Sunday, January 23, 2011


I am cyclical. By that I mean that I immerse myself in something until I have absorbed as much as I can possibly hold...and then I'm done for a while. It's true with just about everything in my life, from writing to photography to pizza. Can't get enough...and then I'm done.
The photo above was taken in a period when I should have stopped. What you see is not what came out of the camera. I was uninspired. The lighting was uninspired. The model was uninspired. It was snowing outside and the only thing I really wanted to do was curl up on the couch and watch endless episodes of "Law & Order." Still, I felt like I needed to get some work done, so I hired a model and came up with an idea that simply did not pan out.
Still, I didn't destroy the files. I new that there was something there, and that in time I'd figure it out. Never say never is my motto.
And in the past year I've been studying magazines. In particular Vogue and Vanity Fair. I'm on a five-year mission to shoot the cover of Vanity Fair, and I have about three years and nine months left. That clock ticks louder every day. And it was in response to that clock that I hired a model and hung a backdrop. And then buried myself in other photographers' work for about a year.
I can't remember the layout, but it was in Vogue, and the image was similar to the above. Suddenly it became clear to me that photography did not need to be crisp and clean all the time. That sometimes, focus can and should be manipulated.
And I've decided that is a great philosophy to apply to life. Some things need examination and reflection. And some do not. And sometimes you just need to put things in a drawer and let them mature.
The more I look at this photo, the more I love it. It represents more to me than a model in a bad white jacket. It demonstrates much, much more to me than that.
It's all about focus. And timing. And patience.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Return of the AWOL Photographer

Oh, gentle reader, how you must feel neglected. And rightfully so. But do not think that just because I've been neglectful of you that I've been ignoring my crafts. Not true! Much has been going on!

Above, you see a headshot for Lars. Lars, along with a group of actors from Norway, came to study theatre in Chicago. The long and the short of their visit is that they each fell in love with Chicago and the theatre scene. And before they returned to Norway for the holidays and then to Berlin for more study, they contacted me to do their headshots. These were my kind of actors.

Of course the industry is quite a bit different in Norway than it is in the United States. Still these brash young actors weren't afraid to try something different in the way of headshots. Because we were in Chicago, we did the classic natural light mugshot that is required, but we also were able to do something that was representative of who each actor is an artist. Lars wanted something that was suitable for his music career as well.

A bit extreme? Perhaps. But for those actors who are wanting to work for experimental storefront theatre in Chicago, which headshot is going to get the director to flip it over and give the resume a look? This, or the natural light mugshot?