Visual Supplement: Josh Soskin, The Untitled Underwear Project

Josh Soskin The Untitled Underwear Project“The Untitled Underwear Project is a photographic and cinematic exploration of the lives we lead in our underwear. It began simply, with the goal of capturing people in their more unguarded states in a way that felt real and intimate; moments normally reserved for your best friends, your lovers, your family.  I wanted the photos to be beautiful but also to eschew strictly traditional concepts of beauty, to find subjects spanning diverse ranges of age, race and gender.
I thought it would take a few months. It turned into a few years. As time went on it evolved and grew and what I hope it’s become is a celebration of humanity. Everything that being half-naked implies — the liberating, the banal, the romantic, the solitary, the sexy, the domestic, the moments we live for and the details in between.
I’m sure it’s not perfectly comprehensive, nothing ever is, but I’m happy with it.  And I’m happy for all that it’s taught me. This was my first photography project. And I don’t think it will be my last. Thanks for lending your eyes.” – Josh Soskin

You can check out more images from the project by clicking here. And just when I didn’t think the images couldn’t get any better, I saw the film…

Josh Soskin | Director | Photographer

Visual Supplement: Sally Mann

sallymann“I struggle with enormous discrepancies: between the reality of motherhood and the image of it, between my love for my home and the need to travel, between the varied and seductive paths of the heart. The lessons of impermanance, the occasional despair and the muse, so tenuously moored, all visit their needs upon me and I dig deeply for the spiritual utilities that restore me: my love for the place, for the one man left, for my children and friends and the great green pulse of spring.” – Sally Mann

Visual Supplement: Parker Fitzgerald

overgrowthparkerfitzgerald

“We do not want merely to see beauty, we want something else which can hardly be put into words —
to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to become part of it.”

Photographer Parker Fitzgerald & Florist Riley Messina  |  Overgrowth

A beautiful new addition to my bookshelf collection. 

Visual Supplement: William Gedney

WilliamGedneyJournal entry by William Gedney, 1969…
There are two ways of looking at a thing.
Either you feel that a thing must be perfect before you present it to the public, or you are willing to let it go out even knowing that it is not perfect, because you are striving for something even beyond what you have achieved, but in struggling too hard for perfection you know that you may lose the very glimmer of life, the very spirit of the thing that you also know exists at a particular point in what you have done; and that to interfere with it would be to destroy that very living quality.
I am myself in favor of practising in public. There are, of course, those people who say, ‘But the public is not interested in watching people practice. It wants the finished thing or nothing.’ My answer is that if one does not practice in public in reality, then in nine cases out of ten the world will never see the finished product of one’s work. Some people go on the assumption that if a thing is not a hundred percent perfect it should not be given to the world, but I have seen too many things that were a hundred percent perfect that were spiritually dead, and then things that have been seemingly incomplete that have life and vitality, which I prefer by far to the other so-called perfect thing.
It is one thing to think about a piece of work as a scientific or objective entity that will stand up a hundred years hence, and another to think of a living quality of the person doing the thing and of his development. Is the thing felt – doesn’t it come out of an inner need – an inner must? Is one ready to die for it?… that is the only test…”
Alfred Stieglitz
Quoted by Dorothy Norman from America and Alfred Stieglitz, page 136-137, Doubleday, Doran + Company, 1934.

Visual Supplement: William Eggleston

williameggleston

“A picture is what it is and I’ve never noticed that it helps to talk about them, or answer specific questions about them, much less volunteer information in words. It wouldn’t make any sense to explain them. Kind of diminishes them. People always want to know when something was taken, where it was taken, and, God knows, why it was taken. It gets really ridiculous. I mean, they’re right there, whatever they are.”
– William Eggelston, always known in my book as the father of color photography

Sally Mann

sallymann

“I struggle with enormous discrepancies: between the reality of motherhood and the image of it, between my love for my home and the need to travel, between the varied and seductive paths of the heart. The lessons of impermanance, the occasional despair and the muse, so tenuously moored, all visit their needs upon me and I dig deeply for the spiritual utilities that restore me: my love for the place, for the one man left, for my children and friends and the great green pulse of spring.” – Sally Mann

A Photography Series: Staying true to the artist in you

Taste is not something you can teach, it’s just innate. I heard an interesting interview with Jerry Springer on a morning radio program a while ago. They were asking him about Kim Kardasian and why he thought she was so successful. Jerry went on to explain how the entertainment industry has become democratized. Stay with me, I’ll tie this all together. He said, back in the day, people used to listen to radio programs because of the DJ. Then people started calling in and all the sudden people were listening to the radio to hear what the callers were going to say. Then talk shows became big and people were, once again, watching to see how the audience was going to react. Then shows like American Idol came along and all the sudden the audience had complete control over who was going to be the next star. Gone are the days where a bunch of big-wigs sit around an over sized table and decide who the next big star is going to be. So, ya see, it doesn’t always have to do with talent (or taste) so much as it has to do with appealing to the masses. And in so many cases, especially in terms of art, the general public lacks taste. Hence, why Kim Kardashian is successful.
Let me digress again. I’ve done a lot of traveling to a lot of poor countries where people idolize me for simply being American. Then, when I return home and venture to the middle of butt-fuck-no-where I look around in disbelief at what makes up a HUGE core of the US… people like honey boo boo… I think about those people from those poor countries who have this fanatical ideal of the US and feel sorry for them… someone has obviously pulled the wool over their eyes. We aren’t all we’re cracked up to be.
Back to my point. I will always value quality over quantity. I may get 20 more photography gigs if I start posing newborn babies on lily pads with pearls around their necks. But it’s not my style. Someone else can do it better in me and see the beauty in it. I don’t. And I’m okay with missing out on those 20 clients for the 1 that respects my approach/style/taste/work. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone is going to have different tastes. That’s what makes it all the more magical when you do find a client that is right for you. Like love, there is presumably someone out there for each of us. The debate then becomes are you willing to sacrifice your own taste to please a broader range of clients? What I’ve learned is that you have to follow your own instinct and try your hardest not to even look at what anyone else is doing, whether you like what they’re doing or not. Just do your thing.

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The Ma Books

…When I became a mother, I felt much of the same connection to a bigger whole. All mothers know the same agonies and achievements, the same triumphs and tears. No matter where we are from, we are bonded by our role in raising children…
You can read my full post over on The Ma Books, along with some awesome images from photographer Ken Heyman.

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A Photography Series: See it through your own eyes

I find myself often thinking either during a shoot or after a shoot how someone different may have shot the same scene. Was the lighting actually poor or was I not exposing the available light correctly? Would someone else have positioned a couple differently that would have been more flattering? Questions and doubt flood my mind until I have a harsh conversation with myself and tell myself to STOP IT already.  
The thing I’ve learned is this: You can never duplicate. Not how you indended to, anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been nervous heading into a shoot only to quickly look up other photographer’s work for a quick burst of inspiration or even a mental cheat sheet only to walk in to the shoot and find that duplicating does not work for me; it feels more like the first time I made out with a guy: awkward. 
Before I crossed over from hobby to business, I used to ask my friends who allowed me to photograph them to send me ideas for their shoots. They’d send me images from pinterest, mostly, and I’d do my best to give them what they wanted. It didn’t take me long, however, to realize that it wasn’t me. I didn’t really want to be told what to do nor could I find inspiration in the images I was looking at. In hindsight, I had the vision but not the confidence. As I shot more, I gained more confidence and now, finally, I’m able to allow my own visions to come to life.
I could sit here in regret that I didn’t trust my own insights sooner, but we all travel a different road and so long as we get to a place where we trust and have faith in ourselves as artists than who cares?
I no longer ask my clients for ideas and find, more often than not, that they’ve hired me because they like my vision. And nothing feels as good as that. 
“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” -Steven Pressfield

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Portraits of my children

“the child must
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know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him” – pablo casals

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Old Pics for the New Year

Everyone tells you how fast time seems to fly when you get older. The speed seems to pick up somewhere in the mid-twenties and before you know it, you’re thirty and marveling at how fast the last ten years have gone. Childhood doesn’t seem to do us any favors in this category. Doesn’t it seem like childhood moved at snails pace? I remember summer vacations seemingly lasting forever. Now each day rolls into the next and with no distinguishable break, time just keeps on a’ truckin’.
When you have a baby, everyone tells you how fast they grow and change. These same people remind you to enjoy it. To soak it all in. But the truth is, I spent the last year enjoying our family and soaking in all the changes and excitement and well, it just isn’t enough. What they don’t tell is no matter how much you relish in the moment, the moments pass too quickly.
I imagine the sock monster that hides in the dryer and devotes his life to rearranging pairs of cotton booties must also hide behind clocks and play with those little dials when we’re not looking.
Because time moves too fast.
This past year, I’ve watched my baby grow into a boy. He started the year as a googly eyed bobble head and is closing the year out as a bull in a china shop with a mind all his own. See, it’s not only that time goes fast, it’s also that within a short amount of time a lot of change takes place. Imagine learning to roll, sit, crawl, walk, and run all in the same year. Imagine going from breastfeeding to spoon feeding yourself. A child’s development is incredible.
Anyway, here’s some of my favorite Hooper shots from 2011. I better put my running shoes on in 2012 if I have any aspirations of capturing the blur that is to be next year. And trust me, I do have aspirations.
Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highchair Series

I have a thing with highchairs. Okay, not really with highchairs, per say. More like against highchairs. And their bulkiness. And their gaudiness. So when we set out to decide on a highchair, we were looking for something simple and non-obstructing. I liked the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair… until I saw the price. Their whole premise revolves around the child eating at the table with you, in addition to the chair growing with the child. Then I saw this picture:

And thought: unt-aw, no soiree, not my child. Hooper will not be that over sized dorky kid still in a highchair at that age. So, I clung onto their other premise of having the child eat at the table with the parents. No bulky tray involved here. And I liked that premise. But again, the price. Ouch. So I stuck with the premise and looked instead at restaurant style highchairs and found just that, for $40. At Target.
Not only does it fit our home stylistically, but it also has become one of my favorite places to photograph Hooper. He’s contained, for one. And occupied with food, for two. And I can position it wherever I want, allowing for optimal lighting and background, for three. And by golly, those combined make for a successful photo shoot for an otherwise room wrecking, dog terrorizing, pulling-on-moms-pants one-year-old.
I present to you: The Highchair Series.