Tag Archives: photographers

Brooks Institute grad review – new talent

Brooks Institute is one of the top photography schools in the country. I’m fortunate to live in the same town and see the growing talent of some of the students. Last week I sat in on “grad reviews” of half a dozen students who were almost out the door; in fact this is the last step in the process. Bill Robbins, Chair of the Professional Photography program and a top advertising photographer for decades, asked me to join himself, faculty Paul Meyer and a career counselor in the final 45 minute review of the emerging photographer’s portfolio and plans.

It’s a tough field, you need talent and tenacity to succeed. But there were some students who definitely inspired me with their work.  Here is a sampling of photographs from Benjo Arwas, Grace Kathryn, Maxwell Frank, and Augusta Sagnelli. I was fascinated with the talent and volume of work from Benjo, perhaps it was the discipline from five years as a combat officer with the Israeli Defense Forces but considering he first picked up a camera just over three years ago I’m simply astounded.  We went well beyond 45 minutes looking through 3 volumes of portfolio books, one of them reminds me of Peter Beard’s african journals with it’s collages of notes and polaroids. Seeing the work, Jigisha (formerly of TBWA\Chiat\Day) arranged for those polaroids to exhibit inside their cavernous lobby in LA. Good stuff.  Congrats to all.

BENJO ARWAS:www.benjoarwas.comwww.benjoarwas.comBenjo Arwas 4

GRACE KATHRYN:Grace_Kathryn_D3GK_20130407_079_E1Grace_Kathryn_D2

MAXWELL FRANK:Maxwell_Frank_120624_02 l

AUGUSTA SAGNELLI:1045ab47a3d55eac-sagnelli_website_story25 5308b1e4d1b20dce-sagnelli_website_story34

water water everywhere

The last time I shot Logan Mock Bunting was ON the water in Maine at Lake Sebago

So when awesome photographer Logan told me he was on his way west from North Carolina for the wedding of an LA Times photojournalist friend up in nearby San Luis Obispo I offered the inflate-a-bed accommodations and the SB tour guide favors in return for some IN-water shots in the studio :-)

Thanks buddy!  This could be the beginning of an interesting project :-)

love, love, love…inspirations part 4 – Chris Buck

“Vulnerability and awkwardness are access points for the viewer, and a suggestion of real humanity.” – Chris Buck as told to Joerg Colberg (Conscientious) a  few years back.   Chris is well known for his (mostly) celebrity portraits that push the edge – I think of Annie Leibovitz’s images in the early ’80s of naked John with Yoko, of Whoopi in the tub of milk, of John Cleese hanging like a bat.  But what Chris does really well is more than team with his subject to create a memorable image. He finds that point of expression that comes back to vulnerability and awkwardness and then frames the image with something odd, something different, something surreal.

The first image below is form his “Isn’t” series. That isn’t Angelina. Then the three following are all from my favorite series “(Un)common”. Click through the image to see his site. Don’t miss the “Famous” series – Steve Martin, Jay Leno.. a crazy image of Billy-Bob Thornton relieving himself on the seamless.

What I learn from Chris is to keep thinking outside the box.  Bend the rules and push the envelope. But most importantly to find that revealing nugget of awkward humanity in a portrait.

love, love, love…inspirations part 4 – Chris Buck

“Vulnerability and awkwardness are access points for the viewer, and a suggestion of real humanity.” – Chris Buck as told to Joerg Colberg (Conscientious) a  few years back.   Chris is well known for his (mostly) celebrity portraits that push the edge – I think of Annie Leibovitz’s images in the early ’80s of naked John with Yoko, of Whoopi in the tub of milk, of John Cleese hanging like a bat.  But what Chris does really well is more than team with his subject to create a memorable image. He finds that point of expression that comes back to vulnerability and awkwardness and then frames the image with something odd, something different, something surreal.

The first image below is form his “Isn’t” series. That isn’t Angelina. Then the three following are all from my favorite series “(Un)common”. Click through the image to see his site. Don’t miss the “Famous” series – Steve Martin, Jay Leno.. a crazy image of Billy-Bob Thornton relieving himself on the seamless.

What I learn from Chris is to keep thinking outside the box.  Bend the rules and push the envelope. But most importantly to find that revealing nugget of awkward humanity in a portrait.

great locations, talented crew, awesome light tests.

We just finished a great shoot yesterday that needed three iconic locations to literally set the stage for some classic characters.  I’ll fill in the details when the campaign is revealed late next month.  Meg, a Tulane graduate and soon finishing her photography degree at Brooks Institute has been helping me as intern / assistant and totally rocks the Sekonic meter on the pre-shoot light tests (click the image to see larger).

Here is most of the crew, kicking back waiting for the light in the courthouse tower which we have all to ourselves after hours.  Models Steven and Kaita (David not shown here), Meg the intern, Daniel (behind-the-scenes & video), Miller (costume/wardrobe) and Heather (hair/makeup).  It all came together really well :-)

love, love, love…inspirations part 3 – Susan Burnstine

The third of a series of posts about those who visually inspire me. (All images are posted here with permission from the photographer.)

Susan Burnstine

It’s all about how it feels. The first few love,love,love posts on Carlos Serrao, Haley Jane Samuelson, and Nadav Kander all share common ground: a powerful visual that pulls emotion – for me that’s either a gut reaction or a pause-think reaction. Sharpness in an image is not a necessity and has no place unless the tone and composition – the feeling-  are there to begin with. So here is Susan Burnstine:

Dreams are often where I find inspirations, whether I’m sleeping or not (daydreaming can be damn productive) and Susan’s images are truly dreamscapes. A few of the images above are from her series “On Waking Dreams”.  For Susan vivid dreams are a path to her art – a response to the gap between dreaming and waking and I imagine a response to how she has seen the world.

These are not Holga images, or Diana – six years ago Susan began building her own plastic lenses and mounting them on vintage cameras.  That soon led to completely building her own camera bodies and lenses: out of plastic parts, toys and household objects.  Each camera might have its own signature – different focal lengths, a few different shutter speeds…

The results, unprocessed, straight out of camera, speak to her intuition in revealing a moment that is all about pulling emotion.   Kind of like Keith Carter (also love) in style but also just as different. The images presented here are to me solitary, maybe a bit dark with a twist of light: the ice skater twirling with joy surrounded by more serious and non-twirling skaters.  Lines and curves that draw you in. A figure looking up, not down, in the rain…all open to your own interpretation but all very powerful to me.

love, love, love…inspirations part 3 – Susan Burnstine

The third of a series of posts about those who visually inspire me. (All images are posted here with permission from the photographer.)

Susan Burnstine

It’s all about how it feels. The first few love,love,love posts on Carlos Serrao, Haley Jane Samuelson, and Nadav Kander all share common ground: a powerful visual that pulls emotion – for me that’s either a gut reaction or a pause-think reaction. Sharpness in an image is not a necessity and has no place unless the tone and composition – the feeling-  are there to begin with. So here is Susan Burnstine:

Dreams are often where I find inspirations, whether I’m sleeping or not (daydreaming can be damn productive) and Susan’s images are truly dreamscapes. A few of the images above are from her series “On Waking Dreams”.  For Susan vivid dreams are a path to her art – a response to the gap between dreaming and waking and I imagine a response to how she has seen the world.

These are not Holga images, or Diana – six years ago Susan began building her own plastic lenses and mounting them on vintage cameras.  That soon led to completely building her own camera bodies and lenses: out of plastic parts, toys and household objects.  Each camera might have its own signature – different focal lengths, a few different shutter speeds…

The results, unprocessed, straight out of camera, speak to her intuition in revealing a moment that is all about pulling emotion.   Kind of like Keith Carter (also love) in style but also just as different. The images presented here are to me solitary, maybe a bit dark with a twist of light: the ice skater twirling with joy surrounded by more serious and non-twirling skaters.  Lines and curves that draw you in. A figure looking up, not down, in the rain…all open to your own interpretation but all very powerful to me.