Nov 142016
 

Migros Editorial Portrait Trump Supporter tony-luisoni

Migros Editorial Portrait Clinton Supporter isabelle-meyer

Clinton Anti-Trump Bumper Stickers

A few weeks before the election I visited and photographed two Swiss-born American citizens who were voting for opposing candidates Clinton and Trump. The images were part of a 5-person series profiling Swiss-American expats of various political leanings for Switzerland’s Migros Magazine. My first subject was Isabelle Meyer, 64, a resident of Glendale, Calif., collector of globes and an avid Clinton supporter. We didn’t speak about politics for much of our visit, but both of us were fairly confident that things would work out for team Blue. And we know how that ended. My second subject was Tony Luisoni, a 79-year-old resident of Granada Hills, Calif., structural engineer and Trump supporter. This might surprise those of you not living in a “liberal bubble” as I do, but Luisoni was the first open Trump supporter I had ever met. Sounds crazy I know. But when you live in an extremely diverse city a candidate who inspires racism, xenophobia and misogynism is kind of a deal breaker for most of us, regardless of your political opinions otherwise. So, I was very curious what our interaction was going to be like. Working as a journalist, I would never try to argue politics with a subject. But I wasn’t looking forward to nodding along as I listened to someone inform me of the merits of a Trump presidency, which despite my feelings, would be the only way to handle the situation as a professional. Fortunately, I didn’t have to. Dispelling the notion that all Trump supporters are angry white people, he never brought up politics once and was very accommodating throughout the shoot, allowing me to create a nice portrait of him in his living room.

Normally I don’t discuss politics here or outside of my circle of friends and family, and never as a professional. Had a Republican other than Trump won the election, I would likely say nothing here. But I feel that this situation falls outside of mere political opinion and cannot express strongly enough my opposition to what has happened. It’s truly a catastrophe that someone was able to make it to the office of the presidency on a platform based in large part on hateful rhetoric and white nationalism. It speaks poorly of us as a people and is a national embarrassment. Fortunately, I can see that while Trump has won the election, the majority of us are still strongly opposed to him and his ideas. So I am hopeful that although his supporters are laughing, the last laugh will belong to those who believe in equal rights and justice for all.

 

Nov 012016
 

Farfetch fashion editorial Wall Street Journal

Farfetch fashion editorial Wall Street Journal

Last month I visited the LA offices of the London-based e-commerce company Farfetch to photograph a behind-the-scenes look at its operation. If you’re not familiar (I wasn’t, but my wife definitely was), the company is an online marketplace that sells on behalf of high-end fashion boutiques around the world. They don’t stock the items themselves, but list them on their site and then take a cut of sales. In order to properly list each item on their site, the boutiques must send in one of each item they want to sell, which the team at Farfetch then catalogues, styles and photographs before sending back to them. On average they list around 1,000 new items each week. If you’ve ever done product photography, you can imagine the amount of time this must take! You can read more about the process by checking out the article here. For more photos from the day continue reading below.

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Sep 282016
 

Corporate Advertising Portrait

Corporate Website Advertising Photography

Corporate Website Headshot Photography

 

I love seeing the end result of a long-term collaboration. During the first half of this year I worked with a great group of people at Intrepid Investment Bankers in Santa Monica to help them overhaul their website and give it a modern feel that better represents their business. So many corporate websites come across as stiff and boring, generally comprised of headshots against a grey background and generic stock images suggesting notions of success and achievement. The problem is, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Intrepid, as their name suggests, wanted to be bold and show they are different from their competition by building a new, dynamic website that showed both the personalities of their bankers as well as the people running some of the interesting companies they work with. Fortunately, they found my work and saw in it the style that they were looking for. Soon after our first meeting, we got to work. Most of the portraits of their staff were done at the Intrepid offices, while each of the featured clients were photographed at their respective places of business. I’m thrilled to see the end result and think this is one of the best looking banking websites out there. Visit www.intrepidib.com to check out the rest of the work and learn more about Intrepid.

Sep 092016
 


 

“Want to buy a cookie?” a group of voices asked in unison, startling my wife and me. This was a few months ago and happened just as we were strolling home along Windward Avenue in Venice. Looking just to our right we saw a couple guys smiling through a rectangular hole in a whitewashed fence. On a platform above them, seated in lawn chairs were a couple young women in shorts and tank tops. After living off the boardwalk for so many years and regularly being approached by many random people asking for many random things, our initial instinct was to say no thanks without missing a step. Something about this was different though, and two steps after saying our rote “No, thanks,” we both stopped. “What was that?” I asked as we turned around. A blonde, long-haired surfer-looking guy named Kyle gave us the pitch from behind the counter.

“We’re farmers from Michigan, and we’re selling vegan, organic cookies using the wheat grown on our family farm,” he said, pointing to a display of four, slightly round drop cookies situated in front of him while holding up a glass jar full of whole grain wheat. “This is my apartment, and we do all of the prep and cooking in my kitchen. Want to try a sample?”

“Uh, sure,” we said. Why not? I could think of a couple reasons. However, they also informed us they were operating legally under a recently passed cottage food industry law that allowed the sale of l0w-risk foods, such as baked goods, to be prepared in people’s home kitchens and sold directly to the public. Another blonde, long-haired, surfer-type, who we learned was Kyle’s slightly older brother Wes, dropped back into the darkness and returned a moment later with a plate of small, pie-shaped samples of all of the cookies. We tasted as we talked.

“Where are you from in Michigan?” Erinn inquired. The cookies were good. Not incredibly sweet, but not bad for something described as vegan and organic and cooked by a couple of dudes in a studio apartment. They were from Custer, a small town of less than 300, halfway up the western side of the mitten. We told them Erinn’s brother-in-law was from Hart, only a few miles from there, and that we were going to be visiting her sister in Grand Rapids in just six weeks. “Cool beans,” Kyle said. Wes mentioned that at least one of them was going to go back in a month to help their dad with farming duties. We finished our samples, and they asked if we wanted to buy anything. I felt obliged at this point, but neither of us were carrying cash and the cookies were $3 a piece. “It’s okay. We take cards,” Kyle said with a shrug. I bought an oatmeal raisin and a peanut butter.

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Aug 142016
 

1966 Shelby Mustang GT350

1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 Editorial Portrait Palos Verdes

“Let me know if I’m making you uncomfortable!” John Saia said over the roar of the engine as we careened around a bend above the Palos Verdes cliffs. I was having so much fun and was so focused on getting the shot that it hadn’t even occurred to me that we were in any danger. And really I don’t think we were, given that Saia has been taking his 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 on spins like this at least once a week since he purchased the classic vehicle in 2002. Still, it was nice of him to ask.

I had met up with Saia to spend a couple hours photographing him and his classics, the other being a 1965 Daytona Cobra Coupe replica, at what he has coined “The Shelby Garage,” named after legendary car designer Carroll Shelby, at Saia’s home in Rolling Hills Estates for the Wall Street Journal’s “My Ride” series. Saia, a retired technical training manager for Toyota, is a lifelong lover of Shelby designed cars and related artifacts, which he loves to share with the public at weekend car shows and on his website, ShelbyGuy.net. We spent some time there shooting the car and some of his large collection of memorabilia before taking it out for a spin and stopping by his favorite overlook facing south over San Pedro to shoot some more. Between the beautiful lines of the car and the stunning scenery it was almost too easy making beautiful images.

It’s safe to say I’m not a “car guy,” (I drive a Hyundai), but I always love these opportunities to ride along with someone who is. Not only is it a fun way to spend the day, but I always come away with an appreciation for what it is they see that I’ve been missing. In addition to the photos here and below, I took a moment to shoot some footage as we drove along Palos Verdes Drive. The rumble of the engine is hardly picked up, but hopefully this gives you some sense of the experience.

 

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Aug 082016
 

Howard Shu Olympic Athlete Portrait

Howard Shu Olympic Badminton Portrait
Howard Shu Olympic Athlete Portrait

After my shoot with Howard Shu, the country’s number-one ranked mens badminton player and, as of this week, first time Olympian, he asked me if Instagram annoyed professional photographers because everyone now thinks they’re a photographer. I thought about it for a second and, without going into the myriad ways the digital revolution has positively and negatively affected my industry and people’s perception of photography, told him that it was probably similar to everyone he’s ever met who’s played a drunken game of backyard badminton telling him they’re also pretty good at the game. I think he got my point.

Unfortunately, like cell phone photography, I think backyard badminton is probably the extent of most Americans’ experience with this sport, which hasn’t had much in the way of mainstream success here as it has in other countries, such as China, Korea, Britain and Sweden to name a few. So it was an exciting opportunity for me when I recently got to enter the real world of competitive badminton to photograph Shu for the Wall Street Journal‘s ongoing “What’s in Your Bag?” series. The shoot took place on a Monday morning at the Los Angeles Badminton Club in El Monte, about 18 miles east of downtown LA. A cavernous gymnasium with fluorescent lighting, it was a difficult location to light, but I had fun shooting a variety of portraits, details of the contents of his travel bag, and him practicing with his training partner, as other club members played and practiced on neighboring courts. He was a nice guy and very easy to work with. According to the article, the U.S. has never won a medal in the sport, which is largely dominated by China, but I’ll be sure to watch this week and am wishing them the best. Click below to see a few more photos from the shoot!

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 Posted by at 4:08 pm