There’s this saying in the photography world that goes something like this: “The best camera you have, is the one you have on you.” This couldn’t have been more true for this photo of NJ based band Ruby the Hatchet. In what might go down as one of my most embarrassing moments as a photographer, I met up with these guys to shoot for a brief 15 minutes for my project, when I realized that I was having an issue with my adapter that mounts my manual focus lenses to my camera. The people who’ve been in this project know this, but most everyone else doesn’t… I’ve shot this project each day, with 1960’s and 70’s manual focus lenses. For multiple reasons, I love the look, feel and aesthetic of these throwbacks to the film era. It’s also a challenge, because as meticulous as I am with my photos, getting subjects and scenes in focus with a manual lens isn’t always the easiest. I shot a few blurry and out of focus frames, with my adapter, before telling the band exactly what issue I was having. Rather than throw in the towel, I quoted the saying I started this post with and figured I’d make lemonade when it seemed I’d brought a camera bag full of lemons. I took out my iPhone, opened up the Moment app and started taking RAW images with it. We completed our short shoot and as I was heading home, I realized that I could still work within the confines of my project parameters (manual focus lenses/photos) by creating a double exposure of one of my iPhone shots, with one of the blurry images I’d first shot with my camera. BOOM. This is what I came up with in a situation that could have easily been a nightmare, that instead, turned into a sweet ol’ glass of lemonade. I just had to change up my thought process on what I could create when something didn’t go as planned. #TheChangeOperation Day 29
The first time I met Chris, was right before he was about to play his first show with the legendary punk band MxPx. This was June of 2016. Since then, Chris has literally traveled the world with MxPx as their 2nd guitarist, recorded on their most recent gem of an album still found time for his solo project, The Royal Pain. I’m guessing if you asked him 3 years ago if he envisioned having joined such a seminal band and racked up so many airline miles, he probably wouldn’t have guessed it. Funny how life works when ya’ least expect it, huh? When I saw that Chris was playing a solo set at Seattle bar The Kraken, first, I knew I should come out and see him play. In the last year, MxPx’s singer, Mike has transplanted to Waco, Texas for most of the year, which has significantly limited my times seeing the MxPx dudes, so this was a chance to see Chris since it’s been awhile. Also, in a subtle twist of irony, The Kraken was the first place I’d seen Mike (MxPx) play acoustic, so in a way, this felt like a “full-circle” moment, since I know Chris wholly because of MxPx. To me, what’s the most inspiring part of my relationship with Chris, is that in such a short amount of time, he’s endeared himself to a fan-base that is as passionate as it gets while completely blending into MxPx as if he’d been there for far longer. The fact that he could go from living at home in Tacoma, to touring around the world is pretty amazing. Obviously not without a lot of hard work on his part, but it’s awesome to see that this could happen to anyone. I bet he’s pretty content with how things have changed. #TheChangeOperation Day 30.
I don’t even know where to start for this post. I mean that in the most kind way, because the time I spent with my buddy Austin last night was the kind of quality time that you wish the world had more of. I literally called Austin up, after landing in Nashville, after my original plan had fallen through. Knowing that I’d be in town for only a short amount of time, I realized I wouldn’t be able to see many people that I could, were I to be in town for longer. As it was, meeting up with him was the kind of soul invigorating evening that as a creative, I thirst for. Austin lives in Nashville, by way of a small town outside of Seattle. He’s a musician, a songwriter, a husband and a father. I initially knew of him because my wife attended high school with him, but also because he’s worked extensively with another friend of mine — the music industry is incredibly small after all. Austin writes the type of songs that are lyrically captivating and when I think of his music, I immediately get taken back to a time of real songwriting, by legendary musicians. There’s a timeless magnetism to his songs and as I spoke with him, our conversation touched upon the way that those songs are received by his audience, but also by those who know him from where he grew up. To hear Austin speak about it, is to hear an artist with genuine care and concern about the integrity of his music. I also completely understood, as a fellow artist. Creating something, putting your words and your art into the stratosphere, and allowing it to be consumed — or not — is never the easiest thing in the world, but Austin does it and he does it with an attention to detail that is so genuine. I admire this dude in so many ways, but I gained more admiration for him over the course of our conversation. His music speaks for itself, however, knowing that he is so sincere in his art and how it comes across is a welcome change in an industry full of lowest common denominator hit making. I back it. #TheChangeOperation Day 32
In 2013, with everything that was going on in my life and changing, I leaned a LOT on music to help navigate through the challenges I was facing. As is the case with many of the artists and albums that are sentimental to your life, it’s often about the experience and place in your life that you were at when you fell in love with the songs. For me, I discovered a ton of music and musicians that to this day, were truly life changing. One of those bands, was Memphis May Fire. Their latest album at the time, was “Challenger” and I’d seen them for the first time at Warped Tour, only months after my cancer diagnosis. For the ensuing summer, as I drove endlessly to escape reality, Challenger was one of those records that I’d put on and just get it all out. Musically, it was heavy, but lyrically, it was hopeful and felt like it was speaking directly to me. From that point on, I was a fan. A few years later, I was introduced to their singer Matty, who has to this day, been kind enough to give me lots of opportunities to shoot with him and his band. As the band has grown musically, undergoing quite a stylistic change on their latest record “Broken”, one thing that has always remained a constant, is Matty’s sense of hope and transparency that he writes his lyrics from. In a world that seems to get darker by the day, Memphis May Fire seems to always be this beacon of light in rock music and it’s always been a source of inspiration for me. Having spent a decent bit of time around him for the last few years, I also have gotten to see behind the scenes and I know that it isn’t all for show. My love for these guys exists well beyond the music that they’ve created, which has helped me and countless others who’ve listened. I hope these photos, depict that depth. #TheChangeOperation Day 33
Since this is my second 365 project that I’ve done, what I’ve come to realize more than anything, is that the photo itself isn’t the most challenging part anymore. It’s the writing that goes along with it. It would be a hell of a lot easier to just post the photo and one-line the caption, but that really isn’t me. I realize that for most people, reading through even this far is further than they’ll get to, but for those that do, I hope that there’s always some little nugget of information or just a moment that uplifts and inspires. After an incredibly quick trip to St. Louis with Memphis May Fire on Saturday, we all woke up and headed on the 4.5 hour trip back to Nashville. After unloading the trailer, I spent my last few moments with the guys and I was able to get Sam to help me keep this project alive. Sam been touring with MMF for the last few years, playing as their second guitarist for their live shows. I’ve probably seen him play at least 4 times now, but this most recent trip changed things up and showed me a side of Sam that I hadn’t seen before. As a 13 year veteran in the hair industry, I used to go out to shows and cut hair for all my friends before they would play. Now, doing photo/video, I’m not backstage cutting hair anymore, but while in STL, I saw a version of the “old me”, in the form of Sam. He cuts his own hair, which I had to compliment him on, because his fade is freaking perfect. Taking those skills, he gave fellow bandmate Cory a haircut before the show and I captured a ton of it on camera. It was cool to watch someone else’s technique and see a haircut take shape. It reminded me of exactly how I even got my start in the music industry. I spent a decent bit of time with Sam over the trip, bowling and having a few drinks and I’m glad I could get him in this project. #TheChangeOperation Day 34
It’s been a long time since Seattle has actually seen something that resembles a traditional winter scene. If it ever snows in Seattle, usually it’s gone before you can build a snowman. To my surprise, as I descended into Seattle yesterday morning, I saw the entire area covered in a blanket of white. Somewhat surprisingly, we landed, but because of the snow and icy conditions, our plane had to sit on the runway for over two hours, while we waited for other planes to get de-iced, so our gate could open up. I honestly just wanted to get home, because it was my wedding anniversary and I’d been gone for a few days. After finally getting off the plane, I made it home and spent the rest of the afternoon with my wife, getting in a solid nap and some nice relaxation time. Before heading out to dinner, we took a walk around the neighborhood in 20 degree temps, which for us, was brutally cold. I don’t know how the midwest survives each winter and especially in this last week with the polar vortex. Since this scene itself is not typically ever seen in Seattle, I wanted to photograph a total change of pace for Seattle. Literally, the snow changes up the actual pace of the city, turning the once bustling city into a slow crawl, forcing most people to just stay indoors. #TheChangeOperation Day 35