Back to my roots: Photography & Fine Art
As many of you may know, I was an editorial and commercial photographer for nearly two decades prior to moving into the world of motion. I’ve recently gone back to shooting still photography as often as I can in fact and I’ve put up a new fine art site that (click HERE) that displays a selection of some of my more successful photography and quite a bit of new work as well.
There’s something very magical about picking up a still camera with only one lens and going out for a walk, a drive, or a trip to somewhere unknown without much of a plan at all, let alone cases of gear and a crew to help you.
I’ll share with you an anecdote from my days as a staff photographer at The New York Times. I remember running into a big film set in the streets of New York City and having the following exchange with the cinematographer once he locked eyes onto to my still camera and I onto his fancy Panavision camera, and we engaged in conversation. I told him who I was working for, and that I was driving through the streets of New York on the lookout for a front page image that day (I’ll paraphrase the exchange…):
Him: "Wow. I’m so jealous of what you do… you get to go out and shoot whenever you want, wherever you want, all alone."
Me: "Are you kidding??! You have all of these incredible tools at your disposal! All of these lights, cast, extras, crew, cranes and lenses! I’ve always dreamed of that!"
Him: "Well sure… but someday you’ll understand…with that comes a bit of loss in terms of freedom if you will…"
Truth be told, I didn’t understand then. I have always wanted to go into the world of film since I can remember. But now I do understand what he meant a bit more…
One of the most amazing aspects about filmmaking is the ability to collaborate with others. To work with crew members and specialists in a lot of different fields in an effort to create an incredible scene with every single detail within your control. I cherish the experience of preparing for a shoot and being on set today as my very favorite thing to do on this earth – at least on a professional level. But there is something to be said about the relative freedom that still photography affords all of us…
I experienced something new about 2 years ago, right after shooting a short film with a crew of around 60 near Death Valley. I went back by myself a few weeks later to Death Valley and shot a series of stills. And I made this one image and something struck me. I was LITERALLY one of 2-3 people within a very wide area. There wasn’t a single car driving in the desert below ALL evening let alone the road I was on. It was as close to being all alone on this earth as most of us can find in these modern times – at least in the U.S. The headlights below are that of my own car in fact (w/ some safety cones and lights put out a few hundred yards behind it in case someone drove up..) The image was lit by moonlight.
I remember being struck at how magical photography can be. And that after 20 years of doing it! How magical it was to literally experience the sky rotating around you as you watched the stars change over the hours. It makes you feel very free, very independent, very small and gives you tremendous perspective on where you are in this world, let alone in the galaxy. It has the ability to give you both a good dose of humility and also the energy to dream big, and to let all of your troubles melt away. You realize how small all our problems are and how the cycle of life, earth, sunsets, moon rises etc. go on day after day no matter what you do or don’t do. And capturing that with a simple camera and a tripod, without a soul in sight is pretty darn magical. No deadline pressures… no people to please… I now understand what that DP meant nearly a decade earlier. I see the need for both disciplines in my life. There’s a reason they call it the photography "bug."
To that end I welcome you to check out the new site, and some of the new work (I’ve shot a bunch since the site was being designed and will likely update it quarterly.) You’ll see quite a bit of aerial photography (which I came to specialize in) which is one of my absolute favorite things to do. You can also check out the following video (that I posted on this blog a few weeks ago) that captures my philosophy on photography, a video that a lot of people have told me they enjoyed. Lastly – all of the photographs you see on the site are available as signed archival fine art prints should you be interested in having one on your wall. I hope you enjoy the new site – I know I’ve enjoyed picking up the still camera again tremendously.
A special thanks goes to Sarah Weissman for taking on the endeavor of editing a decade’s worth of work and to Rob Haggart and the entire APhotofolio team for helping put up a very elegant site.