Thursday, December 23, 2010

East Coastmas, Pt. 3

Some frames from NYC.
Shot in Chinatown after getting cheap, delicious dumplings with Claire.
Textures: blue painted wood
I've been going texture crazy. Not much to say about these.
Textures: brick wall
Textures: garage door
Textures: bark
On the other hand, I have a lot to say about the gemstones exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.
I collected gems and minerals as a kid, and can still tell you the Mohs scale hardness of quite of few of them. Jade was always one of my favorite semiprecious stones (it ranges in hardness depending on the variety, but is in the neighborhood of 6.5) because of the sheer variety of color and pattern. These sculptures are unbelievably ornate and beautiful.
Largest star sapphire in the world
This is the largest star sapphire in the world, about the size of an egg. JP Morgan himself gifted it to the museum, one of his few redeeming acts in my opinion.
Fancy sapphires
I discovered this exhibit only a half hour before the museum closed, and will definitely return. I'm pretty sure I was the only one there with tears of unadulterated awe streaming down my face. No shame. I felt incredibly fortunate to be alive and in the presence of the most amazing collection of natural beauty. I really, really want to go back. It got me thinking about Sebastiao Salgado's photos of miners, and the human suffering that no doubt resulted from the acquisition of these marvelous specimens. There is a flip-side to the beauty... avarice. Perhaps I can explore this concept in greater depth. Anyone want to buy me a ticket to Sri Lanka?

East Coastmas Pt. 2

Here's a few more frames from Detroit. This stretch SUV pulled up and a red-faced drunk yelled something unintelligible at me, then he threw up a "hang loose."

The GM building. Appropriately, the sign was broken, scaffolding was up for the repairs, but no one appeared to be working on it.

The Heidelberg project was just a big bag of weird. I approve.

Sarah and I went to Windsor, Canada for about an hour. This is the bridge that brought us, mercifully, back to the good ol' US of A.

Anyone else see the total Lunar Eclipse during the winter solstice? Apparently the next coincidence of those events will happen in 2094, I'm told. This isn't a great frame since I only had a 35mm lens, but it's a pretty accurate depiction of my view from Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Monday, December 20, 2010

East Coastmas, Pt. 1

Post-graduation wanderlust drew me back to New York to reconnect with my friends from the Texodus (the Daily Texaners who moved to Brooklyn) and Eddie Adams.


The bike lanes here are fairly treacherous if you're a rodent. Or a cyclist.

Who did I meet on one of my first nights here? Only Philippe Petit, the incredible man who walked the high-wire between the World Trade Towers.

Galya, my dear friend from the workshop.

You know me, always a sucker for Christmas lights.

I took the Amtrak train to Toledo, OH to see another EAW amiga, Sarah Miller (no relation... other than photo kinship.)

We went to Detroit, the rustiest of cities.

I really wanted to see the artistic rejuvenation taking place in this ruined city, so Sarah took me to the Heidelberg Project.

Artists went to a neighborhood full of dilapidated vacant houses and turned it into, well, this. The drug dealers and gangs now leave it alone due to the increased tourist traffic.

More to come...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mother Falcon music video

Filmed a concert with my friends... guess which shots are mine? (Hint: the D5000 is hella grainy)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

oh snap

I graduated!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lucio Reyes Torres

I met an out of work mechanic from Mexico yesterday. He spoke at a norteƱo clip, which is to say rapidly, but we had a very nice conversation about thrift stores and the economy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gone to Kansas

I went to Kansas this weekend to photograph the Kansas State game. As with everything, the journey was an experience in itself.

I won't say which ones I took while I was at the wheel.

But it was most of them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


People seem to like this shot...

I'm not sure if I see it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Eddie Adams Workshop XXIII 2010

This year I was blessed with the opportunity to attend the Eddie Adams Workshop. For my readers who haven't heard of this event, it is a merit-based, tuition-free workshop sponsored primarily by Nikon, held on a beautiful piece of property in upstate New York in a town called Jeffersonville. It's also known as Barnstorm. Eddie Adams started this workshop 23 years ago. It's hard to say whether it's the most important thing he ever did, because he did so much important work, but it was the most crucial four days of my entire life. Thank you Eddie. I wish I'd gotten to meet you, but I was glad you were present in every conversation, every quiet moment, every blade of grass on that beautiful land. There I go, getting teary-eyed before I've even begun.

That's Poon, one of the ten members of Gray Team, the group I was fortunately selected to be a part of.

That's Tim Rasmussen, the AME of photography at the Denver Post and Gray Team's editor. To his right is Lisa Biagiotti, my multimedia producer and an all around nice gal.

That's Lisa Krantz, a photographer at the San Antonio Express News and our team's producer. To her right with the starry eyes is Michael Williamson, a stupendously talented photographer at the Washington Post and our team leader. Truly, truly a leader.

Each team had a different theme. Ours was "The Fall of Life," which had me expecting a hospice or elder care facility. Well, I was half right. I didn't expect them to drop all ten students at one location, the Jeffersonville Adult Home.

It was part half-way house, part nursing home, part asylum, and all interesting. The kind of access we had was simply unheard of. We had free reign of the place. Shooting around everyone on our team was sort of a challenge, but everyone had a different person to cover (except for me, I'll get to that) so there wasn't too much overlap.

That's Zach Ornitz, a badass photog from Colorado who covered Victor, one of the younger and happier residents.

My experience was slightly (okay, a lot) different from my teammates. Whereas they covered one person primarily, I volunteered to be the multimedia guy, which meant I would produce a piece incorporating stills, video and audio. It also meant I wasn't covering just one person, rather my project focused on the home as a character, viewed through the lens of various characters within the home. Victor was a big part of my story. I'll post that video as soon as it's available on Vimeo. I worked very closely with Lisa Biagiotti during this whole process.

As you can see, though, she was the Final Cut guru and produced the piece. The first time I saw it in its completeness was with everyone else at the workshop, at the very end.

I found it a challenge to juggle collecting audio with shooting video and making stills. But that's why I came to the workshop, after all, to get pushed to the very edge of my abilities. It pushed me beyond my abilities, in all honesty. I was out there in no-man's-land. But it all came together in the end.

So that was my trial by fire. But that's not even the half of it. The workshop was also an incredible educational experience. We had dozens of speakers, including several personal heroes.

John Moore, a wicked talented Getty photographer who covered the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Also, a Daily Texan alum from way back when who probably holds the record for longest employed photographer... 11 semesters! Sorry Peter and Bryant and Joe Bug, I think he's got you beat. He was kind enough to give me a portfolio review and have a great conversation with me.

Another part of the equation were my teammates. That's Ted Nieters, Nathanael Turner and Elliott Woods. Wow, what can I possibly say about Gray Team. These are some talented, supportive, positive folks. I truly believe I made friends for life in these wonderful photographers.

It's hard not to compare yourself to the people you're around, so when I saw myself reflected by my teammates, I realized just how far I have to go. Ted and Elliott had just returned from Gaza, AnnaMarie had an incredible jumping project, Zach had moved across the country to pursue his personal passion and bliss in Colorado, and the list goes on and on... what does it mean to me? I'm still not quite sure. There was so much to process at this workshop, and I only returned to Austin last night. I am certain that I'll have many more personal revelations as I continue to think about what happened in that barn.

I cannot overstate how much this workshop impacted me. I've talked about work, education and friendship so far, but I didn't expect EAW to affect me spiritually.

Every year there is a memorial service for the journalists who gave their lives in Vietnam. It brought home the message that we are a small industry, but a big family. I love my new family and will never abandon them.

For me, the yellow balloons represented our fragile mortality. We're travelers from one realm to the next, and whatever we're made of is bounded by the thinnest of membranes. As I released my balloon, I felt a cathartic wave rush over me and I knew, really knew that this was the right path. I am a photographer.

Eddie Adams built me up, broke me down, build me up, broke me down, I can't count how many times. I cried countless tears, I laughed with uncontrollable joy, I shared many drinks, hugs and photos with my compatriots. It was a personal sea change.

And at the end of it all, I am exhausted yet filled with a vast energy, ready to tackle whatever comes next, camera in hand.

Thank you, Eddie.