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The Intention of Attention : 07/26/18

howdy friends!

I’m happy to let you know that my TEDx talk, “The Intention of Attention” has been released! In the talk I discuss how a random thrift store find launched me into a multi-year quest exploring how we use photography to capture the moments of our lives, the importance of memory, and the beauty of everyday events.

for those of you that have been reading my blog, you’ll probably recognize that this is about “Found in Kitsap”. and while I’ve written a lot about the project, most of it has been the nuts & bolts of how the project came to be, and how I figured out what to do with all the photos I found. in the talk I discuss WHY I did it. if the “making of” blogs were the “practice” of the project, the TEDx talk is the theory behind it.

the themes that I discuss are ones that I’ve been exploring in my work since college. but when I started, I didn’t know that. I labored to find meaning behind this weird phenomenon of lost cameras and their photos, many of the ideas that had captured my attention in the past began to emerge again. things like: appreciating the beauty in the everyday, looking at the overlooked, and the basic humanity and worth in each of our own personal stories… no matter how big or how small they might seem. I was able to incorporate those into “Found in Kitsap” and through this talk, I was able to share them with the world.

giving the talk was a great experience. it was an exciting challenge to put together the talk and deliver it in front of an audience. as a filmmaker and writer, most of the work I do is crafted and refined before sharing with the public… so it was very exhilarating to step back in to the performance space. hopefully there will be more chances for this in the future.

anyhoo, that’s enough of a preamble. I hope you enjoy my first TEDx talk!


p.s. here is the photo I took on stage!

the Flag and the Moon : 06/15/18

hey friends,

sheesh. I feel like most of my mosts start off with “sorry I haven’t been posting more”… but, well, sorry I haven’t been posting more. in case you’re dying to know what I’ve been up to, I’ve been keeping up posting on twitter and instagram.

today I wanted to share a quick story about photography.

a couple weeks ago my sister was in town visiting. we did all sorts of fun stuff, travelled all around the city, ate lots of tasty food, etc. one afternoon when walking home we looked up and saw the full Moon perfectly aligned with the top of the Capitol Records building. it was a beautiful, blue-skied spring afternoon with just enough wind to make the American flag unfurl. in other words, a perfect photo opportunity. I took a shot on my iPhone… but it wasn’t that great. this needed a telephoto lens.

since we were only a couple blocks from home, I went and grabbed my Canon AE-1. now, normally I use my 50mm lens… and occasionally I use the 85mm one for portraits, but I have have a 70-210 telephoto. it’s a heavy lens, bulky, and requires a lot of light, so I rarely take it out. however, this was the perfect time to use it.

I headed back down and took a photo. and I do mean “A” photo. there was only one frame left on the roll. sometimes the last frame will only end up being a 1/2 frame. or will have a bad flare, or some other damage. it’s always a tossup if that last image is going to turn out and I really wanted to get a picture of this.

so I ran back home and changed the roll of film. by the time I got back to the street, the moon was still in a good position. I snapped off several more photos, confident I’d gotten a good shot. for the rest of Teal’s trip I shot the remainder of the film. we went to Malibu, we went to Universal City… somewhere along the line I passed 36 exposures… then I got to 38. my heart dropped.

this had happened once before… and it’d turned out I hadn’t properly wound the film. NONE of that other roll had been taken. I put the camera into my changing bag (a light proof nylon sack with sleeves) to check. and my fear was confirmed. all those photos I’d thought I’d taken… well, I hadn’t taken any of them. in my haste to get back to the shot, I hadn’t properly loaded the film.

this really, really bummed me out.

part of the mystery and joy of film is that you never know how exactly the film will turn out. but you always hope for SOME sort of picture. now I had none. the cute photos I’d taken of Teal and Xavier at Universal, the fun wildflowers in Malibu, the shots of the moon… all gone.

but maybe, just maybe there was that last photo. that one on the roll. maybe that one came out.

I sent the film off to the lab and waited.

while I waited I thought about why I was upset. was I mad at my technical blunder? was I disappointed about not being able to share that moment with my friends? was I afraid that the moment, which seemed so vivid and important, would slowly fade from my memories?

probably all of those things are true. but I had to let it go. there was nothing I could do to get those photos back. those moments were gone. all I could do was try to do better moving forward. to check and make sure that I’d loaded the film correctly. I realized that if I did have it loaded correctly, when advancing the film with lever on right, the “film rewind” on the left would turn. I probably should have already known this… but hey, I’m still figuring out this film photography thing.

then, a couple of days ago the film arrived. I was headed out to meet some friends for a beer, but I couldn’t wait. I had to know. I ripped open the envelope and looked at the proof sheets…

and there it was.

the Flag and the Moon. the one chance had worked.

I was flooded with relief, happy that the moment had been saved. I’m not sure that I’ve gotten to the bottom of why the incident affected me so strongly. there’s definitely more there to examine. but for now, I leave you with the photo.

Capitol Records and Moon


2017 best photos : 02/16/18

hey friends,

here are a few of my favorite photos. if you’d like to see ALL of them (there’s like 150+…) cruise on over to my Flickr right here.

from my desert wildflower trip w/ Angel. it’s such an odd looking plant, and the combination of a really small depth-of-field, plus the 25 ASA Kodak film make the colors pop in interesting and vibrant ways.
Fouquieria splendens closeup

from Teal & I’s trip to the Poppy Preserve. this shot has a horizon line, strong diagonals, a vanishing point, and complimentary colors… it just works on so many levels. plus, film makes everything look better.

headed to June Mountain w/ Adam. the road headed toward the vanishing point, the contrast of light and dark… and the anticipation of a good day all make this a killer shot.
en route to June

I love the pure bliss on Teal’s face here, I can practically hear her squeal of joy.
Teal vs. Pacific

there are a bunch of silhouette shots in my fav’s… I really like this one of Jackie. it’s got the dog, the baby, and the mountains–all part of what makes living in Mammoth so special.
walking home

I’ve got some great neighbors… especially Malcolm. this afternoon was just so weird, I had to include it.

a nice candid shot of my Dad… it’s hard to catch people unawares, especially doing something they love. I like the slight flares around the edges, plus the way the background gradually goes toward overexposure, it gives an almost halo-like effect to the action of BBQ’ing.
Dad BBQs

one of my favorite city shots taken on a family outing to Seattle. I really dig how the separation between the buildings almost vanishes. I didn’t know how good this would look when took it, but I did know there was something interesting about the reflection on the far building. sometimes you just have to trust your gut.
Evening in Seattle

most of the time seeing a woman dressed up as the X-mens’ Beast relaxing in the lobby of a fancy hotel would be weird… but at Comic Con it’s pretty normal. love this shot of Mac because it combines the sublime with the absurd. plus the strong primary colors really pop.
Beast is tired

this up-angle, strong diagonal shot of a building is another one that appeared multiple times in my ‘best photos’. I took this one while on jury duty in East LA, such great colors.
East LA Courthouse

sometimes the flares in film just work. like in this shot of Sophie at the Getty Villa.
Sophie at the Villa

a simple photo on my new Helios lens… the shallow depth-of-field and interesting bokeh (out of focus bits) make the owls seem larger than they actually are. plus, I really love those owls.

I wasn’t sure this shot would have enough light… but it did. I really like the subtle tones of the sunset mixed with the neon and car lights. and if you look at the Capitol Records building, you can see the sunset hitting off a few of the windows. so nice!
Hollywood Sunset

one of my all time favorite views…
Port Washington Sea Smoke

hope you enjoyed the shots. let me know if there’s any from the Flickr you found interesting and I can discuss them as well.