Tag Archives: chicago

world leaders and me.

| currently listening to: Better than Blue, Goner, Rock ‘N’ Roll Never Forgets, 2008 | LINK

the photography:

this past week i found myself placed smack dab in the middle of a scenario i never thought i would ever find myself. i pinched myself awake and realized that in a room filled with people i was forced to choose between photographing a dozen world leaders/celebrities or standing there starstruck and slack jawed like some rube who had just wandered out of the corn field. well… i decided to do the professional thing. i took photos. gobs of them. then i sat there and stammered like a blithering idiot.

these photos were taken while working for the Chrysler Group LLC at the 2012 World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. i spent two days covering famous leaders, actors, and activists. it was, easily, one of the most rewarding assignments of my career. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Lech Walesa, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Jackson Browne, Sean Penn, Petra Nemcova, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, Jody Williams, Richie Daley, Muhammed Yunus, and many others passed in front of my lens and within arms length. calling it surreal would be a gross understatement.

but beyond the glitz and glamour, the famous people and the metal detectors, i walked away from the assignment with a feeling i hadn’t felt in a long time. after listening to everyone speak about making a difference in the world i realized that i haven’t done a damn thing for my community in a long long time. it is truly humbling to sit and listen to complete strangers talk about how to change the world and then present you with solid proof that it can be done. and not just ‘change the world’ in that awesome pre-game speech by your high school football coach. i mean ‘change the world’ but tearing down that Berlin wall ‘change the world’. it was a sobering experience to say the least.

enjoy the photos. my favorite is the stand alone shot of Jody Williams and her pink shoes. she was one of the nicest people i have ever met. and a Vermonter to boot. awesome. also, Jimmy Carter’s hands. they are incredibly telling.

i am still in awe that i was given the opportunity to take them. the entire week was so moving that it’s time to pay it all forward, time to give back, time to do something for someone else. get ready chicago, consider me motivated.

the music:

Goner. what can i say about one of my favorite bands? well… i am biased. i did design their third record cover and i did donate to the recording of their upcoming release via a kickstarter project thread.

BUT THAT BEING SAID… they really are one of the best bands that you have never heard of. pop sensibilities via keyboard, accordion, bass, and drums – no guitars (well ok, there are a couple of tracks here and there with 6 strings on them but not really…). harmonizing vocals, incredibly heavy rhythms, and glorious choruses keep these north carolinians on the edge of what makes indie rock / college radio relevant. they make you tap your toes and sing along. joyously.

love it.

Farnsworth House II

| currently listening to: Panic Switch, Silversun Pickups, Swoon, 2009 | LINK

the photography:

As I mentioned in the last post, The Farnsworth House is an architectural legend. Designed and built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the house is, simply, an icon.

In my last post I showed off images from the interior of the Farnsworth House. Today’s images are a mixture of exterior shots of the house and photos from the set of the Japanese commercial shoot. It was a rather prolific shoot for me as there was always something to look at and different angles to decipher. It was such a great experience as a whole and the amount of excellent photos = many.

Not only did I get to hang inside and outside of said icon, I also got to see a RED camera up close and personal. Combined with a SuperTechno 50 crane, the TV commercial side of the shoot was amazing. What a crazy combination of cool devices. A tip of the hat to A.J. Rickert-Epstein (featured at the helm of the RED controls). He’s a fantastic Director of Photography with an impressive aesthetic eye.

This entire experience was splendid to say the least.

the music:

Alright. Silversun Pickups is one of my guilty guilty guilty pleasures. They have picked up where various ‘Oceans of Guitars’ styled bands left off. One that comes to mind as far as sonic intensity is the Champaign, Illinois indie greats, Hum.

While garnering quality radio play with this single, SSPU has solidified themselves to have at least a couple more records paid for and released by the underdogs at Dangerbird Records. Hook laden shoegaze is hard to come by but this quartet really knows how to put the elements together.

In most shoe gaze bands, a two guitar drone would lead the attack but the SSPU’s employ a keyboardist who fills in the gaps with gigantic blips and chords. But the secret weapon in SSPU arsenal is their bass player, Nikki Monninger. My god. She belongs in the ‘Female Vocal Hall of Fame’ right next to Kim Deal. Right around the 4:29 mark Nikki’s voice overpowers this song and wrestles it to the ground. She really ties the room together.

moving photography, stylish

| currently listening to: Anchored, Starlight Conspiracy, Sounds Like A Silver Holler, 1996 | LINK

the photography:
so recently i have been broadening my photographic horizons. it’s hard working in an industry (automotive) where you don’t the opportunity to work with a bevy of different scenarios/models/makeup arrays/fashion styles. a car, is in fact at the end of the day, just a car. rubber, glass, and steel. and after four years of photographing over 546 cars in the office (not counting the endless number of cars at auto shows etc) it’s good to find something else to aim your lens at.

now if i were to start blabbing on about an interesting niche in the photographic world it would most definitely be ‘fashion photography’. sigh. these guys have all the fun. beautiful models, amazing and expensive lighting rigs, top notch sets, wads of cash falling out of their pockets, etc… life is good for the fashion photographer. so why not give it a shot?

this exact opportunity arose in the form of my friend Katie Fazio. Katie has started a great little business venture as a personal stylist and as a strong voice for those who are interested in their own personal fashion. her blog can be found here: Katie Keeps it Simple. the above photos were taken on a sunny day in downtown Chicago at Katie’s request so that she could blog about her outfit. i took the opportunity to add my own ‘naturally lit’ style to Katie’s fashion blog and to be honest, i think it works. of course, there will be plenty more opportunities to capture what Katie is wearing so i’ll blog more when i do. and if ever given a budget to pull it off, i would create a seriously bad-ass 18 page spread in Vogue complete with 42 bikini clad background dancers, a tiger, and at least one candle opera all set on top of the Taj Mahal.

but for now, i’m intrigued to take more fashion-forward photos.

the music:
Starlight Conspiracy were one of those bands when i was growing up that changed how i looked at music. up until around the time i was 14 or so, music was just a companion to what i was doing. it wasn’t just white noise but it wasn’t a soundtrack yet to my emotional ups and downs. and it wasn’t music’s fault. i was young and interested in whatever everyone else was listening to. i hadn’t let music in.

and somewhere around 14 i heard (not in any particular order) bands like Fugazi, Morphine, Nirvana, Uncle Tupelo, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Tool, Graham Parsons, Rage Against the Machine, and Billy Bragg. Out of my car went all the generic hippie jam crap that i was listening to at the time and in flooded the rawk, the soul-searching, and moving.

when i was 18 i went to the record release show for alternative local darlings/shoegazing heros Starlight Conspiracy’s ‘Sounds like silver holler’. it was one of the most kick-ass shows i had ever been to. they ripped through 10-12 songs before announcing that this would be their last tune. immediately, guitarist Denny Donovan (Drowningman, Slush, 5 Seconds Expired) decided to hang upside down from the rafters using only his feet. bassist Shawn Flanigan followed suit and decided to pry the bass strings off of his Rickenbacker with a drum stick. drummer Brad Searles crashed and banged his way through the song keeping the beat and beating his sticks to splinters. and the ever shy, ever cute (my first real rock girl crush) singer Jan Tofferi stood by the side of the stage and watched the carnage from afar.

it was amazing. i was moved. life changed. live music was never the same. in a good way.

seeing old friends

| currently listening to: Governor’s Daughter, The Rosebuds, Compulation: Volume One (Pox World Empire), 2003 | LINK

the photography:
so last night i had the privilege to see some of my favorite musicians perform on one of the biggest stages in Chicago (other than Lallapolooza). The Rosebuds and Bon Iver rocked my world at the Chicago Theater last night and I was lucky enough to be invited to hang out with the bands before they went onstage. Humblebrag aside, Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp, the leading peeps in The Rosebuds, are old friends of mine and as their careers have blossomed, I have been lucky enough to witness their journey.

back in 2003, my friend Bumbalo (everyone should have a friend named Bumbalo) called to see if i would like to see the band with whom he was touring with and their subsequent headliners, Superchunk. ‘The Rosebuds’? i said… sure, why not. do you need a place to stay while in Boston? and so began a friendship that has lasted a number of different apartments, at least 40+ concerts (as in i’ve seen them that many times), four different states, some design and photo work (i designed the insert to The Rosebuds debut release on vinyl and i shot the photo they used on their first EP band photo), marriages, kids, divorces, playing as the live band at my surprise birthday party, living in the same city, working in the same comedy troupe, and through their numerous drummers (i remember at least 6 of them…).

and almost 10 years down the line, my relationship with Ivan and Kelly had culminated into an amazing opportunity to see them play in front of 3,500 excited concertgoers. and it was fucking epic. i brought along my 5D and my trusty 28mm wide angle lens. I wasn’t there to take concert photos and i didn’t really want to document the whole show for publication. i was there to listen and to watch and to enjoy the music. photos are for work sometimes. the pics posted here are the few that i had the chance to snap.

and did i mention that Bon Iver was the headliner? i met justin vernon about 5 years ago when he toured through our old art space out in Cicero, IL (documented in this post: Mr. Vernon ) with his first band, DeYarmond Edison. if there is any individual out there in the art world who deserves the success that Bon Iver is currently having it is justin. he couldn’t be a nicer dude. did i mention it’s great to catch up with old friends yet? it is indeed.

the show? outstanding. the crowd? amazing. the bands? couldn’t have been nicer, better musicians, or more earnest. highlights? seeing Daniel Hart for the first time in a while (also a former player of The Fort and a great dude who plays with St. vincent from time to time…), meeting MARTTTTYYYY (The Rosebuds doggie…), and catching up and telling funny stories from our former lives. OH… and also… it was great to see some old friends doing what they love doing and making it big. much love.

the lasting impression of the night? just before The Rosebuds took to the stage, Ivan leaned in and told me ‘You know man? you’ve got my dream job’ (referring to working in the auto industry, photographing cars). i looked out over the sea of guitars (Bon Iver tours with like a gazillion) and all of those faces in the crowd and said, ‘Ivan, i’m pretty sure you’ve got mine.’

the music:
The Rosebuds sound has evolved from the jangled garage rock of their early years to that of strong indie pop rockers. along the way they have released a number of records, ep’s, and they’ve added songs to various compilations. this tune, off of the Pox World Empire comp titled Compulation Vol. 1, the sound of North Carolina, is one of my favorite Rosebuds tunes. every time i hear, i mumble the chorus for the entire day…

maybe art can sell.

and it keeps me going. ivan’s voice is golden, his guitar playing is driving, the drumming is classic bubblegum pop, and kelly’s keyboards and shouts keep the band and audience going throughout this raveup that could have been recorded during the early 60’s. it’s classic Rosebuds and it’s guaranteed that if i’m in the audience at one of their shows, i will first ask Ivan first for ‘more leg kicks’, then i will demand that they play this tune.

someday i’ll get them to do it again…

50 Portraits – 39

| currently listening to: Slack Motherfucker, Superchunk, s/t, 1990 | LINK

the photography:
Portrait #39 is anna

anna is one of those few art school attendees who is living the dream. born and raised in the midwest, anna is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute and even though her career is just taking off, she has already designed for some big names including Ecko, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, and Target.

while many teenagers enter art school with dreams of a career in the creative sector, very few actually stick around to see their dream job materialize. anna has been lucky enough to embody the rare combination of hard work, determination, and creative talent… did i mention that she’s talented? but it’s not just talent alone that allows her to run her own clothing design company. while many of us in the creative world struggle with carving out our own space, anna seems to do it effortlessly. am i jealous? of course.

one of the most unique things i learned while hanging out with anna is that she has found a way to stay connected to the community. by finding and utilizing local vendors, (that’s right, all of anna’s clothes are made in chicago) she’s supporting the local economy. that is truly refreshing to hear. in fact, i think more people in the manufacturing world should follow suit.

so how does someone who comes out of art school make it in the real world? how do you move from the creative academic bubble and keep your artistic integrity intact? how do you find a job and keep your eyes on the prize without needing the constant praise and codling that comes from being in school?

from my own experience, you need some realistic goals, a touch of luck, a whole lot of talent, and an intrinsic work ethic that won’t throw the towel in no matter how good quitting sounds. anna has all of these things in spades. some people squeak by on piles of family cash or on their own insane talents (only to implode later under the stress of ONLY being talented). anna is one of the few artists i’ve met who is not only incredibly gifted but who is happy to create AND to work hard to stay afloat. all of this (waves arms around studio wildly) will pay off one day. and that day is coming soon for anna.

please check out her handy work which is located here: Annahovet.com
please check out her collections which are located here: Anna Hovet Collections
if you are interested in ordering, click here: Anna Hovet Shop

the music:
ok, so i’m missing Pitchforkmedia’s Festival this weekend. but you know what? i’m not that into a lot of the newer bands that they are supporting these days. do i want to see Guided by Voices again? sure… Neko Case? i’m always down for a Neko set. but do i want to see these bands again with a gigantic crowd, blistering heat, and bad sound? not really. big let downs? i would love to see Fleet Foxes for the first time and see one of my favorite bands, Superchunk, for the twentieth time. but hey… i guess i’ll have to listen to Superchunk on my headphones in the Denver International Airport instead. oh well.

I once met Mac from Superchunk/Merge records before a show in Boston. my friends were on tour with them and they introduced me to him. i’m pretty sure i said something like

‘you got me through high school’

and then ran away like a school girl giggling at the boy she likes.

so i got that going for me. which is cool.

50 Portraits – 38

| currently listening to: Learo, You’re a Hole, Archers of Loaf, Icky Mettle, 1994 | LINK

the photography:
Portrait #38 is tony

i can’t remember who approached whom in my online relationship with tony. we both decided that it was either in reference to early SST bands or Archers of Loaf but we both agree that our shared love of music, culture, and aesthetics (photography and graphic design at the top of the list) has made us, at the very least, compadres. so i thought to myself, why not meet tony in person (IRL for those of you following at home)?

when i first looked up tony’s photography on the interwebs (Don’t Explode) i was grabbed by his attention to detail and the honesty presented in his portraits. my goodness tony can get to the point quickly with his photos. most of his subjects will lay out their life story for you with one deep look into their eyes. tony captures these moments with great precision while giving taking an off-the-cuff relaxed ‘studio-less’ style. it’s no coincidence that he’s quite an accomplished art director and his love of symmetry, colors, patterns, and composition play a large role in his photography.

because tony’s camera work focuses on two niche groups; portraits and skateboarding, i feel that i have found a kindred spirit. many artists these days spread themselves too thin artistically and they forget to practice their craft and focus on the subjects that they love. in trying to make a buck, lots of photographers accept mediocre results in the pursuit of being able to photograph everything for their clients. all of the kind things i said above about tony’s portraiture can also be said about his skateboarding photos as they are world class. you can feel the passion in his work because he is photographing the places he’s been, the people that he surrounds himself with, and the activities that he loves. even if you are not familiar with the subject matter, you can tell when someone truly owns their work.

music and culture can bring people together from all walks of life and tony and i just happened to meet at the end of a gorgeous spring day in chicago. we walked around the Ravenswood corridor right about the time that the light falls off the horizon and the world is left in a soft indirect glow. because we love the same music, because we make art that appeals to us, and because we are sticklers for doing it right the first time, tony and i get along smashingly. i hope that this mutual admiration continues and i seriously can’t wait to buy his first skateboarding coffee table book that encompasses photographs of everything that the modern skating lifestyle has to offer. hats off.

check out some of tony’s design and art direction work at Wellborn Clothing (they are currently undergoing some maintenance) and keep looking for his name in places like Thrasher, TransWorld Skateboarding, and keep an eye out for him up at the Wilson Skate Park this summer. he’ll be the guy with the fisheye 15mm who’s in the right place at the right time.

the music:
before eric bachmann was the leader of indie folk rockers Crooked Fingers, he was the tall front man for the lesser known Archers of Loaf. sprung from the depths of the fertile rock soil in Ashville, NC, these four dudes let us know what punk/indie rock guitar interplay could sound like. witty lyrics, odd finger picked guitar noises, and rabid fans made them underground heroes. speaking of underground, Archers are probably known for 2 famous phrases that they coined in their lyrics: 1. The underground is over crowded (written to show that the tube in London was packed) 2. She’s an indie rocker and nothing’s gonna stop her (written about a sassy riot grrrrl for sure).

if you haven’t heard the Archers before, it’s probably time you heard what all the fuss is about. go out and buy Icky Mettle and Vee Vee. you will be happy that you did (regardless of what Pitchforkmedia says…).

‘you’re a nervous brand of metal, i’m a solid state’.

50 Portraits – 37

| currently listening to: Puke + Cry, Dinosaur Jr, Green Mind, 1991 | LINK

the photography:
Portrait #37 is melanie (riley)

since i started this project i have yet to meet a subject who i had so much in common with. granted we are the same age, we have similar interests, she married a hockey player (i play hockey), and we both like dogs and beer. but there is something comforting about the ohio-ans i know. i can’t put my finger on it but i feel like people my age from ohio and people my age from vermont have some weird bond. did g.i. joe cartoons run at the same time in both TV markets and did we all just fall all over ourselves when watching ‘you can’t do that on television’? i just don’t know. the problem arises when we look back at the 80’s and wonder what all the fuss was about. our time was the 90’s.

and melanie embodies exactly what i love about our generation. she carries with her more than a few shades of punk attitude, she’s a lover of great beer, a shepherd of lost puppies, and she dishes more sharp whit than chuck klosterman. oh, and did i mention she’s a roller girl? all and all, she’s a completely unique and snarky experience that can be summed up by her roller girl name, Riley Coyote.

melanie’s output via her tumblr page and her blogspot account can read like a looney tunes episode. all that’s missing is the Acme Brand missile tied with rope to her back (she’s already wearing roller skates dummy). her unique humor, potty mouth, and personality really shine when dealing with pop culture, the arts, design, fashion, and life. she’s the type of online writer i love to love. humorously graphic non-sequitor’s coupled with riffs on linked images and pop cultural beheadings. she writes the way i think. i can’t get enough.

as i trudge on towards collecting 50 subjects for this project, i realize that i am finding more and more people who i can relate to. not just on a personal level but also on an artistic level. as this project drags on, the newest subjects can flip through the archives and see what i am trying to accomplish. this whole darned thing started out as an exercise in stretching my wings as a professional and it has slowly turned into the best party guest list i could have dreamt up. thanks for watching.

and thanks to melanie and david for the hospitality, the beer, the chips and guac, and the insight into their world for a couple of hours. cheers.

PS. you are truly the only people i know in the city of chicago who have a feeder specifically for the squirrels.
PSS. and melanie, you should totally get an Acme tattoo. i’mjustsaying.

the music:
j. mascis is a force of nature. as the college radio friendly indie kids were knee deep in the pixies and DIY ex-hardcore bands, j. snuck in the back door by offering up this mainstream record filled with guitar heroics and heavy drums. this record single handedly opened up my mind to what was coming down the pipe. i liked pearl jam, and i liked nirvana but i didn’t like dinosaur jr. it was grungy, it was dirty, it was loud, and it was heavy. but it wasn’t grunge. and it wasn’t from seattle. shows you what i knew when i first heard them.

it took me more than a year of owning this record to truly enjoy it. dinosaur jr have always been a bit of a shipwreck as j. is not known for being able to hold onto his personal relationships. and honestly, i felt that our relationship (music provider, music listener) had been up and down more than once or twice through the years.

and c’mon, j. can’t sing in tune to save his life. it’s as if his voice is hitting next to the right notes and hitting the right notes at the same time. and that’s what makes him unique. oh, and his bombastic ‘LOUDER THAN SHIT’ guitar playing and his heavy handed drumming that make this record undeniable. it still finds it’s way onto my stereo fairly regularly. you should really listen to it. there are a number of great songs here but the aptly named ‘puke+ cry’ is on my list of favorite songs from the early 90’s.

Perspective

| currently listening to: Take The Skinheads Bowling, Camper Van Beethoven, Telephone Free Landslide Victory, 1985 | LINK

the photography:
there is something very tangible about learning a trade from someone with deep insight, years of experience, and an updated knowledge of the industry you are studying. the learning process is best described as an open dialog between student and teacher. great learning opportunities arise when both sides bring a desire to be in such a relationship.

as i look back at my schooling it seems funny (read: depressing) that many of my relationships with my teachers were fairly cordial but bordering on the ‘politely frigid’, especially in college. i blame myself for these relationships as i tried my damnedest to put in a solid effort in many courses but the subject matter wasn’t always what i wanted to learn at the time. the story of my life will inevitably read something like this: blah blah blah wasn’t what i wanted to do at the time blah blah blah blah ironically blah blah blah.

coincidentally i didn’t major in art in college. my American Studies BA is doing me a ton of good right now but i digress. even though i focused my work on american history through the eyes of sociologists, anthropologists, musicians, and artists, my real love was art and the study of photography and design. when i received my degree, i was 4 credits shy of an art minor. i never wanted to take those 4 credits because they were only offered for Art History 101. so what was the first thing i did in the 3 semesters after graduation? i went out and took an art history course, a color photography course, and a 20×24 polaroid course. lordy… i feel like people should go to college when they are 24 instead of 18. that way they would appreciate the academics a bit more.

but there was one professor i liked. and i liked him because he liked me and i liked him because he hated me. come to think of it, i think he liked/hated all the kids. he was my photography teacher. we would spend hours in class arguing over aesthetics and arguing over processing film and arguing over the great photographers of the 21st century, it never stopped. now, bear in mind that this was a time before the consumer digital age and DSLR’s were still $10K for the cheap ones. out of all of our (i use our as a collective because discussions in class would involve the entire class) yellings and name callings (oh yes, that happened on many occasions), one of the greatest things he ever taught me was thus:

CHOOSE YOUR PERSPECTIVE. if you don’t like what you see through your lens, move your feet and try again. words of wisdom. to this day, this statement is one of the reasons i love using prime lens’. primes won’t let me cheat on the perspective by zooming in and out. find the perspective you want by putting yourself in the right space to take the photograph you want to take. if you set yourself up right the first time, you’ll never second guess that you should have been three feet to the right, or six inches down. creating your own perspective before you take the photo also allows for less time in the editing process. if you move your feet and and find the right balance through your viewfinder before you take the photo, you won’t have to crop your photos after the fact.

and amazingly, if you take the time to practice taking photographs with a specific camera and a specific lens you will actually get to know the differences between what your eye sees and what it will look like through your camera. you will instinctively know where to plant yourself to get the right perspective. it’s a great feeling knowing that you didn’t spend the day walking around in circles zooming in and out just to get the three photos you wanted. think ahead, move your feet, click the shutter three times, viola. next location.

the music:
camper van beethoven is one of the great american art house bands. misunderstood and hard to classify, they spent much of their time making great albums and creating a niche following of diehard fans. and once they broke up (only slightly), their leader went on to have commercial success with his follow up band, Cracker.

like their contemporaries R.E.M., CVB turned out more genre bending music in the 80’s. a quarter of this record is instrumental ska-ditties that show off the brilliance of the up-strum on the guitar. but this track, which takes a mighty swing at the lameness that had become the mid-80’s punk rock cliche, hammers home the humor, the tight musicianship, and the pop sensibilities of this rollicking crew.

instead of fighting? let’s just take the skinheads bowling. awesome… listen for the call and response hilarity that follows.

got big lanes.

desolate

| currently listening to: Wake Up!, Les Savy Fav, The Cat and the Cobra, 1999 | LINK

the photography:
as a photographer i am subconsciously looking at the scenery around me and setting up photographs in my head. ok. so maybe it’s subconscious half the time. during the other half of the time i’m wondering to myself, ‘how quickly can i run and grab my camera and take this photo?’ or ‘this is the place for that fine art shoot that i want to pull off with the knives and the gorilla?’ or ‘oh my god, if everyone took off their clothes and danced around, i could be the next David LaChappelle. now all i need are some feathers, face paint, and Lady Gaga’.

ok… so that last one only happens in my dreams. but seriously. as a photographer, it’s hard to turn your inner camera off. every angle of a sunrise, every room, every snippet of light through a window shade, every piece of furniture can trigger my creative side. if i really like something i see, i will place a mental check mark next to the memory so i can dial it up and use it at a later date. this inevitably long checklist becomes a deep dark internet exercise into the depths of ‘DIY’ to recreate what i remember. somehow i keep my mind satisfied.

if you are invested in the idea of creating the image you see in your head then you will (hopefully) be constantly invested in finding out how to do something you don’t know how to do. a perfect example? lighting. i ask myself a dozen times a day, how can i get that lighting? ‘how do i recreate that thin line of light around that girl’s hair on the train platform?’ well… i could come back tomorrow with my camera and put my friend in the exact same spot at the exact same time of day and hope that it’s not cloudy so i can take the photo. or i could learn how to do it myself whenever i wanted to with a couple of standard light setup’s and maybe a few off-camera flash units. sometimes getting the results you want involves some serious effort which may or may not include lengthy lighting rig diagrams and at least two different 8 armed assistants. even if this effort involves reading a handbook (gasp), taking a class, or asking for help, so be it. make it happen. finish what you started. take the shot.

obviously the problems arise when recreating what you see in your head involves illegal activities (trespassing, real vs. fake blood, and stealing a helicopter). this happens a lot. i mean… A LOT. but don’t be deterred. if you think that you can only create beautiful images with certain pieces of technology that you don’t own (lights, cameras, lens’, helicopters) than you are truly missing out on creating beautiful images all together.

for me? i like desolate man-made places. spaces that should be used but are currently vacant. large rooms with patterned carpet and tables arranged, empty airport terminals, empty bus station benches, empty parking garages, and empty closets with lots of clothes. i’ve found one thing to be certain while trying to capture these spaces and their emptiness. there is always one place that will most likely be empty and contain some really decent lighting and interesting subject matter. the bathroom. yup. bathrooms. the bigger, the better. check it next time.

i’ve covered this a little bit before in my post on diptychs FOUND HERE. it really is all about perspective.

the music:
“this house is a freight train
and it’s mine it’s mine it’s mine.
back in 1989
they found my body on the Morris Essex line”
– Tim Harrington

man… i love this band. my friend brad turned me onto them in the summer of 2000 when we were traveling across the country in my old subaru legacy station wagon. back then i was still smoking cigarettes, driving ridiculously fast (especially in wyoming where i set the cruise control at 84mph during that trip, completely legal BTW…), and listening to The Get-Up Kids, Nirvana, Wilco, The Tragically Hip, Nerf Herder, The Dropkick Murphy’s, and The Pogues religiously.

Les Savy Fav came on the stereo and blew my mind. Tim Harrington and crew showed me how rock and roll my life was even though i felt like it was mundane. Les Savy Fav showed us how living in the city didn’t have to define us but how living life the way we did helped us define the city we were in.

does that make sense? they weren’t a NYC band… they were a Williamsburg band. i wasn’t living in Boston, i was living in N. Cambridge. i discovered Les Savy Fav at a moment in my life where i was proud to be where i was, i was proud to be where i was from, and i was proud to be a little insane. Harrington showed us all that putting your heart into your work was what life was all about. if i ever need a creative pick-me-up… i look no further than Les Savy Fav and i crank it up.

disco beats, eighties new wave guitars, math rock jumps, impeccable musicianship, arena hooks, and a crazy bald man at the helm of a sinking ship. fucking epic.

hanging in a garage – lifestyle product photos

| currently listening to: Lifted Bells, June of 44, Four Great Points, 1998 | LINK

the photography:
these are some test shots from a print campaign shoot i did a few weeks ago. the client was looking for worn hands and an industrial feel. Scooterworks in the Ravenswood Industrial Corridor was the perfect location. rough, dinged, scrapped, scrubbed, metal, wood, oil, grease, you name it, this room had it. i couldn’t have imagined a better spot if i tried.

the shoot was based around an industrial professional who worked with his hands. we made sure to not make it look like he was a DIY’er in his basement but more along the lines of a machinist or a industrial metal worker. the set of hands you see above were from a scooter mechanic who unfortunately didn’t make the final spread but was kind enough to let me test shoot his hands.

the final two shots are of a scooter lift (red metal table top) and of my gear set up around for the shoot. i will always spend money on gear that is unbreakable no matter how heavy it is. my tripod was purchased more than 8 years ago to house my 4×5 portrait camera and boasts aluminium construction. it can extend to over 9′ tall and really fit any job above 2.5′ tall. if i was spending my days backpacking through the Andes i’m sure i’d worry more about a lighter rig but my goodness does this bad-boy do the job right.

and for any of you up and comers out there who are looking to do more studio work, there are two things that i always use… ALWAYS. 1) Photo/Video Sandbags 2) A-Clamps. you’d be amazed at what they can be used for (and even sometimes in tandem). i recommend going to your local hardware store for the A-Clamps as you will save more than $5 a clamp and you should head directly to the photo store/online for the Photo Sandbags. if you can make the sandbags yourself? more power to you. you always want to get the sandbags sewn down the middle that will flop over the leg of a stand to create a solid base for anything you are holding up, especially lights and backdrops. the last thing you want to do is drop a hot 20 lb. light onto the floor or even worse, onto a model. you probably shouldn’t let that happen.

also, if you look closely, you can see a number of dunkin donuts cups littered around the set.

it’s true, ian runs on dunkin.

the music:
“often referred to as the punk rock pirates of the math rock world”
– Touch and Go website

wow. formed from members who were/are in Rodan, Crownhate Ruin, Codeine, Hoover, Him, Shipping News, Rex, Sonora, the band June of 44 truly was a super group made from angular guitar riffs, precise drums, repetition, and odd lyrics. its a beautiful mix of everything i love in indie rock. and c’mon, best band name ever? pretty close.

with a repeated chorus of ‘Take Down Your Art’ these guys really do want you to edit yourself, lest you wreck yourself. i’m guessing i have a ways to go before i can critique the art world at large… you should listen to all of June of 44’s records. do it now!

portraits, cars, where i wanna go

| currently listening to: Fiery Crash, Andrew Bird, Armchair Apocrypha, 2007 | LINK

the photography:
this past week i spread my wings. not only was i asked to put in a bid for a commercial job via an ad agency for a national campaign but i also saw one of my photos published in Bust Magazine. well skin me alive and call me luggage, that’s a couple of steps in the right direction…

so what is my right direction? my professional goals include at least 3 very different subject matters. professional direction #1) i want to shoot editorial content for print/online (story based portraits, lifestyle, fashion, etc. in the vein of Mark Seliger). professional direction #2) i want to shoot automobiles for print/online magazines (old, new, editorial, pinups, models, calendars, you name it i’ll shoot it – as long as there’s a car in the frame). if you haven’t seen my first big step into the classic car photography arena, please check out my site: http://shinyside.net. it truly is a labor of love and it’s where i want my creative juices to take me. #3) run my own studio that shoots fashion photography. i mean… what photographer in their right mind wouldn’t want to do that?! lights, models, action.

on top of my directional aspirations, i want, nay, i need to take the time to go to get my masters in fine arts. my professional goals do not inhibit this from happening but rather they allow me the time to get back into the studio to study what i love. i can’t think of a better way to spend 2 years of my life. dive in, get dirty, create, and produce. sigh… applications for fall 2012 are due in winter 2012. time to get cracking. but hey… it can wait too.

so where does this put me? i would be really excited to start shooting editorial assignments for magazines or fashion models with bright lights tomorrow (but realistically that’s not gonna happen). i love the idea of following a subject in their own element, taking photos of them at home, at their favorite bar, getting into their routines, their rhythms, their daily lives… i love the idea of becoming a fly on the wall, making relationships, printing images in magazines, and moving on to the next subject. these ideas inspire me.

so what does this all have to do with these images? well… while looking through my hard drive to find more photos to pitch to the ad agency, i stumbled upon a bunch of random shots. these just happen to be the ones that jumped out at me.

speaking of jumping… in the future, if given the chance to tell a story with my photos, i’m gonna jump all over it. JUMP ALL OVER IT. this is a turning point for me in my career, not just as a photographer on the move but as a human who is clearly setting his sights on a goal and my god, you really should get out of my way lest you get trampled. oh… and i bought a new iPad2. so you know, i’m really on the move now…

don’t get me wrong, i love my current job but these are future aspirations, goals to strive for, bars to reach. we all need something to believe in. i believe Poison taught me that…

the music:
if i were to pass away today and my wife was forced to marry someone, i think she would choose Andrew Bird. and it’s not because his music is so amazing (because it is) or that he’s such a good looking dude (because he totally is) or that because he plays most shows without shoes on (because he does)… it’s because he’s all of these things wrapped up in a shaggy haircut and a vintage suit with a shy demeanor and a perfect chin.

did i mention that his music is phenomenal? i first saw Andrew play the Intonation Festival (Pitchfork Fest before it was called Pitchfork Fest) and he was truly an incredible musician to watch. andrew mixes live guitar, xylophone, and world class violin with looped sounds of all three that he creates on the spot. not to mention that he has some of the classiest speaker systems on the planet to back him up.

if you get a chance, buy all of his music and see him live as much as possible. he’s my generation’s best musician. and my wife really crushes on him. hard.

DeYarmond Edison

| currently listening to: Bones, DeYarmond Edison, Silent Signs, 2002 | LINK

the photography:
while most of us were sitting comfortably in our various living spaces last night, somewhere down in austin, texas at the SXSW music convention, one of the best bands of the last 15 years was reuniting. and to be completely honest, these guys never really broke up. they may have stopped touring as DeYarmond Edison back in 2005 but really, they’ve stayed close friends ever since and have even shared in each other’s success.

Now let’s start at the beginning. I moved from Raleigh, NC to Chicago, IL in the dead of winter at the end of 2004. Within two weeks of moving to the midwest, I was up and running at a new gig designing pen packaging at uni-ball. Within a few months, four dudes from Eau Claire, WI moved into Raleigh, NC to set up shop as indie heroes. We essentially swapped living arrangements. I feel like a Karma high five happened somewhere in Kentucky as we crossed paths. It would not be the last time.

That band was DeYarmond Edison and before the end of their second year in Raleigh, they broke up. Justin moved back to Eau Claire and recorded his seminal work as Bon Iver. and the rest of the guys ventured on as Megafaun. It was a beautiful yet heart wrenching dissolve of a band that had so much promise, an incredible stage show, an amazing catalog of tunes, and enough touring gear to make a symphony wince.

But before they broke up, they put on one great tour that just happened to have a stop in Chicago at the artist space I was running with a good friend out in Cicero, IL called The Fort. What an amazing show. Emotional Joystick and Collections of Colonies of Bees opened and brought the crowd of 50 people to their knees before DeYarmond took the “stage” (the spot under the string lights…). Old Styles’s were toasted, songs were sung, and friendships were solidified. Todd the mannequin was introduced and held aloft (he was subsequently dropped on Wincek mid keyboard jam from a height of no less than 7 feet). It was a magical time and a magical place. People peed off the side of the building as cans were thrown through the gaping hole in the roof, and some group of kids drove all the way from Eau Claire to see four dudes sing their songs. I’ll never forget it.

So when I see that DeYarmond got back together last night, I raised a glass and toasted their success (BTW, Video can be found here: DeYarmond at SXSW). There couldn’t be a nicer group of guys on the planet and I hope they stick around and make more music for us to enjoy. The photos are from a photo booth I had set up in the corner of our space during the dhow at The Fort. This is a snapshot of one of the best live music nights of my life that peeked with a hardcore/screamo rendition of Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven’. I wish i had video of that… Enjoy.

Also, I used to design rock posters… so I threw in four of my DeYarmond Edison posters for posterity.

the music:
while The Hold Steady carry the ‘The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle,’ Bruce Springsteen torch, DeYarmond Edison occupy the music lexicon as ‘Nebraska’ era flag wavers. Tight knit harmonies, beautiful acoustic melodies, and Justin Vernon’s honest, needy, and strained voice bring the songs home. Their music is as comfortable as The Band with lyrics as honest as Springsteen, and all within a genre as americana and folk as a banjo. Find their music. Listen to it. You’ll be happy you did.

suggested/related listening: Bon Iver, Megafaun, Collections of Colonies of Bees, Gayngs, The Rosebuds, The Bowerbirds, Volcano Choir.

unique portraits

| currently listening to: Radar Gun, The Bottle Rockets, Brooklyn Side, 1995 | LINK

the photography:
taking photographs is a process. i don’t think anyone would argue with me on that point. and it’s process that is constantly evolving. i can boil it down each portrait session i have worked on to the simple dialogue between subject and photographer. as the photographer, i engage the subject on many levels and rely on my personality, my body language, and my conversation to create the right environment for the subject to feel any number of emotions that i want them to evoke. the more photos i take, the more i refine these conversations so that i can (essentially) get the subject to feel the emotion i want them to feel for the final picture. nine times out of ten i want my subjects to feel relaxed and calm but every now and then i aim for sexy and seductive, angry and sad, mad and unhappy. it all depends on why i’m taking the photo in the first place.

lots of times, great photos are the karmic explosion known as ‘dumb luck’. but hey, as a photographer, you had to be in the right place, at the right time, with your camera to your eye, AND with your finger on the shutter. it’s never really cut and dry but you can give yourself the best advantage by knowing how/where/and when those moments are going to be captured.

the more photographs i take, the more i learn about myself and my personality. looking back throuhg my nearly ten years of getting paid to take photographs, the more people i meet and shoot, the more i catch a glimpse of how i act and react to strangers and friends alike. each portrait sitting is a lesson in manipulation and control, in creating a sense of comfort or a sense of uneasiness depending on what reaction you are looking for from your subject. if you know what outcome you want to achieve, then you should always be ready to set the subject in motion to get there. sometimes, it’s a strange ride.

each shoot is a learning experience. i’m not the photographer who blows through 15 head shots in a day so my favorite question to ask myself after a shoot is, ‘what would you have done differently?’. to be completely honest? i answer that question a dozen different ways every time. ‘i could have asked the subject to move slightly this way’ or ‘i could have chosen a different lighting technique’ or ‘i could have dropped my point of view about three inches to hide that gigantic forehead’. bottom line: photography is a business where i will never be completely satisfied with every shoot. i AM a perfectionist in my head but i MUST BE a realist in my output. the client wants it one way, their budget allows for it to be a different way, and it’s raining out, so make it work (thanks Tim Gunn…). as long as everyone is happy with the final outcome, i have done my job and i can lay to rest the over-amped OCD voice in my head. or i can at least drown it in beer.

the music:
when i was 17 years old i couldn’t decide if i wanted to be in Uncle Tupelo or The Bottle Rockets. it was a toss up between the band that would define the great mid-90’s movement known as ‘Y’all-ternative’ (Uncle Tupelo) and just another band from the St. Louis bar scene that kicked total ass (The Bottle Rockets). amazingly, i never got into either as Uncle Tupelo famously imploded and, well, The Bottle Rockets are still an amazing bar band from St. Louis. but my goodness does this song rip. 15+ years into their career, the Rockets still get up there and extend their brand of midwest grit to our ears. love it. bob yer head. raise a shot of jack. enjoy.

driving rain

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 200mm
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

| currently listening to: I’m Not Surprised, Bats and Mice, Believe It Mammals, 2007 | LINK

the photography:
moving vehicles provide some of the more invigorating subjects for me as a photographer. capturing movement, power, chaos, and motion within a frame, then bottling and selling it as emotion is something i strive for. i love wheels, grilles, motion blur, screaming motors, rumbling exhaust pipes, road noise, whipping wind, and most of all, the constant hum of the highway below your car. i just can’t think of a more comfortable place to be than moving on a highway, griping a wheel, scanning the horizon, becoming one with the car, glancing at the stereo, grinning. there is something very american, very wild west, very cowboy about driving on the open highway. something intrinsically human about moving at speed with all the weight and power behind you, throttle in your control, brakes within reach, and just a large chunk of metal, rubber, plastic and glass between you and the wind.

i’m scared shitless to ride a motorcycle and to be honest, the safety of an automobile suits me just fine. i don’t need to feel the wind through my receding hairline, i just need to know it’s there if i open the window or let the top down.

here are 15 photos taken in succession while riding shotgun. incessant rain and the big rigs of the midwest were my primary focus for the day. i spent a good ten minutes with my body pressed against the inside of the door so as not to create camera shake at 200mm. one 18 wheeler plowing through the rain become my obsession. so i took as many photos as i could. these are the ones that came out.

they also look great animated.

the music:
bats and mice are a fantastic little band from nc. they rock and they roll. and i like them for it.

led by the charismatic Ben Davis, bats and mice are a traditional three piece that play post rock. there’s not much more i can say about them other than they may or may not be a band right now as it is the ultimate side project. they also may or may not be one of the best live acts around. playing off the dynamics of soft – loud, fast – slow, and complicated – less complicated, these boys bring it. they also can sing. and that goes a long way. virtuosic playing while singing in key helps a ton with selling cd’s when you’re a band that someone may have seen at end of a long night out or just ran into the show with only half a song left. these dudes would make it worth your while. for sure.

perfect rainy day music.

men and their toys

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 43mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 1250 – Focal Length: 42mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 30mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 54mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: 3.2 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 45mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 2000 – Focal Length: 57mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: 2.8 – ISO: 3200 – Focal Length: 38mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/5 sec – Aperture: 8.0 – ISO: 3200 – Focal Length: 42mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/4 sec – Aperture: 8.0 – ISO: 3200 – Focal Length: 58mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

Exposure: 1/8 sec – Aperture: 8.0 – ISO: 3200 – Focal Length: 24mm
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

| currently listening to: Porno Queen, Paris, Texas, Action Fans Help Us!, 2007 | LINK

the photography:
men and their toys. as a full fledged automotive journalist (i’ve adopted the title these days. it was only a matter of time) every time i go to work i see lots of fan boys, dreamers, droolers, wrenchers, car dorks, motor nerds, and gearheads. i even work with a couple of them. it’s awesome. certain automobiles create such a response from just about everyone who sees them. these cars are powerful enough as design pieces, engineering feats, and just plain aesthetic awesomeness, to evoke giddiness from even the most chill of people.

case in point: this series of photos depicting men in cars. at the core, both nathan and joe are car enthusiasts (although joe is a professional automotive journalist – i think i added that title to my name so that i could be in the same profession as joe). both men enjoy the roar of a V8, the centripetal pull of a tight corner at high speeds (with quality tires), and the joy of lighting up a rear wheel drive beast on a slick surface.

nathan is sitting in what amounts to a couple of million dollars worth of steel, rubber, glass, and leather that he subsequently does not own (nor will he ever i suspect). these cars are museum quality and there are very few examples in the world like them. nathan is as happy as a pig in shit.

joe, on the other hand, is hanging out with his infamous Fiat 2000 Spyder (infamous for once being owned by a famous brother from a famous car radio show). it’s in decent shape for a 30 year old car but it won’t be taking home any blue ribbons at the Concours D’Elegance at Pebble Beach next year. joe is as happy as a pig in shit.

how can this be? how can they both be happy when they are obviously in completely different situations with vastly different cars? well… pictured above are two men who like cars. nay… two men who love cars. if their roles were reversed, each man would still be smiling, still gripping the steering wheel with pleasure, and they would each be happy to be smelling a carburetor. cars capture our attention via all of our senses, feeling the rumble of the idle, seeing the sleek metal lines, hearing the engine, smelling the combustion of gasoline, tasting the exhaust, and smelling the leather. cars are powerful forces of happiness as much as they are sources of severe unhappiness (especially when they do not work).

that is why… in about a month or two i will be launching a new automotive photojournalism site for car enthusiasts who like pictures of cars. the site is titled Shinyside.net and it’s a labor of love of mine that hopefully will grow and prosper with every visitor. i’ll still be posting here (albeit more often) and my love affair with automobiles will be on display at that URL.

the site will be dedicated to vintage, rare, old daily drivers, and fun cars that pique my interest as a photographer. i’ll keep you posted as it’s gonna take a lot of work to get it off the ground.

SIDE NOTE: i love the second photo. it’s probably my favorite photo that has not only a person but also a car (since i take lots of photos of each individually, not so many together). thanks to nathan for helping out in documenting all those pretty sweet rides… and thanks to joe for letting me live my ferris bueller dream of rolling down lakeshore drive in a vintage italian whip sans top.

the music:
oh my, Paris, Texas is one poppy fun band to bounce along to. these wisconsinites land somewhere directly between Minus the Bear, and Hey Mercedes. their mix of pop punk, musicianship, and sing-songy chorus’ make for an enjoyable mash-up of fun.

i also love that on their label’s website that their sound is ‘non-emo’. it must have taken more than a few craptastic reviews pointing to their ’emo-ness’ for them to go so far as to call their music, ‘non-emo’.

love it. enjoy.

50 Portraits – 36

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: f3.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f3.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 57mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/6400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

| currently listening to: Modest Mouse, Ohio, This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, 1996 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #36 is brad

well well well. post-child 50 portraits project post? don’t mind if i do… brad is the brains/brawn/style behind one of chicago’s best local websites, Windy Citizen. Windy Citizen is a news site that asks for readers to link to their favorite or most interesting stories and post them for other readers to rate. the higher the stories rate, the closer they are to the top of the page with the highest rated story on top. sometime late last year, i was lucky enough to have this very blog (blog.idmphotography.com) be chosen by a reader to be posted on Windy. it was an honor and a privilege to have readers fight for my words and photos to be at the top of the page. power to the readers!

earlier in the week, brad had contacted me about taking some head shots for him to use professionally. the silly thing is my interactions with brad started back with theresa who had mentioned that brad would be perfect for the 50 Portraits Project. i can’t remember if we emailed and things fell through or what but alas, he is here, finally, and he is standing and being counted. so to brad’s name (not this brad), i attach the #36. and i also set him up with some sweet hi-res pics that he can distribute when needed.

since brad and i were already in the photographing mood and had spent a few minutes smiling and clicking off head shots respectively, i decided to fuss around with my own method of shooting portraits. for if anything, this project exists for me to broaden my horizons and to explore new ideas, methods, and styles. so here’s my take on the photos:

a. i injected my own framing into the shots i took (as i have trained myself to do, ie. my own style) but instead of publishing just one image from a set of 5 or 6 example photos of said framing, i published almost all of the images in order. the biggest example of this being the last 6 photographs, shot in succession within a couple of seconds as a garbage truck rolled by.

b. it was about time someone took some black and whites around here. since it was such a blindingly bright day, i figured what the hell, let’s lose the color and crank the contrast. i think it worked quite well considering the subject, the color of outfit, the shadows and highlights, and most of all, the urban terrain with it’s bricks and concrete and metal.

c. i didn’t edit myself as strongly as i have in the past. there are two (count them… 2!!!!) out of focus images in this set. this is coming from a guy who is so infuriatingly anal and technical about how he uses his gear that it’s unfathomable to use such a wasted piece(s) on such a pristine set of images. but hey, i took a chill pill and look where it got me. these blurred images work artistically with what i was trying to accomplish, which was to create a coherent and expressive set of images of brad. maybe someday i’ll turn the camera around and take a vertical image… but don’t cross your fingers.

the first two images were taken with the 24-70mm f2.8L as we were working on professional head shots for brad. the rest were taken with the 28mm f1.8. all images were shot with the Canon 5DMKII

the music:

modest mouse is one of those indie rock bands that has been around forever. they started small and ended up getting huge. but you know what? their small records with all of the blips and scrapes and out of tune guitars are what i love about modest mouse. the high-gloss mega records they make now? they’re pretty decent. but they lack the authenticity of their early work. when i first saw issac brock in person he was skinny, drunk, and worn out from being on the road for eight months straight with the same three guys in their cramped econoline van. five years later? he was still drunk, but now he was well fed (read a bit pudgy), he was smiling, and you could tell that he was happy to be traveling across the country on his pair of tour buses with his numerous roadies and his six band mates.

i’m not putting issac down for making a living at his art. in no way am i doing that. i applaud him for all that he has rightfully earned. but as even issac knows, the sense of urgency in his playing the guitar, the gut-wrenching heartache that drove his lyrics, and the bombastic personality that led to public band implosions have all but been replaced by personal happiness and leisure. brock is not the first to stumble upon feeling good about themselves after spending so much of their artistic careers feeling shitty. it is why, when artists like the shins, modest mouse, the promise ring, when these bands wear their hearts on their sleeves as twenty-somethings, people can relate to them. fans were there man… they felt that pain in person, in the front row, in the pit. but ten years later, when you try to write happy music about happy times with happy sounding instruments, your early fan base is gonna cry foul. not because you sold out, but because the very thing that hit home with so many of your contemporaries has suddenly been erased for you as an artist. but your fans? they still burn for your misfortunes. they still cry for your breakups. and they still want to get in fights with you at the bar. because when you’re unhappy issac brock, we all can relate to you.

even though i have a mortgage, a child, a wife, a dog, a car, and a 2.5 car garage, i still relate to the traveling musician who stuffs their entire life into a beat up mini-van. don’t get me wrong, modest mouse has payed their dues. i just like the music they made while doing so, much better than their new stuff.

this song is a great ode to Ohio. ohi-o-o-o-o-o-so.

looking back at my 20’s in polaroids part 2

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| currently listening to: Black History Month, Death From Above 1979, You’re a Woman I’m a Machine, 2004 | LINK

the photography:
so polaroid is making a come back huh? awesome. as some of you may know, i collect antique cameras and i own a 4×5 portrait camera. maybe it’s time to spend some more money and make some new memories for my 30’s so teddy can see what kind of household he was born into. my guess is that he’s gonna be pretty non-plussed about how chill we have become. let’s replace the keg tossing contests and bad shiny green short sleeved shirt for a hoodie and a glass of bourbon on the back porch all while sporting a baby bjorn cuddling mister you-know-who. life moves pretty quick sometimes…

more polaroids, more memories. as i look through these it’s hard to not be overcome with my own emotions. jon gilmour, my old roommate, is pictured in many of these. jon (or J-Boy as his father called him or Gilly Gally as some of us were known to utter) passed away 4 years ago. you should check out jongilmour.org if you get a chance. jon was one of those one-in-a-million personalities. and i don’t use that phrase lightly. it still stings to know that i will never run into him at my college reunion or see him at some random zoo with Teddy. i will never be able to say, “hey Tedkins, you see that man over there? the one with the gibbon wrapped around his body? that’s my friend john. we’ve been friends for ages. he’s in a video game, how cool is that”. that sorta shit hits hard.

but that’s the thing about memories and (what i will now mis-name) historical images; you will always have you positive and negative. holy crap, is that some cat’s ass? how did that get in here?

again, the images above are full of people i know, people i knew, and silly things. including one cat’s ass. sorry about that. i hope i burned that green lamé shirt… enjoy.

the music:
death from above 1979 came and went. like a ship in the night, if you blinked, you missed them. if you ever saw them live, you never forgot. is that drummer not wearing a shirt? is it only two of them? is that dude gonna play bass AND keyboards? that drummer is singing? there’s only TWO OF THEM? where is all that sound coming from?

one of my favorite live music photographs happened when i was watching DFA 1979, it is on my website located here. click on the third thumbnail from the left, second one down. that’s right, i’m gonna make you work for it.

drums and bass and amplifiers. dirty distortion. love it.

looking back at my 20’s in polaroids part 1

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| currently listening to: Ruins, Aloha, Home Acres, 2010 | LINK

the photography:
for a few years in the late 90’s and early 00’s, besides shooting b/w and color film for school, i spent much of my time toting around a polaroid instant film camera that i bought for $19.95 at an upstate new york CVS. the height of my polaroid fetish can be pinpointed some time around 2002 when the house that lived in was perfectly suited for a polaroid wall. one such wall was created in the kitchen. every photo i (we, as guests often snagged the camera) took went up on that wall and some word or phrase was written on the photo in Sharpie about what was happening, who was there, wtf, etc… in hindsight, we should never have written on those polaroids. said wall can be seen in some of these images. someday i’ll scan those in as well… but for now, here are the clean ones. at least the first part of them.

as teddy marches forward into life, i am struck by how his new experiences drum up my old ones. nostalgia creeps up in many forms and sometimes it’s fun to go back and see where you’ve been so that you can make some choices in where you will be going.

each of these images is a documented memory linked to something in my life. and looking through them makes me happy to know that teddy will be given the opportunity to make his own set of memories. i am floored and humbled by that idea.

i just hope that when teddy is old enough to document his life, he doesn’t waste as much money as i did on cigarettes and polaroid film… holy crap. what i would buy today…EDIT: ok ok ok… the photos were well worth the cash. i should have stopped smoking 5 years before i did. Teddy, if you’re reading this, spend money on film and beer, not on cigarettes and 3 card monte.

the images above are full of people i know, people i knew, people who are not alive anymore, old girlfriends, old co-workers, old friends, random strangers, binge drinking, music playing, too many self portraits, too much shaky picture taking, poor focus, scratches, road trips, parties, random people who my wife was friends with before i knew my wife, musicians, a couple of airplanes, a cat, a dog, halloween (in general), thanksgiving, a couple of kegs, poker night, roommates, roommates friends, neighbors, fire, one boob grab, an infamous red wall, friends ex-girlfriends, raleigh north carolina, boston massachusetts, saratoga springs new york, bartenders, bar owners, bad haircuts, bad outfits, and three nipples of the male variety.

the music:
ok ok ok… i know… Aloha is the same band i talked about last post… but they are that good. for real. this record is unstoppable.

this is the last song on the record. the chorus is:

waiting for the get-away car that never came.

my first day back

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| currently listening to: Moonless March, Aloha, Home Acres, 2010 | LINK

the photography:
it’s been a number of weeks since my last post and i’ve got a pretty good reason for that. for two weeks, i took a paternity leave. on march 22nd, at 4:49 pm, my wife gave birth to a baby boy who we named Theodore. wow. and what i really mean is “holy shit woooow… (smiling)”.

my wife has been amazing since the beginning of this whole process as she carried almost all (99%) of the physical burden of bringing a child into the world. her mental and physical strength through the entire 9 months deepened my feelings for her and our relationship with each other. she’s a rock and i am in awe. and that’s not some “lovey dovey date movie” affections, i truly mean it, she’s amazing. sigh…

and this little dude who makes noises and squirms when you hold him, and who can’t quite focus his eyes, who can’t quite lift his head, but who can poop, eat, and sleep at the drop of a hat; this little dude is such a peanut, he’s such a gift, and he’s such a handsome devil. i can’t wait to watch him go through life’s trials and tribulations and to help him when he needs a hand or to give him tough love when he needs to learn to do it himself. it’s going to be an amazing journey from here on out. i just hope the dog forgives him for stealing his thunder…

my favorite image from this set is the photograph that captures the moment when the nurse hands Theodore to Catherine so she could see and hold him for the first time. this is the same face that Cath made when she saw me standing at the end of the isle next to the minister at the wedding. it was a simply amazing moment among many simply amazing moments this week. other notables in this set include the family photo, Teddy’s first toweling off after Teddy’s first bath, and of course, who can forget, the holding of Grandma’s first grandchild.

looking back at the last 2 weeks, i can barely even wrap my head around it all. after 13 hours of contractions and labor, 2 days of sitting in the hospital without seeing the sky, and after a week with my parents at my house, and after almost a full week by ourselves, i’m still beside myself with happiness, joy, and utter bewildering curiosity as to who this little man is.

he is, of course, Teddy, son of Ian and Catherine. and i couldn’t be any prouder of him.

you’ll have to excuse the lack of camera information on the photos, i pulled them from my Flickr account and the meta data was lost in the transaction. they were all taken with my 5D and with the exception of the first photo which was taken with my EF 24-105mm f/4.0L USM, they were snapped with the trusty EF 28mm f1.8.

oh, and how nice is Prentice Women’s Hospital? my lord…

the music:
aloha is one of those bands that sounds so familiar that you know you’ve heard it before but you just can’t place the signers voice, the instrumentation, and the songwriting. BUT YOU SWEAR you’ve heard it before.

with their new record, Aloha takes their brand of indie pop (think 1 part Rogue Wave, 1 part Trans Am, and 1 part Minus the Bear and mix with some emo underpinnings) to new heights. poppy and beautiful and full of melodies, sing alongs, keyboards, harmonies, and dripping with 16 beat drums and guitars… i flipping love it. it’s been a long time since indie rock came out from the underground and it’s been even longer since pop indie bands haven’t forced themselves to have an angle (angelic indie pop, twee, twee-gaze-pop, indie folk pop, etc) to delineate that this band is not a pop band but an indie pop band. Aloha is above all that. did i mention that i love it so? glistening grooves and sugary strolls in the park, take me away…

you’ve been down so long
can’t let the light in…
you’ve been down so long
can’t let the light in…
you’ve been down so long
come let the light in…

indeed good sirs, indeed.

out the window

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| currently listening to: Please Drive Faster, Braid, Please Drive Faster 7″, 1999 | LINK

the photography:
i spend about 1/3 of my professional life in/around/driving cars. it’s the life i’ve picked by accepting a job as a staff photographer for an online automotive editorial team. what all this boils down to is the fact that i spend a lot of time driving. a lot.

in my intro to photography art class in college, one of the first assignments we were given was to take photos from a moving vehicle. nothing more, nothing less. take photos from a moving vehicle. wow… my teacher had a lot of faith in our driving abilities especially since i went to a college in the middle of upstate new york that catered to many a youth from the isle of manhattan, many of which had never driven a car until they were 19. scary stuff. add in the extra curricular activities commonly found at college and i can’t believe that no one got hurt.

photos are exactly that… from a moving car. but alas, i was not driving. which was great. i just aimed the camera any which way i could though and i did not pay attention to what i was capturing, i was most interested in capturing it. when processing these, i didn’t crop or rotate the images as i felt that holding the camera away from my eye and aiming it all willy-nilly was much more productive than trying to slow down and spend the time clicking at what my eye would want to capture. i was in the was in the zone of photographing what zooms by before it has a chance to be gone. angles are skewed, things are out of focus, and i like it.

i’m also a sucker for an 1980’s MG raodster…

photos are with the 5DMKII and the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM aimed out the window with the auto-focus turned to on.

the music:
with the passing of two revered song writers in the last couple of weeks (the profound and misunderstood Mark Linkous and the indie-hero Alex Chilton) i have found myself going back to my favorite records over and over. i feel like i have to sop them up before they too will be gone. it’s like hoarding your favorite toy in the sandbox because, subconsciously, you have the insight to know that you will never play with that toy again in another year. this also could be chalked up to my severe ‘american-consumerism’ gut reaction of MUST HAVE NOW… sigh.

this is again (i think i’ve talked about Bob Nanna and Braid a lot via this blog, sorry…) just a fantastic song. i’m constantly on the lookout for post punk reunions but as my new baby gets ever closer to a reality, my show going days might just be numbered. at least for a little while. until then… i will listen to my favorite records at a galloping pace. press play, ingest record, burp, repeat.

corned beef heaven

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| currently listening to: Virginia Don’t Drown, Chin Up Chin Up, We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers, 2004 | LINK

the photography:
when i say st. patrick’s day, what’s the first food that comes to your head? 95% of americans will answer corned beef and cabbage. and when i say corned beef, 95% of chicagoans will immediately start salivating and thinking of Manny’s deli.

one of the oldest deli’s in the midwest, Manny’s Deli is a staple for most of the chicago food community. family owned and operated since just after World War II, Manny’s has been a foodie must-have for anyone looking for the best corned beef and pastrami sandwiches West of the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel (and i, among others, would argue that they are just as good if not better than the sandwiches East of those landmarks).

but i’m not here to bore you with historical facts and mouthwatering tidbits. this place is just plain famous for being itself. everyone from US President Barrack Obama, to Chicago Mayor Daley make a point of stopping by and eating at Manny’s when they are in the neighborhood. you just can’t walk by and smell the food without heading in the door. when i was asked to take some products shots of their mouthwatering food, how could i pass up the chance?

so, in honor of st. patrick, and in honor of chicago’s most legendary eatery, i bring to you, deli sandwich photography pornography.

before you ask any questions, the sandwich in the fourth photo is in fact, a breakfast rueben. you read that correctly… a breakfast rueben. oh dear lord it’s as good as it sounds. photos are with the 5DMKII and the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. everything was shot on location with natural light.

the music:
Chin Up Chin Up were one of those bands that succeeded in the face of adversity. even with something as profound and hard hitting as the death of their founding bass player overshadowing the recording of their first record, this band trudged on and made a career out of jangling some indie-rock guitars together and producing some great tunes. i had a chance to see them live a handful of times and with each performance, they crafted indie pop perfection with a groove all their own.

in 2009 and with only two full length records and re-released self titled EP as their mark on the industry, Chin Up Chin Up called it a day and broke up. their presence in the chicago independent music scene will sorely be missed. reunion show? too soon…

killer fog is better than the blob

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Exposure: 1/25 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/25 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

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28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: My Coco, Stellastarr*, Stellastarr*, 2003 | LINK

the photography:
there was a small break in the gorgeous spring weather here in chicago. yesterday and on into this morning, fog blanketed the north side of the city making for some awesome pictures and some wonky traffic jams. only in chicago would drivers be distracted by low lying clouds.

to set the tone of just how creepy it was outside, i also took some indoor shots of our back stairs and of our kitchen. my wife and i love to watch the CTA workers do their nightly rounds which include walking down the tracks past our house. once they hit a specific spot, they turn around and walk back up to the platform in an awkward single file line. we always joke that it’s the ‘Others’ from the the TV show Lost. last night, we were so entrenched in the cinematic quality of the weather that we actually got spooked by the whole ordeal. thus no photos of people walking on the train tracks in the fog. we were too busy hugging each other and laughing… oh well…

with the baby on it’s way any day now (holy crap i don’t know if i can wait any longer!!!!!) my blog posts have slowed to a trickle. i will make sure to post as much as i possibly can… when fog like this rolls in, i can’t help myself. i also have a good 6 blog posts (or so) containing my-trip-to-china photos waiting to be published… photos are with the 5D and the 28mm f1.8. no tripods were used. everything here is handheld. i’m still like that. enjoy.

the music:
stellastarr* channel not only the great 80’s rock gods, flock of seagulls, duran duran, but also the 70’s new wave bands that bred them, blondie, the cars, the knack, etc..

this ode to the nose candy is one of the best radio hits that never made it on to anything but college radio. it should be a dance club favorite, it should be on everyone’s ipod, it should be the cornerstone for post 80’s revival that’s been brewing and overflowing for the last 10 years but alas… this band just never got high enough off the ground. me thinks they tried to be too much like rainer maria and not enough like the ting tings. sigh.

50 Portraits – 35

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Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1000 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D MKII

| currently listening to: Teen Idles, Get Up and Go, Minor Disturbances, 1981 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #35 is Shannon

holy crap it’s been a while since i’ve posted one of these. if you think i went over board on the pictures… you should see the out takes. it was the toughest group of photos i have ever had to whittle down. jeeeeeez…

i first heard about miss shannon from a mutual friend via twitter. it was a mention here, a twitpic there, and before you know it, i was tracking her down for a chance to model for the the 50 Portraits Project. it’s crazy how social media and the online world works with all the idea-megaphones (blogs), personal advertisements (facebook pages), and instant friend-of-a-friend connections (you may know so-and-so). the fact that i can connect with and follow like-minded people from all over the world and check out their content, view their video blogs, and read about their creative process’ is mind blowing. like minded people should really band together. maybe that’s exactly what i’ve been trying to accomplish with this project. maybe i’ll call it my 50 Peeps Club when all is said and done…

shannon is one of those people that likes stuff that i like. shannon moonlights as a food/horror movie buff who writes and video blogs about the connections she makes between the two. her blog, Slash and Dine, and her videos pair recipes to fit bloody classics. when she’s not enjoying her time in the kitchen (and her time with her BFF #33, Miss Bake and Destroy, she’s styling hair and educating her fellow stylists at a high-end salon in chicago. judging from her personality, her outgoingness, and her overall demeanor, i’m guessing she has a lot of repeat clients who love her work (and that’s without factoring in her expert skills as a stylist). let’s all just agree that shannon is pretty flipping rad ok?!

currently, shannon really loves the color orange. the kitchen walls are covered in the most warming and comforting shade of orange. if given the chance, why not “go big” in the one room of the house that you spend the most amount of time in? any way you slice it (i have a lot of knife jokes…), it works smashingly. her design style and aesthetic shine through from the art work on the walls to the vintage chairs and table to the vases on the half wall. sigh… with all the natural light and spot-on layout, shannon could rent her kitchen to those photographers in need of a kitchen set. it’s totally sweet.

as a side note, it turns out shannon has done some modeling in the past but really? that should surprise no one. this girl has style, style, and more style. it was a pleasure getting to know her and it was a breeze taking pictures as all i had to do was sit back and soak it all in. please make sure to check out her writing and videos at Slash and Dine and at Brutal Snack when you get the chance. as usual, the photos were with the trusty 5DMKII and the always present, 28mm f1.8. cheers.

the music:

if you choose to look beyond the skin-deep visuals of hard core and punk rock in america there is one music scene that sprouted some of the truest bands lyrically, the straightest bands ethically, and the most forward thinking bands musically. since the early 80’s, the Washington D.C. hard core/punk scene has been the birthplace of many of the truly great underground/DIY bands of my generation: Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Rites of Spring, Youth Brigade, Government Issue, Fire Party, The Nation Of Ulysses, Jawbox, Q And Not U, Circus Lupus, and of course, Fugazi (just to name a few…).

Teen Idles is one of the first bands to break the DC scene wide open. this band is why Dischord Records started. this band is why it all came together. and they were pretty impressive. shannon’s framed cover of Minor Threat’s s/t record on the wall in her kitchen kick started my DC review on my iPod. it’s pretty awesome to try to soak up an entire scene via the magic of digital music. looking back, the Teen Idles were raw and powerful, sloppy and trite. but they were just what the youth of DC needed. art needs a catalyst sometimes. in the early 80’s, leaders like Reagan provided that riff. sigh. the kids on the streets today just aren’t that interested in making a difference. that’s a tough truth to swallow…

horses

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f3.2 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f3.2 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f2 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f2 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f2 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

| currently listening to: Take Warning, Operation Ivy, Energy 1989, | LINK

the photography:
that’s right. i love horses. they are the most majestic, non-urban, non-exotic, animal that i can think of. yet, for some reason, right in the middle of the Old Town neighborhood on the northside of chicago, there is a field (empty lot) that is a fenced in pen for a group of horses. why do i know this? because it is visible from the train (brown and purple lines for those at home keeping score) just south of the Sedgewick stop looking west.

glorious prancing horses. yup. amazing. on this fine day, there were three light colored specimens and one eerily ‘black-as-night but with red highlights’ specimen trotting around the lot. every time i got close to the fence with my camera, one of the horses would inevitably walk up to me as if to say ‘this is the part of the story where you give me a carrot or some hay and i’ll be cool with your presence’. it was pretty awesome.

the back story is that my wife and i have been enamored with these gigantic creatures since we started riding the train together to go to work about three years ago. a good day in my book is when i get to see the ‘guys’ (as they have come to be regarded) on my way to work and on my way home. i even go so far as to make sure i am sitting on the proper side of the train for a good viewing. oh yeah. i’m obsessed.

photos are with the 28mm and if you know your focal lengths, you will realize that 28mm is pretty wide so you can really get a sense of how close i was on some of these frames. good times. they are beautiful creatures and they scare the crap out of me when i get too close. it’s humbling to be so close to such a powerful animal in the (cough, literary license) wild.

the music:
i have this reoccurring habit (um, doesn’t the definition of habit mean reoccurring?) of leaving my ipod at home. this sucks when i have gobs of photos to edit and nothing to listen to whilst doing so. pandora radio is an ok distraction but it’s biggest fault lies within the fact that after about 45 mins, the songs start to repeat themselves. thank god i brought the ipod today.

Operation Ivy were a raucous nor-cal punk outfit featuring a very young (and extra snarly) Tim Armstrong (of Rancid fame) that were full of the punk ethos as much as jamaican rock steady. their mix of punk, ska, and anti-establishment sounds a lot like a cheap The Clash rip-offs but Op Ivy meant much much more to the music community in the late 80’s. Op Ivy’s real claim to fame (at least in the music press) was that they solidified the Berkley punk sound that led us directly to bands like Green Day and Sublime. as Op Ivy played their last show in 1989, the openers were a small little punk trio that had just changed their name to Green Day. oh well, someone had to do it. if kids in the 2000’s are picking up Op Ivy records because Billie Joe Armstrong told them to, so be it. these guys deserve their due. legacies aside, take warning is a stripped down ska/punk jam filled with advice, upstroke guitars, and a damn funky bass line. it stands the test of time for sure. go out and find the Energy LP. it’s as awesome as much as it’s cliche and trite. but hey, they did it really well.

taking over at lunch, flickr style

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D Mark II

| currently listening to: Ball and a Biscuit, The White Stripes, Elephant 2003, | LINK

the photography:
another day, another Flickr meet-up. sigh. i will never get tired of meeting and chatting with this interesting group filled with interesting people, who are all interested in the same sorta stuff i am. there is nothing better for the soul than meeting like minded people and eating crepes. hallelujah!

this is my second time having lunch with this crew and it’s really been fun getting to know people and their work. sometimes when i get some free time while i’m sitting at the computer, i’ll peruse various pages of their photography and catch up with what the peeps have been up and who’s talking to who and who’s photographing who. it’s a great visual representation of what these photographers are doing and what they are finding artistically interesting.

i could look at photos all day long. the act of photo browsing is pretty wonderful and if i didn’t spend so much time editing my own photos, i would spend all day flipping through photos. here are 5 (.5) reasons why i find looking through photographs (specifically) on Flickr so cathartic and ediucational:

1. i really enjoy seeing what other people are doing with their cameras and their free time. these particular searches sometimes end in fits of jealousy but at the very least, looking through photos of someplace i want to be invigorates me and gets me out the door with my camera strapped to my shoulder and a granola bar in my pocket.

2. i get to see where my fellow contemporary photographers (professional and amateur alike) in the city of chicago are finding the gritty gritty. i like the gritty gritty and so do a lot of the people i follow on Flickr. urban decay is gorgeous. say that five times fast… gritty gritty… it just sounds dirty. now picture tom waits saying it… awesome.

3. i love to see how different photographers take portraits. from the kid on the street shooting strangers with his new DSLR to the woman who photographs herself and her husband on the train with a point a shoot, portraits come in all shapes and sizes, and colors. i love checking out what people will do while having their picture taken. i also love where people decide to take portraits. i take notes on the stuff i like about other people’s portraits and i try to remember to reproduce certain bits and pieces when i create my own work.

4. it’ always fun to see how people set out to do photography projects. i personally have spent almost a year working on my own 50 portraits project. best stuff on Flickr? self-portrait projects. especially the 365 self-portraits (1 a day for a year). there is nothing better than looking through hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of photos of the same person to see how the photographer (and the subject) changes it up (to beat the monotony) or keeps the shot the same especially when said person is on their 8th year of taking one photo of themselves every day (that doesn’t actually happen but you get the idea). so much interesting work being done here… lots of great ideas and plenty of bad ideas too. it’s a virtual how-to and how-not-to in one set.

5. and finally, i just love reading people’s comments and thoughts about photographs. sure, it’s easy to leave the essential “Great shot!” or “Sweet!” or “First!” but i love it when people start to converse in photographic terms with meaning and insight. it’s great feedback not only for the photographer at hand but it’s also great for readers to converse in the conversation as well. fun (and sometimes humiliating but mostly fun!).

Special Reason (or reason #5.5). every now and then you get to see something truly exceptional, emotionally driving, and knock your socks off fantastic. then you copy down everything you like about the photograph and you try to grow out of your photographer’s shell and make your next female model drop the top of her dress just a little lower, you ask your next male model to make that dark sinister face a little more believable and disgusting, and you push your boundaries of comfort as a photographer to make yourself and your art, that much more productive. sigh…

if you look closely, you’ll notice the photos are with the new Canon 5D MKII body and my same old 28mm. a rather splendid combo if you ask me…

the music:
this record has been listed on almost everyone’s “end of the century” essential-to-own record list which, to be completely honest, has become a boring way to wave your i’m-just-as-meaningful-to-america-as-lester-bangs-male-phallus about to see who has the biggest one (the winner of that contest = no one, you all lose). this particular white stripes record deserves all the credit it receives, don’t get me wrong as i tend to rant when prodded with a stick, i’m just upset that making a definitive list is the only way to prance about and posture your “manhood” in the music press. that’s right, i’m looking at you pitchforkmedia… lame.

the white stripes have always been known to take traditional blues and push the boundaries. ball and a biscuit is their ode to the old timers and the forefathers. it’s also jack whites homage to the screaming distortion pedal and tube amplification. in the beginning, this song just fingerpicks midlevel hum hum and reverb that builds to a squeeling, pedal stomping, guitar olympics that could just as easily define white’s guitar playing style if only we could imbed MP3 files into the dictionary. the fact that meg actually keeps time (i mean really truly actually keeps a standard 4/4 beat) throughout the entire song is not lost on me. the lyrics are old world, the guitar sounds are all jack white, and the drums are meg’s best slowed-pace-bohnam bass drum and snare. i love this song. love it.

flickr meet up at coco’s

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Hanging On A Curtain, Morphine, Like Swimming, 1997, | LINK

the photography:
i met a bunch of fantastic people yesterday at a flickr meet-up at coco’s southern style soul food. it’s quite a place and with the right people, it can quite easily be overrun. amazing.

it also helps when you are all holding cameras and gabbing about where you are, where you were photographing on your new posts, what your screen name is, and how meeting people IRW (interwebs slang for “In the Real World”) makes complete sense most of the time and that interwebbers (twitter folk, flickr heads, and facebook friends) tend to be a pretty cool bunch. this chicago flickr crew is no exception. with the newest in new social technologies and media outlets being created and implemented all over the net, like minded people are finding it easier and easier to congregate in a southern fried kitchen on the 400 S block of Clark with a bunch of sort-of strangers to talk about camera gear, photos we liked, why fried lobster might be overrated, and to explain what we all do to make money to spend on camera gear.

the social media outlets have also given us (as artists) a great place to connect and network. instead of sitting through industry nights at the local Ritz Camera where you would sit through an amateur lecture on how to light and photograph your great aunt Bertha’s WWII bed pan so it can be sold on eBay, you get to sit down and enjoy a lunch of fried goodies and chat with people like they are human beings, not just consumers. it’s pretty sweet. thanks to the select few who put the group together and to all of those who showed and to those i didn’t get to talk with, we will find time to do so at the next crossroads.

it’s nice to meet such a talented group of people without egos. cheers.

here are a list of links, from their flickr handles, to the gathering via different points of view. a good time was had by all:
Thee ErinPhuleJoem500Chicago ManSFMoeChapendraMerlinsMan

the music:
morphine defined underground music to me when i was in high school. how could such a great band with such an interesting musical lineup (trio of two string slide bass, baritone sax, drums) who made such incredibly accessible music never make the big time? they did everything right. they even scored a hip and well received underground piece of cinema (their record, Cure For Pain was used as the back drop to the disturbingly weird coming-of-age-inside-a-disintegrating-marriage-incestual-broken-leg-mowing-the-lawn-flick, Spanking the Monkey). as far as the business was concerned, wasn’t there just only one direction to go from there? well, the ideal path is to sign a record deal, become major rock stars, make hit records, make it with groupies, etc. this scenario only plays out if your lead singer and central song writer does NOT die onstage in Italy after signing said recording contract and before the groupies and money. Mark Sandman will be missed dearly in the musical world. the Boston music scene will never quite be the same. go out and buy their records. your money will be well spent.

annual holiday sale

| currently listening to: The Bradley, Further Seems Forever, The Moon is Down, 2002, | LINK

the photography:
i belong to a collaborative arts gallery located in the ravenswood art corridor on the NW side of Chicago. last year we created an annual holiday art sale to help offset some of the bills associated with running a store front art gallery. this year, as a group, we’re gonna make us some magnets to sell. my 8 designs are located up above. for the most part, they are chicago themed. i wanted to mix humor with chicago with holiday greetings. i may have missed the point on a few but hey, i think they’re gonna be pretty sweet. 4″ x 4″ fridge magnets couldn’t be cooler. expect buttons to be made as well. sweet. as we get closer to the date, i’ll make sure that everyone knows when and where (we might be moving spaces… gasp!).

one of the major partners in my collective is a photographer by the name of Emily Grimes. through the years she’s mastered many things photography including (but most certainly not limited to) Holga film photography, mid-west farm photography, “growing up southern belle” photojournalism (which can NOT be faked), and now, hip hop/rapper/gangsta photography. oh yeah, you read that one right. Emily is a dear friend and a fantastic artist. her new blog is up at Emily Grimes Photography. please go and check it out her various sites, you’ll be really happy you did! gosh darnit, she’s got a book coming out for criminy’s sake? Emily Grimes = the real deal. god bless her for inspiring me by showing me that it’s possible to stretch out of your photographic comfort zone to make some really great art.

on that note, tomorrow is a big day for me. i’m aiming to shoot some glamour styled photos for the 50 Portraits Project. Niki has gladly volunteered her modeling services and we are gonna paint the town red. dresses, bars, buses and a laundromat shoot that i’ve wanted to do since i graduated college. it’s gonna be epic. stay tuned…

the music:
oh my, what’s my problem? emo? even worse, floridian christian emo fronted by none other than Mr. Dashboard Confessional himself, Chris Carraba? oh yeah… umm… this record, it’s a vice. in their defense, this 3:02 minute song might be one of the 10 best pop songs written in the last decade. it’s true. screw what pitchfork says. this song slays.

i’m gonna go and brush my teeth, this song is too sweet.

photo crew or posse or something

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/4000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: We’ve Got a File On You, Blur, Think Tank, 2003, | LINK

the photography:
so i’ve got this posse. and in this posse are two dudes who know how to use their cameras. and let’s just say it’s not really my posse. it’s probably more joe’s posse. moe and i are more privates than lieutenants. i digress. there’s three of us and for the first time, we went on some sort of photo/manny’s deli/chinatown/south loop walk about with our cameras. it was rad. here are their flickr sites. check em out. MOE and JOE

the only reason i think it’s joe’s posse is because he’s tougher than moe and i. it’s true. he was air force, moe was navy, and i, well, i played long stick defense on a mediocre public high school lacrosse team which is to say, i’ve really never been to boot camp. so for lack of a better hierarchy, the posse is joe’s. we went out with one thing in mind, to photograph the bejesus out of the south loop. we ended up talking as much as we took photos so i guess we kinda succeeded and kinda failed. either way, it was awesome.

photos here are with the 28mm again (i just can’t quit you!) and most of them were taken down in an abandoned, filled-in basement of a building that had been destroyed. it was probably the coolest urban destruction site i’ve ever found. if i ever wanted to film a post apocalyptic thriller about the decline of rice production and it’s affects on the shanty towns that relied on the it set in downtown chicago, i would film it there.

SIDE NOTE: have you been to manny’s deli before? you should really go if you haven’t and you live in chicago (or if you would like to go when you are visiting chicago, please call me. i am always ready for manny’s). it’s pure corned beef fantastic with a side of love and latkes. mmmmmmmmmmm. visit their website HERE.

the music:
blur’s last studio album (and first without graham coxon) is spotty at best. there is one song from a jeans commercial, one from a car commercial, and then there is this beautifully spun, one minute and two second punk ditty on the atrocities of government and it’s over arching power-hungry secret service/big brother policies and polices. it’s awesomeness bottled into jangled fuzzed out guitars that get to the point right away. crank it. sit back. be blown away.

50 Portraits – 34

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f4.0 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f4.0 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f4.0 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/20 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: The Melodians, Rivers Of Babylon, Rivers of Babylon, 1970 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #34 is Jenni

jenni is set to marry 50 Portraits Project subject # 6 and i couldn’t be happier. i first met jenni when i moved to chicago in early 2005. she’s a peach. we’ve been playing scheduling phone tag for weeks so when i sat both james and jenni down for an engagement photo session, i took the opportunity to snap a bunch of jenni by herself. two birds with one stone? you betcha.

one thing i love about jenni is that she’s out in the world making a difference as a pre-school teacher in a public school out on the far west side of chicago. although i have yet to witness her in action, i can only imagine how her calm and understanding demeanor and patient sincerity coupled with her overall positive outlook rubs off on her impressionable kids. i don’t think i’ve ever seen her unhappy or even flustered for that matter as her face always seems to have a smile on it. she’s as cool as the underside of the pillow.

with this coolness comes jenni’s sense of style and fashion. jenni always looks put together (not manufactured) and she always looks the part. unique but not loud. professional but urban hip. classic yet slightly groundbreaking. it’s tough to pinpoint or define her look but her look is definitely defining. jenni is also an avid ohio-an, she’s a THE Ohio State Football fan, (as you can tell) she’s the proud owner of a Chad Ochocinco Bengals jersey, and she’s never shy about skyline chili as it was a staple two years ago at their super bowl party. i can’t wait for the wedding. it’s gonna be epic… and i couldn’t be happier for ms. jenni!

as you can see james sneaks into a bunch of these (he’s not *overbearing! *i just wanted to say overbearing. i photograph james a lot) as does monte. it’s tough to take photos at home and not have monte sneak in. the first photo is with the 24-70mm as i was in the middle of the engagement photo session when i snapped it. it’s hilariously perfect. the rest are shot with the 28mm f1.8. also also perfect. i have never taken photos of someone during the daytime in my downstairs bathroom. it has tons of natural light. it’ll be used again. thank you 1998-era-rehab-chicago-glass-brick sales!

the music:

the Melodians are legends. Bob Marley may be the face of reggae music but he is not the only jamaican musician. many americans believe in this misnomer. as the Sex Pistols visually encapsulated the punk movement of the late 70’s, they were not the only punk band on the planet. it is the same with the Melodians. and with the (once trio) jamaican duo, you get one of my top 10 favorite singers of all times in tony brevett. it helps that tony’s brother was the bass player in the Skatalites (ska music legends the Skatalites). rocksteady, ska, reggae, and dub would be nothing without the beautiful song writing and harmonies of the melodians. truly truly truly amazing.

people need to listen to more jamaican music. i need to listen to more jamaican music. the bass, the melodies, the drums, the beats… awesome. if you have a couple of minutes, check out the Melodians in the present with this video clip.

i turned my camera on itself

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 62mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 63mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 57mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 62mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 62mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 62mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 62mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 62mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: The Sword in the Stone, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead , 2003, | LINK

the photography:
every 10 months or so, i take a break from photographing whatever it is that i’m currently enamored with (these days it’s mostly people, traveling, and quick road trips outside the house) and bring myself back to photographing old cameras in the macro. i know i know, it sounds weird but i really enjoy taking photographs of cameras. i think my love of the of mid 20th century camera construction (specifically craftsmanship and materials) draws me back to my antique camera collection. it’s a little fetish-y but hey! i’m not hurting anyone. plus it gives me a reason to take the older cameras off the shelf and give them a good dusting.

i created a little seamless studio floor and backdrop with some white printer paper and a manilla folder (for some structural balance) while natural light poured in through the tv room window. it’s amazing how easy and inexpensive it is to create professional studio environment when you don’t feel like going to the studio! the camera i chose to photograph is an old minolta 16mm stainless steel contraption. it’s tiny and i have a couple of them (this one is the larger of the two as i have an 8mm slightly smaller version). i like to think that if i was a spy, i would carry one of these everywhere. this particular camera was purchased at a farmers market/swap meet/flea market in the town square in healdsburg, ca in the spring of 2005. pretty awesome. it’s classy yet fashionable, small but heavy.

to make things even more exciting (i.e. to work on my photo chops), i used a Canon 12 extension tube with my 24mm-70mm to achieve some serious depth of field, some seriously close focusing, and some serious camera shake! when you are this up-close with this tiny amount of depth of field, any little camera movement will cause severe blur. it takes patience. i rarely have any. but when the mood grips me, i like screwing around with my gear. you all should try it. i also set up a funky little tripod made out of a tabletop microphone stand and a foldable strobe/umbrella head. i own a couple of tripods but none that is only 7″ tall. and man, stainless steel looks really good in black and white.

the music:
ted leo. every time i hear this song, i think back to 2003 when i sat on the side of the stage at a Middle East Downstairs (in glorious Cambridge, MASS!!!) ted leo show next to my friend the hahn. after playing this song solo (you better walk around, ’cause no one’s gonna drive you…), ted busted into a solo version of the pogues classic, dirty old town. hahn and i looked at each other and went (simultaneously) “POGUES!”. it was a great show indeed. i love me some ted leo.

50 Portraits – 33

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Greyhound, Orange, 1994 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #33 is Natalie (and sometimes Teno)

i’m pretty sure that natalie has never had a bad picture taken of her. now i am almost positive that she will argue with the validity of this statement as most modest people should. before i go any further and dump my size 10.5 (size 11 if Adidas) foot into my mouth, i would like to make one defining statement about natalie: she is the most photogenic adult i have ever photographed. i purposefully stated ‘adult‘ because natalie’s son teno has inherited his mother’s photogenic genes.

before i met natalie, i had followed her work online as she writes and edits a great website that caters to a younger generation of kitchen worshipers. at Bake and Destroy, natalie combines here unique take on the world with baking and everything needed in the kitchen. stories, interviews, links to other baking industry peeps, and kitchen centric ideas litter the site with enough content browsing interest to keep you busy for a long time.

at the heart of Bake and Destroy is natalie’s writing. she’s got a BA in journalism from Columbia College and her thoughtful interviews and profiles are aimed at shining a light on chicago’s (and the nation’s) growing interest in everything baking related. the crazy thing is that Bake and Destroy is natalie’s second job. her full time duties? making sure the world uses reusable bags. amazing.

fighting plastic bag abuse, keeping teno and tony in line, and baking the most incredible edibles are all in days work for this fantastic lady. please take the time to visit Bake and Destroy and ReusableBags.com and help put a dent in reducing our plastic bag waste while you put a dent in your local flour and sugar bags. i promise, it’ll be worth your while!

photos were taken with the 28mm f1.8 again. natural sunlight in a kitchen really does make all the difference. thanks to natalie for letting me into her home to meet her wonderful and very photogenic family and also thanks to natalie for sending me home with some cupcakes that just happened to be sprinkled to perfection by the one, the only, mr. teno.

the music:

i saw the JSPE live back in 2001 in boston. i had no idea how rock-n-roll it was to be a heroin addict. amazing. skinny jeans, thrift store tees, and a dirty-patch-covered-falling-apart jean jacket completed the denim tuxedos on all three members (they are called Canadian tuxedos within a hundred mile radius of the northern US border). besides their well documented battle with drugs and the like, the jon spencer blues explosion are possibly one of the loudest bands on the face of the earth. large Orange cabinets and Marshall stacks littered the stage. and they all went to 11 complete with the loudest mic’ing of a drum kit i have ever heard. the bass kick sent shock-waves through your sternum. it was impressive. what? no bass player? who needs one. these guys tore off the roof. this instrumental is the closer to one of their better records. it’s one of those tunes that you hope will never end.

mmmmmm dirty rock and roll, sloppy feedback, dj scratches, heavy bass drums, and keyboards that rip off Dr. Dre… yes please.

50 Portraits – 32

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
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Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: The Shins, Sleeping Lessons, Wincing the Night Away, 1995 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #32 is Kendra

kendra is a student. and with being a student comes student problems. i remember this time in my life as if it were yesterday. a healthy balance of school, school work, social activities, and the creation of art as expression (at least when i was enrolled in art classes) ruled my free time. 9 times out of 10? social activities would win the battle. and let’s be honest, it was much more like a slaughter. kendra is really lucky. she has two very important things going for her.

1) kendra feels naked without her camera 2) kendra is fearless.

i only wish these were a part of my limited repertoire when i was in college. not only do they set kendra apart from her classmates but i feel that they both will be really important to her growth as a photographer (as long as they don’t get her into trouble first…).

when i was in my late teens and early twenties, i dreamed of taking photos as hard hitting as the street photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson, as stunning and stoic as the portraits of Yousuf Karsh, or as decadent and perfectly lit as David LaChapelle. and within the realms of academic reason, i probably could have made photos just like them. the only logistics i was lacking were a) money (easily overcome), b) time (actually a cop out as i wasted so much time in college) and most importantly, c) self-confidence and the unwavering sense to just go ahead and try it. in turn, my photography from college is littered with cheesy metaphors, painted plastic guns, cigarette cases, friends trying their best to look edgy, and dozens of out of focus portraits highlighted by cheap dramatic lighting. my photography portfolio from college can be easily summed up: trite subject choices with promising camera technique.

but you know what, that’s totally cool. that’s what college is for right? practicing? learning? developing? i friggin hope so…

kendra, on the other hand, has a leg up. she already has some fantastic and candid portraits of strangers whose faces could tell a thousand stories. it’s endearing, in this digital age, to have no fear in walking up to people on the street just to chat and take photos. she also takes boatloads of self portraits. i mean, BOATLOADS. it doesn’t happen anymore. courage and self-confidence in your work is, ironically, why i started this 50 Portraits Project in the first place. our meeting was destined.

kendra’s lesson for ian: take risks, get uncomfortable, make it happen

ian’s lesson for kendra: practice leads to jobs which leads to more time and money to practice

kendra’s other lesson for ian: wear more lime green

awesome. photos were taken with the fixed 28mm f1.8 and they were taken in and around the south loop of chicago during some of the best natural light i have ever seen.

the music:

if you don’t like the shins, that’s fine. if you don’t like his voice, that’s fine. if you’re worried about where the band is headed since half of them quit, that’s fine. if you think they are over rated, that’s fine. but i don’t think anyone can deny the power of this song, especially when played live. it’s on par with a lot of great rave-ups from the 90’s and 00’s. but as we close the 00’s chapter at the end of this year, a lot of people (probably mostly critics because they really are the only ones who talk about this stuff) will point to the shins as a gigantic driving force in music. especially in regards to lyrics and sonics. this song combines both.

WATCH THE VIDEO.

diptych – or dip stick – or whatever.

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f3.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f3.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Criminal Piece, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Shake the Streets, 2004, | LINK

the photography:
keeping with the tradition of posting in spurts, here goes nothing. diptychs are awesome. and quite fun to spell. nuances can be determined only when you have a second ‘something’ to prop your first ‘thing’ up against. hence the photographer’s long standing love of diptychs. i think i’ve talked about them before so i’ll just skip over how awesome they are and just show some off.

these photos were taken within a two day period while i was wandering along chicago avenue, daytripping with the mrs. up sheridan road along the north shore in glencoe, walking from my garage to my house in my backyard (Monte!), and after i had used a rather interesting bathroom housed in a grocery store which is then housed in a tall apartment complex in the west loop (notice the changing table in the mens room, gonna use that thing soon enough!).

my need to take two photos every time i click the shutter stems from my work with autos. i photograph cars at such a pace that sometimes i get ahead of myself. when you already know what angle you are going to be working from and when you’re working on memory repetition, sometimes your hands and feet move faster than your shutter. thus, if i take two photos, hopefully one of them won’t be blurry. as i shoot fine art and portraits for myself and this blog, i find that each shutter click becomes a little more refined, a little less hurried, and a lot more thought gets put into what i’m aimed at. so these diptychs, as you look at them, they really do pop with subtle differences. btw… did you know that subtle nuances is redundant? nuances are subtle by definition. huh… cool.

shot with the 28mm again. also, you might notice that i added a fantastic little plugin feature to my WordPress driven blog. it’s the jQuery lazy load plugin and it totally rules. as you scroll down my blog you will notice that the images will load when you need them as opposed to trying to load all at once. did someone say, user experience? shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. thanks to srobbin for the heads up. he’s got his ear to the ground and i appreciate his help!

the music:
oh ted, how you make my life better. i once saw ted leo play a concert in a defunct bar at my college with nothing more than a microphone, his gibson es335, his twinreverb fender amp, a chair, and a reel-to-reel 2″ tape deck with a built-in speaker sitting on the chair. after he introduced himself into the microphone, he pressed play and began to sing and play along with recorded bass and drums. and to the bewilderment of the crowd of less than 50 people, he rocked his ass off. it was truly amazing. i have seen ted leo live more than 25 times and he keeps getting better. when i hear that his music is being listened to by kids of all ages it makes me smile and it reinstates the fact that he is one of the reasons why i love music. ted leo = passionate singer-songwriter guitar hero who loves what he does and he does it for the kids. truly punk (even though he may sound like Thin Lizzy sometimes).

50 Portraits – 31

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f2.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/6400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Hum, I’d Like Your Hair Long, You’d Prefer An Astronaut, 1995 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #31 is Joe

joe and i have been running social circles around each other for probably a good 5 years (who knows, it might even be for longer, i’ll have to do a more thorough background check). he is a well known online photographer (the chicagoist, gapers block, being totally sweet in chicago have (re)published his pics), a super duper bike enthusiast around chicago, and thousands of people have (repeatedly) checked out his flickr page and his hilarious take on the world via twitter. yesterday was the first time i actually got to meet joe in person. i have seen him from a distance 3 times before but under very crowded circumstances. he’s almost instantly recognizable. people like that fascinate me. joe fascinates me.

joe and i share the same love of lots of things but most notably, we love kicks. and by kicks i mean what most people would refer to as their “everyday” shoes. and by shoes i mean really sweet footwear. and by really sweet footwear and i mean the types of sneakers that make guys like joe and i go “oh hell yes please” and drop to our knees with envy.

joe also is the type of guy who is never too far away from his camera or his camera phone. the man takes images constantly. and i love every single one. if you spent enough time, you could actually mark out joe’s path on his bike tours around chicago just by putting the pictures together. it’s a fascinating way to tell a story. and i get completely absorbed in joe’s stories. he’s the kind of photographer who takes pictures of what he likes, not what he’s told to like. it’s pretty awesome.

i hope to see a lot more of joe in the future. i will keep my eyes peeled for the biggest wheeled bike in all of chicago. maybe next time i’ll meet him at publican and ya’ll can witness some fantastic gorilla food photography. that would make my year. photos were taken again with the 28mm f1.8 as the 50mm f1.8 has yet to move off of my desk. i might just have to threaten myself to get it to the lens doctor. one of these days… also, you might notice that with a couple of the outdoor photos i kept the ISO set to 1600. that would be an accident. i set the camera at 1600 when we were shooting in joe’s poorly lit concrete bike locker and i failed to return it to the proper ISO setting (for bright sunny days at least) of 100. i hate it when i don’t recognize stuff like that. i absolutely hate it. good thing it was super duper awesome sunny out and none of you would have noticed if i hadn’t told you.

the music:

many of the people who have appeared in the 50 portraits project evoke certain feelings of some shape or form when i have met them or even when i think about them as artists, chef’s, friends, or just peeps. interviewing doug #27 made me hungry for obvious reasons while photographing jay #24 made me want to go out and learn to paint. with joe, all i wanted to do was relive my early years of college radio where i would play anything from the get-up kids, wilco, bad ska, worse hip-hop, and even (gasp from my friends…) steve earle (side note: steve earle rules. get over it!). i imagined myself, all alone in the radio station dj booth with the monitors at full blast, making sure the needle of the receiver wasn’t pinned in the red. so for the drive home, i proceeded to play drums on the steering wheel while i blasted champaign, IL’s hum, really loudly. when i grow up, i’m gonna play through two completely different amplifiers simultaneously while jumping on pedals and destroying my fender strat. uh huh. when i grow up. the best part? when i got back to my in-laws, the bears beat seattle. so, you know… i think it all worked out ok for a sunday that was perfect.

you’ll always be mini golf to me.

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 14000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/6400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/6400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/4000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Bells, Hey Mercedes, Hey Mercedes EP, 2001, | LINK

the photography:
it is called a few different things across the world. putt putt, miniature golf, mini golf… but no matter how you slice it; the smaller than real life golf course is one of the greatest places to relax on the planet. 1 father-in-law, 1 wifey, a dozen life-sized paper-maché animals, 1 waterfall, 1 not so close to scale replica of the great wall of china, and 1 gorgeously sunny afternoon in illinois = THE perfect labor day.

here’s a fun perspective/take of a miniature golf course in skokie, illinois. we snuggled our round in between a rather quick threesome of daughter, son, and dad who sat quietly behind us while we putted, and four twentysomethigns who were trying not to curse too loudly when they missed their 4th and 5th shots. it was awesome. did i mention the weather? gorgeous. i also love that mini golf courses have their own little alien-like ecosystems that may or may not survive on rain and sun (they might just grow on dreams and luck). these environments offer up some pretty radical angles. everything was shot using the 28mm 1.8 that was slung around my neck while i putt-putt putted to the head of the leader board after 17 holes (we never did play the first hole).

for a historical look back at golf de mini, check our this link.

the music:
sometimes i just want to hear melodic rock and roll so i can set myself afloat in my office chair. this song does just that. spinning and spinning and spinning i forget just how boring work can be sometimes. thank god for Panodora.com.

auto as art – object not subject

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 48mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 43mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 55mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 45mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 62mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 57mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 42mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 60mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Motr, Tans Am, Surrender to the Night, 1997, | LINK

the photography:
in many ways, a car is a car is a car. if it gets you from point A to point B without fail, it’s doing it’s job correctly. now, getting from point A to point B is determined by the driver and how the driver would like to or can afford to get from A to B. some cars are made for those with money and some cars are made for those with no money and even more cars are made so that you can look like you’ve got money. exterior designs and drivetrains are copped every day from manufacturer to manufacturer and lawsuits and lawyers help to keep original ideas original. but no matter how you slice it, no matter how many models are on the road in one given model year (347 last year, much less this year) every individual entity known as “the automobile” can be viewed as a work of art. even the craptastic ones.

it’s funny that i ended up where i am today as a professional photographer. a couple of twists of fate, a coffee table book that went no where (which is a total bummer because i really look at the entire experience as some of my best editorial work as a whole and collected), a design career that was just asking for a break (although i still do the occasional album cover so keep those requests coming), this guy who i sorta met once who was looking for an auto photographer, and one fatefully awesome working interview later and, ta-da. so what has the two years brought me? well, for one thing, i know that i can make almost any car look good enough to pass off as awesome when viewed at 350px x 269px @72dpi. say that one five times fast.

other than that… say, the basics of first gear? eh, ummm… i know what torque does but could i describe it to you? probably not without using the word ‘torque’. and i know how a 600 hp engine feels when you stomp on the gas really hard. but do i know what shocks and struts do exactly? not so much. what i HAVE learned is how the light will react off the hood of a car in the shade and at what angle i should park a car at any given moment in the day to get as much soft light to bounce off the dash. it’s the little things, right?

photos are of a car without a single photo of a decipherable badge (i do leave one hint…) or a Monroney sticker (the thing on the window at the dealer, and yes, it has a proper name). i decided to take some shots without the normal car pieces extruding thus ruining the photo, with the exception of the headlights and the taillights which, after a while, feel less and less car like and more and more just plain mechanical. no wheels, no dashboards, no engine, no sounds, no fury, no burning rubber. just metal lines after gooey metal lines… (and some leather and more metal)

the music:
what happens when you mix two crazy multi instrumentalist dudes, one incredible drummer, numerous midi triggers, a couple of keyboards, a vocoder, one heavy bass, one heavy guitar, and then to top it off you pour lighter fluid all over the cymbals and light them on fire? after the drummer hits them repeatedly to put out the flames, you get Trans Am. this song is one of their best. and this band still sits in my top 10 live acts of all time. amazing. i will drive to cleveland to see this band. that’s how much i love their music.

with all the crap indie-metal-synth-pop-vocoder-idiots out there (that’s right, i’m looking directly at you dan deacon), you can point to trans am as a ground breaking band. on their 2004 record, liberation, they even remixed george w bush speeches into one of the best anti-war songs ever created. these guys are boundary pushers. and sometimes they come up sounding lame and trite (don’t buy the record TA). but for the most part, these guys kill it. and they kill it every time.

Portrait Photography

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 54mm
Lens: F 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F9.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 75mm
Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 +1 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: F 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 34mm
Lens: F 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 43mm
Lens: F 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: F1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 48mm
Lens: F 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Bobcaygeon, The Tragically Hip, Phantom Power, 1998, | LINK

the photography:
in these post-film photography years, actors, writers, artists, musicians, businessmen, professionals, public speakers, chefs, and anyone who does something (almost any job me thinks) for a living will inevitably need a professional photograph of their face. with the death of film and the price of quality digital cameras at an all-time low, the need for a head shot is easily remedied. someone you know, somewhere, owns a digital SLR camera and remarkably, you will be able to exchange very little money in return documentation of your person from your belly button to the top of your head.

now i’m not putting down amateur photographers for wanting a piece of the professional pie, hell, i started out doing exactly that. in fact, you must start somewhere and practice makes perfect in this world when it comes to a trade. and there is very little that is new when it comes to portraits. for years and years, people have been documenting themselves for future generations to ogle at and revere over drinks and food. in 1809, you sat for a painter for hours (maybe even days) at a time. in 1909, you held yourself still for 15 seconds or more without blinking so a photographer could capture your image in silver and chemicals.

these portraits are the new proof of life, the artifact to be found by future generations, the art on the wall of a collapsing building on fire. portrait photographs are the new form of existence past death. in 60 years, these photos are the pages that will be thumbed through and purchased at thrift stores and second hand marts across the country; your headshot, your portrait, your memory, your legacy.

but that’s already happening now, right? you go into a thrift store and you can find a dozen old photographs in broken frames, of family members, lost grand parents, and posing great great grandmas in their ugly 1930’s sweaters. but what happens with our generation? you know what they are gonna find? that’s right. our facebook photos. wasted snapshots of how many tequila shots you took on your 27th birthday and hazy moments where your friend captured you checking out that girl’s bosom at that party back in 07. oh yeah. that’s what people will find when we go. oh lord i hope that’s not all they find. let’s make sure we leave our ancestors some good photos no? your grand children might thank us. go get your photo taken by someone, for serious’s sake. and don’t put bunny ears up. don’t wear a shitty sweater. go and make these few shots count. you can save the stupid photos and poses for your next wedding reception.

photos are of two writers, one filmmaker, two actors, two musicians, one new father, and one rather fantastic chef. i love portraits. i love trying to tell a story. i love feeling emotion from people i don’t know. i could study faces for hours. and sometimes i do just that.

the music:
“went to your house this morning, it was a little after nine, could have been the willie nelson, could have been the wine”. gordon downie is known more for his edie brickell meets joe cocker style of spastic dancing than he is for his intriguing and incredibly legible lyrics. downie supposedly has a photographic memory when it comes to conversations and quotes. his lyrics tell incredible stories because of the snippets he remembers from life. we try to create dialogue with our work, he reaches back and reproduces it. no wonder their songs sound so familiar. i really have the biggest love for this band. they are one of the pop-ier bands to grace my catalog but they deserve it. no pulling indie-cred punches here, these guys are canadian and way older than me. listen to them if you like your rock to be rolling with stories to be told and as many hockey references as possible.

50 Portraits – 30

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/4000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: The English Beat, Mirror in the Bathroom, I Just Can’t Stop, 1980 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #30 is Lauri

lauri is one in a million. she is a wonderful conundrum of sorts (professionally speaking), the kind that can only manifest itself in the modern world of multiple careers, job jockeying, and with a market that is keen on hiring as many creative people as possible. she’s a writer, a photographer, a politically charged painter (on the humor fights fear fights humor side), a lawyer law school grad (by schooling) (my bad!), freelancing coordinator, and according to a biography from the real hot 100 issue of 2007 she’s lived a thousand lives. before tuesday, lauri and i had never met. i guess you could say that i remedied that situation by asking if she’d join the 50 Portraits Project crusade. she said yes. turns out she’s done stuff like this before.

there is something uniquely endearing about small town people who live and create art in the city. escapism is nothing new to the world of literary genius but to those of us who grew up in rural areas, the urban sprawl is something to behold, to digest, to explore, to interrogate, and to investigate. lauri does this on hundreds of different levels with her art, her writing, and her genuine (and i mean it) interest in the lives of everyone around her. it took ten minutes of conversation to catch the documentary bug from lauri.

lessons learned from my experience with lauri? easy: 1. go out and learn, document, photograph, speak with, engage, walk, run, look; and 2. do it all within the world around you that you have yet to explore. i really like that. there are few interactions that are better than meeting people who make you want to get out of you chair, grab your camera, and run out to the closest ‘ren fair’. i reacted exactly that way to lauri.

did i mention that lauri has a couple of websites? i didn’t? well, here they are. and they are awesome. Found Clothing (take the time, read it, it rules), The Trendpiece Factory (art for laughing, art for sale, art for art), and here’s a link to her most recent stuff at the Chicagoist.

the first couple of photos were taken at the Bleeding Heart Bakery (a fantastic place indeed, check it out if you are in Lakeview) and the rest were snapped in the surrounding area. again, sitting tight with the fixed 28mm f1.8. fun. bike shots are an homage to Candy Cane Sammy and his tall bike in my alley way (my goodness that sounds racy). there’s lots of color in these photos, that’s something that i love. lots’a color.

the music:

in the fall 1995, my high school ska band was holding court as the only ska band in vermont (a title quickly sent down the tubes by many other bands that popped up, most notably, Una-Panoona-Ska-ka-Poleeta from montpelier) and as the local jazz fest placed the Skatalites upon the main stage at the end of church street in downtown burlington, this english beat tape was stuck in the dash of my maroon 1988 buick century. by 1998, ska had become such a passing phase as dozens of craptastic bands dragged the genre through the mud (i’m sorry but no doubt sucked and so did most of the sublime catalog). so it comes as no surprise to me that when people say ska, i think of the early eighties and i think of england and i think of these bad boys. who cares what the lyrics are about, feel that bass, rock those horns, kick that upstroke guitar… pick it up pick it up pick it up.

50 Portraits – 28/29

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/20 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Van Halen, Nerf Herder, s/t, 1996 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #28 is Joel | Portrait #29 is Elizabeth

kickball shall bring-ith us together-ith. that’s pretty much the mantra that i followed for a while back in 2007. that’s when i met joel. it’s also how i subsequently met elizabeth but i don’t really remember it that well. either way, they were both kind enough to tag along for some logan square photography complete with a 2 block radius sweep of the CTA blueline stop.

joel is a kindred soul. i knew this already but after further discussion, we realized that we each have significant ties to the upper peninsula of michigan and that we both enjoy the same humor and intellectual stimuli. amazingly, we have lived with the same roommate albeit in two different parts of the country and at least 5 years in between the two apartments. funny how life works like that? friends bring friends together in the oddest of ways.

and that is also how i met elizabeth. she’s from the same suburban chicago-land town as joel but they were enough apart in years to not know each other from school. it’s all about how you use your six degrees. the reason i asked joel to be a part of this project was because he is a reader of the blog and he owns this fantastic leather jacket. i told him to bring it with him. elizabeth noticed that joel was being photographed and wanted in. my philosophy? the more the merrier. and she was smashing. it helps when your subjects are comfortable with each other. awkward moments caught on film? we save that for facebook. they do make a pretty pair, don’t they?!

photos again are with the 28mm f1.8. it just makes things right in the world. i’m gonna get the 50mm fixed, someday. numerical order = chronological order = story telling w/out editing.

the music:
i started a thread on twitter the other day that centered around nerf herder lyrics. my friend dixie picked up on it quickly and we have been going strong for a few days now. it’s been cracking me up the entire time. who knew that some fleeting frat-punk band could last the years and make some inspiring songs for the world to hunger over? the song van halen was my introduction to nerf herder. pantera fans in love is where i pee my pants. “i bought van halen I it was the best damn record i ever owned…”

night walking with a posse of photographers

Exposure: 5.0 sec – Aperture: f4.5 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1.3 sec +1 – Aperture: f6.3 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1.0 sec +1 – Aperture: f6.3 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 2.5 sec -2 – Aperture: f8.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 8.0 sec – Aperture: f9.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: f2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 15mm
Lens: EF 15mm Fisheye f/2.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Imagination Blind, Dinosaur Jr, Farm, 2009 | LINK

the photography:
the other night i got together with a couple of other chicago based photographers and we did a fantastic little night walk through streets of downtown chicago. it was, in a word, fantastic. i really enjoyed getting the chance to walk around and shoot the breeze with a couple of shutter-nuts like myself. i think i just coined a phrase. at some point, i’ll have a section on here called shutter-nuts. it’ll be portraits of photographers i have met and know. i think that’s a grand idea.

back to the walk. i am such a sucker for a good long exposure photograph of urban settings. i love trying to figure out how photographers compensate for several light sources, light temps, glares, light pollution, and moving subjects. it just plain fascinates me. when i’m shooting my own long exposure photos, i always carry a large tripod and i try to take the explicitly human element out of the frame. moving vehicles hide their drivers and passengers at night and they allow for a mechanical movement that is still very creepy and linear. long exposures with humans tend to just be blurry masses. which is cool sometimes. but i currently like working with lines and edges and moving parts and big f-stops and clear images and … sorry. i’m rambling.

i remember back in college when i really first experimented with long exposure nighttime photography, i realized that subtle pieces of each image would reveal themselves during the development process after the photo was taken. every time, to this day, my eye adjusts to what it wants to see through the viewfinder at night, not what it actually sees. these days, i get home and pull the images up on the computer and i notice about fifteen things that i didn’t see or take into account when i took the photo. it’s a fun process. i blame the darkness.

anywho, photos are from inside the loop at night and one thing to point out that this is my first real photo of the new trump tower in downtown chicago. it’s an ominous building that i really have grown to like. equipment lugged around after dusk includes: Camera body, tripod, 24-70mm f2.8 lens, 15mm fisheye f2.8, 28mm f1.8 lens, cable release, and extra batteries and CF cards. not a light load but a good time indeed.

the music:
my god these guys can really do no wrong. if i get a chance this year, i am gonna track them down and see a show. if you think i’m kidding, watch this video. oh my. i’m just so stoked to be back in the mess of rock and roll that matters. i am pretty done with dance rock as it was never for me. i am also done with the 80’s being rehashed as “cool”. wow. i could scream about that all day. but i won’t. i’ll just listen to my DJR and love it.

also? this is a lou song. i like it a lot. a lot.

pitchfork festival, not just another outdoor party in the chicago summer

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1250 sec – Aperture: f2.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f2.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: f2.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1250 sec – Aperture: f2.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: f2.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Over It, Dinosaur Jr., Farm, 2009 | LINK

the photography:
it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. i have quoted that statement so many times it now just flows from my mouth without the slightest touch of irony or snark. these days, when i get together with my best friends for a weekend of crazy, i’m pretty sure i actually mean it. two weekends ago, the pitchforkmedia music festival was in chicago for three nights of fun, music, art, crowds, and above all, drinking- festival style. what a great excuse for three of my groomsmen to float into town for some down home festival loving. and friends in a band who were playing showed up to boot. it was great. with said band, came some VIP passes. wow. you know what makes a great festival even greater? free beer. friday night, after a great noshing on lots of pork (thanks Publican, you rule. i will be back), i endured one of my “Top 10” going out on the town nights. needless to say, saturday hurt. the photos are from running around the festival grounds and from getting ready in my TV room. count the number of Sparks wrist bands that show up and make sure you look around in each photo, sometimes the best moments are happening outside of what you’re looking at. thanks again to the Bowerbirds, you guys are amazing. shot with the fixed 28mm f1.8. nice.

the music:
dinosaur jr. kick butt. i have been listenign to them, pretty much non-stop, since i was in the 8th grade. it’s one of those bands that are so instantly recognizable and oh so gosh darned love-able and warm and fuzzy, and above all else, loud. this new CD with the original lineup of Murph, J. Mascis, and Lou Barlow, is their first output as the original lineup, in decades. i love it. it’s 1994 all over again. bring the fuzz boxes, the marshall stacks, and shimmy yer butt. i said shimmy!

freelance portraits

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 35mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 63mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 65mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 43mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 51mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 45mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 42mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 40mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 55mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 500 – Focal Length: 55mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Your Old Love is Dead, Stars, Set Yourself on Fire, 2007 | LINK

the photography:
i have been filling in my days making ends meet with various freelance jobs from here and there. the largest of these projects is a bit of work that i am doing with the MFA creative writing department at Columbia College in chicago. i’ve been taking portraits of various contributors for the student run Fictionary magazine. it’s a great opportunity to take portraits of people i have never met before and it’s a great opportunity for me to hone my art direction as I need to put all of the portrait-ees into places and positions from scratch. each of the writers and editors that i have met have been so relaxed and pleasant about the entire process that i wish the rest of the client side of the world would be so kind. the only real guideline that was set before i started was that the images be in black and white. so i’ve been playing a bit with trying to find some really diverse natural (and unnatural) places to shoot. it’s been fun. up next? more portraits. enjoy.

the music:
i absolutely love watching and listening to bands that have fun when they make music on cd and in a live setting. montreal’s Stars fit so nicely into both of those categories. ever since i heard their breakout first record, heart, these kids from canada have been killing it abroad and slowly gaining fans in america. it helps that they are indeed a part of the greater collection of canadian artists known as the “broken social scene”. those crazy socialists in canada actually give money to their artists because it’s a way to progress as a society. society, socialists, communists? while you sit on your hands and try to make a case against socialist tendancies, i’m moving to montreal to get paid to make stuff…

50 Portraits – 27

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: The Stallion Pt. 3, Ween, Pure Guava, 1992 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #27 is Doug

so if you know me (and you may not), you know that i like sausages. if you like sausages in chicago, then you know this man. introducing the true sausage king of chicago (Abe Froman can get bent), the one, the only, Mr. Hot Doug. with almost 10 years under his belt as the owner and operator of Hot Doug’s, The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium, Doug has made a name for himself in chicago and throughout the world. the secret ingredient to Doug’s success? a warm inviting hot dog joint jam packed with the essential hot dogs mixed with grand high-art cooking/foodie variety. you can belly up to the counter and order a $1.75 traditional chicago dog (get it charred, that’s my fave), or try a $3.50 spicy chicken sausage, or you can really step up to the plate and order yourself one of the weekly/daily specialty sausages that are filled with anything from Blueberry-Infused Venison Sausage, to Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage and topped with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Sel Gris. normally one of these specialty sausages will run you close to $8 and/or more but it is definitely worth it.

recently, a rather famous food writer named Doug’s one of the “13 Places to Eat Before You Die”. the awkwardness of that statement is that when i die, heaven better look a lot like Hot Doug’s or i want my money back. with this kind of exposure you would think that Hot Doug’s would be this slick, pretentious, hotbed of hipster know how. in fact, Doug has kept it exactly the opposite. it’s laid back and unpretentious just like the man in charge. to prove my point, Doug has had zero turnover in his employees since he opened this location more the 4.5 years ago. that’s an astounding statistic that points directly to the man in charge as someone that people want to work for. it’s a cash only hot spot that looks a lot like a 70’s diner that was remodeled by a blue/red/yellow loving hot dog memorabilia collector and there is always a line around the door. people may say this a lot but i actually mean it: Hot Doug’s is the perfect place to eat.

so if you make it to chicago and you’re hungry, please give Doug a visit. he’ll make it worth your while. thanks to Doug for taking some time out of his busy morning to chew the fat and allow me to take his picture. if i had the time, i would have stayed all day. i’m not sure he would have liked that! did i mention heaven? photos are with the 28mm prime and again, amazingly, they are in chronological order. they just look best that way.

also, if you run into friends and loved ones at Hot Doug’s? please don’t be a sausage NARC. say hello but never let on that you saw them there (especially if they are eating Hot Doug’s without their wives… shhhhhhhhhhhhh).

the music:
gene and dean ween have been doing their thing for some time now. and i have seen the destruction of their live shows, and i have seen their warnings against and for the use of drugs, and i have seen them fall over wasted, and i have seen them break a drum machine, and i have seen them make fart jokes on stage, and i have seen them play 12 Golden Country Greats with a slide guitar player, and i have seen the coming of the lord during the second set when they broke into a 24 minute long version of Poop Ship Destroyer, and i have heard their music loud and clear. ween fans are better than phish fans. don’t let anyone tell you different. ween’s shit don’t stink. that’s the truth.

50 Portraits – 25/26

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/25 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Piano Fire, Sparklehorse, It’s a Wonderful Life, 2001 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #25 is Amy | Portrait #26 is Gareth

before you all get into a tizzy about “where the hell did all the famous people go?”… just chill out. amy and gareth are famous but none of ya’ll know it yet (including them). amy works behind the scenes at the truly fantastic television program, Antiques Roadshow (the american version) and is partly responsible for keeping me on track in college during my early years. i met amy when i worked at admissions as a tour guide. she was the one who called me and got me out of bed when i missed my tours. she’s awesome.

gareth is her husband. he and i have done many stupid and fun things together including one bourbon filled night that ended with some metallic paint on our faces, a happy birthday balloon, and helium. luckily only roger slept under someone’s bed that night. back in the early oughts (00’s), gareth and i started (with a number of other people) an online magazine for twentysomethings looking to make more out of their lives than a paycheck and a pension. it was fun while it lasted and gareth and i have stayed friends throughout. we also played ultimate frisbee together in college back when we were both hippies. this piece of knowledge will be denied in person so don’t ask us about it. he currently is starting a new job with CBS Sports (as he formerly worked for the New England Patriots and Fox Sports) working on their 2009-10 football season and on the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. he’s also just as fantastic as his wife.

and again, i shot them entirely with the prime 28mm. the photos were taken during a day of checking out the new modern art wing at the Art Institute here in chicago. it was a glorious day with lots of thinking and lots of people watching. a good time was had by all. SIDE NOTE: i take full credit most of the credit for introducing Amy and Gareth (the hahn picks up 10% for early date help and in cultivating interest). in turn, Gareth takes credit for introducing me to my wife. a karmic high-five indeed. when i get famous, they will definitely tell people that they know me much like the current state if things where i tell people that i know them.

the music:
mark linkous, the brains and hands behind sparklehorse, is a solemn dude. i think that’s why i point to this record so much when i’m chatting to someone about my long path towards maturity as an adult. i purchased this disc solely on the advice of mike, the owner and operator of Aboveground Records (one of the best) on the vineyard one afternoon. i think i listened to this record for about two years straight without stopping. it lead to some heavy decision making within my personal life with losing friends who wanted to mold me into something i wasn’t, leaving boston, finding raleigh, drinking, finding myself, losing myself again, drinking, breaking up with a girlfriend who wanted to mold me into something i wasn’t, and finally waking up one day in chicago. PJ Harvey guests on this track. and she rules. it’s a deep record with lots of sad tones and somber lows. luckily it’s not all tears in beers, there are some uplifting tracks sprinkled about. much like this one.

50 Portraits – 24

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: f2.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Killers, Shellac, Lounge Ax Comp, 1996 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #24 is Jay

about 3 years ago, my wife was looking through the Chicago Reader for stuff to do on a random weekday with her lady friends. she found the perfect distraction. after lunch with the ladies, they all wandered over to the now defunct Mystery City Gallery on Halsted and Armitage in Lincoln Park. holding his second ever painting show and first solo art exhibit was none other than the screen printing guru of chicago, mr. Jay Ryan. i got a phone call from outside of the show. “hey babe, remember that poster guy you like? he’s doing a solo exhibit of his paintings. i really think we should buy one”. one slight arm twist later and we are the proud owners of a Jay Ryan original. after a few weeks of eating ramen and lettuce for dinner, we met the man himself at the gallery while picking up the painting. it was awesome. fast-forward 3 years and i emailed Jay to see if he’d help out with my 50 Portraits Project. he said yes. Jay, his wife (an accomplished illustrator, screen printer, etch-er-ist, and painter whose credits include posters, CD covers, and lots of incredible fine art) Diana Sudyka, and their greyhound Seth reside on the north shore while Jay runs one of the best poster/screen printing houses in the country (especially if you need a poster for your band). his now legendary tour posters for Fugazi, The Pitchfork Music Festival, Shellac, Hum, Andrew Bird, and his own band, Dianogah hang in dorm rooms, offices, living rooms (including mine), and countless art galleries. his work has been compiled and published and his mark on chicago indie music and art scene is cemented in the fact that you know you’ve hit the big time if you get to play a show with Dianogah or if Jay designs a poster with your band’s name on it. it was an honor and pleasure to photograph him in his studio known as The Bird Machine. SIDE NOTE: Jay has quite a collection of old school Powell Peralta boards including a couple of original Mike McGill signature models. Bones Brigade Boo Ya.

the music:
shellac. what can i say about a band that only tours a dozen shows a year, releases an album every 6 years, and sells the same t-shirt that they designed in the late 1990’s? these guys really do take their art very seriously. they just don’t do it quickly. their live shows are highlighted by joke telling, question taking, team drumming, and inside jokes that they’ve been pulling for years. they never cease to entertain. fronted by the snarky (and photographed) Steve Albini and Bob Weston, Shellac are the second most seen band in my concert going history. they have a long way to catch up to Ted Leo and his Pharmacists. but some day… maybe. buy their records. you won’t be let down if you like underground grinding post punk played on Travis Bean guitars with metal picks through homemade amplifiers. this track is from the last ditch effort to save the infamous chicago venue, Lounge Ax.

50 Portraits – 23

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1000 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/25 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 1000 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/25 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: f1.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f3.5 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: f3.5 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: f3.5 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: f3.5 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: f3.5 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: His Only Trade, Jawbox, s/t, 1996 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #23 is Steve

when i started this project i was going to photograph only the people i knew. well i broke out of that slump with Bob. when i started this project i was going to only use my 50mm 1.4 prime lens. well i broke that lens 10 minutes after shooting Andrew. i guess things are always going to be different than the way you envision them. the best advice i can give? sometimes you gotta let it go, sometimes you gotta go with the flow. speaking of which,

holy shit.

i just went with the flow and i photographed Mr. Steve Albini. did i mention holy shit? steve is one of those “holier-than-thou” (and i mean that in a wayne and garth “we’re not worthy” sorta way, not in a “hey man, albini’s stuck up” sorta way. cause he’s not. he’s a sweetheart) musical figures whose bands, writings, productions, and quotes speak for themselves. without gushing too much, steve is somewhat responsible and/or has had a hand influencing much of the indie (and not so indie, does anyone remember Nirvana?) post punk rock you hear. bands like Big Black, Rapeman, and his latest (although they have been a band for more than 10 years) Shellac set a tone for many a young kid listening to music that doesn’t get played in the radio. this weekend i went to a set of hometown saturday-night-and-a-sunday-matinee Shellac shows. after sweating his ass off on stage, steve was kind enough to spend a quick spell in front of my camera. the first half of the pics are from the beginning of the sunday matinee show (which was indeed kid friendly). the second half are just steve being steve. it was awesome. thanks steve for being a nice dude. and thanks for gracing us with your music and criticism and wit and production and…. sorry, i was just gushing. my bad. SIDE NOTE: i shot this series entirely with my Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM which is the second fastest wide angle in the Canon arsenal. i bought this lens second behind the EF 24-105 4L USM that came with my 5D. i love it. i hadn’t used it in ages. in a rare act of OCD, these photos are being displayed in chronological order. DOUBLE SIDE NOTE: i was just informed, via a note from my own personal editor Vann, via Twitter: “I desrv a producers credit for tickts & making u go to the show. Also I’m fairly sure u wouldn’t have be born w/out me either :)”

entire post produced by @vmg2. thnx 4 tha tix.

the music:
jawbox is one of two bands to leave dischord records for a major label. it’s probably one of the most unforgiveable acts that an indie band can do. leave a powerhouse underground indie label for the big time? and a righteous and ethical label to boot. but you know what? “selling out” allowed for j. robbins to create the music that he wanted to create for not only jawbox but also for many of the bands that j. recorded as a recording engineer and record producer. did jawbox make any more money on atlantic? who knows. but disoto records bought back the two atlantic recordings and have re-released them. that’s totally awesome. artists should have control over what happens to their art no matter what. this song pretty much sums up the pace, urgency, and power of jawbox. one of my big regrets in my late teens was not taking someone up on the chance to see them live. damn damn damn.

tin roof rusted

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Ghost of Karelia, Mastodon, Crack the Skye, 2009 | LINK

the photography:
not 35 minutes before i started walking home after shooting these photos and the portraits of andrew (50PP #21) did i drop my camera on the sidewalk thus temporarily destroying the usability of my 50mm 1.4. a shame really. it’s my favorite lens. relatively inexpensive, fast, caring, loving and light, this lens had it all. sometimes when i think about the times we shared together, the cold nights huddled in the corner after long walks on the beach in the rain, crying while screening fried green tomatoes, eating pate and toast crisps, i just want to sob hysterically in the arms of my 24-70mm 2.8. ah…. the memories… am i cheating? when i figure out if it’s fixable, i’ll keep you posted. these photos are of and from the gallery with which i am a member. one of the members found an old ceiling section made of tin in the dumpster. before you could say, Ro Sham Bo, it was cleaned up and attached to the ceiling in the gallery. it’s pretty sweet.

the music:
must stop listening to this record… must stop myself… must… can’t… won’t…

50 Portraits – 22 | Part #2 |

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 320 – Focal Length: 48mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/25 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 640 – Focal Length: 55mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 30mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 320 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 640 – Focal Length: 48mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff, The Harder They Come, 1972 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #22 is Bob

so one thing that you might not know about bob is that he has an extensive collection of polaroid pictures. and not just any old polaroid pictures, bob has a never ending polaroid picture. it’s quite fantastic. bob started with one polaroid instant portrait. after the first photo was developed, it would be held by the next portraitee so as to show off the previous portraitee. do you get the picture (snarky pun, my bad…)? either way, the project is a fantastic realization of the uses of polaroid film which is becoming extremely hard to find and expensive. as bob scans and posts new photos, the list of people popping up in the photographs is becoming a who’s who of american indie musicians. you will probably recognize at least a few shiny famous faces along the way. to check out his never ending polaroid, CLICK HERE. it’s impressive to say the least. this link should make you want to make something. so why dontcha? go make some art, you’ll feel better. side note: bob lying down on the skateboard ramp clutching his cast hand in #2 was his idea and i love it. also, the t-shirt he’s holding up in #4 reads “Rock is Dead, Paper Killed it”. amazing…

the music:
as far as movie soundtracks go, this one is a doozy. i have bought this record on vinyl no less than 5 different times in my life. it is an essential reggae album as well as an essential struggle/oppression/good_vs._evil album. the title track is jimmy at his best. the subsequent movie that this song appears on is also quite good if you can make it past the erratic editing, poor sound quality, and less than mediocre acting. cliff was trying to tell us something and man, we should have listened. amazingly, my brother brought me to a jimmy cliff concert when i was just 13. life has really not been the same since. and it wasn’t the smoke in the air that did me in, it was the music.

50 Portraits – 22 | Part #1 |

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 320 – Focal Length: 46mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 1600 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 640 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 32mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Pink Chimneys, The Promise Ring, Nothing Feels Good, 1997 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #22 is Bob

first off, i did something i thought i would never do. i dropped my camera about 2.5 feet above a concrete sidewalk. i’ve never done that before. and before you get all up in arms, the only thing that broke was my 50mm 1.4 lens. THE ONLY THING? i need a vacation from myself… but more importantly, i got to meet and photograph the most excellent, bob nanna. bob is a musician who works at threadless t-shirts and he has had numerous previous lives in the bands, certain people i know, the city on film, hey mercedes, braid, and friction. now if you are thirtysomething who has a slight love for all things 1998 kick-ass post punk, (gasp) emo, chicago mathrock, than you already know who bob is. i first heard bob’s name after a get-up kids show in worcester, mass. as i was smoking a cigarette outside someone was talking about him and his guitar gear (Gibson SG, Marshall half stack, etc…). i asked the question “who is bob nanna?”. and someone retorted, “you don’t know? he’s the singer for Braid… duh.” my bad. i knew the music, never the name. i know who he is now. as i start to get into the heart of the 50 Portraits Project, i decided to push the boundaries of my own shyness and ask people that i respect (a whole hell of a lot) to sit and be photographed. andrew huff was the first (as i once started a website that really wanted to be Gaper’s Block but never got off the ground) and i’m already on to mr. nanna. who’s next? well… you’ll just have to come back and see. bob and i had so much fun cruising around the very photogenic threadless offices that i had to split this portion of the 50PP into two parts. as you may notice in these photos, i spent a good amount of time battling the lighting. as the 50PP is done without the use of external light sources attached to the camera, i ended up using both the natural and unnatural light in threadless. all in all, it makes for some fun saturations and skin tones. enjoy. every shot here was taken with my EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. shed a tear for the 50mm.

the music:
this album pretty much sums up the end of my college career. a friend gave it to me and it’s never left my side. i was once told that i would never be able to listen to this song in my friend ashley’s volvo ever again. i pretty much beat this album into the ground and it still holds all of the energy and insight that it did more than 10 years ago. as the promise ring started to call it quits in the early 2000’s i managed to catch them on their last tour through boston. it was a fantastic swan song show with all of the energy that i expected from a band that was playing for the fans. i quite enjoyed the hell out of it. i look back and wish i was hearing this record for the first time. and in some ways, i hear something new every time i play it. just a side note but J. Robbins produced this record. you should google him. he’s worked on some fantastic records.

50 Portraits – 21

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1250 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1250 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Honey in the Sun, Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career, 2009 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #21 is andrew

andrew is the editor in chief of one of chicago’s great blogs, Gapers Block. i met andrew a couple of years ago at a Gaper’s anniversary party. my wife had befriended him via her path as a PR superhero. andrew has one of those memorable faces (which may be directly linked to his sideburns) and when i decided to branch out of my inner circle for this 50 Portraits Project, his name was near the top of the list. i met with andrew, his wife, and a few of their friends for a beer and some portraits (i am lying about the beer because it’s hard for me to say cider in public). please check out GB as it collects the finest that chicago has to offer in the arts, social stratospheres, food, politics, and puts it out there in blog form for all to see. check it out for sure. thanks to andrew and cinnamon for letting me hang for a bit. i would love to see the photos (that cinnamon took) of me taking andrew’s photo. that would be a fantastic attachment to this post.

the music:
besides the aptly chosen name for this band, there are many many many things i love about this multi-pieced group from scotland. fortunately almost all of my interest stems from their lead singer tracianne. my god. for a long time now, i have had an imaginary friendship with her. we run in the fields of grass, we hold hands, we toe the sand on the beach together, we take funny polaroids of each other outside of the Louvre, we ride a bicycle built for two together, and we go skinny dipping in the pond without looking at each other (ok so maybe i look but i know she doesn’t). it’s fantastic. their music is so bubbly, so happy, and so much more than the bubblegum pop that it poses as. this band is now five records into a great career and your should buy them all. but make sure to bring your toothbrush. this band is indeed, too sweet for most. i almost fainted when my friend ivan introduced me to tracianne back in 2004. true story.

it’s june in chicago but it feels like february in seattle

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 15mm
Lens: EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 40mm
Lens: EF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 15mm
Lens: EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Don’t Change, INXS, Shabooh Shoobah, 1982 | followed quickly by | Kick, INXS, Kick, 1987 | LINK

the photography:
so the weather in chicago has yet to let up. crappy rain and 60 degree fog soaked mornings are what i’m dealing with. if i wanted to live in the PNW, i would have moved there years ago. yuck. the photos today are from the middle of dearborn street, in the offic parking garage, and from this fantastic recording studio in an old loft off the river in Milwaukee. the photo looking north up dearborn street is pretty self-explanatory as is the parking garage image. the recording studio loft was the setting for my recent shoot with All Tiny Creatures. these kids are fantastic. check them out. the shots were taken with my 15mm fisheye. a cheeky look but i totally dig it. the studio reminded me of my old art space in cicero. i shed a tear. BTW… i love the stigmata photo with a polaroid. might go down in history as one of my favorite “found” pieces of art. i love walking around old buildings and looking rooms.

the music:
do any of you remember when INXS hit the states over the head in 1986? i do. my brother was just getting into music (his musical tastes coincided with his love for skateboarding and included such great underground and new wave heroes as The Dead Milkmen, INXS, OMD, and the Thompson Twins) and my parents always let us play pop radio on our Chevrolet Celebrity station wagon. so when INXS took the US by storm i was there. and i was impressionable. these records stick with me wherever i go and let’s be completely honest, Don’t Change is one of the greatest songs ever written. i don’t care what kind of music you like.

50 Portraits – 19

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: F2.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: F2.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Let’s Go, The Cars, Candy-O, 1979 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #19 is theresa

to break out of my shell for the middle third of these 50 portraits i have decided to meet and shoot some local chicago web celebs. first on my list? the owner, operator, and sole proprietor of The Local Tourist website (go check it out with the link provided, you’ll love it!), theresa. the site is a great way to explore chicago from where to eat to site seeing to venues. an awesome website run by an awesome person. i met theresa about 2 months ago while working with my wife at a meeting of the tweeters (tweet-up) and i realized early that theresa has one of those personalities that you don’t forget easily, especially when paired with her curly red hair. shooting photos in the early evening is fantastic so matching up the orange glow of the sun with the orange glow of her hair was perfect. also, talking and walking through your portraitee’s favorite park/stomping grounds for an hour or so is a great way to capture said portraitee’s personality. so go check out her site. you’ll be glad you did. thanks theresa for chewing the fat. viva la Local Tourist. also, i am just a sucker for some natural lens flair. take that photoshop!

the music:
i woke up this morning and i took the dog to the dog sitter and i drove down western avenue (one of, if not THE, longest streets in chicago) and all i could do was hum this song. i love the cars. i love love love the cars. this song (which is occasionally mistaken to be titled “I like the night life baby”) appears on a great album that features of the greatest album covers of all time. LINK. and lots of people forget about ben orr. rip mr. orr, your voice and songs will be missed.

photogs and twitter part 2

| currently listening to: Girls On Film, Duran Duran, s/t, 1981 | LINK

the photography/internets part two:
twitter to me is a meeting of the minds where ideas can flow and friends can chat and people can show off what they’ve been working on. sure it’s an addictive way to spring your life onto old friends who haven’t seen you since high school graduation (sorry kids, i know i’m scary like that…). but it’s also a place to learn from seasoned veteran photographers and aspiring amateurs alike. for photographers at any level, the learning curve is never complete. practice does indeed make perfect but perfect keeps moving ever further out of reach with each photo you take. twitter, along with some tutorial style blogs and Flickr, allow for an open conversation about everything from the technical aspects of photography (lighting, cameras, lens’, editing, etc.) to the overarching creative techniques (styles, manipulations, cropping, etc.).

these days being a photographer doesn’t mean that you have to lock down all of the information you have accumulated through the years and store it away so that your favorite and most loyal assistant can abuse it and drag your name through the mud after you’ve retired. these days you can broadcast knowledge in 140 character snippets. sure, the market is being saturated by amateurs posing as professionals and vice-versa but the competition/posturing should inspire you to pass on what you know so that people can actually learn the trade instead of just speak it. i personally think it’s a great idea. i love spending hours looking at photos, the good and the bad. my best piece of advice for photographers is this: if you’re interested about getting better and learning more? go down to your local photography center and sign up to take a class. it’ll be worth your while. and lest we forget…

every great photographer takes a bunch of shitty photos every shoot.

so what is my favorite lens? well, let me tell you. i have 2.

lens 1:
for most of the week i work as a staff photographer for cars.com. most of my job revolves around documenting every car that comes into the office for review. i spend a lot of time in and around auto shows, new car launches, manufacturer tours, and proving ground tests so i see my fair share of metal shiny objects under crippling lighting conditions. to get through the day? i rely on the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM zoom lens. when i am looking to document the outside of a car, i shoot between 50mm and 70mm so as not to distort the proportions of the exterior (the photojournalist in me says “don’t distort proportions when documenting”. it’s fine in an artistic realm). for the interior, i make sure to use the lens across it’s range with wide dash shoots captured at 24mm and the fit and finish close-ups of the glove compartment at 70mm. it’s a fast lens that’s durable in various lighting situations and contains just enough range to keep my foot zoom to a dull roar.

lens 2:
when it comes to shooting portraits (a personal fave of mine and how i spend much of my time shooting photographs when not around cars) i like to grab my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM. fast, light, and with just the right balance of “i’m not trying to scare you with this camera in your face but i am trying to get you to make the perfect reactionary stare”, this lens is what i carry around with me even when i don’t have a camera on me. that way, if i’m trapped at work i can plop it on my camera body there. and if i want to walk the dog and some kid walks by with melting ice cream down his front? i won’t miss the shot because my camera body at home is always ready to be used. and let’s be honest. i tweeted this the other day:

@IDMPhoto: going out w/camera w/50mm prime. 50 f1.4 is the OG lens.
Twitter | Website

the first image is a collection of 81 photos i took of the all new 2009 Cadillac CTS-V. one heck of a car. 6.2L 556hp engine. basically a 4-door Corvette. not for the light at heart. 12mpg to boot. all photos taken with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM.

the second image is from a recent shoot with Markely. notice the man off frame left and the people just to his left shooting photos. there’s nothing more fun than watching people point their cameras at something (in this case, the bean in downtown chicago) and clicking away. ah… poetic. captured with my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM.

the music:
what better way to write about the current state of photography than to listen to the former current state of pop music. my love for duran duran’s music is almost skin deep. sugary pop from england was shoved down my throat by an early babysitter who looked and acted every bit the part. she had spent a couple of years living with her father in london and when she moved back to the states (southern minnesota to be exact) she brought with her simon le bon’s hair style, nick rhodes’ grimmace, and enough swagger to fill any one of the taylor’s shoes. so it is with great head bobbing and no guy-liner that i listen to this record. sigh. to be in 2nd grade again and have a choice to listen to the dead milkmen or duran duran. as my brother always said back then (and probably today as well), “Twisted Sister sucks!” indeed.

50 Portraits – 18

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: How the Stars Got Crossed, Radio 4, New Song & Dance, 2000 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #18 is nathan

nathan and my wife grew up in the same neighborhood on the north side of chicago. nathan is a musician, a photographer, and a graphic artist as well as a truly nice human being. i met nathan years ago at a bar that does not exist anymore while i was courting my wife (possibly, 4th date? maybe 5th?). he’s a sweetheart of a guy and he’s a blast to chat with about many different topics. but most of the time we talk guitars, cameras, and cars (three things that we both know a fair amount about). we tend to get kicked out of small rooms where the volume of our conversations can take over even the loudest of chatters. i can’t wait for the warmer weather to break on through to my backyard so nathan and i can sit, grill, swill, and chat about the world at large. he’s a good egg and he was kind enough to sit and have his portrait taken in what might be the quickest portrait session of this project (quicker than drive-thru food…). 18 down. 32 to go?

the music:
radio 4 is one of the brooklyn bands that made the scene in the early 2000’s. along with contemporaries, les savy fav, and the yeah yeah yeahs, radio 4 played indie music in the vein of disco dance rock. as the other two artists moved into more creative phases of their careers, Radio 4 kinda stayed put. don’t get me wrong, it’s good music, but it’s repetitive good music. they are also, quite possibly, the shortest band i have ever seen on stage. average height had to have been 5’6″. that’s indeed weird that i remember things like that. but it was really noticeable.

the irony is not lost on me

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: F3.5 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F3.5 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: What Have I Done?, Cursive, Mama, I’m Swollen, 2009 | LINK

the photography:
the weather yesterday and into last night (as we sat in my house listening to the tornado warnings from 8-11 pm) was especially craptastic. today’s weather? the opposite. gorgeous, breezy, perfect. if anything, the wind was a bit strong today. but that did not stop me from taking a walk around the office. shots are from the standard 5 block radius walk.

the music:
dave t. hooked me up with a copy of the new cursive disk. i sorta liked the last one (Happy Hollow) and the one before that (Ugly Organ) belongs in my top 50 of all time. over the course of the day (i have spun the record about 3 times in it’s entirety) this new record has grown on me. the last song is so strong that it makes you want to listen to the whole album again from the beginning. that rarely happens. i feel like these days, the last 3 songs on a record are there so that the band can call it an album’s worth of material when they actually should have put out an EP. this last song shows off tim kasher’s confessional writing style at it’s best. a great build it up tune complete with horns and a rousing chorus. it’s really a great way to send the listener home. turning point lyric?

you’re young and you’re gonna be someone

and you’re old and you’re ashamed of what you’ve become

well take a look around you, you’re preaching to the choir!


4:11

craptastic day in chicago

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Good Morning, Captain, Slint, Spiderland, 1991 | LINK

the photography:
can i talk about how crappy the weather has been in chicago this spring? what have the weather gods given us this year? bupkus. nadda. zilch. nothing. where’s my 68 degree sunny day with a slight breeze? oh, sorry, the memo says that it has been replaced by rain, 43 degree mornings, and some serious wind. dag yo. i did get a chance to sneak out and walk around the block and document the crappy day. not always a fun subject, crappy days tend to end just as horribly as they begin. i think today will be different. the mrs. and i are headed to the gym, then back to the house for some lounging with the puppy. i think things will follow the natural course and we will see the sun soon, and with said sun comes our 86 degree days. i hope.

the music:
a crappy day outside deserves some serious ass kicking sludge. slint, from outta no where, in 1991, gave us one of the great indie records of all time. spiderland laid the ground work for anything and everything that was post-rock. oh boy is it good. the cover photo was shot by will oldham too which is totally sweet. anyways, you can google them and figure out what all the hub-bub is about. or you can just dive in.

photos in 3 hours

Exposure: 1/1000 sec – Aperture: F3.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/30 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/640 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1250 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: F3.2 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: 50mm f/1.4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: 007, Desmond Dekker & The Aces, 007 (Shanty Town), 1967 | LINK

the photography:
it was a great mother’s day today. i spent the morning gorging on one of the best buffet’s i have ever laid my eyes on. it was complete with homemade corned beef hash, eggs, something with tortilla chips, bacon, sausage, french toast, and savory crepes made with nuts, mushrooms, swiss cheese, and spinach. holy crap. it was really awesome. i was so full that i decided to update my website. i was in pretty bad shape to not want to do something other than that. wheeeew. anywho, these photos are from saturday morning. i spent the early hours of the day helping out a friend of a friend smoke some pork shoulders, plant and replant some bushes and a tree (respectively), all while drinking too much coffee. it was fun. it turns out that this new friend of a friend has the same background and love affair with the same music that i do (the genre of midwest/chicago/angular/math/rock/post-punk/kickbutt music made on guitars, basses, and drums). it’s nice to meet like minded people. he also has a totally sweet apartment that is decorated straight out of a DIY website. love it. here are some snaps of the house, the pork shoulders, his neighbors dog, the el, and todd (my mannequin) all taken with the 3 hours that spent doing all of the things i just listed doing. a fun saturday morning.

the music:
desmond dekker is one of those guys who was there in the beginning and is here now. so he must be the real deal. he must be! he’s so old that and so good that he probably still gets 20 year old girls backstage even though he’s in his late 70’s. the self-declared king of ska, dekker has had hit after hit in jamaica. but 007 is one of his best. indeed.

50 Portraits – 17

Exposure: 1/6400 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/6400 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: F2.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: (Arrow Up), Boredoms, Vision Creation Newsun, 1999 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #17 is christopher

not only did i get a chance to spend a day at the horse track but i also knocked off both #’s 16 and 17 of the 50 Portraits Project. whew. life moves pretty fast during the summer. true that. chris is related to my wife and he is visually, a great photographic study. he’s a handsome man with impeccable taste in dress wear and he knows it. a little attitude will get you everywhere in the photographic world. especially when you look that good in front of the lens. his modeling contract days may be behind him but i was happy to be able to pull him out of retirement for my 50 Portraits Project. he’s a good egg. also, the wind had very little effect on chris’ hair, unlike that of his counterpart, leah. not to throw us all under the bus (and not to make leah feel too bad about the incident) but chris was also there when the tambourines went missing. i have many stories to tell about this one but both chris and i prefer our privacy. we’ll tell my kids one day. it’ll be fun to watch their jaws drop. i don’t know if i have mentioned this before but within each of the photos in the 50 Portraits Project, i am using the same lens and the same camera and all of the photos have been taken since the day i started posting them. these are not being culled from the vault. they are fresh. just like chris.

the music:
japan’s favorite noise, funk, rock, indie, weirdos, and all around torchbearers of dreadlocks, boredoms, love to play music and they really love to play the drums. their music is a percussive heavy / keyboard leaning shout-out to american / british psychedelic rock of the seventies. lots of overdubs, tracks, noises, blips, and echos are heard above the driving beats. there may be gobs of manipulation on the surface but don’t let that fool you, the drums are recorded live and played by drummers (usually 3 of them when they play live). the keys are just there to add enough sunshine to highlight the rhythm. i think that every song boredoms produce has at least one symbol being crashed every second. this track contains actual guitar and vocals as well. but i always forget that.

50 Portraits – 16

Exposure: 1/8000 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/5000 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: F2.5 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: F2.5 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2000 sec – Aperture: F2.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Plumb Line, Archers Of Loaf, Icky Mettle, 1994 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #16 is leah

am i only up to #16? on saturday we spent the afternoon hanging around arlington racetrack decked out in seersucker, salmon pants, sun hats, sweaters, and sun dresses. the sun was shining and the ponies were running. it also happened to be Derby Day so the mint julips were also flowing. it was perfect. leah is a dear friend that i have known for a number of years now. she was great to not only put up with my camera but to also join in on all of our antics. the last time i went to a karaoke bar with leah, we may have walked out with one tambourine in her purse and one in my wife’s purse. never a dull moment, right? this was no exception. i also came away with a small set of winnings as my wife went 4-5 for her picks on the day. not too shabby. now if i had only known that the winner of the derby race itself would be the 50-1 mine the bird. dear lord. trifecta that on a $10 bet and you would have been a millionaire. one thought about this first photo: i love the fact that this is an interesting portrait that actually shows very little of leah’s face. photography works in mysterious ways sometimes (windy or not). aesthetics follows very few rules.

the music:
i don’t want to say that archers of loaf coined the phrase but they definitely brought the term “indie rocker” to the masses (at least in my circle of friends and our vocabulary). this record is a great snippet of guitar driven indie rock from the mid 90’s. together with pavement, the archers of loaf brought the guitar to the forefront, hard, angular, and distorted. if i had to pick a basketball team filled with guitar heroes, Eric Bachmann would be on the team at 6’7″ or so. jeez. he makes the guitar look like a toothpick.

shorn grass, hot day, cool dog.

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F8.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: F5.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: F5.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/3200 sec – Aperture: F5.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Stuff, MU330, Press, 1994 | LINK

the photography:
after posting a facebook update that stated that i was about to mow the lawn, i was told by a dear friend from across the country that maybe i should be taking photos of said lawn instead. i took him up on his offer. so before i spent the rest of the day enjoying the friendly confines of the local horse track (it was derby day for crying out loud) but after i had mowed said lawn, i snapped off some shots of the faithful puppy (Monte Verde) hanging around on the deck. it was a glorious day indeed. the blossoms from the neighbor’s trees were blowing into our yard like soft floating summer snow. monte decided that he would roll around on top of an earth worm. yesterday morning proved that the world is at ease. forget about the M1H1 swine flu… summer has officially broke in chicago. things are gonna be alright.

the music:
things couldn’t get any more summer than listening to ska and/or reggae. this song was one of my favorite tunes in the summer of 1995 when i first listened to it. the lyrics are crass, the horn line is kicking, and the rhythm section is tight. exactly what i need when listening to american ska. ah… to be a youth again.

50 Portraits – 15

Exposure: 1/50 sec – Aperture: F4.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/80 sec – Aperture: F4.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: F2.5 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/100 sec – Aperture: F2.5 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Digital, Joy Division, A Factory Sample EP, 1978 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #15 is markley

two dudes walking around chicago for nearly 3 hours is always fun. this is what markley and i did the other day. it was a great way to be able to hang out and chat. i enjoy getting to know people better while riding on trains. markley is a professional writer with a journalist’s rabid passion for fine prose. he’s unabashed and snarky to say the least which means that he reminds me of me. markley is the youngest novelist that i have ever met and he’s so nonchalant about this fact that most of the people that work with him don’t even know that he’s an accomplished writer. this photo shoot was the first of many in which we are planning to explore the different ways to capture markley for his author photo. in this day and age of cutting edge and crazy book design, we’ll hopefully be plotting out a course so that people will pick up his first novel, turn it over, see his photo, and understand that they should probably read this book. we also wanted to make it chicago-centric. we may have taken that one a bit too literally but you have to know your boundaries on both sides of the fence to know where your final product should lie. the lighting for this shoot was perfect; overcast, occasional rain, but bright. as we move into the digital age, cameras are getting better and better at reading gray days. this shoot was really a lot of fun. at one point in the shoot, i told markley that this was his “dylan” moment. the last two photos remind me so much of robert zimmerman (or maybe just something that he would do).

the music:
don’t ever fade away, don’t ever fade away, don’t ever fade away, fade away, fade away… the fabled photographer, anton corbjin, made a movie about joy division pretty recently. i would really like to see it. their recorded sound, their vision, their music, and their lyrics were all well ahead of what their contemporaries were pulling off. their music is timeless and sounds as modern as anything on the radio these days. ground breakers indeed. if i had my choice of rhythm sections for a modern rock band, i would pluck JD’s in a heartbeat. it’s a pity and a waste that the chance of hearing more music is not possible. new order is really good, but Joy Division was amazing.

tweeting

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F4.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/2500 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/60 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: .8 sec – Aperture: F6.3 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 70mm
Lens: EF 24-70mmL f/2.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: nothing. i have my headphones on without music playing. 2009 | LINK

the photography:
so i just started tweeting. i know what you’re going to say, “jeez ian, what a johnny-come-lately. you only started ’cause oprah was doing it”. well, in all honesty, it’s a great way to meet people who might enjoy my photography. and also, it’s a great way to chat with peeps i know across the country. and my wife has been trying to get me to join for something close to a year so… consider it done. you can hit me up at @IDMPhoto if you are so inclined. photos are from brooklyn, some subway station (thanks leigh for being patient), a restaurant cocktail shoot, and brooklyn again (not in that order). this week marks my second trip up to road america and i’m excited to test out some new cars on the track. it will be nice to race around in the smaller cars with powerful engines. it makes me feel much safer than rolling with the big dogs. i’ll post some shots when i get the chance. until then, drive safe.

the music:
um, you should click on the link next to the “currently listening to”. mac book + me + coffee = a goofy looking guy in a cardigan and an 18 year old Pearl Jam shirt.

brunch in lincoln square

Exposure: 1/125 sec – Aperture: F3.2 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F3.2 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: F3.5 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: F3.5 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: F8.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/160 sec – Aperture: F8.0 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 28mm
Lens: EF 28mm f/1.8 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Woods, Bon Iver, Blood Bank EP, 2009 | LINK

the photography:
today was great. i spent much of the early morning going from one grocer to the next collecting what we needed for a fancy feast of waffles, fruit salad, (pork) bacon, turkey bacon, banana nut pancakes, syrup, coffee, mimosa’s, and orange juice. it was a feast attended by family and two close friends and their son, it was great to sit and chat and chew the fat over what was sure to be a great beginning to the summer. after noshing and jawing, we walked outside and went strolling up and down lincoln avenue in lincoln square. my father-in-law was on the prowl for copies of the reader (local chicago arts and newspaper) so that he could collect the subway sandwich coupons hidden in each issue. sorry to anyone who picked up a copy at costello’s thinking that they would get $1 off a subway sub. our bad. pics are from the subsequent walk and hang out. check the us weekly reading affair as well. quite splendid.

the music:
i just picked up this EP for this song alone. it’s layered voices that may not sound much like anything new or ground breaking but justin does us all one better (eat it lil wayne). mr. vernon adds auto tuner to ever single voice as if he were a lost hip hop producer in search of the next best track for an atlanta mix tape. it is so well done that i can’t stop listening to it. it’s divine (as in it belongs in a church).

50 Portraits – 14

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/500 sec – Aperture: F2.8 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Laughter Montage

| currently listening to: Territorial Pissings, Nirvana, Nevermind, 1991 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #14 is michael

michael was kind enough to sit and chat with me today for a spell as we pondered such things as “stooping it” in kentucky, the gentrification of brooklyn, my father’s high school alma mater, my mother’s stint of living in the east village in 1968, the 2009 South by Southwest Multimedia Festival, raising kids in our neighborhood, and of course, everybody’s favorite topic, work. michael is a photographer in his own right and we chatted about film and darkrooms and the such. it’s nice to have people around who you can relate to when it comes to hobbies. it turns out that portrait #7 has known portrait #14 since 1993. small world eh?! well, for this midwest photojournalist, it’s really not that small. especially in the circles i have been running in recently. with the decline of the industry that i cover, people are dropping like flies. every day another email goes out about who is where and why and how and who isn’t around anymore. it’s sad. but to work with such a good group of peeps is great. and fun. SIDE NOTE: a new dawn has broken over IDMPhotography. hades hath turned to hoth and i have joined twitter. @IDMPhoto for those in the know. follow me if you would like to.

the music:
it’s been almost twenty years since nirvana cracked me over the head. i first bought this tape in eight grade, listened to it until i broke it, bought it again. this song starts off the second side of the record (if you bought it on vinyl or tape) and i always took it as a call to arms. with it’s first lines stolen from a youngbloods tune, this track is just so steeped in distortion and crunch that it chills me to the bone. “just because you’re paranoid,
don’t mean they’re not after you”. true kurt, true. i’m gonna always love this record for the time and the place. it truly is a great listen.

50 Portraits – 12

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/1600 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/320 sec – Aperture: F2.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/400 sec – Aperture: F2.2 – ISO: 100 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Driveway to Driveway, Superchunk, Driveway to Driveway Single, 1994 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #12 is eamonn

in those long lost days of processing film and choosing film stock, photographers could push and pull colors right out of no where. with a sly knowledge of chemicals and with a printers gentle touch, one could virtually paint hues of cool and warm, light and dark, over any subject they wanted to. in the digital age it is much easier and more efficient to do it with the input of a number or the grabbing of a slide-bar. but let’s be honest, it doesn’t look the same. these days it is no better or no worse than film to adjust your colors. it is just plain different. with eamonn (who brings my portraits total to a whopping twelve!!!) i decided to push and pull some colors to give the viewer something new to look at, a hue to pense upon if you will. so we have warm eamonn and we have cool eamonn. and depending on who you talk to, eamonn is always cool. mr. e and i used to work together in an office building before he branched out on his own to work as a full time writer and editor. when we worked together he was always one good job offer away from finding his niche and landing the perfect job. he may still looking but he is most definitely one gigantic step closer to that dream then he used to be. catching up over lunch was pretty sweet and i think we decided that this should become a regular meeting. check back for more photos of eamonn through the posts to come. a very smart dude indeed.

the music:
the second time i met mac from superchunk we were both attending a fly in party. yes. i said fly in party. someone we both knew owned an airplane hanger and landing strip in the middle of nowhere North Carolina and this man and his father would have their flying buddies and driving buddies all meet up for a mid-summer fly in party complete with plane rides, live music, and of course, roasted carolina style (vinegar based) pork bar-b-q pig pickin’ style. it was awesome. the first time i met mac he asked if i knew where there was a good place to eat around here. i babbled something like “your record, here’s where the strings come in, saved my life in high school” and then i proceeded to wander off to cry quietly in the corner. it sounds dramatic but i’m pretty sure that’s how he must have perceived the entire interaction. i have photos from that night. it was awesome. it was also the first time i spent backstage at the middle east downstairs in boston. a fun night indeed. if you don’t know superchunk, you should.

50 Portraits – 7

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/200 sec – Aperture: F1.4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 50mm
Lens: EF 50mm f/1.4 – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: Good Medicine, Swale, Verdigris EP, 2004 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #7 is jenny

jenny was a sport today. the weirdest thing i have encountered while working on this 50 Portraits project is that every time i run off to shoot a portrait, i inevitably stumble upon some interesting lighting situations. two of these photos were taken in a large three story atrium in the middle of a rather large building in the loop in chicago. built into the floor of this atrium, around the edges of the room, are some floor lights. normally i would have taken the photos in the middle of the room which would have utilized the opacity of the atrium ceiling and the natural light that eeks through in the middle of the day. but today we walked over to the corner and found these ground lights shining brightly from below. to be lit from below adds an almost stage-like effect (theater, not musical) that can be harsh to skin tones (especially when mixed with the different coloring from the natural light shining from above) and it casts harsh shadows and glares across the body. i think it worked out really well in our case. i wish i had lights built into the floor of the house and wherever you went, you would be walking around like Darth Vadar. that would be cool indeed. a cape would be involved, so you’d have to be cool with that.

the music:
swale are one of my favorite undiscovered bands of the 00’s (oughts). they reside in burlington, vermont and they play some serious songs about some serious issues, and they play them seriously well. i dig the slow churn and burn of this track. it builds to a frenzy of backwards guitar solos layered over keys, bass, and drums. it’s beautifully sung, and the slow time being kept by the drummer is infectiously groovy. it also helps that the drummer and i once painted houses together one summer. he has since moved on to managing a coffee shop me thinks.

for trevor

Exposure: 1/40 sec – Aperture: F4 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/250 sec – Aperture: F4 – ISO: 200 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/25 sec – Aperture: F4 – ISO: 800 – Focal Length: 24mm
Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

Exposure: 1/800 sec – Aperture: F4 – ISO: 400 – Focal Length: 73mm
Lens: EF24-105mm f/4L IS USM – Camera: Canon 5D

| currently listening to: A New England, Billy Bragg, Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy, 1983 | LINK

the photography:
i had a chance to sit down and chat with another photographer here in chicago about all of our likes and dislikes of the current state of the photography world. our long list of things we chatted about sounds a lot like overheard conversations from beneath a porch at an old people’s home. almost every sentence started with, “kids these days” and finished with “and then you know what he did? he asked if i had ever used film before…” it was fun to blabber on about storage needs (filled last week), digital shortcomings (can’t push and pull, sucks in low light, easy to ruin files, etc.), film’s pains (waiting, hours in the darkroom, silver poisoning, etc), and the cost of crappier products made of plastic and not metal (all camera gear on the market today). but we both agreed that photography will improve and digress like it always has with new equipment and new ways to adjust photos. like the ebb and flow of the tides, we just have to deal with it. and i’m really ok with that! it’s just fun to chew the fat with someone who has been through the same experiences. the four verticals today are from the archives. my grandfather, dirty windows, a foot, and wires are all fun subjects. i also took some much needed advice from bones and i added the camera information back underneath each photo so you can now know the specifics of each shot. ah, the digital world meets traditional film techniques. some things never change.

the music:
billy bragg is one of the most meaningful and under appreciated songwriters in all of musical history. i hold his canon higher than dylan. bragg slips in there amongst the soul giants and great reggae musicians, right above the clash and right below fugazi. this record was originally released with 7 songs, a play time of almost 16 minutes, and it played on 45 rpm as opposed to 33 rpm. it’s fast, witty, poignant, pensive, and straight up bad-ass. a man, his telecaster, and his fender reverb amplifier. that’s it. billy carries the torch of woody guthrie with pride. bragg gets better with age although he has slowed down his torrid pace of anger towards facists. now that bush is out of office, he might have to stop touring and retire in spain. who knows. this is the first real song that i learned to play solo and i belt it out whenever i get on stage.

50 Portraits – 6

| currently listening to: The Dark of the Matinee, Franz Ferdinand, s/t, 2004 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #6 is flynn

flynn might be the most photographed of my friends. he’s so sick of me at this point that he doesn’t even notice when i’m photographing him. it’s the perfect working relationship for this project. it was so flipping bright out today. maybe too bright. and yes, that is possible. but all that sun allows for all of those shadows… especially the big dark ones caused by buildings. i’m a big fan.

the music:
i am still stuck between gears on the musical front so this will have to do. every time i go to the gym, i forget to bring my ipod headphones to work afterwards. now i look like a DJ with my old school gigantic sony headphones. the visual is too much. dance rock and big headphones, a perfect equation for neck strain.

four from before

| currently listening to: Someday My Prince Will Come, Miles Davis, Someday My Prince Will Come, 1961 | LINK

the photography:
today has been a long day. we spent most of last night listening to the party that our tenants downstairs were throwing. i didn’t fully fall asleep until well after 5 am this morning. it was bad news. but it was nothing a good home cooked meal couldn’t fix. eggs, bacon, waffles, coffee, orange juice, and a citrus fruit cup. divine. no photos today due to the awkward stress that sleep deprivation plays on my head and my hand eye coordination. i trudged through the files and found these four photos from various times in my career. i don’t know why i threw in the photo of the guitar. the photo itself is nothing to write home about but there is something special about the homemade box light that i made out of 2×4’s and fluorescent tubes. it about 2.5 feet wide and tall and had a mounting bracket on the bottom so i could stick it to a light stand and shoot through it. you can see it’s effects on the eyes in the first photo posted. with today’s ability to adjust your white balance to meet any light, these lights become cheap alternatives to expensive strobe driven ring lamps. the 50 portraits will continue this week. some volunteers have sprung up along the way. i am really excited to dive even deeper into the process. expect to see some unexpected things come out of this. if anything, shooting 50 different people is pulling me out of my comfort zone and making me think hard about what’s coming next. and who…

the music:
this recording is the last record miles did with coltrane. it’s not one the most highly touted records, though it is one of my favorites. people always point to kind of blue and in a silent way but i am quite sure that this record bests them both. amazingly orchestrated and superbly recorded, this record is smoother than anything before and since. it also reminds me of my dad and i playing records while my mom would be working in the kitchen. i love that the bass and trumpet are centered in the mix (left to right, stereo sound) the piano is pushed right and the drums and saxophone all left. it’s an amazing listen on headphones. it transports you.

50 Portraits – 5

| currently listening to: The Last Baron, Mastodon, Crack the Skye, 2009 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #5 is kelsey.

some people bring out the best in me. my subject for this post does just that. i think of kelsey as the slightly younger brother that i never had. we communicate much like siblings, in snippets and in pop cultural references. i like to introduce kelsey to music he’s never heard, and he likes to call me out when i’m full of bull. we work really well together. it’s especially good since kelsey and i have travelled by car to detroit and back to chicago more than 4 times in the last two years. lots of beef jerky was consumed on those road trips. he’s one of the great and interesting people on this earth. and his love for instant noodle bowls will never die. just multiply.

the music:
somebody please help me. i am addicted to this record. i now currently own the instrumental version as well as the normal version with vocals. will the insanity ever end? for crying out loud… just try to pry it out of my cold.. dead… hands. sorry. it’s just too good. this specific song is more than 13 minutes of melodic guitar, fantastic (in the truest sense of fantasy) lyrics, and every time you think it will end, they change the beat and build it back up again. sigh….

50 Portraits – 4

| currently listening to: Who’s That Knocking, Pajo, 1968, 2006 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #4 is matt.

what can i say. matt’s jacket is cool. as we were out walking we decided we would retrace a couple of the steps from ferris bueller’s day off (the parade scene to be exact). we stopped outside the gigantic red sculpture and snapped these shots. on the way there, we tried in vain to remember the word “mosaic” as in “hey, we should go to those steps by the chase building where they filmed that dance sequence from ferris bueller”. “oh, right, those stairs by the Marc Chagall tile thing, what are those called again?”. “It’s not a tapestry…. but something like that”. “yeah, yeah… but tapestries are only made of woven materials”. “right, right… crap. i forget art history”.

mosaic. a tile mosaic.

the music:
david pajo goes by many names, papa, papa-m, pajo, or david pajo. he was in the revered band, slint and he has been a member of various bands since including the palace brothers, and tortoise. this record sounds like pajo discovered elliot smith a couple of years too late. the music swings between beautiful and wretched and beautiful again. this track was probably the best kept secret of 2006 on an album that few people even listened to after they bought it.

50 Portraits – 2 and 3

| currently listening to: Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Neil Young, After the Goldrush, 1970 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #2 is jackie.
Portrait #3 is katrina.

when i spend enough time in one place i start to remember the way that light fills that space. the street i live on, the rooms in my house, the parking garage elevator, etc.. when i picture these places in my head, i remember the way that the light fills each space and how the perfect light will always look. with these next two additions (i am officially calling them Portraits #2 and Portraits #3 with the shared portrait being Portrait #2/3) to my 50 Portraits Series, i have started to cash in on my favorite lighting spaces. this happens to be the previously mentioned parking garage elevator lobby on the 8th floor across the street. i am in this building 6-7 times a week. in the afternoon, this glass room shimmers and shines with what can only be described as “awesome lighting”. thanks to both models for being good sports about it all.

the funny thing about undertaking this many portraits is to find unique settings, different models, and friends who will help you out along the way. as i sweep through my rolodex and my contacts list on my cell phone, i’m realizing just how much fun this project is going to be. i’m happy to be off to a good start.

the music:
this is such a sad song. i remember listening to it while laying down in my parents living room with the vinyl version of this record spinning around. this was always known as the song just before Southern Man but in a digital world, MP3’s have no order. sad but true. i’ll still listen to Southern Man though… it’s habit.

50 Portraits – 1

| currently listening to: Divinations, Mastodon, Crack the Skye, 2009 | LINK

the photography:

Portrait #1 is vann.

i am going to start a project right here and now. this will be the first of 50 portraits. this will be an ongoing thread so you can see the updates as they come in via clicking on the category, “50 Portraits”. my first subject is vann. he hates getting his picture taken. well. tough cookies. i got him to stand still for about 5 seconds. i always love the oddball portrait that you can throw into the mix whether it be out of focus, non-traditionally framed, or what have you. the focus of the last photo is not vann’s mid-section (as he thinks) but rather the two people behind him waiting to cross the street. i like that one.

check back soon to find more 50 Portraits posts. i’ll be posting at least 2 a week if not more.

the music:
i have been waiting for this record for a long time. it is finally in my hands. and i am so happy. i know that heavy metal music has never been a badge that i have worn in public (other than when i want to prove just how vermont i am to other vermonters) but this record and this band are quite unstoppable. quite. if you like melodic metal, this is for you.

little baby erik

| currently listening to: Big Poppa, Notorious B.I.G., Ready to Die, 1994 | LINK

the photography:
i am pretty jealous of my friend Bones. he spent the weekend rolling around the mountains of stratton, vermont, taking pictures of the 27th Annual U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. that bum… i think i am more jealous because he is spending the winter back in our home state of vermont. it’s amazingly gorgeous. and during this long mid-west winter, i have missed the green mountains more than i thought i ever would. it just so happens that it’s also a fantastic place to spend the days taking photographs. sigh.

but i digress… cath and i spent a wonderful day with our friends who just welcomed (six months ago) a baby boy. we decided that six months is the perfect age for which to celebrate your first photo shoot. erik kept asking for craft services and his mom kept calling someone in wardrobe on her cell phone and yelling at them to bring more bibs. it was, in one word, spectacular. brats and drinks followed. what a great sunday night. soon we’ll be grilling on the back porch watching the el go by.

the music:
there is nothing better than a six month old baby dancing to a (gulp) 15 year old club hit in an adidas jump suit. it was awesome. this song still holds some serious weight when it comes to the end of the gangster rapper as viable creative artist. these days it’s about nothing. back then, it was still about something.

four by five

| currently listening to: Move On Up, Curtis Mayfield, Curtis, 1970 | LINK

the photography:
lugging around a 10 pound camera can really add some wear and tear to your joints. i have no idea how the founding fathers of modern photography pushed and pulled their gear up steep mountains and though raging rivers. i just know that every now and again, i bust out the old standard sinar 4×5 and the tripod that i bought to hold it. it’s a great camera and with a little bit of patience and love, comes great photographs from it. here are some test shots i took with a polaroid back attached to it. even without the bonus of taut film, the polaroids come in nice and crisp when scanned. i love the chemical stains and the untrimmed edges. and nothing beats a nice clean large negative. nothing.

if this camera were a little lighter and film and processing costs were a little cheaper, this camera would get used every day.

the music:
there is nothing better in the world than curtis mayfield. one of the great guitarists of all time. unbeknownst to many, curtis honed the modern sound of funk guitar. he was a legend on many fronts. i love his music.

wedding photos

| currently listening to: Skinny Love, Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago, 2008 | LINK

the photography:
weddings are delicate matters that should be taken seriously. especially when you are the hired photographer. i enjoy photographing weddings. they are truly celebrations of family and friends and of each other. they are almost always full of personal and group outpourings of emotion. there is inevitably some gorgeous older lady in the corner who is crying her eyes out with tears of joy. it’s usually someone’s grandmother. weddings are perfect for portraits. they are also perfect for practicing your photojournalism skills.

the music:
man oh man… what can i say about justin vernon that hasn’t been said a thousand times in the indie press. i met justin 3 years ago when he was the front man for deyarmond edison. it was deyarmond’s last tour before they imploded and called it quits as a band. that night they played a show at the fort in front of something like 30 people. it was a special night indeed that will be a shiny moment in my personal history. justin spent the afternoon warming up by strumming my old 50’s harmony archtop in the corner singing softly to himself. sigh, swoon, sigh.

fluorescent lighting sucks

| currently listening to: Art, The Firebird Band, The City At Night, 2004 | LINK

the photography:
fluorescent lighting sucks. especially if you are photographing an area with both natural light and fluorescent light mixed. it drives the color meters on digital camera sensors bananas. the only time i really enjoy fluorescent lights are when the are the only light source (or the major light source) and i am shooting in RAW mode. when you can adjust the very yellow fluorescent lights to be a bit more blue do you finally get to see some incredible effects that the light has on it’s surroundings. i wish every old abandoned industrial warehouse in the world was lit by long tubes of fluorescents.

piles of wiring, ducting, dust, dirt, and metal look utterly fantastic under the glowing yellow that are fluorescent tubes. it helps if you have one long pull string that is hanging from a fixture that is barely holding on for dear life as the long tubes look as if they could fall out of the ceiling and explode on innocent bystanders below. but i’m getting ahead of myself. the worst light in the world is above our heads all the time. you just need to look up and recognize it every now and again. these photos do just that.

the music:
jeez, this band will never be as good as the bands that came before it (braid specifically). but i really like some bits and pieces of this record. this song specifically is full of trite and boring lyrics about people who make art. but it’s pretty awesome.

when all the world (square block) is a stage

| currently listening to: Draw Us Lines, Constantines, Tournament of Hearts, 2005 | LINK

the photography:
chicago has plenty of architecture to photograph. and talking about cal’s liquors last night made me think of showing off what it looks like. it’s quite interesting on the inside too. if you have the means, i think you should stop by some day.

the music:
constantines have been around for some time now (ten years even) but many have yet to hear about them outside of their native canada. amazingly, they are not from montreal. give em a listen. and go see them live, they put on an excellent show.

after the dishes are done

| currently listening to: New Hampshire, Matt Pond PA, Emblems, 2004 | LINK

the photography:
street photography to me is something that i enjoy doing more than any other kind of photography. as i have stated before, plop me in the middle of a city with a bus pass and my camera and i’m a pig in mud. here are some shots from around the loop and all the way out in logan square. the “effort” is not ironic. it’s the name of the skateboard company. these three photos were taken with my favorite two lens’, the bicycle and light in the parking garage were taken with a 24-70mm 2.8 zoom, and the skateboard pic was snapped with a 15mm fisheye. there’s something about a harsh florescent light bouncing off a parking garage cement floor that gives off the air of something sinister and creepy. i really like the ambience in that photo. the bicycle was chained across van buren from cal’s liquors just outside a taco shop.

it’s a great example of someone keeping an antique in tip top shape. i always wanted to stop whomever owned the bike just to ask them if the lamp worked. the paint job was in great shape too. the skateboarding shot is from a gray rainy day at the obelisk in logan square. james needed to get out of the house and i needed to not be in the fort for the day. it was a perfect stop before we went out to eat at el cid on milwaukee.

the music:
matt pond is from the same part of the country as i am and he’s the first singer songwriter that has captured the modern rural new england drive to live somewhere other than where you grew up. the pull of new york city and boston is so pleasing at 18 and by the time you’re 24, going home is all you can think about. it’s a gorgeous song about seeing family, laying in lakes, and relaxing. it’s what i want to do almost every day (if only someone would pay me to do so…).

one block radius

| currently listening to: Stars, Hum, You’d Prefer An Astronaut, 1995 | LINK

the photography:
during my down time during the week i sometimes sneak away and walk around the block. alleyways and the people that inhabit them are a couple of my favorite subjects. i have walked up and down this one alley a couple of dozen times and every time i see something new that i had missed from the walk before. three dozen dumpsters line this alleyway and more than four major office buildings, a dozen restaurants, and one very large parking garage supply it’s ever growing trash piles. when you have as much garbage truck traffic as this alley has seen, you are bound to look different every day of the year. it never ceases to amaze me.

the music:
from the small metropolis of champaign illinois, the foursome known as Hum have made a large impact on the sound of a generation of rock and rollers whether they know it or not. large chords, blistering amplifiers, and sci-fi nerds meets graphic novel lyrics stuck in space made this band a “must have” in any collection of 1990’s alternative rock. you may know this song from the newest cadillac CTS car commercial with kate walsh. this is the song that comes crashing in when she’s done talking about the car “turning her on”. sweet.

karsh-ism

| currently listening to: How To Put It Down, Goner, Rock ‘N’ Roll Always Forgets, 2008 | LINK

the photography:
one of the sad technological losses in the race to deliver artistically (out of many many many sad technological losses in the race to deliver artistically) is the death of black and white film photography. i know that black and white isn’t “dead” per se but how many people are still holding the “i still shoot film” flag? very few of you. i thank you for doing so. from the bottom of my heart. but let’s be honest, these days photography is a digital game. and thus, gone are the little intricacies of lighting, shooting, and printing black and white photos. now that you can adjust everything (and i mean darn near close to everything) in post production, we have lost the attention to detail while setting up a shot, setting up a light, and with setting up a model to fill out the perfect gray-scaled cheek. gone are the days of using contrast heavy/grainy film, dark gray makeup, and pushing 1600 iso film to 3200 iso. well, i miss it. i like the way that black and white looks on my monitor, and if i spend enough time and money, i like how it prints out on my printer.

but today’s digital systems have got nothing on yesterdays black and white film and the printing process that goes along with black and white film. i saw the new Yousuf Karsh exhibit at the Art Institute in chicago recently. the man knew his film, his lights, and above all, how to engage his subjects. i fear that newer photographers have very little patience for all of the above. deliberate faces, hard lighting, and beautifully intricate backgrounds defined a man who ran a working studio for 60 years. if you have yet to see it, please go and check it out. it’s worth every minute, every penny, every ounce of energy that it takes to get there and to enjoy it. while you’re there, i’m gonna try to bring back my B&W habits. they are a bit rusty.

the music:
i designed the cover for this record for the band Goner from raleigh nc. they are three guys making great art without the use of a guitar (ok, an acoustic shows up on at least one track here). you should take them for a test drive. the vocals, lyrics and music are gonna make you want to tap your feet in applause.

vertical portraits

| currently listening to: Satisfy My Mind, The Greenhornes, Dual Mono, 2002 | LINK

the photography:
spring has finally started it’s decent into the chicgaoland area and i for one am all for it. let their be green grass and let their be warmth. exciting times. here are four portraits for different reasons and from different perspectives. all vertical (mr. bones) and all color. b and white will happen soon, i promise. i think my favorite might be nathan’s hands. there’s something a little off kilter here, a story behind the photo that i can’t quite put my finger on. i like that it’s intriguing.

the music:
before there were the raconteurs, there were the greenhornes. great garage rock from city of cincinnati.

macro via extension tubes

| currently listening to: Silly Girl, The Descendents, I Don’t Want To Grow Up, 1985 | LINK

the photography:
“I’ve also noticed that you tend to favor the landscape/horizontal format, twist that bad girl 90 degrees every once in a while . . .” my friend bones wrote this in a note to me not too long ago. he’s right. i spend so much time photographing cars (a very horizontal shape indeed) that i almost never shoot vertically these days. anyways, i just wanted to add a couple of photos to the blog that were (at the very least) north south and not so much east west. these photos were taken with a tube extension attached between my 24-70mm lens and the body of my camera. the subject is a old voltage/ampage/place-name-here-age meter that i transformed into a lamp.

the extension tube is an interesting and inexpensive piece of equipment that allows for the exact same focal length (even though it extends the lens from the body by about 1/3-1/2 of an inch) but decreases the focal distance. it’s a pretty sweet way to shoot macro photography. the only drawback? you need to be pretty close to the subject to use it. really close.
the music: “we are the proud, the few, the descendents rocking you home tonight”. great music for a slow morning of editing auto photos. just add coffee, turn volume to 11, repeat as needed.

city themes

| currently listening to: Run It, The Replacements, Hootenanny, 1983 | LINK

the photography:
i spent this weekend (much like last weekend) eating my way from one dinner party to the next brunch, to the next restaurant, etc. i am going to live on lettuce and water chestnuts for the next year. too much bread, butter, and ribs were ingested this weekend and i need to get out and about. but it sure was fun. i did get s snippet of time where i wasn’t eating my day away on saturday afternoon so i hopped the damen bus down to wicker park for some bookstore shopping and leisurely strolls with one of my friends. divine. and boy did i need the exercise.

getting out and and about for me means cruising the city streets with my friends and family. i could ride a city bus or hop on a train at any given moment and get myself lost for hours. it’s something i enjoy doing and inevitably, i find something to aim my camera at.
the music: this song precedes one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever (color me impressed) and in the great “rock and roll album centric music listening experience”, this song gets you ready for it. i miss the days when albums were meant to be listened to in song order or (gasp) to be listened to in order by the sides of the record.

photos of graffiti

| currently listening to: It’s Natural To Be Afraid, Explosions In The Sky, All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, 2007 | LINK

the photography:
there are so many ways to express yourself with art. since the late 1970’s, spray paint graffiti in the urban sprawls of america has come to mean so many different things to so many different groups, positive and negative. the newest crop of artists are developing and deploying new methods of communication via the traditional paint on wall. freehand spraying skills of the past have morphed into more traditional graphic design elements with the creation of stencils and the use of one or two colors. fine artists are getting in on the act and using the decayed walls of our cities to protest, show off art, make statements, and above all, as canvas’. i am so down with photos of graffiti. the first two photos are from the near south side of chicago. or as the developers call it, the south loop. the third is from dublin.

the music:
explosions in the sky are a singer-less four piece from austin texas who rose to fame scoring the movie, friday night lights (and subsequently the tv show with the same name). their echo and delay laden guitar attack is driven by a pounding rhythm section. etheral soundscapes fill the down tempos and their build-it-up only to break-it-down mentality makes this instrumental band fun to listen to. take a listen if you have never heard them. it’s post rock at it’s best.

todd

| currently listening to: In Particular, Blonde Redhead, Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons, 2000 | LINK

the photography:
i’m not sure if i can keep up this torrid pace of posting but i’ve got the fire. so why not? for a while, my friend james and i ran an art studio space in cicero, illinois that we aptly dubbed, The Fort. we held concerts there, had a skateboarding halfpipe, and it was a place where we kept all of our musical instruments so at 4:30 pm on the dot, we could grab our drum sticks, turn the amps on, and make some noise. todd is a mannequin. when we started the fort, todd had two eyes and no holes in his head. by the time we closed the door on the fort, todd was missing the back half of his plastic skull and both eyes were missing from inside his face. todd never had legs or arms. but he does have an 8 pack. my old roommate placed the tape over todd’s nipples. this is todd.

the music:
blonde redhead have been around a while now. this record is almost ten years old and it really stands the test of time. i think it is the pinnacle of their music career with some of the best early “ought’s” indie rock from NYC. don’t get me wrong, other blonde redhead records are quite good in their own right but this one is my favorite. syncopated and pretty with a touch of otherworldly. the voices on this record are so flipping pretty and when they are paired with precise guitar lines and back beats, they become a floating vocal layer that peels and covers the music with ever turn. perfect.

portraits in four; part three

| currently listening to: Fitz & Dizzyspells, Andrew Bird, Noble Beast, 2008 | LINK

this is part three of a three part series.

i have found that the best way for me to practice my photography is to experiment as much as possible. this means getting friends and family involved. after a comfy dinner party on a warm late summer night, we took over a back yard and set up some strobes and umbrellas. the photos that were produced from the first have of the shoot were pretty straight forward and rather plain. as my models were getting bored i decided that i would heed the advice of one of my mentors.

“when a subject starts to become mundane or boring, leave your lights where they are and move yourself to a side of the subject that you haven’t been photographing. hopefully when you’re there, you’ll find an angle or a view that will be exciting enough to keep the shoot going and will keep you (as the photographer) interested. once you loose your interest, your models will as well.”

so i walked around the other side of my models and discovered an entirely different perspective. suddenly the backyard, which was earlier being lit up by the strobes, disappeared to black and the hard lines of backlighting began to shape the photos. as the models turned their backs to the flashing lights, umbrellas, and soft boxes, their demeanor lightened and they relaxed. everyone had a blast and the photos that resulted from a change in perspective were the ones that i love the most. it’s all about putting the subjects into the right perspective.

to give you an idea of where the lights were set up, here is a wider shot.

the music: i am a huge fan of local chicago musician andrew bird but i feel like his new record is a little too “out there” for pop audiences to grasp. his last record was filled with uplifting pop gems that were disguised as intricate indie chamber pop. the record brought bird to edge of a national breakthrough. in contrast, the new record is so very esoteric in it’s music and in it’s lyrics. this makes it hard to understand at times as musical genre experimentation, lengthy words, and (for lack of a better word) noodling leave the listener wanting a standard song structure and for andrew to put the thesaurus down. cluttered is what i would call it. i like it. in fact i like it a lot. but i don’t think a lot of the record buying public will. Fitz & Dizzyspells is probably the best traditional single from the record. it’s really good. there’s a video for it, found here.

portraits in four; part two

| currently listening to: C-Lo, Proof, s/t, 2004 | LINK

this is part two of a three part series.

photographing other photographers can be a lot harder than you’d expect. many photographers know the small intricacies involved with handling/working with models but once the tables are turned, things can go awry quite quickly. my friend jay falls into the category of “one of those photographers who has no problem getting his picture taken”. in fact, sometimes i feel that jay might actually enjoy being in front of the camera. either way, these photos are great examples of backlit bright sun light versus the shade. Both light sources are the exact same (color temperature, angle, intensity, etc.) sun and these portraits were taken within a 10 minute period of each other on a cold afternoon of shopping in chicago while jay was visiting from north carolina. as you can see, the colors are much more vivid and the yellows jump off the screen with the backlit photos while the shade of the alleyway provides a blue/grey hue. these are four examples of training yourself to bring your camera everywhere and to shoot photos all the time because you never know when you’ll get some good looking shots or when you’ll walk into some unique lighting. thanks to jay on this one. his glasses were fantastic that day.

the music should be noted as a great band that should be taking the country by storm. this song is about one night that jay and the song’s writer spent with the late great chicago band, sweep the leg johnny. a tip of the cap to all those involved.