Spring Break

Cooped up.
Must create something.
Anything, here’s a concept piece—
A photo essay on spring break in the time of COVID-19.

Isolation

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Suspicion

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Disorientation

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Resignation

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Asphyxiation

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When shelter in place is well behind us, contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, offers, and inspiration. 

Quarantining

Isolation is upon us.

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I’m keeping six feet away from my shadow.

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Everyone’s asking pennies for everyone’s thoughts.

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Although our mental atmosphere is cluttered, beauty can still be found:
An almost-face with two eye-ball clouds hovering over a scene.

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Speaking of almost-faces, here’s an iconic one:
We’re all Castaways now.
“Wilson!”

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I found that face at McClellan Ranch when I took my kids there.

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I thought it high time to teach my kids crawdad fishing survival skills.

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As always, nature spoke in parables:
We are—all of us—entangled.

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My kids continued to fish in the Upside Down.

I looked for beauty in small places: periwinkle.

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Then I looked for beauty in big places.

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No matter where I looked, I saw something beautiful, even when it was dark and deep.

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As we walked to the parking lot, I saw a simple scene: Back to basics.

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POSTSCRIPT—although this next picture was taken on a different outing, it’s too good not to share. Not an almost-face, nor a found face, but the real deal. Yes.

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When shelter in place is well behind us, contact me for kids, teens, couples, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, offers, and inspiration. 

A Blooming Fine Day

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I have a friend.
Her name is Colleen.
She shared a story with me.
The story goes something like this…

“A few years ago, a tulip bloomed in our backyard; the yard was otherwise covered by ivy. We didn’t plant the tulip; it was likely the work of an enterprising but forgetful squirrel. The best moments are always like this tulip: unexpected and perfect.”

Earlier this week, I had one of those special moments.
I was in San Francisco on a corporate shoot.
My client was unfashionably late.
I stood on Gold Street.
A picturesque alley in the Financial District.
There was no foot traffic.
I was alone.
Waiting.

Then it happened.
A stranger turned the corner.
She strode the lane toward me—
Looking the fashion equivalent of a tulip in bloom.
Finally, I blurted out in mock exasperation.
You’re here at last.
I’ve been waiting for you.
No, no, she said, politely waving her hand.
I’m not your model.
You’re not, I joked?
No.
But she slowed,
Then stopped entire,
And glinted right on frame.
I snapped at 1/200 of a second.
And every time the shutter clicked, she gracefully shifted her pose.
What an unexpected and perfect gift! Thank you.

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City Ink

“A mask tells us more than a face,”
According to Oscar Wilde.
Well, yes and no.
A good mask is a face—
One with legible characters.
Just like this one.

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Howl

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

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CORDAGE: Once Line, Now Merely Rope

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SCALES: Of Light and Dust

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THURSTON HOWL II (Yes, you better get the joke)

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CORDAGE II

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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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Stranger Scenes

January, 2020.
San Francisco, Maiden Lane.
I was hired to photograph staff in the City.
Everything went swimmingly.
Results were fantastic.
Look here.


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.

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When he left, I waited more.
I saw someone else who was intriguing.
Pleasantries were exchanged.
Then we got to work.

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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.

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It’s now part of my repertoire.
So please keep me in mind.
Now let’s go shoot!

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2020 Vision

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

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“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
—Mark Twain

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“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.”
—Walt Whitman

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“You have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.”
—Carl Sandburg

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“Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.”
—Friedrich Nietzsche

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“Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.”
—Benjamin Franklin

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“The hardest thing to see is what is in front of your eyes.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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“There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
—Jawaharlai Nehru

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“Keep your eyes open to your mercies.”
—Robert Louis Stevenson

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“A gentleman has eyes on all those present….”
—Lawrence G. Lovasik

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“The eyes are more exact witnesses than the ears.”
—Heraclitus

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“Our eyes of flesh only see night.”
—Victor Hugo

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“A man’s feet should be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.”
—George Santayana

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“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“The eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.”
—St. Jerome

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“Of my face, I like the eyebrows and eyes.”
—Frida Kahlo

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“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

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“The eye is the jewel of the body.”
—Henry David Thoreau

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