death cab for cutie

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The rapid connections I make with my subjects usually leaves me wishing things weren’t so rushed.  Whether it’s a couple of minutes with Obama,  30 minutes with a business owner, a few frames with a CEO, etc.,  I come away feeling like the human element is lacking.  That’s just the way it is and it’s part of working fast and being ready to make solid work.

My experience with Death Cab (photographed for Billboard) was different.  I didn’t have all day with them,  but there was more of a bond there already.  It was almost like I knew these guys.  Ben’s voice had accompanied me on countless road trips – whether with Postal Service or DC.  It just felt like I was getting the chance to hang out with old friend’s (friend’s I had never met before).

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dan price of gravity payments

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Happy 2015!  Three months late,  but better late than never.  The blog has been stalled because I spent the first quarter reworking the main website and branding.  Now that it’s finished,  I’ll hopefully be catching on the blog.

This first entry of the year is just a great story.  I photographed Dan at the end of last year for the cover of Entrepreneur.  Back then he was getting noticed more for the type of business he runs at Gravity Payments. Now,  his face is all over the media because he recently raised the minimum salary at this workplace to $70,000.  It’ unheard of today in an age where a CEO’s wage is some astronomical figure and many of the employees who make the company profitable can barely make ends meet.  Dan is trying to change this income gap and assure that people that work for him won’t have to struggle to make a living.

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From the little time I spent with Dan, I got the sense that he’s super genuine and also very intelligent.  It was a true pleasure meeting and making his portrait. He’s taking a huge risk by implementing the salary changes while dropping his own salary to same 70k.  Hopefully it will work out and create a new model for businesses worldwide.

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shannon nichol for sunset

Shannon Nichol of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol is super talented landscape architect.  I spent a little time with her on probably the roughest block of downtown Seattle where she will be installing parklets.

I’m always exited to work with the staff at Sunset,  because they’ve assigned me so many varied shoots.  It’s always something interesting, and I feel like I get to meet some amazing people through the work.  Thanks Sunset Photo Team!

john legere for fast company

Almost all the CEO portraits I get hired to do involve extremely quick problem solving.  More often that not, I have not scouted the location beforehand.  I show up with my crew and walk around the space(s) asking if and where I’m allowed to set up.  It’s always a race to find a spot where I can make pictures that I’ll be happy with and at the same time knowing that I’ll only have minutes with my subject.  I’ll be honest,  a few years ago this used to stress me out.  I had a hard time balancing everything and feeling like I could actually connect with my subjects in these environments.  Now I feel different about the process.  I love the challenge of breaking things down – making the complex appear simple through the camera.

John Legere is the President and CEO of TMobile.  He was super relaxed and easy to work with.  He just came across as a good guy to work for.

 

steven hauschka for golf digest

When I first began this career, I envisioned myself solely focusing on sports portraits.  I grew up playing just about every sport,  and I just felt that I’d enjoy connecting with athletes.  My career definitely has taken a much more diverse approach,  and I’m excited that I’m not cornered into a very narrow focus.  I love getting to cover travel/food, lifestyle, CEOs, business owners, etc.  That said,  I do get super excited when I get to work with athletes.

I had a great time teeing up footballs with Steven for Golf Digest.  At the end of the shoot he launched a dozen or so golf balls about 300yds into Lake Washington.  He’s not the first kicker I’ve photographed who has a serious golf game.   Thanks Steven and Christian at GD for the fun shoot!

 

robert gates for esquire

The past 12 weeks have a been a blur.  Maybe that will be the recurring theme of my life now with 2 kids to raise, a business to run, and all the extra ‘life’ that life brings.  All in all, the work front has been great.  I’ve had a healthy dose of challenging assignments to keep me on my toes and to keep me growing as a photographer.  I’ll be trying to catch up this week before taking a breather for the Holidays.

Near the middle of the summer,  I got a call from Esquire to make a portrait of former Sec of Defense, Robert Gates.   I was super excited, as I’d never worked with Esquire and have long admired their portrait driven stories.  My time with Mr. Gates was fairly brief.  Rightly so,  he’s a very private person and only would allow photographs in the office and no where else on his property.  His office space is basically a political museum.  The man has had quite a life – 26 yrs in the CIA and National Security Council, President of Texas A&M, and now president of the Boys Scouts of America.  He’s one of those guys that just seems to have accomplished more in his lifetime than I would if I had 300 yrs to live.  Most of our conversation involved Mr. Gates telling my assistant and I jokes – most of which were about Los Angeles.

I love the design Esquire took with the opening spread,  and I’m super thankful to Michael for the great assignment.

WSU Cougars for ESPN

Thanks to Sean at ESPN for sending me to Eastern WA to spend a day with Coach Leach and the WSU Cougars football team!

 

 

 

 

laika studios for wired

You know that feeling you got as a child when you entered a new world for the first time?  Maybe it was your first movie theater experience,  or the first time you camped under the stars, or your first trip to an amusement park.  Those moments leave indelible memories that are difficult to quantify.  When I entered the Laika studios,  I was immediately hooked.  I didn’t know what to expect.  I guess in my mind I assumed that a stop motion film wouldn’t be so large scale,  but the warehouse was huge and there were 6-8 sets elaborately staged.  This is a massive production to say the least.

I also quickly realized what a labor of love it must be to be part of the Laika team.  All the people I met and photographed were just so passionate about their roles.  Whether it be set design, costume design, animation, 3d printing + painting, etc – everyone seemed so committed.  The man behind it all is lead animator and CEO, Travis Knight (photo above).

Aside from animating some of the scenes himself,  Travis is the man that makes sure it all comes together.  He was a pleasure to meet and photograph.

Oliver Jones – animation rigging supervisor.

A deconstructed view of ‘Eggs’ – the main character in the upcoming Boxtrolls film.

The archive of all the 3D printed faces.  Organization is key.

You need a face that says ‘tough guy’, ‘introspective’, ‘worried’, ‘perplexed’?  No problem.

It takes a village.

Georgina Hayns – creative supervisor of puppet fabrication.

 

The details of all the creations are extraordinary.

Deborah Cook – costume designer

 

Brad Schiff – animation supervisor

Diane Lopez – set fabrication coordinator

The set dressing team.

The sewer scene.

I am extremely thankful for this opportunity! Thanks to Julia and Anna at Wired for setting me loose.  Thanks to Sara Crowley – the awesome PA that escorted me the whole day as I continually got lost in the labyrinth. Thanks to my assistant, Brian for hanging in there on a long day and keeping a good attitude.

This job really did leave me amazed at what a creative team can accomplish.  I’m looking forward to the release on 9.26.14!  Check out the Boxtrolls trailer here.