February 17, 2011

Winter time, and the livin' is slow

Silver lining light, W. King Road, Ithaca, N.Y.

Things have been slow, I'm not gonna lie. Thank God for savings. But this slow time is also a blessing, giving me time to do all of the things I should be doing - updating my website, blogging (!) and marketing. But more importantly, it's a time to make new pictures for myself and no one else.
I used to love going out to shoot for the pure love of it, driven only by my ego and wanderlust. Or better yet, feeling the uncontrollable pull of my camera as I happened upon a blazing sunset or sunrise, risking life or limb to capture such beauty (driving while shooting (DWS), or haphazardly pulling over to the side of the road).

But something happened during this past glorious year, filled with assignments du jour: when I didn't have to work, I didn't. I was OK with giving my award-winning eyes and camera a rest, and enjoying life in the first person.
There's something to be said for having the privilege of making a living doing what you love, but then having your relationship to it change when it's been monetized.
I'm still extremely grateful to be a working photographer (who teaches and assists on the side), but now know I need to work on my relationship with my inner photographer, who has clearly been neglected.

Truxton country road, en route from an Edible Finger Lakes shoot.

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings!

I'd long heard about what an amazing show Sharon Jones and her Dap Kings put on, and was thrilled to witness her in all of her glory. Well worth the wait, shooting these images for The Ithaca Post.

The magnificent Charles Bradley opened for Sharon. Speechless.

Recent Portraits

I love portrait assignments because they allow me to meet and spend time with people I'd never meet otherwise. That's basically why I love photojournalism in general. Also, it's a wonderful aesthetic exercise where I get to paint my masterpiece with the right light, composition and a willing subject. These subjects were very agreeable, despite their esteemed titles, which made them all the more impressive.

Both for the New York Times:

New York State Judge and attorney, Thomas Klonick, photographed at his Fairport, N.Y., offices. A tough, dry subject such as law was definitely a challenge, but I don't think this was an opportunity to go crazy.

At the end of the day, the Times went with this one:

To see the link to the story, click HERE.

Last month, I was assigned to shoot a portrait of Daryl J. Bem, professor emeritus at Cornell, who claimed that ESP was in fact, real. How do you illustrate ESP, or extrasensory perception in a photograph? I tried several approaches, and God bless Daryl's heart, he was game for anything.

This was what was published:

Click HERE to read the story.

Winter Wild Art

Winter weather = winter feature hunting! I just taught my photojournalism class about shooting features, and love that I am forced to literally practice what I preach. Good times.

For the New York Times:

I started with the obligatory snow blower shot, even though I tried to steer clear of easy metaphors used way too often in such photos.

And then I found this nice guy walking his dog in a park, and tried to make something graphic...

I like this one better:

But in the end, they ran this one.

You can see the link to the story by clicking HERE.
The Syracuse Post Standard then ran a story, about this story published in the Times. Too funny!

For the Associated Press:

January 1, 2011

Freewheelin' Returns!

As I wipe the virtual dust off of my poor, neglected blog, I offer a sincere apology and fairly lame excuse as to what took so long. The simple truth is, I've been too busy to blog. Just after my last post six long months ago, the assignments continued to come in just as I'd hoped. Professionally speaking, it's been one of the best times of my life. My freewheelin' fantasies have started to come true...

Nation in a Nation for the AP

I spent a day on the Onondaga Indian reservation just south of Syracuse, N.Y., in the wake of the lacrosse passport story. We wanted to show what life was like on this reservation where it's people consider themselves a 'nation within a nation'.
To see a complete gallery of images from this assignment HERE

JETS TRAINING CAMP for The New York Times

Who the heck would have guessed I would be on the sidelines as the Jets trained for their season in sleepy, Cortland, N.Y.? This was my second assignment for The Times, and I was a little nervous to say the least. Given a very long laundry list of players to shoot, I ended up with a handful of keepers.
Click HERE to see a complete gallery of photos.

The Sufis in Sidney, N.Y., for The AP

Perhaps one of my favorite assignments of all time - visiting the Sufi Dergah and telling the story of this Muslim sect in relation to the small town where it is located was thrilling on so many levels - journalistically, photographically and culturally. It all started with THIS story. The Dergah has compiled a page full of story links as well.
Click HERE to view a complete gallery.

Joe Biden at Fort Drum for The AP

Click HERE to see more photos.

Army Spc. Blair Thompson's funeral on the Fourth of July for The AP

Certainly, there is nothing favorable about shooting a soldiers funeral. But it becomes particularly poignant when it falls on the most patriotic day of the year - the Fourth of July.
Click HERE to see more photos.

Upstate New York Politics for the AP, New York Times & Congressman Hanna

I loved traveling all over the state this past election season to cover various politicians as they campaigned, were endorsed by bigger political giants, or were the decided victor or loser. Always fun and interesting to have a front row seat to this pivotal democratic process.
Click HERE to see a more complete gallery.

Documenting live music continued to be a photographic mainstay. A new post will be added detailing my favorites from the past year. Check back for that.

Same goes for weddings and events.

June 21, 2010

Thrilled & Elated

Two weeks ago, I got a call I'd been waiting for for a very long time. No, it wasn't the state lottery, or WILCO seeking a full-time photographer. It was more like the assignment lottery. The number on my phone appeared as a series of ones, which made for a singular spectacular jackpot of a phone call. It was The New York Times. The assignment was to shoot a wedding for their Vows section. Fate and love had finally crossed my path!

I'd been an avid (albeit closeted) reader of Vows for as long as I can remember. Not in an annoying, stereotypical female, 'I can't wait to see who got married' kind of way. Rather, it's been those spellbinding, too-good-to-true love stories that have kept me coming back every Sunday. Quirky, cool and shatter-proof - they've kept me believing in my own brand of true love.

And as a photographer, I've paid close attention to the bylines hiding underneath those gorgeous photos. Always imagining who those lucky shutterbugs were and who they had to BE in order to become the Times wedding photographer du jour.

Two weeks ago, that lucky shutterbug was me. Thrilled and elated, I couldn't wait to make beautiful photographs of two random strangers' most important day. I also couldn't wait to nail the assignment.

There was one hitch though - the stunning couple didn't want to hire a photographer of their own because they didn't want the intrusion of a "wedding photographer". Regardless of their wedding being featured in The New York Times (a competitive fete by anyones standards), I was instructed not to come between the couple and their guests, or move around very much, and if at all possible - to basically become invisible. My fantasies of capturing those cool and beautiful moments of the bride and groom came crashing down with several restrictions. Thank God for long lenses! Despite my disappointment, a need to respect those wishes prevailed, and I could only do the best that I could.

And so I did. And they said 'I do'. And it was published on a beautiful Sunday, in color no less!

I hope they call again.