Monday, May 28, 2007

"Rocky Horror" Lives

I spent a week in Cambridge on business recently. As it turned out I had a Saturday night stay over rate that prevented me form coming early even though the meetings were completed. So I spent a day roaming the village of 100,000 people carrying the camera and seeing what I could see.

I’ve been to Cambridge several times but I rarely get a chance to see outside the area between my hotel and office. This free day let me get outside the normal areas and see something of the town. It was enjoyable and it makes me wish we lived in a more pedestrian friendly city. I really enjoyed relaxing by sitting in the cafe’s and watching the people go about their Saturday chores.

On my way back to the hotel later in the evening I passed the Corn Exchange which is an older building that houses a theater. As I walked up the block, I noticed a large crowd and decided to check it out. There were several scantily clad hairy men milling about and it took me a moment to realize what was going on. Apparently the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” lives.

There was a line of photographers against the wall opposite of the main entrance. I only had the 50mm with me (only lens for this particular camera) so I couldn’t stay there and get any decent images. So I just jumped into the fray. I hope I didn’t piss anyone off but the “cast” seemed to enjoy it so I stuck around. I got a few images I like and this is one of them. This guys buddy was posing with a couple of the characters from the film. He asked me after he shot this if I got his best side. He was rather funny and seemed to enjoy the fact that he was the subject instead of the others.

It took me a little while to get comfortable getting as close as I needed but I eventually did and the few images I like are better for it. Now I need to get a 35mm and get even closer.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


This is from another Father/Daughter day at the gym. Jordan loves to climb and I love it as well although she makes me look like the out of shape guy that I am. She’s very good, and as she continues to get stronger she’ll just get better. So I took the opportunity to shoot some images while she was climbing a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoyed doing this although I’m not sure Jordan did. I think it gets a little old being the subject of so much photography but, in her sweet way, she indulges me and lets me keep trying.

As I went through these I started sequencing them according to what I had learned from Colin in the workshop. It was a good exercise in putting something that flowed in a logical way. I don’t know if I got it right but I do like how they turned out. I also purposely shot that day with an idea in mind instead of my usually random and disjointed way. It was prompted in some way by recognizing Jordan’s wish to not show her face. It made me think more, find a way to get what I wanted and still meet her requirement. I think it worked out pretty well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


This is Aaron. He was a participant in the Colin Finlay workshop held in Palm Springs a few weeks ago. He’s also one of the nicest guys you could ever meet and typically of a photographer and a creative, highly critical of his own work. He had some really strong images from the Copy Katz lounge and he saw the retirement home in a way I wish I had seen it. You can see some of his images here.

This is an image that I saw in my head when I saw this red wall. It comes close to reflecting what I wanted to portray but I could have used a little more light in the eyes. It’s shot on Fuji NPZ 800 and scanned on a little crappy scanner which resulted in a lot of noise. I metered off the highlight on his forehead and I don't recall the exposure. I wish I has paid attention. I have a few more to show in the next few days that get closer to what I wanted. Some of the images just didn’t work but that’s why you try; you see what works and what doesn’t and you learn from the mistakes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


It’s been a hectic few weeks and work is killing me at the moment. I thought I would have more time over the trip to Cambridge for some writing but coach class grows smaller by the trip and working is difficult.

I did get some images back from the lab and I’m actually pretty happy with some of them. Unfortunately getting them scanned is a little more difficult so I still have nothing to show. I really must come up with a solution.

The last day of the workshop proved to be the most fun. We went to a Copy Katz Showroom and Bar in Palm Springs. We were able to get some time with JJ as he got into character. The space was small, and jockeying for position with 9 other photographers was tough, but I got some images I liked and will get them posted at some point.

The next few images are from an impromptu portrait session with the other people in the workshop. This was one of the rare workshops without a bunch of know-it-alls wanting to prove how much they knew and how much smarter they were than anyone else. Everyone was very nice and very helpful.

This first image is JJ after the transformation. I used Fuji NPZ 800 for the first time. The red wall was too amazing to pass up and I didn’t have the digital camera. For the color I wish I had it for this spot in the club if nothing else.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Colonel George

The first day of the workshop we had a chance to introduce ourselves and talk a bit about our goals in photography. We also had the chance to hear a bit about Colin’s background, approach, philosophy while seeing some of his images. The morning discussion was very interesting and well worth the short time we spent. I honestly wish I could wax eloquent about the experience but the images and stories surrounding them simply speak for themselves. I consider myself fortunate that I was able to meet Colin, hear his story and see his images.

Marianne, event coordinator of the festival, set up three unique shooting situations for us to experience. On the first day we hit a senior citizen center and had a chance to interact and make images of some of the residents. I had the opportunity to meet one retired gentleman and had a chance to hear his story.

His name was George and he was a retired Air Force officer that had served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He also served as test pilot and “flew everything that had a prop on it.” He joined, what was then the Army Air Corp, in 1939 and trained in Texas. Hew flew in the Pacific Theater during the war and then flew the missions in Berlin after the war. He was quite a gentleman and it was an honor to spend some time with him.

He was also a Mason and a Shriner. I took this image as he explained to me the pride he felt in reaching the highest rank one can reach within that organization. I really wanted to show something of the man that had, at least as it appeared to me, a life to be proud of.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Documentary Workshop

As part of the Palm Springs Photo Festival I was fortunate to attend Colin Finlay’s Documentary Workshop. Over the next few days I’ll be posting images from the workshop, explaining a bit about the images and in general reporting on the workshop. Bear with me next week as I head to the UK and may not be able to get work up as quickly.

I shot both digital and film the first day but found myself too distracted with the switch. On the second day at the Palm Springs Fire Department HQ I only shot digital and on the third day I only shot film. I didn’t regret not having the film camera at the fire station but I did have second thoughts on the third day. I’ll leave that until I get the film back. It’ll probably take a couple of weeks to get those images online but I am looking forward to those images in particular. Once I get the images back I’m sure I’ll be happy I concentrated on B&W film with one color roll thrown in for good measure.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Coming Across Old Stuff

I’m going through some old images getting ready for the Palm Springs Photo Festival and came upon this portrait. It was taken several years ago in New York as part of a shoot put together by some people form

I was in New York for the annual Photo Expo show and spent a day in a rented studio shooting in wonderful natural light. Having space to move around and great northern light was such a joy that I wanted to find studio space when I got back to Kentucky. I did find a great space in downtown Louisville with 40 feet of 18 foot high windows. I’ve since left that space and moved out to California. I don’t get to shoot portraits very often anymore and should just find the time to do more. I enjoy working with people and I need to make the time.

This was shot on a Mamiya RZ 67, handheld on SFX 200 which, is sadly, no longer available. The lens was the 110mm f 2.8. I loved that camera but sold it because it was getting no use. It helped fund the Leica I’ve been using more and more this year.