Way back last spring I photographed Mod Pizza CEO Scott Svenson and his wife Ally Svenson at one of their Seattle locations of the wildly successful Mod Pizza chain. The shoot was just published (my first of the year!) on the latest cover of Franchise Times. Beth Ewen’s great piece details how Mod Pizza is willing to take a chance and provide meaningful employment to people from difficult backgrounds, encouraging loyalty and fostering a healthy workplace. I had a short amount of time to make multiple portrait options for a potential cover, inside opener, and a planned set of pages inside. Fortunately, Scott and Ally were super nice and easy to work with. So were their ace employees, who helped showcase this important story!
A few favorites from a personal shoot photographing soccer fans at a rally celebrating the Seattle Sounders’ victory in the MLS Cup on a freezing December day.
Way back in August I had the great pleasure of photographing a section for the Seattle Weekly Voracious Food Guide profiling three different brewery owners known for their hard work and excellent craft beers. I photographed Tommy Ortega at his Ravenna Brewing, Manny Chao at Georgetown Brewing Company and Adam Robbings at Reuben’s Brews (blocks from my house!) It was so cool to step into these guys’ world and hear how they got their start – I had a personal interest as a beer lover and fellow small business owner. Compared to most of my assignments, these were wonderfully slow shoots. Me and the owners and a couple beverages, trying out ideas, hanging out and making pictures.
It’s been a busy month! I photographed Brighton Jones CEO Jon Jones for the cover of Financial Advisor magazine! I had not worked for them in probably two years (and under a different editor) so it was great to get this call in early August to shoot the September cover. They also ran a photo in table of contents and a doubletruck two-page opener! Jon told me about how emotional intelligence drives the policies and actions of the company, it was enlightening and moving. They are very good at their work! It is always cool when you can actually connect on an assignment. His positive attitude and easy demeanor made the shoot a total breeze. Many thanks to the creative team for their support and commission and @Iancbates for help on-site!
A statue depicting Donald Trump appeared overnight at the corner of 11th and Pike in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood Thursday August 18, 2016. I was free that day and decided to make the drive over and take some portraits of Mr. Trump, figuring it would not be up there for long. Uniformed SDOT crew took a look and snapped their own photos quickly. A few wondered if they were going to take it down. Seattle Police drove by with smiles but used their intercom to tell people to get out of the street. All kinds of people and vehicles stopped to gawk. Most seized the opportunity to take pictures of and with the statue until about 4:30 pm, when the art was dramatically removed by men pulling over in a truck, taking the piece for purported safe-keeping and installation elsewhere out of traffic.
It was great to work with Cultured Magazine to illustrate a story profiling Winston-Wachter Fine Art Owner Stacey Winston-Levitan for their Summer 2016 issue. The photoshoot was originally for a cool new client, Discover South Lake Union, which sent me out to photograph a range of business owners and cool people working in the area. My thanks to Stacey for being so cool and welcoming as I took over her beautiful gallery space for an hour back in April. Check out the fun story by Maxwell Williams
This Summer has been filled with lots of interesting yet-to-be-released projects, so please stay tuned!
Photographed @snoopdogg for @nwleaf back in April and it was one of the craziest shoots of my career. Asked for 1 minute and got 39 seconds – did two setups and managed 23 photos. Arrived two hours early and up until I had Snoop in front of my camera wasn’t entirely sure it would actually happen 🙂 Big thanks to Will and Ryan for making that possible! Snoop was friendly but quiet, and flashed a bunch of poses at me without talking. I asked him to look up toward my light in one – and then his manager said alright lets go. Such a quick encounter as these tend to be.
Afterward, Snoop was posing for photos and signing autographs for fans at @haveaheartrec_ – I had a kind of crazy idea to light Snoop while he was posing with other people and got the go ahead to keep shooting. I convinced my assistant @taylorfeistphoto to jump in and hold up a piece of black seamless behind Snoop for a couple of seconds at a time. Taylor convinced his security guards. It was working! But just as soon, the legend had to take off. One of those shoots you prepare hours for and its over in a puff of smoke.
Thanks for looking!
On May 5th, the Donald Trump campaign announced they would be visiting the Northwest for two stops on May 7th: one all the way in Eastern Washington, and the other all the way in Lynden. I decided to head up to Lynden at the crack of dawn for the two-hour drive and make portraits of attendees and supporters as a personal project. When I arrived six hours before the rally, there were at least 200 people already in line, stretching down the street outside the Northwest Washington Fairgrounds. Pushing around a beauty dish on a rolling lightstand, I stopped to ask people to make their picture, while others would flag me down and ask what I was up to. I got lots of questions about who I was working for, where I lived, and what did I personally believe? Still, everyone was very accommodating and it was exciting to see the energy in the area even as supporters endured long lines and hours in the sun (fyi, I’m still sunburnt). It was a fun and historic day to document – the little town of Lynden will probably never entertain another presidential candidate, as many supporters noted.
Since I did not have press credentials, I was unable to bring my lighting or large digital SLR into the rally – and believe me, I tried 🙂 Ahead of time, I obtained a free ticket into the event. I packed up my gear and retrieved the small Samsung NX500 point and shoot that I keep in my glovebox. I was able to bring that in fortunately and document the actual rally. As people waited and took selfies with friends, organizers played a handful of songs over and over. “Can’t always get what you want” by the Rolling Stones certainly seemed like an odd choice.
Got approached to do a cool shoot for my longtime client, Cityvision, last month, focusing on the innovative efforts of Everett to combat the issue of homelessness.
By opening new shelters and affordable housing, and stopping the revolving doors of the criminal justice system, Everett is finally doing something productive on the matter.
The magazine’s art director had coordinated access to do the shoot on top of the Wall Street Building in downtown Everett. In my naivety I thought, ok, we’ll get to the highest floor, pop out a roof hatch, and be shooting in no time.
photo by matt mills mcknight
But when we got to the 10th floor, the PR person let us know we went on foot from there. We emerged on a sub level of the roof, surrounded by a 6-foot-tall parapet. I couldn’t understand why we would do the shoot there — you couldn’t see anything. Then he pointed to the ladder. Did I mention I hate heights?
My assistant, Matt Mills McKnight, and I worked out a plan to get the lighting gear up to the actual roof. We packed two heads into the beauty dish case, which I put onto my back. Matt carried my camera bag. Then we held on for dear life. The most impressive part though is that all three of our subjects were game to participate and climb too. What troupers! If nothing else, this job makes for some very interesting bar stories. Many thanks to City of Everett Lead Prosecutor Hil Kaman, Deputy City Attorney David Hall, and Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.