Admittedly, I feel a little guilty posting a blog while in India (isn’t there myriad more awesome things I could be doing here?), but it’s after dark and my body has no idea what time or what day it is and I am up and can’t sleep. And in any case, I’ve been meaning to post these photos for a few weeks now, so I’m just going to chalk this up to ‘being a little extra-special efficient.’ Here goes.
Shooting with Kara has become something of a yearly tradition. I’ve been taking photos of this woman almost since I’ve known what medium format was and I’ve come to regard our sessions together as benchmarks —a shoot with Kara for every year that I’ve been studying photography.
The first time I pointed a camera at Ms. Caldwell, I was using a Rollei SL66 with so many light leaks that every other photo was completely unusable. The few that did turn out, though, are still some of my favorites (this and this and this). The second time I shot with Kara was the first time I used studio lights ever. Our third session is now below. It was very laid back and shot mostly on her staircase. Here’s to another year and another shoot. May there be many, many more.
Of course, notes: all of these photos were shot using Kodak Portra 160 (except for the Polaroids, obviously). I used a Leica M3, a Contax 645, and a Polaroid 195 (just so you know).
At the risk of sounding broken-record-ish, I will say again that my favorite part of taking photos is having an excuse to meet people. I first learned of Vera Balyura through my friends at Industry of One, and a few months ago, while in New York shooting with Kinfolk Magazine, I was able to meet up with her in real life to take some photos. Vera gets a gold star for impressive multi-facetedness. The lady is a talented model-turned-painter-turned-photographer-turned-designer-turned-entrepreneur who makes eclectic jewelry pieces and dispenses them like so many gold-plated, delicious mentos through her own boutique chain named Verameat. Vera is energetic, affable, outgoing, and purposeful. In short, Vera gets it done.
We met at her apartment in the East Village and spent most of morning wandering around the neighborhood (which also happens to house Verameat’s flagship store), shooting and talking and trying not to sweat too much. Almost on a whim, by late afternoon, we had hopped a cab up to the Bronx, to visit Sylvia Plachy’s show at the Andrew Freedman Home. As the light was fading, and the staff was pushing us out the door, we snapped the last few photos of the day. Back in the East Village, we wrapped everything up with some thai food and Moonrise Kingdom — really of those sort of random days that I imagine people in New York have all the time.
In any case, the take-away here is that Vera is just impressively ambitious. She recently opened up a new store over in Brooklyn (which is brag-able), and has her eye on a west coast expansion. So as I said goodbye to her on my way to catch the subway, I couldn’t help but ask myself what the heck I’m doing with my own life. All in all, a good day.
Amber was right there at the top of my “People to Visit in Austin” list. She and I have known each other online and by reputation for quite awhile now, and I was excited to meet her. The lady is a talented model and a great photographer in her own right, but it was just plain good to finally get together. I still hold that the best part of being a photographer is the opportunity to always be meeting awesome folk. Ms. McConnell is awesome folk.
Essentially though, for our shoot, we walked the neighborhood in which I was staying, trespassing through various people’s front yards. Quintessential run-and-gun type-stuff. As is almost always the case with things like this, I wish we had had more time to sit down and plan something out properly. For what it was, though, I think the shots came out quite nicely. I am especially fond of the Polaroids (although that is almost always the case). In any case, here’s to round two! I, for one, can’t wait.
While I was down in Texas, I was finally able to meet up with Rockie Nolan. I say finally because in the last two months, we’ve come a hair’s breadth from making contact on three separate occasions. It finally took something like SXSW to do the trick.
Rockie is one of my favorite lady photographers, but is also a legitimately rad person. My only regret is that we had so little time together. As it happens, Ms. Nolan is graduating from SCAD in only a few weeks, before she moves up north to Brooklyn. I suppose this just means I have yet another reason to haul myself back out to New York. Hard life.
On a side note, is there a law in Austin requiring homeowners to plant cacti in their front yards? Cause I’d gladly comply with said law. One of the most striking things to me in Austin were all of the giant agave plants, so please forgive me if I went a bit overboard here. I’m kinda jealous just cause I can’t have a massive ball of spikes growing in my front yard here in Portland. Flippin rain. Flippin lack of sunlight. Again, hard life.
Where to begin with this one? For starters, it’s a fact that Anya Marina’s newest record Felony Flats just dropped today(ish). It’s also a fact that I was lucky enough to have Felony Flats be the first real album cover I’ve shot, which is kind of a big deal. So I guess it’s been sort of a big day for her and I both.
In all earnestness, though, being able to work with Anya was such a privilege. She really is a sweet and humble and unassuming person. Our first meeting was more about our mutual love for Russia rather than photography. And I don’t think I’ll ever forget the afternoon I met Anya at her home to discuss work where she ended up making me tea and stir fry as we talked about location options. More than anything, though, the lady just exudes an atmosphere of comfortability.
Gushing aside, Anya’s down-to-earth and easy-going nature simply made it really easy to work with her. In total, we ended up shooting for about a day and a half, and I can confidently say that more than a few of the resulting images are some of my all-time favorites. Below are the photos that were included in the packaging artwork for Felony Flats, along with one or two or three of my own personal favorites.
Regarding the album itself, I always seem to get in trouble whenever I try describing what bands sound like. Felony Flats has become a bit of a personal favorite for Anya, though, and she talks more in depth about things here and here and here.
In short, though, all you really need to know is that Felony Flats is totally jam-worthy, Anya is flippin awesome, and if you haven’t already gone here to check things out, ya should.