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  • Category Archives Guest Blogger

    Let me start by saying that I’ve never blogged.

    In fact “Blog” was one of those odd words that seemed to creep into our social consciousness one day completely out of the blue. No one had ever heard of a Blog and then all of a sudden everybody had one. It reminded me of the word ‘scud”. Nobody had ever heard of a ‘scud’ missile and then one day everybody seemed to have one of those too.

    My using the word scud as an analogy is really no coincidence because the meaning of the verb ‘scud’ is: to move fast in a straight line because or as if driven by the wind: “we lie watching the clouds scudding across the sky”.

    This represents what Scott has been kind enough to let me blog to you about today; how the digital world has scudded into our lives and not only changed the images that we’re making, but completely changed the process by which we make them.

    Next, I’d like to say that I am not a hippie. The fact that I’m writing this blog from a tiny cabin in Woodstock is a coincidence. I’ve lived in New York City for 29 years and never really been to Woodstock. I’m here for the weekend and it’s pouring rain, so how better to spend my time than to blog.

    I’m not a hippie, but I do have one or two strongholds in my soul that were spawned by a kind of “hippieish” psychology referred to as “Gestalt” that was founded in Germany in 1912 but developed into a type of therapy used by the psychologist Fritz Pearls during the late 60’s in Northern California.

    One of the cornerstones of Gestalt therapy is attempting to be truly present, to attempt to live in the ‘here and now’.

    I recall this being something that was actually doable and a philosophy I tried to practice from time to time throughout my life with some success…up until several years ago.

    But before I go on, here’s a very brief synopsis of my career for those of you unfamiliar with my work.

    My Dad was a very good amateur photographer and he gave me his 35mm Pentax camera when I was ten or eleven. He let me take photos then edit them from a contact sheet using a loupe and a grease pencil to outline my crops. He went to great expense allowing me the chance to choose and emend how I saw.


    My Mother and sister photographed by my Father in 1958

    By high school I was taking pictures regularly, mostly for the yearbook. I applied to Art College and by the end of my third year had taken every photography class in the program, so I moved to New York.

    It was 1982 and just as difficult to break into the industry then as it is now. After a few months of working for whoever would hire me a fortunate set of circumstances landed me inside Annie Leibovitz’s studio. I had no idea what I was doing so I started out loading film but over time learned the ropes and became her first assistant. I worked alongside Annie for three years.
    In the two years that followed, I freelanced for several other top photographers including Robert Mapplethorpe and Steven Meisel.

    When I ventured out on my own, my first assignment was to photograph a dance company. Those photos became the basis for my first portfolio. When I showed them to magazines they saw bodies in tights and promptly assigned me fitness stories to shoot. Which wasn’t so bad because those exercise pictures helped get me a job photographing a series of twenty books for Time/Life on health, nutrition and fitness. The fitness work led to taking beauty pictures, which led to photographing actresses, which led to photographing mostly celebrities, eventually resulting in what I do now, which is primarily magazine work, television advertising, and movie posters.


    New York Magazine, 2006


    ABC Family, Los Angeles, 2010


    Buena Vista Pictures, Los Angeles, 2006

    I still shoot dancers and have been working exclusively with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater since 1999.


    Alvin Ailey Dancers, New York, 2006

    That’s the shorthand version of my ten-year overnight success. Let’s return to the idea of “here and now.”

    (This post contains minor PG-13 nudity/sexiness beyond this point. If you’re offended by such things, please don’t click “Read More.”)

    Find a Niche -- And Fill It As much time as editorial photographers spend bitching and moaning about how things just aren't the way they used to be, you'd think we were witnessing the death of an entire genre. Personally, I think nothing could be further from the truth. I actually think we are in the midst of a renaissance that will prove to have been one of the most exciting times to have ever been a photographer. True, newspapers and magazines cry poor house as the pool of available assignments slowly drains. That's because along with the digital explosion there has been a massive repricing of information. Presses, trucks and dead trees are no longer needed to disseminate information. So the economic pricing moat that used to surround the publishing process no longer exists. Publishers used to be guys who sat in corner…

    First I would once again like to thank Scott Kelby for allowing me this forum to express and share ideas in. I am both honored and humbled every time I am given the privilege to contribute. This year’s blog is an excerpt from the opening of my next book “From Oz to Kansas 2.0. Almost Every Black and White Conversion Technique Known to Man.” God willing, coming out this fall. THE PLEASURE OF CREATIVITY A Recipe for Creating If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. -Vincent Van Gough Most of us can look at the artistic work of others and decide whether or not we like a particular piece. Why then, when we view an image of our own, are we frequently fraught with ambivalent feelings? I do not…

    Shoot Action and Make it Look Exciting! Hi everyone, and thanks to Scott Kelby and Brad Moore for inviting me to post on the Kelby Blog.  This is truly an honor and I’m proud to have my writing alongside such world-class photographers! ----- Action sports are extremely exciting.  They are fun to watch, play, and shoot!  But how do you get your images to reflect how exciting the sport actually is? When starting out, a lot of photographers will take images that don’t showcase how extreme or tough the sport is.  And no, this isn’t another action article that says to blur the athlete or they will look too static, I’ve never really agreed with that…  Frozen motion IS cool and the details retain more sharpness.  Blurred images can be great too but there is no need to blur your images to create a…

    15,889 photos. That's the number of photos I shot, captioned, and submitted for publication as a staff photographer at my former newspaper before going freelance.  Why does this matter?  Because it is an insane amount of photos which represent a lot of time spent shooting for the proverbial "Man."  It's not a bad thing.  In fact, shooting for The Man gave me ample time to learn, develop my vision, and figure out what didn't matter to me and what did in my photography. The newspaper was my first full-time newspaper gig, which I left last year to pursue my freelance career.  In the matter of 8 years I made a lot of bad photos at bad assignments. I also made some great photos at great assignments.  Making great photos from bad assignments?  It was a challenge to myself.  It's not the newspaper's fault that…

    Hi everyone, it’s a privilege to be invited to contribute to this community. Thank you Scott and Brad for the opportunity to share a little here as well as to discover so much rich content from previous posts. I’m astonished by the rate of change in our craft and our industry. There has never been a better time to be a creative person, or to be in the media business. The number of opportunities are expanding at a rate that’s hard to wrap one’s mind around and, accordingly, it’s hard to determine which new avenues to go after and to pursue them with the consistency that success typically requires. Attention has become the scarcest of resources. Above: “My Dark Little Room” from the Hasselblad Masters Book In the midst of this exponentially growing number of balls to chase, the act of creating photographic images…

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