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The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's

lives.

 

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Monday
Feb082010

Birth, Death & Taxes...

Most photographers would kill to cover a war, an election, a riot, but in reality, most of us are not ready for a photo shoot to become a life or death experience for anyone involved. The closest I’d come to that before was a mother of the bride who drank too much tequila in her Evian bottle prior to the ceremony and fell off the alter…Believe me, photojournalism is the axle which drives this girl, but ethics in capture are not only relevant to the streets of Baghdad. Just as we make choices on how to shoot, we must make choices as why to shoot...



Birth, Death, and Taxes. The three things we are sure of in this life, each affecting our existence in profound ways, but I couldn’t imagine attempting to capture the process of paying taxes on camera. I’m afraid that would take a wide angle…
Capturing birth, now that I’ve done, living at my client’s hospital waiting room, perched on the single-ottoman-excuse –for-a-chair for 22 hours, camera propped at my side, I sat jealous of the zees it croaked as I clicked the power switch on and off in an attempt to jar some life into the process of capturing the most miraculous experience God gave man (and woman). I’d had four children, yet had never been on the “other end”. Suddenly my text “bllllings”and I am notified the time has come. The team was ready for blastoff. The Zombie photographer must rise as I am summoned to the delivery room, a bathing glow of catheterized light beckons me into her lair. The hallway rumbles with muffled verbage as I near the portal of reincarnated kings, Room 208.

I was ready. Or so I thought. Her legs were spread. My eyes were wide. The husband slunk in the corner. Their children sat with their nanny in the corner coloring pictures of unicorns. She was a pop star, he was not. The doctor was famous, the nurse was not. I was exhausted, the baby….well, let’s just say we understood each other; Our senses collided in kinship, both locked in a room with people we did not know, the air being sucked out of our lungs, the lights burning our eyes, and unaware of what the next push may bring. The medication created a surreal ease to the Mom, almost a stoned like haze and benign detachment to the process, unaware that the medical bracelet she wore revealed her actual age. The doctor’s orders barked gently through the blip of the fetal monitor, push after push, like a salmon swimming upstream the baby glurbed forward, then back, then forward, then back, then….he stopped. The salmon hit a rock he could not maneuver around. The waves slapped at his back and his gills flapped against the waves. The air filled. My heart raced. The nurse moved…quickly. I shuttled to the back of the room, clicking my shutter as though nothing were wrong, as though the salmon was fine. The doctor’s hands which once held his own image in People, grappled for the forceps, the protection of competence clasping the challenged calm of his face. The not so famous nurse laid her body over the pop star’s belly, pushing with all of her Slovakian might. The king had crowned, his septar grounded in the womb and refusing to un-earth.  The father got up. The children drew unicorns. The doctor cleared his throat. The nurse was the flight attendant on the crashing plane, not a wink of alarm to concern the passengers on this journey…

I had placed myself in the unfathomable position of witnessing two of the most certain elements of life occur at one time. And no, this had nothing to do with taxes…
To what degree should we as photographers put our wellbeing not just physically, but emotionally at risk? Not much can go wrong at a funeral. The worst has already occurred. The images captured reflect the final moments of a loved one’s life. I was simply hired to capture the beginning of life. For the very first time, I realized, I am not wonder woman with a lens. Forty-eight hours without sleep, I left room 208 with images of a beautiful, recovering, healthy baby boy. The doctor’s silver strands shifted to a slightly darker shade of graphite, the siblings coo’ed over his tiny head as the father stroked his cheek. I witnessed a miracle, captured the first moments of life outside the salmon stream, but why was I so numb? My passion for my job became the energy source needed to propel me through the boot-camp of birth photography. I couldn’t help but thinking, what if I left without images of his sisters cooing to the beat of his twitching fingers stumbling across his nose.  What if …
What if I had suffered emotional damage due to the fact I had placed myself in such a precarious position? I was not a loved one there to support my family or friend. I was hired to observe and capture as beings played the eternal game of fetal roulette. The fact is, is that birth is a natural occurrence, but even natural herbs can be dangerous.  Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Just because I can be hired to cover a birth, doesn’t mean I should. Sometimes as photographers we get so used to saying yes, to accepting a job because it is something new or different, we don’t step back and weigh the potential consequences of our choice.

Of course, if this birth had gone smoothly, if he weren’t blue and limp when he emerged, if he had been breathing right away, if the doctor weren’t awkwardly famous and fumbling, if the father hadn’t slept through half of the labor and if the children hadn’t been coloring unicorns in the face of death, I may have looked at this experience a little bit differently.  The little boy is healthy and lives a perfectly normal pop star life now, the father is still narcoleptic, and I’m afraid to ask what the siblings are drawing now, but what I have drawn from this life choice, is the ability to stop, and to think about why I am adopting a particular position as a photographer.

I left through the visitors’ gate after subconsciously attempting to exit the employee driveway, made my way to the nearest hotel room as I was too exhausted to make the 45-minute drive home. The streetlights morphed into a kaleidoscope of octogons, eyelids folding down like garage doors off their track. I was fried. Fried as an ovary over easy in the Egg McMuffin of life.

There will be times in your career to place yourself at risk. For me, I opted to create my own version of birth photography, The First 48. Entering the hospital within the first 48 hours of life, I am able to enjoy the process of welcoming a child into this world in an emotionally safe environment where I feel I am truly contributing to the joy and sharing of new life. I welcome the doctors and nurses into the room and embrace a job well done. I exit through the right gate and return home to my children a fresh and fulfilled parent. As for the emotional roulette, I’ll save that for Baghdad…
Wednesday
Feb032010

Photography in Service


Tony stood at the Alter with a halo. Not your usual halo. This one clung to his leg, the white pant fabric safety pinned around the black metal brace holding the screws to his bone. No one expected him to wear his dress Blues that day. No one expected him to be able to stand that day. Tony was back from Iraq, having been blown up by an IED for the second time. He is a marine…

I met Tony through my work with The Iraq Star Foundation, offering free reconstructive surgery to our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. As these troops gradually became family to me, I began to understand the sacrifices couples endure while serving in the military.

If you’ve ever seen the movie Hurt Locker, that was Tony. He rendered-safe IED’s in Iraq. We met during his first dental reconstruction through our foundation. An explosion left him with a shattered jaw among other injuries. With his beautiful fiancé and fellow marine, Melissa, by his side, Tony recovered. After this first reconstruction and recuperation, he voluntarily re-deployed…only to be blown up, again.

At this point, his left leg and hand were completely shattered. He returned to Walter Reed, and the surgeries ensued. They had a civil ceremony next to his hospital bed, we ordered balloons and a cake, and our East Coast Warrior Ambassador, Rosita, made sure all of the logistics were secured, clicking away with her point and shoot like an expected parent witnessing the birth of possibilities.
Although their impromptu bedside wedding was perfect in its execution and purpose, it was not the wedding they dreamed of. You see, it was Spring, and they had set their Fall wedding date prior to his re-deployment, and by no means was Tony going to change that date. As far as he was concerned, his actual wedding date was now the carrot on the stick. His bride was going to have the wedding she had dreamed of, and he was going to walk down that aisle come hell or high water...and he did.  November 21, 2009, SSgt Tony Lino stood at the Alter with legs firmly planted in the mortar of a 19th century Palo Alto church. With his cane propped next to his side, halo on his leg , and Blues pressed by angel’s hands, his armored gaze shot down the aisle with anticipation. This was his new life, his reason for living through it all, his heart was 50 feet away and slowing walking toward him in a haze of bridled light. I crouched at his parent’s feet, stealth in my attempt to capture every moment of this reunion of purpose. There is no pay, no fee, which could ever create a greater fulfillment than I experienced at that moment. As family and friends witnessed their vows, anecdotal ghosts from the years of pain, challenge, devotion, danced across their words and set them free to fully love in face of all that was meaningful.

If shooting such a job Pro Bono is a selfless act, then I think I’m doing it wrong. Every time I experience the act of working under conditions such as this I feel selfish. The emotional quell of operating in a zone of expectations bread solely from a mutual respect and gratitude between the couple and myself is a personal treasure beyond any monetary value I could imagine.
At the end of the evening I stepped back and asked if I gave enough, because throughout the process it was me who received. The constant flow of appreciation and kindness not just from the couple, but from their guests left me feeling unworthy. Yet each new friendship developed throughout the evening was bread from the common thread of understanding and connection to two very normal souls carrying the burden of kings…

Tony & Melissa Wedding

The Iraq Star Foundation
Sunday
Jan312010

Finding Light in the Dark


The steel cold bars of her hospital bed framed her eyes. Oceans of lapping blue curiosity gazed at me oblivious to her predicament. Emma Jane was 6 months old and in the fight for her life...

Clients’ names bounced on my caller ID, the ringer off, and voicemail full. We had been through this all before and I had my system down. The portable coffee maker from Walmart sat atop the dorm sized fridge the candystriper found in the nurse’s lounge. My cot eased with a folded down comforter, I’d sneak her out of her crib at night, winding her IV’s through the maze of machines to our little bit of heaven. She curled into my side, her head resting in the nape of my shoulder, breathing into my soul.  Only this time I’d brought one extra bit of comfort, my camera. I wasn’t sure why I brought it this time, it seemed a bit inappropriate to take pictures of your child in the hospital. So much of our journey was plagued with uncertainty. 15 doctors, no diagnosis. The slightest cold would manifest itself in one of her lymph nodes on her neck and infect, abscessing and resulting in surgery to remove the node and infection with fevers reaching 105 at times. I was running on pure adrenaline each time we ended up in the hospital, 6 times in all. I was helpless, without answers, without direction, without control….except for one thing. I could capture her moments, I could hold her in time, I could make it all ok, creating a reason for that moment to exist outside of that cold, white room. I wasn’t just going to be a mother sitting helpless with her child. I could alter this experience. These were moments I would never have again, the isolation with my child, just she and I against something larger than us.  Suddenly with the camera around, I could reframe the fear and remove the anxious moments by viewing her through my lens and capturing all that was beautiful in that moment. The silhouette of her tiny head enshrouded in a ray of light from the machines. Her tiny hand holding onto her IV as though directing its nourishing fluids into her weakened veins. In her eyes I was able to see the catch light in her soul assuring me everything was going to be fine, she was strong and beautiful, teaching me to embrace all that was right in the world, even when everything in that moment seemed so very, very wrong. It was during this time I didn’t dare to use flash, I could only operate in high ISO mode, with impossible white balance situations. Suddenly having to understand the technical aspect of photography was mandatory. It was in these darkest hours of my life that I finally understood….light.
The light in Emma Jane’s hospital room, to the naked eye, was cold and bland. Yet because I had become one with the environment, I was able to sense beyond the obvious. I was connected to a story being told by the shadows, through the arc of her hair in an unexpected silhouette. The gauze bandage on her neck illuminated in the darkness, a metaphor for the protection of her fumbling innocence. The juxtaposition of her wounds and her peaceful eyes, the unbridled trust she had in the windows to her soul. Light is not always ambient, it sometimes travels from within.
A story is told with the use of shadows.  I learned from that time with Emma, that all light is good light, it’s just different light. It’s how you use that light that makes it interesting or not.
However, there is a light that is my favorite of all the lights. I call it the Sweet Spot. The Sweet Spot is your best friend, and lives in almost any building, any house, any location. The only issue is, it plays hide and seek. You simply need to know it’s there and it gladly comes out to play. This treasure is located within the fall of shadows, but not all shadows or shades, you need to learn how and where to look for it.  In the hospital the light draping into the windows allowed an oasis of possibilities in capturing the perfect catchlight in her eyes. The most common location for a Sweet Spot is in doorways, or even in the dark  abyss of your garage…. The darker the room with an open wall, window, or doorway to the light, the more precious the glow. 
Emma is a healthy, rambunctious child now. A Dennis-the-Menice of sort with the nickname DilEmma. She raptures us in all her chaotic grandure, leaving me remiss in the ability to capture the camera quickly enough, thank goodness for the iPhone...
I've learned much from my mentors, held their wisdom close and prayed endlessly for osmosis that one day all of their knowledge would be embedded in my subconscious. Yet it was this innocent child, in the darkest moments of our lives, when I truly wakened to the beauty in embracing the imperfections of life, and light...
Friday
Jan292010

An Aloha to Film

Sitting with my father outside our hotel room, listening to the glub, glub of dolphins carousing in the lagoon, the Kahala has awakened memories unstirred. The leis draped on my bedpost resurrect images of stringing Plumeria in my yard as a child. Yet it's not only the scent of flowers that's brought back my childhood in Hawaii. It was a visit to Haleiwa today and a local photographic exhibit of black and white underwater images of turtles which yanked the chain of my inner child, when the photographer proclaimed he shot everything...on film...

The sweet putrid aroma of photographic chemicals wafts in my memory. Black and white photographs dangled on a string handcuffed by clothespins over the toilet. This was our darkroom. I was 10, dad loved photography, and the most logical place to conduct the transformation of images to paper was on a fold-down lab, which he ingeniously anchored like a Murphy bed above the porcelain god. It was where we worshipped possibilities, dipping and drenching the 8 x 10 sheets of magic into solutions witnessing images cross the middle realm to the harsh reality of our 1970’s orange painted bathroom. Mom had painted it orange to match the box of Tide. Why it was orange still perplexes me as the box of Tide never entered the bathroom. Hawaii in the 70’s, not much about style made sense to me, but one constant was the pursuit of the perfect photograph, and my father was the master hunter. He’d prepare for the capture with Praktika in hand and a crackling brown leather bag impregnated with filters and lenses for any possible scenario. Rolls of film marinated in every ASA, color, black and white, slide film. The real photographers of the day shot in slides. National Geographic only accepted slides, he would say. If you really knew what you were doing, you could shoot slide, because if you were a half stop off, there was nothing you could do. Slides scared me. The technical aspect of photography, the actual science of the capture, crouched in wait on my father’s tongue, anticipating that perfect moment to leap into my psyche and implant its infinite knowledge within my frontal lobe. This game of proverbial darts never quite hit the bullseye. I spent my childhood fascinated by the process of taking pictures and developing photographs, but it somehow seemed if I knew what I was doing, the magic would dissolve into the developing solution….

For years, my father sighed, all the while grateful we shared a common interest. His glossies reflecting the floral fauna of Mauna Loa, the Plumerias from our back yard, the rainbows over the Koolau Range, had a character about them that was uniquely my father. His exposures perfect, the colors birthed from the papers. All I knew was someday I would understand what those technical things were, like Aperture and Shutterspeed, bracketing and focal length...but not yet…I wasn’t ready to be a real photographer. I was having too much fun…

Then came the disposable camera. Creative botox for the budding photographer. It was too easy. One hour labs were the drug den of my adolescence. I’d hover outside the glass door peering in at the clock on the wall, the hands creeping around the face until time was up and I could visually scarf that yellow envelope of 36 glossies. Each  3x5 was a fossil from the day, a surreal activity in reliving moments gone. I didn’t even think of whether they were exposed properly. Unless there was a little sticker with a red exclamation point apologizing that my technical discressions were beyond reproach, I figured I was fine. To me, it was all about the moments. Pure unadulterated capture of that wild and untamed blip on the radar of history that will never be again. It was the ubiquitous urge to revisit the past which truly ebbed into an obsession akin to that of a shopoholic. I could not get enough of the fix. Some women bought shoes, I bought film, shot and conquered, without the tools to break down the perpetual barrier of competence. The guardian angel of photographers hunched above my kitchen table, her head in her hands waiting in the frustrated clench of a disapproving parent with unconditional love. Just as with any addict, it was up to the individual to admit they had a problem. You see, in the beginning, it was not about perfection. It was not about technique. It was about the process, the purchase of the yellow box with the black vile, the popping open of the cap and the threading of the film through the impossible crease in the cylindrical rubics cube that was my camera. It was a rite of passage to learn to thread film properly into the camera so that just enough of it backtracked onto the camera's belly. There was delicious anxiety in wondering if I had threaded too far in, and once the door was shut, the process could begin...the technical gymnastics unseen by the naked eye, until the trigger would freeze on that final frame announcing the end of that creative journey.

As my drug of choice has morphed into the virtual, and slightly perplexing form of digital, it was film which laid the foundation for all I know and love that is photography. Although I love my computer, I cannot smell the evolution of the image, nor massage the paper through the chemicals in the hard drive. Yet it is because of that Murphy bed of possibilities above the porceline god of Tide, that the essence of film development has been reincarnated in the method of all I do today. The tones, the levels, the highlights, must mimic that of film, gradiating throughout the image with the flow of a visual tide. What is now receding into the history of our medium, is not something to be seen as archaic, but as the foundation from which all creative imagery potential today...this is for me, the aloha of film...
Wednesday
Jan272010

Destination Photographer 101

As I embark today on a journey to Hawaii, it's a reminder that what I've taken for granted as home, is also one of the most popular wedding destinations in the world, with over 25,000 weddings taking place each year. May and June are the most popular months to get married. September and October follow and the average number of guests at a destination wedding in Hawaii is 47...yet I digress...

Often times it's a tricky concept just how to hire a photographer for a destination wedding. Do you hire the wedding site's photographer, do you fly someone in, do you hire someone local to the area, or do you just give Uncle Henry the ole point and shoot and crown him king for the day...

Once you have decided that photography is important enough to you to fly someone in, remember that the usual concept of photography being 10-15% of your budget should go right out the proverbial window. Destination weddings are usually smaller, however the photographer is not working just one day. He or she is traveling as well, so figure that the photographer is going to be considering this upon offering you his quote. Then, add on travel and accommodations for the photographer, transportation and per diem. This is where the brain can garner a hernia...

Even though your wedding may only have 40 people with a buffet reception, expect your photographer to request his fee for a full day of wedding services at their full day rate. Remember, this is for an established destination photographer. Of course there are ways to be economically conservative such as hiring an up and coming photographer who wishes to build their book and experience, and this can be wonderful as well. Just make sure they understand fully the logistics of flying with equipment. They should also be aware that usual equipment insurers do not cover internationally, and an extra policy will need to be secured.

On average, it costs a photographer around $2000 to fly to a wedding with three nights accommodations and lost work days at home. This includes taxi, food, but this is only if they do not bring an assistant. If they are bringing an assistant, it will cost them at least an extra $1500 for their travel, pay, and this is if they share the same room (this is why my hubby is my assistant much of the time ;0). This is a very rough estimate, but helps you wrap your mind around the logistics.

Of course these costs go up once you go international as this necessitates extra travel days and accommodations, etc.

Ask your photographer if they can compile an estimate specifically for your wedding location/destination which includes:

Air, transportation, accommodations at or near your wedding site, wedding day shooting fee, welcome dinner shooting fee, their assistant's air and rate for working the day of the wedding, as well as meals.

It's really important that your photographer fly out to your location at least 2 nights prior to your wedding. This is to ensure that they are able to scout the site location the day before the wedding! You want them comfortable with the surroundings, selecting portrait locales, they should visit the wedding location at the exact time the wedding is going to held so they are aware of the lighting. Coming in early also ensures your photographer has a cushion in case of flight cancellations or delays. So, essentially, you are looking at 3 nights hotel accommodations minimum.

Allow the photographer to make their own arrangements for travel, etc. out of the fee they are charging you. With everything on your plate, the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about where they want to fly out of, what time they want to fly, which hotel they want to stay at....Just give them the exact airport to fly in to, the hotel you and your guests are staying at and a less expensive option nearby, and the rest is gravy. With a solid destination photographer, they have done this many, many times before and is simply second nature to us.

Keep in mind that as complicated as some of this sounds, some of us simply love to travel, to bond with our clients over these experiences, and all the minute financial details are obliterated with one fell swoop of set destination packages.

Hawaii: boom! One price.

Europe: boom! Another price.

Mexico: boom! You get the picture...

Now, remember that when you have a destination wedding, it is not just a wedding anymore....it is an event which your family and friends have traveled, left work, and used their heart-earned dollars to jo
in you, and this is their vacation too...!!!!! I get so excited when I visit a new place as well, even if I'm working, I'm like a kid at Christmas. Everyone is relaxed and happy, life is good. Ask your photographer if they can prepare a slide-show of 30-40 of the images that you could have within the week to email to your friends and family while the momentum is still kickin'. Everyone wants to relive those vacation moments as quickly as possible to share with their loved ones as soon as they get home, so keep this in mind and communicate with your photographer as to his/her abilities to fulfill not only your needs, but those of your guests as well; if your photographer has an online link from which your guests will order photos later, ask them if they can release the link to you early so you can send it to your guests prior to the wedding. With my online lab, Pictage, the client's guests can preregister, so they are notified as soon as the bride releases her link to the public. This way she doesn't have to worry about emailing everyone at once!

It's such an exciting time, and destination weddings are truly unique and special. With every destination I've done, it's felt as though camp just ended and it was time to leave Neverland...





Tuesday
Jan262010

How do I Choose My Photographer?


You are finally ready to talk to photographers.....AH the joy of meeting someone new, who you hope can match their artwork on their site, who you pray won't steal your money and run off to the Bahamas....
All the stories about friends who's photographers didn't get their images to them for a year, or had their associate show up instead of themselves....FUN!

Truly, the experience doesn't need to be stressful, and these things happen less often than you think. However, there are ways to ensure that the enigma that is the wedding photographer is not necessarily a Trojan horse, but could possibly even turn out to be a lifelong friend.

First and foremost, decide how important photography truly is to you in the overall scheme of your day. How much of your budget should be alotted to photography? On average, 10-15% of your budget for your wedding day should be set aside for the customary photographer. Nowadays the average wedding runs around 28-30,000. So...consider that to hire an experienced photographer with a good reputation you should expect to pay around $2800-$3500.
This is usually for wedding coverage only or they may be including products with such a rate, this will vary.
One of the most important questions to ask are:
  • Does your rate include bridal preparation, putting on the dress?
  • Is this fee for a set number of hours? (My wedding day coverage is 12 hours, with an overtime fee above and beyond this. This is important to ask, as photographers are only human, and equipment, the camera bodies are heavy and physically we can only go full steam ahead for so long.)
  • Does this fee include a "High Resolution disc of Jpeg images"?
  • Are the images I receive color corrected?
  • How many of the images that I receive are fully mastered? (Some photographers on do levels and color correction without the artistic enhancements on their images. Some do levels and color correction on all of the edited images, but only Master 40-60 of their favorites.) DO make sure that the disc of images are not only edited (meaning they take out all the bad ones of Aunt Milly with her eyes shut, and Uncle Joe drunk in the corner) but that they are color corrected. This is industry standard. The alternative is practiced by low end photographers who "shoot and burn", meaning they shoot the wedding, and burn a disc.
  • Is there a list of their product and pricing before you book. Pricing changes from season to season sometimes as vendors change, lab fees go up, etc. so make sure you have documentation of the set pricing at the time of booking.
  • What is the photographer's rules regarding copyright? Is it ok to use your images on your engagments announcements, website, etc. without permission? Some are very flexible about this, others charge a fee per usage of the images, others simply request credit with the image(s). Always ask about this issue as for some it is a sensitive issue.
This is just the beginning, but hopefully this bit of information is helpful in your search for the perfect photographer. MOST importantly, if you love photography, if you are inspired by the person's art, an in-person meeting is just as important to ensure the proper chemistry is present between all of you. You are not only interviewing the photographer, the photographer is interviewing you ;0) Life is precious and short, and this is the most important day of your life, and a day of passion and efforts in the photographer's. The right photographer will "click" immediately. Ask yourself when you meet him/her, would I like this person as my friend? Could I see myself inviting them over for a BBQ? It seems silly, but it's true that chemistry is essential to a positive experience. The bond of loyalty and inspiration is birthed by the connection between all of you. The end result, a wedding day captured not only by a photographer you hired, but by a friend who truly cares about you, your day, your memories....
Saturday
Jan232010

Shallan & Linus / Cancun 2010

Friday
Jan222010

The Zen of Photography


The ZEN of photography

In essence, the secret to your success has a lot to do with an ability that few of us think about when we first decide to get into photography; The ability to become one with the environment….. This is the Zen of photography.

That feeling that you are so in sync with the world around you that you could sense a misquito about to burp in the other room. It sounds funny, but it’s true.

A good photographer captures what’s happening around him. An awesome photographer becomes one with what’s around him, enters the middle realm of reality and grabs the shot from the inside out essentially grabbing the soul of the moment and holding it for ransom.

Ok, maybe not to that extreme, but think about the last “great” photograph you took. The one that when you first saw it, it spoke to you. It told you that you alone owned that moment in time. Then you thought it was kind of cool so you showed it to a friend and for a moment there was silence, you sat wondering if it was really good or not. Then they said it, “That’s really good…..wow, you know that could be in a magazine. You should enter that in a contest or something….” And for a moment all was right in the world. The economy could crash again and worlds could collide but for that moment nothing else existed or mattered. For that moment, you realized you created something special all your own, that no one else captured. In some ways photography is a selfish, lonely existence. The irony is that we make a living providing memories for others.

The art of photography comes in creating beautiful imagery, but does this come from shooting for the client or shooting for yourself?

A good photographer balances shooting for himself first and then for the client. I know, this goes against all logic and everything you’ve ever heard about wedding photography. Of course you must shoot for the client, but don’t forget the reason they hired you: They like your work, they like you, and most of all they trust you. Yes, a successful photographer must be mentally unbalanced to the point that you become 2 people at the same time. One part of you is shooting what FEELS right to you, it’s that sweet spot, that moment when you hit the tennis racket and the ball just pops off through the air and crosses the net perfectly. The other side of you wants to cross-dress, I mean must cross over the aisle to the perpetual aisle and shoot from the head, not the hip. Being able to capture both what you desire and what the client expects traditionally makes you a good photographer. Doing both of these things at once make you a great photographer.

Thursday
Jan212010

Retreat...

Thursday
Jan212010

Middle Realm...