Liliana

    While working on my book, Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits, I met many incredible people. I first met Liliana at a photoshoot. When I saw her amazing ink, I asked if she would be a part of my book. Since then, I have worked with her on other projects.   Last week, I did a photoshoot with Liliana, and she shared her new tattoos with me. Her latest additions were Gypsy tattoos, beautiful women adorned with elements of nature. Until I saw her new ink, I didn’t even know there was “Gypsy” style. It still amazes what artists can do with tattoos. Body art has grown and expanded so much in the last decade that it will be interesting to see how it continues to evolve in the next ten years.

Zach, US Navy: Tattoo Interview

In the past decade, tattoos haven’t just artistically evolved, but they have become so popular that many industries have changed their policies regarding body art. The military is no exception. In honor of Veteran’s day, I’m posting a portrait from my book, Tattle Tales: Tattoo Stories and Portraits. Zach got his tattoo in honor of his time in the Navy as well as his love for the sea. The tattoo on his chest is the Greek God of the Sea, Poseidon. Zach also enjoys snorkeling and spear fishing.   I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to speak with soldiers and veterans. I know that as a civilian much of what veterans experience is outside of my paradigm. Nevertheless, I think it’s important for me as well as everyone else to be a good listener and honor what they have done for this country. Thank you for your service, veterans!

Packing Tips for Photographers

Travel Photography First of all, I want to state that this blog is more for the person who enjoys photography and wants to take full advantage of their traveling opportunities. Professional photographers already know what they want to bring and why. However, on that same note, I’m a photojournalist and when I started traveling more, I used to pack everything but “the kitchen sink” (so to speak). This is why I’m writing this post.   In 2018, I traveled to Spain and Portugal to perform with the Oregon Arts Orchestra. I was excited and nervous. I had only been playing the cello for about four years, which is little compared to all the other talented and experienced professional musicians. As I was getting ready for the trip, I decided that this would be a great opportunity for me to get incredible photos. I couldn’t pack every single lens and accessory, but I sure did cram as much as I could. My backpack was so heavy that I had to see a chiropractor after I got back from the trip. And do you know what the real kicker is? My Sony camera never left the bag. Not once. I ended up […]

Body of Art

  I’m naturally a really shy person, but I’m also very curious. Photography has afforded me opportunities to learn about people, various cultures, and different perspectives. As I come to the end of my book, I’m revisiting some of the earlier shoots, when I didn’t know for sure how this project would evolve. I’m so grateful and honored to have met some incredible people through this portrait series. It’s easy to think that we’re all so different that we feel we can’t connect. If anything, this project taught me that no matter how different our lives may be, there’s is always a place to connect with people. We just have to take the time and listen. The black and white photo is from the very first shoot for my book. Angela taught me a lot about what it’s like being a tattooed woman in today’s world. I have been lucky to have worked with Angela on many shoots, and I’m very honored to have her in my book.

It’s All About The Pose

Last week I read an article in The Daily Beast about photographer and co-founder of WireImage Jeff Vespa. In the article, Vespa talked about celebrity portraiture and how he doesn’t like to tell his subjects how to pose, as it is not helpful in creating an authentic portrait and posing can mostly be corny, if not annoying and unnatural to the person being photographed. His work, by the way, is exquisite, and, if you haven’t seen his photography, I suggest you check him out. One of the challenges I have encountered with my tattoo project is that I’m trying to capture more than one thing in the photo. I want people to be able to appreciate the tattoo, but I also want them to be able to feel a connection with the person in the photo. For me, connection comes through the eyes. Most of the people I’ve been photographing are not the most comfortable in front of the camera. I can tell almost right away that they’re waiting for instruction on how to stand or pose. Thus, it’s always striking a balance between giving them ideas while not losing the authenticity. I always tell them to stand how they feel most comfortable, and […]

Mel

One of the things I like most about my photography are the opportunities it gives me to talk to some amazing people. Since starting my tattoo portrait series, I’ve had the chance to interview a lot of people from different backgrounds and hear their stories about why they chose their tattoos. When I first met Mel, I was a little anxious about asking her to be part of my tattoo project. I’m very shy and, like most people, I’m also afraid of rejection. However, Mel was very laid back and easy to talk to, and she agreed to be a part of my tattoo project. There was a moment, before she started her story, when I could tell she was trying to figure out how much she wanted to share. No matter who I interview, I always try to respect the boundaries of the individual. When Mel began to tell me her story I was speechless. Her tattoo represents her journey to reclaim her body after being sexually assaulted. Every facet of her tattoo, the flowers, the heart, the lock, tells a story about surviving a terrible incident and then overcoming the aftermath. What happened to Mel has happened to too many […]

Alex

About a month ago I had a fashion/senior portrait photo shoot with a very sweet girl named Alex. She’s a senior in high school and an aspiring model. Based on her look and the fact we were trying to get some fashion as well as senior portrait shots, I chose the Riparian Preserve for our location. This location is wonderful for photographers because there are so many scenic spots. I’ve done three photo shoots so far at the Riparian Preserve, but you wouldn’t know that all three shoots were done at the same location. The other reason I like this area is because, even when it gets busy, you can almost always find a quiet area. I had a lot of fun at this shoot. One of the reasons that I enjoy outdoor and concert photography is that I don’t have to set up lights. That’s not to say that I don’t encounter lighting issues outside or at concerts, but I resolve those challenges by either changing camera settings or, in this particular case, moving. Alex loved her photos and I’m really glad that I was able to help her build her portfolio with a couple of more natural looking […]

Building My Portfolio

I’ve reached a point in my photography where I actually need a physical portfolio. Most portfolios, I have read, include anywhere between 12 to 24 images. Even though I have shot countless photos, I found the process of selecting images to be quite painful, and that’s not because I’m in love with all of my photos. Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who can pick myself apart to the point of tears. I’m extremely self critical. A little self-critiquing is good, but I happen to be a zealot. In the end I had a couple people I trust give me their suggestions as to which images they think I should include. Sometimes when I’m too close to a project I ask others for their opinion. Oftentimes, they see things I haven’t picked up on because I’m too distracted with the technical aspects of the photo. Building my portfolio taught me that I need to appreciate the journey just as much as the final result.

Tattle Tales: Session Three

I was thrilled when I heard that Tillie was open to being a part of my tattoo project. Though I hadn’t met her yet, I had heard about her incredible tattoos. When I finally had the chance to meet her, I was immediately blown away by her body art. Her tattoos had so much color and detail that it was definitely more than your “run-of-the-mill” tattoo. Her arms were wrapped with various illustrations, including an owl, a woman’s face, and a reference to the Harry Potter books. On her thigh, Tillie had what looked like a beautiful painting of Frida Kahlo. The colors were so vivid and the face looked so real that it was almost hard to believe that all of that could be achieved with a tattoo gun. Because of all the aspects of Tillie’s body art, I had to take multiple photos to successfully capture the beauty and intricacies of her tattoos. One of the perks of working on this tattoo series is that I get to meet some amazing people. I really enjoyed getting know Tillie and hear about how she incorporated her various passions into her body art. Our bodies are a blank canvas, but […]

Rachel & Mackenzie

Just before the summer heat settled in Phoenix, I had the opportunity to photograph recent Chaparral grads Rachel and Mackenzie. It was my first time shooting at the Riparian Reserve in Gilbert. Even though the afternoon was overcast, it turned out to be a really fun and successful photo shoot. Besides the fact they had an incredible wardrobe, they were comfortable being in front of the camera and they had a great sense of humor.