January to April is always a little bit different for me, but this year it has been particularly strange. Since I started my business five years ago, every single year has run into the next without some sort of “off season” or break, but this year I actually had one (I should say that loosely as we are always planning something new). We wrapped up all our edits from 2013 in February thanks to an additional editor, and it has been refreshing to take a break, regroup, and strategize for 2014 & 2015. I’ve made some changes that were sitting in my notes for years that include a new logo/branding (rolling out soon), a better packaging experience, and a redeveloped commercial & wedding portfolio. In the midst of this, I planned a trip back to Las Vegas for WPPI with a few amazing friends that I met last year.
There is nothing more special to me then getting to know a few fellow artists as close friends. This year I roomed with Serena, Jen, & Katie in a huge suite at The Signature, and it was an incredibly fun time, which basically translates to eating amazing food + going to two crazy parties (people..I’m not a party person & neither can I dance, but I tried). My favorite DJ, Ninja Dan & his fiancee Leslie were there to learn + hang out at In-N-Out with me at 1:20 in the morning. Maybe we had a little too much fun at times, but it was definitely an experience I will not forget. A few video classes were added to the roster of classes this year for WPPI, so I was sure to hang out with Joe Simon, Kevin Shahinian, David Robin, Ray Roman, and Adam Forgione (his class was invaluable). Each provided excellent insights to their workflows and quite a few lessons on life. The life lessons really resonated with me personally, as being a business owner 24/7 is a particularly difficult task to handle on your own. My overarching goal continues to strive for a team, and that is something I have been working on for the last year. One of the biggest highlights was a huge party called Silver Rush, that was organized by CineStill Film. It was a basically a huge party for film shooters, and almost all of the major film photographers were there. I was particularly excited to meet Chris Weeks, whose worked I have followed since the days of DeviantArt, and who honestly inspired me to look at photography again with his incredible street work. Plus I got to hang out with Vicki Grafton, Jordan Baker, Elizabeth Messina, Kirk Mastin, Ryan Muirhead, and all my favorites. What is awesome about the film community in general is that there is a real humbleness and passion for art that everyone seems to share & I love being a part of that.
Amidst all of the networking, I really wanted to do a few shoots while in Vegas & we were able to squeeze in two major shoots. The first was with my roomies at the Venetian and the second was an organized shoot in the middle of a desert near Vegas. The desert shoot was organized by a few photographers from a group on Flickr & we were lucky enough to be invited a long by Tommy Huynh. Two gorgeous models, Morgan Venter & Skye Bibby, were styled by Cheriene Galley for the shoot in the desert, and the terrain/light could not have been better. I was not going for specific themes with these shoots, but really trying to work on my direction & posing. One thing you might notice in my work is that while there are many consistencies, there is a lot of change between each shoot or production. I know things will never be perfect & there will always be something missing, but it is what fuels me to create work that is different & hopefully better than the last. A never ending challenge..