UTEC

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

Look Around and See the Good

I met Geoff Foster at Lowell’s United Teen Equity Center (UTEC) in 2012 while documenting the important work that the dedicated personal at UTEC does. Geoff, a youth organizer, is UTEC’s Associate Director of Political Action and is well known in the community for championing the Vote 17 initiative, and state-wide for overseeing the Teens Leading the Way coalition, among other things.

What is striking about Geoff is his unrestrained enthusiasm for what he does. To see him in action with a group of young people is truly inspiring. So as I have invited different personalities for the area to allow me photograph them, several of them insisted that I should extend the invitation to Geoff as well. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule yesterday afternoon to come by. It was incredibly interesting and uplifting to talk with him and experience his contagious enthusiasm, but I got to photograph him too!

Geoff Foster

Geoff Foster

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Geoff Foster, United Teen Equality Center, Lowell, Massachusetts

Geoff Foster, United Teen Equality Center, Lowell, Massachusetts

Some of Us Are From Here. Some From Far Away.

I met Derek and Lydia a little over a year ago. I recall the event we all attended, but I don't recall exactly how he and I started to talk about UTEC (United Teen Equality Center), where he was the Director of Workforce Development, and an idea that I had for a photography and film project. The conversation began and the idea grew into a project that lasted throughout the summer. I had an amazing experience meeting and photographing the young people and staff at UTEC, the culmination of which coincided with the Grand Opening of the renovated youth center. I was extremely privileged to have my work shown at the opening.

So what does all that have to do with Derek? Beginning with our brief conversation, the idea began to take hold in each of our minds. Pursuing a personal project over several months can be quite a commitment and at times can be really discouraging. Some days it seems pointless, or the goal seems so far off that giving up would be so easy. An advocate within an organization in which you are trying to work is essential. Derek was the ideal advocate. I never felt like an outsider or awkward to be there. Derek paved the way, made the introductions and prodded and encouraged me to follow-through, to show up and to create.

Now Derek has moved on to become the Lowell Site Director of The International Institute of New England, and most recently, he has announced his candidacy for Lowell City Council. I know that he will bring the same passion and commitment that he has brought to his previous endeavors. 

This installment of the Big Door series and the Basic black and white series features Derek, but his partner Lydia dropped in for the shoot as well. Lydia is an amazing person in her own right, so I will be featuring her in front of the big green doors very soon. Stay tuned! 

People have asked me what this project is all about. It's not terribly profound. I have been looking for local people who are interesting to know, and to see, and to tell a little about them here on this blog, in words and pictures. Mostly pictures. I enjoy the process and realizing results that satisfy me, and I still have a long list of people that I want to invite as this thing proceeds.

Derek Mitchell

Derek Mitchell

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This Lovely Evening

He seems to be everywhere that's anywhere in Lowell. Last evening, he was in front of the now famous doors in suite A405. Sovanna told his Facebook friends that he was visiting me "this lovely evening", at Western Avenue Studios to be photographed. A pleasure to work with, Sovanna was impeccably dressed, as always, and ready to be photographed. Here are some of the shots for my Big Door series and my pick for my ongoing Basic series, which are all in B&W, and all done as simply and as similarly as possible in an attempt to really "portray" the person, in the true sense of the word. Enjoy!

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UTEC Revisited

It's been a while since I have blogged, unfortunately, but I have spent the last week, plus 1 day, upgrading my computer system. Oh the terabytes!!!  Anyway, I have arrived and am back in business! Yay!

The week before, I was invited back to United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), in Lowell, to create more photographs of the Alternative Diploma Program, or ADP. Both the young people and their teachers are a dedicated bunch!

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United Teen Equality Center - Chipping Away

After more that 6 months, I am thrilled to finally unveil my personal project, United Teen Equality Center - Chipping Away. Since May of this year, I have had the privilege to work with Lowell, Massachusetts' United Teen Equality Center to create portraits of the young people and to document the invaluable work that is done there, in the form of a photographic body of work and a short film.

The work will be on display beginning with the center's Grand Opening event, and will remain on display in the common areas of the new building into the future.

I Need to Blog More Often!

Well, I really dropped the ball. I haven't blogged since May 8th! In my defense, I have been working on many things, but several of them are long term projects or editorial photography, the latter requiring me to hold off showing until publication. So there will be several magazine cover stories to come, as well as a couple of personal projects, to which I can at least give you a sneak preview now.

I am really excited to be working with the United Teen Equality Center (UTEC), in Lowell, Massachusetts, on a summer-long project to document the great work they are doing, and have been doing since 1999. I am really looking forward to creating a significant body of work that will tell UTEC's story. My photographing and learning process has already begun and the plans are for the work to culminate with the Grand Opening of their new, green building, on November 13th. Stay tuned!

 

And yes, my project called After Hours Passions, with creative genius Suzzanne Cromwell continues!

And if you "Like" the Merrimack Valley Magazine on Facebook, you may have seen this shot. I had the pleasure of covering a two family home construction project in Lawrence that happened in an insane 6 days. I also found This Old House' Steve Thomas to be an inspiring and eloquent speaker on the subject of helping others to succeed.