A photograph is worth a hell of a lot more than a thousand words…

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The Mackinac in Mackinaw

Lovely Sara wanted her outdoor senior portraits somewhere different than most of the local kids, so we drove 25 miles to the north to Mackinaw City. Fort Michilimackinac offers stunning views of The Mackinac Bridge with pristine beaches and crystal clear waters. Our late afternoon arrival provided ideal “golden hour” lighting as well as sunset and night time shots.

I hope she is as pleased with her photos as I am…


I’m not a sellout, dammit.

No photograph with this post, just me running my soup cooler. I was thinking about my post a few days ago when I was lamenting not being able to photograph my own vision, and the more I think about it, the more I think that simply isn’t true. My vision goes into every photograph I create. It doesn’t matter is someone else asked me to create the photograph for them. People come to me to create their photographs because of my vision.

I remember my college professor once saying that professional photographers, those who create photographs as a means of putting food on the table have to be willing to compromise from time to time and be willing to “sell their soul just a little.” I suppose there is some truth in that, but as in everything, black and white are not critical absolutes in life. A certainty in one situation is not a guarantee of a direct translation or application to another situation no matter how similar.

My studio has been open for six months now, and if I honestly believed I was a sell out, I would close shop, get a job at a gas station and take pictures on the weekends for free. But, I just spent the last four hours sorting through the photographs that I have taken since I opened up in January (because my website is in dire need of an update), and I am finding myself having a good measure of trouble picking which photographs to include in the update.

Between January 4th and June 6th, I have taken over thirteen thousand photographs with my digital camera alone. ¬†Granted, not all of them are winners, and about half of them are culled from the herd before I even show them to the client. But, after my sort this afternoon, I still have close to 300 of what I would call “winners,” photographs that I am happy to show to anyone. Perhaps 100 or more of them I would cheerfully enter into an exhibition…5 of them I already have plans to do exactly that.

So, I may very well be a portrait photographer for hire, squeezing friends and strangers for their hard earned dollars, but I am still quite satisfied that I am just as much an artist as when I was in college. My vision is in every photograph I create because it takes my vision to create it. My subject matter may have changed between then and now, but I still treat every subject with the same eye.

I still like photographing women sans clothes, but weddings, children, and puppies present the same opportunities for the exploration of light, line, and beauty.



The Stowaway.

Been a while since my last update…

Since my last update, I have finished college (in December) and have moved away from Battle Creek. I returned to my native stomping grounds in Northern Michigan (just north of Petoskey).

I’ve opened a portrait studio in my home town. Things are going reasonably well. Business is picking up steam and I am gaining a steady client base. The downside is that I have had precious little time to create any art for the sake of art. But I have been able to create some beautiful and artful portraits for clients…which is most likely what I’ll share here most often.

I have had a couple of opportunities to photograph my own vision specifically for myself, and am making a point to find the time to do so. Shooting for other people is rewarding, and I do put my own vision into the work, but the truth is, the needs and desires of the client do put some limitations on said vision.

This photograph I shot for a solider that is about to deploy overseas. This is her second deployment to a combat zone. As it turns out, she and I were in Iraq at the same time in 2003.

She wanted photos of herself and her children before she left. The idea for the shot just popped in my head as we discussed her session, and she was all for it. I think it turned out well…I wanted a “Norman Rockwell” feel for this image and I think the post processing made it work out as I envisioned.