Summer of The Pines

Last week we had another amazing time out on Fire Island. Andrew and Judah joined us for the weekend and we did lots of drinking and dancing. :) On Monday, we met a really great group of guys visiting from Chicago. They were kind enough to have us over a few times to hang out by their fantastic bay view pool. It was so fun meeting you guys and we look forward to visiting in Chicago soon.

Here are a few photos from the week for you to scroll through! Enjoy!!

10 Years Later...

When meeting new people I am often asked "What was that like?" after finding out that I grew up in a small, conservative Texas town. I'm not sure what they expect my answer to be, but I think that they are often surprised by my response. I have always looked back on my time in high school with fondness. I feel very fortunate because I know that not everyone can say that about their high school experience.

This weekend Forney High School's Class of 2006 celebrated it's 10 year reunion and I was reminded, once again, of why my time in high school was so special.

As we all arrived, it was a bit of a strange feeling. "What is this going to be like?" "How have ten years passed already?" But we all began to catch up (and have a drink or two) and it was like barely any time had passed at all. It was so nice to see old friend groups come together and share stories and laughs about old times.

I am so impressed with the people that we have become. Educators. Mothers & Fathers. Health care professionals. Artists. Musicians. Scientists. Maybe I'm biased, but I really think that our graduating class is truly a special group of people.

Thank you to everyone who had a hand in planning the reunion and to everyone who came. It was really wonderful to see all of you and learn that you are doing well. 

Here are a few photos from the evening. I didn't take nearly as many as I would have liked, but I guess I was just having way too much fun!!

Cheers! To the Class of 2006!!

FIP

Brent and I have been fortunate enough to get to Fire Island three times so far this summer. The first two times were made possible by the generosity of our friends (Stephen & John and Jeff & Miguel). The third time we rented a place with our friends Andrew & Judah.

Here are some of the highlights from all three trips! Most of these were taken by myself and a few by Brent. :)

Summer 2016

Jeff & Miguel's beautiful home in The Pines

Miguel & Jeff

leaving no broken hearts (#31)

This is the next installment from my series 'leaving no broken hearts'. Much gratitude to Jeremy Jordan King for his help and belief in the project. :)

"who burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism" -Allen Ginsberg, 'Howl'

leaving no broken hearts (#38)

I try to be as open to advice and opportunity as I can. That being said...

Last weekend I did a shoot for a project that I have been working on since September of last year. Afterward, some of the guys who were modeling and I went for a drink and a chat. Richard Cortez gave me some advice and a lot of it really resonated.

Until now, I have only shared tiny portions of this project. The series is called 'leaving no broken hearts'. It is inspired by the poem 'Howl' written in the 1950s by Allen Ginsberg. The poem is an exploration of an array of themes including, but not limited to drugs, sexuality, and American society post-WWII. The goal of my project is to revisit these themes and explore them from a modern perspective.

Moving forward, I will be sharing lots of the b-roll shots from this project on social media platforms as well as my blog. I plan to celebrate the completion of the project by publishing a book sometime in the future. But for now, this is where you can find the work.

The shoot from last weekend featured Richard Cortez (@richardcortez), Jake Elvig (@jakeyfabuloso), and Jordano Richardson (@paris_boi). This particular shoot was based on the following line:

“who balled in the morning in the evenings in rose gardens and the grass of public parks and cemeteries scattering their semen freely to whomever come who may" -Allen Ginsberg, 'Howl'

Thank you to Richard, Jake, Jordano, and my buddy Joey Buckingham for coming to help me chase light and offering lots of moral support. :)

To check out 'Howl' in its entirety, click here: 'Howl' by Allen Ginsberg.

Men in Skirts.

Last Thursday I traveled to Asbury Park, NJ. It's about a 2.5 hour train ride on NJ Transit. Asbury Park is a cute little beach town with your typical menagerie of ocean side bars, restaurants, and shops and a great boardwalk with lots of interesting architecture from the late 1920s.

I went to meet David. He and I have corresponded via multiple social media platforms and finally got to connect in the real world. David is a native of Scotland and recently graduated from Princeton. He is both a composer and a performer.

Here are some of the photos from our time together!

Click the link to check out David's music!

Lows and Lows

The past few days have been pretty emotional. It's been very difficult to even process the events that occurred over the weekend.

Last night, Brent and I went to the vigil at Stonewall. There were people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. It was incredibly powerful to see the thousands that turned out to show solidarity for our community. Unfortunately though, there were a lot more talking heads pushing their political agendas than I cared to listen to. It felt more like a rally than a vigil.

Here are some of the things that I saw.

Highs and Highs

I've heard it said that every artist, at times, feels like they are absolute crap. Other times they feel like they are at their best. I'm no different. And right now, I truly feel like I am doing some of the best work that I have done since I first picked up my camera.

Today I spent time with Jordano, a Bronx native and first grade teacher in Jackson Heights. I couldn't have asked for a more handsome, willing, and patient model. And the light was absolutely to die for. I'm in love with just about every shot that we got today. I hope you enjoy them all as well!

Work Work Work Work Work

I think that May was by far the most productive month that I have had in my career as a photographer. So much so that I have barely been able to keep up with the massive amount of images that I have been producing.

Yesterday, my buddy Josh came over to shoot. He is a recent college grad and a working dancer. He is leaving on Monday for a production of West Side Story in D.C. I set up a little space in the alley between my building and the building next door and this is what we got!

We Didn't Start the Fire!

On the way home to Brent's apartment tonight, around 9PM, we came across a HUGE fire under the BQE. We got there before FDNY and stayed until they showed up.

Luckily I had my camera and I snagged a few cool shots!!

Gabriel.

Every time that I shoot someone new, I never really know what to expect. So, I try to leave myself open to trying new things and rolling with the punches.

Gabriel.

Yesterday, I met Gabriel. He and I connected through Instagram. He is Brazilian. A model manager. A writer. And he lives in Chelsea.

Gabriel has the exact kind of personality that I really vibe well with when doing a shoot. He was very open and willing to try anything that I asked, no matter how weird. And he even had his own ideas. Between the two of us, we came up with some really fun shots.

Connection Through Creation

As I photograph more and more people, I am really beginning to realize what a powerful tool my camera can be. I have started finding joy in meeting and connecting with new people. In the past, I have never quite felt that way. I can be such an introvert at times and things like getting to know someone and small talk have never come easy. Having a camera in my hands helps that immensely.

Jimmy.

Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy. We connected through Instagram and have several friends in common. Last Monday, the 15th, I packed up my camera and my laptop and took a trip up to Harlem to shoot and get to know him. Jimmy is a dancer, choreographer, and yoga teacher. Creative type. The kind of person that I find myself drawn to. After chatting for about 20 or 30 minutes while Jimmy worked on a craft project, I grabbed my camera from my bag and realized that I had forgotten my memory card. (As it turns out, it was actually in my bag the entire time. Which was evident when it fell on to the locker room floor at the gym. But that's a story for another time...)

After realizing that I had "forgotten" my memory card, we decided to meet another time and try again. As I was leaving Jimmy asked if I had any interest in coming to shoot production photos of a dance project later in the week that he and some friends were filming and putting together. The concept sounded really interesting, so I said yes and offered to bring my lights for them to use.

After a successful day of shooting some dancing in the clouds, I packed up my camera and left my lights behind so that they could use them as they continued the shoot a couple of days later.

Jimmy and Rashmi.

On Monday, February 22nd, I traveled back up to Harlem to pick up my lights and finally finish what we had started. I spent about an hour photographing Jimmy with an occasional appearance by Rashmi (who, I swear, is a dog trapped inside of a cat's body). And Jimmy's boyfriend Jacob was nice enough to sit for a few minutes as well.

Jimmy, Jacob, and Rashmi.

Be on the lookout soon for images from the video production and a link to the final product!

Going Rogue

Today, I went to Brooklyn to meet up with Benn who I have followed on Instagram for a bit. It has been about a year since I have travelled to someone's home to shoot and it was a really nice change of pace to be outside of my apartment and using natural light.

One of the first things that Benn said to me when he opened the door was that there was "a situation". His cat, Rogue, had jumped the fence in the courtyard of his building and couldn't get back.

This is actually the first photo that I took of him today as he climbed the fence to save Rogue.

Benn is a yoga teacher who is incredibly dedicated to his students and to his own practice. This was abundantly clear even in the brief amount of time that we spent together. He just returned to New York from 5 weeks in India where he was practicing almost every day for 8 hours a day.

Benn and Rogue. 12/4/15.

Work

Last week, I had more shoots than I have ever had in a single week. Some of them were personal projects, but many of them were projects for clients! Clients? It's such a new and exciting feeling to have clients. Here's a look at what I have been up to this past week.

On Friday, I shot some family portraits for the Griffin family. I brought Charlotte a balloon and after warming up to it a bit, she couldn't get enough. There were lots of really great photos from the day, but this is probably my favorite capture.

Nicole. 10/22/15.

Morgan. 10/23/15.

Pablo. 10/24/15.

Tyler. 10/22/15.

Growth, Gratitude, and Looking Forward

October 15th. I sit and reflect on the year that just passed. Yesterday was my 28th birthday. It seems like each year goes faster and faster. The 27th was no different. And as I look back on everything that happened and all of the goals that I accomplished, I can't help but be incredibly proud of the year that I had. I am grateful for so many things: from a new and rapidly growing career, to my health, to New York, to being surrounded by so many wonderful, supportive, and caring people. There are a lot of exciting opportunities that have been presented to me just within the past few weeks. I know that it's going to be a great year.

Thank you so much to everyone who came and helped me celebrate last night. Without you, I don't know what I would do. Here's to 28.