Sunday, October 31, 2010

appropriate responses

sometimes, when i am out and about looking for a portrait, i am accompanied by my two lovely assistants... two little charmers that i call my daughters (and yes, they do get paid... a lot.) i have been know to utilize their talents (wackiness,) to bring out the best smiles from my subjects. on this young boy, it backfired just a little bit, but, on the other hand, it worked just perfectly. his response was an extremely understandable reaction to the onslaught of gibberish that my oldest little girl was spewing. if i wasn't in charge of holding the camera, i would have followed his lead. this particular evening, i was lucky enough to have this boy and his mom and twin brother stop by my house for the portrait. about two hours earlier, i had spoken with the father about hoping to get his son involved in this project, and i guess that he shared my request with his wife, and she made my job much easier for the evening. i just hope that this kindergartner forgives me for unleashing my kindergartner on him... by the last look on his face, i believe that i am forgiven.

Friday, October 29, 2010

post 101

this post marks the 101st post for this blog... the 100th slipped right by without fanfare, so, if you want to celebrate with me now, feel free. the woman by the pool here is celebrating in a serious way; this was taken on her last birthday before 50, and she was hoping to make a splash (sorry about that weak pun.) on this particular day, i had another friend adamantly refuse to be photographed on her birthday... something about never seeing a picture of herself that she liked (i will try to persuade her again later.) anyways, the birthday girl here was in the midst of a handful of days or so without air conditioning in her home (this was taken toward the beginning of september,) and when my wife, her friend, called at 8:30 that night to see if she would be willing to be a part of this project, after some hemming and hawing, she recommended we meet at the pool. it seemed perfectly odd enough for me... to date, i had taken zero poolside portraits at night. my on-the-fly lighting set up did not ace the test, but it passed. this photo could seem like some strange summer evening birthday baptism of a woman who is about to turn her life over to something... it could.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


i have one brother-in-law, and he is a good one to have. he is funny, genuine, kind, laid-back but fiercely competitive (especially in monopoly and rummy and maybe bowling,) he possesses excellent wood shop skills, and he likes to eat from the center of a pan of brownies. as of last weekend, he is a loving husband. three of these photos were taken at my in-laws house as we spontaneously celebrated his engagement... and the other was from the wedding day. he grew up under the tutelage of three older sisters, which is no simple task to survive it unharmed. he had been dating his girlfriend for four years, and the last year or so came with unsolicited suggestions and encouragements which he seemed to take like he takes just about everything... in easy-going stride. it has been a joy to watch him undergo the changes that seem to occur when one becomes vulnerable and allows another to affect such change on a person's life. through my wife, his sister, i heard that he said something like something i said after i got engaged... what a fantastic relief (release of worry and doubt) it is when the question no longer lingers about who you will love as a partner, and who will love you (forever.) it quiets so much of the young monkey mind, and i have seen it work magic on my brother-in-law.

Monday, October 25, 2010

this is pete... maybe.

this is pete. he is a dependable employee of purina. he is a fan of milwaukee tools. his hobbies include photography and visiting the zoo as often as possible. he likes his beard. he is sincere. (some of this is true.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

three of a kind

this trio basically represents what i was hoping to capture when i began this project... people as they are, where they are. i was/am not concerned with how "photogenic" the subject is (or thinks he/she is.) i didn't/don't want the "prettiest" people in town; i didn't/don't want the "ugliest" people. i wanted/want to photograph regular, everyday people that i came/come across in my comings and goings in this fair city... a Titan fan before the last home preseason game, a proud grandma in the doorway of a house i painted, a huge watergun toting tot. it was/is my intention to document the beauty that is inherent in all of us... and with this blog came an opportunity to further express how affected i am by my fellow humans. here are three of our kind.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

stories to tell

as you can imagine, this fine looking gentleman has a bazillion stories to tell, but i am not sharing any of them here. feel free to fabricate your own. i will tell that he lives down the road from me, and he has a tiny farm on his lot that is the envy of the neighborhood. some folks are just meant to be photographed...

Monday, October 18, 2010

smiles that fertilize

i left my studio on this particular evening, and i was looking with a certain intensity for a portrait. it was a wednesday, the night my wife goes to yoga; it is just me and the little girls at home. if i don't get a portrait before i pick up the little ones, i am destined to go through the sometimes grueling task of finding a nighttime portrait. so, i spotted this young girl through the thick summer growth of the community garden that she helps tend, and i knew i had to pull the trigger. as i approached her, i could see the slight tint of panic in her eyes... but, she seemed harmless. i continued approaching, and i delivered my pitch as i had done over one hundred times before. she threw a couple of bones my way to try to get me to fetch them and leave; i wasn't leaving... i felt that she was ready to accept me as a harmless guy who just happened to be involved in a slightly creepy practice of approaching strangers and asking to photograph them. soon we were to discover that she knows my sister, and she settled in to talking about all sorts of things, and grew more and more comfortable with me... so much so, that when i left, she cut flowers for me to give my wife and children (i had told her that i was about to celebrate an anniversary.) for her services, i helped her diagnose an issue that she was having with a tire on her car... too much air pressure. it was a wonderful spontaneous moment on a beautiful sunny summer day surrounded by sunflowers; it was like a tiny slice of magic inserted into a routine day. what a generous project this is.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

the other red meat

it's a little difficult for me to look at these photos, as the abundant crops of summer's harvest have crept to a slow yield.

the tomato... a most delicious gift from the ground... so wonderful, though it seems as though it should be a vegetable, it is indeed a sweet fruit. countless sandwiches were consumed this summer with the fresh "red meat" of this jewel jammed in between plenty of different tasty partners... with varieties of cheese and varieties of mustards... with the B and the L of the infamous BLT... the stripped down version with salt and mayo... the breadless sandwich with a pinch of salt... and on and on ad infinitum. soon, the store shelve will be stocked with the (almost offensive in comparison) off season version of the real thing, and the flavors will not be the same again until next summer arrives. but, it sure was fantastic while it lasted. this dear woman was one of the "dealers" that fed my addiction, and she was as sweet as the fruit that she sold. until we meet again...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

fruit of a beautiful tree

this is the beautiful child of one of my dearest friends. he and i have been through both heaven and hell together, and we are still partners on the journey of true friendship. this little girl has already tasted her share of the bounties that life has to offer; both the good and bad (here is where i omit details.) she is a sweet and strong spirited soul. what i think about when i look at these pictures is that no matter what might be taken away from us, beauty and spirit can forever remain.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

renaissance muppet

... painter, father, husband, photographer, musician, friend, possible muppet.

Monday, October 11, 2010

two happy about it

while having a paleta with my daughters several weeks ago, a casual group of young people became innocent participants in my portrait game. as we ate our delicious frozen fruit treats, i scouted the group for a likely candidate, and before you now, i present the chosen one. one of the things that sticks with me about this encounter was that as i gave my pitch to them, one of the girls mentioned that she had heard about the project. while i never really received "proof," i was moved by the idea that this project could begin to seep into the crevices and take root (to take flight.) anyway... it seemed as though this young gentleman was the crowd favorite to be a part of this, and, as evidenced by his poise, he was happy about it. i am happy about it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


again, i say, if you want to know more about joy and radiance, spend more time with a five year old.

Friday, October 8, 2010

a force of good

there is a day care in my town that is going beyond the call of duty. the program is set up to take care of children of single, low income parents who cannot afford daycare, and who cannot afford to stay at home with the kids. i was lucky enough to have the opportunity to photograph the children at the school for a fundraiser that this woman here helps put together every year. from my brief time with her, i noticed that she is a sparkplug... she can make things happen at various levels, from the production of the idea through to the execution of it. after i was done with my part of helping her for the fundraiser, she asked if there was anything that she//they could do for me... i didn't know of anything in particular at the time, but, because i know that she could seriously get something done, i imagine that i will call on her services at some point in the future. she is a force of good to be reckoned with indeed.

Monday, October 4, 2010

he sings, he mows, he poses

i have good neighbors. this one here is the daddy of a baby that was part of this project months ago. if you couldn't tell by the photo, he also sings... and mows. he, out of the kindness of his large heart, mows his neighbor's lawn (not mine, yet) when he mows his own. during the shoot, he said something about having done so many of these (shoots... for his music career) that he was a bit uncomfortable trying not to be posey... i think that he did a good job, but, i have to say, he does look like he knew what he was doing (being "casual.") anyways... good mowers make good neighbors.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

singing with her life

i first came to know this young, dreadlocked woman after leaving the first university i attended. she worked at the O' restaurant, and a friend and i would go there on the occasional weekend for the champagne brunch... kinda ridiculous, but, i was 19. she and i started hanging out, and we forged a friendship that has endured the years. about fifteen years ago, she and i were both students at a local university, and she began singing jazz standards with a guitar player. we would randomly drop by each other's places to keep up with each other, and as two creative types, the support was always special. then, in '99, she asked me to join she and her boyfriend in a house that they were hoping to rent... i signed on, and the adventure continued. i was not at my best during this time, and maybe they weren't either; it was memorable for sure. she was on her way up the local jazz charts, and she continued to climb as she began to take on the world. she has traveled far and wide, singing her big heart out, and she has brought joy to tons of thousands of people. she is a big spirit out there in the world, and when i ran into her on this particular day, i discovered that she had begun sharing that spirit with the girls scouts... and i thought, how lucky those girls are to share time with this talented, big hearted, singing beauty? i am blessed to call her a friend.