Thursday, May 21, 2015

Caroline - Annapolis Senior Portrait Session

This session was pretty ideal: it was a nice day (a tad on the cold side), we had plenty of time and lots of ideas to try, and Caroline was a perfect subject. I also got to use this new flower backdrop I've been working on (it took SO much longer to make than I thought it would--maybe I'll write a post on the process sometime). 

Caroline is smart, sweet, and thoughtful, and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to photograph her at such an exciting time in her life. Here are some of my favorite images from the day. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Thoughts for Mother's Day

I grew up in a pretty tight-knit community, where the "it takes a village" adage rang true when it came to raising kids. Besides my own truly incredible mom, my friend's moms were a reliable and very present part of my life. My friends and I were just kids but I think we were always aware of how amazing these women were.

Now that I'm old enough to have friends who are moms, my awe of motherhood has only increased. It's not just the sacrifice and rewards, it's the fierce, steady, ever-marching-onward love. I'm not a mother and I don't know if I ever will be, but as I think about all the moms I have the privilege of knowing all I can think of motherhood is this: It actually might be the most beautiful thing in the world.

Here are a few photos I took recently of my dear friend Kristen and her daughter Abbie.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Classical posing for photographers

I've been really inspired by sketches and figure studies by some of the great artists lately. It's classical posing! Unfortunately when linked with photography, the words "classical posing" often bring to mind the 80s big chain portrait studios: stiff figures with frozen fake smiles. But I'm thinking more about the history of art here.

I love these sketches by da Vinci, Michelangelo, and John William Waterhouse--how they show the obsessive study of the human figure and angles of the face and lines of the shoulders, neck, and hands. These seemingly simple poses, skillfully crafted, look so dynamic on paper. It's really important, I think, for photographers to not forget about art history and to learn from it as much as we can. I'm excited to try some more dynamic poses with my next model photo session.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Monika & Jesse - Annapolis Trash the Dress Session

I really could not have had more fun taking these photos. Monika & Jesse decided to celebrate their three year wedding anniversary by doing a rock the dress/trash the dress photo session. We started out in historic downtown Annapolis and finished up at Jonas Green Park just outside of town. It's hard not to have fun on a beautiful afternoon in Annapolis, especially when there's seasonal pumpkin beer and powder paint(!) involved. Cheers to 3 years, you two! 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Seth | Maryland Senior Portraits (and how I get into photography)

This blog post has been a while in coming because the subject, who just so happens to be my youngest brother Seth, is already rocking his first year of college. But I was talking to some friends about our own high school senior years the other day and it reminded me that I'd like to share more of my senior photography work on this blog.

So here's Seth, he was actually my very first human photography subject after my dad gave me my first camera (the irreplaceable Pentax K1000 which I continued to use through college). I was 12 years old and Seth was just a toddler. I still wonder at what a patient (long suffering, even!) subject he was, even as a little kid.

I had the idea when I first started taking pictures that if I just kept using my camera, eventually I'd get good. So I bought lots of Fujifilm from the drugstore and shot roll upon roll upon roll in the woods behind our house, and then I'd take most of the rolls back to the drugstore to have them developed. Once they were printed I'd realize that they were all crap, then go through each one and wonder what I could do better, and then back to the woods I'd go and take more pictures.

Things didn't start looking up until I began photographing people, and as I mentioned above Seth was one of my first subjects because he was too small back then to put up much of a fight. These days he's not only much taller than me but also one of the more awesome people I know, and I'm proud to have taken his senior photos. Here are a select few from our session.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Method Matters (why I shoot film)

I've been trying to write this post for a while and it never quite comes out right.

Here's why: if you've ever looked into the subject of film photography before you've probably already heard the reasons why shooting film is wonderful and I hate to be redundant, especially on the internet where almost everything is redundant. But bear with me as I informally state/restate the Reasons for Film as I see them, with the important bit coming near the end...

1. It feels more real than digital. It actually has a smell. It's tangible. You can hold it in your hands and see the developed pictures on the negative and remember a time when a photograph was a one of a kind piece of art instead of a copy-and-pasted digital file.

2. It slows the entire process down, from shooting to getting the final product. This is a good thing even if you aren't a fan of delayed gratification. You remember that real money is at stake every time you push the shutter, but more so that you're creating something "real", so you think about your composition; photography becomes a careful and thoughtful craft again instead of a fast-paced shoot out.  When I shoot film I remember almost every photograph I intentionally created and I can't wait to see each one instead of hoping some of the 300 photos I took that hour will be good.

3. It forces you to learn the craft. Yes, these days we can fix it in photoshop even if it's film, but the knowledge that the photo can be near-perfect and as you envisioned straight from the lab if you shoot it right is a pretty enticing reason to get it right in-camera.

4. It looks better, at least to those of us who prefer film. The resolution is better with film. The colors are more true to life (depending on your film choice), the image isn't over sharp, it's harder to blow out highlights and easier to get shadow detail.

5. It's "hipster"/"vintage"/"cool", which is surprisingly affirming to those of us who learned on film and suffered through the early 2000s when the digital snobs sniggered as we spent countless hours of our lives in a darkroom wearing chemical stained clothes and listening to the radio really, really loud as we tried not to kick something because we just can't get rid of that dust on the negative and it's driving us crazy but we LOVE IT.

And that's it, that's what it comes down to: when I use a film camera I LOVE photography, like all the way down to my soul, like I can't get enough of it. I just want to load my film and adjust my exposure and hear the mechanical click of the shutter and feel the pull of the spool as it advances because I love the process, I love the method. (Am I getting a little sappy here?)

When I use digital I know I'm a good photographer and can take a good picture but the love is always missing. Simple as that.  

So there you have it, some personal thoughts on film. I still use digital sometimes but I'm asking myself more and more often, "why?". 'Cause it's cheaper, 'cause it's faster, but what good is it if there's no know?

(All photos in the post were taken with a Nikon f100, films are Kodak Portra 160 and Ilford FP4 125, developed by Richard Photo Lab.)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

mornings & hikes

I'm a morning person. I was recently talking with my friends about what my ideal day looks like, and it without a doubt begins by being up with the sun. 

Being up before the sun is quite another thing, like I was when I took the photographs in this first composition one very cold and very early spring morning. But there is something to be said for feeling like you've accomplished all you wanted for the day and it being only 7am when all's said and done. 

So anyway, I thought I'd share some recent composite works. All photos were taken using my little nikon f100 camera on Kodak Portra 400 film with the 50mm 1.8 lens. 

I came up with this composition using 4x6 prints but I'm planning on making it again with much larger prints.

(Click on the images to view larger.)   

This second composition is made with photographs I took at sunset rock in Taconic State Park, New York. It was indeed sunset, and we hiked about 4 miles home through woods and over streams in near darkness. But we had flashlights and it was worth it!

Nice memories. Thanks for reading & taking a look,

P.S. Here's what I've been listening to lately...