Ice. It’s funny how little actual snow can shut the city of Seattle down. Not specifically the snow, but the aftermath. Once the snow has compacted down enough, our hilly city is covered in a layer of compact snow/ice that makes driving and walking quite treacherous. I’ve dealt with snow and treacherous driving conditions enough over the years, with the most significant instance, being a freak car accident in late 2013 while driving to pick up my son from the other side of the state. This was a drive I made every weekend, for years. I’d picked him up and we were heading back to Seattle, from his home in Ellensburg, WA which is two hours away. We hit a patch of black ice on the highway, my car spun out of control, we hit a concrete barrier between the two sides of the highway and we spun out, narrowly avoiding being hit by a passing semi-truck. The car was totaled, but we survived. I had been going below the posted speed limit, but there was nothing I could do to avoid it. The accident ultimately changed my life. I became more apprehensive about driving over the pass each weekend. All of this happened at the end of the year that I was diagnosed with cancer and had gone through a really difficult divorce. Strange as it is to say it, I felt like if I could make it through all of that, I was probably supposed to still be here. It wasn’t my time to go just yet. Which is some of the reason why I write as much as I do. I don’t think I take the most special photos, but I do feel like I have a story to tell. And, more importantly, I do feel like even in our darkest, coldest moments, there is always something greater in store on the horizon. Amazingly, 5 days after the car accident, I met my future wife for the first time ever. #TheChangeOperation Day 36
The first vinyl I ever purchased was back in the late 90’s, when CD’s were at the height of their popularity. I didn't even have a record player at the time, but I still bought Eminem’s “My Name Is” single, because I just thought that it was cool to have that song on a different medium than what I traditionally listened to music on. I purchased a few more vinyl before I actually ever got a record player and by the time I got that record player in the early 2000’s, I was ripping music off of Napster just like everyone else was at the time. We obviously didn’t care about sound quality, it was more about how much music we could consume, how many shoddy remixes we could find and how many bootleg Dave Matthews live recordings were out there. It took me forever to give up on CD’s and embrace the streaming revolution. Mostly because I wanted to still have something tangible and I always wanted to support the artists by owning a CD, rather than paying them fractions of a cent by streaming a song. I began slowly picking up nostalgic albums on vinyl by 2014 after nearly a decade of not getting much of any. I never have collected vinyl as much as I did with CD’s, but there are absolutely certain albums that are “must listen” records that I’ve owned in the past as well as that I’ve discovered in recent years. One artist in particular was a band that I discovered in 2015. Oh Wonder came totally out of left field for me. If I recall, a friend sent me a song and said “you’d love this, listen” and I did just that. They’d been releasing a song per month and as each song came out, I was continually blown away by the simple beauty of the songs. It was the kind of music that I had to own on vinyl, so I ordered the full length when it became available and to this day, Oh Wonder is always one of those listens that is best heard on a candle lit, winter night with the lights dimmed and a full cup of tea in hand. They were the band that changed how I wanted to listen to music. I literally wanted to listen to every song on vinyl and I still do to this day. Do any of you have those albums? Ones that are so nostalgic, so representative of a period of time or a season in your life? #TheChangeOperation Day 37
I grew up reading as much as I possibly could. I’d max out my library card, checking out mystery novels, sports books, and biographies, slowly making my way into an occasional run with comic books. I would however, ready the comics every day in the newspaper at breakfast or whenever I got around to it. I don’t read anything as much anymore as I’ve become just like everyone else. I wake up and read the news on my phone in the morning, checking it progressively as the day goes on. That being said though, I still love print media. I love opening up magazines and seeing photos in larger scale. I’m constantly inspired by old photo books, which could even explain my obsession of shooting with old 60’s and 70’s lenses as much as I do. When I make prints of my photos, I often wish I had more wall space so that I could hang more up. There’s something truly tangible about holding a book, magazine, or comic in your hand and feeling the texture of paper it was printed on. As much as technology has changed our daily routine, I don’t always think it’s for the best. On Thursday night, at my work, local Seattle comic zine creators Thick As Thieves put on a concert, featuring 3 local bands. They were celebrating their 7th quarterly issue, which is jam packed with comics and art from a variety of Seattle artists. As the crew was working so diligently throughout the evening, the idea came to me for a photo, which merged the headlining band Webdriver Torso, with the most recent TaT issue being featured in the photograph. As newspapers have been in dire threat of being physically phased out over the years, my hope is that tangible media still finds a way to survive, because as convenient as reading stories on your phone may be, there’s still nothing like holding an actual publication in your hand and perusing through the pages. #TheChangeOperation Day 38
With an impending snow storm on the horizon, I shot Tudor a text message late Thursday, making sure he was still good with shooting for this project the following day. “Yeah, not too worried, I grew up in Colorado” was his response, so I marked it in the calendar and we met up on Friday, right as the snow was starting to cascade out of the sky. Shooting in the snow requires a bit of a stylistic change for most. If you’re using auto focus, you’ve got to be extra diligent to make sure your focus stays on the subject, because the camera wants to pick up every moving snowflake that floats through the frame, which can mean that you end up with a lot of unusable shots. Since this project is all shot on manual focus lenses, the option to shoot auto wasn’t there in the first place. I’ve wanted to get Tudor in this project, for a few reasons, one of which is that I just like to support artists I dig, but the other, is that his music has gone through a stylistic change recently, which I think fits perfectly with the theme of this project. To hear it in his own words (which you can via the interview clip), he’s recently been writing with producers who make beats that he normally wouldn’t feel as comfortable writing songs over. Rather than revert back to what his previous sound had been, he’s dove headfirst into a sound that he really wants to hone in on. Having listened to his new stuff, the change has been a sound move. His latest 4 song EP is capped by the addictively ambient song “Down”, which sees him switch between a smooth vocal to a subtle hip-hop cadence, and in my opinion, it’s arguably his best work. It would’ve been easy for him to never switch it up, but seeing that pocket of music that he wanted to create in and going for it has unleashed something entirely unique. Something that I not only dig, but that I wholeheartedly support and want to help push. Check out the attached videos for song a clip of “Down” as well as a quick interview we did during our snowy shoot. #TheChangeOperation Day 39
“Do what you love and the rest will take care of itself” was the quote that began a commercial I saw the other day. I’ve literally spent an entire career adhering to this phrase. Or, at least the first part of it. As an artist, I feel like I’m constantly striving for the second half of that quote to actually come to fruition. I think it’s hardest to feel any sense of accomplishment or security during the winter months in Seattle. The dark days, the long nights and the rain/snow dampened weather makes it difficult to drum up enough work to get by. I’m constantly searching for things that inspire me to create, while also constantly searching for ways to make a living. I’ve been rationing my cancer medication for months, because I can’t afford to cover my bills, get my son to Seattle and basically live. I’ve gotten an actual job, which I’m very grateful for, especially because it’s working for an old friend. But no matter what, my heart is always the most driven by art. I started this project as a way to push myself to create, while also pushing myself to write. To get out the thoughts that go on inside my head, to tell stories that exist with my subjects and how they relate to my life. It’s actually a decent bit of “work” in and of itself. Creating something every single day + the daily updating of my website is a lot. Hammering out the words on my keyboard to accompany each image comes easy some days, while others I’m met with a writing block that can be a challenge to overcome. All while wondering “How am I going to meet my $$ obligations this month?”, when pretty much every photo I post is something that I’ve done done without financial compensation. I believe in what I’m doing and who I’m photographing. And, I believe that “the rest will take care of itself”, even if I’m not sure how. That being said, I’ve introduced a way to accept donations while also receiving something back. You can go to my site, browse the stories and click the #TheChangeOperation Donation Tiers link to see what’s offered. I feel disingenuous even typing that, but it is what it is. I believe in supporting artists and I hope that some of you believe in supporting me. Day 40
Unless you’ve lived under a pop-culture boulder, The Killers are a band that you have been utterly exposed to one way or another. I’d even go so far to say that even if you never came out from under said pop-culture boulder, The Killers have still found their way into your eardrums. From the first single they unleashed upon the world in 2004, “Mr. Brightside” became one of the most iconic introductions a band could make. From there, the album that spawned it “Hot Fuss” was nominated for Best Rock Album at The Grammy’s. To date, it’s sold over 7 million copies worldwide. To follow it up, the band released “Sam’s Town” which has now sold over 5 million copies. No such thing as a “sophomore slump” for The Killers. They’ve now been nominated for 7 Grammy awards over the course of their careers, in an era where rock music is constantly overlooked by other genres of music. Still, I, like many of you was entranced by their sound. They really could do no wrong, from moody but danceable post-punk to the Springsteen-esque storytelling. Fittingly, for this project, on the night of the Grammy Awards in 2019, Dave Keuning, guitarist for The Killers obliged for me and allowed me to shoot some photos of him. He was in Seattle for his own project, “Keuning”, which allows him the chance to change things up a bit from his “day job” with The Killers. In his own music, you can absolutely see the influence that he’s had on the songwriting of his most well known band, while also allowing himself the freedom to create without any barriers that come with being in a massively successful band that has created a following and sound for over a decade. It’s this, that really inspires me. The fact that Dave has no fear in performing to thousands of people, or much less. It’s just the desire to create that fulfills him and I'm grateful his kind spirit allowed me to highlight this for #TheChangeOperation . Day 41.