With my favorite (mostly) unpublished photos from 2012

So we made it (for now). That whole Mayan thing is behind us and the Apocalypse is still somewhere looming off in the future. Christmas has come and gone, two thousand and twelve is dead and buried, and the fiscal cliff has been pushed down the road a few more months. Yay 2013. With all of this in mind, I wanted to share some photos that I took in 2012 but never had the time or the excuse or the permission or whatever to show until now. So prepare yourselves for a veritable casserole of photography.

But before all of that, a short word:

Two-thousand-and-twelve has been my most busy year by far. I did a lot of work for my friends at Kinfolk (as you may remember from here, here, here, here and here), but I’ve also been hither and tither shooting for myself and others. When I look back upon the last 365 days, I can’t believe all of the places I’ve visited and awesome people I’ve been blessed to come to know and work with. It truly humbles and gladdens the heart. The pity is that the vast majority of shots must still remain locked up in the photo vault for one publication or another. But were that not the case, I still wouldn’t have space here to include all of my unpublished favorites from 2012. So I suppose the following will just have to do.

The dear people pictured below include: My most favorite Riley Messina, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Williams, my sister Joy Kim, Ryan Muirhead and Jarrod Renaud (photographer-brothers extraordinaire), Angel Taylor, Joe Lieske, Lana Nyman, Meredith Adelaide, Luke and Rachel Price, Tunde Baiyewu, the ever-talented Amanda Jasnowski, Alela Diane, Andrew Stonestreet, Tift Merrit, Jennifer Sullins, Kimbra, and of course, my dearest brother and friend James Fitzgerald III. There are many, many more who have graced my camera in the last year that must be kept tucked away — but only for the time being!

So. There we are. And without further ado, here’s to 2013 — may she bless you all heartily!

With HUGE Magazine (Japan) – Go! Bookstore!

When I was a young boy, my parents would take my brother and I out every Friday for “family night.” We’d do all sorts of things for family night, but most often it consisted of a trip to Stadium Pizza followed up by a stint at the video game arcade to the tune of $5 each (20 quarters!). One evening, though, while we were going through our tokens, a gang fight broke out in front of the arcade. I don’t remember seeing much except a few puddles of blood and police lights — my parents snatched us up real quick and we were outta there. The next Friday, my dad came home with an NES. Soon thereafter, I learned that Super Mario and Legend of Zelda and Megaman all came from Japan and that was the beginning of what has become a deep life-long fondness.

The reason I tell all of this is to illustrate just how big an event it was for me to get an email from Ms. Sawako Akune asking if I’d be willing to shoot a story about bookstores for a special Christmas Eve edition of HUGE Magazine out of Tokyo. I must admit, I hadn’t heard of the magazine beforehand, but a quick interwebs search both intimidated and made me excited. The magazine is very well put together and has a pretty impressive distribution (unfortunately almost exclusively in Japan). In any event, a few emails back and forth and things were a go. HUGE was sending Sawako to Portland, and we were supposed to travel around the city to different bookstores and photograph and interview the owners. The little catch was that we were going to be doing most of this on Black Friday. Fun!

Early on Thanksgiving, I met up with Sawako and her friend Hitomi at the Ace Hotel (where else?) to go over the schedule. In order to try and stay ahead of the shopping rush — most specifically at Powell’s, we decided to get an early start. It was a particularly dark and rainy day, but thankfully most of our stops were within a few blocks of each other. I struggle when having to shoot with incandescent light, and I don’t have a proper filter kit to balance the film for tungsten, so things were a bit challenging. It was one of those days when I silently wished that I was shooting digitally so that I could just fix my white balance with a few clicks. Still, we made it work (and in the end I’m glad I stuck with film).

Day two was just about as nice a day as you could hope for in Portland in the Fall. The sun was out (sorta) and it was dry and the light was just about perfect. We wrapped with our last stop (Monograph Bookwerks) as the sun was going down and had dinner that night with friends and breakfast the next morning before Sawako had to leave for the airport. It was a fast-paced weekend to say the least.

Several days later, after I’d had a chance to go over all of the film, I decided I needed to head back out and do a little reshooting with a controllable human element. Note to self: bringing along a subject or two for something like this makes life so much easier. Luckily, my good friend Daniel Dixon was more than willing to oblige. We hopped around between my favorite three locations and ended at Powell’s. Thusly, we were able to grab the image HUGE chose for the cover and Dan is officially big in Japan. Bam.

HUGE is almost entirely written in Japanese (but with amazing English embellishments and headlines, as you can see), and the only place I know were to pick up a copy outside of Japan is Amazon. Even if you can’t read the language, the magazine is great to flip though. Please do pick up a copy — if only because you love me so much. And I know I say this about everything, but it truly was an honor to be asked to shoot for HUGE, let alone win the cover. I hope very much to be able to work with them again in the future. It’s a mini-dream come true to be published for something in Japan. My most sincere thanks go to Sawako-san, Hitomi, and Mr. Satoshi Taguchi!

As for notes: words by Sawako Akune. Coordination by Hitomi Thompson. My most special thanks to Daniel Dixon. All photos were shot with a Contax 645, Zeiss Ikon ZM, or Contax G2 using Kodak Portra 160 and 400. The end.

With Greylag

These are far, far overdue. As some of you may know, my friends in Greylag recently (read: a few months ago) finished their first country-wide tour, playing with Augustana. My proverbial hat goes off to the boys for an excellent job well-done. They’re now very, very hard at work on some new music. I can say from personal experience that you’ll want to keep tabs on these guys. Really (really).

Anyway, we happened to take these photos as promotional awhile back. I still like them, as I don’t usually find myself involved with enough projects that require copious amounts of cut up construction paper to be tossed around my living room. Four months later, and I’m still finding confetti in my clothes.

Also, right now, listen to Greylag’s debut record The Only Way to Kill You. It’s the business.

With SXSW — There and Back Again

I know that SXSW is already way old news, but I don’t care. And anyways, this won’t really be about SXSW because the best part of the whole trip for me was travelling there and back with some of my favorite people in the entire known universe. Although I suppose you should know that Greylag had the opportunity to play a few showcases in Texas, and the folks footing the bill figured it’d be better to drive the band and all the equipment down to Austin rather than fly. And so, the following are shots from the road to Texas from Oregon (and then back).

Driving from Portland to Austin takes a solid 35 hours. Factor in the kinds of miscellaneous delays, food breaks, and pee stops that accompany a group of six (or seven) people, and you’re easily looking at 40 hours on the road — most of which is barren wasteland. God help you if your van breaks down near, oh say, Melrose, New Mexico. If the coyotes don’t get ya, the locals probably will (no, seriously). But as someone who is A) from green, green Portland and B) only passing through, the desolation can be quite the beautiful change of pace, so I was excited to make the trip.

Since we had to make it down to Austin for a Greylag show, time didn’t really permit us to stop and look around until our return trip. As we drove through Moab, we were able to spend a few hours in Arches National Park, which promptly impressed us all (or at least me). Really, though, it’s amazing the number of different environments a drive like that will take you through. In a span of two days, we travelled through forests, rivers, mountains, deserts, plains, blizzards and heat waves. It’s enough to give one’s immune system a complex.

Landscapes aside, the real joy of trips like these is all the time spent in good company. It’s sometimes said that the road will test the mettle of one’s friendships, and I believe it. We all loved each other before we left, and the fact that we’re all still breathing is proof enough that the love is, indeed, stronger. I used to hate road trips, but that was before I realized why God made them. Now I look forward to each and every opportunity to travel with people like these (becoming a photographer helped, too, I bet). Yay, road. Yay.

With Greylag

Andrew and Dan are some of my closest friends, and I’m almost as fond of the music they make as I am of them. I spent a pretty sizable portion of 2011 following these guys around the continent with a camera and until now I’ve sat on the vast majority of the resulting photos at a loss as to how I was going to properly share them.

Well no longer!

To kick things off, I submit the following modest set of five images. These promo shots were taken to mark the auspicious occasion of Greylag signing to San Francisco-based label Ninth Street Opus, and just happen to be some of my favorites of the boys to date. I am especially fond of the first in the set. I think it’s the mountains that get me. Also, speaking of being signed, the band has a set of singles due out in only a few short weeks, so make a note of things in iCal.

So yeah. Expect to see the faces below frequenting my blog. I think we can all agree that it will be a blessing — like an unexpected-but-welcome mental back massage after a long and rewarding hard day’s work.

Oh, and if you aren’t already listening to their music yet, you should fix that. I think it’d be only fitting.