Friday, December 30, 2016

Jaedon + Path, On Route to El Mirage, California, 2016

Regardless of location she shines. Whether on stage or on an off-road path, the level of professionalism Jaedon demonstrates is exceptional. If we see a spot on our way to our final destination, she is always willing to give it a try. This is what happened when we saw this scene to our left. 

We parked to the side of the road, tried to enter a bit and realized that it was best to stay near the road. Jaedon got ready while I put the camera together. Once this scene was composed onto the ground glass of the Hasselblad, I knew we were at the right place. She took her place and we began to expose a roll. Everything just seems so natural with Jaedon, from the drive to the conversation to the photography.

She went back and forth between two worlds, from dance to fashion. With Jaedon these two worlds exist at the same time, true grace and harmony. Releasing the shutter is difficult at times, for it is like watching a performance and trying to remembering to release the shutter once the moment presents itself. Thank goodness she is aware of this and pauses now and then with this in mind.

I look forward to our next collaboration, and to showing the girls in India as well as in Cuba a sister back in the States named Jaedon.

Note: This image was exposed with a Hasselblad V system.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Hasselblad + iPhone Landscape, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, 2016

On my last day at the parks in Utah this image was made, with an iPhone and through the viewfinder of the Hasselblad. It was the last image made on my own, and one which represents what my eyes see through the mirror of a medium format. The colors were so vibrant, almost unreal to me!

Note: This image was made with an iPhone 4 through the prism of a Hasselblad V System.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, 2016

On my last day in the parks of Utah, I sat down at this spot to think a bit before heading back to the city. I was in disbelief that a seat with such a view existed. It was just all so surreal!

Note: These images were made with an iPhone 4. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Camille + Dry Lake Bed, El Mirage, California, 2016

My time in California a few months ago was made that much sweeter thanks to this young woman, and her friend Taylor. It was only a month after my return from Cuba, and usually rest is on my mind. It so happened that work took me out west and gave me the perfect opportunity to reach out to dancers interested in a collaboration.

A casting call was placed and contact was immediately made with Cami. She was beyond professional from day one, and went out of her way to share images of the various clothing available for our collaboration. She accepted the location without question, even though our session would take up the large portion of her already busy schedule.

She even invited one of her close friends along for the ride, and offered kindly to include Taylor in our work... an offer I took up with joy as the session progressed. We chose a few places on the dry lake bed in order to vary the backgrounds, and continued as the sun went down.

It was at this time that Ilford Delta 400 ISO film was placed into the camera, and this image was made. In the past I would have refrained from using anything faster than 100 ISO, but now I have come to embrace the grain associated with the higher speed films, and even print the negatives larger in order to accentuate this exquisite characteristic. In this digital age, grain has become to me a reminder of the qualities of film... of how light is captured through silver halides.

So thanks to Cami and her patience, we have this image and the glorious grain that comes with it!

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad 555 ELD/180 mm combination onto Ilford Delta 400 ISO film

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Jaedon + Middle of Street, Los Angeles, California, 2016

She will of course be as humble as anyone in my work, which makes writing about my experiences with her that much more rewarding. This was my second session over the past two years, and in the most amazing space once again. When I reached out to Jaedon about a second collaboration, she accepted without hesitation.

Our first session highlighted her immeasurable dance experience, while our second documented her sense of fashion. Like our first time, she put an incredible amount of effort into putting her clothing together. She sent snapshots of all of her pieces so that we could be on the same page, and of course we were.

Just like the first time, I picked her up near her home and she once again had a bag of food for both of us. This kind gesture is unique to her, and has continued to impress me to this day. It served us well of course, as we decided to stop at a few locations on our way to El Mirage Dry Lake Bed.

This street was one such location, as it appeared to our left on our way to the lake bed. She agreed immediately, and reminded me of the magnificent Anays in Cuba. Both allow themselves to be placed in locations spontaneously, and both take to the spaces beautifully.

A few times during our session cars passed by, and we moved to the side to allow them to pass... returning immediately to our spots and continuing with our photography. Working with Jaedon is both effortless and most rewarding. I look forward to editing the rest of the images for her this week, and to providing her with the fruits of our labor from earlier this year.

Note: This image was made with a Hasselblad V system, onto Ilford Delta 100 ISO film.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Young Student + Chalkboard, Panipat, Haryana, India, 2016

As we get ready to celebrate the holidays over the next seven days, I would like to make time to salute the three dozen people supporting our three schools in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, India. Through their generosity two schools in Rajasthan and a new school in Uttar Pradesh will be active as the new year arrives.

This young girl is from a fourth school, one we hope to also support early next year. She attends a school presently supported by our host from Uttar Pradesh. There is an equal number of boys and girls, and the superintendent has invited us to join in his efforts to help improve the quality of education being provided.

The school has a beautiful courtyard, along with an elegant mosque. It provides an education to an impoverished population, at times off of the government radar regarding a proper education. We were allowed to photograph every single one of the students, including the older girls. This level of cooperation in such a conservative community speaks volumes about our hosts, and about the community itself. They embraced us without question, Muslims and Hindus and a Christian working side by side for the sake of the children.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Young Student + Classroom, Panipat, Haryana, India, 2016

After three dozen people came together over the past year to fund our three schools in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, we have found further inspiration to continue in this direction. One person from this circle even asked me, how about a school for 1,000?

Well, we are heading in that direction as Nirvana Bodhisattva travels to Uttar Pradesh to discuss the upcoming school in the region. This first school will be established early next year, and with its success we will proceed with the neighboring village hopefully.

However, there is a school just over the border in Haryana which deserves support, as all schools do of course. Our hosts introduced us to this school early this year, and we fell in love with the students as well as the efforts being made on behalf of the children.

We were allowed to photograph all of the children, even including some of the older girls, albeit after some insistence by me. The children were so happy to be photographed, and it was spontaneous to say the least. We walked from one classroom to the next, stepped inside and started with the portraits.

The boys were great, remained relaxed throughout. The girls were just as beautiful, and took the chance to express themselves to the stranger with the camera. This young student's smile says it all, as she stood facing the doorway to be photographed with the chalkboard as her backdrop.

We will be working with her school, and will be visiting her classmates again in a few months. Let's support Nirvana as he helps establish the first school, and then hope we can do the same on behalf of this young girl the following year.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Moon + Field, Zion National Park, Utah, 2016

As I was exiting the park this scene caught my eye. Very few people were in the park at this time, and so it was easy to pull over and make this image. The clouds from earlier in the day had broken up and gave the sky a beautiful texture.

This was the last image made in the park, before heading back to my room. The next day I headed out to Bryce Canyon National Park, and to the its famous hoodoos.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

On My Way Back, Zion National Park, Utah, 2016

This weekend, like the past few, has been spent in one of Utah's venerable parks, Zion National Park. Most of the time, because it is Winter, it feels like I am the only one in these spaces. This image is one example, on my way back from photographing a distant portion of the park. 

There was nobody around, as the sun set and gently touched the peaks of these towers. The sky turned a sublime hue, and a few minutes later this scene disappeared for the night. A quick snapshot was made to share with my family and friends, and I look forward to seeing all in two weeks upon my return to Cleveland.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bush + Arch, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, 2016

While my trip to Lebanon had to be cancelled in order for me to be in Utah, it has turned into a fortunate series of visits to the national parks. This image is from my recent trip to Arches National Park, a space that looked like it was designed by the most divine of landscape artists.

Sheer, red cliffs rise from the earth, the most delicate of arches form windows for us to see what is on the other side. The colors are as vibrant as any oil masterpiece, and even more so. The air is clean and fresh, giving me more energy to continue on the trails.

Three days were spent walking around the park, and I was unable to find a single piece of trash anywhere, a single tiny piece of paper. The place left me speechless and I look forward to this weekend's trip to the venerable Zion National Park!

Note: Image made with a Sony RX100M3.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Monument Valley National Park, Border of Arizona + Utah, 2016

This was the view three hours ago as we looked for the perfect spot to photograph the valley for sunset. Earlier in the day I met a fellow photographer and we ended up spending the entire day together, making my time in the park that much more enjoyable. 

We talked shop of course, and shared stories regarding our work. We spent two hours at this very spot, taking it all in and waiting for the shadows to start walking further and further on the floor of the valley. The space is truly humbling, incredibly spiritual.

Note: This image was made with a Sony RX100M3.