I feel like I have done a lot of tooting my own horn on here lately and as satisfying as that is, I don’t think anybody really cares so I am going to highlight a friend of mine who I think is a pretty neat guy/photographer/human.
I first met Jake Stangel when living in NYC last year. I was familiar with him in the internet from both his photo work and his community photo website too much chocolate. I think he tweeted something nice about me after I had submitted work for the Kodak film grant his website was giving out.Tweeting about another photographer pretty much sums up Jake as a person. He is probably the most benevolent/kind/friendly person I have encountered in the photo world. I saw that he was in NYC having some meetings and so I suggested via twitter that we grab a beer. I think I was super broke at the time waiting to get paid from some assisting gig and I’m pretty sure he actually bought me a beer.
Ever since then we have stayed in touch on the phone bullshitting about different projects we are working, digital workflow, or the state of the photo industry. I have helped him with random video questions he has had and he pretty much single handedly edited the West Yellowstone project on my website (although I included a photo he cut, sorry).
I’ve blathered on about how great of a human he is without even talking about him as a photographer. I heard him on the phone giving an interview to some magazine or something when he was at my house last week and he basically said something to the effect of “I really try to capture what it feels like to be there” . I think he definitely does and his work is always an inspiration to me. go check out his website. now.
When Dani and I sat down and started to plan our wedding last year, we wanted to incorporate my photography somehow without it being super cheesy. We settled on the idea that I would go out and take photos of numbers out in the real world and use them for our table numbers. I started photographing them with my holga and quickly realized it was going to be a huge pain in the ass to scan and spot all the film so I quickly switched to my cell phone which adequately re-creates that holga look. It turned out to be much more difficult than I had anticipated. There are a lot of commonly occouring numbers out in the world but some were more difficult to track down (i’m looking at you number 18). Here are a few of my favorites.
Standards of living: IKEA meatballs and overhead lighting
Last wednesday, Dani and I descended upon IKEA to purchase furniture for our mostly empty apartment. We went in with a plan and did remarkably well. I saw other young couples obviously disoriented, exhausted lost in the maze of plastic storage units and picture frames. The overhead lighting there is some of the worst I have ever experienced so I apologize for the lack of mid-tones in these photos.
On a more serious note, we are incredibly thankful to the family and friends that have already given us giftcards and money to help us start our lives. It would have been a daunting and nearly impossible task without all of your help. We feel incredibly blessed.
I wake up in a queen-sized bed and attempt to untangle myself from the sheet that is wrapped around my legs. I’ve never used a sheet before. It just seemed extraneous. All I needed was something to cover the mattress and a blanket to keep me warm. There was even a period of time where I was just sleeping on a mattress with no bottom sheet (it seems barbaric but I didn’t have a bottom sheet and what was I going to do, go buy one?) I walk out into the living room and feel my feet on the new area rug. You can still see the lines from where it was rolled up at the store like when you vacuum a stripe in carpet. Half asleep, my living room filled with brand new IKEA furniture and boxes of books slowly comes into focus. I look down at the rug and ponder the existence of a 70-dollar area rug from Target. In the not so distant past, there were times that amount exceeded my total monthly grocery budget. I wonder what it would feel like to stand on 70-dollars? Probably not this nice. This feels pretty nice between my toes. The couches obscure half of it, which I think is a damn shame. They should make 35-dollar area rugs that are half nice material and half cardboard that goes under your couches.
I walk to the kitchen where I use one of the beat up, gross pots I brought from my old house to boil water. I have limited kitchen supplies right now. Two forks. One spoon. One pot, one pan. We unboxed the new pots and pans we got yesterday but I’m not aloud to use them until Dani moves in for fear that they will instantly turn to dust, like many of the other things I lay my hands on. I am also not aloud to use the new towels Dani got at her shower. As if somehow, my hygiene is worse now than it will be after we are married and if I let the towels touch my gross, naked body, they too will somehow turn to dust. The rest of our kitchen stuff is sitting in all our friends and families’ closets right now, waiting to be wrapped up with a nice ribbon on it. In 13 days, it will be deposited on a table in a towering pile of boxed home goods. I have seen this before at other weddings. Yesterday, after we moved Dani in, she and four friends descended on the kitchen with cleaning supplies and started scrubbing the insides of cabinets. This is a concept that had never occurred to me. The “deep cleaning” I had done the day before had apparently been fairly shallow and inadequate. I could hear them chortling under their breath as they cleaned the area under the sink.
The water boils and I hastily throw a filter in the cheap plastic melita I bought at the store the other day (hopefully a French press will be in the pile of wrapped home goods on our wedding day). The coffee is terrible but it doesn’t really matter. Today, it is a purely utilitarian drink. I sit down in my strange new living room and sip my terrible coffee. It tastes like caffeinated burnt paper and plastic.
I’ve seen this whole process happen before. First to Nate, who had no bedding as a bachelor, only a sleeping bag thrown on top of his bed, then to it happened to Doug. Now they have little smell good things on the shelves of their bookcases and area rugs and sheets and other things we had no idea we needed to live like decent humans. This is our fate. It sure is disorienting, being yanked up out of the depths of filth and bad habits into a world of cute refrigerator magnets and wine racks all at once but I suppose it’s for the best.
This is the second in a two part post about things I saw last week while location scouting for a commercial I was a DP on. And no, DP doesn’t stand for “douchey photographer” although maybe it should.Although there are grand landscapes included here that are certainly incredible to look at, for me the entire thing becomes about the strange little idiosyncrasies and details you find along the way. The flyer for a fetish ball or the loan hat on the dirt road 25 miles from any human contact tell me more about a place than a view ever could. You can see the first post here.
Last week I DP’d a commercial for a client that will remain nameless until the thing has aired and on top of shooting it, I also did a bunch of location scouting. I put in some serious time on the road alone with nothing to keep me company but the voice of random NPR corespondents (and my friend evan one day). I am by no means a landscape photographer (in fact, it is probably my weakest point as a photographer) but I shot a lot of landscapes and other details I saw along the way. Utah is a beautiful state with some very weird things in between. Here is the first round of things I saw last week.
( I shot a film version of this so expect this photo with actual highlights later this week)
Back when I had first moved to NYC in 2009, I was taking a workshop from David Turnley that I had won a scholarship for and we had been assigned to go out and shoot a project of our choosing over the week. It was so open ended I was caught off guard and I had only been living in the city for about two weeks.I couldn’t think of anything. I had been separated from my girlfriend of 4 years suddenly and tossed into a rather violent chaotic city and my only reaction was to think about how much I hated all the tourists I kept seeing. It was actually pretty silly if you think about it, because I was essentially a tourist myself, I just happened to rent an apartment there (which was actually less expensive per month than a night at the Waldorf in Manhattan).
I was eager to try something new and less empathetic than my old work so I loaded up my Alien Bees battery pack (read car battery) in a backpack and held my strobe in one hand and my camera in the other on auto focus. The light was blinding. I think David in one of the day-end reviews deemed it “nuking”. I would wander times square, find somebody taking a picture of something and just blast the living hell out of them. At first it was really uncomfortable and I felt guilty but over time it became more and more satisfying. I wasn’t used to shooting pictures of people without their permission, much less with 800 watt seconds of sheer, blinding simulated sunlight.
These photos definitely don’t fit into my body of work but they were definitely a stepping stone to where I am today as it relates to being comfortable shooting photos in public, without peoples permission.
The best part of the whole thing was I blasted a “fashion photographer” (I use this term loosely in this situation. The set up looked pretty cheesy) as he was shooting some girl with a bunch of lights and he turned around and yelled “WHAT THE FUCK!?” and as I walked away I just asked “HOW DOES IT FEEL?!!!?!?!”
Wandering around shooting fauxloroids (fuji) today and met this guy Glen in the park with his metal detector. He was amused by my old polaroid camera. I was amused by his metal detector. He said the best thing he has ever found was a gold nugget on the end of a necklace at the beach in San Diego. He showed me the change he had found so far today.