Archive for May, 2007



Just a no purpose shot from a walk I took after heading up to Milwaukee for the afternoon to visit an uncle of mine who was in the hospital (emergency double bypass surgery, add another check mark for heart attack risk factors.) After seeing him for a while, and being quite happy that he’s doing well and should fully recover, I stopped by Illinois Beach State Park.

Nice quite little beach front, with some woody areas also.

Otherwise, this has no real purpose other than making me happy. On the other hand, what real purpose does anything have other than making someone, somewhere, happy?

Admiration and Inspiration and (slight) Apprehension


I was busy when I was a senior in high school. I was photo editor for our school newspaper, I was a foreman (or some similar title) for the theater departments properties section/group, I worked out daily (I miss that), I had an active social life, an active romantic life, on and on. It was a pretty good experience.

On the other hand I did not direct a feature length movie and have it debut at the age of 19, see Kris Rey-Talley above. I did not write, direct, and edit a feature length movie by the age of 18, see Matt Mitchener below.

It is, for me, an awe inspiring site. I hate hearing about all the things the youth of today have wrong with them (today’s youths have always been screw-ups, it’s the nature of youth and the nature of “old people” to say this crap). I love documenting and watching the amazing things the youth of today do. And the phrase “youth of today” probably isn’t a phrase I should use, I should find something better, something more fair, but I can’t think of anything right now, so I’m going with it.

Watching the success of these two, plus many of their friends, is a truly gratifying site, and something I admire. It also worries me a bit, to be quite honest. Maybe it’s just my nature, maybe it’s something of the people I’ve known, but I worry about talented people burning themselves out. Doing so much, so early, that later on they won’t have the energy to do more. In some ways it sounds silly, but I think it happens.

Is life a marathon or sprint, or a mix? Maybe that’s over the top philosophical BS, not to mention the middle ground always ends up winning these debates, but it will provide me fodder for thought while I drive around tonight.

To be fair to these two though, they’re both pretty smart and I’m sure they’ll end up doing just fine for themselves and it’s probably more a problem with the old man doing the writing here than it is with them. Sometimes in life though you just want to see the best for good people.

Anyhow, the cast and crew, to much well earned applause, mine included, debuted Love.Blood.Kryptonite. last Tuesday. For 40K dollars, and a largely high school crew and cast, it was an impressive feat. While, it was an impressive feat all around, more so because of age. (I should also mention that I did a story on the making of the movie about a year back, which was how I got to know them.)

It makes me want to go do more with my life. And at the end of the day, if you can inspire someone isn’t that a pretty good day?



Okay, I don’t normally like photos of me. As with every artist, I have a wide variety of self-portraits, but those are for me. Some art is for the world, some is just for yourself.

In this case, I’m good with the world. It’s really just about having fun.

Simple story, I went to get my hair done today. I used to be a long hair (down to my ass) and a hair cut lasted 30 seconds and I moved on. Now, I get my hair done. I tell my stylist what I want, which is either, “Make me look good” or “Make women want me,” and let her go town.

This currently involves a whole host of things being done to my not of which I’m sure I understand. I understand one thing, when she’s done my hair looks good. Today when she got done for fun and demonstration she put my hair up in Mohawk kind of thing. I left it in, I’m leaving it in, and I’m going to learn how to put it in. (Also to be fair, this image is from about 5 hours after she did the Mohawk much of that spent driving with the windows open at high speed.)

It’s great. It’s just a total break from reality. It’s fun, it’s different, it’s probably inappropriate for work, but really, who cares?

Anyhow, Lexi rocks. And in a blatant plug, Beauty Skool Dropout, 773.661.0310. If this time follows past precedent, women will be running their hands through my hair for the next 2 months.

And as such, life is good.

Different Visions


At my “day job” we have an arrangement where the photographer shots, captions and then the designers adjust the images. The is fine and dandy, on occasion.

Usually when I shot I see through the whole process to and can envision the final image as I’m creating the image. So while I may be see this something in front of me, I can also see where I’m going to have to crop, adjust levels to get the appropriate contrast or adjust colors to get the white balance accurate to the scene.

The problem is that while I can see through this whole process the designers don’t. They weren’t there in the first place to see what’s important and know the background of an image. Their skills are variable, their time limited and hence their adjustments aren’t always what I’d like them to be. On top of that while they may adjust a few images a week, probably not more than 10, it takes hundreds to do it well, if you ask me.

That difference in experience is often the difference between seeing what’s in front of you, straight out of the camera, and what’s possible with some reasonably small, but important tweaking.

Many a year ago I did some work for a studio and some days I’d come in and just have to clean. 8 hours of cleaning, it was a real blast. It had to be done and I was getting paid. I would clean for hours, and the studio would still look horrible and dirty. Then at the end I’d sweep. As soon as I was done sweeping the studio looked great. Sometimes a photo would need to get rushed, I’d have to finish my cleaning before I was really done, so I’d just make sure to sweep real quick and get started on the new shoot. As long as I swept everything looked clean.

I learned a lot of good lessons at that job. One of them being that doing those last smaller steps are vital to making the larger job shine.



This is largely just to post, you’ve been warned.

Went to a display of drawings this evening for possible concepts for the Bloomingdale Trail. The Bloomingdale Trail is an old elevated rail line running through Chicago that is going to get turned into a bike and pedestrian path. It’ll be great when it happens. That’s years away and I want it today. Oh well.

Got the usual shots, life was fine, was chomping on some excellent chocolates they had. Probably shouldn’t have been, but the job has to have some perks.

Decided to stick around a bit to play with some shafts of light coming between some of the display panels. This was one of images from that. Probably won’t get used, but whatever. Made me feel good. Not because it’s a great photo, but because.

What else can you ask for out of a day?

Lost and Confused, or Break Time


Some days I’m not sure if the universe is trying to tell me something, or if it’s just trying to screw with my head. I don’t know.

It’s really rather annoying, and maybe fun, but definitely more annoying.

I want a break from reality, from constant overwhelming quantities of work and personal confusion. (I always thought life would be clearer when I “grew-up.” I don’t think we ever grow up anymore. I don’t think I’ll ever feel like an adult.)

And the really funny thing, I know in a few days it will all change. And for no particular purpose, with no rhyme and certainly no reason, but it will change. It will be by some random, wonderful event, it always is.

Such is the joy and torment of life.

I feel deprieved


I feel I should start by pointing out that I have some experience with protests. Not just experience shooting them for the paper, but participating. When I was younger I regularly joined in protests against The Gulf War, or to be more accurate, The First Gulf War.

The marches I joined in were always a good bonding experience. I met a lot of nice people, and grew closer to many of my friends. They were overall a good time, no party, but fun and we expressed our political beliefs.

I think they were also ultimately ineffective, even beyond the whole war happening anyway part.

It makes is interesting to watch the immigration march each year. The political savvy of those organizing the march is impressive. Maybe I set the standard too low because of my experience; the line of moms with strollers, a line of flags from a variety of nations, a well behaved group of marchers and American flags everywhere, just everywhere, enough to make almost all the Forth of July parades I’ve seen look unpatriotic.

Maybe it’s just me, but I love how savvy that is. After all, how can not want to give legal immigrant status to a group of people who love this country? This isn’t a group of people proudly proclaiming their love of their country of birth, and I’m sure they do love that country, but this is a group of people showing their love of this country. The mass of American flags are simple, it’s obvious, but it’s effective. It is also, to me, very American to protest and play the PR game. It also makes it very difficult for me, and much of the media to create an image without an American flag.

It’s all and all a very impressive display of thoughtfulness and political intelligence.

On to the part that really impresses me personally about the immigration marches though. When I marches, we marched, we chanted, we closed down streets, we annoyed the cops, all the 60’s stereotypes. We did not sit down in the street though so we could go from seated to jumping in the air in a gigantic screaming wave. We did not stop the entire middle part of the march, let the front part walk ahead till there was a half a block of empty space so we could have a 50 yard dash. We didn’t have any protest or march games. We just marched.

We marched angry at the direction the country was going and I just don’t think groups of angry people can cause positive change as much as groups of happy people, especially when the happy people just want to be able to live here, happily. Did I mention the political savvy? Those who happen to see the march saw over a hundred thousand happy flag waving people.