Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Moderated a panel on Freelancing and Entrepreneurship at the SFBAPPA Multimedia Day this weekend with cohorts Laura Morton, Jan Sturmann, and Geri Migielicz. When our back-to-back sessions were over, I gave everyone on the panel a tangerine with leaves, a symbol of long life and prosperity. Just what every freelancing entrepreneur needs, eh?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

APA Something Personal 2009

"Harvest Athlete" moved through the grapes at the speed of wine.

Even if I wasn't the newest board member of the SF Chapter of Advertising Photographers of America, I'd still say that one of the best holiday parties is APA's Something Personal show. This weekend, the creative mob gathered at Left Space Studios and it was cheek to jowl. Thanks to Lamborn Family Vineyard for the harvest day photo op + the case of wine generously/deliciously donated to the party. Lift your glass to the gift economy. Cheers!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Avedon Heart Platon

Happily, I caught the retrospective of Richard Avedon's work at the SFMoMA before it closed this week. Proof again that he continues to shine as a genius of the large print paired with the small gesture.

A self-portrait/triptych, shot near the end of his creative life, continues to fuel my mind. I follow his eyes and hands. From left to right, Avedon leads me from subconscious "huh?", to conscious consideration, and finally to laser focus. His hands, moving from pockets, up to fingers nervously fiddling, settle in the third pose with fingers solidly intertwined. For me, his final hand gesture is a yogic mudra of his wholehearted engagement with the world. Standing in front of these images, I was struck with a lightning bolt of emotion, feeling the presence of RA himself, as if I was being considered as subject, being observed and distilled down to some essence of Self. At the tail end of the last room at this closing exhibit, I heard the photographer's voice, " I saw. I recorded. I continue."

Richard Avedon's influence continues in the work of Platon, whose arresting portrait series of world leaders at the United Nations is in this week's New Yorker Magazine. Be sure to listen to Platon tell how he set up his rig outside the General Assembly podium steps for five days, worked with as little as three seconds per person while having to sneak bites of energy bars out of his camera bag. Fascinating, humanizing, with eyeball-close proximity... Avedon, looking down from his tripod in the clouds, is lovin' 'em.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gratitude is the emotional state of abundance.

Editing work for the new web site, I ran across this old image of cloistered nuns in West Springfield, MA, shot for Yankee Magazine back in, I dunno, 2000? On it's way to the cutting room floor, it will be my Thanksgiving offering.

Signifying Punctum: That big orange flame on the match. It's shape is a mirror image of Sister Mary's smile. She was a favorite. Even though they were a centuries-old conservative community and I probably disagreed with most of their stands, we shared some good laughs. When Sr. Mary and I walked around the grounds together, me photographing her, she told me of her relationship with her Lord. "People don't talk about it much, but let me tell you, it's full of passion." You go, Sista.

I'm grateful for the work I do. For the people I meet. For each click of the shutter. And for F+F, Family and Friends. Happy Thanksgiving, 'cause giving thanks makes you happy. Bye for now, and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Beauty, Brains and Brawn

A couple years ago, I photographed Stanford Women's Rowing head coach, Yaz Farooq for the Boston Globe. Last week, Yaz asked me to come back down and shoot her crew to celebrate the fact that this year, the ladies won the Division One NCAA Championship.

They had beauty, brains + brawn... a wicked combo. That's me on the ladder, doing the group shot and not getting electrocuted in the mist, with survival documentation by my assistant, Garry Belinsky. Then we laid down some sepia-toned fun at the end of the boat dock. And lemme tell ya, these girls had no trouble holding the pose. No trouble at all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Homage to a Platte River Outtake

Today, I'm editing images from the "Farm Together Now" book for my web site. Sometimes you just gotta edit old ones out. Glad they invented blogs so this one from 2002 can live on in the world.

I was driving over a bridge in Central Nebraska when I saw a man on horseback in the dry riverbed. Stopped (illegally), yelled down and asked my new friend Bill to pause while I dug in the trunk, got out the 4x5 camera and sheets of C-41 film. After snapping six or so sheets of ready load, Bill yelled up his address, I hollered "Thank you!", jumped back in the car and kept driving north on Highway 14.

I love this work.

OK, back to the digital light table.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Forthcoming Book "Farm Together Now": Sneak Peek Begins Here + Now

This summer I traveled 13,000 miles and made an equal amount of digital captures of farms and farmers around the United States for the book "Farm Together Now," in collaboration with writers Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker, to be published by Chronicle Books in late 2010.

Here's our elevator speech:

"We want to change the way the food system works!

"Farm Together Now," part-travelogue, part-oral history, part-creative exploration of food politics, will introduce readers to twenty groups working in agriculture and sustainable food production in the U.S.

Throughout 2009 we visited farms from coast to coast, talking to farmers about their engagement in sustainable food production, public policy and community organizing efforts. Interviews and photo essays with each farm/garden/project will illustrate the inspiring histories, unique characters and everyday struggles of life on these farms. It is through sharing diverse voices from the contemporary farm that this book will inspire and cultivate a new wave of agrarians. Half of the authors' profits will be put into a fund to encourage like-minded documentary projects."

The manuscript is with our divine editor Amy Treadwell, and Brian Scott of Boon Design has the 300 photos comprising my A and B edit. The ball is out of my court! Galley proofs are coming soon... whew, I can breathe out and tell you a story or two.

First came The Map.

My inspired collaborators, Amy and Daniel poured over the possibilities, I chimed in with some suggestions from my home state of Nebraska and here's what the route ended up looking like. A big swoop through most of the country (sorry, Texas and Alaska and....)

First stop, Oakland, California.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

53 Degrees at Carlon Falls

Woo whee! Fifty three degrees of chilly bikini.

In the high Sierras two days ago, I cleared my head for tomorrow's road trip. Yes, the moment comes when you find the will to dive in and swim like you mean it. I sucked up icy buckets of courage inside the cave below Carlon Falls, under the curtain of surging, tumbling water force and said, "Fill me up. Let's go. I'm ready." Son Josef, a budding videographer and I will travel across the country documenting sustainable farms for the Agricultlore Book Project. We're diving in... But first, to finish packing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2009 PathStar Workshop Announcement

"Tony" from by Unnikrishnan Raveendranathan from our "I Felt Like a Thousand Food Stamps" 2008 group show

Through Fotovision, a group dedicated to advancing documentary photography and storytelling, I'll be leading an "Assignment Shooting" workshop this September. We'll be following a group of Lakota Sioux youth as they train for a swim from Alcatraz. Here's an older blog post about last year's workshop. Sign yourself up. As I say in the blurb, it will be challenging, fast-paced and fun. Any questions?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

Request for Proposals

First Annual Call for Proposals

Eligibility: Professional artists residing in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Budget: No direct funding provided to artist.

Project size/media: 8’ x 8’ two-dimensional digital print or painted media. Artist is responsible for producing and installing artwork. Painted media must be assembled off site and attached to and removed from existing wooden surface. Digital print may be attached directly over existing media.

Location: Existing outdoor mural space on the 25th Street side of Mission Pie Shop, 2901 Mission Street, San Francisco.

Number of proposals to be selected for 2009: Three.

Duration and timing of project display: Three months each, beginning on September 21, December 21, 2009, and March 21, 2010.

Areas of interest: Community, food systems, urban-rural connections, sustainability, agriculture, urban farming, seasons, nature, place.

Form of proposal: One page project statement describing up to five versions of one idea. Include link to artist’s Website and up to five 8” x 8”, 72 dpi jpegs. Address how you will install and de-install your project.

Application deadline: March 15, 2009, midnight. (At this point, apply for an extension, if needed.)
Email with subject line “Sky in the Pie 2009” to
Selected artists will be notified on April 1, 2009.

Note: A local, large-scale digital printing resource is Hawkins Communications,
Chris Hawkins, (415) 362-4295,

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Victory Gardeners

Photographing urban food growers in their Victory Gardens this week and sampling their raw and spicy mustard greens. Here's number one of fifteen...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Happy New Year

"America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations." -Barak Obama, 1/20/09