There's something about arriving in New York and in minutes having landed 2 new gigs, connected with mentors in my field, met the owner of my favorite Upper East Side art gallery, and consumed a billion calories. Practically all at once. But don't talk with your mouth full, ok? Working with New York dog photography clients is the perfect excuse to visit one of my favorite cities. It's a mild, quiet winter in New York. That means the light is perfect and still for New York dog photography sessions. Today's session features Martini, the 2yr old Yorkshire Terrier. He sits high atop a West Village apartment, looking down on those below from his perch of pillows. Today our New York dog photography session will focus on creating a powerful portrait of this little Yorkie on the bed, and outside by the piers near the West Village. I always try to pre-visualize every image I create, leaving room of course for the improvisation in between moments. Using medium format black and white film and a heavy, manual Hasselblad 500c, there is really never any allowance for mistakes. So I'll spend my train ride this morning going over the important portraits in my head, what my exposures may be for them, and how I'll compose each one: Yorkie in the middle of the bed, atop the pillows (watch for window light flare, open up my aperture to create depth, center myself with the subject); Yorkie out on the piers (close down to draw in cloud detail, push everything into focus with tight aperture, create distance by placing Yorkie in middle of pier, farther out).
Viewing entries tagged
So, I got stuck in Irene. The devastation and long-term effects of Hurricane Irene on various parts of New England are truly heartbreaking. People lost their homes, roads are completely out, historical buildings have been washed away, and entire farms are under water. It's terrible, and I hope the recovery initiative moves quickly and gets my fellow hearty New Englanders back on their feet soon.
I was lucky. The hurricane totally messed up all my New York plans, but we didn't see any damage thankfully. So instead of teaching my "Instant Dog Portrait Class" with The Impossible Project over the weekend (the entire city shut down for two whole days), I made a rain-date for free Polaroid dog portraits at a fun NY park after the storm. It was an incredibly perfect day, and we were swamped with people for about 6hrs straight. I was juggling 2 cameras, running with the good spots of gorgeous open shade, making use of a quick 30 second window to bond with each dog and dog owner, and blowing through film (both medium format b/w and some incredibly rare Polaroid instant film). Every single person that stopped by walked away with a signed original Polaroid portrait of their dog. It's hard to impress a New Yorker, but we had no problem making people smile and feel special when we handed over a warm-toned Polaroid of their beloved beasts. It was such a fun, long shoot.
My good friends Anne and Dave (the head honchos of The Impossible Project in New York) travelled all the way down from SOHO, showed up like little photo genies, and handed me 3 packs of my favorite Polaroid film. Then they both stuck around, helped load film, peel polaroids, talk to dog owners, make sure I was developing correctly, and nerd out with me about my process. Oh, and take some awesome photos of the original Polaroids I was pulling, as well as some behind-the-scenes stuff.
What an incredible day! My week in New York was a pleasant reminder that I can work hard, push through any challenge, and still remain inspired and excited to do my photographic work. Getting to work side-by-side with my favorite studio partner (The Impossible Project), while doing what I do best (feeling cretively inspired by animal companions) was the perfect way to end a productive and fun month on the East Coast. I'll be back again in the Fall for more clients, events, and Polaroid shoots.
All photos by: Anne Bowerman/Dave Bias
Polaroid film provided by: The Impossible Project
The studio is currently juggling a handful of very exciting, very exclusive collaborative projects with some big names. And by big names I mean organizations that are doing important work in the animal and arts worlds, organizations that I highly respect, and am honored to work with. And don't worry- you'll recognize the names.... All these projects are still in 'Top Secret' mode, but I truly can't wait to announce the big news and begin sharing these incredible collaborations with you. And since I'm a nice guy, here is a little Behind the Scenes Sneak Peek at one of these exciting collaborations. Thank goodness my amazing East Coast assistant (also known as my sister-in-law) was with me to juggle cameras, document the project, and pet a whole lot of farm animals.
We somehow ended up with one of these. Apparantly we cut the line of 5,000 other people who are waiting for their very own wheel. But man, is it is DELICIOUS! Totally worth the 2 minutes of guilt I felt for cutting in line.
I had 5 cameras with me, 7 types of film- both instant and medium format, and a light meter. I also had boots.
This is a great example of what I like to call "All Terrain Photography," which I face a lot in my job. Most of the time it just means stepping through some mud in my nice shoes while photographing a beautiful dog client. But I was more than ecstatic to jump into a pig stye. It wasn't as stinky as I had imagined.
This is pretty much a photograph of me in photo-heaven.
6:00am was a great time to be out in the field. Can you tell I just rolled out of bed?
Keep your eyes on the the blog and Facebook page for updates on all our special projects.
Today I'm introducing one of my favorite dog-loving artist small business owners (that's a mouthfull....we're a rare breed). Her name is Sara Bacon, and with a loyal 5yr old Rat Terier named Sushi at her side (all dogs should have food names, obviously), she has been wowing New York with her web development, branding, and incredible design skillz via Command C Design. On top of that, she recently opened GreenPoint CoWorking- one of the newest coworking spaces to hit the East Coast. GPCW is catching a lot of buzz, so I invited Sara and Sushi to talk a bit about their creative workspace and how dogs are essential to it:
Dogs in The Workspace?
For the past six years I’ve worked from home running my design firm COMMAND Cfor the sole purpose of spending all day everyday with my dog. Okay no, not solely, but it is a major perk. But, working alone all day with no face-to-face human interaction started to take its toll on my mental state. I began to feel extremely isolated and like maybe I was getting left behind. I missed feeling like I had a professional community.
Last month I opened Greenpoint Coworking, a beautifully designed communal workspace for the independent worker aka freelancer. Every aspect of the space and how we conduct business here has been intricately planned out, down to the notion of having a dog in the space. Coworking is all about redefining the notion of how we work. It’s about breaking traditional standards of office politics, it’s about creating environments that are open and transparent and friendly, where sharing is encouraged, not perceived as a threat. As an entrepreneur I want to continuously be able to grow without sacrificing the things that are important to me: working in a beautiful environment with loads of natural light, being immersed in a thriving community, and spending days with my pup. But how would this factor in to this new, communal workplace?
Turns out, pretty nicely. Sushi contributes a few different things to the atmosphere of the space:
- She serves as an icebreaker.
Let’s face it, meeting new people can be awkward. No. Matter. What. With Sushi here, the awkwardness is eased a bit–she makes everyone a little more relaxed. She’s cute, she does funny things, she gives people a reason to stop and laugh together. Dogs are known to deepen the human bond, so she acts as a social catalyst in a space whose mission is to be a platform for community building.
- She gives members an excuse to take a short break.
If you’re anything like me, you work–you work all of the time. Most of us entrepreneur-types are like that. Even stopping for a minute or two can sometimes be a challenge. But with Sushi around, we’re all a little more likely to shift our gaze from our monitors and interact with some natural goodness from time to time.
- Having her here reduces my stress.
I don’t have to worry about her being left alone all day or getting a dog walker or sending her to doggie daycare. I’m now running two businesses and balance is an ongoing struggle for me. With Sushi here, I have one less thing to worry about.
- She encourages communication.
Good communication is key in being a successful business person, but good communication is learned not inherited. With Sushi here, we’re all encouraged to speak up a bit more about our own personal needs and desires in the space.
What are your thoughts about bringing dogs to work?
Though I sometimes try to deny it, I love New York. I love a good Bergen Bagel with olive cream cheese, strong east coast coffee, the New York Times Sunday paper spread out in a tiny New York apartment, the smell of the subway, getting tossed around by terrible cab driving. I can really only tolerate New York for a few days at a time, but when I'm there I'm always reminded of my East Coast roots, and get a little nostalgic for New England. There is a special colonial kind of edge to New York, a special city light, and when you find those magical pockets of silence and calm you know you're in the middle of something great.
My recent session with Dixie (the New York chocolate lab) was a great example of finding that perfect margin of diffused light, city texture, wonderful companionship, and just pure magic. I brought along my beloved Nikon F3 35mm, and really love the grain and softness of these images:
I'm looking forward to travelling to New York a handful of times this coming year for more exciting clients and events. This whole 'bi-coastal' thing is going to suit me well...