28 August, 2008

More Guatemala

Okay, in addition to the last post I wanted to add some images from this trip.

What a mess.

Recently, a friend and I were discussing a trip to Guatemala in 1995. We didn't know each other, but ended up meeting while both of us were in a Spanish language school.
We were both of the "super cheap" method of travel. Stay anywhere, anytime, anyhow, anything to prolong our trip. I lasted a little over a month, my friend a bit longer, and others we met I'm not sure ever came back.
I was somewhat new to photography, fumbling along with my little Leica, and trying not to mess things up too bad. I found this photo which made me laugh. Well, laugh and cringe.
Quite the look I had going here. "Hey, I'm American!"

Now, as you will see, I'm standing on a basketball court, and you will also notice I am at least a foot taller than anyone else on the court. I was dominating! Those girls had never seen mad skills before. Everything was working, my fade shot, my jumper, and under the basket I could have won defensive player of the year.
Okay, it was totally unfair, but it was a moment of glory in terms of my basketball history.

On a serious note, this trip was life-changing. It really was. It was an exploratory mission, in both physical and mental terms. I made mistakes, I took chances, I spend countless hours on buses, walking, eating the dust and smells of the nation and began to understand what photography meant to me. I made dear friends, I ran from gunfire, stayed out after curfew and even managed to learn a little Spanish. And, most importantly, I learned about life in Guatemala and learned about one of the most impressive cultures I have ever encountered.

Fortunately, that hat is gone. So is the Leica, that one anyway, something I should have NEVER sold. A photo from that trip hangs not only on the wall behind me, but also in another living room here in California, and yet another in Arizona. The memories will be with me forever.

I just realized something after taking a closer look at the photo. First, I'm wearing several shirts, and second, it appears as if I'm carrying a bunch of stuff IN my shirt. Not sure what that is about.

25 August, 2008

Faces and the Lobster Head

You never know what you are going to find. I love kids that pick things up, and this little guy was into everything, even the lobster head. Sometimes kids have slight fears of nature, but not these little guys. I love seeing that. Nature can teach us endless lessons, and sometimes you just need to get a little on you.

23 August, 2008

A Must Read

For ANY photographer or filmmaker this is something you should read. This article is about the film world, but is mirrored in the still world. And when I say mirrored, I mean mirrored.

This is not a popular opinion, or angle, because the bulk of our industry is being driven by companies supporting and driving what is new. But, if you are the creator, you need to know this stuff.

We are at the tip of the iceberg and are moving in a direction that will usher in the end of many "front end" people as the "fix it in post" world grows stronger and stronger.

This article is a reminder to NEVER compromise when it comes to creating the original. The work you put in, the style you create, has a lot to do with how long the project will live.

Beware of trading short-term speed for long-term life.


22 August, 2008

What you get.

I have photographer friends who live in places like Bangkok, Beijing and Bogota, and I often wonder how great it must be to live in a place with such an abundance of...of...stuff. There are plenty of things, and plenty of stuff, around where I live too, but it just isn't the same. Perhaps it is because I'm used to it. Nothing here is really exotic, or is it? Have I just learned to turn things off, like my mind? Have I "unlearned" the ability to see?
Every now and then I just snap. I hit the wall of frustration and leave the house, camera in hand, on a desperate search for something. Anything.
The last thing I want to do is drive around looking for images, not only because we have $4 gasoline, but it is also very difficult to work from a moving vehicle.
Problem is, can't really walk and get anywhere I would want to begin this process. Our public transport, unless you have all day to spend, isn't really going to cut it either.
So, I ride my bike. In 20 minutes, I can be where I need to be, but still, I'm back in vanilla so to speak, and find myself looking out over that ocean, towards places like Bangkok and Beijing, and wondering what it would be like to LIVE there. Not just to visit but to LIVE there.
Orange County, for me, is an easy place, very easy, and I mean this in a good way. In terms of places I've lived in the United States, it is probably the easiest. No blazing summers or tundra-like winters, just middle of the road. However, in terms of culture and diversity, it is nowhere near the best place I have lived. The OC has diversity and multiple cultures, but they are spread out over hundreds of square miles, and are hidden behind rows of houses and strip malls. You can find it, but you just had to dig.
So, when I need to get out and shoot something, anything, on my own, I head to the closest culture, beach culture. I can get there easily, without trying to navigate a smoggy Inland Empire void of bike lanes, and I'm almost guaranteed decent light, at least in the afternoon.
I'm not excited by these images, they are just a release value for me. Beach culture is interesting, but I wouldn't say, as cultures go, it would be in my top ten. But, it is what I have to work with.
I think I'm so driven to move, to change locations, to travel is because I have traveled in the past. I used to think I traveled a fair amount, but in today's age it seems that everyone is on the go. I once took a workshop and I was the only student who had not been to basecamp at Mt. Everest.
So I haven't really traveled that much, but enough to know what is out there. Not only in Bangkok and Beijing but in Boston and Brownsville.
So, my goal for 2009. Be gone. As much as possible. Searching for something, but what I'm not exactly sure.

By the way. All of these images were done as single pictures. One roll of film, 36 different images. After all, I'm trying to think.

20 August, 2008

Recent Snaps

A few pictures from a recent shoot. All shot with one camera, one lens. Click, wind, repeat.

19 August, 2008

Random Thoughts

I shoot a lot of photos that go nowhere, and perhaps only mean something as I'm in the process of making them. Here are just a few from a recent roll.

15 August, 2008

One More

Didn't post this one with the original post, but I like this one too.

14 August, 2008

Just Doing My Job

The conversation went like this.

ME: "I'm going to bury you up to your neck in sand."
NEPHEW: "Aahh, no your not uncle Dan."
ME: "Yes I am."
NEPHEW: Scared look.
NEPHEW: Concerned look.
ME: "That is my job, that's what I do, I'm your uncle." "I'm supposed to bury you."
NEPHEW: Concerned look.

Fast forward two hours. We are now on the beach.

ME: "Okay, it's time. I'm digging a hole to bury you in."
NEPHEW: "No your not."
ME: "I'm digging."
NEPHEW: Concerned look.

Fast forward to hole being fully completed.

ME: "Okay, get in the hole."
NEPHEW: Look of total dejection, arms down, head down, slumping towards hole, resigned to knowing this is part of his wee life.
ME: "Get in there."

At first there was much uncertainty on that little, round face, but within a few minutes, being a dude, he was starting to get into it.

It makes for good snaps because he can't really move. We packed him in there fairly tight, so in terms of wiggle room, there was little.

And in the end, it was yet another rite of passage for one of the coolest knuckleheads on the planet.

13 August, 2008

Racing 1

Del Mar. Thanks to some new friends I was able to gain access to the morning warm up at Del Mar. There is something so powerful about these animals, their trainers, their lives and their aura.

A racing horse is so alive you can almost hear the crackling of electricity around them.

Racing 2

12 August, 2008

Le Futbol 2

Not to be outdone by older brother...here comes little sister. This girl is a gamer. She might be too good. She shoots, she scores. Really. Like five goals a game. If I had to play against her I would fake a hamstring injury.

11 August, 2008

Le Futbol

I managed to not get hit in the head during this entire shoot. That was the goal. Get it? The goal? Get it? Okay, forget I said that. Light was not what I wanted, but sometimes you have to shoot when you have to shoot. These kids are wicked good. I would have blown a knee, ruptured a disc or just collapsed if I tried to do this. It was hard enough just bending down to get the low shots.

We didn't have soccer when I was growing up, so it sure is nice to see these kids playing this truly global game.

08 August, 2008

Let's get it on

Wrestling. Enough said. Don't get too close or you might get some on you.