Headshot

Virginia

Virginia Prak came by the studio the other evening for a very informal photo shoot. Virginia is a college student, pageant winner, as well as a dancer, instructor and board member of the Angkor Dance Troupe here in Lowell, Massachusetts. This year is the 30th anniversary of the Troupe. Click here for more about this great organization

I hesitate to feature just one of the Angkor dancers over the other, very talented dancers. To be honest, I'd love to photograph many of them! So maybe this is a start. As it happens though, she and I had a little conversation starter as my wife, Amy, was Virginia's 2nd grade teacher :-).

Please enjoy the pictures!

This shot was done using a 4x5 inch paper negative. Photographic paper is 'orthochromatic', unlike traditional film, so certain colors do not register as one might expect. Her yellow garment is the same one as in the color image above, but reads almost black.

This shot was done using a 4x5 inch paper negative. Photographic paper is 'orthochromatic', unlike traditional film, so certain colors do not register as one might expect. Her yellow garment is the same one as in the color image above, but reads almost black.

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!

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

My Lunch with Kevin

Yes, I know, the snow is two feet deep as I write this. But how about something totally different than wall to wall coverage of a snowstorm in New England in January?

Last week, photographer Kevin Harkins and I had our annual lunch. We do gossip about everyone so fear not, you probably were mentioned. Every couple of years we have started to create new headshots for each other. Frankly, I like the younger ones of myself, but Kevin is very persuasive, so we shot new ones. I am getting the full Platon treatment on mine and those will be coming to my web site soon.(Platon is a photographer. Born with only one name apparently. Look him up, or click here: http://www.platonphoto.com/gallery/portraits/movies--television/robertredford/)

Anyway, it was a cloudy Massachusetts afternoon in January, and the north-facing windows of my studio provided a distinctly cool light, which was great. Kevin has already blogged with some photos that he shot of me (thanks Kevin!), so here are mine of him. Take special note as to how different Kevin’s shots of me look, in spite of their being shot the same day, in the same studio, with the same lighting gear. (Hint: it’s not about the camera or the gear)

Enjoy.

And take a look at Kevin Harkins’ web site here: http://www.harkinsphotography.com

Perseverance and Faith

So what do you say when another photographer who you respect asks you to create their portrait? You do it, of course! Thaddeus Miles, who happens to live in the next building, asked me to do just that. I was incredibly flattered, and immediately asked if, rather than a fee, I could be paid with a print of one of his photographs, and if I could make some photos of him that were beyond what he was looking for.

Thaddeus is an amazing photographer. Quite a while ago he began one of those 365 projects that some photographers embark on (note that I said “some”… I have never had the discipline...) in which they shoot something every day for a year. Well the last photo in his blog is day number 977! See his work here : http://thaddeusmiles365.wordpress.com

A couple of his other passions are his Hood Fit initiative and his Men of Color Photoshoot, the first phase of which took place last week. Check out both on his blog, and here as well: http://hoodfit.org

Thaddeus was actually trying to get a new photo of himself for “an award”, as he phrased it. That award, which is no small thing, and which will be presented to him today, October 28, 2014, is called the Lilla G. Frederick award, named for Mrs. Frederick, who helped found and then served as the President and Chair of Project RIGHT, Inc. (Rebuild and Improve Grove Hall Together), which presents this award. Congratulations Thaddeus!

Thaddeus emailed the press release the other day, which appears below, after the photos.

I am just privileged to know him and extremely happy to have had the opportunity to photograph him for this blog.

Thaddeus Miles

Thaddeus Miles

Subject: FW: Thaddeus Miles will be presented the Lilla Frederick award on October 28, 2014
 
(please distribute to the appropriate contacts and have those interested in coming, to contact me regarding tickets at 617.541.5451.x102)
 
You are invited to join Project RIGHT at its annual dinner and celebration on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 from 6 PM – 9 PM at Russell Memorial Auditorium (70 Talbot Ave, Dorchester).  Project RIGHT was formed in 1991 and organizes residents and young people on addressing public safety and quality of life issues while improving access to resources and positive opportunities in the Grove Hall neighborhood.
  

This year, PRI is presenting Thaddeus Miles, MassHousing’s Director of Public Safety with its Lilla Frederick award.  Mr. Miles has been responsible for launching several innovative violence prevention initiatives and partnerships that has made a significant difference in the Grove Hall neighborhood, the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a whole.  

 

Mr. Miles launched the Grove Hall Multi Unit Housing Initiative that comprised of tenant associations, Boston Police, property owners, management companies, security companies, MassHousing and community organizations that has successfully addressed public safety issues in these apartment buildings.  Mr. Miles helped to found the Grove Hall Youth Outreach Connection comprised of Project RIGHT, several Grove Hall Tenant Associations, MassHousing, Boston Police and Lilla Frederick Pilot Middle School which has received significant funding by the Charles Hayden Foundation to increase the youth outreach worker and prevention capacity in the Grove Hall neighborhood.  Mr. Miles has also provided ongoing training for a variety of Grove Hall representatives to understand both the community impact of violence and the toll of trauma, but also to address the personal toll that occurs upon us.

 

Being an innovator in challenging the barriers and disparities facing Grove Hall and other neighborhoods, Mr. Miles launched HoodFit, a community led movement which focuses on bringing out the most positive attributes of community building, health and wellness highlighting the mind, body and soul that shows us day by day on how to overcome issues such as trauma.  Mr. Miles also founded “Think Big Dream Big”, a youth driven initiative to jumpstart young people on the journey to a positive future, the fulfillment of their goals and dreams.  

  

Much like the late Ms. Lilla Frederick (Devon Street resident and Project RIGHT’s Board President), Mr. Miles goes block by block, identifies problems, takes actions, doesn’t take no for an answer and achieves results.  They both go out of their way to avoid publicity or self promotion, but they rather just do the work to make changes that systematically improve the lives of residents and young people. 

 

If you have any questions, or wish to come to Project RIGHT’s annual dinner and celebration, please contact Michael Kozu, Community Coordinator (m_kozu@hotmail.com and 617.541.5451.x102).

A Growing Business

Two of the nicest people you could ever meet also happen to be two of the smartest and innovative entrepreneurs in the area. Lydia and Francey are the force behind Mill City Grows, the Lowell, Massachusetts-based enterprise that is bringing community gardening and urban food production to the city and surrounding area. Their mission: “Mill City Grows fosters food justice by improving physical health, economic independence and environmental sustainability in Lowell through increased access to land, locally-grown food and education.” Please visit their web site: http://www.millcitygrows.org

Back to Francey and Lydia though, both of whom, along with their husbands, are thoroughly invested in the community and its success. I have had the opportunity to follow them around to a few of their projects for the Merrimack Valley Magazine and the Local Farming photo essay that I did last year. Yesterday afternoon they dropped by my studio to pose for some shots at The Big Doors. Please do visit their web site to see what’s growing!

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Francey Slater and Lydia Sisson of Mill City Grows

Francey Slater and Lydia Sisson of Mill City Grows

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Joe Hungler Meets the Big Doors

Joe Hungler and I recently discovered that we have a connection that neither of us were aware of. Joe grew up in Manchester, NH, and was a close friend of my nephew when they were both in grammar school. It’s the kind of thing that we seem to only discover from social media when there are friends or followers in common.

Joe is one of the many Lowellians who is committed to making life better for those with less. He is currently the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell and on the board of directors of the Cultural Organization of Lowell. Originally from Manchester, having grown up in the Boys & Girls club there, where he worked for 10 years on the Program staff, Joe came to Lowell by way of clubs in Nashua, Waltham and Worcester. Get him started on talking about his work and you will soon see why his enthusiasm leads to his success. 

Please visit their web site. What they offer kids and the cost will probably surprise you! From their web site: “The membership fee for the school year is $26. No child is turned away due to inability to pay – scholarships are offered to children who could not otherwise afford membership.“

Joe Hungler - Executive Director at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell

Joe Hungler - Executive Director at Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell

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Happy 2014!

Every year at this time I whine about how tiresome all of the end-of-year lists and retrospectives are, so it seems only natural that I do one myself. 2013 has been a very good year for me. I have had a number of rewarding commercial photography successes, as well as some really interesting editorial ones. As important for my sanity though have been my self-assigned portrait projects that have allowed me to get to know many interesting people who I wouldn’t necessarily have had the opportunity to spend time with. Thank you to everyone who has helped too: my wife Amy (and reluctant keeper of the books), my son and new daughter-in-law, my assistants Melissa and Liz, my stylist Grace, Western Avenue Studios, and my loyal and supportive clients and fans. I know I am forgetting someone, so please accept my apology in advance! Thank you again and have a very Happy New Year!

Adrien

2013 in Pictures

2013 in Pictures