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.

TIFFANI MOORE

MACARTHUR FELLOW WILL DICHTEL FOR NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

MacArthur Genius grant recipient Will Dichtes photographed at Cornell University for Northwestern University

Imagine a material so porous that little more than a gram of it contained the same surface area as a football field.

It sounds like the kind of made-up miracle substances you usually hear discussed solely in the realms of sci-fi or comic books, like Adamantium, Unobtanium, or Nth metal — The kind of elemental MacGuffins that exist to explain away the fantastic powers of those that use them. The primary difference is that supramolecular chemist Will Dichtel has taken his material out of the world of science fiction. In fact, he’s on the verge of taking this and other revolutionary nanomaterials out of the lab and giving them practical real-world applications that could potentially change our planet for the better. Continue reading “MACARTHUR FELLOW WILL DICHTEL FOR NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY”

MACARTHUR FELLOW WILL DICHTEL FOR NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

ALLEN STREET POUTINE COMPANY

Jake Fraser - Co-Owner of Allen Street Poutine Company in Buffalo New York. Serving the classic Canadian dish of fresh cheese curds, french fries, and hot gravy.
Owner of Allen Street Poutine Company Jake Fraser

What’s your favorite comfort food? Is it homemade mac and cheese? Smothered meatloaf? A big breakfast of biscuits and gravy? Your mom’s tuna noodle casserole? When I’m craving something that’s filling and bad for me after a night at the bar or a day in the snow I turn to something that reminds me of my childhood in Canada – Poutine.

For those not to speed on this cheesy, gravy drenched mound of Canadian comfort food – here’s an overview. Poutine is a dish that originated in Quebec and at its most basic is composed of three primary ingredients: french fries, hot gravy, and cheese curds. And within that essential structure a million permutations exist – allowing an individual plate of poutine to exist anywhere on the spectrum from late-night heart-attack bar food to fine dining fare featuring a host of luxurious add-ons. The fries should be crispy and in that perfect medium between too thick and too thin – I’m partial to the hand cut kind that leaves the occasional bit of potato skin intact on the fry. The gravy will often be a thin turkey or chicken gravy, though veal and beef-based gravies are also popular. This gravy needs to be served just hot enough to soften but not totally melt the final element, which are the squeaky tangy fresh cheese curds (which, if you live in Canada or any of the US border states, you are probably already intimately familiar with. And for those of you who aren’t, it’s something you should seek to remedy as soon as you can – I suggest ordering some from Western New York purveyor Yancy’s Fancy or even trying to make your own at home, because when it comes to making the perfect poutine the freshness of the curds is key.)

Prior to opening Allen Street Poutine Company, Jake Fraser owned two chip trucks at Sherkston Shores in nearby Port Colborne, Ontario, just across the Peace Bridge from Buffalo. He spent his summers serving fries to tourist crowds on the beaches and hitting the bars with friends at night, nights that often ended with a late night plate of Poutine. He wanted to bring that experience to a more permanent venue, so he teamed up with business partner and longtime friend Konstantine Kentros to bring poutine south of the (Canadian) border. “I knew that poutine was the late night bar food of choice in Canada, but was something of a novelty in The States. Despite being known as The ‘All America City’ there are a ton of expats here and there’s a strong connection between Buffalo and Southern Ontario. There’s a great bar scene, the weather is cold, Buffalonians love to have fun, and there was a need for more great late night food options – Poutine is a great match for that culturally. On top of all that, being in the heart of a bar and music-rich area like Allentown is such a natural fit for us.”

The Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine at Allen Strett Poutine Company in Buffalo, New York
My actual lunch on this shoot – Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine

When I first moved from Canada to the US as a teenager it was a rarity for me to come across poutine. What had once been nearly ubiquitous everywhere I went was now mostly relegated to a rare treat that I got to indulge in on family trips back to the homeland. I spent a lot of time trying to explain to my friends exactly what this mysterious dish was, and convince them that “no, you’ll love it if you try it” (I also spent a lot of time wondering why so many of my friends, despite living mere minutes from another country, had never set foot in Canada – though that quickly changed when we all approached adulthood and started taking advantage of the fact that the drinking age in Ontario is 19, at which time poutine became everyone’s favorite post bar food). Thankfully, Jake and Konstantine are changing that perception – Poutine is becoming less of a here-and-gone trend as it has been in the US in the past and becoming a true fixture of the WNY late night bar scene – just as it should be.

As the dish has evolved it’s become something of a framework, much like hotdogs and pizza – a basic structure that’s informed and reinvented by the experiences of the people preparing and eating it. Much as I’ve enjoyed Sonora dogs that capture Southwestern/Mexican flavors, or binged on amazing Georgian Khachapuri, I’ve run into poutine that pulls flavors from all over the world: Indian Poutine with butter chicken and paneer, Trinidadian inspired versions with curry goat, poutines featuring foie gras and foraged mushrooms that would be at home in a fine French restaurant, and Jake even told me of a Korean remix of the dish with kimchi and bulgogi that he’s come across. As a dish that originated in a country that often celebrates its diversity and multiculturalism, it’s no surprise that those varied experiences and palettes have had an influence on its cuisine.

Jake Fraser - Co-Owner of Allen Street Poutine Company in Buffalo New York. Serving the classic Canadian dish of fresh cheese curds, french fries, and hot gravy. Allen Street Poutine Company’s menu features both the classic rendition of the dish as well as regularly updated offerings based on a variety of regional and international influences. Among the highlights are Buffalo-centric versions like a Buffalo chicken poutine and a beef on weck variety featuring slow roasted beef, caraway, and coarse salt as a topping. Sloppy Joe, Philly cheesesteak, and a pulled pork with red cabbage slaw poutine round out the slate of American inspired flavors. Poland is represented by a poutine adorned with pierogi and sauerkraut, Greece comes strong with a rich poutine seasoned with feta, tomatoes, and oregano. A spicy General Tao’s chicken represents the Asian flavor profiles, and a nacho-style poutine brings little Tex-Mex heat to the party. And of course Canada brings it strong with what, in my opinion, is the restaurant’s signature dish – a Montreal smoked meat poutine covered with the restaurant’s signature cured brisket and pickles (and it’s one of the few places in the States I’ve come across that you’ll even see Montreal smoked meat on menu). There’s even a vegan poutine available to make sure no one is left out of the fun.

After a few rounds of drinks on a cold winter night in Buffalo, it’s comforting to know that there’s somewhere me and my friends can go that hits all the right notes: open late, warm, welcoming, and with great food and beer. It doesn’t hurt that for me it’s like having a little slice of Canada sitting right there inside one of my favorite Buffalo neighborhoods.

ALLEN STREET POUTINE COMPANY

I GOT MARRIED!

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.

I GOT MARRIED!

ON ASSIGNMENT: LIVEBETTY

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.

ON ASSIGNMENT: LIVEBETTY

THE SPORTS FANS – OXFORD PENNANT COMPANY

Oxford Pennant Company Let's Go Buffalo Pennant

I’ve got a really cool pennant that says “Hustle” in bold golden letters hanging in my studio. It’s part conversation starter/part reminder to get off my ass and get working on whatever project I’m trying to launch at the time. If you look at little closer you’ll find a tag on it that proudly exclaims “It’s an Oxford!” which has become the rallying cry for a young business that’s taking a prototypical piece of sports memorabilia and breathing a new sense of style into it. CEO David Horesh and Brand Manager/Designer Brett Mikoll are turning the simple and classic felt pennant into something that’s equal parts Cal Ripken and Kanye West.

Oxford Pennant got its start on the road – specifically the long stretch between Buffalo and Boston where David and Brett were traveling regularly for business while working for another Buffalo entrepreneurial powerhouse, City Dining Cards (and as I’ve said before – their Buffalo Drink Deck is a thirsty and frugal photographer’s very best friend). The pair found themselves inspired by the preppy aesthetic and eye for visual merchandising of the stores they were dealing with that rolled together sports, local pride, and a keen intuition for pop culture. While bouncing ideas off of each other over drinks one night they began looking for a vehicle through which they distill all of their varied interests into one medium – and they knew they didn’t want to make t-shirts. Brett elaborated “We decided we want to do one thing and do it really well, that we wanted to be Oxford Pennant, not the Oxford brand.”

Oxford Pennant Company "Let's Go Buffalo" Pennant

Somehow during the course of their trip the idea of creating pennants took hold, and Dave realized that there was a void in the marketplace for a modern and well-made pennant that focused more on the culture, aesthetics, and nostalgia of athleticism and civic pride than it did on a specific team. “We made a Buffalo pennant, a Boston pennant, and a Pittsburgh pennant to start because we had friends in those cities, and produced about one hundred of them. We figured that we could at least sell them or give them away as Christmas presents and that would be fine. So we quickly launched an Instagram and a Shopify store. I remember laying in bed on Christmas night 2013 registering the domain name and our timeline to launch from there was just about a month,” David told me during one of our many discussions about Oxford.

A month from inception to launch may sound crazy in this era of multi-volume business plans, cap tables, and overwrought marketing campaigns, but it’s indicative of the earnest and intuitive business that Oxford is building – one that embraces the scrappy, fight-to-make-it, mean-something-to-your-fans ethos of the sports legends that Oxford borrows so much from. Regarding their rapid genesis, Dave told me “We decided not to think about it too much, because if we thought about it too much we just wouldn’t do it. I remember sharing this idea with my brother-in-law who had just gone through a crazy period in his life of opening a business, getting married, having a child and moving to Rochester. When I asked him how he got through all this so quickly without going crazy he told me ‘go, ready, set” and go, ready, set is something that I think about all the time now. Sometimes you just have to do it and figure it out along the way, and in this case that worked in our favor.”

Brett from Oxford Pennant Company in Buffalo NY

The duo quickly pulled in project manager Pat Simons, another City Dining Cards alum, to complete Oxford Pennant’s core team. In the past year they’ve grown to a roster of approximately thirty strikingly designed and 100% made-in-America wool and cotton felt pennants that feature phrases like “Started From the Bottom Now We Here” and “Liberty or Death”, and pay homage to locales like Nantucket, Cleveland, and Seattle. One thing that you will immediately notice about all of Oxford’s designs is how minimal they are. “The people that are producing pennants use this rigid, hard, plastic feeling material that doesn’t move. We wanted something that was floppy, so we sourced American made wool and cotton for our felt, and created something that would actually blow in the wind like flag, because that to me is the iconic aesthetic of the pennant. I think that this is another one of those products where less is more, when you have a simple crimson or navy or forest green pennant with a one color print on it that says what you want it to say, it goes so much further than a complicated four color process. If you buy a football pennant now it’s going to have a helmet, and the quarterback throwing a pass, and a fan in the background eating a sandwich. I think that there’s too much in that. You really can’t look at it and appreciate the graphic quality of it.”

And there is something unique about their product, something that evokes that childhood feeling of going to your first game. Even if you were too young to follow the stats and lore of the sport, you knew that this was something formative. I think that there’s something in all of us that wants an artifact of that, something of the ephemera of the game that we could keep with us. For me growing up in Canada it was a puck at a hockey game, and if you grew up in a baseball, soccer, or football town, it was probably a pennant. Before we became consumed with facts and figures, anger about salary caps and trades, and resentment over bad calls and poor league decisions, there was something about the simplicity of the game and cheering for your team that had a much more innocent appeal to it. Oxford has taken that signifier and turned it into a design savvy medium for a certain type of consumer – themselves. ““I think that the reason the product is successful is because our customers are a lot like us. We’re some combination of hip hop, sports, hometown pride, and hard work and I think that speaks to a lot of people. Sure, it’s just a twenty dollar pennant, but we’re lucky to have customers who see what we see in the product.”

Pat Simons of Oxford Pennant Company

And some important people have seen just what David, Brett, and Pat have seen in their pennants, because partnering with other brands to create  items for their audiences is a fast growing part of the Oxford business. Since their launch Oxford has been creating custom products for entities like Burton Snowboards, Mitchell Bat Company, Ninth Inning Tx, Phish, and about sixty other companies and numerous bands. They’ve even collaborated with TSPTR on a Charles Schultz Peanuts Pennant. 

Like a lot of the conversations I’ve had with young entrepreneurs in Buffalo, the team from Oxford had some strong opinions regarding the changes that the city is seeing. Dave equates a lot of their success to being based in Buffalo, but is also wary of the “We exist because of Buffalo. It’s the reason we’re able to do this. I’m originally from Rochester, but Buffalo has become my home. A little company like Oxford can shout loud enough to be heard in Buffalo and that’s definitely helped our brand thrive. As a city, we’re so preoccupied with trying to figure out when we’ve finally made it back to our former glory. I think we’re in a sweet spot right where we are.” Brett added “Buffalo DOES have the prettiest logos in sports though. The Sabres classic logo and the Bills current logo are some of the best looking logos today, beautiful logos.”

Oxford Pennant Company CEO David Horesh

THE SPORTS FANS – OXFORD PENNANT COMPANY

ON ASSIGNMENT: WHITECHAPEL’S PHIL BOZEMAN FOR ALTERNATIVE PRESS

Phil Bozeman - Vocalist of Tennessee deathcore band Whitechapel

I love shooting for Alternative Press magazine. I’ve gotten to work with some great up-and-coming acts while on assignment for them, and I’ve always been appreciative of the freedom that Creative Director Christopher Benton has given in letting me explore some different takes on many of these artists.  Even though I spend a lot of my time these days working for agencies and corporate clients on more commercial fare, shooting for AP is appealing to me because of the energy and excitement that I get from working with these bands – something raw that stirs up the remnants of the music obsessed geek in me who spent a lot of his youth hanging out in dirty basements at house shows and road-tripping all over the northeast to see bands who never seemed to make it to Buffalo. Continue reading “ON ASSIGNMENT: WHITECHAPEL’S PHIL BOZEMAN FOR ALTERNATIVE PRESS”

ON ASSIGNMENT: WHITECHAPEL’S PHIL BOZEMAN FOR ALTERNATIVE PRESS

THE CHEESE SHOP: NICKEL CITY CHEESE AND MERCANTILE

Jill Gedra Forster of Nickel City Cheese and Mercantile

There’s a strong probability that if you ask me what I want to eat at any given moment, one of the myriad examples of a specific intersection of milk, bacteria, and time is going make an appearance on the list – In other words, to take a cue from Monty Python, I love me some cheesy comestibles.

Cheese is one of those foods that is both simple comfort and elegant luxury – the variety of milks, styles, additions, and ages create a universe of flavors that accompany us through so many moments in life from quiet and simple dinners to ravenous post-bar snacking to romantic interludes and fancy parties  (this is all starting to sound a bit Suessian – I would eat cheese in a boat, I would eat cheese from a goat..). But if you want the really good stuff you have to go a little further than your local mega-grocery – that’s where Jill comes in. Continue reading “THE CHEESE SHOP: NICKEL CITY CHEESE AND MERCANTILE”

THE CHEESE SHOP: NICKEL CITY CHEESE AND MERCANTILE

THE PROJECTIONIST: KEITH HARRINGTON

Video artist Keith Harrington

Keith Harrington makes his art big – really big.

Red Rocks big, Silo City big.

Big.

It’s also fleetingly temporary. As a video & installation artist-DJ-VJ-audiovisual mixologist masher-upper guerrilla projectionist all-around culturally informed kind of guy  (how many hyphens do you need before you can simply be listed as awesomely multi-talented? Or as Keith described it during our interview – Artistic Batman), Keith’s focused interests have resulted in a prolific and varied but ephemeral body of work Continue reading “THE PROJECTIONIST: KEITH HARRINGTON”

THE PROJECTIONIST: KEITH HARRINGTON

KIM REINAGAL

A bit of business meets style with this image of Kimberly Reinagal.

Every now and then I like to work on a project with the interns and assistants around the studio. We all get together once every month or two and bring someone in to photograph. It’s a fun time and they can all practice some of the techniques they have picked up – It’s part workshop and part party. A few weeks ago while working on some lighting demonstrations with my recent intern Valerie Kasinksi we had Kim come by so that Val could try out a few concepts with her. Val created some portraits that were very in line with the nature themed imagery that she is becoming known for. After Val had worked on some images it was my turn, and I quickly put this concept together alongside makeup artist Nicole Barry – we were looking to create something serious and edgy that was a bit of a mix between the stylish portraiture I do and the corporate work that is becoming a bigger part of my business. I was quite happy with the results from that evening – and though this isn’t work from an assignment or one of my longer personal projects I wanted to share it simply because it was so much fun to work on.

KIM REINAGAL

VSCO GRID, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY AGAIN

Jenn Kowalik

I have had a lot of love for mobile photography since I first got a phone with a camera in it. I found that I was always snapping away on and off set with my iPhone and dragging my friends along on impromptu photography adventures with me. Since a lot of the work I do professionally is very reliant on pre-production and planning, the spontaneity of being able to shoot something just for fun when an idea may strike has always been very enjoyable. But over the past few months I found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures this way.

When Instagram first arrived on the scene I was really into it. I liked being able to share my work and see what people are up to. Even though I still check in on Instagram from time to time to see what my friends are shooting I have been posting less often since the beginning of this year. When I did post I found that I would spend a lot of time (too much) checking in to see how many likes my latest image had gotten and to keep up with comments from my friends. I also realized I was posting less creative work and more and more images of my dogs and travel photos (not that there is anything wrong with that – my dogs are adorable) but it had become more of a platform where I would post thoughtless images and a lot less of a fun place for me to post whatever interesting or creative thing I was working on that day. There was also the debate about Instagram changing their terms of service, and though I still post the occasional travel shot on there to let people know what I am up to, I just never got around to posting creative work there again – but that is not what I want to focus on in this article.

Jason Wulf

In the past few weeks I have found myself making images on my phone more frequently, and it has a lot to do with an update that Visual Supply Company made to their already pretty great VSCO Cam app. A short time ago VSCO released this update (which has become my new camera app of choice for the iPhone, and pretty much the only thing I use for mobile image editing aside from Snapseed) and despite how cool the photography aspects of the app are, they built something even more interesting into this edition that has really made mobile photography more engaging for me again – VSCO Grid.

VSCO has created a publishing platform for mobile photography that really excited me when I first saw it in action – I could not wait to get one of my own, but I had to wait a few days to get an activation code after it was released. When I did finally get my account activated I found that a lot of the good feelings that I got from creating my little phone snaps and pictures of friends that I had lost with Instagram had come back. More importantly, there was something about the app and the style of sharing it allows that led me to be a lot more thoughtful with my mobile photography. Suddenly, I was taking more pictures with my phone – without any of the weird anxiety I would ocassionally get from using Instagram.

Meagan

The interface is clean, responsive, minimal, and I really like the way that it presents a stream of images. Another thing I appreciate is that it was designed as a publishing platform and not a social media site – there are no friends, likes, or comments and for the time being that really appeals to me (though it does have some basic social integration like being able to tweet one of your images or share something to Facebook). The idea of having a platform to share this kind of imagery that specifically eliminates the idea of a lot of social media trappings is kind of endearing to me, and I think VSCO did a really fantastic job of giving photographers and artists a platform where they can do that in a very elegant and well designed way.

Jenn Kowalik

You can now see my mobile image on my VSCO.Grid 4am Knows All My Secrets (because I stay up way too late playing with my iPhone images, and because Poppy Z. Brite is amazing). It is going to be something of a side project for me where my more creative mobile photography can live (and ocassionally some of these images will pop up on this blog too). Some of the images that populate it now are from new adventures and shoots, while others are select favorites that I have brought over from Instagram and reworked using VSCO Cam. The timing of VSCO Grid being released was sort of perfect too, because over the summer and into the fall I am going to be working on a lot of new projects, and the nature of the images I create and even this blog are going to be changing significantly in scope and subject matter. Grid will be a perfect place for me to share the fun stills I make on adventures with my friends, documenting their style, grabbing candid images on shoots, and creating interesting images while I explore Buffalo and other cities on my travels. Having this outlet and medium to be loose with what I shoot and just have fun feels great – so 4am Knows All My Secrets will be serving as something of a second, purely visual blog for me while my main blog will focus on the stories and images I will be sharing about the subjects of my work and the new directions I plan on taking it in (but that is a whole different post for another time…)

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media (you can find me on Twitter or Facebook most of the time, and I often write posts on social media for ASMP’s Strictly Business blog), but I have always been kind of fascinated by how social media affects how people create. I certainly  enjoy sharing work I create with others, and I have made some really genuine connections with some seriously cool people, but when it comes to creating work that is designed to be shared specifically over social media I get kind of dragged into questioning how the medium itself affects the motives people have for creating. Is our intent and work altered by the reaction of others on social media? Does an artist’s search for approval lead them to create an image in search of likes rather than capturing something that truly captivated or fascinated them? Have I ever told you I over analyze things sometimes, even things that are just supposed to be simple fun?

So, before I get too philosophical about it… let me sum up by saying that VSCO Grid is a lot of fun for me, probably the most fun I have had creating mobile images in a long time.

If you are using VSCO Grid too,  drop me a link to your feed – I would love to check out some cool work.

VSCO GRID, OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE MOBILE PHOTOGRAPHY AGAIN

LEO CHAN

Business editorial portrait on finance exec Leo Chan

It’s not every day that you find that the subject you are creating a business portrait of is also a model, but that was certainly the case when photographing Morgan Stanley compliance and anti-money laundering specialist Leo Chan.

In creating these portraits Leo and I  wanted to create something simple, classic, and a little iconic that took advantage of all the style and confidence Leo brought to the equation. The addition of a well-tailored suit, a quirky splash of color, and the fact that Leo is also an experienced model made this portrait a lot of fun to work on.

I am always excited to shoot a project like this. As much as I have enjoyed shooting fashion and beauty stories over the years I have found myself drifting away from that lately and gravitating towards what really excites me these days, which is photographing real people with interesting lives and their own sense of style and identity – Cool people who do and make cool things. A lot of my recent personal work is around the idea of making images that tell these kinds of stories while still being very stylish and clean – very me.  One of the reasons that this project with Leo is so appealing to me is that it is something of a bridge between these two very different types of projects I work on and very much a hybrid between where I am coming from and where I want to go with my work.

LEO CHAN

MARIACHI!

Mariachi guitarist I photographed in Seattle WA

A short story to share with you this week.

A few months ago I was in Seattle attending a workshop when, much to my surprise, an amazing mariachi band just walked into the studio and started to jam (John Keatley may have had something to do with that…)

These guys looked incredible and could they ever play. I had a chance to make this quick portrait of one of them during a break in their set.

MARIACHI!

JAMES HICKEY

Artist and stylist James Hickey

James Hickey was the second subject that I was asked to photograph by Spree Magazine for their special feature on Buffalo NY’s most beautiful and fascinating people. James is a master hairstylist by day, painter by night, and a full-time father who works in two creative fields. The image above is my favorite from that day’s series of portraits.

This was one of those rare projects where I had the pleasure of knowing my subject before being given an assignment to photograph them. James and I have known each other for a few years through mutual friends in the Western New York creative community. Most of the time on assignments like these I am working with people who I have met just moments before, so it is quite a different experience when I am photographing someone I know –  it is a little easier to slip into that really great rapport with a subject that leads to creating some really interesting images.

Tear sheet of James Hickey from Spree Magazine

JAMES HICKEY

HEIDI RAPHAEL FOR SPREE

Heidi Raphael - VP of Greater Media Inc.

My first hometown project in a while!

I spent a lot of time on planes back and forth between Buffalo and the west coast the first few months of 2013, so I was pretty excited when Buffalo Spree creative director Chastity Taber tapped me to work on a series of small projects on my home turf throughout February and April for the magazine’s special issue dedicated to Buffalo’s most fascinating and beautiful people. The assignment was to create unique portraits of the locals featured in the issue who run the gamut from business people to artists to celebrities – all of whom share a common love for Buffalo NY and choose to make their homes or careers here.

When I first read the bio information that the magazine sent over about my first subject, Heidi Raphael, the first questions that sprang to my mind was “when does she get any rest?”. Heidi is the Vice President of Corporate Communications for Greater Media Inc, a Boston-based broadcasting  company that owns many radio stations across the United States as well as a number of newspapers, a position that has seen her repeatedly ranked among the most influential women in radio broadcasting. Heidi’s passions don’t end with her corporate duties either, as she has become equally well-regarded for her philanthropy and work with organizations like the National Organization of Broadcasters, The Alliance of Women in Media, The National Library of American Broadcasting, The Mentoring and Inspiring Women Radio Group, Tufts Medical Center, Medaille College, The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, The Everywoman Opportunity Center, and many more – Needless to say, she has a busy schedule.

But it all made sense when I finally met Heidi, she showed up at the studio ready to rock and threw herself into the shoot with a ton of energy and enthusiasm, and I get the feeling she puts that same energy into all of her endeavors.

HEIDI RAPHAEL FOR SPREE

DAILIES.3.11.2013

Tom Tubiolo and Devin Caskie visiting Victory Studios

Dailies is a monthly collection of the images I take in my day to day life: casual snaps and test shots of friends and family, unguarded behind the scenes images of my subjects, Polaroids, Instagrams, and documentation of my myriad and sordid adventures. 

A look back at my recent trip to Seattle, mobile images from an assignment with Hero Design, and a rundown on who has been visiting the studio over the last month.

Clockwise from top left:

1. Musician Thomas Tubiolo after we wrapped a shoot developing some new PR and Press images for him.

2. Devin Caskie dropped by the studio with some much appreciated color to help me and my intern out with a small project.

Dailies images of the team from Hero Design

Clockwise from top right:

3. Mark Brickey of Hero Design Studio – I am working on a cool project and creating some images for the awfully talented  team from Hero right now.

4. A more lo-fi look for Mark – sans glasses.

5. Beth Manos Brickey – the other super talented half of Hero and author of one of my favorite food blogs; Tasty Yummies

Dailies from the Ace Hotel in Seattle

Clockwise from top left:

6. Outside of my room at the Ace Hotel in Seattle. I was out west a bit this month for a workshop and to meet up with some friends. This friendly guy greeted me every morning.

7. A colorful take on the lobby at the Ace – I just loved this exceptionally stylish and affordable hotel.

8. Kain Vuong, one of the new friends I made on this trip  –  We initially met up at T5 at JFK and ended up hanging out for most of the weekend since we ended up being on the same flight from NY and staying in the same hotel once we arrived in Seattle.

9. My deer themed room at the Ace – which became quite the office / refuge while I was there.

10. I am usually loathe to post food Instagrams, but these red velvet pancakes were too good for me not to share – and as we all know, the rules don’t apply when it comes to red velvet.

Images from UnWorkshop in Seattle WA

Clockwise from top left:

11. One of the reasons I was in Seattle was to check out the UnWorkshop event that John Keatley was hosting. I ended up making a ton of talented new friends there and learning a ton of new info – both from the other attendees and those that were part of the event,

12. John Keatley – photography badass. Check out his work here.

13. One of the highlights of UnWorkshop was an amazing Mariachi band who showed up un-announced and played some amazing music for us. John certainly knows how to throw a party.

14. Another one of the mariachis rocking out.

15. A small spelling error that became a running joke that became an idea for a brand change. Shauna from Nubbytwiglet.com put it best “Luke Chopping: Photographer  – Blogger – Logger”

Dailies images from Victory Studios

Clockwise from top right:

16. A shot I grabbed of Devin while she was working on some test shots with my intern Lisa.

17. Anna Dominick was visiting Victory studios with her sister Lydia this day, but I will be working on a project with her soon.

18. I don’t think my new intern Lisa was prepared for how friendly Lydia Dominick is. You can see some images I shot of Lydia in a recent issue of The Hockey News’ Fully Loaded Magazine. 

19. Yours truly and Lydia

20. I was really excited to have Leo Chan in the studio for a series of portraits I am working on. Keep an eye out for some of the pictures we shot that day to début on this blog soon.

DAILIES.3.11.2013

SELFIES 2.13.2013

Self-Portraits of professional photographer Luke Copping

Last month I launched a new feature on the blog which unveiled the first new self-portrait I have taken in a long time. Despite a general disdain for being on the other side of the camera, I actually had a lot of fun with it and decided that I would turn it into a monthly project – creating a new self-portrait each month this year.  Thus the newest addition to my blog – Selfies- was born. Welcome to the second installment.

This pink backdrop had been sitting in my studio for a few weeks for an upcoming series of shoots and I simply could not resist playing around with it a bit early for one of these portraits, so I broke out the fancy duds, one of my favorite ties, and my new glasses (I love Warby Parker). It is certainly a more formal departure from my usual hoodie/black wool cap/band tee combo that serves as my go-to studio outfit most days in the winter. This is more along the lines of what I rock when going to meetings and those occasions when I need to be a bit dressier. I am planning next month’s portrait already and I might even have a new portrait to share alongside it that a new friend recently made of me. I am really starting to look forward to this new project each month –  stay tuned for more.

SELFIES 2.13.2013

9 ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINES THAT WILL BLOW YOU AWAYY

Covers of Blink Magazine and positive negative magazine

Magazines made me fall in love with photography in the first place – I remember hanging out in my school library to read through racks of magazines both old and new and spending nights every month sitting among piles of magazines flipping through them. As I got older the habit stayed, but in new forms, I might spend a night rifling through some of my favorite photo books, or checking out new magazines on a trip to the book store. These days I get a lot of my fix online, a lot of print magazines have moved into electronic publishing, services like Issuu and Magcloud have made it more practical for niche and independent magazines to distribute their publications, and some have even moved directly into a browser based magazine/digest format – My iPad has become my favorite way to browse new work. Here are nine of my favorite magazines full of inspiring images that are available digitally.

Blink Magazine

Blink is a visually stunning non-profit Korean publication created by Kim Aram, the former art director for PHOTO+. Every issue features an eclectic collection of personal work by photographers all over the world; edited, curated, designed, and promoted solely by Kim, who used a large chunk of personal savings to start the project. Blink is simply one of the most interesting and best designed photography magazines on the market today, and a constant  source of first-rate visual stimulation.

You can get their most recent iPad edition here or follow their great Tumblr feed.

+/-

+/- is an annual student publication produced by the senior photography and design majors at the Rochester Institute of Technology (my Alma Mater). Constantly metamorphosing with each years student staff, this small publication has an insight and visual focus that evolves from issue to issue based around the changing collective aesthetics of the student artists behind it.

You can help fund this student production now by visiting +/- on Kickstarter, which will net you the newest electronic edition or more.

VII and the 37th Frame

VII

This in-house magazine of the VII Photo Agency, renowned for the conflict and news images produced by its member photographers – features illuminating, starkly human and sometimes uncomfortably confrontational imagery covering myriad topics from both its full members and those in its mentorship program. An ever-changing stream of the some of the finest documentary photography in the world.

The 37th Frame

An ad free and reader supported online digest featuring an every growing and beautifully curated showcase of emerging photojournalistic talents. The 37th Frame points readers to the some of the best photojournalism from across the web.

The unexposed and See Saw

The Unexposed

Created by Natasha Dominguez to showcase the talents of other emerging photographers like herself, The Unexposed is a series of thematically distinct editions that are distributed online through Issuu. If you are into the subdued and sometimes melancholy style of imagery that the publication leans towards you can be sure to find The Unexposed becoming a fast favorite like I did.

See Saw

Often accompanied by in-depth text pieces and interviews that shed light on the processes and motivations of the artists featured – See Saw Magazine’s articles expose photographers with unique and real experiences to a world of new viewers. The mix of artists presented encompasses both known and newer talents.

Positive magazine and aperture magazine

Posi+tive

Focusing not just on photography, Posi+tive is a publication that combines art, culture, fashion, photography, reportage, and architecture into a bird’s eye look at what is happening in the worlds from an artistic, political, and cultural point of view. While its focus may not strictly be on the photographic, the imagery presented in the each issue is incredible.

They have a really useful archive of their back issues available for those that want to catch up.

Aperture

One of the big names in photography publications, Aperture has been around and well-regarded for a long time, You might even already be reading it, but I wanted to mention them because of their awesome iPad edition available through Zinio. Having aperture with you wherever you go is a real treat, and worth the subscription fee.

You can also follow Aperture’s blog

Deep Sleep

A thematic publication from the U.K. that strives to expose incredible photography within each issue’s given theme, without concern for market trends or commercial influence. Produced quarterly, the 7 issues released so far have grown in scope and the editorial sense becomes sharper and sharper with each edition.

Deep sleep cover

Do you have any of your own favorites to share?

9 ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHY MAGAZINES THAT WILL BLOW YOU AWAYY