Kenya's Return

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of welcoming Kenya back to my studio for a solo photo shoot. If you follow this blog, you may recognize Kenya from a fashion shoot that I did last year for Humanity, a boutique in Lowell, Massachusetts. Here she is with the whole team. (Kenya is the second from the left.)

Our recent shoot was one of my self-assigned shoots, meaning that it wasn't a fashion shoot, per se, nor a portrait, but rather my opportunity to do some creative lighting, posing and using materials other than digital cameras; things that are not always possible with commercial clients. So here's what we came up with. Thanks Kenya!

Artist Portrait: Roneld Lores

I have been making portraits of artists for several years now. I find artists to be the least self-conscious of subjects. I’m not sure why, although maybe it has to do with their understanding of the process. It’s very freeing in one way, but it also comes with the responsibility of “portraying” a person in an honest way. It’s well understood that photographic gear has nothing to do with making images that work, aside from the more mundane technical qualities of images. It’s also true though that a photographer brings feelings, perceptions and interpretations to a photo shoot such that the portrait is as much about the photographer as it is about the subject. 

Last week I had an amazing time visiting the Western Avenue studio of Roneld Lores and Angela Alés, and photographing Roneld. I haven't mentioned it to Angela, but I am hoping that I can photograph her as well sometime in the future. Angela, by the way, has a show now at the Galatea Fine Art gallery on Harrison Avenue in Boston. The opening reception is this Friday, January 8th, 2016. Here is more information: http://galateafineart.com

Click here for a look at Roneld’s web site, and here are my images of him. 

Locally-Grown Fashion

Last week Diana Jaye Coluntino stopped by my studio for a photo shoot. Diana, who studied fashion, metalsmithing and sculpture at Mount Ida and MassArt, ultimately teaching at MassArt, spent a decade designing in Venezuela and ended up in Lowell, Massachusetts as the Artistic Director of the Revolving Museum. A number of years ago, Diana founded New Vestures, where she is the Creative Director. 

New Vestures provides “support, space, resources and classes related to the creation of fashion and textile projects”. Located in Lowell, New Vestures recently moved out of their Merrimack Street location into a temporary one in the beautifully renovated 110 Canal Street building, which houses the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub. What a cool location!

I visited Diana yesterday to get a tour of that space, where she is working while waiting for the buildout of New Vestures’ new location to be completed. That new home will be just up the hill, still in the growing Hamilton Canal District, at Mill No. 5. That space, on the building’s 5th floor, just above the city’s cool new retail space on the 4th, will give New Vestures 3000 square feet of work space, not to mention a bunch of big windows overlooking the district.

So here are some of the shots during my tour and the portraits we did in my studio. Thank you Diana and best of luck in your new location!


House of Glass

I recently did a profile/photo-essay on Aron Leaman of Mill City Glass Works in Lowell for the Merrimack Valley Magazine (November/December 2015). Aron is incredibly passionate about his art, creating beautiful work as well as sharing his skills in classes that he holds at his studio at Western Avenue Studios. The magazine piece has a number of photos, with text by Emilie-Noelle Provost, so please check it out. Space can be limiting though, so here are several outtakes from my shoots that took place over several days. Visit Aron’s web site at MillCityGlassWorks.com.

(Almost) Wordless Blog No. 1

Photographers, or maybe just this one, have trouble talking about their work. So today, I am instituting a series of no-comment blog posts because I am not sure that I need to say anything about specific photographs. And yes, I know, these are words. So next time it will be wordless. Today I am presenting some images of several artist friends, Dug, Maxine and Barb & Samantha, the latter otherwise known as The Muddy Girls. As always, comments are very welcome!

Colors of August

Back in early August I had the opportunity to meet and photograph Natalia Wróbel, Polish-American artist, by way of California, in her Somerville studio. As you'll see from the photos, her large paintings only make her studio, the setting for her portraits, that much more beautiful. You can see more of her work at her web site here: http://nataliaswrobel.com/home.html

Another Autumn, Another Blog

It has been far too long since my last blog post, although I think I say that every time I blog. That has to change! I have quite a backlog, so I will start with this month’s Merrimack Valley Magazine, the September/October 2015 issue.

Probably the biggest production shoot that I worked on for this issue was the fashion shoot, Enduring Essentials. This was shot, on location, on Jackson Street in Lowell, Massachusetts, where there are all sorts of great things happening, not the least of which are Mill No. 5, Appleton Mills and the Lowell Community Health Center. This two page spread was shot in the doorway of Rosie's Cafe, which is just around the corner.

There’s also a feature about fashion designer Darby Scott, who worked on the fashion shoot. We did these shots in her beautiful North Andover Studio.

I also accompanied writer Will Courtney as he tried out Chuck Raffoni’s Broga class. As an aside, my wife Amy and I had an excellent yoga experience with Chuck just last evening, in the same yoga studio in Tyngsboro. I am a total newbie, but Amy is a yoga practitioner and commented on what an excellent teacher Chuck is!

Next up was an interview with the Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s new Artistic Director, Sean Daniels, conducted by the inimitable Dean Johnson. Amy and I are regulars at the MRT and it is off to an amazing start this year with Benjamin Scheuer's show, The Lion, that we were able to catch just before its run ended.

And finally, we have the higher-ed leadership scene in Lowell pretty much covered with my photos accompanying articles by Will Courtney and Emilie-Noelle Provost.

Film, Digital, Color, Black&White, What now?

Two months between blog posts. Not good. I have been busy (lame excuse), but also have been shooting quite a bit that cannot be shown here until it is published elsewhere (better excuse). I have been doing a little traveling in the way-back machine lately though, having purchased a scanner and some film. I hadn't shot film in several years and it is definitely a reality check. I am hoping that, like a painter's medium, it will have me think a little differently, both when I am shooting and in preparation for a shoot. I know, blah blah blah..show me the pictures.

I resurrected my 35mm camera and took a couple field trips...So here is a bench, some grapes, and a couple of guys on bikes. Did I mention that I am not a street photographer?

With a little help from eBay, I made some new friends in Japan and Korea. In the process, I bought a monster of a medium format camera. It creates negatives that are 6x7 centimeters. Here is my photography colleague Jack Holmes; world traveller, great photographer and all around nice guy!

Jack Holmes

Jack Holmes

Ok, one last gear-head thing... I bought a mono-rail 4x5 view camera recently too. I am headed off to a workshop next week, but I hope to start, or restart, a series of portraits of local artists when I return, and use both medium and large format. So watch this space.


Now, in no particular order, here are a couple of publication tear sheets, some shots from UTEC's Sweet 16 event, the Summer Kickoff of the Lowell National Park, the Grand Opening of Ani's boutique, Humanity, and an actress headshot that I did for another all around great person, Christa Brown.

Humanity Lowell

Humanity Lowell

UTEC - Sweet 16

UTEC - Sweet 16

Christa

Christa

Lowell National Park

Lowell National Park

UTEC Sweet 16

UTEC Sweet 16

Barron's - Fidelity's Steve Buller

Barron's - Fidelity's Steve Buller

Merrimack Valley Magazine

Merrimack Valley Magazine

A Mill, a Radio and a Fashion Shoot

The current issue of Merrimack Valley Magazine (May/June 2015) features a couple of pieces that I worked on that include a few people or places that are close to home, all in different ways.

Having moved to downtown Lowell last year, my wife Amy and I have become frequent visitors to Mill No. 5, a very eclectic destination in an old textile mill, (No surprise there!), with small shops and not so small events. Made in Lowell, a new initiative founded by Tobias Marx is located in Mill No. 5, and was started to “cultivate a movement to transform communities”. Tobi is incredibly passionate about the organization and its possibilities. Here is their web site to learn more: http://www.madeinlowell.orgLiz Michalski's story is well worth the read. You can find it on-line here: http://www.mvmag.net/?p=15211

Another piece is on a resurgence in local radio. I was really into radio when I was a kid. My father would build electronic things from discarded parts, at the kitchen table, using an old brownie pan as a chassis, after having sketched out the schematic from scratch. Seriously! But a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to snoop around 3 radio stations for this story, one of which was WXRV (The River). It is housed in the old WHAV art-deco studios where, if I remember the story correctly, my father actually worked as an engineer, probably right after the war. Seeing the old, discarded turn-tables and tape decks, one can imagine  the old-days of radio and the live performances that occurred there. While that station still has a wall of CDs (for backup), and The River does host live performances, all three stations that I visited now play streamed digital music day to day.

This story is a natural fit for writer Dean Johnson too. Dean is a Sunday nighttime fixture on WBZ radio.


And back in early April, when the snow was actively melting, we took over the Stonehenge Inn & Spa in Tyngsboro, MA, for a Couples Spring “Peek” Weekend fashion shoot. You may recognize Christa Brown, one of the models from a shoot that I did in my studio last year, and whose writing was recently featured in Seventeen Magazine.

This was a fun day. This piece is on-line too (http://www.mvmag.net/?p=15233). Thanks go to the rest of the team too. It was a real group effort: writer and style editor Alyson Aiello, Yolanda and Stephen for their creative direction, Regina for her hair and makeup work, and for Christa and Joel for looking marvelous!