Thursday, December 10, 2009

Party Time

Last night I did a late-night shoot at Tiger Sushi, an Uptown Minneapolis sushi restaurant. A departure from my "typical" assignment to be sure. It's easy for me to take good pictures of interesting people having fun. The pictures seem to jump in front of the camera and ask to be taken.

Friday, December 4, 2009


A few weeks ago, Carlye, a former portrait client contacted me in the hopes that I would photograph her dog, Daisy, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. I had previously photographed her four children when they were babies. Her twins which are her youngest are now juniors in high school. Seeing them made me feel old.

She lives in Los Angles and was calling me on the off-chance that I was going to be traveling there from my home base of Minneapolis. It had been about 4 years since I have been back to LA, but coincidentally I was going to be there in a few weeks. I felt like it was meant to be.

Normally, I don't have any desire to photograph animals, but in this case I made an exception and I am so glad I did. Carlye really values the photos we had done of her children and I know she will feel the same about the photo of Daisy.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Salvation Army Video with Aaron Neville

For many years I have done work with The Salvation Army. Even though they are a large organization, it has the feeling of a intimate operation in the way they help people. I've said this about my work before, but it is my role to just stay out of the way and make images that reflect the good work that is taking place and the result of this effort.

The Salvation Army recently put together a video with Aaron Neville using still images I have taken for them.

Click on the title of this post to be taken to the video.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chop Suey

A shot I took in the "Little Tokyo" neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles last week.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Los Angeles and The Union Rescue Mission

Yesterday I spent the day at the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angles, which is the largest shelter of its type in the country. At this, their annual Thanksgiving-week meal they served over 4000 meals which is incredible. Witnessing the logistics of the 200 turkeys....etc...was impressive.

Having done this type of work for some time, I have noticed that the number of families with children increase dramtically which is really sad. It really started to get to me as the day went on. What it would be like to have a family and not have a place to live...can't imagine it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Senator Al Franken

I photographed Senator Franken this past Sunday while he visited Childrens Hospital in Minneapolis. This shot was taken in-between the "photo ops" which is where the good stuff lies.

For me, the moments when a photo is expected to occur end up in a result that is not as interesting as taking them when they are not expected. I've always felt that a good photo of a person is one where they appear as if they are not "trying" to do anything. Once they start to pose, you can almost always see some sort of effort being displayed in their expression. All that being said, it is impossible for someone to not notice the camera. What is important, is for them to be comfortable with the photographer and "let" the photos happen.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Motorman

John Reinen is a first year motorman for the Como-Harriet trolley in the Linden Hills (where I live) neighborhood of Minneapolis. I first met John because our kids went to school together and recently saw in him dressed in his Trolley uniform at a Halloween party. To me, he personifies the job...almost a character out of a Mr. Roger's Neighborhood episode.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

American Cancer Society

It is really nice to work on a project so meaningful, with the finished pieces turning out so well. Here are 6 of the portraits that I did of people who have been affected by cancer and how they have benefited by the work of The American Cancer Society. Taking photos like these, isn't about my photo ability or applying any special techniques. It is about the people and their experiences. As a photographer, I feel I almost just need to minimize my presence (get out of the way) and let the stories tell themselves.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Foshay Tower

Modeled after the Empire State Building, The Foshay Tower, was completed in 1929 just months before the stock market crash. In an elaborate dedication, Wilbur Foshay, had commissioned John Philp Sousa to write a special march for the event. Six weeks following the dedication of the building, Wilbur Foshay, was bankrupt and the $20,000 check he wrote to Sousa bounced. In retaliation, Sousa prohibited the playing of the march so long as Foshay's debt to him remained outstanding. Foshay never lived in his new home which went into receivership. In 1988, a group of Minnesota investors repaid Foshay's debt to Sousa's estate, and the march was permitted to be played again. Following a 90 million dollar renovation that began in 2006, it is now home to the 230 room W hotel.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rainy Morning

On the way to the studio, I decided to stop and shoot this before I had to become a part of it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The California Building

Took this view of my building called "The California Building" coming back from a shoot. Having spent many years in California, it seems fitting that I now find myself in a building with the same name. It has some interesting history and some very good art is being done within it's walls.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Unique" Rachel

Rachel responded to my craigslist ad and came to the studio to be a part of my "Unique" series. I think she is now in Los Angeles studying to be an on-air journalist. I have not added to the project in a very long time...maybe it is time to begin again? Wish I had another source for getting people..I have tried ads in coffee shops, laundromats...with very little success. Does anyone know of someone...maybe yourself, who would make a good candidate?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More In-Betweens

Last week I spent a few days at a conference at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Although some meaningful topics were covered, conferences tend to take on a certain sameness. Speakers at lecterns and people sitting at tables listening. Occasionally people have break-out sessions...yippee!

While doing this, I had to remove myself from these rooms and wander about trying to find something to photograph... something for myself. Here are a few examples of some of these efforts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

See The Range

I think one of the best things about being a photographer (especially with my clients) is seeing such a wide range of life. From young and old to rich and poor. In the last 24 hours, I photographed 1st Graders at St Paul Academy School and a resident of Walker Plaza, an assisted living facility.

There was a day, admittedly many years ago, when I worked in Los Angeles I witnessed a very extreme range. One morning I photographed the mayors (current and all former...14 total) of the City of Beverly Hills. It was all you can imagine: bickering over who should stand next to each other and who shouldn't be in front or behind one another. I remember the reigning mayor being late and a few people even trying to rush the shot so he would miss it!

I then went back to my studio to change my clothes and went to work at the Los Angeles Mission photographing homeless people just trying to survive. Both these spots were 10 miles apart physically but at the same time were a world apart. I felt much better about the second assignment that day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

In-Between the Shots

While I am shooting on assignment there are often things I see in-between the shots I am doing for my client Here are a few of these shots during last week's assignment for The Bay Area Rescue Mission in Richmond, CA. (near San Francisco)

These images are not anything the mission can use, but I shot them anyway. It is hard for me not to take an photo when I think there is one to be taken...and why should I? It was a long day 6am-9:30 pm

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Unique" Joseph

It's been awhile since I made a post to the blog, but it's not because I have nothing to post. Admittedly, I started out with a quite regular thing going and have faded, but I promise to get it going again. Things have been quite busy for me this past month for which I feel very lucky. Many of my colleagues have not been as fortunate as budgets are scaled back and magazines either fold or reduce their editorial content.

Here s Joseph, who responded to my craigslist ad "looking for unique individuals for photo project". Sadly Joseph's story is turning out not to be so unique.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Iowa City

On the way to a shoot in Iowa City, I passed by these characters walking down the street. Had to turn back and ask them if I could make a photo. Apparently there is a Japanese Animation convention in town and they were dressed up like characters. In the past, I might have just kept on driving, but this was too good and I had all my equipment with me. Can't let these opportunities pass me by. Even if the photo turns out to be a dud, the encounter with the people never is.

My shoot at the Hope Lodge for the American Cancer Society was at times emotional but went well. I will have photos in a future post.
It was a big day...600 miles of driving with a full day of shooting in-between.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I am lucky enough to have a project with The American Cancer Society. I will travel to the four "Hope Lodges" in the upper midwest (Minneapolis, Rochester, Iowa City and Marshfield, WI) to photograph those who benefit from their services. Because many travel from great distances to access hospitals, Hope Lodges are places where patients and their families can stay when they are receiving treatment. Tomorrow morning I am traveling to Hope Lodge in Iowa City.

Erik, a 24 year old, recently stayed with his mother at Hope Lodge in Minneapolis.

Work like this surely helps me keep things in perspective. My problems are miniscule in comparison.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Salvation Army

An image from The Salvation Army I shot in Portland last week.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It has been forever since I have made a post to the I apologize to those who read it. Things have been busy to say the least with all sorts of crazy things. Presently I am in Portland working with The Salvation Army. We spent yesterday and today photographing the people of "The Army" in a variety of situations...they really do good work and get things done. Tonight I travel to Seattle to shoot for a Rescue Mission in Everett which is a suburb of Seattle.

Here are a few photos from Heritage Hill State Park, that were shot on a recent family trip to Green Bay Wisconsin, where my wife, Lori and I both grew up. (slightly after the time that is depicted at the living history museum that is Heritage Hill.

Friday, June 26, 2009


The Pez display is in place in the new space, which is an indicator that I am now "officially moved". The Pez have really become a focal point within the space. It results in many questions/comments which vary depending on the age of inquirer.


How long have you been collecting pez?
about 20 years

How many do you have?
about 350

Are any of them worth a lot of money?
I only buy them when they are introduced, so I have usually paid about $1.29 or so for each. Over the years, people have given me some that are actually worth much more (they usually are the ones without the feet)

I never knew there were so many?
there are well over 1000

What are those?
asked by someone from a deprived childhood


Do you have all of them?

Can I have (fill in character)?
I do have extras I give away, although I chose

Who ate all that candy?
(this is my favorite, which is usually asked by an 8-10 year boy. I get to say, "I did" and I gain their respect, not because I have all the dispensers, but because I ate all the candy)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Good Samaritan

I have started to do portraits of the elderly in assisted care and long term care facilities. It is my hope that the photos will benefit the families of the residents who might not otherwise have a photo done.

Yesterday, I went to the Good Samaritan in Inver Grove to continue the project. In addition to the portrait we took, I began to notice the hands and how interesting they look....the way they are held together, the experience in the lines...the stories they must be able to tell.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Unique" Nate

Nate was one of the first to respond to the craiglsit ad "Looking for unique people for personal photo project" when I began the series at the beginning of last year.

To date I have photographed over 90 different people and have learned much. Everyone is indeed unique, but the interesting thing to me is what each individual thinks that might be. It isn't always the same thing that is the most obvious. It often times lies deep within each person and isn't externally noticeable. There seems to be an inverse relationship to how outwardly unique someone looks to how inwardly unique they are. It is as if the individualism factor is 100%. If 80% is shown on the outside, there only needs to be 20% held on the inside and vice versa which can really leave you speculating.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The New Studio Is Ready

We've begun the move into the new studio and the filling of it has begun. There is something so nice about a big empty space. So much possibility and potential. Not enough weight is placed on empty space. Instead, we tend to think "what can I put in can I fill it?" This space will never look better than it does in this photo.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Lifetime Portrait Update

Sadly, less than one week after I took this this photo at Presbyterian Homes, Lois Terhaar, has died. She is pictured with Jerry, her husband of 60 years. I want to thank Ellen Capecchi and Presbyterian Homes for allowing me to come and make this photo.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Portraits of a Lifetime

There seems to be a disproportionate emphasis placed on portrait photography at the beginning of life compared to the end, although both are very important.

Over the years, I intermittently receive calls from people, looking for an old photo I had previously taken of their now deceased relative. It might have come from a wedding or a commercial shoot that I had done years ago. The sudden "new" importance this portrait has taken on is huge and I am so glad that I can produce the photo. It is one of the reasons, I am unable to depart with negatives dating back to 1982.

Today I spent a few hours at Presbyterian Homes which provides assisted care for the elderly. My goal was to produce portraits of people who need to be remembered, but normally would not have their portraits taken because of logistics or finances. I did quick simple portraits of the residents and will deliver a print along with a cd to them. I did not charge for this. It was a rewarding way to spend a few hours. After being there just 20 minutes I had already photographed two people over 100. One 90 year old man wants to use his photo for his obituary. Another couple had been married for 68 years!

The portraits had a secondary affect of making everyone feel good about the process. I also began to feel a certain weight of responsibility, thinking this may be their last photo taken.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Parking Ramp

I made the 300 mile road trip to Green Bay to visit my Dad. Here is the 1st floor parking ramp at the downtown mall. (yes the mall is open) With the state of things, it seems to be an ideal time to begin a series on empty-parking lots.

Leno's Last Stand

Back in the early 80's, I took this photo of Jay Leno at a Motorcycle rally benefit for Muscular Dystrophy in Glendale California. He was just a stand-up comic at the time. I was covering the event for "Cycle Magazine". The mid-day light very was difficult to shoot in, but seemed to work well for Leno's features

Leno made a joke about wanting to follow the group, so he "could pick up all the parts that fell off the Japanese bikes." The crowd, overwhelmingly Harley enthusiasts, roared.

Although I prefer the sarcasm of Lettermen, you have to really admire Leno for his 17 year career at the helm of "The Tonight Show".

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Studio

I will be moving to a new studio and as moves go, it couldn't be any easier. The space next door to me opened up and after evaluating my need (or lack of need) for a shooting space I took it. Although I now have a great space with a beautiful view, I can't justify continuing to pay for it when I use it so infrequently.

The new space is about 1/2 the size of my current space. I am having a room built to disguise my archive (i.e. clutter) and some lights hung. Beginning in early June, I will be hauling my stuff down the hall about 40 feet to the new location.

If you want to still visit me in the current, (future former) have another month.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"Unique" Jonathon

When someone comes to my studio wheeling in a coffin-shaped bed of nails, it peaks my interest. I photographed Jonathon Bryce, who is a local escape artist to be part of the "Unique" series. Typically, when he lays on the nails he keeps his shirt on...I asked him to do with it off and he agreed...thought it would be more dramatic. Some crazy stuff.

As part of a fund-raiser, On October 24th, he will be attempting to break a world record by escaping from a straight jacket as many times as possible in an 8 hr period. He thinks he might be able to do it 40 times.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Art-A-Whirl Aftermath

Art-A-Whirl was a good thing this year. I was able to see some friends and meet some interesting people.

Most FAQ's over the weekend:

1. How do you find your people to photograph for your "Uniques" project?
Craigslist mainly but some are invited

2. What are you going to do with them...publish a book?
I may be self-publishing something down the road, but right now I am just adding to the series.

2. How long have you been collecting PEZ
Approx 20 years

3. If you don't mind me much is your rent?

Drinking wine and discussing photography is a good way to spend a weekend. (Even sold some prints...which is nice) Thanks to all who attended.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We are geared up for Art-A-Whirl this weekend.
Although I am not listed in the directory, I will be open.

2205 California St NE Studio 601 Minneapolis, MN 55418

Fri May 15 5-10
Sat May 16 12-8

Sun May 17 12-5

Come up for the view, drink some cheap wine and have a look at some photographs.
(If you don't want cheap wine, duck behind the seamless paper into the V.I.P. area for the better stuff)

There are also over 60 artists showing work in the building.

Visit for more AAW information.
Visit for directions.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A New Intern!

Katie Wimer has joined us as an intern for the summer. She is a photography student at Southern Utah University. Katie is coming at a great time with Art-A-Whirl happening this weekend. Katie's energy and eagerness is great. Having an intern is always a good thing. It makes me re-think things as I find myself verbally explaining them...if that makes any sense.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Unique" Coco & Breezy

Coco & Breezy were one of the first to respond to my ad for this series. Although they are not identical twins, they frequently dress alike and are very well known. I love the "Made in the 80's" shirts.

I received the news yesterday that I did not make the cut for the McKnight Fellowship, which is a bummer. Thanks to all those who wished me luck. Guess I have to continue slogging away in anonymity.

Next weekend is Art-A-Whirl. AAW is when many of the NE Minneapolis artists will open their studios for the masses to tour and hopefully actually buy some art. I will be open and will have the "Unique Series" on display as well as some of my earlier work. Stop by if you can. The hours are: Friday 5-10pm, Saturday noon-8pm and Sunday Noon-5.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

First Day Doctors

It's graduation time at the University of Minnesota's Medical School. The school graduates over 200 students who now can be officially called "doctors" as they take the oath and begin their residencies.

It is great fun being around all the energy and high hopes. Visually it is a magnificent scene full of tradition, uniforms, marching and emotional, anxious people. I am glad that this positive outweighs the difficulties of the assignment. (carrying the equipment on my body for four straight hours and feeling like you are constantly bumping into people)

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Unique" Yer

Yer is another one of the unique series and the first one I shot away from my studio. It was a quick 5 minute shoot (most of them are short) right in downtown Minneapolis. When I met Yer, I was indeed surprised to think that this woman is also a hunter. This project has made me question my first impression of everyone I meet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Unique" Jill

Jill came to the studio yesterday to be included in the series of Unique people. Tomorrow, I am "getting crazy" and going to be photographing another "Unique" on-location....away from my studio. Sometimes you just have to take a risk.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Congratulations to Kao

I have been working on a series of testimonial ads for the St Paul School District showing former students. Many of these students have faced difficult odds, but have gone on to do great things. One of these students, Kao Kalia Yang, born into a Hmong refugee camp, went on to write "The Late Homecomer'. This past Saturday, our paths crossed again. While covering the Minnesota Book Awards, I saw Kao receive both the Peoples Choice and Best Nonfiction Memoir for her book.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


This past Saturday I was shooting a wedding at Columbia Manor Golf Course, which is an old-school, city-run public golf course very near my studio in Northeast Minneapolis. This place has an old run-down feeling in a charming good way. Very comfortable place to work with beautiful light streaming in.

Roaming the facility while people were eating, I grabbed this shot among others. Couldn't stop seeing photos.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"Unique" Ayesha

Ayesha responded to my craigslist ad, " looking for unique individuals for personal photo project". She was quick to point out that she was not driving in all 10 of the car accidents.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

McKnight Application Is In!

I just finished submitting my application for the McKnight Fellowship, which is huge for me. There is much time spent deciding on images and writing the proposal. An arts group I have worked with, Springboard For The Arts", based in St Paul, really helped me out with it. The staff over there has allot of experience in this arena and did me a huge service by helping me with my images and writing. I will find out if I made the first cut by May 11th.

Here is of the images I submitted.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Spent a few hours photographing for PPL (Project for Pride in living). PPL's mission is to work with lower-income individuals and families to achieve greater self-sufficiency through housing, employment training, support services, and education. They are really teaching people to fish. Being able to work with people like this is one of the great things about my job. Here is a selection of portraits that will be used for an up-coming awards program.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Challenges of Selecting Images

I have been at the computer all day working on photos for my annual McKnight Fellowship submission, which is due on Monday. I am again going to submit the "Unique" project.

They ask for 12-15 images along with a proposal and CV. The selection of the first 5 or so is easy. They are strong visually and have interesting quotes. From there it becomes difficult. I can't help but reflect back on the shoot..did it go well...or not (was the person rude or late....) The experience of the interaction enters into my determination of whether or not it is a good/bad image. It is hard for me to think of an image as being good when the experience for me was not, or I might think an image is great only because I had a positive connection and it may very well be mediocre. Of course those judging the photos, know none of this. It is really beneficial for me to show my images to other people to get their opinions.

Here is Jennifer, who will be one of the images I submit.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Unique" Jerome

Jerome was one of the very first who answered my craigslist ad for "Unique People Wanted" over a year ago. To date, I have photographed about 80 people and am always looking for more.

Monday, March 30, 2009

On The Roof

I shot this Mineapolis skyline view while shooting the new Children's Hospital addition. While I was about 10 stories up and standing about 2 feet from the ledge I started to think...what if a big gust of wind came up out of nowhere? Or what if my crazy self took over? Do other people think like this?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Danielle & Jeremy

Some photos from Danielle & Jeremy's Wedding yesterday at the Mill City Museum; a favorite place of mine.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Drive By Shooting

A few days ago I snapped this shot from my car while I was driving down Hennepin in Minneapolis. You can see a small piece of my side view mirror in the lower right corner of the frame. I have always wanted to shoot under this overpass. Unfortunately, the best vantage point seems to be from the lane of traffic, so I shot it going about 40mph out the window. (Don't worry, I just held it out the window, without looking through the viewfinder)

That reminds me of a photographer who worked in LA. (wish I could rember his name) He would pull his car over to the side of the road, jump out in an orange vest, place a cone behind his car and grab a couple shots. Then there was Gary Winogrand, a favorite street shooter of mine, who would have his friends drive him around as he shot out the car window. He was very prolific through his life. He died at 56 with 300,000 unedited images and 2500 undeveloped rolls of film.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Day Of Portraits

Today I spent the day making free portraits for a few job-seekers in the Twin Cities. Thirty people came to my studio to have their photos made. A few of these photos have already have made it on job/networking sites. Over all it was a very good day, meeting a range of people in practically every category except one...race. The notice for this opportunity was placed in a wide-range of resources and I am at a loss to explain this. There were people who work (or used to work) in a big range of arenas...I.T., nonprofit, consulting, sales, advertising, entertainment, finance...

The attitude of the people was surprisingly upbeat. I sort of expected more of a depressed state-of-mind. Maybe that group of the unemployed, wouldn't bother to come by for a photo...not really sure. Many of the participants even suggested new sources for me to find work. The day left me feeling an increased level of hope, which is a very good thing.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"The Unemployed Photo Day"

At my studio this coming Tuesday, I will be photographing people who find themselves unemployed. These photos can be used for whatever purpose they want. Hopefully it will be to use with profiles on job search/ networking sites, or when appropriate, on resumes . (The idea and ethics of having a photo on one's resume was discussed to death on the on-line photographer's website after this project was mentioned)

After the exposure this project has received, I have a very full schedule of over 30 people. I still think I will be able to squeeze in a few more. Hopefully, everyone will be prompt and things will go smoothly. Maybe I should put in a drive though :)