I have to search a lot, to find jobs during the winter. It’s dark early, the rain comes frequently and the cold weather isn’t exactly conducive to finding many photo jobs. So when I found a guy named Eric who was looking for a photographer to help document his own life, for his daughter that had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer, I felt immediately compelled to help. The purpose of our photo excursion was to capture Eric doing things that he enjoys while being able to compile these photos into a scrapbook for his daughter, so she could see him living his life. She is living in Tennessee, while Eric is out in Washington, making frequent trips back to visit her while he still has the time to. We met up and walked around downtown Seattle, doing some of the touristy things, on a wet and grey Pacific Northwest January Day. I hope these photos help to make a difference, even if just for a little bit. Knowing that images have the power to inspire and to help is something incredibly important to me. #TheChangeOperation Day 22.
Since I archived this photo on IG and didn’t actually allow it to be seen, 99% of my audience won’t actually read this text. So far, this entire project, minus two photos has been shot with old, 1960’s and 70’s manual focus lenses. Most of the project has been photographed with a Minolta 58mm f/1.2 lens, my absolute pride and joy. The focal length is great for portraits, the insanely shallow depth of field makes for incredible subject isolation and it’s great in low light. A few other photos have been shot on a Minolta 45mm f/2 that I got in a thrift shop in Tacoma for $5. An 85mm f/2 Minolta has also been used on a few photos, as well as a 28mm Pentax Super Takumar when I’ve needed to get wide for a shot. One other shot was achieved with a Pentax Super Takumar 55mm f/1.8. All of these lenses are staples in my camera bag. They’re inexpensive, light to carry, and are very unassuming on my camera. Rather than carrying around a gaudy modern lens that makes it quite obvious that I’m a photographer, I have really liked just walking around with one or two lenses on me and making myself create with tools that are over 40 years old. So, this evening, I changed it up and shot with something that I haven’t used ever. I used a 135mm off-brand lens that I somehow came upon over the years, that has collected dust ever since. It’s currently on Craigslist for $20 dollars and I can’t get anyone to buy it, so rather than just let it continue sitting unused, I figured I’d try to create something with it and see what I could do. This image was taken at my typical time of wanting to take photos lately — dusk. I just liked the skeletal look of the tree branches with the sky saturation behind as the sun sank below the horizon line. #TheChangeOperation Day 23.
I don’t usually buy into the “New Year Resolutions”, but this year, with this project, I made a conscious effort to have these daily exercises be a part of not just my creative health, but my physical as well. It’s easy to get stuck in a mid-winter rut up here in Seattle. Short days, grey skies. Before you know it, you could go a week without really spending much time outside. Since I’m not the “go to the gym” type, my exercise always comes in the form of some brisk walking. As I’ve been on the search each day for something to photograph, what I’ve found is that each day, I achieve my exercise goals. Years after my cancer diagnosis which took my thyroid, coupled with the inevitable aspects of aging, I have gained more weight than I would probably have liked. Getting out and walking each day, as part of a concerted effort to achieve something creatively has helped me to feel active in a way that I haven’t felt in a number of years. If nothing else, I can totally get into the change in routine that this project has birthed — committing to exercising daily, with the outcome being some photographs that document the year as it goes by. #TheChangeOperation Day 24
When I first moved to the Seattle area in March of 2002, it was to attend beauty school in the southern suburb of Federal Way. I’d spent my entire life in Eastern Washington, so this was my actual first time living in the “big city”. I lived in Federal Way for a year while attending school, before moving directly into Seattle, which is where I’ve (mostly) been ever since. My time in Federal Way was brief and intense and by and large, I’ve rarely spent time there since leaving. For this shot, I had to go back to my old stomping’ grounds to meet up with Seattle Hip-Hop artist Eyez Othello. We met exactly two blocks from where I lived, which sparked an idea for getting this series of photos. I wanted to walk back to my old apartment, hoping that I’d see something that would spark my interest for a location. As we walked, we came upon this fenced off area in a parking lot across the street from where I’d lived. Inside the fencing, where a structure used to stand, was an entirely dilapidated square of concrete, overgrown with weeds and moss, covered in graffiti and damp from recent rainfall. I immediately knew this was where we’d be shooting. It was quite a change from the last time we’d shot together, which was in downtown Seattle about 18 months ago. We talked about his upcoming plans for a new album he wants to start working on and some shows he wants to book. My first time seeing him live was a few years ago, when he performed at a Macklemore hosted event, where local hip-hop artists were given the opportunity to perform, after being handpicked by the legendary MC himself. I always enjoy shooting with this guy and I can’t wait to see what he cooks up as his music takes shape this year. It was also cool to spend a little time in the city that first lured me to the West Side and to see how some things have changed, while many others haven’t — including my first apartment. #TheChangeOperation Day 25.
I don’t shoot macro photos much, but when I do... But for real, it isn’t too often that I pull out the thrift store gem that I found a year ago this week. For a measly 15 dollars, in rural Arizona, I found an early 1970’s 60mm macro lens that I picked up, knowing that it’s actual value was way more than what I paid. I really only use it for photographing rings at weddings and for some detail video shots in the right scenario, but since this project is about change and in the spirit of changing it up, I wanted to take the lens out for a walk around my neighborhood and see what I could get with the super close focus that this lens achieves. What initially inspired me was looking at a bunch of record art and noticing how a lot of visuals in my favorite albums are abstract and uncomfortably close up. Here’s a few things that I photographed yesterday for #thechangeoperation Day 26.
Lazy Sunday’s… As touristy as the Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle areas can be, I always like jumping on the light rail and walking around to kill time. It’s a twenty minute train ride from where I live and despite the fact that the merchants are usually always the same, the people and the weather dependent views always change. I’ve got some favorite spots in the area, one of which is a foot bridge from 1st Avenue to the Ferry Terminal, which takes you to Bremerton and Bainbridge Island. It used to take you under the bustling Alaska Way Viaduct and over Western Avenue, but now that the Viaduct is closed down, the walk itself is eerily silent. Along the fencing of the foot bridge, a love lock display has been slowly growing over the years. I’ve photographed every year since it began and now, it’s grown to taking up nearly a third of the actual bridge itself. I love looking at the different forms of locks that have been placed there over the years and reading the descriptions sometimes carved and sometimes printed onto them. I always wonder, if, like the gum wall it will have to be “cleaned” at some point, thus giving birth to a number of new locks in their place. Who knows? #TheChangeOperation Day 27
At the end of 2014, as I was completing my first 365 project, I met this guy because of a totally brave direct message he sent me. I was driving back to my hometown of Yakima, Washington, when I received his note. An aspiring hairstylist, but still in high school at the time, he wrote me because he’d heard I was from his hometown and that I’d done hair for his favorite singer, Justin Bieber. He asked if I wanted to meet up for coffee sometime and it just so happened that I was going to be back in town. Soon enough, we met up, I photographed him for my project and we spoke at length about my career path and his own goals. Despite our age difference, we became friends. Moving ahead to present day, Jake texted me yesterday morning about moving to Seattle and that he was in town to drop off job applications. Naturally, we met up, hung out for a few hours and talked about all the potential he has for his life. Jake is an incredibly talented young adult, having attended beauty school in high school, he’s also a super talented makeup artist and has recently been dabbling in photography as well. As he talked about his upcoming move and the reason for the change, it was hard to feel anything but proud and supportive of someone who knows the potential he has and is moving towards doing something to unleash it. As great as our hometown is, there’s just more opportunity in a bigger city for someone like him, who has dreams that reach as far as the stars. Here’s to his new life change. #TheChangeOperation Day 28