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#MAYDAY

#MAYDAY

PUERTO RICO, MAY 1ST, 2017

For those who may not have heard, Puerto Rico has been facing a debt crisis for the past several years.  This has lead to rising tensions on the island as the United States has turned control of Puerto Rico's finances to a Federal Oversight Board, who arguably may not have the best interests of the island's suffering people in mind.  I'll leave my opinions out of this for now...

I visited Puerto Rico last week to complete some research on a screenwriting assignment and happened to catch one of the largest protests the island has seen, as people took to the streets to demand a citizen's audit of the proposed "solution" to the debt crisis, one that threatens to privatize many of the island's public services, potentially leaving many people deprived of their jobs, pensions, and wages.

Here are just a few snapshots from the beginning of the protest, taken just before I had to board my plane home, and just before the teargas canisters began to fly.

If you'd like to learn more about the history of Puerto Rico's economic crisis, might I recommend John Oliver's take on the scenario

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!

Summer Travels, pt. II

Summer Travels, pt. II

Barcelona

I need to live here.  Plain and simple, I need to live here.  The climate, the culture, the quality of life, Barcelona is my kind of city.  After the first day I was convinced that I was no longer looking at this place as a travel destination, but as a future place of residence.

I mean hey, Kubrick moved to London right?  Barcelona it is...

One of my -and likely anyone else who visits- favorite places to shoot was definitely the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, or simply...

La Boqueria

And it's easy to see why.

I don't know how yet, but I need to make Barcelona an annual trip.  Hmm, I hear they have a pretty nice film festival...

Summer Travels, pt. I

Summer Travels, pt. I

New York

It's rare that I get to travel as much as I would like to.  Fortunately, I get to make up for it this month.  Having successfully completed my short film To Police, I'm off to Barcelona, New York, and Puerto Rico, in that order.  I guess you can say I kinda like Spanish food...

Anyway, Barcelona marks my first time ever setting foot in Europe, so naturally I shot a LOT of rolls there.  I'll be saving those for last.  New York was up next, and was actually a research trip for a new script I'll be writing so most of time was occupied with that, rather than photography.  But I did manage to get off a few quick shots here and there.

 

Up next...

Puerto Rico

This was my second time visiting Puerto Rico, and I gotta say, I love this island more and more with each visit.  This was the first time I was able to explore a little bit with a film camera in hand, and spent the majority of my time in Old San Juan.

To be continued...

Lankershim

Lankershim

Also Known As North Hollywood

  Lankershim, a Portrait Cityscape , 2015, Canon AE-1

Lankershim, a Portrait Cityscape, 2015, Canon AE-1

Took a walk around old North Hollywood today, just been itching to shoot lately.  I've always really like the old signage around this area, and thought a little Ektar could capture well...

Life Is Beautiful

Life Is Beautiful

It Was A Memorable 26th Birthday To Say The Least...

Something always told me I wouldn't like Coachella very much.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but once I figure out what it is I'll let you know.  In the meantime, I got all the music festival I could ask for and then some at this year's Life Is Beautiful.  

AGoodSign

For those of you who haven't heard of it, which I can only imagine is most, Life Is Beautiful is a music, food, and arts festival in Downtown Vegas that's only in it's second year.  If you think that means it can't draw the lineup of some of the big boys, you'd be mistaken.  Greatly.

Kanye West, Outkast, Foo Fighters, Lionel Richie, The Weeknd, The Roots, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex (who despite having never heard his music before, puts on one hell of a show), Little Dragon, Phantogram, and the list goes on.  Way on.  Needless to say, after a rather unspectacular 25th birthday last year, I certainly did 26 right.  Wasn't going to make that mistake again.  Just as the clock struck 12, Outkast reached the middle of their set.  

Now that's a birthday.

Of course, I couldn't leave Vegas or the festival grounds without getting in a few street photo sessions as well.  It's actually a great way to spend your time in Vegas if you plan on leaving there with the same amount of money you came with...

Summer in the City

Summer in the City

The time has come for my first writing assignment.

 Upper West Side, Self Portrait, Summer 2014

Upper West Side, Self Portrait, Summer 2014

It's been just over a year and a half of grinding and networking in the Los Angeles film industry.  With one part preparation, one part talent, and one part being in the right place at the right time (read: luck), I have managed to land my first feature film writing assignment.  Never mind that there's no money involved.  Hey, we all have to start somewhere.  And for the feature film formerly known as The Spanish Harlem Project, my journey started in New York.

My subject: the gentrification of Spanish Harlem.  It's the neighborhood I was born in, but knew little to nothing about.  As this would be my first time writing (or rather, rewriting) someone else's material, I thought an important part of this process should be immersion in the culture that birthed the story to begin with.  I always have some wild tales of what state of mind lead me to write the scripts that I've written, but with this story, it was from someone else's mind.  The best I could do was try to understand it by seeing for myself.  Next stop, East Harlem.

Walking East Harlem, my goal was to get a feel for the culture whose heart would beat at the center of this story.  And more specifically, how this culture was being systematically eradicated in favor of Chase Banks and Domino's Pizzas.  "Cleaning up the neighborhood" they called it.

Overall the trip was very successful.  I spoke to quite a few people who had lived in the neighborhood for generations to hear their point of view on the recent changes.  It all made me rethink photojournalism as a career to be honest, but I soon got back on track.

One thing is for certain, no trip to Spanish Harlem would be complete without a meal at La Fonda Boricua, which also happens to be the backdrop of another one of my favorite photographs to date...

 La Fonda, East Harlem, 2014

La Fonda, East Harlem, 2014

It's the sights you never expect that always seem to stand out the most.  I couldn't have tried to go shoot this image, I just had to be there.  Be there with a camera in hand.  And to that my friends, I say, "Stay strapped."

Now back to LA, I've got work to do.

A Cali Afternoon

A Cali Afternoon

A good friend and creative collaborator Anninka and I took a stroll around Santa Monica while I broke in my new-to-me Bronica ETRS and Canon AE-1...

 Meet Anninka, Costume Designer and muse.

Meet Anninka, Costume Designer and muse.

This was my first time venturing out into Santa Monica since moving to Los Angeles.  I arrived here with the mindset of a permanent resident, so I never really explored the city much before just "living" in it.  Anninka graciously offered to show me around, and became my reluctant muse for the day.  A few of the photographs captured on this day still remain some of my all-time favorites.

This certainly wouldn't be our last shoot.

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