Super Lawyers - Part of Thomson Reuters

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters

We found ourselves in at the most incredible farm in Western NY for this assignment. Super Lawyers Magazine had tasked us with creating a cover story about Ginger Schröder – a founding partner at the Buffalo based firm of Schröder, Joseph, And Associates. During our production calls the client informed me that Ginger makes a long commute several times a week from her rural property to her office in the city, so we would be heading to Farmersville NY that evening to photograph Ginger on her home turf.

As my assistant Lindsay and I left Buffalo and headed towards Cattaraugus county and ultimately Farmersville we began to see the gradation of change that takes place when leaving Buffalo in certain directions. Sterile highways quickly morph into rural thoroughfares and eventually become small country roads that wind blindly up into the hills. Dense old growth trees and brush suddenly open up to views of lush working fields and valleys below. Cars become less frequent and you begin to see the occasional buggy as you realize you are skirting the edge of one of WNY’s Amish communities. It’s stunning – both for its raw beauty and for the fact that we’ve barely traveled an hour from home and yet I feel like I’m somewhere wholly removed from there. It’s a reality that I quickly learned wasn’t lost on Ginger when I met her. This place, and the farm she’s built here, are her respite from city life.

When we finally arrived at the farm, Waverley Pond, we learned that there were more residents present than Ginger and her family. We were enthusiastically greeted by the Family’s dogs, and more cautiously approached by some of the chickens and ducks that roam the property (Apparently a fox had been terrorizing the flock in recent weeks) There were horses off in one of the more distant pastures, some of whom we later learned were rescues, saved by Ginger at the last-minute from poor treatment and dire situations prior to her family’s care bringing them back to health. I can only imagine that the effort and responsibility of tending the to the land and animals at Waverley Pond as well as running an immensely successful law firm must be herculean, but it seems like work Ginger gladly embraces.

Ginger gave us a tour of the farm as the sun started to get low in the sky. We quickly scouted for locations, but finding them proved simple, as it seemed that around every corner we found something new we wanted to include in a portrait: a private pond, beautiful barns and stables, and expansive fields with horses grazing in the background (Though they didn’t stay in the background for long – I never cease to be amazed by how curious horses always seem to be about my gear. Thankfully Lindsay, did a great job of managing our equine extras when they weren’t in our shots). The early evening light and heavy incoming clouds created a perfect atmosphere, with cool blue mixing with warm amber and purple in the fading light as we finished setting up our gear and started shooting the first of several portraits we would make that evening for this cover story.

Sarah Schneider is the Owner of Handlebar - a bicycle themedbar and pub located in The Hub development center in Buffalo, NY
Want to get on your bike and meet somewhere for a pint? I know the perfect place.

Sarah Schneider is the owner of both Merge and HandleBar in Buffalo, NY – the later location being both her most recent venture and her gastronomical ode to bikes, beer, and simple but delicious food. This cycling themed pub has fixed its sights on Buffalo’s two-wheel set, and in a city that embraces events like the Skyride and becomes more bike friendly all the time – that’s a growing crowd.

With gears embedded in the bar, stools adorned with pedals, bike chain chandeliers, and the Penny-Farthing inspired logo that never fails to remind me of The Prisoner, HandleBar creates an environment that is equal parts industrial and organic, vintage and modern – a bright and inviting space for riders (and occasional enthusiasts of alternative forms of locomotion) to meet up and refuel. I’d be decidedly happy having some post-shoot drinks with crew and clients anytime.

Sarah is an avid gardener, raises fowl, and has a strong interest in sustainable food that has always been reflected in her hospitality ventures, so the crew and I were truly excited when we found out that she would be bringing one of her beautiful birds to the shoot. I’m used to having animals make an appearances in my images but I think this is the first time a chicken has made a cameo in one of my portraits, thankfully it was a quiet summer day with wonderful morning light coming in through Handlebar’s windows, so our feathered friend was a well-behaved and welcome addition to the images we were creating.

I’m excited to visit HandleBar again soon, the place has a cool and relaxing vibe that pulls you into the culture it has built itself to serve. Whether you are coming for the food, drinks, or to meet up with like-minded riders, HandleBar should be a regular stop on your route – and frankly, knowing there’s a cold one waiting for you at the end of a ride is a great motivator to start cycling more.

Sarah Schneider is the Owner of Handlebar - a bicycle themedbar and pub located in The Hub development center in Buffalo, NY

A moment from the wedding of Luke & Erin Copping - By Nickel City Studios

After months of planning, coordinating guests from two countries, and so much anticipation and excitement, Erin and I finally celebrated our wedding on Sunday in Niagara Falls, NY. I couldn’t be happier with how the day turned out and I’m so excited to finally be able to call Erin not just my best friend, but my wife!

So many of our friends pitched in to help us, and we worked with some of the coolest people we know on various parts of the day, including: Ali from Anatomy who designed and handmade Erin’s dress, Shauna Haider of We Are Branch who designed our invites and menus, the guys at Bureau who put my suit together, Alyssa and Rich of Nickel City Studios who created the amazing portrait of the two of us above, Lindsay at The Rapids Theatre, Steve at Rich’s who handled our catering, and Keith Harrington who designed the amazing light mapped wedding cake that was one of the coolest parts of the reception. Thank you so much to everyone who helped us to pull off such an incredible day. And an incredibly special thanks to my cousin Ryan for performing the beautiful ceremony he wrote for us.

We’re both looking forward to sharing more pictures soon, but in the meantime check out this amazing cake!

Erin + Luke’s Cake from Alyssa Mattingly on Vimeo.

Petunia - white adolescent pit bull

About a year ago, a skinny white pit bull was found wandering near the Buffalo waterfront alone and scared. She was a sweet girl who had some trust issues, and very little was known about where she came from before she was found and placed with the volunteers from a local rescue program called Educate-A-Bull that aims to both educate the public about the false and harmful stigma surrounding bully breed dogs as well as rescue, rehabilitate, and find wonderful homes for these in-need animals. The program’s volunteers worked hard and did an amazing job of getting her healthy, noursihed, and socialized again. They named her Petunia.

After a local news station ran a story on the work I’ve done with the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter, a group of Educate-A-Bull’s volunteers contacted me to see if I would be interested in working with their program and creating an adoption portrait of this tiny lady, since she is one of the program’s long-term residents. Of course I jumped at the chance to get to meet, photograph, and play with this cute four and a half year old pit bull terrier.

Petunia is looking for a new home with a loving and experienced owner. She’s a wonderful dog that has been with Educate-A-Bull for about a year, and her ideal home would be one without children or other pets – preferably with an owner who can give her a lot of attention and make her feel truly welcome as she settles into her new home.

She is house and crate trained, and current on all her vaccinations. You can read more about little Petunia on her Educate-A Bull page.

Please help spread the word about Petunia’s story. I know together we can find her a forever home!

Petunia - white adolescent pit bull

Chef Steve Gedra of the Black Sheep in Buffalo, NY.

For a long time Steve Gedra has been my favorite chef cooking in Buffalo.

With the two restaurants he’s owned in the city alongside his wife Ellen – their former Elmwood Avenue spot Bistro Europa, and their current restaurant The Black Sheep, Steve has cemented himself as one of the most exciting figures in the Buffalo dining scene, and I’ve got a lot of reasons to appreciate what he does – some culinary, and some a little more personal.

I love the fact that his menus often reflect things that I grew up with that tend to be a little harder to find on most local menus: head cheese, pig ears and pork liver aren’t uncommon things to see when you look over the menu at The Black Sheep. A lot of these are things that remind me of meals I shared with my dad before he passed way (coincidentally – I think he would have really liked Steve’s food).

I love that he works so closely with local producers to pass on the area’s best to his customers.

I love that Steve constantly mixes it up, often inviting other local chefs into his kitchen to collaborate as part of his monthly Midnight Mass events.

I love that Steve can convert some of the pickiest eaters I know – namely my fiancée. As an avowed pork hater she gets mad if I even cook bacon in the house, but she will gladly chow down on any number of porcine goodies if Steve is serving them.

I love Ellen’s deserts – even if for some mystifying reason you don’t eat anything else on the menu, just order dessert and you’ll be happy.

And I love that when I was recovering from a really nasty surgery that kept me from working for quite some time Steve invited Erin and I to Bistro Europa for what was, at the time, the most relaxing and stress free meal we had been able to enjoy in a while – he’s a genuinely welcoming and caring person who wears his love for his customers on his sleeve.

It was amazing to finally have a chance to create this portrait of Steve in the front bar of The Black Sheep. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon before a weekday dinner kicked off, so we had some wonderful light coming in through the windows while we set up this shot and enjoyed some of the fantastic Chemex brewed coffee Steve made for us. Steve and Ellen put a lot of care into the design of the restaurant, including the intimate front bar that then opens up into the larger rear dining room, which is where we decided to photograph Steve enjoying a coffee and a few seconds of quiet prior to service.

Craig Maxwell of Parker Hannifin

I’m thrilled to share some selections with you from my latest assignment for the always fantastic to work with Forbes Magazine. This time they sent me to Cleveland Ohio to create portraits for a story on Parker Hannifin – a nearly 100-year-old worldwide firm specializing in motion control and mechanical engineering that is in the process of disrupting their own research and development process in a really exciting way.

Craig Maxwell of Parker Hannifin

My first subject was Craig Maxwell – the company’s VP of technology and innovation, and the man responsible for creating the new R&D practices at Parker that allow singularly focused engineers and scientists to pursue research on their own wild projects in a program that’s part hacker space, part startup incubator, and part Shark Tank like pitch contest – a  program that’s keeping the company focused on agility, adaptability, and innovation at a time when slow-moving and overly conservative companies are falling to disruptive young upstarts. The symbiosis between the company and it’s passionate and competitive engineers benefits everyone – especially those engineers to whom Parker provides significant benefit and support, as Maxwell’s ultimate aim is for them to have an ownership stake in their profoundly important creations.

Ryan Farris of Parker Hannifin with his exoskeleton project for Forbes Magazine

My second subject for this assignment is a perfect example of Maxwell’s ideal. Ryan Farris is one of the singularly focused engineers I mentioned above – and the mind behind one of Parker’s most exciting new developments, a revolutionary wearable exoskeleton system aimed at helping people with severe spinal injuries to walk again. Aside from the healthcare application the firm is hopeful that there might be further industrial applications that they can develop as the technology evolves. Farris began work on the project while still a student at Vanderbilt University and it there that the exoskeleton caught Craig Maxwell’s attention, prompting him to bring the project in-house at Parker. Farris has been catching the attention of more than just the internal startup scene at Parker, as he was named one of Forbes 30 under 30 Young Innovators – an honor he greatly deserves as his invention should be brining real positive change to people’s lives in the next couple of years.

Ryan Farris of Parker Hannifin in Cleveland OH for Forbes Magazine

Casting director and historical reenactor Guy William Gane III

I’m a bit of a binge watcher when it comes to historical dramas and political thrillers – so I was elated to once again have the chance to photograph Guy Gane. Guy is a prolific actor and casting director specializing in historical reenactments, period and military dramas (He’s also the owner of one of the best beards I’ve ever photographed). Guy has worked on projects like HBO’s John Adams, Netflix’s House of Cards, Legends And Lies, Field of Lost Shoes, And played historical figures like John Wilkes Booth and Augustus Van Horne Ellis in historical pieces for PBS – among others.

A consuming obsession with the past runs in Guy’s veins, and it takes little time with him to realize that the connection to the historical figures he plays is more than just dramatic. He’s truly invested in the history of The United States – especially the Civil War. As a historical reenactor obsessed with authenticity and detail Guy wholly throws himself into each role – from developing truly period accurate costumes to being a near encyclopedic font of knowledge about the lives – both glorious and tragic – of those he plays.

You can currently see Guy’s work on Fox News’ Wild West docu-series Legends and Lies

Casting director and historical reenactor Guy William Gane III

Casting director and historical reenactor Guy William Gane III

Examples of branding and marketing materials developed by Shauna Haider of We Are Branch developed for Buffalo, NY Photographer Luke Copping

Take a look inside the work of the incomparable Shauna Haider of We Are Branch!

Shauna and I have collaborated on so many amazing projects over the past few years and she’s been an instrumental part of defining the look and style of my brand. I love that she’s always ready with a dozen new ideas on how I can evolve and polish the design elements that accompany my photography. Today on We Are Branch’s blog Shauna takes a look at a few of the projects we’ve been working on the past few months.

English Band You Me At Six Photographed for Alternative Press

Alternative Press is one of my favorite magazine clients to work with  – partly because they send me on assignments to make portraits of great musicians like England’s You Me At Six (who I shot for their December issue) and they always give me a ton of freedom in how I want to interpret each band’s vibe.  Sometimes it comes in handy that my studio is right in the heart of Buffalo’s entertainment/theatre district – because I’m usually no more than a five-minute walk from most of the city’s best venues and that gives me ample time to set up the kind of dark moody images I like to create with a group like YM@6.

Check out this stripped down live recording of You Me At Six’s Room To Breath


Image from LiveBetty Training campaign

I’ve been working with Buffalo, NY based startup LiveBetty, an empowering tech company that allows people to create and manage their own home messaging businesses, to create images for a variety of training and branding uses. The first project I tackled with them was creating aspirational portraits of company spokesmodel Lulu Robinson. We had to find the perfect location for this shoot that looked just like the dream workspace of a successful LiveBetty member, and we found it at redFISH Art Studios in East Aurora, NY. Turns out that the space has the most beautiful apartment upstairs – white wooden floors, beautiful but simple furniture, art EVERYWHERE. I’m not going to lie, if I had my way this is pretty much what my office would look like too – except I’m sure it would probably still be cluttered with knee-high stacks of photo books and LP’s for me and my dogs to weave around just like it is now. LiveBetty head John Wolf has a very cool vision for the growing company and I’m excited to keep working with him on developing the look of the brand.

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