MAYER BROTHERS CIDER FOR M&T BANK

Garett Mayer climbing ladder in an apple orchard. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

I made a frantic dash to the store to buy a new pair of rain boots the night before this shoot.

We knew it was going to be a wet morning long before my team and I headed out to Gasport NY for a shoot at New Royal Orchards. The motion crew for this project had been there a few days before to shoot the broadcast component of this campaign, and it rained the whole day on their shoot. In fact, it had been raining heavily for the better part of a week (or maybe it was weeks? Hello, Western New York in the autumn!) before our pre-dawn arrival at the orchard to photograph Garett Mayer in what we thought was going to be a torrential downpour. We were suited up in new boots, rain jackets, and equipped with enough umbrellas, covers, and sandbags to keep the gear dry and in one place (because who wants to chase runaway umbrellas on a windy day?) We were ready for anything from a flood to windstorm…

…But what we got was a light drizzle and a gorgeous sunrise; however, the boots still helped with our early morning trek through the mud as we carted gear out to those perfect rows of apple trees that we had scouted at New Royal. If you can’t tell, I come from a long line of “I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it” types — here’s to being passionately in to over-preparation!

Garett Mayer standing amongst apples and trees at Royal Orchards. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

In the last few months of 2018 we spent several weeks working with the kick-ass team at Crowley Webb on a series of print ads for M&T Bank to accompany the commercials that were being shot by the aforementioned (and also kick-ass) film crew — you can see their spot here. We created portraits in Buffalo NY, Harrisburg PA, and Baltimore MD, that focused on successful businesses and community organizations that had strong relationships with the bank — and worked at locations that ranged from rain-soaked orchards, to funky ice cream parlors, to an NFL playing field. Some were chosen for their growth & success, some for the quirky appeal of their business, and others for their legacy & longevity in their communities.

Garett Mayer is the 5th generation owner of a cider mill and growing beverage business that’s over 165 years old. In fact, it’s one of the oldest family-owned businesses in all of New York State, and their relationship with M&T has lasted for over 90 years.

How’s that for longevity?

Garett Mayer sitting on an apple crate at New Royal Orchards in Gasport NY at sunrise. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

A trip to the Mayer Brothers store for fresh hot cider and donuts is a REQUIRED fall activity in Buffalo, and I’m pretty sure that autumn would actually get put on hold and Halloween delayed if the mill and store failed to open — you have to go at least once (the apple is our state fruit for a reason).

And as important tradition a visit to Mayer Brothers is for many, it’s easy to lose sight of the enormous amount of work that goes into products like cider — from planting, cultivation, and harvest to pressing & bottling. That’s why it’s so endearing to experience Garett’s connection with and deep reverence for the farmers that grow apples for Mayer Brothers in person. As we spoke with him during the shoot and in between setups he told the crew and I what qualities he’s looking for in the apples they press into cider, the relationship that he has with the orchards, how he plans to grow the business, and about his family history in the area — going back to the beginning when his great-great-grandfather bought the cider mill to serve as a place that farmers and families could bring their apple harvests to be pressed.

Garett Mayer holding an apple amongst the trees at New Royal Orchards in Gasport NY. Garett is the 5th generation owner of Mayer Brothers Cider Mill in the Western NY town of West Seneca. Garett, The 165 year old cider press, and surrounding orchards were photographed as part of a success stories campaign for M&T Bank, with which Mayer Brothers has been doing business for 90+ years.

The final ads are below, and I’ll be sharing even more stories of incredible businesses from this campaign in the coming months. This was one of the most fulfilling and fun projects for me to work on last year because the subject matter is so close to what I am interested in as a photographer (and it doesn’t hurt that the team from the agency and the client have been incredible to work with!). I’ve spent so much time documenting the journeys, struggles, and successes of unique entrepreneurs, makers, and doers in Buffalo — and now I’ve been given the opportunity to help tell those stories on a much bigger stage and in other cities across America through this project. I can’t wait to share more with you.


War of 1812 Reenactors At Old Fort Niagara

War of 1812 Reenactors at Old Fort Niagara In Youngstown NY

Over the summer I returned to Youngstown NY (where I lived when I was a teenager who had just moved to the United States from Canada) to photograph the reenactors and historical interpreters of Old Fort Niagara. The fort, first built in the 1600’s, played roles in a number of conflicts such as the Seven Years War The American Revolution,  and the War of 1812.  Every summer there would be an influx of reenactors who would descend on Youngstown for various encampments and events at the Fort, spilling out from the usually contained historical bubble of the Fort itself into the streets of the town. People in period dress would cram restaurants, and traffic would slow as drives watched the fife and drum corps march by — giving a feeling both anachronistic and otherworldly that stuck with me long after I moved away. 

War of 1812 Reenactors at Old Fort Niagara In Youngstown NY
War of 1812 Reenactors at Old Fort Niagara In Youngstown NY

SPREE TURNS 50

Portrait created for Spree 50th Anniversary Issue

Buffalo Spree celebrated their 50th anniversary this year, and I was honored to shoot a fun little happy birthday story to help commemorate this longstanding local magazine. Of course, It’s not a birthday unless there’s a cake (or three), so we called in some help from a few of the city’s best bakers and cake shops to help the team at Spree kick off their golden jubilee with a little style. And yes, the cast, crew, and myself absolutely devoured those cakes as soon as the shoot was done.

Portrait created for Spree 50th Anniversary IssuePortrait created for Spree 50th Anniversary Issue

CHAE HAWK OF TEAM RADIO

Rapper Chat Hawk of Buffalo Hip Hop Collective Team Radio

Why aren’t you listening to Chae Hawk right now? This Buffalo NY based rap cinema artist and founder of hip hop collective TeamRadio has been producing some of the best progressive hip hop to ever come out of WNY. Be sure to check out Dance Party for The Heavy Hearted on his website (especially his track Chin Ups featuring another past subject of mine  – Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die.)

The Guitarist – Mick Hayes

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Mick Hayes .

Guitar slinging, soul, blues, and rock singing badass Mick Hayes is the subject of one of my most recent shoots!

It’s always a treat to get to photograph someone who has shared stages and billing with stars like Stevie Wonder, The Doobie Brothers, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Steve Vai, and Los Lonely Boys, and I’ve been lucky these past few years to work with Mick on a bunch of still and motion projects the include the release video and cover art of his most recent album.

More than that, I’ve had the pleasure of actually seeing the man play a few times, and it’s a revelatory experience to see live. Mick can play, sing, and put on one hello of a show. His astounding stage presence, steeped in the influence of his musical roots and coupled with his raw enthusiasm and skillful playing , is one of the reasons he’s endorsed by brands like Hammond  and Knaggs Guitars.

The Illustrator – Mickey Thoren Harmon

Illustrator and designer Mickey Thoren Harmon is the co-creator of "The Life and Times of Grovey Cleves. A humorous retelling of the life of "near great" President Grover Cleveland.

Most people know Grover Cleveland as America’s only President to serve two non-consecutive terms. Fewer know him as the former Mayor of my hometown of Buffalo NY, and later as a Governor of New York State who was  praised for his honesty and constant opposition of political corruption.

But now a new story is being told about Grover Cleveland, one that takes a “mostly accurate” look at the life of this “near great’ President and mustache enthusiast who continues to fly under the historical radar. The Life and Times of Grovey Cleves is a collaboration between outspoken illustrator Mickey Thoren Harmon and writer Scott Mancuso that tells the story of Cleveland’s days as a young bachelor and foodie in Buffalo during the city’s rise to prominence; to his rapid and reckless political ascent from Mayor to Governor to 22nd (and later 24th!) President of the United States in just three years.

Originally envisioned as a small exhibition Harmon’s drawings that revolved around his fascination with the political figure, the concept later grew into a more fully fleshed out publishing project with the involvement of Mancuso and the fabulous Western New York Book Arts Center who helped produce the limited edition work.

While you may no longer be able to get your hands on a print copy of this unique examination of the history of one of America’s more interesting but lesser known Presidents, you can still learn a little bit more about the man himself by checking out a digital version of The Life and Times of Grovey Cleves here.

 

ON ASSIGNMENT: LISA BOBO FOR PUBLIC CIO MAGAZINE

Lisa Bobo is the Chief Information Officer of the City of Rochester New York - photographed for Public CIO Magazine

I consider myself pretty computer savvy, but sometimes I can feel pretty overwhelmed just trying to get files synched between the computers at my studio and my house. So I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be responsible for the networking and information systems of a major city. But for Lisa Bobo coordinating the information technology for all of Rochester New York’s law enforcement, public works, and other essential services is just a part of the job. But as the role of information and networking becomes more important to the management of transportation, public safety, economic development, energy efficiency, urbanization and environmental stability in large urban areas Lisa has begun to network the experience and knowledge of other cities and CIO’s as the catalyzing force behind the Center for Technologies in Government – a coalition of information officers of the New York State cities of New York, Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, and Yonkers dedicated to improving the way that technology affects our urban experience.

TIFFANI MOORE

Celebrity stylist and creative consultant Tiffani Moore of Traveling Trousseau

I’m a fan of improbable things — Tiffani Moore

Today I’m sharing a new portrait I shot at the end of 2016 of the amazing celebrity stylist and creative consultant Tiffani Moore of Traveling Trousseau – a creative firm with social change as its core mission. Tiffani was also a recent NY1 New Yorker of the week for the work Traveling Trousseau has done with Susan’s Place – a homeless shelter in the Bronx. Tiffani’s other clients include Gbenga Akkinagbe, Alonzo Mourning, Lisa Price, Matt Barnes, McDonalds, Del Monte, Trojan, Neutrogena and many more.

Be sure to check out her fantastic Creative Mornings talk here.

GORDON GRONKOWSKI FOR KIPLINGER’S

Gordon Gronkowski, father of NFL Players Rob and Glenn Gronkowski short for Kiplinger's Personal Finance

We’ve all heard the horror stories of professional athletes who burn through their money and are left with nothing at the end of their careers due to poor financial planning.

Thankfully, that’s a fate the likely won’t be an issue for NFL players Rob and Glenn Gronkowski due to the money management lessons instilled in them by their father Gordon. Papa Gronkowski taught his boys (and three other professional athlete sons) smart financial planning skills that have seen to it that the NFL stars are making smart decisions about their future (in fact Rob has not spent a single cent of his NFL income since 2010 and lives solely off of his endorsements)

From an assignment that ran in the October 2016 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

WHITE ON WHITE

Alison Lavis from The White on White Series

After taking a much-needed break from social media, blogging, and the internet in general for the whole month of December, I’m happy to announce that I’m back, I have a ton of new work to share, and I’ve been spending the past few weeks planning, strategizing, and getting ready to hit the ground running in 2017!

The first batch of new work that I want to share is a personal project that I started back in November of 2016 in order to explore some concepts of simplicity in portraiture. I wanted to create something as simple as possible that puts the focus squarely on the subject. I was highly inspired by this quote:

“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity” – Charles Mingus

A white wall, white wardrobe, a subject, and me. It’s about as basic as you can get, and yet working within strict limitations like these can be just what you need to stimulate you creatively.Actor Dudney Joseph Jr, and Former lead singer of It Dies Today Jason Matthew Wood

Artist Brittany Baker and Makeup Artist Mallory Stoos Ashley Schaffert Lederer of the Morning Glory Blog Club DJ Joe Chalifoux and Model Paige CarsonMarina Boswell photographed as part of my White on White series

mv20161116-0064Tom Tubiolo and Lulu Robinson Jessica Schreiber from the White on White Series

JAMES HARRINGTON FOR SUPER LAWYERS

WNY Attorney James Harrington

Defense attorney James Harrington for Super Lawyers Magazine. This WNY based lawyer has, for the past few years commuted between his home office in Buffalo, NY to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba where he has been involved with one of the most notable cases in recent American memory – the defense of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the man once known as “The 20th Hijacker”

Harrington is sometimes reviled by critics for his role in the case, but just as often celebrated for his dedication to the American legal system and the ideal that all accused, regardless of of how heinous that alleged act, deserve competent representation and a fair trial in court. I think his philosophy can be best summed up in a quote he gave to the magazine I shot tis assignment for: “If the law doesn’t work for the worst of us, it doesn’t work for the best of us.”

BUREAU

Elliott Douglas for Bureau Custom Menswear in Buffalo NY

A sneak peek of one of the images I’ve been working on with Bureau for their upcoming 2016/2017 lookbook and promotions. This amazing custom menswear shop in Buffalo has been helping this city dress better (including yours truly – Joseph and Jon made the suit I got married in last year) for the last few years and I’m so happy to be working with them on this project. As you may remember Bureau was one of the small businesses featured in my Rust Belt entrepreneurs series and I am thrilled to see how they have grown since they first opened their doors.

LES AMIS FENCING CLUB

Christine Gallisdorfer of Buffalo Les Amis Fencing ClubJodi Hamann of Les Amis fencing Club

Christine Gallisdorfer and Jodi Hamann of Les Amis Fencing Club – a member-owned and non-profit training club in Buffalo NY that has been offering classes and camaraderie to those interested in the sport since 1982.

Competitive fencers themselves, Christine and Jodi serves as the treasurer of the club and shares her experience as an instructor to the club’s intermediate students, while Jodi teachers the beginner level classes.

PAMELA NICHOLS FOR BUFFALO SPREE MAGAZINE

Portrait of Pamela Nichols atBuffalo SPACE for Buffalo Spree Magazine
My latest editorial for Buffalo Spree Magazine had me creating portraits of designer Pamela Nichols at Buffalo SPACE – a creative and event venue attached to Buffalo’s historic Pierce Arrow Automobile Factory. You can take a look behind the scenes of this project below to see a little of what happens on set with me and my team.

Portrait of Pamela Nichols at Buffalo SPACE for Buffalo Spree Magazine