Posted on January 30, 2020
As you descend HWY 84 on the coastal side of Skyline, you’ll pass a dive bar in LaHonda named Apple Jack’s. Don’t day dream, or you’ll zip right by it. Made from original redwood trees in the area, the structure resembles a brooding mushroom. If it’s an overcast rainy day and you’re alone, as I was, the place feels haunted. Perfect, I enjoy haunted places. I’m nostalgic for ghosts, for people who are elsewhere or simply dead, for artifacts that persist without purpose, and for ephemera that remind me of the beauty of life and the finality of death. Enjoy—or not.
HOWL: Nasal Turbinates, Deer Skull
CORDAGE: Once Line, Now Merely Rope
SCALES: Of Light and Dust
THURSTON HOWL II (Yes, you better get the joke)
Last week, I received the nicest compliment on Instagram. “I’m a big fan of your work,” she said. “Whether it’s landscape or portraiture, you have a beautiful gift for capturing the soul of whatever it is you photograph.”
Hopefully I captured the soul of Apple Jack’s.
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Posted on January 22, 2020
San Francisco, Maiden Lane.
I was hired to photograph staff in the City.
Everything went swimmingly.
Results were fantastic.
But the shot list was short.
In 17 minutes, we were done.
Except I wasn’t.
I still wanted to shoot.
So I plunked down two chairs in the street.
I set up shop and waited.
I didn’t wait long.
I saw someone interesting.
I want to photograph you, I said.
Are you game?
He sized me up in a hurry.
Absolutely, he said, with enthusiasm.
We hung out for five minutes.
That’s all it took.
When he left, I waited more.
I saw someone else who was intriguing.
Pleasantries were exchanged.
Then we got to work.
All told, I photographed three strangers.
And I loved every minute of it.
I’m now addicted to street portrait photography in a big way.
2020 has a new theme for my work.
I ardently hope that clients—corporate, family, or solo professionals—
Hire me for precisely this style and approach of photography.
It’s now part of my repertoire.
So please keep me in mind.
Now let’s go shoot!
Posted on January 14, 2020
The title is misleading. It’s more a retrospective.
Every image except one was shot in 2019. Good lord, it was a damn fine year. I’m lucky to observe people. Bearing witness is powerful stuff. I’m constantly amazed by it.
Lately, I’ve been building portraits around eyes. I really dial the eyes in first. They’re my secret subject. Always.
I pay close attention to irises and pupils. I finesse catch light. Only then do I compose a shot. Eyes first, then everything else follows: Hair, nose, mouth, and hoodie. Toque, tie, vest, or jewelry.
Whatever it may be. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. It’s secondary.
“Eyes so transparent that through them the soul is seen.” —Theophile Gautier
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
“Now I wash the gum from your eyes, / You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.”
“You have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.”
“Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.”
“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.”
“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
“Keep your eyes open to your mercies.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson
“A gentleman has eyes on all those present….”
—Lawrence G. Lovasik
“The eyes are more exact witnesses than the ears.”
“Our eyes of flesh only see night.”
“A man’s feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.”
“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.”
“Of my face, I like the eyebrows and eyes.”
“For I dipped into the future, far as the human eye could see, / Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.”
—Alfred Lord Tennyson
“The eye is the jewel of the body.”
—Henry David Thoreau
Posted on December 4, 2019
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Ōmisoka, or Kwanzaa, I come bearing gifts for the whole lot of you!
It’s the photographic equivalent of stocking stuffers, menorahs, and Amazakes.
Skim or go slowly. But whatever you do, enjoy the photos and the blessings of the holiday season.
Fine art portrait photography
When you take portraits of ballerinas for use in applications to ballet companies worldwide, implied nude photography is the name of the game.
Honorable mention in the fine art photography category goes to…
Yep, it’s a non sequitur. But it’s a warm and tasty one this holiday season.
Speaking of non sequiturs, I love you.
Posted on November 14, 2019
I first saw Yosemite in my early thirties. I arrived late at night with a boisterous crew. We made camp under large trees. They blocked the light from the moon and the stars. Darkness was complete. I saw nothing. I knew nothing beyond my meager cone of light. Then I slept. When I woke, I was utterly astonished. Actually, that word is too puny. It was more like rapture, except that word is too flabby. My reaction was coarse, visceral, and lightning fast. Holy fuck, I whispered. Holy fucking shit. I stopped breathing. I gazed in wonder and disbelief. I’d never seen anything like it. I won’t attempt to describe what I saw. But I will share some images I recently made while I was at Yosemite with my family on fall break.
Two Half Domes make a whole. Or, art makes the world whole. Yes, I like the sound of that, even though it’s only half true.
Not even a language barrier got in our way. The man fussed with a tripod, then ran to his bride. He did this many times before I smiled and pointed, Here, I said without a word. They understood. They stepped where I’d pointed. They smiled back. Then I flourished my hand across my face, and the man’s hand followed suit. Her smile makes me indescribably happy.
After the couple left, I waited for the light to mellow out. It did. And the chapel played peek-a-boo behind the trees.
This is my wife. She has eyes like exotic insects. She’s doing what I did when I first beheld the granite walls of Yosemite. Gazing, raptly.
Alex Honnold immortalized himself on this massive chunk of granite in Free Solo. Although the image is nice after a fashion, it’s basically false, because it doesn’t adequately communicate the sheer scale of the rock. Not even close.
Here’s a stone bridge over the Merced river with drifting smoke from camp fires.
Sometimes reflections are more real than the things themselves.
I worked hard for this last image, fighting off other heathen photographers. Half Dome at twilight. It has the right balance of magic and realism that produces that holy-fucking-shit moment I had in my thirties when I woke up to a new world on the valley floor. I added a lot of grain to prevent color banding. But the high-res version of the image is fantastic and will print beautifully. If you’re interested in a copy, give me a shout. I’ll be doing a large print run soon.
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