Sunday, December 20, 2009

Art and Life

I am so impacted by the work of Lejon Loggins who is addressing the way too ignored issue of so many young people dying in Oakland with his powerfully created "Not Just a Number" obituaries.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Close-up: Robyn Twomey at The Luggage Store

What a completely unexpected and gracious review.
If I can continue the rest of my life leaving a trail of this impression behind, with photography or otherwise, I'll be satisfied.

Close-up: Robyn Twomey at The Luggage Store

And yes, I am deeply "star struck by the mystery of human radiance."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't Gimme No Bammer Weed

On the heels of the Obama administration's memo to end the raids on marijuana dispensaries, I'm sharing a story I did for Fortune Magazine on medicinal marijuana in September. The pioneers in this game are such political mavericks. Stephen DeAngelo (Harborside Health, Oakland), Richard Lee (Oaksterdam), JoAnna LaForce (Farmacy, LA), Robert Jacobs (Peace in Medicine, Sebastopol) and Irvin Rosenfeld (federally recognized patient, FL).

Check out the Photo Gallery:

And extra special shout to the patients, like 19 year old Jordan who is fighting Lukemia. Jordan already has a hard enough fight with cancer. He can live just a bit easier knowing he doesn't have to fight for his medicine too.

Assignment: Medicinal Marijuana, Fortune Magazine
Photo Editor: Scott Thode
Photo Assistants: Ricardo Richey and Ha Huynh

Friday, September 25, 2009

Michelle Rhee-interpreted

In January of this Year, Time Magazine ran a cover shoot I did with DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Photo editor Dietmar Liz-Lepiorz proposed the idea of her holding a broom. I thought it would be a powerful statement to show her cleaning up the system. Well, the DC teachers took it personal, claiming the broom symbolized her sweeping them out, even deeming her a witch. The cover became fuel for the teachers' fire, as seen on PBS (see May blog post).

This coming Sunday, The Washington Post Magazine attempts to reinterpret the images with a cover story on Michelle Rhee including a gallery of images, many that were originally shot but not used for the Time story.

Writer Marc Fisher in the Post story writes:
We are back to the broom, because for all the control and all her pride about her straight talk, Rhee was surprised, even hurt, by the reaction to that photo. "It was not what I was expecting. I was surprised by how other people saw it -- me being a witch, which I don't get. I personally thought it sent the right message -- sweeping change and cleaning house."
I'm still in awe at how much impact this singular image had on her reputation. The American Federation of Teachers also called me this week, asking if they could use the broom image for a flyer for their rally. I had to say no. I'm not about vilifying an advocate who puts no one but children first. The teachers are desperate to use my image for their cause, and I'm on the other end of the rope tugging to not let go of the integrity and original intentions behind the image making.

Thrilled that my yawner finally made the cut.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept 11. 2009

the luggage store gallery
1007 market street
san francisco, ca 94103
tel. 415. 255.5971
Sept 11 - Oct 18, 2009
Reception: Friday, Sept 11, 6 - 8pm
Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, 12 - 5pm

click here for more info

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So Long to my First

When I heard Vibe Magazine was folding, I was momentarily shocked. Then I realized I haven't shot for them in years, but it did reflect the curtain closing tighter and tighter on my editorial career. George Pitts (former Director of Photography at Vibe) was one of the first few people to ever entertain me for a meeting. I had been sleeping on my friend's couch in bedstuy for the summer and would hit the subway every day with at least 2 portfolios. Doors were being closed on me every other hour and I was tired of meeting no one, being broke, and dripping sweat. Then George gave me 10 minutes. I was nervous sitting on the black leather couch in the lobby. Vibe's photographers were such a huge inspiration to me, especially Dan Winters and Dana Lixenberg. Dora Samosi led me down the stairs and everyone who could took the time to look at my work. It was my first portfolio and was full of my friends, all natural light.  I was so pleased to hear George say my pictures were soulful, and take the time to comment on nearly every image. That was all the juice I needed to keep on pounding the pavement. When I got back to the bay, he hired me to shoot Ledisi. It was August 2002 and my first editorial assignment from a NY publication. I was still working as a photo researcher at Wired Magazine and did the shoot on the weekend in their kitchen. The shoot validated me as a professional photographer and gave me the mojo to keep on keepin on. 

Thanks Vibe, for giving me inspiration and opportunity. 
(George Pitts has a nice synopsis of his time there on SPD:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Days Never Cease to Amaze

Assignment: Twitter Founders (Evan Williams and Biz Stone)
Client: Time Magazine
Photo Editor: Amy Hoppy
Photo Assistants: Ricardo Richey and Dawn Pavli

The assignment was to photograph the Twitter guys for the Time 100 issue. Despite the 80 mph winds on the roof shot, no catastrophes had in our 5 sets in one hour frenzy. And the fellas were more than lovely. We even spoke in 140 characters or less. Turn profile had to be reduced to "tofile" and other forms of reduction bred a new school form of internet patois, or netois if you will.  Packin up the gear to get some much needed grub. Elevator broken. Gotta come back in an hour. No way in hell we are taking all this gear down from the 4th floor. Cesar salad, glass of red, arrive back at location. P Diddy is in the building. P Diddy is in the elevator. Rob Diggah has no shame in her game. Feels like the good ole days of stalking at ksol.

Exsighting. Diddy even tweeted the pic for his nearly 1 million followers. Thanks for letting me get my paparazzi on. With much thanks to Alan, the elevator repair man / partner in crime, and Dawn with the magliner and undercover reporting.  

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Image hits the Newshour

Assignment: Michelle Rhee, DC Education Chancellor
Photo Editor: Dietmar Liz-Lepiorz
Assistants: Gerard Gaskin and Aurelie Graillot

Last November I was assigned by Dietmar Liz Lepiorz at Time Magazine to photograph DC education chancellor Michelle Rhee. 

A secondary image ran inside. The shot of her hands crossed was originally in the magazine. A few hours before press, they decided to go with a "softer" look, so used the head shot. (They left the desk shot on the website).

But it was the cover image that seemingly incited a controversial response, that even got a little time on the Newshour May 5. Here's a nice bootleg clip.

Can you blame it on the image?
Did the photograph really have the effect of demoralizing the teachers? 
Or did the image reinforce already negative feelings the community had and give them ammunition to interpret it with bias? 

And just for the record, here is another shot that didn't make the magazine. And I don't think seeing this image would have won the teachers over to Michelle Rhee.

What would they be saying if Time ran this one? 


And now for my fave, and quite frankly the most honest...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Who doesn't want more Kobe?

Assignment: Kobe Bryant for Complex Magazine in Sacramento, CA
Photo Editor: Marian Isel Barragan
Photo Assistants: Ricardo Richey and Dawn Pavli
Stylist: Kelly McCabe
Groomer: Brynn Doering
Chimin In: Noah Callahan-Bever, Complex Editor in Chief and Mark Ecko, Founder 
Retoucher: Vanessa Ynda at FIX Studios
Layout Design: Tim Leong

A few months back I had the uh-may-zing opportunity to photograph the multi talented Kobe Bryant for the cover of Complex Magazine. We had an hour with the mega star who was pleased to sit and even more pleased to listen to Wu Tang's first album. 

It's rare that a magazine picks some of the best imagery and uses design that complements and showcases both the concept and the photography. A true collaboration from initial ideas with the photo editor, to a willing subject, to the final phenomenal layout by Tim Leong. If only we could have had 5 or 6 more pages ;-) Here a few that didn't make the cut.

Paul Washburn also made some nice video of the shoot and interview for Here's a little cut that Paul souped up exclusive for this blog. 

The nicest womanizer I ever met. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Behind the Scenes at the White House (and Amtrak)

Robert Gibbs for Time Magazine in the White House Press Briefing Room
Photo Editor: Leslie dela Vega
Assistant: Nick Jraba 
2nd assist / Mic holder: Shannon Twomey

In February I had one of the best shoots yet. I know, I always say that, but this was full of giddy exaltation. The assignment, to photograph press secretary Robert Gibbs... at the White House. Booya! What a great opportunity. We hopped on the train from NY and met Nick, who crammed 4 power packs and a crap load of gear into his trusty Honda Civic. Moms was calling me every other hour to update me on the whereabouts of Obama, with hopes of a sighting. The above picture is pretty much exactly what Leslie envisioned, but of course we wanted to get as many variations as possible with our 30 minutes. So, here's what else we were able to talk Mr. Gibbs into (and he ain't an easy one to assuage) in the 15 minutes we ended up getting ...


But the best was yet to come. Since we didn't get our 30 minutes, we got to hang with the CNNers and papparazzi the first fam getting on Marine One for Camp David. I love Shannon's image the most. She was so excited to see Obama, she lifted her head up to see him in person, instead of through the lens, and this is what she got...

good thing I was on backup for moms...

But it doesn't stop there. As if the day couldn't get better, we get on amtrak and run into Dennis Kucinich. And as much as I love Barack, I do really love me some Dennis... 

You know it's real when I bust out a Fire Marshall Bill smile. And check out his young wifey (whut? whut?!) ...

All in a day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Back in the Day

When I finally get to it, cleaning isn't all that bad. I have one shelf that consists of random snapshots that is in desperate need of some organization. My book keeper says I need to honor my space, so I'm trying to get this place spiffy so my creative energy can flow. And then I came across a time when all I cared about was music. A scrapbook consisting of my ticket stubs which even brags a few autographs. In middle school, I lived down the street from KSOL (they no longer exist), and I would ride my bike up there anytime I heard someone famous on the station. I'd wait in the hallway or in the parking lot to get an autograph. Even though it wasn't pictures, there was some innate obligation to witness and document. It was usually psuedo stars like The Jets and Bobby Brown (he rode my bike!). One day I went up to get Yo Yo's autograph. I was waiting in the hallway for about an hour, when some random dude (who reeked of the wacky tobacky) finally said, "Do you want me to just go inside and get her autograph for you?" I was relieved. He came back with a beautiful autograph (on classic letterhead) from Yo Yo and said, "I'm gonna give you my autograph too, cuz I'm gonna be real famous one day." I love when people know their personal legend. Thanks for reminding me 2Pac.