Inspiration

Focus on the Story 2019

Every year I try to attend a workshop or dedicate a few consecutive days exclusively to photography. Last week, I was in Washington, DC where I attended Focus on the Story . All I can say is wow. I left the conference inspired just wanting to make stories with my camera, especially around my family.

Ruddy Roye onstage dropping knowledge with Ibarionex Perello.

Ruddy Roye onstage dropping knowledge with Ibarionex Perello.

What I really enjoyed about this conference was just like it’s name “Focus on the Story” did just that…focused on the story. There was no talk of gear, f-stops or megapixels, just photo makers talking about storytelling. What attracted me to this conference was the diversity of speakers, check ‘em out. If you’d let history tell it, only middle aged white dudes picked up the camera. It was so refreshing to hear diverse perspectives on what motivated these photographers to chose what stories to tell and how.

Patrick Brown discussing his project “No Place on Earth,” documenting the plight of the Rohingya.

Patrick Brown discussing his project “No Place on Earth,” documenting the plight of the Rohingya.

The highlights for me were Ruddy Roye and Gulnara Samoilova both sharing deeply personal stories about how the camera became a companion rather then just a tool. As a fairly new father myself they really resonated with me because Ruddy spoke about the importance of being a father to his two boys and Gulnara talked about how she suffered a miscarriage days after 9/11 when she fell after running from the towers as they were coming down…camera in hand. Both were deeply moving talks where my eyes welled up more than once as their photos were projected on screen and the passion of their voices offering a narrative as if they were in a confessional. Thank you Ruddy and Gulnara for sharing. These two talks alone were worth the price of admission in my book.

Lucian Perkins formerly of the Washington Post discussing his favorite photo series over the years and how technology is changing visual story

Lucian Perkins formerly of the Washington Post discussing his favorite photo series over the years and how technology is changing visual story

It was surreal to see Ibarionex Perello moderating panels and sitting in the audience. I’ve been listening to his podcast The Candid Frame forever. I love his thoughtful analysis on photography and he really has a passion for education.

Ibarionex Perello moderates a panel on Mental Health - Behind and in front of the camera. Panelist included Ruddy Roye, Sheila Pree Bright and Michael McCoy.

Ibarionex Perello moderates a panel on Mental Health - Behind and in front of the camera. Panelist included Ruddy Roye, Sheila Pree Bright and Michael McCoy.

Will I be attending Focus on the Story next year? Ya’ damn right, it’s already on my calendar.

Stay shootin’

Three days worth of notes for a lifetime of inspiration.

Three days worth of notes for a lifetime of inspiration.







Why Do We Shoot Film?

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Why do we shoot film? ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ How can you really explain the answer to that question when it involves so many emotions that are best experienced rather than explained? When your reasons are mixed up with wanting a camera you can own for decades, adventure with, grow old with, accumulate scars and stories with. Or involve owning a camera that stops people on the streets, or the trails, or even next to you on airplanes to remark upon the mystery or curiosity of why you are carrying that weird/interesting/cool/antiquated device with you. Reasons that include having your repair tech look askance at you because your camera is so heavily worn, so full of detritus and debris from trips through forests, up mountains and to the edge of dry land... so well used... that they think you should just replace it. ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ But you don't.⠀⠀ ⠀⠀ Because you know that unless they have stood on a sun-drenched beach watching the world through the viewfinder of your camera, as you have done on countless other occasions, feeling the comfortable and familiar weight in your hands, relishing that connection of a camera who is also an old friend, that they will not quite get it. It is no fault of theirs. As said, this is something that one has to experience to understand. But when you do, then you realize nuances of the answer to that question. Love cannot really be explained, after all, not so simply.⠀⠀

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Well said Blue Moon Camera.

Self Publishing

What up folks? I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been creating. I’ve self published three zines of various projects and I’m hooked. The first zine Cabin Life was a simple test using Blurb. The photos in Cabin Life document a trip to the mountains this winter with my family and close friends. Litrato is an ode to the picture magazines of my youth like Time, Life, National Geographic . Litrato in my native tongue Tagalog means photograph or picture. This will be a serial magazine I hope to publish every 3 months or so. The last zine titled Los Angeles Times is made up of street photography from a trip to Los Angeles with some good friends of mine from D.C. whom I met back in the day on Flickr, yeah we old school. Every year we take a trip called the Brotographers Retreat with the goal of reconnecting and making images.

Shooting with intent has changed my photography and allowed me to focus (pun intended) on what truly matters...what’s in front of my camera. I want to move on and evolve from the single image to a narrative, telling stories. We’ll see how this goes.  

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Inspo: Daniel Milnor

I’ve gotta love / hate relationship with Instagram. Very few photos nowadays make my thumb stop mid scroll, all the photos…errr…I mean content looks the same. Influencers and wanna be influencers chasing likes and followers. But at the end of the day, Instagram isn’t a photography platform, it never really was. It’s a communications tool. Let’s call a spade a spade. Maybe that’s my issue, content creators passing for creatives…or dare I say photographers.

But every now and again there are voices on Instagram that I want to hear, and their work I want to see. One of those people is Dan Milnor. Dan is a creative no longer in the photo game so to speak and a straight shooter. He doesn’t take himself too seriously. Dan is always trying to find ways to stay creative, or seek creativity. I can certainly relate. He also lives in both in the film and digital world, lusting for his Leica and Kodak Tri-X, while appreciating the benefits of the mirrorless Fuji X system.

It’s post like the below that keep me coming back to his feed and blog.

@daniel.milnor



Inspo: Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks is the main reason why I picked up a camera. My very first photography website, 93 Autumns, was a homage in a way to Gordon Parks’ “Half Past Autumn” His photography American Gothic remains one of my favorite portraits….photos of all time.

American Gothic,  Washington, D.C., 1942  | Gordon Parks

American Gothic, Washington, D.C., 1942 | Gordon Parks

I was so bummed when I was in D.C. last month that I wasn’t able to visit the National Portrait Gallery to check out the exhibit: Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 because of the government shutdown. Thanks Trump.

The Year That Wasn't: 2018

I’ve been thinking for some time what I’d like to do with this space. I’ve had this blog forever and a day. And despite all the social media fads, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or whatever else in the digital ether, this blog has been steadfast and loyal, even when I haven’t reciprocated.   

I’m looking to change that in 2019. How you ask? Well, I know this blog has a very limited audience, and over the years that’s been on purpose.  Instead of publishing dispatches for the world to see, this blog has mainly an audience of one…me. Oh and my mom, so an audience of two.  

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read and write more. I used to love writing, when I was in middle school and through college. When I started working in public relations and marketing, I began  writing for others and lost the passion for the written word. A lot has changed obviously since college. But I want to treat this space more a sketchbook, dairy, a journal if you well. Ya know a weblog. Returning to its original intent. This certainly won’t be a nicely curated set of images once might see on Instagram. It’s gonna be sloppy, messy, and coloring all out of the lines. 

Hopefully my mom will continue to read this blog anyway. 

Happy New Year. 

Peace.