Had an assignment last month to photograph two stories on city redevelopment projects for Cityvision Magazine. The first shoot was a last-minute one on Auburn, Washington’s efforts to redevelop unused commercial spaces into art galleries. A sweet idea, especially when you have art like Julia Haack’s to fill the rooms. They looked great from the street, too. Wish we could have had more sunshine to really make the art pop but alas, it was a gusty overcast day. You can tell the wind is blowing if you look at her hair, but all things considered, I was happy with the way the shoot went down. And we did it in under the time allotted which is always great!
I was very pleased with tearsheets that came from these shoots! This was one of my first full-page magazine portraits, so that’s pretty special. The second shoot was way north in Mount Vernon, Wash., to photograph Mayor Jill Boudreau and Public Works Director Esco Bell. The city is redeveloping the promenade into a cool multiuse commercial space and making the waterfront a more attractive place for the community to hang out. I liked the view of the bridge and Skagit River — not everyday you get to have those in an environmental portrait.
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Sometimes when you hear about an event, you don’t care if you cover it for any particular news outlet — you just know you have to cover it! This was definitely the case for the 16th annual Dead Baby Downhill. I learned it was going down a few hours in advance from a friend’s Facebook post, and I just couldn’t let myself miss it again this year. I arrived well before the race start time of 7 p.m. to try and get a grasp of how the shenanigans would go down. Everyone seemed to know one another and it was quite a raucous event, what with most people sipping from beer cans barely concealed on the sidewalk. I love that Seattle hosts so many of these crazy meetups because it is a chance to catch people with their guard down, when they are truly enjoying themselves. The hardest events to cover are ones where nobody wants you there! Luckily, everyone was having a great time and I hope these images captured the convivial atmosphere.
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As sun light bathed the field intermittently, the E-W Warriors started the game off with a barrage of hits and RBIs. Arlington played catch up later in the afternoon, and appeared to struggle against E-W pitcher Ryan Budnick — who pitched a complete game. At the plate, Budnick hit 2 for 3 — including 4 RBIs. I covered Edmond-Woodway’s 6-1 victory at home over Arlington High in the 4A District 1 tournament for the Everett Daily Herald, and their weekly sister paper.
The game started after an hour-long delay, caused by mandatory across-the-league start times in rainy weather. That afforded me ample opportunity to hang out with the players as they relaxed and killed time. I ended up splitting my time between both team’s dugouts, but liked my take from the Edmonds side a bit more.
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I went down to check out Emerald City Comic Con on Saturday for a fun and exciting self-assignment. It was the chance to explore on my own time and make some different kinds of portraits of the great costumed attendees. Initially, I set up a small studio in the corner of the main lobby of the exhibition area, but decided to try something new. For a few hours, I roamed around with an Alien Bee, Vagabond Mini Lithium battery pack and 46″ Photek Softlighter II on a light stand with the legs folded up. Despite negotiating the large setup through a crowded environment, my biggest challenge was just making natural pictures. Everyone, understandably, wanted to give me their best pose — something usually that they have just done for ten other people — and that couldn’t be farther from what I sought to shoot.
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I got the call from Josh at Brooklyn, NY-based Project Energy Savers to shoot a really neat two-day assignment for the U.S. Department of Energy. My images will be archived for years to come by the D.o.E, to document how labor crews retrofitted homes with greener technology. Among the changes: new insulation, lead removal, new fan systems, carbon monoxide detectors, water heaters and furnaces. I was really thankful that the home owners let me into their lives as contractors took over every inch of their space. Oh, and the job came through my page at SportsShooter.com — I am a big fan of what those guys do!
These images and more are available in my archive.
Click more for outtakes from this neat shoot! (more…)
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I photographed Seattle Hempfest 2010 this weekend, on the Seattle waterfront. Seattle Hempfest, August 21-22, 2010. The medical marijuana, hemp education, and marijuana reform ‘protestival’ is the largest of its kind in the world. Some 200,000 people attended each day of the event.
More Seattle Hempfest 2010 photos are available in my archive at: http://seattlephotographer.photoshelter.com/gallery/Seattle-Hempfest-2010/G0000KTIIcDonPTk
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When I was first starting out in photography, the late Phil Webber, a photographer of nearly fifty years at The Seattle PI, imparted some invaluable advice to me. He told me to always shoot pictures for myself, even if they might never see the light of day in print. He thought this was critical to growing as a shooter, and I heartily agree more than five years later.
Personal assignments like the Seahawks fans portraits, Bellingham ComicCon portraits, The Seattle Elvis Invitational, Bhangra Bash UW, and my work photographing Seattle Tent City 3 have kept my shooting fresh and inspired. Even without an end client, shoots I have done just for me have been some of the most fulfilling and satisfying ones all year. As a freelance photographer, I am always working hard to meet the needs of my clients. But the photos I like to make, or try to make, might not fit for their needs — so, I shoot for me. With that said, here is some of my favorite personal work: images that I made on assignment for me, or while shooting for my portfolio.
I love making portraits. What could be more exciting and challenging than to meet a person for the first time, and in a short while try and make a picture of them that encompasses both who they are and why they are. It’s a constant give and take between photographer and subject, and I love it. Sometimes people step in front of the camera and they just own it — they’ve done it before — and they enjoy doing it. Others require more coaxing, and those are the shoots that push you as a journalist and a portrait photographer. This past year I have shot a lot of portraits outside of the confines of a traditional assignment. I went to events and photographed complete strangers, like at a Seahawks game, and at the Seattle Tattoo Expo. On those kinds of shoots, I have to trust my instincts and highlight what drew me to photograph them in the first place, in lieu of a backstory to illustrate. Those shoots are almost the opposite of most of my magazine and newspaper portrait assignments where I have the luxury of time to research my subjects. This year I have made the greatest number of portraits, and I hope to continue that trend in the new year.