September 5, 2009

Back on Miami Beach with the crew of We Love Colors

Returning back to Miami to work with my friends at We Love Colors on a 2 day shoot I have been working with them for 4 years. These types of shoots are always so much fun that the time flies by and where structure is a loose term for everything except for the weather and of course permits. It is one of the coolest things about working with the team at WLC they make it very easy to work with.

We had the permits but we did not have Mother Nature’s approval as she brought in thunder clouds and hid the sun at sunrise and for almost for 2 days of the entire shoot. At any point through out the shoot the sound of crackling thunder would echo around us. On our last shot of day 1 on the beach hiding behind a lifeguard booth sand was swirling around tower the dark clouds moved in. I had maybe 3 minutes at best before… I clicked the shutter 5,4,3,2,1 snap snap snap and then it was that quick… it started to rain not a sprinkle not a few drop of rain but the heaviest of heavy poured on us The only thing I could do was grab for a bag, grab for a towel grab for anything aside from my shirt I could use to hide my camera.. A towel, my hat, a plastic bag, my reflector… first sheltering my camera in my hat then grabbing a towel, then finding a shopping bag full of once cold water bottles dumping them out, then finally after digging through a pile of clothes hidden from the rain sheltered from the sand finally my bag…. It poured on us in for 3 directions: straight down, in from the right, and across to the left….. And I ran as fast as a wounded horse over the wet sand through the rain and my now covered camera bag. I ran all the way to the nearest building which just so happened to be the public bathrooms, the funny thing was it was conditioned. After spending all day in 98 degrees heat I was now in the public bathroom where I am soaking wet and the A/C temperature must have been around 70 degrees … A week later my nose is still running and I have a head cold….

August 31, 2009

From happiness of life to the struggles of Life....August 31st 2009

From happiness of life to the struggles of all the farmers, bankers, truckers, doctors, but worst of all the animals such as fox, bear, beaver, raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions, wolves, rams, bison, and moose that hang from dress racks and are covered by a huge tent just along the side of the road.

While on my way back to Cody, Wyoming I had the pleasure or misfortune of stopping in Bridger, Montana at a local market called The Bridger Fur Company which has stood in Montana for over a hundred years working or trading as fur traders to the local and those passing through.

Les and Maybelle have been working there for over 50 years and married for 60 years. I do not believe in fur or the fur culture but here it was. Starring off at the hundreds of hanging skins, hanging heads, life-sized stuffed animals. This is no zoo, this is a trophy shack at best. I started shooting pictures of the place when I got introduced to Les and Maybelle asking what I was doing. I made a few jokes about life and explained I was working on a story about local culture and how the economy is affecting both the local trade and the tourist trade and wanted to see if I could ask them some questions. I was in asking questions and Les began showing me the best furs as he was telling about his best hunting stories but most of the time he was joking around about his uppity clients. In the land of the rich and famous the lewd and crude comes some of the funniest stories of Californiaians! Whether celebrity or other the people of the west coast take the cake. The bargaining, the bitching, the shipping, as it was told a movie producer client could not risk flying into LAX with 5 boxes of bear, moose and fox skins for his mistress’s home. It would be rude to get caught with all these furs and have to explain to your vegan /animal rights activist wife that these are not a sick joke for you but these furs are for my mistress…..

I am not here to make a stand but there are better ways to spend money… This is the Wild West, still. Where wolfs and coyotes are slaughtered and where cows have the right of way. Where a one light town meets a local private poster of speed signs posting messages to tourists that read “What about 25 M.P.H. DON’T you Understand?!” A place where skoal chewers and beer drinkers out number the tourists, and humans only being out numbered by the cattle or horses.

I loved Montana and Wyoming, I loved almost all the local beers that I tried and there were a lot…. The food: after eating at some of the best restaurants and at some of the dirtiest road side out house types of stands I can honestly say that the steaks and chops and burgers had been some of the best tasting flavors that I ever had.
But getting back to “From Happiness of life to the struggles of”, Struggles of what I am still attempting to figure out. Without water there are no crops, without gas we would have to figure out how to get to work, without nature there would be no nurture, without pain there is no pleasure, without all these hardships to make us think bigger, work more efficient, focus more on the needs and not the wants. Understand you are not special, you are not supposed to be anything more than who you are now.. Your destiny was then, your destiny is now and your destiny will be in the future….Your Destiny….. My destiny….Our destiny is just that….

August 30, 2009

Happiness for me is being on the road!

I work humbly on the many types of assignments that come my way. Creating these experiences into reality. The roads have been and leading up to signs that read: follow your dreams, scoop your poop or warning this is bear country, enter at your own risk or the road that I am on I see spider webs of lightening streaming in the sky. Watching just as a flash of a lighting bolt comes down and then I notice a burning tree that stands over 300 feet in the air burning. This road ends ahead and the many others that prevented me from traveling forward such as the nuclear power plant in Ohio where the road leads through tens of thousands acres of the most groomed, manicured farms that I have ever seen. Miles of corn, potatoes strawberries, tomatoes, and then boom the road ends and 2 huge mountain size towers jut out of the landscape. While one farmer is riding a tractor over the strawberry fields in the distance one of the plants towers spews smoke, a colorless and odorless cloud of chemicals into the sky above.

This is America this is my country this is your country of which we all have to take the time to explore our own lands, our own history, our own heritage and only then should you move onto visiting other cities, other countries other destinations. There are so many forgotten roads, lost towns, abundant rural areas that once had a purpose that once had a church following, a Friday night town picnic or movie night or a simple farmers market, but now it is what it is….. Life in America…….