Thursday, September 30, 2010

what i have learned...

what i have learned: if your a man with a camera, and you approach a woman by herself in a dark parking lot, and you ask to take her picture for a project that you are doing... she is extremely likely to say, "No." she may have a handful of other choice words to share too. if the same man approaches two women in the same parking lot, and they are both on cell phones and have been drinking sake at a japanese steakhouse, the outcome to the same request for photos is much different. as i (who was said man with camera,) sit here, i think that it's possible that i could have joined them for a long night of drinks and conversation and revelry after i finished with the photos if i had wanted to. it was another memorable moment that i will not soon forget. i will add that the woman not pictured here did mention that she had a gun in her car (bluffing,) if i was to try something unacceptable.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

tamed for a moment

a couple of years ago, i began the process of constructing a photography project (not this one.) i am hoping to document artists in their studios (preferably, during the process of working on a show.) the space that an artist creates at this time is a galaxy unto itself, and to document it would be a tiny bit like mapping outer space. and the fact that many artists become very protective of their studio space during production runs could make my endeavor quite challenging. the ferrel artist, in this environment, is dangerous... prone to lash out with emotional outbursts and wordy, heady, tangent laden ramblings about the meaning of their work... it is not always a pretty sight. but, it is beautiful and human. i had two artists refuse to allow me into the studio, and my momentum for that project slowed. the subject featured here tried to shoo me off with comments about how much he had going on, and that it "just wasn't a good time." gently, i pushed harder, and he eventually conceded. i try to open up the bigger picture to these artists, and i mention "historical documentation," and, voila... hopefully, the luck will continue as i try to tame more ferrel beasts. anyway, this particular artist is moving deeper into "art for art's sake," as he invests buckets of time and money to complete a project that has a most tiny niche market. he is going for broke, and that is priceless. he believes, and i believe with him. (not to blow his cover, but his project is built around a year back in the early 1800's that went without a summer. he is using tree ring imagery and vinyl records and nature sounds to explore a big moment in time.) i am honored that he shared his space and time with me (for two projects.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

a word from our sponsor

over the last week i have encountered quite a number of folks out in the world that have shared with me their thoughts on this project, and the positive feedback has been touching. us365 was originally intended to be a simple challenge to myself to take more photos and meet more people... for a year. it quickly turned into so much more when i decided to blog about the photos and include stories... and the Inspired decision has been worth the extra work. the human element of this project is the magic behind the madness. i don't really want to try to discuss/explain too much, because that often muddies the mystery, and so.... i thank you all from the deep bottom of my heart for taking the time to stop by this little blog, and for the supportive words that have been shared with me. i am continually humbled by this endeavor, and i look forward to the road ahead. take care, and thanks again.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

humble and loud

every year, thousands of art students everywhere strive to put together their "senior show," or thesis. i imagine, from what i have seen, that the projects are all over the place... from stripped down, simplified series of paintings, through overthought, pretentious, experimental trickery, to a balanced combination of the tried and true and the progressive bold and new. this young man pulled off a coup. his project received coverage from CNN, and it enjoyed an extended stay in the atlanta gallery where it was exhibited. if i am not mistaken, the work took four months and a talented collection of friends to complete it. there are fifteen concrete cast figures of varying ages and sexes; a similar emotion covers each countenance. they are all chained together, and they are all "carrying" boat shaped wooden forms on their backs. each of the fifteen represents one million slaves that were transported to america from 1400-1800 (?). on the backside of the boat form, a graphic wood-cut design (of egyptian influence,) illustrates exactly how the slaves were "packed" onto the boats. he was extremely laid back and willing to let me do my thing; he was quiet and humble. his work is loud.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

boy cliches

there is something about boys... as they say, "they will be boys..." as with the post on girls, i could write for days about men cliches. i won't do that here. these pictures (again,) mostly speak for themselves, and i am both humbled and pleased that this project has offered such nutrition for my creative hunger. the guy at the bar wearing the shaved head made a late evening portrait as perfect and easy as i could ever imagine; he recognized me from high school, and he spoke up; little did he know what door he opened. immediately, i knew and he soon found out... he was supposed to be part of this project. the black shirt with new patches, the great shaved head, beard, the attitude, and he was (like so many others) so willing to slide into character for this moment. as i am not usually one to use a flash... i have my doubts when the situation arrives when i need to, but here it was perfect (in my opinion.) the gentleman with the "loppers," is a neighbor of mine, and he a wonderful neighbor. i am the type of guy who gets shoes on early in the morning, and i keep them on until very late at night... i associate having shoes on with being prepared to go and do at any given time, and as the "owner" of 3 businesses, i think i need to be ready to go except when i sleep. for my neighbor, i think that the hat serves him the same way. whether i see him at six in the morning, or eleven at night, he is capped... and ready. (this morning, by 7:30, he was on a ladder in the yard, working on several birdhouses... with his hat.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


there is something about girls... i could go into so many metaphors or similes, or i could just let these pictures speak volumes... there is a sparkle and a spunk.

Monday, September 20, 2010

ketchup is not a vegetable

this young man could be a superstar athlete someday (if he learns to eat vegetables (besides ketchup.)) he is my nephew, and he is very kind, smart, athletic, good looking, and sometimes a little outwardly proud of his skills... i'm just saying. my older brother has a history of being "perfect," so, i expected as much from his first son; the likeness is a bit uncanny. the neon sign above him reads, "cooked to order," and i think that it fits for the message that i have just shared... i imagine that he is just what his dad would have ordered ( i could be wrong.) these photos were taken on his 15th birthday... at the threshold of a life just itching to be scratched.

Friday, September 17, 2010

and for dessert

i had a lovely date with my wife one evening several weeks ago, and for dessert we split a portrait of the day... a la mode. this fine character slipped out of the market where he was working to have a smoke, and lucky for me (and any of you others that would like to consider yourself lucky,) he begrudgingly agreed to participate in my little project. he put up a pretty tough fight in hopes to not be bothered at that particular moment, but my gentleness and stubbornness (taurus, the bull,) turned out to be a winning combination... again. upon my first query, he was willing to go along with the photograph, and then i mentioned the release form... he grumbled something about how he was at work and didn't have time for filling out any form. i produced the form for his inspection, and it evidently appeared to be much less work than he thought it would be... so, he began to do business. suddenly, without warning, he gruffs about all the info that is asked for, and really doubts that he wants to be sharing such vital stuff with a stranger like me. then, more gentleness and stubbornness, and he gave way. the scene and setting was absolutely perfect; i was not going to back down from this. this project needs this guy. i/we are lucky that i did not ask him to do any more than sit and smoke, because i think had i requested anything else, he would have jumped ship. so, he sat and smoked and coughed (and he even apologized about the constant coughing and said that he couldn't stop,) and i shot away... eating up every crumb and licking the bowl of this delicious dessert. bon apetit, ya'll.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

party ready

with the amount that this little spitfire moved, i am surprised that these photos aren't blurred. (one of my neighbors, who has since moved,) i caught her one evening after my dinner, just before she and her mother and brother were getting in the car to go to a party... a late party. she was good to go... she's got the Spirit. do you?

Monday, September 13, 2010


i am now officially the parent of a kindergartner... and here she is in full glory. i have created a lot of things in this artistic life, but this is one of the few crown jewels. she is, and always has been, a true blessing. her spirit is fully engaged 99% of the time, and she spreads it on everything as she roars through life. (i am having a fairly difficult time right now, sifting through all of the ways that i want to say so many things about her.) Kindergarten will be a most appropriate place for her. she has a strong desire to learn, to do things "right," and to teach and correct when things are not done "right." it could end up causing a problem or two, or, it will be her ticket to something great. her teacher has already shared with me that my daughter likes to correct her... and, so far, the teacher seems o.k. with this. my girl is a social giant; since she could talk, she would say, "Hi." to everyone who crossed her path. she is not a giant on the soccer field because she really just wants to make eye contact with the other players and talk with them. she loves people. her intensity is hard to keep up with at times, and, strangely, i am one of the ones from whom she gets that trait. i am totally amazed by this little person; she has taught me so much... as if i am the kindergartner.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

ready or not...

i recently had an opportunity to do some interior painting for a wonderful young woman who had just purchased a home for herself (and apparently her brother) for the first time. in the brief week that i was involved in her life, i made some simple observations... Side Note: painting interiors offers this wonderful benefit/perk... i get these small, intimate glimpses into peoples lives at random, particular moments. i have wished at times that i would have started a book years ago of all of the people and their spaces and their stories... oh, well. maybe, next time. So, this client shared with me that she had just recently passed the BAR "exam" on her first attempt, and that she thought that it was fairly easy. evidently, she was having a much more difficult time with the process of buying a place and getting situated in it. i'm not sure what was causing her so much trouble (besides finding the perfect color for her bedroom and bathroom... i think we settled on Breathtaking) but, on a human/observer level, it was a thrill to watch her uncomfortably wiggle through the process... growing pains. big transitions are not meant to be easy, they are meant to foster growth, strength, and character. amen.

Friday, September 10, 2010

dark, hot night

it was a dark, hot night.
nowhere had a portrait of the day been found in hours.
as the thick weight of humidity and sleepiness slipped into my moment, i grew anxious.
but i knew there was hope... i had defeated this enemy previously, and i knew the tools to use.
there, at the corner coffee shop, there was sure to be a subject... sitting and willing.
and this particular evening, double luck. a former subject of this project sat and sipped coffee with friends.
he remembered me, and i, him. i approached and the anxiety walked away. the caffeinated crowd was extremely receptive, and this young man was particularly willing... especially when told that he didn't have to move at all.
after connecting my fancy flash rig, the experiment proceeded as planned... no expectations.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

super pinata

this fortunate neighbor now has a six year old daughter, and the remains of a pinata that was terribly difficult to crack. the girls at the party attempted to free the candy with a small dowel of sorts, and the event ended with one of the parents taking a 3.5 inch diameter "log" (that was in line to be burned in their new fire pit,) to the pink streamered hanging treasure box... though, i think that they still had to pry open the dang thing with their four hands. it was a pleasure to watch it unfold, and, luckily, no little girls were hurt.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hat worth a u-turn

i had just picked up some food to go from a tasty asian restaurant, and as i was hungry and heading to my car to speed home, i happened across this beautiful and beaming young girl and her dad... the most awesome hat made me reroute my course. i u-turned with the bag of hot food in my hand and i approached the father. my delivery was smooth, and i was really hoping that he would consent, and he did... and then he began to get a bit skeptical when the release form was presented... and, i understand. there is a line in the form that basically gives me rights to alter the photograph without restriction. i did not write the form, i downloaded it, and i have not really had any issues with it until this particular evening. the gentleman/father is a smart, cautious, and trusting man... i appreciate that. luckily (and spiritually,) i mean no harm with this project; i want to capture and share little moments of beauty presented on the faces of fellow human beings. i would surely question some photographer/stranger if they were to approach me in a parking lot and want to take pictures of my daughter (and, honestly, i'm not so sure that i would consent.) but, as i said, i truly appreciate the trust that he, and so many others have had in me during this project. anyways, this girl is a most perfect addition to the collection... and the random background colors do something particularly good for me.
shrimp fried rice.

Monday, September 6, 2010

wings on the way

i am guessing, that if you live in nashville, you know this young woman. she is my sister, and to hundreds/thousands of locals, i am her brother... they "know" of me because of her. she has social skills, that if harnessed properly, could probably solve our dependence on oil. she is willing to approach most anyone, and it is because she cares for people. her joy and her spirit are contagious. her heart is her guide, and though it may lead her astray, the journey is why she is here, and she soaks the living up everywhere she goes (as i write, she is in the south of france for the second time assisting with a yoga retreat.) she is also in the midst of promoting a children's book that she co-authored with a friend. these photos are from the release party for the second edition; yes, she is wearing a butterfly body costume... waiting for wings. she goes for broke when she goes for something, and as some of you may know, with this approach, the result is often BOOM or BUST. her BOOM is coming soon, i can feel it... she has put in overtime serving others and the good of the world. her wings are on the way.

Friday, September 3, 2010

blue apple

this apple did not fall far at all from the tree. her mom is a charismatic character with a most beautiful singing voice who has toured the country and evidently performed on one of conan's shows. i think that this little one is on her way to a stage somewhere, sometime, doing something. this photo was taken after 9:30 one evening when i was selling our car to her parents, and she was spunky and ready for anything. she struck several modeling poses for me, and then several karate poses, and the most deft one was fashioned while standing on her prone dad's back. her middle name is blue; i like that.