Last week I went to an interesting event in Portland near Eugene called “FaerieWorlds” which is essentially a renaissance faire with a heavier emphasis on fantasy. I had gone to their previous event in february called “FaerieCon” in Seattle with my friend who is an artist and vends at each event. I met so many interesting people and there were so many crazy costumes that I just had to go to the big event and see how the ante would be upped. I didn’t want to just photograph costumed vendors in their appropriate setting, like faeries in the woods or fantasy creatures in a stream… I wanted to make a little commentary on where they stood with the rest of the world. It was a very fun and interesting time, you can see my edited story at my website but I’ll be posting the majority of my selects below. Let me know what you think!
edit: I’ll post the pics I shot in february at FaerieCon soon as well.
After nearly 4 months of traveling the country working on my Occupy Wallstreet project, “Portraits of the 99%” I have finally taken a bit of a break to recharge and get the body of work seen by the world. Upon doing some non-occupy wallstreet work, I’ve noticed something has happened: I’ve become REALLY good at making portraits.
Now, I’ve always considered myself a portrait photographer so of course I MUST be good at making portraits, right? Since working on the “Portraits of the 99%” series I’ve become much more observant of the nuances of the human condition within the confines of my frame. Gesture, facial expressions, body language. When I was on the road I had to work really fast because more often than not I was working on limited time and with people who were on the move so I became very sensitive to all of those things. Now that I’ve got the time to slow down and work with my subject things are much different. It’s hard for me to call my 4 month long and counting occupy project “practice” but I think photographers are always practicing while on the job or off. It’s really worth the effort and has made me much more aware of what I am photographing.
I’m taking a break from my Occupy wallstreet posts this week, there will be more of those images for sure because I’m going to LA tomorrow. I wanted to show some images I shot last week, more for myself than anything;
Nic is a 20 year old concept artist who lives in San Diego, CA.
His father, a digital consultant, was the primary bread-winner in the family. His mother worked as an administrator at a low income school. Last year, his father passed away and due to the loss of a larger income Nic was forced to drop out of school and move back in with his mother. There wasn’t enough money however, and their nice SoCal home was forclosed on. After a few months Nic’s mother got a job at a private school that came with a large paycheck and a nice pension. After some negotiation with the banks, they got the house back. The house was empty however, because they had sold off all of their furniture and electronics. The yard had grown weedy, their pool had been drained and their deck is all rotted out. Nic’s mother had a several hour commute each day so he was given the responsibility to take care of the property, quite the load for one young, 20 year old.
The tragedies and stress in his life has forced him to go to therapy but he seems to be managing. He hopes to go back to school in San Francisco because San Diego “Just doesn’t suit me,” he says.
I wish I had more time with Nic, the home he was caring for is beautiful on two acres complete with an orchard and a little creek. I’ve found that some of the best imagery comes from the hardest times, despite the discomfort that may come from holding a camera to your eye in the situation.
After a few back and fourth phone calls and some meetings, on Saturday November 19th the SF Chronicle dedicated not one, but 2 whole pages to the “Portraits of the 99%” (even though they didn’t use that title) and a story about me and the project. The datebook is the Chronicle’s most popular section where it features gallery openings, movie reviews of course, the comics. The Chronicle has a circulation of 1/4 million and is distributed all over California. After it was published I received a slew of emails, phone calls and donations to the IndieGoGo fund. The feedback on this project has been so wonderful and now with the fund raiser in full swing I can do this project right. I’m going to San Diego on November 29th, LA in December and New York in January. I’ll be setting up meetings with various big name publications in New York and LA and I’m talking with galleries about doing a show.
I’m so thankful that this opportunity has come to me and that I’ve been able to do just the things I have done already. But now, I get to take it that next extra step. Thank you, everyone who has donated, everyone who has been spreading the word and everyone who reads this blog. These photos are about you guys, not me. Thank you.
The little portrait of me on the upper left corner of the 2nd page/image was shot by my friend Bonnie Rae Mills. My favorite part of the article was the mention of how cool I think Dinosaurs are and that I wanted to be Indiana Jones.
Today I made my to the Occupy Wallstreet protests in Santa Rosa, CA. It was a HUGE event, well over 1000 people showed up for it. It was a little overwhelming to say the least. I shot as many people as I could before the march started. Tomorrow we make our way to San Jose…
Note: This project is beginning to span all of California and possibly all of the US so if you want help out in the form of a donation, you can do HERE. Thanks for the support!