The town of Newbury holds a bonfire of the areas discarded Christmas trees each January. The town gathers in a snow covered corn field at Tendercrop, enjoying a carnival like atmosphere for the evening until the local volunteer fire brigade ignites the 30 foot pile of discarded Christmas trees. It's really quite a sight.
In February of this year, 2017, I set a little goal for myself to shoot more portraits. Friends, bands, strangers, whoever. I'd been looking hard at Irving Penn (some of his work had been up at Lesley College, in Somerville, Mass), Richard Avedon, and Diane Arbus.
Penn and Avedon's highly considered, slow, meticulously crafted portraits have always resonated with me. The attention to light, pose, and care in how the subject allowed themselves to be portrayed is incredible. Equally incredible though is Diane Arbus' character studies of folks from far outside the norm of society. Her photos have immediacy and drive, like she couldn't be bothered to deal with intricate studio fussiness, so she threw a flash on her camera and went out searching for interesting faces.
My goal was to just focus on making portraits, in either approach, and figure out the best way to shoot either with as small a set up as possible. This ranged from finding white walls to serve as blown out backgrounds, taping white paper up in open shadow, to shooting outside of clubs with a small light kit.
It's been a fun year, with some pauses for travel and commisions during the summer. But after this past weekend, where I taped up some paper outside of the America's Hardcore Fest matinee show, I think it's time to collect everything for a look and to serve as a jumping off point for more work next year.
For technical freaks, these were shot on the following: Hasselblad 503cx, Mamiya C330, and a Toyo-View 4x5, all on HP5 and all souped in Xtol.
A few weeks ago I spent a cool and misty morning out with my friends Dre and Sarah lending a hand, or getting in the way, at a plot of land just north of Boston. Here Sarah tends to several rows of a larger urban farming project dedicated to her passion for growing flowers and floral arrangement. Sarah and Dre prepared the garden for the coming season and began the process of planting seedlings while wild turkeys looked on and cool spring morning gave way to a balmy early summer afternoon.
In the 9 years I've lived in Boston, I've never been to Fenway. Not for a Redsox game nor anything else, but the opportunity came to spend a cold and rainy spring evening at the park for the first game in a Redsox/Yankees playoff. The city had been enveloped by a heavy low cloud for days, leaving the entire park coated in a layer of damp that seemed to keep the mood subdued through the night. I've never been a sports person, so a few innings later we packed up and headed home. I think the Sox lost.
Emma Ruth Rundle and George Clarke of Deafhaven took time out of their busy touring schedule during their stop in Boston to work with Ashely Rose Couture on a super fast, down the wire, shoot. Featuring some newer pieces from Ashley, make up by Paula Pedrosa, and jewelry pieces by Burial Ground, we shot in the upper balcony area of the Paradise, a long standing Boston rock club.
I've been shooting Deafheaven's and Emma's show for years, so it was a fun change of pace and challenge to create much more structured portraits to feature both the intricate clothing and jewelry and their striking personas.
175,000 people gathered on the Boston Common, Saturday, January 21st. Standing, marching, and organizing together in a sea of people; they came to protest not only the newly elected Donald Trump, but also the fact that it's 2017 and women across the nation and planet are still faced with a daily battle for their rights, equality, safety, and autonomy.
Last week I shot some with the awesome Ashley Rose Couture. Michelle Dugan modeled two of Ashley's creations and her makeup was done by Denekia McCoy-Scarbrough.
Ashley's haunting designs can be seen in the pages of Vogue and Juxtapoz magazine.
Check them out:
I've recently been thinking more about color work and how images speak to each other or tell a story when paired together. I'll be posting some color photos, often in pairs, as a way of stretching out my thinking about photography, documentation, and story telling.