With Jarrod Renaud, Christmastime 2012

The year 2011 was winding down, it was close to Thanksgiving and I was home visiting family in Colorado. While there, I had an opportunity to get together and shoot some photos with a new friend of mine — a guy named Jarrod Renaud. Since then, Jarrod and I have become pretty close and this last Christmas, we had that same opportunity to meet up and take photos. I’ve really come to appreciate short, reoccurring sessions that allow me to kinda gauge my progress as a photographer. I consider shooting with Kara Caldwell something like that, and now hopefully I’ve begun the tradition with Jarrod.

So as the year 2013 begins to gear up, I figure it’s a good time to share just a few of my favorites from only a few weeks back. And, if I didn’t post these now I’d be running the risk of Spring showing up, and once that happens, snowy photos will totally feel out of place. So, ya know, there’s that too.

For those interested: all photos taken with various Contax cameras using Kodak Portra 160 and Tri-X 400.

Oh, and yeah! I just totally updated my portfolio. Almost completely restocked it with imagery from 2012 like some sort of visual fish pond. Maybe you’d like to see?

With my favorite (mostly) unpublished photos from 2012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 But were that not the case, I still wouldn’t have space here to include all of my unpublished favorites from 2012.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 Kinfolk – Winter Flowers

In my mind, every January opens a loop that we all move down and around, growing as the months unfold and the events of the year play out until it is closed in December, when everything gives way back to January and things begin anew. Thus, I see this as the season of finished circles and of endings and reflection. And in the spirit of reflection, I cannot think of photos more fitting to share than those which were shot all the way back in January.

In many ways, these photos set the tone for what the rest of my year would look like — quiet, composed portraits, improvised backdrops and a newly-formed appreciation for flowers. And, as the year has worn on and I’ve able to work with amazing people in awesome places, many of these photos have remained among my favorites. Even though I’ve partnered with Amy Merrick on numerous occasions, these stand apart from the rest to me as they were the result of our first cooperation. Perhaps that’s why I’ve thought them particularly orphaned as they’ve lain dormant for most of the year. We knew we wanted to submit them for publication somewhere, but weren’t sure what would be appropriate. Time got away from us, we shot other things (you may recall this story), and we found ourselves out of season for flowers. In the end, though, as with so much of my work this year, a number of these shots finally found a home in Kinfolk Magazine — and as the year began, so it ends.

So, with Christmas a mere 6 days away, and the year drawing to a close, the time is fast approaching where we all must (Mayans willing) begin another lap around the calendar. As I wind down the rest of 2012 with family, I reflect upon the year and all of the growth and friend-making and change it has brought with it. I hope that yours has been just as fulfilling. And as we look to begin 2013, I wish the utmost blessings upon each and every one of you, and of course, to all the most Merriest of Christmases!

Now lastly, some notes: flowers and styling were executed impeccably by Amy Merrick. Francesca Zmetra and Amy’s sister Micha were both kind enough to act as subjects. All photos were shot with either a Zeiss Ikon or Contax 645 using Kodak Portra 160. And please do check out the full story in Kinfolk Vol. 6! That’s all!

With Kinfolk – Herb Drying

Summer has gone by so fast (what a shame)! Mercifully, cooler weather is slowly creeping back into the schedule, and it’s nice enough outside that I can comfortably wear my Pendleton shirts without looking silly. In any event, it has become a regular privilege this year to shoot for Kinfolk Magazine. Yesterday marked the release of their fifth volume which you can order here. There’s probably not much more of a fallish thing to do than throw on a big wool sweater, pour yourself a flippin hot cup of coffee, and give the new issue a good read.

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you can pretend.

This time around, I was able to partner up again with my friend Amy Merrick (we worked together on this too) to do a story about drying herbs for fall cooking. Skye Velten lent us her substantial modeling skills, and after much debate we decided to shoot in my garage. This is interesting only in so much that it attests to Amy’s styling skills — my garage was an absolute ugly mess at the time we picked it as our location. A little elbow grease, paint-scraping and cat-litter-sweeping, though, and we had ourselves a bonafide herb cellar.

The best thing about this shoot is that my house still has a faint lavender-and-rosemary aroma. The worst thing about this shoot is the amount of photos that had to be nixed. Truly, I cannot remember the last time I had so much fun with a shoot and got so many good photos that ended up on the cutting room floor. I suppose that there is only so much page space that one story can lay claim to. But that’s why we all have blogs. Just for the record though, I really can be bad at playing the photo editor. I want to include everything. I cut fairly liberally, and there are still twenty-eight images in this post. Sheesh. With all that said, the resulting story for Kinfolk is something I am very proud of, and Amy’s writing more than makes up for the photos we had to leave behind.

In addition to the herb drying article, I was also able to shoot the product photography for the new issue. A few of my favorites are included below. My special thanks to Ms. Julie Pointer and (the incredibly lovely) Ms. Riley Messina, who were kind enough to do a little impromptu modeling.

And lastly, once again for those interested, all of these shots were taken with Kodak Portra 160 using either a Contax 645 or a Zeiss Ikon.

And with that I’ll leave you to the photos. Please do enjoy the new issue! If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and order a copy or two.

Happy October!