Up in the Gym, Just Working on Your Fitness

It’s been a crazy few weeks for me, at least in my personal life.  Within that manic stretch of time, I got to do a fun beach shoot with Danielle Montezinos.  Like myself, Danielle recently relocated to L.A. from New York City.  We met through a mutual friend out here and found out that not only did we graduate from the same college, but we also lived in the same part of Astoria when we were in New York.  She is a brilliant actress and comic (you can visit her website here), as well as a fitness instructor.  This was my first time doing a fitness shoot, and it really puts it all into perspective: I have become crazy out-of-shape.

The original shoot date was rained out; one of the few occasions this winter on which it has actually rained in Los Angeles (big drought out here).  We re-scheduled to a much warmer and significantly sunnier Wednesday, February 12.  I shot Danielle at two locations: alongside the promenade on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, CA, and on Santa Monica State Beach.

Equipment: Canon 7D; Canon 85mm ƒ/1.8 USM & Sigma 10-22mm ƒ/4-5.6 EX DC HSM (which is suddenly becoming one of my more favorite lenses, especially when paired with a speedlite)

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Facebook Celebrates “Humans of New York”

If anyone has been feeling down lately; be it a slump in clients or feeling like you’ve hit a creative dead-end, I recommend watching this short video.

I was first directed to Brandon Stanton’s Facebook page in 2012 by my friend Jacqui while I was waiting for another friend at a bar. At this point in my life, I had already been a “Human of New York” myself.  I had recently relocated to Philadelphia from New York City, but I hadn’t heard of Stanton or what he had set out to accomplish. Scrolling through my iPhone that evening, I realized how many individuals I waltzed on the streets of New York, uninterested in the fact that each of these passersby had stories to tell.

Brandon Stanton is a photographer with a clear vision.  The genuine connection he establishes with his subjects is inspiring to me.  I recently purchased the Humans Of New York book, published by St. Martin Press.  Just like on Facebook, I am reminded of my home with each turn of the page.  “Oh!  I’ve totally seen that guy in Times Square,” “I definitely know what that woman means!” etc.  Anyone is game to stand in front of his camera: Stanton has photographed toddlers, the elderly, the homeless, and the wealthy.  His efforts have given the world a true cross-section of what it’s like to live in New York.

Stanton moved to New York City in 2010 with no money and no job, but he had his camera; and he had the streets of New York. On a daily basis he would approach someone in New York and connect with them. Not only was he taking their picture, but he genuinely cares about who they are, where they came from, and what they are feeling. Initially, Mr. Stanton intended on creating a “photographic census” of the City that never sleeps.  His vision was to attach each photograph to a map of New York City, an interactive experience which would allow users to really “see” into their own neighborhoods.  Frustrated with the lack of exposure, Stanton turned to Facebook Pages (which was in its infancy at this point).  The Facebook platform allowed a direct link to the socially-connected world.  As of today, the “Humans of New York” Facebook page has over 2.9 million likes.

I urge everyone to take a look at Humans of New York––especially if you have spent time in the city.  It will undoubtedly inspire you.

Humans of New York is available on Amazon.com for as low as $15.88 (if you’re a Prime member).

 

NoHo or Bust

January turned out to be a little bit sluggish for me in the shooting department.  Lots of business preparation, and then a lot of other things that had nothing to do with photography (check the other blog if you’re super curious).  Anyway, I decided to climb out of my month-long hole of nearly zero creative expression by shooting my friend Kristina outside of one of North Hollywood’s creepiest landmarks––Circus Liquor.  Circus Liquor (located on Burbank & Vineland) has a huge neon clown sign beckoning the San Fernando Valley to buy some whiskey.  It was famously featured in the 1995 film Clueless, specifically the scene in which Cher is robbed at gunpoint returning from a “Val Party.”  I also shot Kristina in Studio City, behind the old Bookstar (now owned by Barnes & Noble).

The shoot: I’ve really been into the whole street punk look.  Reminiscent of the 1980s; think Debbie Harry of Blondie.  I think Kristina really captures it effortlessly.  All images were shot on the 7D, lit with a 430EX II Speedlite mounted with a soft box connected to an ETTL cord.

P.S. – I would like to take a moment just to appreciate the detail she put into her eyeliner.

Continue reading NoHo or Bust