I’ve been out in Palmdale and Lancaster shooting for work and I haven’t had a chance to post for a couple days.  I’ve missed it actually.  There’s something therapeutic about trying to write a few words every day about the real work you make in your life–the passions you have for creating things that don’t sell anything other than your own point of view.  Alas I work in advertising, so don’t tell anyone how I really feel.  It’ll be our secret–yours and mine dear reader.  

While I was on set I had the chance to meet a handful of other people who are passionate about photography.  That’s not so terribly uncommon though.  People who feel passionately about the arts seem to be drawn to commercial ends of their creative disciplines in order to make ends meet.  We all have to eat but as we progress in our careers, moving further and further from the clarity of vision we thought we had when we started out on our journeys, we find ourselves trying to trace an ever dissipating and near unintelligible trail of breadcrumbs back to our own source– trying to remember why we got involved in these industries in the first place.  Meeting other like-minded folks helps us to remember.  

The people I met on this shoot wanted to talk film when they saw my camera bag.  They wanted to look through the viewfinders of my rangefinders.  They wanted to talk about that perfect Nikon FM they had when they were younger and how it was the perfect camera.  About how nothing ever felt as nice as that one did.  The people I met talked about missing that feeling of anticipation when waiting for their prints and how nothing has the same feeling as opening that white envelop and flipping through matte prints with white boarders, holding at the corners and that sticky feeling when your thumb pushes the print up into your other fingers so you can maneuver it to the back of the stack and see what’s next.  

But for all of that love of the old days, lurking just beneath the surface of all that nostalgia, then  breaking the surface, slowly at first, was the argument of progress.  Technology has evolved now.  The pros outweigh the cons and it isn’t worth the hassle anymore.  It takes to long and then I have to scan and it’s to expensive.  Do they still press black and white or do you have to mail it in?  You can still buy Velvia?  People talk about how they converted now and they can’t really go back like digital is the one-way counter-sinking bolt of the image making universe.  

I always kind of laugh to myself when people say things like that.  My pursuit for a medium that emoted the qualities I was drawn to when started my journey, BEGAN with ones and zeros.  As I leaned and shaped my vision my tools technologically devolved to silver halide and a plastic base.  When I finally dropped digital and the false securities of checking a screen, and shooting 300 shots instead of one or two that actually matter and the constant need to buy newer better sensors and the million different lightroom presets.  All those “options” allowed me to never commit to any aspect of my process of creating an image.  Spray the scene with frames, shoot raw, try a few hundred different looks.  Shoot 50MP and crop.  That’s not the decisive moment.  

When I stripped away all of the shit I had unintentionally bolted, screwed and welded on to my passion–when I left all that dead-weight behind, that’s when I finally felt like I had truly arrived.  

Arrival, shot on film on a film camera, and push-proceed +1 by film lab

Sleepers | is narcolepsy a disability

While riding the train with Elliot I noticed this guy sitting in front of us—his head leaning against the handicap preferred seating sigh on the wall.  I thought to myself that he looked interesting enough to photograph and I liked the juxtaposition of him and his headphones against the sign so I leaned over the seat and framed up.  At that exact moment something must have startled him because he jolts up and looks around.  I lean back before he sees me and after a quick look around he leans his head back against the wall resuming whatever dream he was having.  

A couple minutes pass.  He’s snoring so I decide to try again.  I lean forward, camera to my eye and the exact same thing happens again.  He jolts up, I lean back, he looks around and then goes back to sleep.  I kid you not, we do the same dance three more times before I decide that this isn’t going to happen and settle in for the rest of my train ride to Seventh street station.

The guy starts snoring again and I realize I just can’t let it be.  He’s a scab that needs picking.  I’m already focused so I palm the camera with my left hand and maneuver it over the seat in front me to what feels like eye-line and snap the image.  He doesn’t wake up and FINALLY I’ve finally got the shot.

As I’m retracting my hand a fellow passenger sitting on the row opposite the isle from me gives me the thumbs-up and mouths the word:


Shot on the Leica M7 with the 35 Cron on Kodak Tri-X at 800. 

Sleepers | Powernap

While we were in Vegas in July for a short two-day vacation, we stayed at the Bellagio.  I booked everything through Am-Ex travel so the I could get the standard set of upgrades through my particular card.  We drove there from LA with the puppies who we were boarding near the strip and then headed straight over to the hotel to check-in.  

Somewhere along the way, while booking the rooms, I had managed to book through the “standard site” and not the “concierge” which meant I didn’t get the standard set of upgrades, I didn’t get the late check out, I didn’t get the included breakfasts, I didn’t get the whatever.  Everything was messed-up.  On top of it all I’ve got tired kids and wife who just want to head down to the pool and the latter of which just wants her bikini, a sun chair and a pina colada.  

After two hours on the phone, I’m still no closer to rebooking the rooms and the folks at the check-in desk give us a temp pass to the pool so they can get rid of the kids running around the check-in desk.  I’m walking everyone down to the pool, so-pissed that I can’t ever speak.  I’m seriously just grunting at this point, communicating with a series of gestures, guttural sounds and “fucks” all strung together in unintelligible bat-shit craziness.  My cheeks and ears are burning red, partly because of anger but also because of the radio waves oozing out of the iPhone that’s been lodged in my ear for heading on two hours surely radiating my brain, microwaving it into oatmeal.  

Everyone has questions.  I hate questions.  “Are we checked-in,” “Can we go to our room,” “Why did we have to wait so long.”  I’m shutting down, I can feel it.  The irritation is spilling over with both the family and the woman on the phone–the fourth woman with two first names I’ve talked to in the past two hours (who have whispered sweet nothings in my ear about Am-Ex company policy and the do’s and don’t of online booking but decidedly unlike her three previous three useless counterparts) appears to actually want to help me fix this clusterfuck.  At that exact moment when I’m about to blow my top, at that precise second when it’s totally unbearable for even one more second, THAT’s when I see this guy.  He’s got a cheap suit on and a convention entry pass haphazardly thrown down by his feet when he collapsed into the chair by the exit to the pool that he’s currently sleeping in.  I dropped the luggage that I forgot I was carrying, say to the woman on the phone that she has to hold for a second and framed this picture.  

Sleepers | Powernap shot on my Leica M7 with the Summicron 35 on Kodak Tri-X 400 +1. 

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