It’s been ages since I took the camera out and set it up on a tripod for some long exposures. For me, I wanted to stretch myself out from what I normally do and create visuals that aren’t what I usually find myself photographing. Changing my routine, if you will. I think it’s so easy and comfortable to fall into the habitual norms and I find myself getting creatively restless a lot. I’m the type of person who wants and needs to create regularly and without a lot of actual work lately, an exercise like this is an easily forgotten necessity. I went to one of my favorite spots and let the shutter open for 30 second intervals while the traffic whizzed past. Here’s a few different perspectives all from the same location. What’s some things that you find yourself getting hung up on that you’d like to break out of the norms of? #TheChangeOperationDay 15
I find it incredibly odd to put myself in front of the camera anymore. 5-6 years ago, I didn’t think anything of it, as self-portraits were essentially what helped guide me into portrait photography. The more I started shooting photos of other people, the less I felt inclined to place my own face in the frame. As I really think about it, over the past few years, I’ve become more and more reclusive in my day to day life. I hardly ever go out. If I shoot with a band, more often than not, I head home after the shoot and don’t make it back to the concert. I have to keep my funds extremely tight, because child support and bills end up being close to what I make each month. Going out means spending money that I ultimately, just don’t have. I also do my best to prioritize spending time with family, over other things that just don’t really matter as much. Doing this project isn’t easy. Finding something, someone that not only sparks my interest photographically, but to write about as well is a daily challenge. Putting art out there and trying to connect with an audience beyond just surface level conversation is probably more difficult now than it ever has been, simply because of how distracted and fickle our social norms can be. So, here’s me, stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself in front of this camera. I’m not really sure what I’m doing, but I’m really trying. #TheChangeOperation Day 16.
It isn’t often that I stand next to someone and feel absolutely dwarfed. I’m 6’4” and when I met Rexx Life Raj yesterday here in Seattle, I genuinely felt what most people must feel when standing adjacent to me. I had to literally look up to this dude. I shouldn’t have been surprised though, knowing Raj’s backstory. He played football at perennial powerhouse Boise State, after a decorated career playing football in his native Berkeley, California. I’m guessing that for as much as sports influences the culture in Oakland, so does the education, since Cal-Berkeley is right there. Playing football for a nationally recognized football program such as Boise State can easily lead to future riches in the NFL, but Raj decided to take his well earned Communications Degree and pursue … a career in music. I mentioned the influence that sports and education have on the Bay Area, but music is equally high on that list. Hip-Hop has produced legendary artists from the Bay, including E-40, G-Eazy, Too $hort, 2Pac (yes, he’s from Oakland), MC Hammer, Mac Dre, and sooooo many more. It might just be the most underrated city in hip-hop history. Going from the potential guaranteed riches of the NFL to something as uncertain as a career artist can’t be the easiest choice, but Raj has been doing his thing for years now and reppin’ the Bay the entire time. One quick look at his video for “The Long Way” which was shot during the Golden State Warrior’s championship parade proves as much. Here’s to this dude, doing something different than what might have been expected and succeeding at it. I back it. #TheChangeOperation Day 17.
I met these two guys a little over a year ago, while shooting with the rest of their bandmates, for a promo shoot. The other two members showed up in this project on day 10, when I dropped by their practice space to shoot for a bit, so it’s only fitting that I rounded up Jake and Damien to stand in, while doing another promo shoot for their band. Since the actual photos aren’t able to be released until the time is right, this photo worked out perfectly. Since our last shoot, the guys have been super hard at work, meticulously crafting their songs, recording, and working on securing representation from a record label. A lot has changed since the last time we’ve met and it’s a testament to the work that’s been put in behind the scenes. One thing that hasn’t changed is how much I love shooting with these guys. We had some pretty fun moments, some pretty awkward moments while shooting, and the images are entirely reflective of that. I can’t wait until the actual promo images come out, because they’re some of the best, if not the best band shots that I’ve ever been able to create. #TheChangeOperation Day 19
This image was shot during an event at my work, put on by indie radio station KEXP, for the MLK Jr. Holiday. Dubbed “Unity” it was their 19th annual event under the name and as I worked the door that night, watching hundreds of people stream in, of all different ethnicities and backgrounds, it was cool to see. I’d been thinking a lot that weekend about the message that Dr. King had, during his short 39 years on this earth. A message that is and always will be timeless, advocating for equality and representation from a minority group that had been oppressed, enslaved, and segregated simply because of the color of their skin. It’s interesting times that we live in and as I see things and sadly, not much has really changed. I feel like history has and should have taught us some very valuable lessons regarding how we treat our fellow people, about building bridges instead of walls, and about how this country was really built. Outside of Native Americans, the only true natives to this country, every one of us is the blood of an immigrant. Those who didn’t come here willingly were enslaved and brought here and their ancestors stayed, trying to make the best lives for themselves that they could. I don’t look at our skin colors as a means to labeling someone an enemy. I see them as a reason to celebrate their uniqueness and beauty. In every race and gender there will always be bad apples, but the majority of people are good and well intentioned. I don’t think that the message of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have ever advocated for the kind of divisiveness that exists today and I hope that as these years play out, we all really start to embrace the kind of change that his legacy still preaches. #TheChangeOperation Day 20
This used to be a drive that I made every week, from Seattle to my hometown of Yakima, WA over the span of a few years. I’d wake up at 6 AM on a Monday, my son and I would drive an hour and 45 minutes to Ellensburg where he went to school and I’d drop him off, before driving another 30 minutes to Yakima. I’d attend a class there for an hour and turn myself back around to make the drive back across the mountain pass to Seattle. I learned a lot over the course of that year, something I’d hoped would be the case after taking the class that I did. As glad as I am that I don’t have to make that drive every Monday morning, I still enjoy it when I get to. The trips are fewer and further in between now. I sold my car last year to help pay back child support. I put my son on a bus to Seattle and back every weekend that I have him so I don’t get the chance to just zone out and focus on the thoughts that are in my head as much anymore. On Monday, my wife, son and I got in the car and took the drive back to my hometown to visit my Grandparents for a little bit, before heading back to celebrate my father-in-law’s 60th birthday. This drive used to be such a routine part of my daily life and now, without a car, I’ve substituted the long drives for a lot more light rail trips instead. The scenery has changed, but my love of looking out the window and documenting the world as it passes by me hasn’t. #TheChangeOperation Day 21.