Archives for Personal

Week 31

It is hard to believe that I am down to the final ten weeks of the 40@Forty Project. The year is flying by – but I guess that is what happens when you get old! This weekend I was browsing through my iTunes library and I came across a Paul Simon album cover that caught my attention. It was a very stark – almost geometric – portrait. I decided to take the basic concept and create something for this week’s portrait. It took a few attempts to get the light how I wanted it, but I finally got it. I loved the high contrast black and white look, along with the drama created by all the negative space. It was tough for me to crop it so tightly- because it isn’t what I’m used to – but I think it really helped the composition. I loved the graphic, black & white feel – which was quite a departure from the images of the past few weeks.
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Heather

Of all the portraits I have done this year, this has to be one of the ones I am most proud of! When I started working on my Masters of Photography degree several years ago, I decided I would try and get it with at least one image of each person in my family. After a few years of competition, I had gotten merit prints of myself, my two boys and even our dog Annie. The only one I had to go was Heather. The problem with doing Heather’s portrait was that I was too worried about coming up with the “perfect” image. I would come up with an idea, then set it aside – waiting for a better idea to come along. When I started on the 4040 project this spring, I knew I would have to come up with a grand concept to use for Heather. After months of thinking about it – I finally came up with the concept while watching Heather get ready at her vanity. I am a big fan of a painter named Pino who does these extraordinary paintings of somewhat everyday scenes. We put everything together, painted it with a very impressionistic, loose
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Week 30: The Formal Portrait

Week 30: Formal Painting After last week’s high-tech look, I decided to go the opposite direction with this image. I wanted to create a very antique – almost Old Master- look with a strong, directional light and a limited color palette. I tried to be very aggressive with the brushstrokes, getting increasingly loose as I moved away from the center of the image. The final image has a dramatic, but subdued look – which I liked.
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Week 29: Snapshots

I had this idea pop into my head, but was having trouble sorting out the logistics. How could I chop up the image in different ways and still retain a somewhat visable photographic image? After toying around in Photoshop for a while, I came up with a system and started working. I took 16 pieces of the same image, kept the size consistent, then pieced them back together in the exact location where they belonged . It ended up being a fun project – once I figured out how to make it happen.
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Annie, Age 40 (sort of)

I was unpacking my camera bag in the studio this week and noticed my faithful sidekick, Annie, sitting by the door watching me. Not sure what made me think of this, but it occurred to me that she turned 6 last month. Some quick calculations and I realized that she had hit the big 40 this year – if you went by “dog years.” I figured that was a good enough reason to include her in my little project! When Annie was only a couple of months old, I photographed her on a white backdrop and created an image that would become my first PPA Loan Print. I thought it was only fitting to recreate this historic image with the older, wiser, over-the-hill Annie. How cool is that!!??
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The Latest 4040s

The 40@Forty Project is doing well, but I’ve fallen a bit behind on posting them on the blog. Gotta work on that! For those of you who are not on Facebook, this should bring you up to speed. Week 27 was an experiment with light. Instead of using studio lights or even sunshine, I decided to try a portrait entirely lit by candlelight. It presented quite a few technical challenges, but I was happy with the overall look and feel of the image. The next week, I went in a totally different direction – with a highly-processed, studio shot. I took the iconic look of Apple’s iPod ads and put a bit of a spin on it. Since I’ve been focusing on painting for the past several months, I wanted to incorporate my graphics tablet and pen into the story. Here is what I came up with…
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Week 26: Abstract

Week 26: Abstract Some weeks I have a very specific concept in mind and go after it. More and more frequently, however, I find myself pacing about trying to figure out what to do. Trying to think up something that I can actually pull off before the deadline -but still be something cool. At this point, Heather usually makes a few suggestions and I quickly refuse to do them…. however, during that moment I usually get an inspiration. I head off to create the image and Heather shakes here head and promises to not help me next time. This week, I KIND OF used her idea. She suggested I do a profile shot that was a silhouette. I originally had nixed the suggestion, then had an idea – I would do the profile but crop and color it in a way that would make it almost abstract. I think if someone saw this image by itself, they might not even know it was a person – which is kind of cool.
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The Four Seasons

Back in May, I was helping out with the Westwood School’s Shakespeare play and loved how they were doing really complicated makeup on some of the kids. We decided to try and put together a portrait of several girls – all sporting different makeup. The summer, we gathered up a few brave models and my buddies Sami and Gusi went to work on their hair and makeup. Each girl was made to represent one of the four seasons. I photographed each of them individually on different colored backgrounds and intended to combine them later into one piece in Photoshop. At the end of the session, we did a group shot of all four – just for fun. Months later – when I finally got around to working on the images – I realized (for better or worse) that the group shot was actually the best image. I worked some Photoshop magic to give it a more painterly, antiqued look – which unfortunately makes it really hard to distinguish the different seasons. However, I loved the overall feel of the image and decided it was the one to keep anyways. Maybe someday I will go back and work with the individual
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Week25: The Guitar

My son Dean has been taking guitar lessons for the past month or so. Watching him practice kept reminding me of how I used to love wasting time trying to learn songs on the guitar in my dorm room. Last week I finally broke down and bought myself a guitar. It has pretty much consumed every free minute I have had over the past week – so I figured it should be featured in this week’s portrait. I had to play around with a few different lighting styles until I found just the right look. From there, I tweaked the contrast and added some color in Photoshop to get the final image above. I love the way it is very dramatic, yet very low-key.
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