The New Electric Sound is a great group of guys that bring a serious amount of energy to their shows.
I drove out to Provo, UT, to shoot the band playing at Provo staple, Velour, which led to a morning-after shoot with the band at a local food joint and a subsequent one-on-one with lead singer Scott Vance in the Salt Flats for thirty minutes before he took a flight back to Los Angeles.
Format: Full-Frame Digital and 120/6x17 Film
The Eureka Zeppelin was a passion project to bring a commercially sustainable zeppelin to California for recreational use. Monetization to fund the flights of the largest zeppelin in the world by volume included advertising and making the airship available to scientists to whom the unique flight characteristics of such a craft were particularly conducive to their area of study. And if you saw Disney/Pixar's animated film, Up, the "evil" zeppelin's engine and propeller sounds were recorded directly from Eureka's engines.
These images were taken on one of several trips that Eureka took between Moffett Field and Long Beach, flying for about eight hours between one thousand and a few thousand feet above the California coastline.
Unfortunately, Eureka has since been dismantled and returned to Germany after profitability became unsustainable. To this day, only a handful of pilots are even certified to fly such a craft.
Format: Full-Frame Digital
Derrick Davis is a vocalist and Broadway performer who currently plays Mufasa and Scar in Disney's "The Lion King" on Broadway. Davis is also a founding member of Lights Out on Broadway and has made appearances in numerous theatre and television productions in dozens of cities across the country.
These images are from a test shoot with the aim of capturing the intricacies of the changes in skin and muscle across the human form while singing and performing live. Meant to be printed at larger-than-life sizes, these images are tack sharp thanks to the use of PhaseOne medium format digital systems made possible for this shoot by New York City's Digital Transitions.
This selection depicts several film snapshots taken while in NYC and will continue to and expanded as multiple trips take place.
Format: 120/6x6 Film
he Magazea of Gushie in Ghana, West Africa, is the most respected woman in the township, second only to the Chief. Her opinion is highly regarded, and her trust must be gained by any foreigners looking to work with the farmers in the area -- even those that promise to help have to be vetted.
This area of Northern Ghana is home to numerous shea nut trees used to make shea butter -- a key ingredient in countless hair and beauty products manufactured and sold in the West. Middleman upon middleman in the area, however, capitalized upon the industry by creating a chain of commerce that squeezed margins incredibly thin. Each "business man" would pit one farmer against the next, buying from the lowest bidder in what was often a bad deal that left farmers in the area hardly selling at break-even prices in fear of not selling their crop at all.
Just Shea entered the community with the hopes of remedying this cyclical demise by creating silos to store the nuts during the entire harvest season. By banding together with enough product at the end of the season when demand was increasing, Gushie's farmers had more selling power and greater control over their yield and who they sold to, which enabled them to earn far more than before and -- for the first time in history -- what amounts to a fair market value.
Loans that were set up at the beginning of the program to sustain the farmers' families while they waited for a better time to sell were all repaid. And in the process, the farmers -- most of which were the women, and many of whom were pregnant -- received safety gear such as rubber boots and gloves to protect them from life-threatening bites from the black mamba snakes that roamed through the tall grasses from which fallen shea nuts are gathered.
Just Shea creates shea butter products directly from the harvests of these farms. The profits it makes from selling these products in stores in New York City are then put back into helping those in Gushie.
The Magazea's red hands are dyed from years of applying a red ointment believed to ward off evil spirits and bad health.
Format: 120/6x7 Film
Wayne Smith is a performer and vocal artist in New York City.
Format: Medium-Format Digital
Ghana's Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world by surface area and, among other things, is the workplace of thousands of enslaved children, may of whom were sold by their own extended family members in whose care they'd been left for as little as $50 (USD). Unfortunately, this is not a unique phenomenon throughout the practice of modern-day slavery, but is perhaps something many in developed countries do not quite realize.
Lake Volta's waters are ridden with tree branches and roots beneath its shallow surface that continuously snag fishing lines and nets dropped by fishermen in the region. The children enslaved to these fishermen -- often despite not having learned to swim properly -- are sent in the water to untangle the nets. Needless to say, aside from being bad for business, these children's safety is not a priority of their captors.
These images were taken on a mission to help document and uncover the spread of children that had been trafficked from Ghana's poorest costal villages to the Northeastern Volta region. In many cases, rescued children who are returned to their families are often still at incredible risk of returning to their previous situation if not cared for, educated, or even taken in by volunteers along the coastal cities from where they are often bought or taken.
Medium: 35mm film
NOTOPIA features objective, frontal photographs of mobile home communities across California. Each mini-series is based within the same community. Series One, based in Half Moon Bay, is marked with particularly well-maintained homes, as the affluence, desirable cliffside property, and proximity to Silicon Valley make these homes quite expensive compared to the average mobile home price. Series Two, based in Palm Desert, also features well-maintained homes, as its occupants are mostly retirees who have the time, resources, and desire to display their personalities through their homes’ exteriors.
The mobile home lends itself to the panoramic format, within which it is possible to include the entire structure within the frame, as the large-format, 4½-foot-long print can show each individual detail and customization the owners add to their homes.
The series explores several aspects about human nature with respect to housing, "the American Dream," and personality-display.
On one hand, it considers the housing market and the mass production of the home not only as a home, such as in track housing communities, but as an object that can be transplanted throughout one’s life.
Other work that I do, in conjunction with this piece, goes further to speak about the idea of the "American Dream" in considering housing as a right. Without commenting on a specific view, the piece prompts viewers to consider the desire for every American to own a home in relation to what is or might be done in order to realize that desire – which has been, inevitably, the invention of the mass-produced home.
NOTOPIA specifically addresses this desire as a utopian ideal – the product of an idealistic mindset toward housing that creates a society constantly trying to escape the banality of its own repetition by slightly altering individual structures. With new paint, custom landscaping, and ‘yard trinkets’ constantly changing in these communities over the decades -- also dependent on the occupants of the homes who are, here, relatively unrestricted by homeowners' associations (HOAs) to which other types of track-housing communities are beholdent -- these communities ironically suggest this idealistic thinking toward housing is that of an unobtainable and merely imagined circumstance of dreams.
This work closely relates to Bernd and Hilla Becher’s series of industrial buildings in the Ruhr Valley and even more so to works of the Becher’s students, such as Thomas Ruff’s Hauser building portraits. The similarity in construction and emphasis on similar design in those buildings of which was a particular focus of Ruff (and those of the Bechers) is of a similar interest in the NOTOPIA series, wherein each home is built on one of a handful of original designs, and where each and every slight difference helps these identical structures become their own, recognizable havens. The same precise, calculated, and controlled composition supports a certain objectivity and forgetfulness of the camera’s position when viewing the piece. And the frontal view, contrary to the Becher’s multiple-angle approach, keeps the subject on the focal point of any home in these communities with which the public is so familiar: the street-side exterior.
Format: 120/6x17 Film
After two launch attempts on previous nights failed due to imperfect weather conditions, NASA JPL's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite launched out of Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Delta II rocket the morning of January 31st, 2015.
Scientists argue that accurately mapping current soil moisture levels is the last step in creating a complete weather model, as the amount of moisture evaporated into the atmosphere around the world heavily impacts temperature and other weather factors every day. Additionally, gaining accurate soil moisture data will also enable better predictions for flood behavior as scientists will be able to better estimate the ground's ability to absorb water in a given area.
With the mission of scanning and measuring levels of moisture in the soil for the first time across the entire globe, there are countless ways that SMAP's research will impact science and everyday human life. This is just the beginning.
Format: 120/6x17 Film
As tourist-ridden as it is, the French Quarter is the epitome of New Orlean's historical center. Beyond the stone sidewalks and behind its 18th-century French architecture, however, lay beautiful sanctuaries of internal courtyards.
Kept up by the occupants that have to be wealthy to afford the prices of living in the French Quarter, the courtyards between these neighborhood walls are largely kept private, each serving as a place for respite from the commotion just outside.
Walking down the streets of the French Quarter, however, one can catch just a glimpse of the peace that waits for someone to open the gate.
Shopping windows of the most well-regarded brands in the industry are meticulously arranged and photographed at various stores in cities that include Paris, Rome, Venice, and Florence.
Format: 120/6x6 Film
A house that once belonged to Huell Howser, the Volcano House was originally built by a rocket scientist -- and the home's interior amenities, including completely original mid-century furnishings and a metal control-room-style panel for every light switch in the house certainly speak to the occupation and era of the creator himself (if the UFO-like design wasn't enough).
Sitting 150 feet high on top of a dormant cinder cone volcano in Newberry Springs, California, the Volcano House lacks anything but individuality and one of the best views of the night sky California has to offer.
Howser willed the home to Chapman University upon his passing, which gave opportunity to then photograph the home over a three-day period before it was subsequently sold to another excited owner September, 2015.
With two stores total (a South Congress location and a separate downtown flagship), By George is an Austin institution for the fashion-infatuated.
But By George proves to be more than just fashion.
From the laid-back seating area to soaps and candles, to bowls and kites, to employees with the best 100:100:100 friendly to helpful to chill ratio of any store you've ever walked into, By George firmly grounds itself more as a lifestyle and less as a store. And "being" By George is truly something to aspire to be. If everyone "were" By George, the world would be a better place.
Shelves and tables curated with a small selection of books, housewares, spa-smelling and colorful geometric bath soaps, a very select collection of three Le Labo candles, and an incredible fully functioning sailboat-shaped kite round out the store's offerings. Centered around neither men nor women, but instead around good sense for what's right, these are items anyone would find tasteful.
An excellent and refined men's shoe collection complements that of the ladies' and offers a can't-go-wrong shoe-shopping experience for potentially uncertain male shoppers; but worry not, "fashionistos," for you will be equally pleased with the likes of Lanvin and Common Projects.
Meanwhile, women's staples like bags, jeans, and tasteful dressing rooms with great mirrors comfort the female shopper while her man discovers -- perhaps for the first time -- what it's like to fall in love with shoes, bags, and French for himself as the soft yet durable leather of WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie opens his imagination.
From its wares to its walls, By George exhibits beauty that resonates throughout those lucky enough to experience its fine treasures, the main affair of which might just be what perfectly melds the mid-century modern with the contemporary: the tantalizing twin Julie Lansom Sputnik pendant lights from L'ArcoBaleno, whose hand-painted, white, wooden frames were also hand-woven with blue and gold cotton thread by Lansom herself in her Paris studio.
Those that wish to experience the remarkable By George will have to visit Austin, which is itself a beautiful and quickly maturing city of youth, technology, art, culture, and a splash of country charm. While both the downtown and South Congress stores are worth a visit, the latter is the more open and enchanting of the two if you only have time for one...and it's also the store covered in these images.
Thankfully for the whole world, By George's curated goods can be seen on its site, too, at ByGeorgeAustin.com.
Of Sound and Science comes is the culmination of an experiment and collaboration with an Intersection of Art and Science course and NASA JPL in Pasadena. The piece is inspired by ideas surrounding energy transference -- specifically, the kinetic energy of air particles when moved by sound and the absence of this interaction and subsequent wave creation in space to the absence of air in its vacuum.
Here, the power of a bass speaker launches paint into the air, creating a visual representation of the energy that now be seen in the negative space of this vacuum. The vibrant colors, elegance, and intricate, energetic forms of the shapes created through this method signify the sense of power lost in the absence of sound in space despite the massive celestial happenings that occur every day, with or without our witness.
Format: Full-Frame Digital
Film is perhaps the most organic, beautiful photographic medium. People's infatuation with film goes beyond the "cool" factor or the "hipster" invasion we can't seem to escape. It's not about "bespoke" or "handmade." In the end, film captures our imaginations because of its ability to surprise.
More than anything, it's film's natural reaction with light particles in an entirely organic and not necessarily repeatable way that gives it the ability to surprise us. The lack of instant feedback and the subsequent unveiling that takes place while developing or printing is another novelty of the film shooting experience that keeps the excitement going long after the triggering of the shutter.
These images are a culmination and ongoing, running collection of film shots, some "finished," and some completely raw, straight from the scanner -- dust, scratches, and all.
It takes a lot of work to keep film going. Film stocks (some of the best in the world and, recently, my go-to: Fuji Reala) are dropping every day. But some companies, like CineStill (they're actually creating new film stocks), give us hope.
(These images may or not be seen elsewhere on the site -- why discriminate?)
Format: 120, 6x6/6x7/6x17 Film
Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 160, Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Portra 800
Fuji Reala 100, Fuji Velvia 50