What’s new in the world?

Read one to find out what’s cooking, you’ll find info about new projects (and old ones) and some insightful reading about being a professional photographer. You’ll find my Requiem for Newspapers within or if you want to look outside this box of writing, head to one of our recent film projects, Beyond the Breaker.

Photographing kids and families

I usually avoid filming or photographing kids and families…not because I don’t like them, but I’m more at ease exploring what’s left of industrial ruins. So, I was having a brief chat with a friend and new father after he announced it on Facebook.  I was admiring the professional photos taken and ended up digging…

Now Playing: Beyond the Breaker, a film about the Huber Coal Breaker

8 years is a long time to create a film about the Huber Coal Breaker in Ashley, Pennsylvania. Our film required a grasp of Anthracite History & Heritage and being raised in Philadelphia, I needed to learn a lot…even though my grandfather was a miner in Shamokin before moving to Philadelphia, I knew nothing about…

Now Playing: Scorched…a Documentary about coal mine fires.

Scorched explores just a few of the 80 or so coal mine fires in Pennsylvania. With a small crew, a tight film festival deadline and help from one of our partners EPCAMR, we set out in brutal 5-degree weather into the coal regions to document a much larger problem. The Pennsylvania anthracite era is long…

Film Festival announcement: Selva Oscura headed to Erie, Pennsylvania

Along with a new business website soft launch, we recently wrapped a 9-month music documentary short, Selva Oscura. I think I can safely speak for all involved that it was a great way to clean off any rust and the change of scenery was a great way to remove any creative blocks. Now starts the…

Curiosity and curing The Creative Block

Frame capture from a video project filmed in the Pennsylvania Wilds. Many paths can lead us through The Creative Block. For me, being hyper-curious is the method I learned when the block is spotted on the horizon and before it heads my way. It’s a preemptive exercise that helps me avoid being blocked. It’s wanting…

Scorched – Pennsylvania’s Coal Mine Fires Documentary

Social Media teaser created for Scorched: Mine Fires in Pennsylvania Coal Country.

Why We Need to Keep Business Relationships Personal

Life is about relationships and so is a success. And since business is part of life, then business success must also involve relationships, right? Perhaps there’s flawed logic in that claim, but I believe it’s true. And as each year passes and brings with it “better” technology, it leaves us with very little face time…

Storytelling & video projects when working as a one-man crew

(Above, a short video created to show flavor of the NEPA coal mining region & community for the film, Beyond the Breaker, and where we found the title from John Kish, former town barber in Ashley, Pennsylvania). Hunting, Fishing & Drilling. Those are three things a traveler expects to find in the northern parts of…

Growing, Dying, Challenge, Failure and The Business Cycle

Grow or Die. Scary words, right? They speak of challenge and failure. Those words have been floating around this disruptive digital economy for several years. But they have always been part of the business cycle. And those words also motive us to create, and the concept of a constantly evolving cycle should become a permanent…

When It’s Time to Change

Giving Back to your community, your profession, your colleagues, to whomever – it’s a good thing. It creates community and it’s something we need when facing the challenges within the new marketplace. But what about Taking Back? It may be more important than giving in this state of unsettling business practice. We need to find…

Process, Theory and Other Things

Perspective. Observation. Clarity. These words help me find vision. And vision is something we need to differentiate ourselves within the horde that’s creating images. But I believe these words are also a component and fundamental layer in storytelling. So, what if we took the Big Bang Theory and applied it to storytelling? That moment of…

One Small Step, One Giant Leap

I have yet to meet a photographer who has an identical story; that is, one that relates to their ability to survive and have longevity in the profession. And you, the reader, may want to optimistically replace survive with thrive. It’s a massive gray area and one that’s relative. But forget about semantics. It doesn’t…

Stories by Firelight

Collaboration. New Media. Re-purposing Content. Audience Building. These trendy buzzwords are reflective of how we’ve evolved as image-making pros, but what do we do with them? You’ll have to find your answer but maybe mine will help… Although I like gadgets and enjoy exploring new tech and social outlets, I always end up going back…

Get off My Back

That’s a somewhat comedic line from a film titled Screamers that was adapted from a Philip K. Dick sci-fi story. A minor character in the film keeps having his personal space, in this case, his fears rather than his physical space, messed with by another character who enjoys torturing the poor guy’s war-battered psyche. When…

Jenga

I’ve only played it once, and it’s funny to think how removing the wrong structural piece can cause disaster in the context of winning the game. It’s just like certain jobs – they hinge on one key piece of production, and if perfection isn’t achieved, you’re in a bit of trouble. It’s way more than…

The Sphere of the Blog

Yeah, well, I never liked the word Blog. It’s clumsy. I think of Blah and Ugh and other reflections of ugly. And having heard “just read my blog” a few thousand times makes my eyes bleed at the thought of another rambling about a topic surely mundane. Enter the writer and journalist, they have at…

Working Backwards

I have very few regrets. One of them is found in this post by Tom Kennedy— Zig When Everyone Else Is Zagging. “Earlier in my career, I worked for a brilliant editor.” I somehow missed that action. And now that the bar has been lowered by The Image That is Good Enough, where can we…

A Quantitative Measure

Traveling is a mindset. The fundamentals for a successful experience have very little to do with planes or itineraries. It’s kinda’ like our profession. Does knowing what technically defines an F-stop help us find our vision or convey experiences through our images? Does it make perfect execution of intricate logistics, especially while on the road,…

How to navigate new territories during the Digital Disruption

How are we supposed to know what direction to launch ourselves when we are facing a digital industry that evolves every time we blink? The idea of Making Great Images will always apply. That’s what makes us professional, it’s a given and something that needs to be a cornerstone of our work habits and ethics.…

Just Say No to The Cubicle

I’ve never been told to Get a Life. But it’s good advice and surely applies to image-makers in a radically changed and visually demanding world. What would have been ridiculous a decade ago, for instance, the almost immediate deadline for image delivery, is common. Then, add the complexity of multiple, simultaneous professional directions & projects,…

Inner Circles

I don’t like labels. In this case, The Urban Explorer. It’s a fine hobby for those who like to keep score of their visits to abandoned places by taking photos, leaving footprints, and posting their trophies online. The problem was, I was in danger of being viewed as one when I began exploring one of…

Gagdets and Clouds

This fall I kicked a 28 year-old habit: paper calendars. I attached myself to the cloud, started syncing dates, times, and meetings, and I haven’t looked back. Even though I’m immersed in daily tech (software & cameras), relying on it for day-to-day planning was a leap. I had learned time management using day planners and…

Where do you want to go?

It’s been several years since I was tossed out the door, just like a stack of week-old newspapers, by the ones who ran the world of print journalism. And I felt the kick in the shins financially when the presses ceased to run and freelance budgets were cut in half, but I also recognized an…

Tough Month

It’s time for another deep post, one that again touches on a personal note with a touch of the professional. I was saddened by the news of the passing of Paul Hawthorne, a photographer I briefly knew when he spent some time working at The Times Herald in Norristown, Pennsylvania as I spent close to…

Requiem

I like that word and though there won’t be any services held, I thought it would be a nice symbol to mourn the passing of a publication I have been involved with since 1991. I have never been a hardcore, fire-chasing, politician-hunting photojournalist, but I do like to tell stories and during my time at…