James Hickey was the second subject that I was asked to photograph by Spree Magazine for their special feature on Buffalo NY’s most beautiful and fascinating people. James is a master hairstylist by day, painter by night, and a full-time father who works in two creative fields. The image above is my favorite from that day’s series of portraits.
This was one of those rare projects where I had the pleasure of knowing my subject before being given an assignment to photograph them. James and I have known each other for a few years through mutual friends in the Western New York creative community. Most of the time on assignments like these I am working with people who I have met just moments before, so it is quite a different experience when I am photographing someone I know – it is a little easier to slip into that really great rapport with a subject that leads to creating some really interesting images.
Josh Travis is the guitarist for the Virginia-based metal band Glass Cloud (and formerly the guitarist for The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza). While I was on assignment a few months ago to photograph Glass Cloud vocalist Jerry Roush for the cover of the Alternative Press AP Tour issue I made it a point to create some solo portraits of the other members of this fascinating band, and this very direct and simple image of Josh was a real standout to me. It might have something to do with the accusations that my crew has leveled against me that I turn into kind of a nerd when I photograph guitarists. In my younger days I, like many others, had aspirations of six string godhood (which is nothing compared to the monstrous eight string guitar that Josh plays) – But I realized that I was actually far more talented at taking pictures of bands than being in them, so I traded in my guitar for a camera and haven’t looked back since then (trust me, it was the right choice – as anyone who has ever seen me at a karaoke bar or sat next to me at a red light will attest, my visual skills far outweigh my musical ones. And if you have had that displeasure, I am sorry for the years of therapy you have had to undergo to deal with the damage I caused).
If you want to hear some of Josh’s amazing guitar work check out Glass Cloud’s album The Royal Thousand.
I spent a lot of time on planes back and forth between Buffalo and the west coast the first few months of 2013, so I was pretty excited when Buffalo Spree creative director Chastity Taber tapped me to work on a series of small projects on my home turf throughout February and April for the magazine’s special issue dedicated to Buffalo’s most fascinating and beautiful people. The assignment was to create unique portraits of the locals featured in the issue who run the gamut from business people to artists to celebrities – all of whom share a common love for Buffalo NY and choose to make their homes or careers here.
When I first read the bio information that the magazine sent over about my first subject, Heidi Raphael, the first questions that sprang to my mind was “when does she get any rest?”. Heidi is the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Greater Media Inc, a Boston-based broadcasting company that owns many radio stations across the United States as well as a number of newspapers, a position that has seen her repeatedly ranked among the most influential women in radio broadcasting. Heidi’s passions don’t end with her corporate duties either, as she has become equally well-regarded for her philanthropy and work with organizations like the National Organization of Broadcasters, The Alliance of Women in Media, The National Library of American Broadcasting, The Mentoring and Inspiring Women Radio Group, Tufts Medical Center, Medaille College, The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, The Everywoman Opportunity Center, and many more – Needless to say, she has a busy schedule.
But it all made sense when I finally met Heidi, she showed up at the studio ready to rock and threw herself into the shoot with a ton of energy and enthusiasm, and I get the feeling she puts that same energy into all of her endeavors.
Required Reading is a monthly roundup of things that catch my attention: news, links, videos, blogs, and cool projects by other creatives that I want to share with you – fun, inspiring, and a little addictive.
What happens when you turn the waveforms of songs into a 3-D sculptural visualization? you end up with something as beautiful as MICROSONICLANDSCAPES.
ASMP and Photo Shelter jointly released a must read guide to copyright for photographers and creatives earlier this month that delves into the details on how to actually register and manage your IP (I even contributed a section on implementing copyright into your workflow)
As design and food are becoming more and more intertwined Ento explores how the aesthetics of sushi may change the perception of the worlds most sustainable source of protein – this looks beautiful and delicious.
Some damn decent tips for traveling with your photo gear on assignment from Chris Crisman
This trailer for Who Shot Rock & Roll got me pretty excited
MFE magazine called me up last month about a project, and I was pretty excited when I found out I would be heading to Rochester, NY to photograph Ed Pettinella – the CEO of Home Properties Inc. for the cover of their April issue. I went to college in Rochester and lived in the city for years, so any assignment that takes me there always presents me with a great chance to see some old friends and visit some of my favorite old haunts, and this trip gave me the opportunity to photograph a very interesting and very funny subject.
As the leader of the Home Properties team since 2004, Ed has focused on rehabilitating and repurposing older, run down buildings into higher income rental properties – a strategy that has allowed the company to consistently outperform its peers. Ed was an enthusiastic and affable subject who kept me and the crew laughing throughout the day-long shoot at the Home Properties headquarters, both trading jokes with us and sharing his thoughts on his company and business philosophy while we photographed him in his offices and on the building’s rooftop terrace overlooking Rochester (a seriously amazing view). This was a great day on assignment – the shoot went wonderfully, we had a great subject, an awesome location, and we even capped the day off with a fun crew dinner at one of my favorite places in Rochester – Dinosaur BBQ (I can’t wait until the new Buffalo location opens right around the corner from my studio).
The images above are tears from both the cover and the interior feature, while the one below is one of my personal favorite outtakes from the portraits we made on the building’s terrace.
A few months back, towards the end of 2012, I got a call from Christopher Benton at Alternative Press to photograph two of the bands that were playing that year’s AP Tour, and to be part of the cover project that the magazine was creating for the issue. There were five bands slated for the cover, and all of them were touring in different parts of the world in the months leading up to the release of the tour issue. Ultimately, myself and two other photographers (Jonathan Weiner and Kane Hibberd) had to capture the lead singers of Glass Cloud, Miss May I, Like Moths to Flames, The Ghost Inside, and The Amity Affliction at different times, in different locations, and coordinate our different styles to create a coherent vibe for the cover. It was a fun challenge.
These shots of Chris Roetter (Like Moths to Flames) and Jerry Roush (Glass Cloud) were part of those cover sessions – though originally conceived solely to be part of the final composite I wanted to present these images of the two frontmen as standalone portraits. I photographed Jerry and the rest of Glass Cloud first, at that time I was completely unaware that I would be photographing Like Moths to Flames just a few weeks later when their tour came through Buffalo. Normally I would not tackle two subjects for the same client with such a similar approach, but because these acts were coming together for the cover it required something of a unified approach to the studio portraits from both sessions, and though chronologically shot about a month apart I was stylistically able to treat this duo of images as through they were shot the same day.
Dailies is a monthly collection of the images I take in my day to day life: casual snaps and test shots of friends and family, unguarded behind the scenes images of my subjects, Polaroids, Instagrams, and documentation of my myriad and sordid adventures.
1. On assignment in Rochester New York for Multifamily Executive Magazine – fourteen floors up checking out the skyline.
2. Scott Gable, Andy Buscemi, and Myself last month as we started work on a super secret project to be unveiled soon.
Clockwise from top left:
3. My assistant Liz hanging out with the guys from Glass Cloud on the roof of my old studio while we were on assignment for Alternative Press
4. Chris Roetter of Like Moths to Flames
5. Glass Cloud
6.Josh Travis, guitarist of Glass Cloud
7. Had my first shoot in the new studio over the weekend, and it was a big one. I made this series of natural light portraits on my phone of some of the cast and crew who were visiting that day.
In the weeks leading up to me moving out of my old studio I spent a lot of time shooting small personal projects like this duo of portraits of the stylish and talented media designer Devin Caskie. Equipment had been packed up and stored for the duration of the renovations we had planned at the new space and I had a short period of downtime between two major projects that allowed me to work on some images that had been stuck in my head for a while like this one. Devin and I have a mutual friend in makeup artist Nicole Barry who brought us together for this project and knew that I would find Devin’s unique style very interesting.
This project marks my first time collaborating with Mark Montalvo of Skin Digital, a wonderful retoucher and digital artist who has handled the post-production on a number of projects for me lately. I am excited to partner with such a talented creative to make unique imagery and bring even higher production value to personal and client assignments alike. Working with Mark has been a great experience so far because we approach the post-production aspects of an image with a similar philosophy and because he is able to decipher my often rambling and scattered retouching notes.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have seen that recently I was trying to help my friends Megan and Tristan raise money to help their brother Dustin buy a new prosthesis as he grew out of his previous one. I am happy to say that the campaign was a resounding success, and not only was enough money raised to buy Dustin’s prosthesis for this year, but next year’s as well.
What you may not know is that those friends I was helping support have made occasional appearances on this blog and in my work, much like this new PR portrait of Tristan that I took recently (and insisted that he sport the beard/flannel look he’s been pulling off lately for it). You have probably seen them here before.
Megan has made many appearances in the fun team photos I have created for my friends on the championship Western NY roller derby squad The Nickel City Knockouts (they are an amazing team and I love helping them out — Megan is also the captain and was also one of the first people to pose for me when I started coming back to photography professionally) and Tristan made a past appearances in my series of toothbrush face images (he was the crazy one). Tristan is also highly involved in the QCRG Roller Derby league both as a referee, coach, and highly visible promoter/supporter.
I get to meet a lot of interesting people through photography: artists, musicians, politicians and more — I get to make a lot of friends through what I do. But it still gives me a lot of joy when I get a chance to photograph my friends and people who have been in my life for a while, whether it is for an assignment or just a personal project of my own.