captain: Byron Kavanagh
Navigator #1: Milo Cawthorne
Navigator #2: Wayne Lewis
Oarsman: Eddie Guzelian
Lady of the Sea: Rose McIver
First Assistant: Paul Bennett
Behind-the-scenes photography: Max Gerber
Stylist: Georgie Perrins, puppethorse.com
Hair and Makeup: Veronica Sinclair, veronicasinclair.com
Studio: Helms Daylight Studio
Giant prints, around 32″ x 40″. Photographed entirely at night (not dusk, not the magic hour, but night), by streetlight, on 4″ x 5″ film. Exposures range from 4 minutes to an hour. An ongoing series.
Prints are 20″ x 20″. Like the trees, photographed entirely by streetlight at night (not sunset or twilight, but night). Exposures range from two to 40 minutes, all on medium-format film. An ongoing series.
Big 40″ x 32″ print. A Metro-rail overpass, photographed on expired Polaroid film with an ancient Polaroid 110A Land Camera. Part of my Night Polaroids series.
Prints are 16″ x 16″ (with a panoramic at 32″ x 16″). Photographed by helicopter on September 29, 2012, during the 405-freeway closure of Carmageddon II. All on medium-format and panoramic film.
Prints are 17″ x 22″. An extremely eco-friendly home in the Hollywood hills, designed by architect Beth Holden and photographed originally for Angeleno Interiors magazine.
About 150 people turned out to see my Urban Archaeology exhibition last Saturday. It was a crazy evening topping off a crazy week, and I didn’t shoot a single photo of the opening. Got some crappy iPhone photos from my awesome brother, who had the presence of mind to think that someone should document this. That’s me, in the grey shirt in the middle, probably talking about the perils of shooting long exposures in residential neighborhoods at night (security guards, police, dog poo, rain).
Get out those credit cards, people.
Note for future shows: Place the cocktail bar inside the gallery rather than out back; it’s where everyone hangs out.
Thanks to the brilliant people at New Theme gallery for making it a success. Complete image catalog in the next blog post.
It ain’t baseball, but it is the major leagues. Like probably every photographer out there, I shoot personal work and figure that, someday, when art historians are poring over my images and deciphering their meanings, there will be some kind of gallery retrospective showing a career’s worth of brilliant art produced silently and invisibly for years.
Well, brilliant or not, it’s time to stop being invisible. I’m having a major solo show, Urban Archaeology, at the New Theme gallery next Saturday, February 2.
The show is indeed a compilation of several years of work, all documenting various facets of Los Angeles, including Night Trees (all on 4×5 film) …
Night Cars (all on medium-format film) …
Night City (all on Polaroid) …
And my imagery of the work of New Theme Architecture, which is bringing new forms to Los Angeles architecture:
OK — time to get back to scanning and dust-spotting. It’s glamorous, the life of a photographer.
I’m proud to have this large-format image in the APA’s “Off the Clock” exhibition, curated by the Getty Museum’s former photography curator, Gordon Baldwin.
The aftermath of my niece’s 6th birthday party. Shot on film with a big, bad 4×5 camera. Scanned with a 400-pound drum scanner.
The exhibition is currently hanging at TBWA/Chiat/Day in Los Angeles, then moving to Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Boulder in the fall.
If you want to see the exhibition, you can either get a job at one of those agencies, smooth-talk your way in, or become a courier or something.
Ever owe a friend a letter for a long time? And the longer you wait, the harder it gets to write back? Because you have so much more to tell?
Well, my friend, I’ve owed you a post for a long time. And I have a lot to tell. But I’m going to pretend that we just spoke, and this is simply a casual addendum. That way this whole thing is easier to write.
Last time I wrote to you, the 72″ panoramic of the San Francisco bay was my masterwork. Well, there’s a new one — the ad I’m running in Vol. 3 of Luerzer’s Archive, which is being mailed out right now. (If you don’t know Archive, it’s a magazine about and for the advertising industry, and most of the ads in it are from photographers). This time I decided to do something different with my ad.
Don’t sweat it if you can’t read all the text. Just know that it involves my new agent, a poem Andy Dick wrote for me for $1, a collection of 1970s sports trophies and a vintage meat cleaver. All brought together by the amazing Oksana Badrak and her brilliant-as-usual design. If you really want to read all the text, send me an email for a larger version: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next up: another post! So much to tell!
Hello! Pardon the absence. Sometimes things get very busy, which is good. But value and convenience is what I have promised, so here’s the latest serving.
I’m calling this my masterwork, and this tiny blog format doesn’t do it justice:
It’s the San Francisco bay, stitched together via three 39-megapixel shots. The finished file weighs in at 1.33 GB and prints out to 72″ x 20″.
The depth is incredible. Look at the detail on this docked ship, just below Alcatraz:
Now that’s what proper technique can get you.
OK, seriously. There is some nice detail in there.
For the 25 pioneers who subscribed after last week’s blog announcement, here’s a special welcome gift: the world premiere of my latest test. (Note to my parents: a “test” is a shoot I create, produce and finance for my portfolio.)
My 5-year-old nephew, Atticus.
Yes, Atticus. His sister’s name is India.
Take that, Hailey, Aiden and Madison!
The concept was to have Atticus scanning the sky for aliens while life continues unawares in the adult house in the background. We got about 60 shots before dusk and his acting ability vanished. Still, it’s remarkable what candy can do for a kid’s attention span. For a single, nasty Sweet Tart he’d manage five solid shots in a row.
Back at the computer, once I found this expression of amazement and horror, I knew I needed a beam coming down from the sky. When you’re a kid looking for aliens, the last thing you expect is for them to actually show up.
Many thanks to my crew; to Joan for the truck; and to Adam for making the antennae, overseeing the talent and allowing us to take over his entire property.
Last night’s wind was so strong, it tore the lid off my trailer’s skylight. Oddly, the lid only blew about three feet. That’s it in the foreground.
I used the long handle of our squeegee to drop a five-pound weight on it. I never use those dumbbells anyways.
A brand-new personal series on one of my favorite places to camp, shoot and ponder. If you have never walked an empty highway at midnight in the middle of the desert, this is the place to do it. The scenery is positively prehistoric. (Note: there’s a lot less retouching in these than you think.)
… to visit my sister, her husband and their wild children. And if you shoot at all, you know there’s nothing more liberating than shooting in a new place, spontaneously, without planning, lighting or agenda. It’s what drew us to photography in the first place. Personal work is what recharges us.
The 1974 Chevy Vega that I seriously considered buying.
On the road.
Owen hitting my sister in the car — the moment I realized that maybe one kid is enough.
Smitty’s BBQ employee Virgil Hendershot, as dry and crusty as the meat they serve. Lockhart, TX.
Lockhart girls dressed for some weekend Mexican dancing. I owe their mom some jpegs. Man, do I owe a lot of people jpegs.