A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of working with LPGA Tour Pro Lizette Salas for Golf Digest. The editors there are so great to work with, always encouraging to go beyond the obvious ‘golfy’ shot, gives you so much more freedom and confidence to play around and have fun. And one thing i learned, if you’re ever short of a wind machine, a leaf-blower works pretty darn well as a stand-in! Especially when subject’s Dad is groundskeeper of said club.A fun day was had by all, and i think it shows in the pictures! Thanks Lizette and best of luck, we’ll be rooting for ya.
Much of the life of a professional photographer revolves around creating self- funded personal work, re-enforcing the old adage “show what you want to get hired for” and these projects often become our self- promotion pieces. I also try to tie into what’s current, so i decided to create a piece for the World Cup Brazil 2014.
As my studio is near the beach, i thought it was a perfect opportunity to create images that have a little Copacabana Beach football- style as well as the classic Brazil World Cup aesthetic, thoroughly encompassing the flamboyant visual beauty that is Brazilian football.
The World Cup starts June 12th and will feature thirty-two of the world’s top national teams. Even larger in both viewership and revenue generation than the Summer Olympics, the biggest sporting event in the world will take place in twelve separate cities around the country, ranging from the beachfront metropolis Rio De Janeiro to the Amazon rainforest capital of Manaus.
Big thanks goes out to Devin Trafford and Tadeo Cuerpaso (facebook.com/CUERPASO) for help on this shoot.
Get your samba on!
Stanford University’s Technology Ventures Program is Silicon Valley’s incubator for the next big thing. A business program where playtime is problem- solving. The brainchild of innovation gurus Tina Seelig, Ph.D and Tom Byers, Ph.D, the program is dedicated to accelerating high-tech entrepreneurship. It’s a high value prize for all at Stanford, and enrollment is limited to a dozen outstanding students each year. Plus you get to wear paper cones on your head all day and call it work!
We spent a couple of days with the professors and students of the STVP, poking around the creative hub on campus that is the d.school and generally soaking up the chilled out yet intense vibe that is Stanford for The Times magazine, and let me tell you, these kids know they’re at the center of the business world.
With the release of Cesar Chavez , i thought i’d re-visit a personal project i’ve been working on about immigrant farmworkers in California. Maybe it’s because i’m not from here, but this hidden, yet essential workforce has always fascinated me. They may be in America, but it’s certainly not a dream…..
California has long been the land of the migrant farm worker. From the dust bowl migration of the great depression, as depicted by John Steinbeck in Grapes of Wrath, to todays countless undocumented border jumpers. With an endless supply of an increasingly desperate labor-force, California’s central valley economy continues to reap the benefit, becoming the main agricultural center in the US and propelling the State to the level of a global economic power.
For many who cross America’s borders illegally however, life can be harsh; some have no option but live in shanty town- like labor camps; some of the women are subjected to rape. Even embezzlement by fellow Mexicans immigrants is a problem, as well as the pure physical exhaustion of the un- regulated manual work, not to mention the constant fear of deportation. All to earn just $6 an hour.
Huron, a small town of 5,900, is a virtual Grand Central terminal for the immigrant workforce. Twice a year, lettuce is harvested in the area, and the population at least doubles in size. Known as the “Heart of the Valley,” Huron, in western Fresno county, lies about 50 miles southwest of Fresno. This is the heartland for what inspired Steinbeck, and where he ultimately set his literary classic.
It’s like a time- warp to a frontier town of the Old West, except the cowboys are all Latino’s and instead of carrying six- shooters, they’re packing lettuce knives! It has been described as ‘knife-fight city’ by some, due to the evening activities of some migrants who descend on the town. There’s a handful of bars, five gangs and a famous drug alley. In 1992, the mayor was shot in a dispute between bar owners and resigned. With it’s undocumented and transient workforce, cash is the preferred form of payment, and robberies are common. Gang members know most workers don’t have bank accounts.In 1998, Huron averaged 15% unemployment, and it’s per capita income was fifth lowest in the state, with 39% of it’s residents living below the poverty line. Many of the migrant workers either live in the labor camps in town for about $6 a night, or in converted garages and back-yard sheds, paying $300 a month or more. There is limited housing available for farm workers, and many live in trailer parks that have sprung up over town, that don’t have permits for even basic utilities. Not much seems to have changed for the impoverished and desperate working man since the 1930’s. As Steinbeck described in Grapes of Wrath; “They ain’t human. A human being wouldn’t live like they do. A human being couldn’t stand it to be so dirty and miserable.”Enrique is a 35 year old undocumented farmworker from San Luis, Mexico. He began his journey north on Valentine’s Day 2006, leaving behind a mother, sister and niece. In his quest to reach California, he paid a coyote $1200 and endured three straight days and nights walking in the Arizona desert. He makes his home for now, which was donated, in an overcrowded and moldy trailer in the backyard of a sympathetic Huron resident’s house. He is lucky, although damp and cramped, he manages to find privacy and safety over the choice living in a shared room at the labor camps.This photo- essay examines the daily life of the undocumented immigrant, picking food for our tables at minimum wage, whilst we debate whether we even want them here.
This month marks the fiftieth anniversary since that fateful day in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was brutally gunned down in broad daylight. A day that etched so much into the public’s lexicon…. grassy knoll, Texas School Book Depository, “back and to the left” and of course the Zapruder footage. Drop any one of these into a sentence and everyone knows what you’re talking about. And yet, fifty years later, the conspiracy theories and obsession with the assassination has not waned. If anything, since 9/11, suspicions have increased.
I too have fallen victim to fascination with those events, even simply about the very place where history unfolded. Dealey Plaza remains pretty much unchanged, almost a living time- capsule to November 22, 1963, and so it should. It is fascinating to walk around, stand on the same spot seen all around the world, and try to put yourself in the shoes of those standing there that day. What thoughts must have been going through there minds from one moment to the other? And then, glance around, perhaps to that grassy knoll, and ask yourself, who was standing there, if anyone, and what exactly did happen?
On my first trip around the US, traveling like any good European, and not a single American, i chose to travel by train, which was a great way to see the country, if not a little laborious at times. However, on the slow pull into Dallas, late at night, i was fascinated to keep an eye out for anything recognizable, particularly Dealey Plaza. I’d known that the famed grassy knoll backed onto some rail yards, so i wondered if i might travel near by. Not a moment after having that thought, i seemed to cross over a strangely familiar underpass, that was in fact Elm Street. Dealey Plaza was right there in front of me….the single most dramatic and tragic location of American, if not world history in the last century or so! It was a breathtaking discovery. I knew from past stops the train would wait for about ten minutes or so at the station, so as we crawled to a halt not more than a couple of hundred yards later, i seized my opportunity (of course i wasn’t to know i’d again be in Dallas years later to shoot Tony Romo, quarterback of the Cowboys!). Anyway, so i jumped off the train, into the balmy Texas night air, ran down the street, guessed a left, followed by another left, and soon found myself in the same spot where the mysterious ‘umbrella man’ put up his brolly, just before the first shots rang out. JFK…. may he rest in peace.
One of the most outspoken conspiracy theorists, filmmaker Oliver Stone, is taking the opportunity to look back by releasing a collector’s edition of ‘JFK’ on November 12th. The box set includes a director’s cut, a Kennedy-themed portion of Stone’s Showtime documentary The Untold History of the United States and another full-length documentary on the assassination. In addition, Stone and Warner Bros. are re-releasing JFK in New York, Los Angeles and Washington from November 8th through the 14th.
Here’s a fun shoot with renaissance- woman Sasha Grey. This girl’s a good laugh and so easy to work with, hope we get to do it all again sometime soon.
A girl who’s resume includes actress, model, author, musician, and former pornographic actress, and all by the age of 24! That’s not messing around! She played the lead role in Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 film The Girlfriend Experience ( and was excellent in my opinion) and is currently in the middle of promoting ‘The Juliette Society’, a fictional erotic novel, released earlier this year. A. O. Scott of The New York Times described her pornographic career as having “an unusual degree of intellectual seriousness about it.” In the words of Andy Samberg doing a Nicholas Cage impression…. “That’s high praise!” She’s an interesting girl, and quite clearly more than just a pretty face. Oh, and her instagram feed…. Sasha gone done got herself a good eye!
and of course, suitably inspired, she insisted on getting in on the photo- taking business herself….. my, what a fine looking couple of photogs right there! 😉
It’s always nice to get even a little bit of recognition from your peers, so it was great to hear i’d received an Honorable Mention in the International Photography Awards for ‘the sex therapist’, a cover story i shot about Dr. Brandy Engler, author of ‘The Men on my Couch’ for The Times Magazine. You can also read an in-depth behind the scenes post on how the shoot went down over at Wonderful Machine’s blog. Many thanks to Brandy for being such a wonderful and malleable subject, a true collaboration.
Here’s a shoot we did a while ago for Corriere della Sera‘s Style Magazine with Anna Anisimova, otherwise known as ‘The Russian-American Paris Hilton”. Unfortunately, sometimes just getting hold of published tearsheets can be just as challenging as producing a ‘Vanity Fair’ style shoot on pretty much no budget (both apply here). But hey, were photographers…. problem solving comes with the territory, right?