I had a great assignment from Seattle Weekly earlier this month to photograph Cary Moon, an activist and urban designer who opposes continued development of the Bertha tunnel project. For those not living in Seattle, the waterfront highway a.k.a the Highway 99 Viaduct, is being torn down and replaced with a tunnel. The project has been plagued with problems and delays, some technical, some bureaucratic — all expensive. Check out the story for a much more thorough peek into why this divisive issue matters so much. We battled the wind on top of Pier 86 in downtown for a view of the skyline and then moved to under the viaduct for another view of the city.
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It’s not every day that you get to see and hear a piece of history. Make that pieces. I got an assignment last week from KUOW to photograph Charles Corey, the 30-year-old caretaker of the Harry Partch instruments collection at the University of Washington School of Music. In a fun story by Marcie Sillman you can actually hear the renowned, intricate instruments. Partch created the instruments between the 1940s and 1970s, and they are based on the Just Intonation scale, not anything like what we are used to hearing from traditional instruments. You can find some really intense theatrical productions of Partch’s arrangements on Youtube too that help put his life’s work in context. He wasn’t just a composer and musician, he was also a playwright and auteur.
My first assignment for Seattle Weekly was this cover shoot for a sensitive story about Alison Holcomb and Gregg Holcomb’s unique histories. Alison was the writer and public face of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 here in Washington. Her husband Gregg is the owner of the Capitol Hill bar Witness. Her story as a drug law reformer and activist for criminal sentencing reform intertwine with her husband’s tragic reality. His father was murdered. He is alone among his siblings in calling for rehabilitation for the murderer, and not a life sentence. There is so much more to this powerful story by Nina Shapiro, please give it a read.
I had a great opportunity earlier this Fall to shoot a story on Seattle’s coffee and chocolate culture for a Dutch travel/coffee/chocolate magazine called Koffietcacao. Over two long days, I had a blast exploring some of the city’s favorite shops, while also gathering images that spoke to the lifestyle in our city and captured a few scenic sights along the way. My mind raced after each day, it was impossible not to sample coffee at nearly every place I went. Have you ever had six cups of coffee in a day? I did it for….journalism. All in all, the publication ran my photos across six pages and even gave me a doubletruck opener! What more can a photographer ask for than a great assignment and great play?
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This spring has kept me hopping and shooting a lot of new editorial and commercial assignments. I can’t share them all yet, but one came in late last month (for the first time ever via LinkedIn) to photograph Bill Gates being interviewed for a large Italian newspaper called La Stampa. The paper is launching a new series about global issues and the wide-ranging interview covered a lot of ground. I was allowed to shoot the first and last five minutes of the interview, for which La Stampa Editor-in-Chief Mario Calabresi flew in from Turin. It was a little surreal to be inside Bill’s office at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and hear him speaking about everything from who his heroes are to what lies ahead for the newspaper industry. I did my best to be low-key and inconspicuous as I moved around and tried out different angles. Bill never acknowledged me, but I suspect he is very used to this kind of thing. At one point I was trying to line up a shot from his profile side and almost sat down in his chair — I caught myself and thought better of it. It was one of those crazy days planned for a week and all over in a matter of minutes, I am just happy to see it ran in print today.
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In April, I did a shoot about the turnaround at Brooks Running company for Footwear News, a Condé Nast trade publication dealing with the footwear industry. The story is about how after 100 years in business, Brooks CEO Jim Weber has managed to overhaul the company from the brink of bankruptcy into a company that sold a half billion dollars in products last year. It was no easy feat. It required dumping entire product lines, launching new ones, and hiring executives from visionary brands to come work in new divisions at Brooks. Over what became a very long day, I photographed Brooks CEO Jim Weber, as well as Shane Downey, head of the new heritage line, Pete Humphrey and Eric Rohr in the Brooks Running testing lab in the Eastlake neighborhood, and several other employees for a lookback quote section about their experiences and memories at Brooks. The magazine cover story published last month and I am excited to share the tear sheets! It’s always a sweet assignment when I get the chance to photograph and meet people who do interesting work in interesting places.
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“I know accounting may sound boring,” Harkley said, “But a business can’t operate and serve patients unless it’s making money to pay the operating bills… I realized that I could use my accounting skills to help these businesses succeed. If they succeed here in Washington, then it’s a model for the rest of the country and it’s also another “chink in the armor” of the drug war. I think that’s what has got me really excited, because I can do what I love and at the same time I can actually help some really interesting entrepreneurs. You can’t serve patients or recreational customers efficiently unless you’re following all the guidelines, so give me all your boring stuff and I’ll do it so you can focus on more important things.”
Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert & City of Seattle Director of Electronic Communications Sabra Schneider for Cityvision Magazine | Seattle editorial photographer
I had the pleasure last month of shooting a couple assignments for Cityvision Magazine’s Feb. 2014 issue. The theme is how local governments are putting more data online in a move towards more openness and community building.
The first shoot took place at Arlington Municipal Airport to help convey how Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert is an amateur pilot (fun fact: that’s her plane and she flew herself in for the shoot after having lunch on Whidbey Island with friends). My friend and fellow shooter Chris Wilson gave me a hand setting up a few lights on the tarmac, which I got to drive onto! Felt a little bit like North by Northwest as I drove in between planes…I guess I can check that one off the bucket list. We also shot back at City Hall for a few more options for the editors.
The next week, another assignment for the same issue came through and I photographed City of Seattle Director of Electronic Communications Sabra Schneider at her offices overlooking downtown Seattle. Sabra and her team are working to find more ways to put more data online, so that city residents can access the data that is publicly available to them. It’s an interesting new time for the city and I think it’s great that they are embracing new mediums to keep transparency on the up and up.
Tip of the hat to my friend Kai-Huei Yau who shot a story in Walla Walla as part of the same issue on page 16.
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Well, about 700,000 of the Seahawk’s closest friends jammed into downtown Seattle and the stadium district to get a glimpse at their favorite players and coaches rolling by in today’s Super Bowl Victory Parade. The weather hovered in the mid-20s for most of the morning, though sunshine was a welcome respite by the time the parade began. The cheering crowds who endured the weather and wait were screaming their hearts out, and it just felt like an amazing moment for everyone in the city to come together and witness this historic day. Go Hawks!
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The streets of Seattle are filled with confetti and shouting tonight as the Seahawks bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy! Their incredible season was capped off by an absurdly effective offensive and defensive plan. What a game. I tried to catch some of the fray in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, where the cheering of Sea….was always met by a resounding HAAAAWKS. What a season and what a night!