Friday, September 25, 2009

Music, Music, Everywhere...

It has definitely been a musical week for me. So far I've photographed Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, Bowling For Soup, Boys Named Sue, Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift. Oh, and some band I'd never heard of before (and can't recall their name off the top of my head) on Universal's label.

The music isn't about to stop either! There are some acts performing at The State Fair of Texas that I'll probably shoot and I'll be headed to Austin next weekend to get in as many of the 150 or so bands performing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Yup, it has been a musical week all right. Well, really a musical month, if you look at the other bands I've shot earlier in September. I like it that way. I like music.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Warning: This Photo May Be hazardous To Your Health...

The above article discusses a possible French law to label Photoshopped images with a warning. I am assuming it would not apply to basic cropping, color and contrast adjustments, and only to major alterations (like reshaping someone's figure, removing their skin blemishes, etc).

It is an idea that will meet a lot of resistance from advertising agencies, and possibly some photographers. When trying to sell the public on your "perfect" product, you don't want a disclaimer getting in the way. Just as the alcohol and tobacco companies initially lobbied against printed warnings for their products, there will surely be resistance in France - and here, if the US government ever attempts something similar.

But, why would a good photographer care about this warning? If it DID pass, companies would seek out better photogs who could capture a great image in camera. If the photog can get it perfect without the need to do a lot of Photoshop magic, the warning could be avoided. This means bigger budgets for good photographers and more demand for perfect photos. This would actually be a win for those of us who don't rely on heavy post production!

Now, I'm not saying I am for a law like this. I'm just pointing out both sides. I wouldn't want some silly "reality warning" pasted on any of my photos. I think people should be smart enough to live life without such a stupid disclaimer. I'm just saying that such a law could actually benefit our industry in the long run - or, at least those of us who know how to shoot well.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Tex and my baby...

I've been a fan of the State Fair of Texas since as long as I can remember. I have not missed a single fair in approximately 31 years. Big Tex was always a highlight as a child, so to meet the modern day voice of Big Tex was a true delight!

I first met and photographed Bill Bragg (Big Tex's voice) several years ago, while doing a story about the state fair for a national weekly magazine called American Profile. At the time, my oldest boy was my only boy, and he must've been just under a year old. The story required me to make several trips to the fair, and I took my boy on a few.

On the day I met Bill, my boy tagged along, and we took this photo of the two together (after I finished my portrait of him for the magazine):

Well, jump forward a few years. I just pitched a fun photo essay idea to Quick, called the ABC's of the State Fair. I was really just looking for a good excuse to go to the fair a million times this year. Plus, I thought it would be a fun photo project for the readers. It's basically 26 fair photos, one for each letter of the alphabet. Of course, I thought Bill/Big Tex would be the perfect photo for the letter B!

After completing our photo shoot today, I had Bill pose with my boy again - now about to turn 4 years old. He was so happy to have his picture taken with Bill, and was so excited to see Big Tex again. I'm hoping that he (and my other boys) will love the fair as much as I do...

On a side note, Bill was nice enough to say that out of the thousands of photos people have done of him, mine is his very favorite! He repeated that statement a few different times throughout our shoot today, so I imagine he really meant it, not like he was just being polite or anything.

I have to say, that is quite an honor to hold that distinction!!! I am such a huge fan of the fair and Big Tex, so to know that out of all the publications and all the photographers who've had Bill in front of their lens... I was the best! It's the Texas State Fair honor of a lifetime for sure.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Bikini Girls?!?

I'm not the kind of guy who normally takes pictures of hot girls in short shorts and bikini tops. However, I was that guy for the current issue of Quick. Now, before you start imagining some sort of party with champagne, loud music, models cavorting around in their underwear, etc... You must be thinking of a totally different photo shoot!

This one was actually pretty tame, though very funny and amusing at times. The girls were pretty down to earth and normal. The wife was working, so I had my baby asleep in his room and the two toddlers up in the studio with me - they have a corner with a play kitchen, so they stayed out of our way for the most part. It was a simple, smooth shoot with little fanfare, though it was pretty memorable when the boys cooked up some pretend hot chocolate for the models to drink.

The wife was surprised at first that I would have the boys up in the studio with these women, but quickly calmed down. After all, it was no worse than what the lifeguards wear at the country club pool the boys swim at all summer long. And the girls were very sweet and nice - nothing was said that couldn't be said in church. It was really just another day of play for them and another shoot for me.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Morton H. Meyerson, and Not the Symphony Center

A lot of Dallas streets, parks, schools, landmarks and buildings are named for people that most of us have no clue about. Well, I was thinking about it the other day, and thought I'd share some photos of Morton H. Meyerson. Yes, the man who's name graces our Symphony Center.

You would think it is named after some person from a hundred years ago, but it isn't. I actually had the chance - no, the honor - to photograph Mr. Meyerson at his home a few years back for The Dallas Morning News. He was very friendly, very sincere, very cool. He just seemed... nice.

Anyway, I only spent an hour or so with him, but I think I got some good shots. Now, it makes me wonder what other landmarks are named after people I could still meet face to face. I know plenty of places are named after the city's founders and early leaders, but it still makes me curious about the story behind every dedicated building or street sign I see.

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