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:

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!

Francey Slater and Lydia Sisson of Mill City Grows

Francey Slater and Lydia Sisson of Mill City Grows


The Latest from the Valley


The January/February 2014 issue of the Merrimack Valley Magazine is on the news stands. We had fun shooting the cover and some of the accompanying article at my studio at Western Avenue Studios. I also had the opportunity to meet two small business owners in Andover and North Andover. I can only give you a teaser here, so go out and get the magazine... Yes, now. Go ahead!

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!


2013 in Pictures

2013 in Pictures

Food Truck Revolution

Many summers ago, when I worked in an office in Kendall Square in Cambridge, one of the better lunch options was always the Falafel trucks that parked around MIT. It seems that now, food trucks are ubiquitous, and great.  Photographer Kevin Harkins and I recently were assigned to photograph several of these moveable feasts for the Merrimack Valley Magazine. The truck that I was able to see and step into, Chicken on the Road, originates from Billerica, MA, and is all about chicken. Big, bright and clean, check out their FB page and track them down and catch lunch!



James Knows Community Building

I met James Ostis a couple of years ago, in Lowell, at a Tweetup. At first soft-spoken, James' demeanor belies his drive to change things for the better. Formerly a legislative aid in the Office of Massachusetts State Representative Colleen M. Garry, he is currently project manager for the Lowell Heritage Partnership.

In speaking with him last night before we started making photographs, I was struck by his passion and enthusiasm. I hope he enjoys his photos. I know I enjoyed making them!

James Ostis

James Ostis

Mauricio is in the House

A few days ago, I invited Mauricio Cordero to my studio to take part in my two portrait projects, the Big Door Portraits, and Bsic. Mauricio is indeed a local celebrity! He is an artist, and educator and an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, most recently playing a key role at the soon to open Mill No. 5 in Lowell, Massachusetts.


Collaboration is Not New, but Now it's Real

Collaboration is nothing new but is a great way to offer enhanced capabilities to clients. Of late, I have been working with several very talented individuals who bring a tremendous amount of talent to the table, and do so in several different disciplines. We've been tossing around the idea of offering a suite of services under one roof. What if we could offer, not only a photographic vision, but could team up to offer video, graphic design, copy writing, and photo shoot production?

I am happy to announce that this one-stop, start-to-finish vision and production for your projects is now a reality. Check out the information here and get in touch! We can discuss your requirements and how my team can bring them to life.

Nadia and the Green Doors

I haven't made much noise about my new studio space yet, mostly because I haven't had an opportunity to make it presentable. I have a big blank wall and a stack of prints that are waiting to be hung. I will definitely get to it! But, along with more space and better window light, I have these great (in both senses of the word) green doors at one end of the studio. The old mill building apparently used to have a mechanism to load or unload large items to or from the upper floors through large, wooden barn doors. They are currently a rich dark green and are closed for good. I am holding out hope that the landlord refrains from covering them from the inside as they are a real feature in my space.

I recently photographed Nadia Clifford (, a local writer, in front of the doors. She and I are pretty happy with the results.


Goals and a Vision for your Head-Shot

A potential client contacted me a few weeks ago inquiring about having an actor's head-shot done. She was very specific about what she wanted and seemed to like what she had seen of my work. I forwarded her some information about the way that I work, the fee and my deliverables. We then set up an appointment and she asked if I would mind if she sent me her ideas about the shoot. I love when a client is personally invested in this process, so I naturally said, yes, please do! She then sent along a Word document listing her goals for the shoot, what she thought the head-shot should be or entail, as well as a list of questions.

To a portrait photographer, this is what a great shoot looks like. That isn't to say that everyone needs to do this! In fact, most subjects are actually rather unsure of what is going to happen when they arrive at my studio or I at their location. When possible, I prefer to have a pre-shoot conference, either in a separate sit-down, or if that's not possible, immediately before the shoot. My objective is to explain the process, answer any questions and to solicit any input that the subject would like to contribute. I cannot speak for other head-shot photographers, but I really appreciate input from my client. The great thing about the actress to whom I was referring was that once we started, she wasn't into micro-managing the session. She had shared her vision with me before we met and my job was to make her vision reality. I hope the work speaks for itself.


I work with all kinds of clients, creating actor head-shots as well as corporate head-shots, although I prefer to call the latter, corporate portraits. Irrespective of the client though, having a vision and goals in mind before the shoot begins is key.