As a photographer, everyone has their own personal style, or imagery that kind of becomes their signature work. It's been pointed out to me, and I'm well aware of the fact, that I like the old, dilapidated, broken, and not always most pleasant scenery. I guess what I love about it - is that despite the fact there is a huge mess or a big hole in a roof in a building, or rust on an old tank track, is that there's something interesting to it. It has a story. As I took the photo for this inspired art piece - and almost got tetanus from a rusty nail on a board I missed by two inches - I saw history. Where is all this stuff from? What was it a part of? Who built it? Who tore it down? And why didn't they clean it up? It makes the very plain ground that it beneath this mess more interesting. I guess when it comes to photo's - anyone can take a picture of a beautiful island, or a beautiful sunset and it becomes a beautiful picture. But when you can try to capture something interesting about stuff that is just an eye sore, in a new light, it makes it a challenge. Why do I like this stuff? I really don't know. Maybe it's the perspective of that shot to make it appealing, or maybe it’s a reflection of how I see the world. There is beauty in all things, in all details, in all people - no matter how mundane, bad, good or indifferent they are. I hope you enjoy this new art piece!
I love my friends, and I got to spend the day with a couple of amazing ones in Milwaukee yesterday. We went out, took some pics, ate some new food, and finished the night off with the great American sport of bowling. Days like yesterday really remind you to be thankful for what you do have in life. Nothing can be taken for granted, and nothing goes to waste. And then there are people that you feel like you've known all of your life. You can spend a day with them and feel like you never left home. The photo spots were great, and even though the walk in downtown Milwaukee due to a parking snafu (I'm not pointing fingers... Spike) was freezing - it was worth it. If you've never tried Ethiopian cuisine, you should. You should try a lot of new things to break free of the mold of everyday life. I do not recommend this food for people that are afraid of sharing, or germs - as you get no utensils, and share a table platter. And I also recommend a trip to the Horny Goat Brewery in Milwaukee. Great place and I would go back to party with friends next time I’m up in the great state of cheese. One of my favorite pics from the trip was a pop art piece I've been working on since I got back. This is Mr. Skulls. He sells feed in Mukwonago, WI and he’s very serious about his job. Remember to appreciate those people in your life that support and love you for all you do. I know I'm lucky to have them in mine.
Today I had the pleasure of working with a good friend, and very talented musician. A fellow photographer was awesome enough to borrow me his studio space to shoot pictures. I wanted to capture a person's passion for their art. The connection between a musician and their instrument can be something most people would never understand. It becomes an extension of their very being, something they live for and that defines them. My friend Jamie is one of the most talented guitar players I have ever met, and I thought he would be perfect for this project. I hope you all enjoy these new pics, and look for more to come in the next few weeks! A lot of exciting projects coming up!
Today was one of those perfect days to just go out and shoot. As I drove around various towns, I saw a group of people standing on the corner of the road, practicing their Constitutional Rights, and supporting a politician they feel will help this country. Now, I'm not one for politics - but I admire people that have so much faith and belief in any aspect of life. I pulled the car over, and was greeted warmly. I told them who I was, and asked to take some pictures and was welcomed to do so. As these people held their signs up to traffic passing by, there were honks of support, as well as jeers from those that supported Obama, or other candidates for the race of 2012. Again, I'm not one for politics, but I'm glad to be in a country where people can gather on street corners, and tell the world how they feel. I grew up in a very different country, under a then Communist regime. If you weren't for the Communist party, you could have been thrown off of downtown city buildings to be set an example of, or go to jail for conspiracy charges. Although I was young, and never really felt the darker sides of Communism, my parents, and family lived it all too well. My father brought us to this country, for better futures. We spent a part of 9 months as refugees to come here, sleeping in tents at times, on hard rocky ground and eventually settling into an Austrian refugee camp before coming to the states. To capture events like this brings it full circle. Passion in life towards anything, whether its music, art, politics, science, pop culture - it's all passion. And although there are so many views when it comes to politics, the state of our country - at least people are out there, fighting for what they whole heartedly believe in. And although, that little girl may not know exactly what politics truly mean, she will grow up and one day understand, the importance of belief, and the importance of what she did with that sign on this particular day.
This picture was taken in 2007 while I was in Europe, visiting my family. In Slovakia, in the little town of Tomasov, is the farm my great grandparents lived on, and that is currently occupied in the summer by my grandparents. These old little towns, with not much in the way of anything 'happening' are quaint, quiet, and really a throw back in time. While I was walking around the lot, I came upon a shed to see a cat, cuddled up to this saw blade. It wasn't my grandparent’s cat, or anyone's in the family, just a country stray enjoying the sunshine. If only it had any idea of the danger it was so comfortable next to. In a lot of ways, we sometimes do the same crazy things in life. We don't realize the danger or maybe we don't want to, of the things closest to us. It could be people, friends, jobs, situations - anything. Sometimes it's a good thing, and if those things don't pose an immediate threat, then why not? We survived, and we move on. Other times, we aren't so lucky. But if that dumb-ass cat knew that if someone just switched on that saw, what it could actually do - it probably wouldn't be so damn comfortable.
Along with all of the new photo projects I have coming up; I have really been enjoying turning some of my work into art. It's really amazing with the tools that are available to be able to create depth and further meaning to photographs. Once you get into the different software available, there is so much you can do in terms of enhancements. The true art of a photograph is getting it right the first time, a magical moment like those of Eugenic that were part of my last blog. But there is definitely a different art and feel to graphic art and it is really something I'm enjoying learning as I go. I had this conversation with a good friend over the weekend. Nothing that I do, whether it is in music, or with visual arts - was taught to me. When it comes to playing bass, I have played since I was 11 years old, but couldn't tell you more than the basics of music theory. I taught myself, listening to music, and mimicking it. Photography has been that way too. It was just something I thought would be fun and learned I had a bit of an eye for. I would love to make a living at either, and the best way to start, is to get out there, and just do it. It still blows me away that so many people come to the site for updates, and I can't wait to add more work and pursue what was a hobby on the back burner until the beginning of this year. Thanks for the support everyone, and I hope you enjoy the latest editions! Look through all of the categories on the site, as more and more pictures have been added!
There are really only a handful of people in life that we cross paths with, that are interesting and restless artistic spirits. One of these people that I've known for close to 20 years is the subject of my blog. A few years back, he had musical and artistic ideas that he wanted to express, and invited myself and another photographer for a shoot. What was captured that day, was magical I think for all of us. He knew exactly what he wanted to do for the pictures, and we just stood by and watched him pour his soul out for the camera. These pictures are raw, a transformation if you will, and full of emotion. To take a picture of a person, to pose them, or even to capture an emotion, can be hard. You can't fake a captured moment. But sometimes, when everything is right - the lighting, the subject, and the idea - you can really be a part of something profound. My friend is a loner, a quiet artistic spirit these days. These pictures are just a glimpse into his mind, an idea that most of us can only pretend to comprehend. I was just proud to be a part of that day, to capture something no one could ever re-create. Thanks C for letting us capture "Eugenic" for you! Be sure to head over to the 'People' gallery in my photography menu, to check out all of the shots from this project.
Most of you that know me, also know that that my Dad was my world. He was not only of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, he was kind, funny, and would give anything to make those around him smile. A few years before he passed away, my dad became the proud mother of a duck, we fondly named, Mr. Quackers. Behind the house my parents lived in, a duck had laid eggs. In the springtime, you would see the little hatchlings follow their mom to the lake and jump in a few days after they hatched. This particular spring, one of the little guys was left behind. He may have just hatched late, but by the time he did, his siblings and mom had gone. My dad was doing yard work, and heard the little thing making noise in the bushes. He helped it out of its nest - and the duckling thought its mother had finally come back for it. Mr. Quackers followed my dad around the next few days, waddling behind him as if he was mom. My dad fed the little guy, made him an enclosed walking area to protect him from the dogs in the yard, and would even carry him in his shirt pocket to keep him warm. If you didn't know my dad, he seemed a bit frightening at first. His thick accent, and his dry sense of humor, would make anyone that just met him a bit intimidated. But here was this tough man, playing mom to a poor defenseless little duck. Apparently, Mr. Quackers was sick.... or one of the dogs got a hold of him one day. I don't think my dad had the heart to tell me the truth, but he was gone. Although our time with the little guy wasn't long, the memories of a little duck waddling behind my dad to his each step will always be something that makes me smile. I love this picture; it perfectly represents who my dad was. His calloused hands, from working on machines as a tool and die maker – holding this little defensless guy, who trusted him as if he was his mother.
When out shooting pictures a few weeks ago, I had made a random stop to see some friends loading equipment out from a show the night before at a local club. There wasn't much in the way of taking pictures in that moment, the area was pretty bland, and the back of the bar was dingy and dark. The only thing that really caught my eye was the color of the floor leading out into the back alley. So I just snapped a quick picture from an interesting perspective. I didn't think much of this until I went to process the pictures I took later that day. I found it was actually one of my favorites from that day of shooting. What a bland, and gross area - something people would never pay attention to, but it was still so beautiful, especially that dark green color. I guess this picture in a lot of ways, represents what most everything in our daily lives appears to be. People always forget to look for the fine details, or the beautiful things within their lives, and the people around them. That's how people and things are taken for granted. Getting back into photography has reminded me of the importance of enjoying the details. Someone said to me the other day - 'It's amazing how life and things can change just within a few months'. It never really dawned on me how true that is. When we go through the daily motions, and work towards or goals - we tend to forget sometimes even about the 'green floor' in both ourselves and our lives. It's great to find self worth again, and to find the beauty even in the mundane, like the chipped up tile floor in the back of a bar.
What a great weekend for pictures! I was excited that we finally had snow on the ground, and that I got to take the equipment out once again to do some work. I am working on a series of photos of amazing people, and this weekend was my first in the project. The lighting was great, the day was beautiful, and I was in great company. Thanks Catherine for being my subject. You're a truly beautiful person, inside and out. Look for more in this series soon! I will eventually bring it together in one big art project. Hope everyone had a great weekend!