When the mind stops planning the spirit starts to lead. I just had arrived with my family from a long flight from San Rafael in Argentina on the 31st of December 2005 late in the afternoon hours. Too tired to plan and just wanting to crash for a while, I opened the e-mail to make sure tat there was no clients needing assistance of any other emergencies waiting for me to find them so they could roost in my head. There was an e-mail from a good friend of mine, Chuck Dodson inviting me to his New Year's party. After 24 hours of confinement in airplane seats and stop-overs to contribute to moderate physical discomfort, I felt spirit saying "GO!!"
After a brief nap and refreshing up Julia (my wife) and yours truly made for the party. I know that as a rule, if you are looking for an atmosphere where stimulating conversations, artistic environments, and opportunities to meet artists is your "thing" Chuck's parties are just the place go go if you privileged to be invited. So I knew this was worth my time.
There is no greater joy than under estimating my expectances of a superb time, yet it happened just so when I was introduced to Chris Saunders. Not to discount so many other guests at the party, whom I value so much, Chris was a new contact and what I quickly felt like being an old new friend. From his magical ability to fill the heart and soul of listeners with his music, humor, and wit I entered 2006 in the highest of spirits and happiness.
"When I play I get lost in a world free of ego and become spiritually free" was what I understood from his words of excitement about his passion for his masterful musical craft and deeply artistic expression. This image is an attempt of expressing visually the freedom from materialistic constraints.
Chris and Chuck playing as much for themselves as for the guests present at the New Year's gathering.
A man's heart is as great as his/her ability to love. To witness the surviving innocence of their passion for their art and craft is one of the most compelling experiences in much more than just excellence of musicianship. It is a living lesson on how to let your heart fly and open up to love.
In addition to his great ability to enter the listener's spirit through the magic at his fingertips, Chuck can transport you into a world of jazz where all your emotions are given space to unfold and grow and he shares his universe with an audience. Chuck also has a very special ability to bring various people together as a composer selects instruments to create a concert. Chuck's generosity of heart in sharing his friends enriches all of us as individuals and humanity as a whole.
Personally, I believe I am speaking for many other artists when I say that in his elegant weaving of relationships born of his introductions, Chuck has greatly contributed over the years to the artistic and spiritual fiber of our local community as well as the global consciousness of the world of the arts.
One hour photo (session) when one is comfortable with people and equipment.
Johnny and I had only about one hour to work. Even though he already had had some professional experience as a model for a major beer label, this was his first experience in posing for a personal portfolio . With a couple of outfits and approximately 250 shots, we went to work. By combining friendliness with encouragement, we ended up with sufficient material to produce a page folio for his business use by the end of the hour.
Ultimately the success of a shoot is not the amount of time along with tons of studio equipment but rather a well-founded understanding of lighting and camera work to render justice to a good-looking subject. With enough practice and passion, any photographer can learn to open the heart and mind of any subject to work anywhere in a relatively short period of time.
This session was done outside of Joe Mugs at a Books-a-Million store.
Learn your camera skills well, love what you do intensely, share that love with others openly; and they will share their beauty with you!
One of the most responsible missions of a photographer is to provide a form of increased self-esteem by giving the client a reflection of their looks keeping in mind that the main purpose of his job it to give the client an opportunity to feel beautiful yet respectful.
I view the body as the holy home of our spirit. The body is part of the divine gift which the Creator has given us. To love it, respect it, and appreciate it is our duty. During a personal portrait of this nature, every word, every action, every mannerism is important. The photographer must have present in his or her mind that every aspect of their attitude will be affection the client and therefore all that is done and said must contribute to making the client feel special, respected, admired, and recognized for their personality and character in the most honest and straight forward way.
As the heart of the client opens and their sense of comfort and relaxation grown the session progresses into a journey of discovery at the end of which the client has discovered herself in some aspect or another that will add to their sense of self worth.
Often a good portrait is an insinuation that accents the personality of the subject, not a descriptive account of facial features. The candid portrait above reflects that intent. The low key allows the accent with light of the features that portrait the character of the subject and allows for the intriguing nature of the subject.
The light accent underlines the brilliance of the mind of the subject -- one of the most inspiring thinkers and doers or our contemporary world -- while the darkness that blends the subject with the background further accents the lighted areas. Notice that the chest -- where the heart is -- is also bright to accent the great heart of the subject.
His profile hides most of him but defines his physiognomy with elegance and mystery.
When the photographer uses the heart instead of the mind as the master guide for his work, the result is often striking even to himself because he too becomes the eternal student of his own Soul!
Softness in this portrait helps to bring out the inner person and balances the power of her eyes that in a straight shot tend to become overpowering. The softness was created with Adobe not with a filter.
My theory is that the photographer should keep in mind the fact that moods are temporal but the image itself as captured by the camera with the least interference of filters and effects provides the richest source for future creativity without loss of potential for future interpretations.
With the benefits of digital imaging available today there is no real need for adding filters to the lens because doing so limits the range of future choices the photographer has to work with the image later.
I find it often that B&W adds drama to a portrait.
Above, the portrait of the great International Artist Benini reflects the intensity of his character and personality. I can get lost in his stare and wander what the universe he sees might look like to me!
The use of a single light source and short lighting were intended to accent his dramatic and intense features.
Often the simplicity of a single-light-source in an overcast day lends to a good environment for portrait photography.
It took me seven years to gain the trust of this subject before I could capture her soft and glamorous side. Normally, she reflects a business and busy outlook most the time and has definite ideas on how to conduct herself in front of the camera.
Probably when you look at this picture you will think that it is being shown under the wrong category!
However, this is a self portrait. Not my face but rather how I relate to whom I am. There is a steel frame and many boards being nailed down to conform to the design of the apparatus. One board, however, refused to be nailed down and rebelled against the "norm". This is how I portrait myself. Rugged, worn, bitten, but independent and different on its own right with the pride that only the resilience of inner strength can provide.
A combination of line draw effect and straight shot created this outcome.
The original picture was taken by my son-in-love Christian. Yes! I am sure you are wandering what a son-in-love is so I must explain myself better.
Normally, because he is married to my daughter, I should refer to him as my son-in-law, however, from my perspective since they married for love, he became my son-in-love. I like it a lot better and reflects the way I feel about him!!!
Christian is a very good photographer on his own right and soon I will have a page dedicated to his work in my website.
A portrait is often assumed to be a single image of a face. However, as you noticed in the previous image, I am constantly looking for the "outside of the box" option. Here the portrait is about humanity and its infinitely broad range of manifestations within the universe in which it manifests. The image of the two people represent simultaneously differences and parallels. both humans, sitting down, posing their bodies in symmetrical balanced manners, expressing feelings, and both somewhat reflecting an oddity one in fashion the other in station.
On the other end one is female the other male, one appears happy the other appear sad, one aims to the future the other to the past, and so on...
The drop of water on the branch represents a lifetime. It forms, it grows, matures, and eventually falls. IT encompasses all the aspects -- different and alike -- into one single drop.
These are just root thoughts that this group of image invite the viewer to experience. Each person may find different and new reflections from it.
Sometimes I find it effective taking the unconventional approach to portraiture.
Above we have a portrait Of David Brown, one of the great contributors to superior World Cinematography.
This page shows how great he is in the world of movie making. Yet this portrait is simple and casual because it was my perception that David is truly a kind and-down-to-Earth. So, this portrait is an attempt to reflect his gentle and accessible personality albeit his artistic greatness!
Helen Gurley Brown>
She is arguably one of the most influential women of the decade, perhaps even the century, and she did it all with her pen, first by writing the best-selling Sex and the Single Girl in '62, and then by assuming the Editor in Chief position at struggling Cosmopolitan magazine in '65. For the next 32 years she instructed, helped, advised, cheered for, encouraged, liberated, and promoted women, giving them new role models to emulate and a new manual for the sexual revolution. She was a powerful voice advocating women's sexual freedom -- armed with the pill, she showed women how they could use it, how they could take advantage of it, how they could thrive with the new technology, the new attitudes of the '60s, and the new control they had over their sexual destinies.
I photographed Tippi when she was the honor guest to the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival a few years back!
Presently she dedicates most of her life the a wild preserve that she started to protect wild cats. She is Deeply involved with international conservation groups to save wildlife, and an outspoken voice against cruelty to animals, both wild and domestic, she's a board member of "The Wildlife Safari", founded by her friend, Frank Hart, in Winston, Oregon. She also served on the board of "The Elsa Wild Animal Appeal" founded by her friend, the late Joy Adamson. Her other charity work includes serving on The Board of Directors of The Women's Council of KCET (Channel 28), The Minnesota Film Council, The American Heart Association, The March of Dimes, Multiple Sclerosis, International Orphans, Inc., and several AIDS causes. Shambala.org/tippi.htm is where you can learn more about her.
My favorite picture of her is the one above when she just started to glow when asked to talk about her Shambala Preserve and Roar Foundation.
On the Web there are several places where you can find more information on this great and beautiful personality.
The Navajo 'Code Talker'
A Norman Rockwell Reflection
Much of what constitutes reality is an agreement done individually or collectively.
As I passed Officer Young at the entrance of the Gillette stadium, I found myself experiencing the same type of feelings that I had when I saw the "Runaway" piece by Norman Rockwell.
There was something unique about him. His energy was kind and friendly. Representing the law in a way that , rather than by intimidation, he instigated my own willingness to respect our society in kind.
This experience brought back an aspect of what a representative of the Law-and-Order used to -- and should still -- represent at large: a good and friendly attitude that made him in the community what it was: a part of the village that represented our own civic sense of decency and care among us. I miss that poetic and classic image of what a COP represented. A bit like the Andy Griffin Show type.
Officer Young brought that image back into my mind. and heart and gave me hope and good faith in our future.
In this portrait the B&W contrast and the angle combined with the lighting gives me the feeling that I was looking for as A pool of photographers covered Susan after she was let free from jail victorious on her own terms. The light in her face creates a face emerging from the dark into the light. The grain reflects the hardship of her journey and the dark base creates the drama and sets the mood.
I was walking around the house of one of my clients looking for him. Suddenly, in his back yard I spotted these two chairs what somebody had placed there randomly. The emotional impact of this arrangement was so "human" in nature that to this day I still feel captured by it!
A Family Portrait
Being A Father
There is no room for objectivity when it comes to those we love. My younger son, Juzeh, and I were sitting in the living room and he was surfing the web on my lap top. I was just enjoying watching him. The lighting from the tungsten lamp and the computer monitor gave him a mood that I sensed as both: beautiful and peaceful. Existing light and adobe together gave me a chance to bring the reds from my heart and the light key top background that bring intelligence and spirituality to that moment when I was contemplating the awesome fact that this being whom I loved so much was here because my wife, Julia, and I had opened ourselves to that opportunity.
The gift of being a parent is, in my opinion, the most powerful experience that a human can experience in this life. Being a participant on the making of the miracle of creation is truly a God-like blessing and I cherish it every moment.
I can love my children this much with my limited human capabilities, it makes me wander how our creator may be able to love us that much more!
The Posed Candid
At the risk of making a contradicting statement I will venture that one of the aspects by which I am most appreciated by my clients is in the fact that while they pose for me they end up being captured in moments that are naturally spontaneous. Such is the case of this shot here where I got my older son, Kalin and his girl friend Veronica, in this casual pose. I had the camera set for the exposure and then I made conversation. The trick is to listen to them and then say something to capture their attention while the camera keeps going right below my eyes so they cab se me. This gives then the feeling that I am talking to them and not taking pictured just that instant. That relaxes them and...click there it goes!!!
Today I look at my children and realize that without them I am like an egg shell... empty.
If I had never been a parent probably I would have done OK since one cannot experience what is not part of their life. However, now that I have them I realize that the greatest part on me as a being is the love I hold in my heart for them.
Where The Magic Begins
Without the right partner we are like a one-winged bird trying to fly. Over a quarter of a century of my life, Julia (my wife) and I, have had the opportunity to watch our children to grow and enrich our lives in the process with the love and joy that makes our relationship so great. I owe to her generosity and unconditional love the privilege of being whom I am today. All of the joys of my present life are only present through her gift of life and unequaled dedication.
No journey worth our lives is worth-while without the necessary dedication and the trails that one must experience to validate themselves and those whom we love. But the power that grows out of the victory over the hardships to conquer the joys that only long-time relationships can achieve, makes it worth every bit.
When Real Magic Happens
The saying goes something like this: "Behind every successful man there is always a great woman"
I really believe that with all my heart! As said (as closely as I recall) in the words of the great spiritual master, Paul Twitchell, "It is through a man's love for a women that he can enter the heart of God"
This may be poetic prose but holds within it a truth that only those who have experienced it can really understand.
Julia has been my model, my supporter, my English teacher, and always been there for me even when I had to go through surgery, chemotherapy, and other complications. Through all that she has done what it took to make our family unit survive 28 years of a life partnership that only the very privileged ones -- like myself -- get to experience!!!
While doing all that she dedicates herself to teaching -- often working 70 to 80 hours a week developing new programs, teaching and changing lives of other teachers as she touches their hearts!!!
All this goes unrecognized so often by the world that does not know how good it is just for having someone like Julia living in it!
So, this is my pale and miniscule effort to express how much I DO appreciate the gifts that life has brought me this time!!! And much of it through my last quarter of a century with Julia.
Either as a model or in her world of academia Julia is an inspiration to all with whom she comes in touch. In this photograph she just received recognition from over 75 other teachers with whom she shared her passion for teaching in an academy at Henderson State University that she made possible to improve other teachers' abilities to deal with multi-cultural school room teaching challenges.