POW letter

I photographed 85 veterans ranging from World War II to the Vietnam war this week all over Texas. In this photograph a World War II veteran holds a letter he wrote to his mom as a POW under the Nazis.

MMA Fighter JJ Ambrose

I had a photo shoot with MMA Fighter JJ Ambrose yesterday. I was telling JJ how hard it is when I travel on photo shoots to eat a healthy meal (for example when I was in Atlanta, GA last year, I could not pass up deep fried chicken pot pie) and he said he faces the same challenges. He told me when he traveled to India for a fight, each day he only ate a whole chicken and a cup of coffee in order to stay healthy. I wish I had that kind of obedience when it comes to food especially now that I am a new dad and need to work on my "Dad Bod." 

UFC Fighter George St. Pierre

This is a portrait I took of UFC Fighter George St. Pierre for Black Belt Magazine. After applying my new WWII veteran style of adding images from the past into the portrait, I realized I love applying multiple layers and textures to my portraits telling a more complex story either in post production or with my lighting. Adding layers to my photographs challenges me in new ways and creates infinite possibilities to tell a more emotional story.

Rangefinder Interview on my series

I have an article in RangeFinder Magazine this month on my WW2 Veteran series. My grandfather took a famous portrait of Ernest Hemingway in 1952 and the portrait was on the cover of Rangefinder in the nineties. I love sharing this connection with my grandpa. 

Sports Apparel Photography

My latest WWII Veteran portrait series consists of layering historical imagery into the photograph to tell a deeper story to the viewer. I want to push the layering style in my younger model photo shoots but rely on a layering more "in camera" and less in post production. Here is body builder Ryder Gordon I photographed recently with a layering of a star I created with my strobe lights. I have to find the right 35MM camera slide or print a slide on clear paper and then add put the slide into my strobe to create the shape or image. In these photographs I projected a very simple yet powerful star to create a moody and slightly mysterious setting of an athlete. 

When I met and photographed filmmaker Ken Burns

When I met and photographed filmmaker Ken Burns

I have photographed a lot of celebrities for magazines in my career and in most cases the celebrities typically gives me a short window of time to photograph them as they are very busy. It is a challenge to create a photograph that evokes emotion to the viewer when time is limited.
I decided to photograph Ken Burns on a black backdrop and then add vintage photographs raining down all around him in post-production. The idea is that the films Ken Burns creates are filled with hundreds of old photographs to tell the greater story of the subject of his film. Ken Burns and his team sifts through thousands and thousands of photographs for his films. I wanted the photograph to look a little mysterious as history is a mystery and we have to put the pieces together to figure out the truth. I have a feeling Ken Burns and my path will cross again in the future and I look forward to chatting with him again. 

Overcoming stress after photographing Louie Zamperini (character based on the movie Unbroken)

Shortly after I got my book deal it was important that I found more WWII veterans with varying backgrounds to represent each war experience as best I could. It was important I found a POW to photograph and interview.  I was introduced to Louie Zamperini and got to photograph him at his Hollywood Hills home. Walking into Louie Zamperini's home was like walking into a museum as there were five Olympic torches sitting on the mantle he had carried, in his closet were WWII relics such as the Nazi flag he is holding in the photo above he stole from the Reich Chancellery during the 1936 Olympics in which he competed, and many other artifacts. Zamperini was a walking war relic himself.
While Zamperini's photograph and shorter version of his story is in my book, I did not read Unbroken until a trip my wife and I took to Peru earlier this year as I thought I knew his story well. Louie Zameprini's plane crashed landed on the ocean and one was one of three survivors, was captured by the Japanese and became a POW, he survived the harsh conditions of the camps, and then overcame alcoholism after returning to the United States, and then became a positive community figure.  The struggles he overcame before, during, and almost more importantly after the war, helped put my life into even greater perspective. Not that my own struggles are not important, but it made me feel like I can overcome challenges and not have to be stressed.
Shortly after I finished Unbroken, I was surfing in Lima, Peru (and was rusty from not surfing in a long while) and I began to loose my balance and feared of falling into the rocky reef. But, then I thought of Zamperini and what he was able to accomplish. I maintained my balance and rode my wave into the shore. 

Wine Photographer

This recent summer amongst many other jobs, I have been photographing grape growers for Bedrock Wine Co. The series is called “Bedrock Wine Growers.” One of the things Morgan asked me to do was capture the growers holding dirt from their property as it is the soil that adds a lot of the characteristics to the wine. As you can see their is a wide variety of soil in regions very close to each other in proximity and these are only 9 of the 20 growers!

Silicon Valley Photographer

I have been photographing portraits for the San Jose State University marketing department for a few years now and a bunch of the banners with my portraits on them just got hung up around campus.

Los Angeles gallery opening

I think tonight was either my 14th or 16th permanent World War II veteran gallery show opening this year. Two month break for now! On the left is me with Izzy, one of the World War II veterans I photographed. Such a nice guy. And on the right is the color guard for the opening ceremony.

Art Show Los Angeles

Another great veterans photography show opening tonight in West Los Angeles. There was a wonderful military presence from UCLA and active soldiers from around the country paying homage to our WW2 vets. And now I'm flying home. 

WW2 Veterans Show Opening

Had a wonderful veterans show opening in Sherman Oaks this evening. Things got a little emotional for me when a group of 9 WW2 veterans thanked me for doing this project. Not that photographing portraits of the veterans is about me. It is all about them and their sacrifices. Pretty cool.

College photography

I have been working with the San Jose State University marketing department for a few years now photographing portraits and creating films. San Jose State is currently launching a new rebranding and here are some of my portraits hanging in the new student union. I  am always impressed by these individuals as I get to capture and learn from a wide variety of people from laureates, to marine biologists, to inventors, and many others.

Photographer speech

Here is a photo I just received from one of my veteran openings in Sunnyvale, CA back in June of me giving a speech in an honor of our aging veterans. Just landed in Louisville, KY and then off to Memphis, TN for two of my permanent veteran show openings this week!