2015-18 Authenticity

This is me...

Yep, that's me alright

Yep, that's me alright

...taking a self portrait in my studio. Nothing fancy. A t-shirt, a white background. trying to just be real. 

I've been thinking a lot about authenticity lately. Ideas of beauty and perception, about vulnerability and being open to those around us.

What I'm finding in my own life, is that the more open and honest I am with others, the more they trust me enough to share those same things. It's a different kind of beauty. The kind where when you really know someone, they become more and more beautiful to you. It's not a physical thing per se... it's more mental. You see their ups and downs, their struggles and victories. That openess creates a different dynamic that breaks through the veneer of our professional lives. We appreciate people differently, more fully.

Normally, if someone tries to take my picture, they get this...

Please don't take my picture

Please don't take my picture

I've started a project that tries to capture the beauty I see in some of the people I know. Some are old friends that mean the world to me. Some are new friends that I met through social media or common circles but wanted to get to know more.

I set all the rules early. I wanted  to keep all the variables the same so that instead of focussing on colour, or fashion, or other distractions, we focus on the person. Clothing was up to each person, but I asked that it be something they like, that was the real them, and just that it not be too bold or patterned. Every picture is done with the same white background, same lighting, same everything. By stripping away all the distractions, I hope to focus on and share the beauty of the people that helped me with this project... And I know, I know... We don't typically say men are beautiful. They're strong and rugged, handsome and manly. Whatever... 

Are they perfect? Nope.

Are they somehow award winning poses? Nope.

Will they be real? Yep.

I'm going to create a separate gallery for this series. Daily, I'll upload 3 pictures from their portrait sitting until it's done. It's grown since its inception so I have an end in mind, but the work is still ongoing. It'll be done when it's done.

What I can say, is that EVERY single sitting has been a joy for me. Just some time for two people to sit down and talk. No distractions, no gadgets, no urgent agenda. A few moments where we could have been anywhere, but chose to spend some time together.

NOTE: I've updated this gallery to 1 picture of each participant in the spring of 2017.

2015-16 Philip Fernandes

I decided to put my originally planned blog post on hold and instead share this.

Yesterday I came across this ad in Our Homes Windsor Magazine. You can find a copy of the magazine online here.

Sorry for the snapshot of the actual ad...I was in a waiting room and only had my iphone on me ;)

Sorry for the snapshot of the actual ad...I was in a waiting room and only had my iphone on me ;)

I thought I'd use this space to help promote my friend Philip Fernandes and the great work he does. 

Philip is a designer and I was able to work along side him a few years ago. His website can be found here. You can also follow his company on facebook by clicking on this link. If there's anyone looking for residential design work, he's definitely the guy I would point you to.

I had the opportunity to shoot with Philip and his wife Amanda at their home as well in the studio late last year. Here's a few of the final images from our shoot.

Seriously, go back and click those links and find out what this guy is up to. I think he's a great talent and I'm proud of the success he's found doing what he is so good at.

Have a great week! :)

2015-15 Architecture

One of my interests is architecture. So much so that at one point in my life, I put photography on hold to go back to school as an adult student and study architectural technology. I changed careers and was in the building industry for a decade. 

Incorporating my love of architecture and photography is a perfect fit. One project I started years ago was shooting black and white large format photography in downtown Detroit. I would wander around with a large format wooden field camera and gigantic pack filled with film holders, lenses, light meters and various other accessories. I was a bit of a curiosity to some and had many interesting conversations with people stopping to learn more about what I was doing. It's not everyday that you see someone operating what looks like an antique camera (it was a modern handmade wooden camera, but it looked like something right out of old movies to most). It was fun to have people go under the darkcloth and look at that large ground glass and learn something new. 

Looking through the contact sheets and selecting a few to show here, it was nice to reflect on images I shot many years ago. While I have no plans to shoot film again, I remember so fondly how much I loved using that large format camera. 

Here are just a few of the images I shot on those days in Detroit.

2015-14 Baseball

I've been thinking a lot about baseball...

You see, I love baseball. 

Monday was opening day for The Detroit Tigers. In Detroit, opening day is widely looked at as an unofficial holiday. It's like no other sporting day in the city. It ushers in new seasons and a new sense of optimism about the months to come. 

Baseball holds a special kind of magic to me, that other sports do not. I know that when I was growing up I played baseball. Part of it was organized sport, but part of it was just in my neighborhood with other kids my age. As I got older, I stopped playing, but started watching and listening more often. I'm still paying attention, but lately, it's got me to thinking...

The magical part of baseball is that unlike other sports, the defense has posession of the ball. It's a team sport, but in that moment when a batter goes up to the plate, he is on his own. All the practices, the training, the studying... all of it... It all comes down to singular moments when that individual takes the spotlight and has to take action. It's a slower game, with time to take a chance, to swing and miss, to try again, to change your approach and to try yet again. 

What is interesting about this, is that like in life, we so often are on our own. For a creative individual, it's my work, it's my vision and my voice that I need to share. I'm the batter, taking to the plate versus a world where the noise of a million photographers fills the air. I've put in the long hours to learn how to create the work I want to do. Yet here I am, once a week, taking my at bat, putting my voice out there. Creating content that hopefully will benefit someone else and maybe even help me figure out the journey I'm on...

If nothing else, I would encourage you to try whatever it is you are called to do.

We all swing and miss. But at the end of the day, we pick ourselves up, we redefine our purpose, dust ourselves off and get back into the batters' box to have another go at it. Will we strike out sometimes? Of course! Will we knock it out of the park at others? Indeed! The ability to keep trying is key.

This past week I had a fellow artist ask me how I stayed motivated. I must admit, I'm not always. I have bad days just like anyone else. When I stopped and thought about it I realized that the best strategy for me is to surround myself with good people. People that care about me. People with whom I can share my struggles. People that care to listen and encourage me to keep going. These are sometimes other artists, but often not. They are the others on my team. The ones that keep rooting for me even after a strikeout.

The techniques and procedures are in my mind.

The feelings and stories I want to share are in my heart.

The motivation is in my soul.

So find your team. Thank them. Let them know that as a creative person their support and care makes a difference in your life. So that the next time you swing and miss, stepping back up to the plate is not that hard. You have a team rooting you on, believing in you.

Have a wonderful week!