Sunday, December 28, 2008

Developing story

The Sunday New York Times is the latest to stop for a second and say, "Hey, this cool thing is about to go away, won't you miss it?" with a look at the coming end of Polaroid film. The piece contains some nice insight on Walker Evans' and Andy Warhol's use of the cameras. Read all about it, here.

Photo: Molly Jasper with balloon

Buenos Aires, 2008

We spent a week in Buenos Aires before Christmas. It's hard to capture the flavor of a city with 14 million people living in it in just one week. But I concentrated on my usual suspects and subjects -- the people I was traveling with enjoying themselves, local monuments and architecture, street scenery and assorted modes of transportation. The city had a Paris/Rome/New York vibe with a little Mexico grit to hold it all together. Check out the whole big set over on flickr, as usual.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America the beautiful

There's no understating how happy I am and how happy many of the people I call friends are today. Barack Obama is the next president of the United States. Cheers to everyone who worked their asses off for this, everyone who hoped and everyone who voted.

Photo: Michal Czerwonka / Getty Images

Sunday, October 26, 2008

They get my vote

I've looked at a lot of political material during this very long election season. And with just days left until the exciting climax, I wanted to point you toward a visual blog that I've come to love. Bagnewsnotes describes itself as "a progressive blog dedicated to visual politics, the analysis of news images and the support of 'concerned' photojournalism." What's not to love about that?

Photo: Callie Shell / Aurora for TIME

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Teach a man to fish ...

I just spent a few days up on British Columbia's Vancouver Island. We were in a town called Tahsis, to be exact, and Tahsis had the distinction of being a mill town which no longer had a mill (or many people) in it. This made for a pretty depressing little locale, but thankfully it was plopped on a gorgeous inlet of water surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of snowy, tree-lined peaks.

I went to Tahsis with friends to fish for salmon. It'd been a while since I'd gone anywhere specifically with the intent of fishing. As a kid I fished every weekend on the Finger Lakes of New York State for bass and pike and little perch and more. I'd done some salt water fishing in Ocean City, Md., during summer vacations. But spending a couple days on a boat with bait in the water nowadays wasn't something I longed to do -- until this weekend.

What does this all mean photographically? Well, I took pictures of course. Specifically I took pictures of dead fish. I didn't really think twice about it when taking the pictures on the boat and on the dock, I was just trying to document the catch, which included 8 salmon and 1 large halibut. Looking at the pictures now, I still see them as more beautiful than ... sadistic. I mean, there is the blood and guts of a living creature that I killed. But there's no waste going on here, the fish is all being happily consumed by us.

I've never hunted and I wonder whether I would do the same thing with say, a deer. There's so much luck and chance involved I imagine I would be caught up in the thrill of making a kill and would want to document it. But it feels so different in my mind, and I can watch a fishing show on TV but always change the channel when I see hunters going after big game.

Anyway, lots more pics from beautiful B.C. and the bountiful Pacific over at flickr.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sea what i mean?

I like how this photo of Traci taking a picture at the Monterey Bay Aquarium serves a couple different purposes, in my mind, photographically speaking.

First of all, those jellyfish there are easily the most photographed exhibit at the world class aquarium. It'd be hard for the biggest photo numbskull to miss in that room of glowing blue and orange. Perhaps that's why I wanted to miss, sort of. I'd already shot the jellies on a previous visit to Monterey, and on this day I watched as dozens of people moved in front of the glass to capture the same moment - suspended orange spacelike creature floats against blue background. Oooooh. Click. Click. Click. I think when Traci raised her own camera in front of me I came to the realization that capturing the moment meant capturing someone capturing the cliched moment. Especially when you take into consideration my second point.

You can't go hardly anywhere these days and find a tourist shooting film. It's done. With the rare exception of photo buffs on vacation, what you get is folks staring at LCD screens in front of monuments, mountains, vistas, jellyfish ... you name it. I'm not saying that's all horrible. Look at my stuff - it stopped being (all) captured on film several years ago. Digital is easier, cheaper, quicker, etc., so when I shoot film these days it's out of respect for the novelty and the beauty of the process. But I can't do it all the time.

I guess I just like how this pic sorta sums up this moment in our hyper-digital age. Maybe I'll make a series. It won't be hard to find the subject matter on our next trip.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Life on film

I was struck this week by a couple of different Web sites pointing to the work of two photographers who did a remarkable job chronicling a subject over an extended period.

The site Very Short List shines a light on photographer Jack Radcliffe and his portfolio documenting the life of his daughter Alison, from infancy to adulthood. The black and white photos are beautiful as they capture the many phases of Alison's life. "I wanted to photograph her in all her extremes," Radcliffe writes in his introduction, “and to be part of these times in her life without judging or censoring.” See the work here.

The blog Mental Floss shares the story of Jamie Livingston, a New York man who took a Polaroid every day for 18 years, from March 31, 1979 through October 25, 1997. Livingston captures his friends, himself and his life up until his 41st birthday -- the day he died. Here's a link to the site where all the photos live. They're not remarkable images technically speaking, but it's very moving to look through all the months over all those years and see the progression, from the mundane to the monumentally sad.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sunny dispositions

I liked these two photos from downtown Seattle this weekend. I've decided that if I ever get up the nerve to take portraits of strangers, I want to do it at downtown bus stops. The greatest cast of characters assemble at the bus stops. All have a unique story, I imagine, about why they were downtown and where they're headed on the bus. The lady in red was just standing there waiting with a bunch of other people. I was able to isolate her in the frame, which I like. And I think the perspective, with the grimy black wall, makes her look small and gives the photo a downtown feel.

The person with the blankets, who I think was a woman, was seated (passed out?) on a little ledge on another street downtown. It was a gorgeous day and there were lots of teenagers wandering around down there in shorts and t-shirts. This woman was wearing a hooded coat, and she had her legs covered with what appeared to be the softest of pink blankets. It seemed a perfect contrast to the harshness of being on the street.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Irish cheer

I like this portrait of my friend Chris, with a Jameson in hand, at Hazlewood in Ballard. Chris is a friendly guy from Chicago and he'll be leaving Seattle later this year to move back to the Windy City and root for his beloved Bears. I'll miss giving him shit about politics, religion, the Seahawks and his consumption of too much tequilla. Here's to your future happiness, Chris.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Steve and Erin hitched

Good pals Steve and Erin decided, after 8 and half years together, that getting married would be a good idea. So they gathered family and friends and an entertaining "minister" down in the Columbia City section of Seattle on March 29. You've seen this drill from me before ... a few ceremony shots and a lot of dancing. Kind and beautiful people all assembled and full of love - what the hell is better than that? More shots over here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A year ago today

Henry turns 1 today. Here he is at the hospital on March 14, 2007, moments after his arrival into this world. I guess it feels like the time flew by, but then again, it's been a pretty long year of less-than-adequate sleep. He does things every day that make us smile. And he's great fun to photograph. Here's to all the good times ahead, Henry. Happy birthday, boy!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Love of photobooths

The New York Times has a story on the history of photobooths, one of my all-time favorite inventions. The story includes a video, interactive and walking tour. Check it out on the Times' site and check out some of my photobooth adventures from over the years.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March in Mexico

Hola. Just spent a week down in Sayulita, Mexico, on the Pacific coast. Perfect weather made for perfect morning and afternoon color. Everything seemed to glow, it would have been impossible to turn the car around and shoot everything I saw worth shooting. Obviously there was some amazing beach scenery, but there's something very beautiful and humbling about the poverty evident in many of the things that caught my eye. So different from a day spent in glitzy downtown Seattle. Here's a small sampling and, as always, go to flickr for many more.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Giant Polaroids

It's been a while since I hung any photos anywhere. That changed last Saturday when I finally put up six great big "Polaroids" at Babalouise, a barber shop (hair salon?) on 65th in Ballard over near the Tin Hat. The prints are scanned Polaroids that I shot over the years in various places - there's one from Santa Cruz, Calif., one from Tacoma, one from Las Vegas, etc. I had them printed at Kinko's on pretty nice paper and they measure about 27" wide by 30" deep. I then had them mounted on foam core at a frame place in Ballard so they have a nice rigidity to them. They look pretty sweet and by the middle of this week I'd sold 7 of them - meaning I'm making multiple prints of some. Availability will eventually be cut off. Perhaps at 25 or so. I'm willing to make one of these prints from any of the Polaroids I have, and you can view them here on flickr. Drop me a line at if you have any questions. Or go get your hair done and check them out in person.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cheers and tears

Twelve hours separates these photos, both with strong ties to Seattle's historic Rainier beer. On Friday night, three cans of Rainier were raised by Paul, John and Mike for a toast at Greenwood's Baranoff tavern. The old dive bar is hardly as divey as it used to be, what with the smoking ban and fewer and fewer salty old patrons. But it was fun to drink with good friends. Cheers!

Saturday morning marked the beginning of the end for part of Rainier's historic brewery operations in Georgetown. The Rainier Cold Storage building, a huge, beautiful, brick "freezer" started to fall to make way for who knows what exactly. I heard a bystander say the bricks were made from the earth pulled down off the Denny Regrade. Hmm. That's old. Georgetowners didn't look too pleased as a huge part of their neighborhood began to crumble onto Airport Way. Another Seattle landmark bites the dust. Tears!