Sometimes things just come together perfectly.
Photographed at Paramount Studios in Hollywood while working a rather amazing event with my friend Maya Myers. Check her out here: http://mayamyers.com
Last week I photographed the opening of special exhibit of Jay Mark Johnson’s SPACETIME photographs at Animal West, a post production house in a beautiful modern space on Abbot Kinney in Venice. I have been to previous exhibits by Jay and, as always, his panoramics never fail to impress and bend the mind a bit. His unique use of a digital panoramic slit camera is too difficult to explain here, but I’ll just say the results are stunning and unique. Check out more about him and his work on his site. The event was a sneak preview for a special exhibit that was part of the Venice Art Walk, an annual fundraiser for the Venice Family Clinic that features thousands of pieces by local artists and raises big bucks for the clinic, which offers free and reduced cost medical care to families in need. This was also my first time taking part in the Art Walk. I donated (and sold!) a framed print from the Venice Graffiti Walls that I shot two years ago. Glad I could be a part and help raise some money for a worthy cause!
Last week we made a trip out to Las Vegas for a shoot with Stella Artois, who were holding a regional Draughtmasters Championship at the Wasted Space nightclub in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The promotional competition, to see which bartender can complete the most perfect pour, has regional championships around the country followed by a national championship later in the year in Boston. My trip happened to coincide with Erinn’s days off, so she came along and met up with a friend while I got to work. Following my shoot I joined her at the slots, where I downloaded my cards to my laptop while having a few goes at the lever. This, of course, caught the attention of a security guard, who stopped by to see if I might somehow be hacking into the slot machines, which I assured him I was not. After an hour or so I managed to finish up and break even before heading back to the room to transmit a few files for them to release to the press the next day. Having been to Vegas a few times now in the past year, I have to say that the Hard Rock Hotel was my favorite place to stay. The rooms were nice, the pool was amazing and it didn’t have nearly the levels of gaudiness and overabundance of places like Caesars Palace. Plus, it’s off the strip. We had a good mix of work and fun that evening, but the next day decided on a change of scenery and headed 45 minutes west to Mt. Charleston. I hadn’t done any research on the place, but had heard that it was a nearby place where you could get out of the heat a bit. This was imperative, as daytime temps were a tire melting 105 degrees in the desert. Dry heat, schmy heat. It was a great surprise as we ascended the mountain up beyond 8,000 feet, that it was an entirely different climate up there. As we drove up we were greeted by drizzling rain and temperatures dipping down into the 60s. I’d somewhat expected a rockier, desert environment, but it turned out to be densely wooded with towering Ponderosa pines, which, when we hopped out of the car, found to create the most incredibly fresh smell.
Now, when camping it’s best to come prepared with such things as a tent and perhaps some food. We had only partial supplies of both. As we were setting up the tent, excited that we practically had the place to ourselves and that the ground looked to be a nice, soft bed of mulch, Erinn asked if I had packed the poles. Um, they’re not in the same bag as the tent? Apparently not. Had it not been threatening to rain some more, we would have considered sleeping beneath the stars, but since it was we were considering throwing in the towel and heading back down the mountain to find a hotel. We hopped in the car to go tell the campground hosts that we weren’t sure if we were staying due to our unfortunate situation and were surprised to find that they were a very nice old couple who offered to lend us their spare tent! Camping crisis averted. We paid them for the stay and went back to set up the tent before heading out for an evening hike to the Mary Jane Falls. The food situation was that we had figured we’d go check out the campground and then go out for groceries. Normally, we come with all of this in tow, but since we were at the hotel the night before, we left out any perishables. However, we hadn’t realized the size of the mountain and by the time we set up the tent we would have had to choose between driving down to get groceries and actually going out and enjoying the mountain. We had with us only a partial loaf of bread, an avocado and a baggie of trail mix, but we decided this was sufficient and opted for the hike.
That night as we were heading for bed the skies finally cleared for a few minutes and the woods were lit up like the day by a nearly full moon, so I stayed up a little longer to take some shots. The affect is exaggerated here by a long exposure, but it was pretty impressive in person as well. After 15 minutes or so the clouds came in and dampened the light, providing me with a excuse to call it a night.
Last Saturday night I found myself shooting an group art opening called Alexy Schwartz Projects, Project 1 in Culver City, a job I got after heading over to the gallery the day before to help out my friend Curtis Weaver, who was exhibiting in the show. There were a lot of cool pieces at this one and a very good turnout, which made and a lot of curious people interacting with the pieces, which ultimately makes my job more fun as I have something interesting to shoot beyond people chatting over cocktails. The piece above is one of Curtis’ sculptures. He does a lot of really creative and unique work that sort of reimagines the biological systems of living things, combining plants with animal organs for example. He does a better job of explaining it on his website. There was a lotMore work from the show can be seen after the jump.
Here are a few from the 25th anniversary of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games held last week at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In attendance were Olympic legends Greg Louganis, Mary Lou Retton and numerous others I was less familiar with. I was hired to shoot the scene rather than the people, so I don’t have many shots of the athletes. I did, however, get to spend some time with some young extra terrestrials while waiting for the lighting of the torch.
On Thursday I did some work as an event photographer at the opening of an art exhibit by Venice artist Jay Mark Johnson at the Ace Gallery in Beverly Hills. He’s doing some very cool digital photography using a jerry-rigged slit camera, which has been traditionally used for taking photos to determine the winners of too-close-to-call horse races. Depending on the way it’s used, the results are either these incredible images of expanded and compressed objects, depending on their speed, set against colorful backgrounds of horizontal streaks or, as in the top photo, flattened 360-degree views, similar to the way a globe is flattened into an atlas. That particular image is taken from the center of a ferris wheel. I enjoyed seeing the work, and as a photographer, watching the way others interacted with it. Despite the size of the prints – some were more than 10 feet wide – people were constantly coming up within inches to examine them and try to figure out what they were seeing. If you’re anywhere near Beverly Hills in the next 6 weeks I definitely recommend swinging by the Ace to check them out.