Amsterdam

My last final and photo essay presentation in Black and White Film Processing & Printing ended at 10 pm Monday.  I was on the first flight to Amsterdam Tuesday morning at 8am. Whew!   🙂 Amsterdam was not previously on my radar, but what a great city!  Initial impressions were canals on every corner, water everywhere, Tesla taxis, more bikes than cars, state regulated red light district, tall handsome people, cigarette smokers, non medicinal marijuana at coffee shops.  I’ve got to get out more.  🙂

Visiting the Van Gogh museum was a real treat.  It houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world as well as letters to his family and paintings of his contemporaries.  I had forgotten how much I loved the art of 19th Century Europe.  What resonated most with me about Van Gogh was that he started painting late in life after a couple of unsuccessful careers.  He worked assiduously, took art classes, and studied with masters.  He must have painted 50 self portraits!  Hard to believe he only lived 37 years.

Below are some images of the city.

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Alexander Abreu and Havana De Primera

One day I will post about my life as a world renowned concert photographer.  Today, however, I will share the fun I had Sunday, my first gig with an all access concert pass  😀  along with some of the lessons learned. 📝

Concert promoter, DJ Warapo Productions, gave me an all access pass.  Needless to say, I was thrilled!  My first ever!  Doors opened at 8. I expected the show to start at 10:30-11:00, Cuban time. I arrived at 8 with gifts for Alexander and my book for him to sign his picture.  I actually had agonized over which color Sharpie to bring.  ha! I settled on red to match the red shirt he had on in the picture I took at Club Rojo in Havana.  I turned down a pre concert dinner date with the team because I anticipated exchanging gifts and chit chat with the band kickin’ it backstage before the concert began.  Well!

As it turns out, I got there before the band got there.  Second lesson learned.  📝  When they did arrive they went directly on stage.  There was no pre show photo opp and gift exchange. 😏 At the end of the concert backstage was rushed with fans.  Although I had access, after being there for five+ hours I guess I ran out of steam and crawled to my car.  Third lesson learned.  📝. I’ll save my gifts and books for the next tour stop.  #notstalking

I thoroughly enjoyed access to the VIP areas and the balconies.  And I love Alexander’s music.  Images from the show:

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Okay, maybe I’m getting a little too carried away with Mayito.  #toughassignment #somebodysgottadoit 😉

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Portfolio Show

The Portfolio Show is Saturday!  It has been a grueling semester.  OMG!  I’ve been allocated 6′ of wall space.  I’m displaying these 3 images at 16 x 20.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned before, but during the class you produce the following:

  1.  15 image portfolio of same genre, e.g. fashion, lifestyle, product, food, etc.  I chose environmental portraits.
  2. business cards with matching brand/logo
  3. promo pieces with matching brand/logo
  4. matching brand website gallery of 15 images

In addition each week you reported on 3 activities you did that furthered your career as a photographer, e.g. visited a gallery, met with a professional photographer, read a photo book, etc.  You developed an elevator pitch introducing yourself, researched and critiqued 5 photographer’s websites. And submitted 5 art buyers each week.  I did my best.  🙂

Each week your images are critiqued for image strength and consistency of style.  All in the spirit of perfecting your craft.  Ha!  I think I shot 20, 15 barely survived.  Here’s my last image.  It’s beautiful Bria, in her way so cool, bring your dog to work office.

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Now to finish my Black and White Printing class.  4 image photo essay is due soon.  I better find out when.  🙂  #keepshooting #sticktothescript

Deadlines looming, still shooting

We’re winding down to the last two weeks; deadlines are fast approaching.  Patti Silverstein will review our images tomorrow and pick the strongest ones.  Next Tuesday chosen images must be printed and matted to be hung in the gallery.  The following Tuesday the portfolio, business cards, and promo piece are due.  “I’m doing my best.  I’m getting through this, I’m in school to learn”!

Below are recent candidates for portfolio.  Adan Alonso introduced me to John Marini, owner of Marini Music in Alhambra.  I’m SO glad he did.  As fate would have it a professional photographer (now drummer) was in the shop who was kind enough to assist me and give me portrait tips.  God is good!

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I can always count on DJ Warapo for a photo shoot.  I even have full access to my favorite artist, Alexander Abreu, at a concert Warapo is promoting.  ❤️

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After critique of prior Amtrak engineer shot I decided to submit another shot from the session.  We’ll see how that goes. 😊

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May’s additions

UGH, school!  I’m in school to learn, not to be persecuted.  (I have to remind myself.)  So to be totally transparent and so I won’t forget, when shooting environmental portraits:

1. Declutter your set.  Unless it contributes to the story, get rid of it.

2. Establish separation between the subject and the background either with depth of field, lighting, composition or something.

3. Employ standard portrait techniques, e.g. Place subjects head against uncluttered area (try that one at home 😀)

4. And of course, tell a story.

Bottom line is minus a couple of exceptions I need to start over.  Piling on my Epson 3880 stopping recognizing ink cartridges so I can’t print.  Not to mention the 2 packs of Arista Lustre I bought have to go back because they don’t have sufficient portfolio weight.  Back to Hollywood mind you.  OMG!  But we trudge on!

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New Additions

April 26 additions to portfolio.  Thirteen images and counting.

I will owe a sizable portion of my degree in photography to my friends who have patiently agreed to be photographed again and again.  Even allowing me to intrude into their classroom for this image.  Thanks Cindy!

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Jeremy Buck, ladies and gentlemen!  I was thrilled with the opportunity to shoot Jeremy in his home studio.  Singer, songwriter, producer you’ll find on drums, guitar, keys, and more!

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Portfolio Additions

Adding images to Environmental Portrait portfolio.

Week 8.  Well, I guess I’m not going to drop.  I  have 11 images (all posted below).  It’s been a experience,  a REAL experience in so many ways.  It’s not quite routine, but the repetition of shooting one type of photo is teaching me a lot.  I developed a routine of contacting subjects, meeting them prior to the shoot to discuss the project, time requirements, expectations then calling the day before to confirm.  I’ve improved analyzing locations(prior real weakness) to include insight/story of the subject as well as composition.  I also am learning to work fast. It’s not like beauty and fashion where you have a model who knows they’re in for a couple of hours of shooting.  I typically ask for 15 minutes of set up and 30-45 minutes to shoot.

Week 8.  I guess I’m not going to drop. I need 4 more images.

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For some reason Reggae Classics on Spotify is working tonight!  When was the last time you heard Red Red Wine – UB40 or Dawn Penn’s No, No, No You Don’t Love Me?  Buffalo Soldier  🙂  OMG 4 more!

Spring 2017 – Portfolio Development

It’s time.  I’ve completed each and every requirement for Portfolio Development, actually more than the stated requirements.   I should be prepared, actually over prepared, but I’m not. The objective of Portfolio Development is to produce a portfolio of 15 – 20 new images of a specific genre e.g. product, food, sports, fine art, beauty, etc.  It must be all new work consistent in terms of style, lighting, etc.  yet not repetitive.  Tall task, no?

I agonized all winter break about what genre to choose.  I recently completed Product Photography last semester and surprisingly ended up kinda’ liking it  😉, but knew I didn’t want of portfolio of cosmetics or shiny electronics.  Food was absolutely out (the hardest thing I’ve ever shot).  I was seriously tempted by beauty or fashion because I’ve done some good IMO beauty/fashion shots; it would be a beautiful book.  Plus it lends itself nicely to my strengths, Photoshop retouching skills.  But it is the genre that requires the largest team:  models, makeup artists, hair stylists, wardrobe, studio lighting, etc.  Too much coordination! Too much drama!

I decided on environmental portraits.  Environmental portraits portray a person in their natural environment. Different from traditional portraits shot in a studio, environmental portraits capture the character of the subject and give insight into their daily life making for a more personal image, telling some kind of story about who the subject is.  Environmental portraits are shot in the subject’s home, workplace or places they enjoy spending their time.  Not necessarily as glamorous as beauty and fashion, but no glam squad required.  😀

Then the panic set in, where am I going to get 15 – 20 willing subjects in interesting backgrounds?

Here are my first three images:

  1.  My mechanic at Modesti’s Car Center in Culver City on Jefferson.  I’ve been going there for over 20 years (yikes!).  I always tease them saying that I drive past a zillion auto repair shops to get there from Torrance.  🙂
  2. Suzuki Takuma, owner and chef of Takuma Santa Monica on Wilshire.  Takuma is our go to place for girl’s night out, bachelorette parties, and birthday parties.
  3. Freddy Carrillo, a friend and frequent model, on the tennis court.

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