Finished up another bit of international travel with my fist trip to the continent of Africa. We went to South Africa specifically, which the northerners call "Africa Light". They seem to think that if you've only been to South Africa, then you really haven't been to Africa. Sort of a funny thing to hear. Either way it's a beautiful country. More to come....
Good times over in Austria. For whatever reason, I did the least amount of shooting on this trip compared to all other in the past. Travel always brings on great experiences no matter what. Perhaps the funniest and unexpected came out of the need for a bathroom. During a long drive, we stopped at a market in a small town to pee and get food for lunch. I couldn't find the bathroom and tried asking the two workers in the back. They obviously knew very little English, and had no idea what I was saying. After trying every word they might know, I moved onto the universal sign for a guy going to the bathroom, the actual motion of doing it. They instantly knew what I needed and showed me the way. When I came back out, one of the guys was still there and asked me with a very Austrian accent "Ver ah you from?" I replied simply with "California", to which he screamed "AAAAHHHHH, SCHWARZENEGGER!!!"
Went to Chennai, India for a client last month, making it the second time I've been to India in the last 6 months. Funny where the camera will take you. Any time you travel that far for a shoot, no matter how much fun you're having, you have to make time shoot for yourself. Which is precisely what these images are. The people and things I saw while aimlessly wondering around that foreign city. There were a lot of very noticeable differences between Chennai and the places I visited up north (Delhi, Agra, and jaipur). Firstly, the people down south seemed to be much more relaxed. They were still trying to sell you on something, but it wasn't nearly as often or with the same aggression. Which was a big plus. Overall, I think it didn't have the character of the northern cities, but that could just be my experience. One of my favorite parts of the northern trip was all the Chai tea. It was everywhere. Granted, we were there in the winter, but it didn't seem to be as much of thing down in Chennai. And when it was, the tea itself had a completely different taste. I was told they don't use a lot of spices like the northerners do.
Keep scrolling down to see lots of images from the 1st trip to India.
The Taj Mahal is quite something. That's obvious ahead of time, but you can't possibly understand until you're standing in front of it. It's not just the Taj though, it's how they laid the grounds out that really ties it all together. The way you're lead in, and forced to see people standing in front of it at many different distances gives you an unreal sense of scale. The symmetry, detail, and the way light lives around the structure is something I've seen anywhere else. Really amazing experience, but probably not my favorite. Just based on size, The Taj takes it, but on overall detail and ridiculousness, have to give it to La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Gaudi was a god damn mad man. Agra was in interesting place to check out as well. You can probably classify it as a shithole, but whatever. We were lucky enough to be staying at a place with a rooftop balcony that looked over the whole city. That was an experience in itself. There was so much life on all the rooftops in Agra. Seemed to be where all the residents hung out. And if you just closed your eyes and listened, that was a whole other thing. Couldn't really make sense of it. It was a strange mixture of animals, kids playing, people talking, and what seemed like screaming. Then you get the daily "call to prayer", which I can't get enough of.
Not sure there is way to describe New Delhi that would do it justice in any way. I wasn't able to spend a ton of time there, but couldn't be happier with what we experienced. There is so much going there all the time, that you can't possibly make sense of it. If you're not from there, or have been living there for an extended period of time, don't even think about driving. The city streets are chaos. And that's coming from someone who loves to drive, everywhere. So thankful I did not have a car in Delhi. Let the locals handle that task. At any given point, you'll be sharing the streets with cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, motor rickshaws, dogs, cats, monkeys, cows, bulls, people, and who knows what else. The strangest part is that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Yet nobody is angry, and somehow is just seems to work. The energy in the streets of New Delhi is incredible. Something I'd love to experience over and over again for the rest of my life. Any time you're outside in Delhi, you've got constant stimulation. Sort of like Vegas, only not at all. And not just visually. It seems like there is something for all of your senses.
Getting off the airplane, it's obvious that you're no longer in America. You can immediately smell smoke, which seems to be the standard weather forecast. Not hazy or foggy, but smoke. That's literally what it says when you look on a weather app. Smoke. And if you stay in a hotel, the armed guards at the gate have to check your cab for bombs, both under the car and under the hood. Depending on where you go, who you're with, and time of day, it can be difficult to walk around alone. Both because of safety and because you'll be bombarded with people trying to sell you something. Just get over it. The experiences you'll get from walking through the streets and markets are worth it. Don't even get me started on the food. I still can't figure out how that jam all that flavor into their meals. Brilliant.
Have a lot more from this trip to post. We also visited Agra and Jaipur, where I did a lots of shooting. Will be posting those images in the next week or so. Come on back.
More small town America, where life works a little differently.
My truck is just hitting 8 months old, and she's already got 30,000+ miles on it. That's a solid 8 months. This most recent (8,519 mile) road trip was memorable for a lot of reasons, just like all the others. I love looking through the images, and this is the quickest I've ever posted after a trip. But it's not usually until many months down the line, that I realize what was the most enjoyable. And on the flip side, what I fucked up on. There are always a few images that make me wish I had kept shooting at that particular location. Sometimes you can't though because it's unsafe, too dark, or whatever. So learning to except it, is a must. One thing I definitely learned is the necessity of keeping a journal. After driving 8k+ miles, it's real easy to forget locations and other important details about the images you make. Those details will, at some point down the line, become very important. These images aren't supposed to be beautiful in the traditional sense. I don't care at all about that. They are supposed to accurately show the smaller places of our country that most people never see. Some days I think this is my favorite type of shooting. And some days I think the images are dog shit. Either way, I can't wait to get back on the road.
Recently finished up another road trip across America with Mojo. Started in San Diego, went all the way to Cape Cod, then back to San Diego. 8,519 miles total. Given that I haven't posted most images from last year, this post might be out of line, but whatever. The trip was a great time, and something that is always a great learning experience. America is a huge place, so it can be difficult to figure out where to focus your time and energy photographically. It would be real easy to shoot everything that interests you, but then you would never get across the country. Seems like every time I get to the opposite coast, my feelings are that I didn't shoot enough, and that what I did get is shit. Then after a certain amount of time digesting the images, I turn out to be real happy with most of them. Which has proven to be a huge part of the process. Thus the reason it takes me half a year to even post anything. Much more to come from this trip. And I promise it won't take 6 months.
This is sort of an extension on another post I made a while back about a road trip from last year. Which started in San Diego, then went all the way up the coast, into Canada (Banff), then down through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and finally back to San Diego. Hood River, Oregon was definitely a notable stop along the way. It's known as the kite surfing and wind surfing capital of the world. We did neither of those things, but it doesn't matter. Hood River has a lot more to offer. Great camping, hiking, food, and beer. Hard to complain about a place that's bookended by Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier. The views are top notch. And we were lucky enough to be there on a few days where the visibility was close to perfect.
It's been done a million times over because you just can't deny the beauty of a roadtrip up the California coast. This wasn't my first time doing it, nor will it be my last. You'll never run out of places to see, things to do, or great food to eat. The small towns that peppered up the coast are top notch. And the harder they are to get to, the better. Images below are from a from Morro Bay, Big Sur, San Francisco, Sausalito, Point Reyes Station, Tomales Bay, Mendocino, Shelter Cove, and many other point between. This was part of a much longer roadtrip that went up into Canada, so check back soon to see those images.
A few months ago we took a trip to Spain, and one of the highlights for me was the meat. It's something they definitely don't play around with over there. Everywhere you look, there are pig legs sitting on a bar, or hanging from the ceilings. At the markets, it seemed like there wasn't a single part of an animal that you couldn't buy. Don't made saying that I completely overdid it with the mean consumption, but whatever....
Had a shoot last month in Boston that involved a 200-400mm lens. Which is something I don't normally shoot with, and decided to take advantage of the rental period. So I walked around town for a while and made some pictures. Boston is an awesome city that I've always had a lot of love for. Not an easy thing to say for someone born and raised in New York. Either way, I really wasn't concerned with shots of the major landmarks, just random sections I came across during my walks. Good times. Looking forward to doing this again.
Over the past year+, I've been doing a lot of traveling/shooting for my hoops project. And think it has developed into a pretty cool body of work. Yesterday the gallery got a nice update, so head over there and check it out. Also decided to try and get these images out there, and currently working on a nice promotional booklet that will be sent nationwide to a large handful of magazines, companies, and ad agencies. Hopefully they will dig it.....
Went down to Costa Rica a few months ago, which was my second trip to that country. Cool place, but I don't recommend going in the summer. Hot as hell. Aside from that though, there are a lot of interesting things you can get into. My favorite part was getting a local guide who brought us into some really remote areas and introduced us to some farmers. Specifically a banana farmer and some guys working on the African Palm Oil Plantations. That was a really cool thing to see. It's archaic backbreaking work, for what I can only imagine to be terrible wages. And as always, we managed to consume too much local food and beer. Good times.
The last month and a half has been crazy with travel, which has led to a serious lack of updates on the blog. Not that I can complain, because it's been awesome. It started with a road trip up to San Francisco. Then a week later, another road trip up the California coast with notable stops in Morro Bay, Mendocino, Shelter Cove, and Paso Robles. Right when that ended, I flew to Boston for another shoot. Then spent a little time in up-state NY with family. Flew back to San Diego, and days later started a roadtrip up through California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. All this following up a month that saw a trip to Costa Rica and a roadtrip out to Colorado. Covered a lot of miles, saw a lot of incredible places, did a lot of shooting, and I'm excited to share. Stay tuned.
It's been really rewarding to see the reach that my book has had. When I started this thing over three years ago, I hoped for exactly these kind of results. It's been written about in a number of places including CBS News, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Gaurdian, Photo District News, and Shutterbug (to name a few). Which I'm very proud of, but not as proud of the fact that people have purchased the book all over the USA and in 9 foreign countries. Very humbling. If you want to check it out, or pick up a copy for yourself, go to barbershopsofamerica.com
One of my favorite things to do on the road is make portraits of people that I randomly come across. This is Larry. He's a farmer in Blanca, Colorado. Which is a place you've probably never heard of. Neither had I, until driving through it last week. There isn't much to be said for it, but quite the opposite for Larry. Really jolly guy, and proud owner of that mustache since September 8, 1971. "The day I got my shipping papers to go state-side". Saw him out of the corner of my eye while passing his farm, and knew a portrait had to be made. Really gladded I stopped.
Nikon D810 with Nikon 17-35mm lens. Lit with a Broncolor Move Pack and MobiLED Flash Head.
Fishing and golf are two sports that seem directly related. Not because of the skill set needed to perform each of them. Although you could argue that the motions are at least a little similar? Rather, they seem alike, in that you can totally suck at both of them, and still have a great time doing it. Beer is usually involved too, for whatever that's worth. A bunch of us went up to British Columbia last month intending to snowboard/ski. Unfortunately, BC is setting records for bullshit amounts of snow. It's sad really. Driving up there felt like spring, not winter. Half of the mountain was dirt. Whatever. The trip was booked a while ago, and we couldn't do anything about the weather. So instead of cry about it, we focused out efforts elsewhere. Those efforts happened to be fishing. And despite all the effort, the desired outcome was not achieved. There were no fish caught, but each day felt like a success none the less. Lots of laughs, good food, tasty beer, incredible scenery, and great company.
Back in my hometown now, after a cross-country road trip. Photographically it wasn't the most productive. I got some cool stuff, but not as much as I was hoping for. The main focus was BASKETBALL HOOPS, which is something I've been shooting all over the country for the past year and a half. It's a lot of fun and brings me to some amazing small towns that are completely off the grid. The longer I do it, the harder it gets to find unique hoops. That all part of the treasure hunt though.