Monday, February 27, 2012

Palm Springs Modernism Week Vintage Trailer Show 2012

Once again, the vintage trailer show at the Palm Springs modernism week did not disappoint!  This is my second year attending and touring these mint vintage trailers including the one of a kind "Decoliner" built from scratch in twenty months.

When you enter the show, you don't quite know where to head first.  All of the trailers lined up had their own distinctive look and feel to them inside and out.  It's hard to choose a favorite, but the crowd seemed to be drawn to the decoliner.

The show was held last weekend in Palm Springs at the end of their annual, "Modernism Week" which includes festivities throughout the week that is sure to please the mid century modern design fan.  This past Saturday, I wandered around the trailer show and photographed some of the trailers, but mostly I enjoyed picking people out of the crowd to photograph.

A big thank you to all who agreed to pose for me as well as "Airstream Life" for coordinating another successful event.  If you're an Airstream owner, be sure to put Alumapalooza on your list of things to do in June.

Here are some photos from the day.  To see more, click HERE.

Rich And Brett, the two behind the magic...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bingo Culture Featured In F8 Magazine

It's exciting to me that F8 Magazine partnered with me to feature my series, "Bingo Culture" on their website.

If you're a follower, you already know about my series.  I this article, I explain a little bit more in detail on why I started and continue to work on this series.  Thank you to all who support this effort with me.

You can click on the link HERE to see the entire article, or continue reading...

Beginning in 2008, I hit the road for three years to photograph America solo; living out of a tent and bringing along my dog for the ride. While traveling in Maine, I discovered a Bingo hall and it provoked a curiosity about a subculture that I was unaware of. What I discovered was a community of dedicated players who travel to the same place, set up in the same spot, and bring along the same good luck charms with the hopes that this will be the night that they win big. 
As I continued my travels across America, I also kept on my quest to find hidden or otherwise unknown bingo halls. When I found a location of one, I also found a sense of community that wasn’t expected.  Although many of the dedicated players may be aging, it’s something that they look forward to each week.  You might feel bad or sorry for some players because they come and leave alone but as I was talking to “B” in a hall in Fort Collins Colorado, she made a point to remind me that it, “beats sitting in front of the boob tube at home!”  
Each time I walked into an unknown bingo hall, I would try and find the most interesting person and introduce myself. After our initial introductions, we would start chatting away and I would listen to them talk about their family and friends throughout the night.  They would tell me about their kids, grandkids, great grandkids and sometimes, about the other players and their families.  Often, friends would come up and thank them for the “wonderful dip” or “delicious cake” that they brought to a party a week before. Early on, the topic of conversation would be about the game.  I often asked how to play, how many cards to buy, how many games will be played, etc. Since it’s something I know they already enjoy, it would be a bonding moment to gain their trust in order to take their photograph throughout the night.  Usually if I asked right away, they would be wary and say no but if I talked to them first, they would say yes. I would always get permission with the caller and people in charge first.  Most often than not, they would be flattered that I would stop to document their little corner of the country.  Sometimes, the caller would announce my name on the speaker and introduce me to the crowd.
Towards the back of the halls, you will find one of the locals making and serving treats behind the counter at the snack shack.  Lots of hot dogs and sometimes home made deviled eggs will be for sale.  If that’s the case, I always make sure I try the deviled eggs.  If the players are not eating the food that is being served, they will come with snacks and drinks of their own choosing and place them on the table with the rows and rows of good luck charms that many bring religiously each week including photos, troll dolls, baby dolls, animals made of wood, religious trinkets, and any other thing that they feel with bring them luck that night.  Most players come to the halls an hour early to stake their claim on table space.  I’ve seen players buy so many cards for one game that it usually takes up an entire eight foot table of space. I found that this is not uncommon.  What is uncommon would be a player like me that would play with just one card each game.
Beyond the initial attraction of going to a place I’ve never been, as the case of the bingo hall in Maine, it has turned out to be much more meaningful to me. I truly care about each person I meet and I enjoy listening to their stories.  I was lucky enough to be extremely close to my grandparents growing up and now that they are gone, this experience makes me feel close to them again in a way. I may never again see or hear from the players I meet, but by taking photographs, I will always have record of the people that dedicate themselves to the game and experience. Itʼs a place where hope and despair come hand in hand throughout the course of the night. Every location I encountered brought in a true sense of community, each with their unique set of personalities and characters. As I continued my travels and visits to traditional bingo halls across America, I realized I was looking at a cultural phenomenon that will be lost in order to make way for new technologies in gaming and social interaction. Once these dedicated players pass on, so will the bingo halls as we see them today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Studio Shoot With Beautiful Models

The subjects of all of my photos are not models, but everyday Americans living their life.  I am drawn to individuals that don't blend in with crowds.  If I've taken your photograph and I have never met you, it's because there is something about you that I want to remember and capture in a photograph.  I was asked recently about how I know when I find someone that meets my personal aesthetic and it really has to do with their presence and the energy I get from them.  Once I see and feel it, I know.

I was interviewed by gallery owner, Kat Kiernan for the Kiernan Gallery blog  since "Brothers" was chosen as "Juror's Choice" by judge, Henry Horenstein.  I talked a little bit about why I choose the people I do to photograph as I wander around the country.

Last week, I photographed two models in a studio for the first time.  Most every portrait I take is an environmental portrait where people seem belong exactly where I found them, or you get a sense of place in the shot.  Being in a studio is a make believe atmosphere where the models will give you any emotion and mock up any situation you suggest to them.  On top of that, they are pretty.  Really pretty... Not that I have anything against beautiful models, but to me, it's not as interesting as someone I would find on the street.  It's almost like I am cheating because the image will already be easy on the eyes from the get go, although that's not what I am drawn to when I see a photograph I like.  I did enjoy the experience and both models were great sports doing what everyone asked of them.  My male model, Michael was right at home with his dog, Shilo.  They are so attached to each other that their expressions seems to look the same in each shot.

I can see why photographers like working in a studio.  The atmosphere is controlled and you can almost bring to life what you envisioned in your head.  I had a great time playing around so now I can check off working with models and working in a studio off of my list of things to do.  Thank you Michael and Charito for being great sports and excellent models!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

PDN Emerging Photographer and F Stop Magazine

This morning I found out that one of my images in my "Bingo Culture" series was chosen by the editors of PDN to be the photograph of the week and month on their website!  The photograph they featured is one I took while I was in Fort Collins, Colorado last December.

Also, this morning I learned that five of my images were selected to be in the Portraits Exhibit Group Show featured on F Stop Magazine. I have screen shots from both.  My five images selected for F Stop Magazine are the bottom five on the left.

You can see PDN's site by clicking HERE and F Stop magazine by clicking HERE.