New Site: Oh Ya, I’m a Photographer Again.

It has been three years since I actually had a photography website. During this period, when people would ask about where they could see my images online, I would say “I don’t have any images online.” The looks I received were PRICELESS. “How can you be a photographer and not have images online?” they would ask. “I don’t work as a photographer, so I really don’t need a website,” I would reply. Then came the process of my friends and family saying “Wait, no he IS a photographer,” then defending my cult status as “photographer,” “not a photographer,” etc. Personally, I think this is entertaining and because it speaks to the IDEA of being a photographer, not the realities. For me it was simple. If I made my living with photography, I’m a photographer. If I don’t, I’m not.

When people ask me what I do I respond,“I work for Blurb.” Normally, the response is “Oh we love Blurb, I made a book about….” This is what is so great about this company. We provide an outlet for stories, and that is one damn cool thing. However, that is not what this post is about. This post is about my new site, and the new reality that, once again, I AM a photographer.
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It was official. A phone call. “Does this sound appealing to you?” Ten seconds ticked by…..“YES, this sounds incredible actually, like a dream scenario.” So here we are people. I’m in the game once again. Please alert the media. I know for some of you this idea of being or not being a photographer is puzzling or maddening, but for me it’s very real, and it has a significant impact on things like behavior, ethics, quality standards not to mention the idea of building an archive, which for me has always been a critical driving force behind me picking up a camera in the first place.

Milnor_Photoshelter

I am now photographing for one client, Blurb. The idea is simple. I photograph people living creative, artistic lives. We’ve noticed some threads, some consistencies with these folks, and we are fascinated by their workspaces, their lives, their habits and their process. My goal is to shoot classic reportage essays with the idea being the work could be used in a variety of forms, from print to web and anything in between. This is a celebratory mission. The creative life is under siege, whether you be in music, art or photography, but there is something urgent about those who choose this path. It’s like your blood type. You can’t change it. You were born with this need and your life is about expanding upon it.

I can’t share any of the new work yet. It’s under wraps in private galleries, and will be until it runs in it’s native form. There will be new outlets designed and created to showcase this work, and other work that features similar missives. The site you see here is simply a public face.

I realized very quickly that I needed a new site, but not just a site to showcase images. I’m not really going to be showcasing them myself anyway. I needed a TOOL more than just a website. Photoshelter baby. I had used their services before, and literally within minutes I was up and running once again. I quickly found myself having to make a decision I hadn’t thought about in years. Because the new work will be private my homepage was entirely blank. I thought “I should put up some public work so at least it looks like a real site.” My mind raced back to the old me, “Well, I’ll put up a bunch of stories.” And then the idea of culling and editing began to sink in and knew I didn’t have it in me.

But more importantly I realized something else. A LOT has changed in three years. I studied my own online habits and thought back to a recent visit to photographer sites. These were really solid shooters and I didn’t give them much time. Three, four, five clicks maybe. So instead of uploading hundreds of images I made a decision to load just twenty-five total. My mindset is “If you can’t figure out who I am in these twenty-five then either I suck or you aren’t paying attention.” I also uploaded images I would have never uploaded before because they weren’t of a certain ilk. Images like this and this.
Remember, behind each image on this site is an in depth essay of twenty to fifty images.

Many photographers today are at the mercy of industry bottlenecks who need or want to quickly pigeonhole someone so they can mentally categorize them for current or future work. “That is the guy who shoots square urban landscapes.” “That is the woman who shoots lit portraits of animals,” or “That is the person who shoots protests.” I don’t have to deal with any of this anymore and I can now upload pretty much anything I want to upload. Am I a landscape photographer? No. Do I normally find intense satisfaction in stalking wildlife? No, but I like these images, and now I can put them up without risking an unwelcomed categorization. Who knows, in the future if I get bored with this, I might add more, but for now I thought, “Keep it clean and simple.”

For those of you wondering about the “photographer, not a photographer” thing just remember this is MY way of dealing with this. There is a HUGE difference between doing work on your work and doing work for a client. Secondarily, there is a significant dialogue that needs to take place regarding how the work will get done, get delivered, get archived, etc. With these conversations and arrangements comes a situation that constantly hangs in the balance of work vs. client. I won’t go into the details but these conversations are still ongoing and are actually laying the foundation for the future of the campaign. The balance is how I feel I need to work compared to what the client, in this case Blurb, needs or wants.

These “Creative Dispatches” will occupy a significant portion of my life, and I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do these. In many ways this is the dream scenario, it really is. I have been encouraged to make the work I want to make in any way I see fit. I have both professional and personal goals with these shoots, but I frankly need to brush the dust off and get my head around thinking like a photographer once again. The adventure begins.

The New Mexico Project

For those of you who are frequent visitors to the ranch I wanted to bring something else to your attention. I recently started a new site based on my ongoing project in New Mexico. Aptly titled, “The New Mexico Project” this site brings a real time look at how I’m approaching this story, and what actually happens along the way. Stills, motion, audio recordings, Blurb Mobile stories, copy, journals…..ALL OF IT.

Now, this idea is very much a departure for me. I normally don’t really show anyone what I’m doing until the project is complete, so sharing feels strange. I’m doing this not for me, nor for you for that matter. I’m doing this to try and get those IN the photographs involved with the project. I have to say, the fact this never occurred to me before is a bit embarrassing, and points to the fact that as a photographer, often times, one needs to be pretty self-centered, just to be able to get things done, at least in the photo-world. Well, as you know, I’m not really a part of the photo-world now, at least in the commercial sense, so I can do things I could not afford to do before.
It struck me one day as I was working in Espanola(small town north of Santa Fe) but my mind was focused on galleries, magazines, publishers, etc, I realized that if the project were to come to light, and I did a show in New York or Los Angeles, the people LEAST likely to ever see it or interact with it were the people right in front of my camera. I realized that WHEN this project is complete, it needs to be shown IN THE PLACES I’M MAKING THE IMAGES.
So, this is the first step.
A favor if you’ll pardon me. If you like the site, hit the follow button and follow along. If you feel like reblogging, then do so, and if not no big deal.
The images in this post are screen grabs of “typical” content.

THE NEW MEXICO PROJECT

Hasselblad Gallery Page


So I have a gallery page on the Hasselblad site now.

Don’t get too excited, it wasn’t as if they came to me. Anyone who uses these cameras can have a feature page, or at least I think that is the case.

I don’t do too many of these things, but I like to see if there is any benefit in doing stuff like this. I’m sure there is if you drive folks to these features, but I’m always curious what happens naturally. Typically, not much, but still fun to see.

I love the cameras, and I love shooting square, so it was a natural fit for me. I also really love their scanners, and their H cameras, but they are both priced high, but if you can get one, well worth it. If you haven’t seen these scanners or cameras, take a peak. Regardless of your film or digital taste, the H is a great machine.

BLAD LINK

Smogranch Featured in Flash Flood

Recently I was alerted to the fact there existed a new, online publication regarding contemporary photography in New Mexico. Checking the list of founders, I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar name or two, so I sent off an email of congratulations.

I began to think about my photography, about New Mexico, and wondered what I had from the region. This place, the “Land of Enchantment,” is one of my favorite places in the world. If you have never been, you must go. That is all I can say.

In fact, I recently did a radio interview and was asked about my favorite location I had traveled to, and without hesitation I replied, “New Mexico.” When I’m in New Mexico I feel different. I feel more connected, to both the land, and those around me. There are tensions there, both man made and the natural kind, but these tensions are what gives the region its flavor.

This image is active, so it will link you directly to the site. This feature was on the Flash Flood Blog, so don’t forget to check out the main site.

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The story relates to my move there, and a trusty pickup that is no longer with us.

www.flash-flood.org