Happy New Year! Though you probably can’t tell from my posts, 2018 was an incredible and incredibly busy year for me. I shot and self-published a book, traveled around the country on numerous assignments and even bought a house. And if that weren’t enough, we’re expecting our first child in February! Yikes! But between a crammed schedule and waiting for numerous shoots to publish I’ve had very little to share other than photos of my pregnant wife taking down gross, old wallpaper. Which, you know… bad optics. Don’t worry, I helped too, but those are challenging selfies. Anyway, as the year begins life has slowed to a more manageable pace (at least for the now…) and various projects have finally published. So time to start sharing. I’ll kick it off with a couple of clips from two shoots I did late last year with financial publication Morningstar Magazine. Both featured prominent Southern Californians kicking butt in their respective fields. Neither shoot took place in a conference room! I shoot for a lot of financial publications and anytime we can avoid that cliche I consider a success.
The first shoot was with Tara Unverzagt, a financial planner based in Torrance, who also happens to be a competitive track cyclist. For the shoot we met her after work at the VELO Sports Center in Carson, where she trains. The idea was to show her in typical work attire in the cycling environment, so I wanted to show her with bikes whizzing by in the background. A big challenge was that there weren’t that many cyclists on the track at the time, so we had to wait for them to circle all the way around the 250 meter track and then hope that we nailed the timing on both the foreground and background. If not, we had to wait for them to come around again. Then they would take a break. Not too many chances to get it right! Fortunately Tara was a patient subject and could nail her expression on cue, so we had several good options to choose from in the end.
The second shoot featured Howard Gleicher and Greg Padilla of Los Angeles-based Aristotle Capital Management. This shoot was less concept-driven, but the building, in Santa Monica, had a beautiful courtyard with palm trees and a koi pond that provided a great setting. You’ve probably noticed that neither of those elements were in the final shot, but this wall worked pretty well too.
More new work coming soon. Next up, a motorcycle-riding librarian!
I’m very excited to share the artwork I created for latest album from acclaimed violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, Mirror in Mirror. Late last year Anne and I began discussing a trip to the desert to photograph her for a series of images to accompany the album she was working on. She describes the project — which took nearly 10 years to complete — as transcendent, reflective and very personal, so she wanted the artwork to reflect that.
After some discussion we came up with a goal of creating a series of images depicting her in Death Valley and featuring her holding her violin, the “Vieuxtemps” Guarneri del Gesu. Crafted in 1741 and in pristine condition, the “Vieuxtemps” violin is considered to be one of the finest violins in existence. It was most recently purchased at a price estimated to be north of $16 million, making it the most valuable violin in the world.
I’ve listened to the album a couple times now and it’s beautiful. It features a mixture of original commissions and arrangements with a list of composers that includes Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt and Maurice Ravel. I recommend that you treat yourself by picking up a copy here.
I’ve also included some additional publicity photos we shot that day, including a couple of black and white photos shot experimenting with an antique Graphic View camera using sheets of New55 film. Love the results!
Some of my favorite shoots involve collaborating with creative subjects, and working with Anne was no exception. She was a pleasure to work with, and I’m happy to see the results of our collaboration out in the world.
Continue reading “Album Artwork for Anne Akiko Meyers’ Mirror in Mirror”
I recently spent a morning at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif., photographing Dr. Rahuldeep Gill, an associate professor of religion, and Dr. Leanne Neilson, the provost, for a story on diversity hiring and the school’s changing demographics for the Chronicle of Higher Education. As a Sikh, Gill had often felt like he didn’t belong at the university, to the point that he considered not returning following time away on sabbatical. He did return, however, and is now, along with Nielson and others, a member of the university’s “evidence team,” a task force created to help the university recruit and retain faculty of color to better reflect the changing demographics of their student body, which has shifted in recent years from predominantly white to about 50/50 white to non-white. It’s an interesting topic. If you’re a subscriber you can check out the full story here.
A couple months ago I spent an afternoon in the fashionable offices of Stylehaul in Hollywood photographing project manager Melanie Okamuro for their parent company RTL Group’s 2018 annual report. Stylehaul is essentially an online network bringing fashion and beauty influencers from around the internet under one roof. Founded in 2011, the young startup was recently acquired by the larger, Luxembourg-based media company. What I loved about this shoot was that the client designs their annual reports with an editorial eye, using fun, modern design and portraiture rather than the typical approach of more traditional corporate imagery. The photos really help tell the story of who their employees are and gave me the freedom to play around with various looks and lighting approaches. Melanie, who as a project manager and programmer isn’t usually in front of the camera, was a great subject. She was not only very friendly, but very patient and was willing to work with me and my team to create the best images possible. Thanks to all involved!
Continue reading “Stylehaul – Annual Report Photography for RTL Group”
Last month I spent an afternoon going door to door with members of Honda’s Recall Team in Torrance as they attempted to inform car owners that their vehicles are subject to recall due to the famously deadly flaw in Takata airbags that were used between 2001-2015 by Honda and numerous other carmakers. The only problem, they were hard to find! This is largely due to the fact that Honda, whose cars were affected possibly worse than any other company, has spent the past several years reaching out in every way they can to car owners and have already found a high percentage of them. They are also trying to reach 2nd, 3rd and higher-generation owners, whose records are often hard to find or turn out to be inaccurate.
After several hours driving to various residences, which their records indicated were home to Honda owners who had not yet fixed their vehicles, we found exactly zero actual owners. We often missed them because they were at work, in which case they left a flyer on the doorknob, and in one case found someone whose husband owned the car, but had just sold it. I’m sure it’s a frustrating experience for the recall team, but also worth it as there’s supposedly a 50/50 chance that the driver or front seat passenger of an affected Honda could die or be seriously injured by shrapnel should the airbag deploy. Pretty bad. The recall is considered the largest in history, affecting over 42 million vehicles across all manufacturers and killing at least 20 people worldwide. If you own a car you think might be affected by this hopefully you’ve been contacted already and taken care of it! If not, you can get info here. Honda will actually come to your vehicle and fix it for free, so get on it.
Continue reading “Takata recall for the WSJ”