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Luna at the Arsenic House

Luna at the Arsenic House


A good friend of mine, the talented singer, music producer, and model Luna, finally made it out to LA recently.   We've been talking about working together since our Florida days many years ago but never made it happen for one reason or another.  So on her first trip to LA, we certainly had to capitalize on the real estate...

My good friends over at Arsenic let us use their house / HQ for the shoot, and the rest was history.

And the moral of the story... good things come to those who eat their veggies.  Enjoy the rest of the shoot below!

So I've Decided To Take Printing Into My Own Hands

So I've Decided To Take Printing Into My Own Hands

Because Why Not Print More While Spending Less?

A typical development & low-res scan package from a photo lab ranges anywhere from about $10 to $25 per roll depending on where you go.  I'd typically spend about $13 at my lab.  Add that to the cost of a roll of film, like my personal favorite Portra 800, and it's safe to say it cost me roughly $25 every time I wanted to shoot a roll of film to share with the world.  Now mind you, the scans included in this cost only provided enough resolution to display on the web.  For a truly high resolution scan needed for printing large formats, I'd be looking at anywhere between $5 to $25 PER NEGATIVE depending on just how much enlarging I'd need.  

All that covers is just getting my photos ready to make prints, never mind the printing itself.  At a fine art photo lab I'd be looking at anywhere from $50 to $100 per final print, never mind the costs of testing color profiles and paper stocks.  When it's all said and done I'd easily be looking at a few thousand in expenses to print enough work for my upcoming solo exhibit.  Now don't get me wrong, quality prints from a fine art lab are certainly worth it, but until people start shelling out thousands of dollars for my prints (give it time), these costs just weren't gonna cut it.  I am a starving artist after all, I barely clear a few thousand in annual income... 

So as I've moved into the printing era of my photographic endeavors, and now working on my third (and possibly also forth) gallery exhibit of the year, it became clear that it was time I took printing into my own hands.  And with the successful test run of my digital printing method and print sale, I've decided to do just that.  Thanks to an impeccably-timed rebate, I've recently invested in a large format digital printer from Canon (full review coming soon).

This seemed to make the most sense from a business perspective as well.  As much as people tell me they like my photos, it's hard to like something enough to spend upwards of $200 a piece on it (lookin' at you, Tinder dates, hope you like Ramen), so I'll be the first to admit that the darkroom pricing options currently in my Print Store just aren't for everybody. And since I've officially reached the limit of how many pieces of furniture and/or photographic equipment I can reasonably fit into a studio apartment, my home darkroom project is going to have to wait a few years.  


Still, it makes sense to offer a more economical solution for people who truly enjoy my work and would like to own a piece of it.  Especially considering that the majority of my audience are other film photographers, and we all know how broke we are.   But with that out of the way, there's still the other elephant in the room, in that scanning high res is fcking expensive.  How do we solve this problem?  Well, that's a good question for another time.  (Hint: I'm bought a scanner too).  For now, I've got some learning to do, as digital printing opens up a whole new science of photography that I have only just begun to scratch the surface of.

Two Year Anniversary and Print Sale!

Two Year Anniversary and Print Sale!

I can't believe it's only been two years since I've been shooting film exclusively, because it certainly feels like it's been a lot longer when you start adding up receipts...  But anyway, in celebration of this anniversary, I'm happy to introduce a new and more affordable digital printing method for those of you interested in purchasing prints at a lower price point.  And I mean significantly lower!

We'll begin with a limited run (only 10 of each size) print series of my favorite photos from my first ever roll of black & white film, developed exactly two years ago today. I've selected the following six images from my first time exploring Venice, CA to feature in this promotion.

Prints are available in sizes up to 13"x19" at pricing starting as low as $25. As an added bonus, anyone who purchases a Gelatin Silver or Chromogenic darkroom print, or anyone who has purchased one since the site launched is eligible for a FREE numbered print from this series!  

If this sale goes well, I'll be adding this printing method permanently as an option for almost all of my photos available for printing.

Visit the Print Store today to order!

$100 Photo Sessions

$100 Photo Sessions

One Roll, One Look, One Hour

In keeping with this year's theme of simplicity and affordability, I'm once again offering $100 photo sessions for those looking for a quick and easy shoot with great results.  For $100, I'll shoot one look on one roll, Color or Black & White, on location or in studio. You'll receive at least 10 portfolio-worthy pictures in low-resolution scans (optimized for use on the web) at the completion of the shoot, once film is developed.  One additional look/roll/hour can be added for just $50.

Here are some of my past clients who've taken advantage of this offer:

Book your photo sessions now by signing up here!

How Ideas Are Born

How Ideas Are Born

or... The Unexpected Virtue of Ignoring Your Bank Account

(Note: This is a continuation of yesterday's blog post, So Now What. Be sure to read that one first, and subscribe for more!)

So having said that, I also understand that sometimes you just need to suck it up and shoot something.  I mean, you're a photographer aren't you?  So shoot something.  Luckily for me, two models who I had previously worked with in 2014 and 2015 (Brianna and Renae respectively) reached out to collaborate again this year, which certainly helped get the creative juices flowing since my inspiration for street photography seemingly took a vacation. 

With Brianna, we came up with a dream-sequence concept based on the ideas I'd explore thematically in my screenplays, and combined them with a lingerie shoot.  Because, why not?  And we absolutely loved the result.  This didn't solve the whole financial issue however, but luckily I was able to book a few timely shoots in Tampa right after, so proceeds from those went directly into getting this shoot developed.  But sometimes such a lucky break doesn't come in time, and you're stuck going into yet more debt to feed that insatiable film habit.  So then what happens when the next opportunity of creative expression comes around?  Well, that's when you suck it up and shoot, because you never know what you might get out of it.

The Birth of the Basquiat Bodyscape Series

If you'll remember my shoot with Renae last year, we ended up doing a body paint series since she herself was a painter.  (Whenever I shoot portraits, I try to find subtle ways of incorporating some aspect of the subject's personality into the environment or mood of the photos.  And sometimes they aren't that subtle).  That was my first time using paint for a photoshoot, and the results were incredible.  We were both really happy with the shoot and had already begun brainstorming for our next collaboration.  

The conversation carried over into this year, naturally after I had decided to take a hiatus, and we again settled on something using paint, but this time we'd shoot the concept in a pool (read: bathtub) of colored water.  Which to me, sounded like the perfect way to end our last shoot.  Imagine seeing the paint spatter dissolving off of Renae and becoming part of a deep blue pool of water.  But I didn't want to do (read: pay for) exactly the same thing twice.  Film costs add up pretty quickly for us starving artists, so if I was going to shoot again I'd definitely need to get something entirely new out of it.

Then, I had an epiphany, or maybe I just heard the right Jay-Z song at the right time, but for some reason I thought of Basquiat's Obnoxious Liberals... 

The name, the color combination, the theme and the social message combined with the state our society is in currently, Renae's personality, all of it just seemed to click.  As soon as I saw it, I knew that was it, that was our shoot.  And so we began...  Because why not?

I reinterpreted Basquiat's work as a portrait-orientation body painting on Renae.  And while I don't consider myself a painter, what I may lack in technical prowess of the medium, I certainly make up for in pattern recognition and hand-eye coordination.  The result, well, you tell me...

(Photos of the full shoot coming soon!)

But it didn't stop there.  Upon shooting this series, once Renae got into the water and the painting began to dissolve, I had yet another epiphany.  There was something else hidden in these photos, a style and composition technique I've yet to experiment with at all as a photographer: the bodyscape.  Bodyscape photography typically involves photographing the human body as if it were a landscape, or focusing on the contours of the human figure or one particular body part.  So the more I shot the more I started to look at composition much differently, and it was in this process that the true purpose of this shoot began to take shape.

But it didn't stop there.  It was only the above two compositions that lead me to the true revelation of style made here.  I'll save those photos for another time, because what's important is what happened next.  Now, this is where the "just suck it up and shoot it" came into play, because one week after I shoot this with Renae, I had my second exhibit opening at the Exchange Room Gallery at UCLA.  It was through this show that the potential of a solo gallery for my work became clear, so when I pitched the idea of "blending Basquiat-inspired abstract body painting with bodyscape-style portraiture, creating photos where skin, water, and paint become indistinguishable from one another," lets just say it was received with more than subtle enthusiasm.

The moral of the story is, some investments are worth it.  Never forget that one of the most positively influential and life-changing things you can do while on this planet is invest in yourself.  Remember the analogy of the guy pulled over on the side of the road?  It wasn't until he got out and started pushing his own car that other people stopped to help.  Now if anybody needs me, I've got a gallery exhibit to design.

RAW:Hollywood Presents Futures

RAW:Hollywood Presents Futures

My First Photography Exhibit

"Instagram?  You mean the place where people take pictures of their food and put dramatic filters on their bathroom selfies?  Yeah, no thanks." - Corey Deshon, circa 2010

Okay, I'll admit it, I was never an early pioneer of the emerging social networking trends, despite studying Information Technology for nine years.  Even as of today, I don't have a Snapchat, I don't have a Vine, I'm still not really sure what Periscope is, I've retired from Facebook, and literally the only reason why my Twitter account exists is because I figured I might as well claim the name @CoreyDeshon, because who knows what I might need it for one day.  (I will say I am actively trying to use it now.  We'll see how that goes).

But Instagram, I must say,  has certainly pulled its weight.  I finally joined in 2014 after my shoot with Ama, who convinced me that it would be well worth it to promote my work.  After all, I was really only shooting because I loved it, so why market?  Well, this is why...


After a year and a half working up a pretty decent following (hoping to cross the 9k followers mark next month), my photos began getting some attention in places I'd never think to find them.  One of those such places was an event in San Diego, that if I remember correctly had something to do with women's empowerment.  I really have no idea what the event actually was, because they didn't exactly ask if they could use my photos.  But no harm done, as they did their due diligence by ensuring to credit my name as the photographer and link back to my Instagram.  And to be honest, I'm actually quite proud of this, since I do try to ensure that when photographing women, I do so in a way that is respectful, empowering, and unexploitative.  So for this event to receive my photos that way must mean I'm doing something right haha.  But anyway...

A few weeks after this event I get a call from one of the Showcase Directors of RAW Artists, inviting me to come display my work their upcoming showcase in Hollywood.  It turns out, someone saw my work at this event, traced the photo back to Instagram and eventually my old website, found my contact information, and asked if I'd want to exhibit.  And that, my friends, is why every photographer should have an Instagram.

Well, the RAW Showcase was tonight, and it was one of the best experiences I've had in my photographic journey to date.  Check out some photos below:

(RAW Showcase photos courtesy of Jeffrey SmallwoodFlip Cassidy, and Gil Riego).

Not only was this my first time ever exhibiting my work in print, but it was my first time ever printing photos as well.  (Read more about the series I chose to print in my interview with Pixel Magazine here).  Naturally, I chose to go with all darkroom printing methods, to ensure the heart of analogue still remained a key factor of my exhibit.  I can't wait to showcase again with RAW, and to continue printing my photos for display.  Making prints has been a long time coming for me, and this was certainly the jump start I needed to begin the new year strong.

Prints from the showcase and more are available for purchase now in the store!

Photography Reborn

Photography Reborn

It All Started When I Got Bored

Back when I was a kid, I loved taking pictures of everything, everywhere I went.  I loved the act of it: walking around, looking for things that stood out to me, composing and shooting the image.  Mostly on little disposable cameras until digital started taking over and I’d have little point and shoots and then eventually a DSLR in college.  By then, I’d get home from a 60 minute shoot with 500 photos that I’d proceed to spend the next 4 hours narrowing down and editing to the only 10 or 20 that actually came out good.  And that was something I absolutely hated. 

I wanted to be out shooting, not sitting behind a computer desk for hours buried in Photoshop.  But that was what it took to produce quality photos then.  The unaltered digital shots just looked stale, there was no personality to the image until you put it under the Photoshop microscope.  And that wasn’t what I signed up for, and so eventually I just got bored of it.  Not that people can’t or don’t produce fantastic digital images, it just wasn’t my thing.

 So, Film Photography Here I Come

Fast forward a few years and now I’m living in LA, focusing 110% of my energy into my creative passions, I find myself really missing photography.  And the closer I get to realizing some of my filmmaking goals, the more I'm turned off by the industry’s push toward shooting everything digitally as well.  It feels like the personality is being sucked out of movies and being replaced by those really stale and generic looking images. 

So I realized if I wanted to have a fighting chance at pushing to shoot on film as a director, I’d need to have some more practical understanding of why I liked it so much.  So I bought a Canon AE-1 off of eBay for $35.  Now the real work begins...

Highlights from my first roll of film, Kodak Portra 400 shot on a Canon AE-1