Thursday, November 29, 2007

Retouching all the life out of it

I worry that sending an image to the retoucher sometimes takes the life out of a picture that is better off left alone. It is not the retocuher's fault. Maybe an image is better the more imperfect it is. Maybe it is more alive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I photographed this comedian this week. He had a big show that night and I asked him if he ever got stage fright and he said no he had been doing it too long. And then I sheepishly asked him if he ever bombed on stage. He said no it had been a really long time since he had really tanked.

It got me thinking about myself of course. When was the last time I made a truly bad image? It has been a while for sure. In fact I remember it well. It was raining. The art director was there and I was working too hard to make him happy and ended up with something nobody liked. Of course it ran as a double truck and it still makes me wince to think about.

I remember when I was 16 working for the local weekly. I had turned a bathroom off my bedroom into a darkroom. In the summer in Baltimore it was so hot that I would process in my underwear. Once I put the fixer in before the developer and ended up with nothing. I felt like I was going to faint. I called the chief photographer who hired me and he said not to worry I could reshoot it for the following week.

Nothing feels as bad as blowing it.

One one more

Monday, November 26, 2007

Archive Ad

Archive magazine came in the mail today.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thomas Broening: Father of the Year

I love reading in blogs and agent/photographer websites about how devoted these shooters are to their children and how it is all about the kids. I have a ton of kids and unlike my colleagues sometimes I miss the mark in terms of the parenting/ work balance.

This summer I was with my kids at Totland Park in Berkeley. I was trying to land a pretty big job via conference call and for some reason thought it would be a good idea to have the call while at the playground. In my defense I think that was the only time the AD was available but ...

Everything was going great and the client was on the phone as well and the concept was actually cool and something I wanted to do when in the corner of my eye I see my youngest child fall off the swing and land on her stomach. She is 3 1/2 and starts balling. I run over and pick her and see that she is fine. She has had the wind knocked out of her and is just a little freaked out. So I am trying to hold her in one arm and cover the mouth piece with the other. It is not working well and everyone on the call wants to know what is going on and I reassure everyone she is fine and will stop screaming any minute.

I look at her and tell her she needs to stop crying. This of course does nothing but make her cry louder. So here I am in this jam. I want to stay on the phone to land the big tuna but I also have this distressed child. So I do what father's have done since we all lived in caves. I put her down and walked away. And then.... the looks started. The Berkeley moms at the park were so appalled by what I had done that all they could do is look at me with their squinty eyes and hemp baby slings.

Looking back would I do it again? Probably not. I should have just called them all back later or not had the call at the park in the first place. But when you are out in the wild hunting wearing nothing but a bear skin thong your judgment sometimes gets a little clouded.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Shot this building this weekend. I think there is an image here somewhere but not sure I found it. It is a mile from my house and I remember being in the lobby a couple years ago for a meeting and thinkng I should come back here someday. Maybe I have been looking at Jorg Colberg's blog too much.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


It always amazes me to see the process of coming up with an idea, shooting it, editing it and then seeing it makes its way into the body of work that I show.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You never call/Would you please stop calling me!

I never know if I should call after I shoot a job . Half the time the AD/PE has moved on to the next project and the last thing they want to do is talk to me.

On rare occasions they ask me to explain a photograph. As in;"What is that? Why did you shoot that?" If I have to explain something then for sure I have failed. I communicate using images and if words are needed then it obvoiously is not working.

One more

I found another image from the new overpass series. I am not sure if I will end up using 4 (four is an unlucky number) but it is nice to have the choice.

Friday, November 9, 2007

QM2 Outake

Rights Grab down the street from my house

I feel like Doug Adesko shot ths exact image but not sure.

Going it alone

While I look for a new agent I will have to represent myself which seems like a fool's errand. It is one of those learning experiences no doubt. Which is just another word for something that will be hard, frustrating but in the end I will gain some experience which will make me stronger. Like broccoli or going to the dentist. I still feel like I made the right decision but does not mean I have to like the process.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


After 4 years Heather Elder and I have decided to no longer work together. I have nothing but positive things to say about her and there was never a day when I was not impressed by her intelligence, hard work and attitude. She will be difficult to replace.

So now I will begin the long process of finding representation. It should be interesting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

For the Next 48 hours I am a genius

I have been working on a new project all weekend and have to wait until Tuesday 1pm before I get the film back. So for the next 48 hours anything is possible. For the next two days I am the next Richard Misrach, I have gotten the cover the CA photo annual and I have landed the huge Nike campaign. Hope Tuesday never comes.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Grenade! Grenade! F11!

in the WWII when the enemy threw grenades into a foxhole a brave soldier would sacrifice his life and smother the grenade with his body. On photo shoots it works the same way. When a snooping PR agent will want to see a polaroid I will call out grenade! and an assistant will dive on top of the polaroid. The key stroke f11 works well when we shoot digital but we still say grenade cuz it makes us sound tough.

Photographer enters contest. Wins!

Three images in APA SF.