Sam's bar mitzvah celebration is this year so we took some photos for him and his family to have. It started off as a headshot session but then I realized how good Sam was in front of the camera so I couldn't help but let him do his thing.
I had the wonderful opportunity to shoot my first senior portrait session on Meredith College's campus recently.
Congratulations to Carson Clark on her graduation from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C.!
I had the pleasure to spend time and make art with the Carlyle family in Raleigh, N.C.
It was a beautiful session and the youthful vibes made it so much fun!
This was such a special shoot. Holly and Kevin are the parents of Max who I taught for 4 years at an art school in Durham. Holly contacted me about doing the very first couples shoot of her and her husband Kevin. After a ton of re-scheduling, we finally did it!
Wayne and Melissa have a really special connection and passion. For this shoot I challenged myself, Wayne, and Melissa with an urban settings that is usually challenging but on this particular occasion it didn't feel that way because of Wayne and Melissa's natural, authentic connection.
I'm not sure if Kristen Hill of Kristen Abigail Collective knows how much of my musician work was influenced by her musician work. She's shot the likes of Ryan Adams, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Mat Kearney, Gregory Alan Isakov and too many more to name. I even remember emailing her and asking how she was shooting all of these big names. Her answer: "I hustle".
Since then I put her "hustle" into practice and have ventured into the musician portrait photography genre a bit. It's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life getting the shoot Stelth Ulvang (of The Lumineers), Ben Sollee, Griffin House, Nappy Roots, Laura Ballance and many more!
If you're interesting in getting into the music industry or need promo for you band then contact her at email@example.com
Here's some photos from the portrait shoot I did with her in downtown Raleigh.
I met Raheem (aka Defacto Thezpian) at a holiday party. We talked. I shared my stories (and tequila) of doing photography with musicians and how Stelth Ulvang played Outcast songs in my classroom..."cause the whole world loves it when you make that sound..bah bah..bah bah bah bah" was what would've heard if you were there.
Afterwards we exchanged contact info and set up a photo shoot in Durham, NC.
It's always an adventure and pleasure to work with positive, artistic humans. Here are the photos from the shoot.
I had the pleasure of shooting senior portraits with Max, one of my long time students, in Durham, NC a few weeks ago. He's pretty interesting and has tons of potential as an artist. Check him out here.
I listened to Nappy Roots when I was in high school. My favorite beat was the collaboration of "Awnaw" with P.O.D's Marcus. It was nostalgic to be able to shoot portraits of them in Durham, NC at The Pinhook this week.
After they warmed up to me a bit we had a great shoot. I also got to connect with Drew Yager of CMK Productions. He's been with Nappy Roots for 4 years. You can see him in the photos below.
Someone else you might not know is Blake German. He is the tour DJ and producer for Nappy Roots new album "The 40 AKERZ PROJECT". I was able to grab him on his way out the door.
You can get Nappy Roots new album on iTunes here.
Blake plays for numerous bands but his favorite is Spirits of the Red City. You can see Blake playing here with them on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert entry that the band submitted.
I got to spend some time with Blake before and after shooting musician portraits of him at Full Steam Brewery in Durham, NC.
5 things I learned from spending time with Blake:
1. He was the valedictorian of his college.
2. He works with pre-k students
3. He is funny, passionate and extremely intelligent.
4. He started his music career by playing on the street
5. He won't stop smiling.
My goal for Blake was to portray him by seamlessly meshing my urban portrait photography style with his free, deep and fun-loving spirit.
This shoot took about 3 minutes and I did it in the front room of Full Steam Brewery in Durham, NC.
Here is some urban portrait photography during the recent snow in my darling town of Durham, NC.
Last month I was encouraged by some local talent. Candice Torian.
Candice is launching a startup that helps folks that are new to the Triangle transition to our area smoothly. It's called the "The Newbee Network".
As an unostentatious, low-born portrait photographer it's fairly difficult to get people to your actual website due to low SEO rankings, lack of popularity and the simple fact that I'm pretty new at all this.
One of my goals is to have my "audience size" and "page visits" increase from month-to-month.
I've met this goal for the past 5 months.
Sometimes though, I post portraits on social networks that never get to my website therefore those of you who follow my blog faithfully don't get to enjoy them.
So in an attempt to address these important issues I'm going to try and create a post like this once a week.
Let me know you're out there. Leave a comment please!
If you missed my last blog post on how much I freaking hate the holidays along with some art. Click here.
One of my favorite families to shoot. The Turner's!
Last year I got to do a portrait session with my good friend Austin Trotman.
Austin and I wrestled together during our undergraduate campaigns at Appalachian State University.
In 2012, Austin defeated the #1, #2 and #3 nationally ranked wrestlers at the NCAA D1 wrestling tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.
During my graduate program at Appalachian State University I chose him my subject for a year long documentary project I did.
This was by far the most extensive project that I have done with the exception of my self portrait project. I remember struggling through the processes of creating a documentary as well as knowing nothing about video, editing, lighting or story-telling.
I also remember the feeling of finishing the video, sharing it and seeing the huge impact it had on the community of "wrestling".
I had no idea that Austin's story (or the way I told it) would create an emotional reaction like it did in people.
To this day when I am at wrestling events I meet people who thank me for making this piece. At the time I thought it was because of my "amazing documentary video skills".
Not so (as you will see when you watch it).
It was actually because it gave people a small amount of hope.
LESSON LEARNED: My inability to make perfect art is not important. It's how humans react to it that is important.
This past week I took a break from other folks and turned the camera on myself with another self portrait photo shoot.
I shot these at 930am-1030am and positioned my screen to create the interesting angle of the sunlight coming through the window. Honestly I didn't plan this. It just happened.
Shot with 50mm lens at 1.2 . Edited with VSCO FILM 06. Mostly Porta.
Please leave a comment below on which one is your favorite!
I approached this gentleman in Durham, NC and asked him if I could take his portrait. He was leaning against a back alley way watching the pedestrians stroll by. He seemed disconnected. I also felt somewhat disconnected and out of place because I wasn't really interacting with the subjects that I was taking portraits of.
After I asked him if I could take his portrait, he began to tear up and proceeded to tell me that he moved to Durham after Hurricane Katrina. He told me he lost everything. I was initially confused as to why he was telling me this but I quickly understood that he was simply recognizing the connection that had happened by me approaching him and he was moved enough to tell me the story that he recollects the most.
LESSON LEARNED: Don't just take portraits. Get the story then take the portrait. In post-processing I was able to choose the portrait that seemed to communicate the man's story most effectively because we had a short conversation before I took the portrait.
We all have struggles. We all wish things were different sometimes.
The thing that makes us special is our passion to connect with others. The goal with all of my portraits is to somehow connect human beings.
Here's the problem though.
I use photography to disconnect myself from others sometimes. It's very easy to be the "the guy with the camera" and not have to talk to anyone. I often use photography to create a barrier between myself and social situations. As someone who continually struggles to keep my emotions "under control" this is difficult especially as a photographer.
This is my biggest struggle with photography.
The interesting thing is that since I have been shooting more portraits of people, my ability to connect to others has increased. I am able to talk to others with less anxiety. I can give an authentic smile to someone and I can leave a shoot with a sense of fullness having met my goal of not only connecting other humans, but also connecting myself.
LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes the thing we are scared of the most is actually the thing we need the most.