My Boston Terrier (Pancake) loves the camera, and my friends love him, and we all love taking trips together. And I love Polaroid film, and my Fuji Fotorama camera, and perfect natural lighting. Going on vacation is always a great excuse for me to work on a creative side-project. Here's a series I did last year that combines all these things:
This series of Polaroid dog portraits was shot on the Fuji Fotorama with expired Polaroid 669 instant pack film.
I truly believe that Thanksgiving is a time to pick your head up and be grateful. Maybe it has less to do with the historical event than simply a personal check-in, but either way I have a lot to feel grateful for this year. I have a great community of friends, photog associates, fellow artists, responsible dog owners and advocates, clients and supporters, and an amazing family. Oh, and the best tiny dog. I wake up everyday and do what I love most in a professional setting, watch my clients feel joy and appreciation when they unwrap their final prints, and take a professional step forward every single day. I have people I care about, and projects that inspire me. For all of this, I am grateful.
In preparation for a fun project I am excited about (and so grateful for), I spent some time going through my catalogue of instant dog portraits taken on Impossible Project film. The Impossible Project recently began feauring some of their favorite instant photographers around the world on their website, along with a photo feature and interview (called the '8 Exposures' series). After following this great new series on their blog I was so surprised to get an email from their New York marketing director inviting me to participate. Emails like that really brighten up your day.
So, here are a few favorite Impossible Dog Portraits that won't be featured on the Impossible Project '8 Exposures' feature, but that I truly love.
I love getting to know other local artisans, whether they're photographers, designers, crafters, print makers, etc. Having a community of creative businesses around me always keeps me inspired, supported, and entertained.
Pancake recently posed for our friends over at Design Lab Creative Studio - a sister company to Photo Lab Pet Photography. I recenty met the masterminds behind these two amazing businesses, and can't get enough of their smart branding design. I love it! They asked me to send them photos of Pancake (umm.... that wasn't hard) for their ongoing Critter-a-Month series. I told them he loved plaid, the color blue, cameras, and carrots. Well, maybe those are things we both love..... Either way- look at this great illustration they made:
Their use of digital collage is exciting and unique, and I can't wait to put this print up in the office.
Thanks Nat and Bill for such a great piece of modern dog art!
"Attention please. Attention. This is Pancake. It's 'Take Your Dog To Work Day'. It's a very important day. I go to work every day but today I kicked my dad out of his desk and made him follow me around all day while I did important studio things. Like edit photos and make frames and stuff. I guess my dad's an ok photographer. I mean, I let him take my picture and all."
"So I started off editing some photos. On the computer. It scared me."
"Whatever. I got the hang of it, ok?"
"Miko tried to act all cool like he could edit photos, too. But he's too young to understand the complexity of composition and stuff like that."
"So then I was like- Dad, stop lollygaggin' we gotta make frames and stuff. Pass me the tape gun. And go clean some glass for me and stuff ok."
"Whatever. Then I was all 'Dad get out of the way I gotta make these prints and stuff.' And he was all 'No dogs allowed in the darkroom.' And I was all "Whatever I can make these prints real good. It's all Zone 6 and a touch of contrast and pass me the dodge tool and don't forget to split tone. Duh."
"I kept my tie on the whole time. Because that's what a real artist does. Whatever."
This past week I packed up only the essentials (5 cameras, 8 kinds of film, a box of various camera accesories and attachments, 3 camera bags, 1 tripod, 1 light meter, Pancake's life jacket, dog food, and a change of clothes) and headed North for some much-needed R+R. Doubling as a 30th Birthday Celebration, this trip combined basically my favorite things in life: my friends, my dog, my cameras, and nature.
I love all things Outer-Space, so my friends made me the best box-cupcakes ever! And yes we ate them all.
I told Pancake to bring a few books at least, but he ignored me and just slept as much as possible. He alternated between sleeping on this apparantly amazing cement porch floor, and sitting in the exact same spot watching all the farm animals across the way.
The barn on the property was one of the main reasons I wanted to stay at this (secret) location. The old wood and open sides made for amazingly beautiful diffused light. I made all my friends sit for me inside the barn basically every day. I was overjoyed. They were patient and accomodating (and beautiful) subjects, as per usual.
Pancake, being the little social butterfly that he is, made friends immediately with the neighboring farm dogs. The big one we called "Dinner Dog" because he silently just appeared at the back screen door every evening at dinner time. The tiny guy was called "Oscar", and he and Pancake wrastled for hours on end.
I'm a very lucky guy, and have the best group of friends a nerdy artsy dog-loving professional photographer could ever ask for. I told my friends I wanted to make robot costumes and take robot portraits while on vacation. After years of obliging my crazy photo concepts, they happily picked up scissors, tin foil, boxes, rusty wire and constructed some incredible hand-made costumes. I even made one for Pancake. Of course, amidst this robot photo project the lonely mailman decided to pull up deliver a package. I think he wanted to stop and make a costume too. Or at least a tin foil letter.
Happy birthday to me. Vacation was great. Now on to a busy busy Summer!!
I can't believe a year has already gone by. Can you?
Exactly one year ago today I was in the studio with a group of my close friends, sewing and taping and glueing and getting drooled on by some of my favorite dogs in the city. Pulling Polaroids and flashing strobes and laughing and pushing myself to be truly creative. What had begun as sort of a 'creative dare' had become a fully deveopled, living and breathing project. I love a good challenge, and I also love finding excuses to bring together ecclectic sources of inspiration. The Doggie Gaga Project was really just a reason to surround myself with talented, creative, and smart people who inspire me- and create something cooperatively. And that is exactly what we did.
The success of The Doggie Gaga Project can be attributed to many things. People like to talk about the great timing we had, the unique ideas, the artistry, etc. I like to attribute it to these things:
Anne and Dave at The Impossible Project, Craig, Meg, Zona, Summer, Kyl, Tina, Connor, Val, Rebecca + Rebecca, Alex, Nicole, Diana, Carolyn, Ana, Terra, Bert, Kelly, Booker, Gunther, Pancake, X-dog, Kiku, Bob, Jackson, and Jennings.
To celebrate the official One Year Anniversary of The Doggie Gaga Project, I've put together a video of never-before-seen footage of our first shoot, as well as a bunch of my favorite clippings and images. I hope you all enjoy looking at these as much as I do. It's a great marker for my career as a photographer, but more importantly has been an incredible lesson in staying true to your creative vision, pushing the limits, and allowing yourself to be an artist.
And a few of my favorite 'behind the scenes' shots, by two of my favorite San Francisco portrait and lifestyle photographers: Meg Messina and Christine Zona:
To celebrate a very exciting, exhausting, and succesful first 1/6th of 2011, I decided to take Monday off, throw the dog in the car, throw a million cameras in the daypack, 3 types of film, snacks for me, snacks for dog, water for me, water for dog, doggie bowl, 27 layers for me, 1 layer for dog- and head to my favorite secret hide-out spot in the Bay Area. A chilly, brisk hike up a small mountain always helps clear my head. I love hiking where Pancake can be off-leash. The feeling of him following me, never worrying we'll be out of synch, makes me feel so connected to him. It's a wonderful feeling.
I pulled out two of my favorite Polaroid cameras that have been collecting dust (a 600 model, and one of my many Spectras) and tried out the last of my very very very very expired Polaroid film. Unfortunately, it was all so old and dried that nothing really came out. So I resorted to Ye Olde iPhone 4 - which I love to hate- bc it's poladroid app (fake polaroids, for all you non-nerds out there) is actually pretty awesome.
There's always some amazing graffitti up here. It's like someone knew we were coming.
Perspective can be so exhilerating and beautiful.
This light got me so jazzed!! The iPhone doesn't really do it justice, but I was buzzing with photo-nerd excitement, juggling all 3 cameras to capture this dreamy winter shade.
My very very secret stash of original Polaroid T-669 film is quickly dissapearing. My cameras keep eating it. In order to make it last longer, I've hidden expired packs of this revered film in easily-forgotten places: the back of my vegetable drawer, under files in my file cabinet, inside boxes in my trunk, sealed in bags in my equipment closet...... but still it dissapears.
This weekend I'll be printing reproductions of some of my all-time favorite T-669 prints, done in the studio with my trusty Horseman field camera and instant Polaroid back (the same set-up I used for The Doggie Gaga Project). 669 film is a living, breathing organism- making each pack completely unique. Especially if it is expired. The colors swing, the chemistry swirls, the edges bubble. It's a mystery each time, and a very special joy. After years of using this film, and thousands of images shot, I still get giddy when I peel back the chemistry to reveal the instant print.
Here is the series I will be working on this weekend (both will be enlarged to 11x14inches, printed on fiber-based digital museo paper, and done in a limited series of 2):
It's the day before the day before the onslaught.
All is quiet. The groceries have been purchased. The house cleaned. The dog fed. But in 48 hrs family will be descending and there will be a lot of hustle and bustle in all directions. So, to celebrate this quick calm before the storm, I thought I'd browse through a very special photography series I did for my good friends at Dog Art Today. Last year, Dog Art Today comissioned me to put together a series of images celebrating Thanksgiving, and of course what did I do? Put my dog in a roasting pan. What did you expect?
It's a good thing that carrots are Pancake's favorite food. He puts up with so much.
Tiny squash are so fun to photograph. They're just the perfect size for a Boston Terrier.
To compensate Pancake for all his troubles, I of course bought him a new squeeky toy. This turkey is insanely loud. And apparantly the perfect toy for late night squeek fests (to our neighbor's chagrin).
Here's hoping you and your loved ones (both 2 and 4 legged) have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.
In my family, it is a tradition that we go around the table and say what we are thankful for. This has been an incredible year full of creativity, new connections, new friends, new dogs, and lots of accomplishments. I am thankful for my amazing network of fans and clients, friends and family, the beauty and emotion dogs bring to my life, my darkroom, my wonderful studio and everyone who is a part of that, my incredible assistant and publicist, the friends who keep me grounded, and my steadfast sidekick, Pancake- the best dog a dog photog could ever want for.
Don't forget to share pics of your fun weekend on Facebook!
Every once in a while I meet an artist whose work I truly love and respect. Then I make them my friend. And convince them to do a barter.
Lili Chin (of Doggie Drawings: www.doggiedrawings.net) is an artist like me- her work is original and fun and personal, and all about dogs. It celebrates the character of our very special companions in a way no other illustrator out there can. You can't help but smile and laugh when you look through her portfolio. And you also can't help yourself from commissioning her to illustrate your dog, and then sending her 45million cute photos of your dog, from all angles, at all ages, in all stages of cuteness, to give her an idea of his character. Or, your obsessive personality. Either.
For our barter, Lili created two amazing illustrations of Pancake (my beloved Boston Terrier), and in turn I photographed Boogie (her beloved Boston Terrier). It was a really interesting study on how two artists express themselves, and how their unique styles capture a similar character and emotion, in completely different mediums. Below are Lili's illustrations, and then my favorite photos of Boogie. Enjoy!