Friday, March 27, 2009

Something To Rave About

Like a musician looking for a place to play, I'm always looking for challenging places to photograph. I have a personal exercise that I go through that I call: Find the Picture. I go to places that I'm unfamiliar with and — find the picture. Pretty easy eh? Not so fast. It's easy to find and compose images in broad daylight. I often go out at night and will only take one camera and one lens. Most nights, I don't take a flash — or a tripod. Find the picture. Deal with exposure issues. Keep moving and find the next picture.

A couple of weeks ago I had a job that was two-days long. While en route on the first day I received a phone call telling me about a rave that night. It was in an abandoned warehouse by the airport. I would be allowed to take my camera and photograph. I was curious.

I shot all day, took my assistant home, ate dinner and geared up for "Bubble Bobble," a foam party.

At first I was a little shocked. Teenage girls wearing items that I couldn't tell whether it was a bathing suit or underwear. And then the foam started pouring from the ceiling!

The body heat of twenty-five hundred dancing teens made me realize why it was a foam party and why the girls were dressed in a manner that would upset their fathers.

I learned a lot from this excursion. I can shoot and master any situation (I already knew that from years of working in the news industry). I love the diversity of life. I love and miss my teen years. I think that every teen should be forced to go to a rave at least once a week.

I seriously think the all-night dancing is great exercise. There were no tables or chairs. Your choice was to dance or go home.

I know, someone might complain that there are drugs at a rave. I never saw any. This doesn't mean there weren't any. But seriously, it's my understanding that kids can get drugs at school — and besides, I hate to say this but many, many people have twisted up a fatty in their time (this isn't the scope of this blog, I'm just commenting) (and in case you've forgotten, the purpose of this blog is fun, creative photography).

I love teenage angst (especially when it's directed in the right direction). The rave was a perfect place for kids of all ages to burn up some energy and fully express themselves.

Another great thing I noticed was that while the HOT teenage girls were showing a LOT of skin, they were keeping all of their lady parts covered. And the boys seemed respectful. I only saw one grope all night and I think they were a couple.

As I photographed, I noticed that most of the kids had really nice teeth. Clearly they came from homes with great parents who cared for their kids. I felt the rave was a way for the kids to step out of their perfect lives and experience a side of life they couldn't get at home. I felt the rave experience would eventually help the kids figure out who they were and what they wanted out of life.

With you or without you, life is going to happen. On this night, I was just an observer.

If you like what you've seen here, leave me a comment. If you didn't like what I posted, let me know. I'm always interested in other viewpoints (just be polite).

Do me a favor. If you havn't already, go look at my portfolio. I'd like to come to your office and show you the print version (it's beautiful). Also, it would be really cool if you could tell someone else about this blog and my work. Help spread the word.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Preparing For The Upturn

In the distance I can see sunshine peeking through the clouds.

It's still cloudy and in places the rain is pouring down. Hard. It's going to be OK, though.

I stopped off at the auto parts store and bought a new set of wipers and an air filter. I recently had my oil changed and my tires are at the right pressure. With what I've planned for and done, I will weather this storm. I still want to get the new Kid Rock and U2 cds for the journey, but the road will still be treacherous for many more miles. I still need to concentrate.

The sunshine after all is still in the distance.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Photography's Big Picture

It's almost lunch time on the East Coast and today the Dow Jones Industrial is up almost 4%. Hooray.

This blog is supposed to be about my photography, creativity and things related to the industry. It's not really for photographers (you can get your shutters clicked in a million other places). But I'm glad you're here.

I've mentioned in the past that because of the economy I had to take a part-time job. I wasn't going to take just any job, though. It had to be a job related to photography. So I took a part-time teaching gig at a charter school in Scottsdale. One of the things that I tell my students is that photography isn't only about taking pictures. Photography is about life. Not only do you capture beautiful pictures in interesting places, but photography forces me to have relationship with people and my environment. Photography is so much deeper than the obvious picture.

A year ago I was incredibly busy. I heard that a recession was coming. For some reason, I didn't realize the full impact of what was being predicted. In July I shot a huge project for a wonderful client. We had a lot of fun and made great images. Also in July the Dow Jones Industrial began to fall. By August, I could see that I was getting fewer hits on my Web site and the phone wasn't ringing as much. My brother David, said, "It's not you, it's the economy."

I wish we never had a recession. It's terrible. Yet behind every dark cloud is a silver lining.

I think this recession has helped bring this nation a little closer together. We're not perfect but we elected a President who would have been, during fatter times, been criticized for drug use, his age and other things that may not matter. This recession has also exposed the greed of those who are already so wealthy that during their lifetime cannot possibly spend their bonuses, let alone their salary. I'm appalled at the thought of someone getting a bonus that's akin to everyone else hitting The Lottery (while many across the nation are losing their homes). It seems they should be the ones bailing out America.

During the good times, I bought an HDTV so big that they can see it in Space. Yesterday I unplugged the satellite connection. As I pulled the plug on the receiver, I remembered buying high-performance cables that cost about $100 per cord. The satellite is lost in space. I still have my cords. The time has come for us to conserve and see what was already here all along.

Over the weekend, my wife, Susan, and I were talking about how good things really are (despite all of the tribulation). We've discovered a place where we can get coffee that is $7 for three pounds and it tastes almost as good as Starbucks. We now buy perfectly good things that previously were never considered. (Yet we also have conversations that we start by saying, "When we're rich... ")

At dinner we had wine. I'll admit that the $5 wine isn't as good as the $20 version. But we're having wine tonight too.

Right now it's a little after 9 a.m., the Dow is up almost 4½% (7599 points). We aren't where we were in July, but the phone is beginning to ring again. I'm shooting on Friday. The week after, I will be delivering 17 giant sized bags of beans to the St. Mary' Food Bank.

What I do for a living merely involves photography but it's really all about life and relationship with people. If you are a photographer and have read this far, you need to find a way to help others. Donate. Give. Volunteer. Sometimes we need to plant a tree that we'll never sit under.

Photography can save the world.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

As You Like It

Shakespear wrote:  All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players...

If all the world's a stage, why are we still sitting here?
Find your spotlight and perform!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit

Some really good things have started happening since I started the "Working Hard To Save Others" campaign. People as far away as Maryland, Chicago, and Texas have written to encourage me. Leslie Burns-Dell'Acqua featured me on her blog.

Right now I'm prepping for a shoot that I have from an agency in Canada. My client says she's "freaked out by the slowdown" and is glad to be helping. You probably don't realize that for 1 in 7 Americans, hunger is a reality. This means that millions of hard-working adults, children and Seniors are struggling with hunger. In a land of plenty, this is unacceptable.
312,966 Arizona children under age 18 live in poverty,
representing 1 in 5 of Arizona’s children.
Bev Damore at the St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance says they need: peanut butter, tuna, canned soups and stews, cereals and juices, rice, beans. I'm thinking that because of our neighbor to the north, we can buy a lot of soup, rice and beans.

In case you are wondering why I'm doing this, you need to know that for two decades I was a photojournalist and I realized that my photography had the power to change people's lives. The days of the newspaper are behind me, but my power has never waned. Even if you aren't in a position to hire me, you can go shopping and make your own donation.

You and my photography can make the World a better place. Now let's get busy!