This is the 30th year that the city of Lowell, Massachusetts has held it's summer Folk Festival. It really does get larger every year. And it's free. It's a real success story for one of Massachusetts' "Gateway Cities". And since it is outside my window, I usually spend the weekend walking, looking and making pictures. There are thousands of photos on Facebook to check out by lots of great shooters, but here is my contribution. Enjoy!
Need to blog. Need to blog. Need to......
You get the idea. It's time to show some work that only appears on my Instagram feed for the most part. Some of it was made here in Lowell, Massachusetts, some in Lawrence, at least one in Nashua, NH, some in Boston, and some in Honolulu. Feel free to critique me in the comments. I can take it... I think :-)
Masada Jones is one of a number of young people whom I know in this town who make it a good place to live, by simply doing her part. Formerly the Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator for the Lowell Community Health Center, she has recently moved across the street to become the Assistant Directory of Extended Day at the Lowell Community Charter Public School. She is also, or maybe foremost, a poet and has recently published a book of her work called "Becoming Broken".
Masada and I had met several years ago for a project that I was working on that really never got off the ground, but I had never photographed her until she and her Mom came to my studio about a month ago. A little snafu with the film processing, and paid shoots, got in my way in completing this collection, but here is the work - finally.
I got a mini-education in the art of crafting wood, or maybe just in the kinds of woods that are used. John Welch, of John Francis Designs allowed me into his studio a couple of weeks ago to photograph him and he enthusiastically explained to me, the clean slate, about some of the exotic hard-woods that he uses. I had no idea that some trees have a dark part and a very light part in the trunk!
Ok, back to talking about John. He recently moved into a larger space. It is flooded with great light from the huge Western Avenue Studios windows that face onto the Pawtucket canal. But let’s go directly to the photos! These are a mix of digital, medium format color film (Portra 160) and black & white film (Ilford HP5), all with window light.
You can visit John on Western Avenue’s First Saturday Open Studios, or you can go Like his Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/johnfrancisdesigns
Jeweler Robert Williams was kind enough to let me photograph him a few Saturdays ago in his Lowell studio, for my artist series. I learned that day too that he also makes high-end flutes - I think he said he is a master silver caster - in Boston, which he told me is where the best flutes are made. What I do know is that he makes amazing jewelry and is a super-nice guy. You can see a few of his pieces on his web site (http://www.rawjewelers.com), as well as on a video done by Howl Magazine here: https://youtu.be/_HfMrKg2FD4
His studio is at Western Avenue Studios, in Lowell, Massachusetts - Studio 208.
Well that title was a stretch. I was just looking for some words to wrap around some photos. I had been looking through some shoots and trips that I had done recently to see what else was there. Someone whose opinion I value said to me that he wanted to see what else there was, beyond my “picks”; those shots that I would select on the first or second edit of the “contact sheets”. He also wanted me to think beyond “quality”… It’s essential to think in terms of quality and delivering excellent work when doing commercial photography, but it tends to stifle artistic inclinations. Obviously, it’s important to bring your artistry to the commercial work, and I hope that looking beyond that quality thing will help me make that work better, but that’s not really the goal for these shots. Creating good work for the work’s sake is.
So here are some recent one-offs, not necessarily rejects, but shots that didn’t make the cut, at least for what was in my mind at the time, in no particular order and with no particular story in mind.
Let me know what you think!
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!
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.
Yup, we're done with 2015. It was a pretty busy one for me. Lots of magazine work, a week-long workshop in Maine, several multi-day corporate photography shoots, artistic projects, the year that I rediscovered film... why don't I just show you some of my favorites from this year. If you like what you see, please look back at the blogs from throughout the year, and please feel free to comment! (The major pieces are linked back to their respective blog posts)
A couple of covers this year, plus a feature for Barron's. What's better than dragging a dolly stacked with gear around Boston's financial district at rush hour? Seriously though, they were all fun shoots!
...and many more stories!
But here is a collection of some of my favorite shots from this year; actors, artists, fashion, entrepreneurs, behind-the-scene shots, and more. Click anywhere on the images below to go to my Facebook page to see more.
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!