Rainy Day

I recently found myself sitting in my office on a cold rainy day. When it’s overcast outside, my office definitely feels dark and dreary… which can either make me feel super sad and lonely, or really inspired and artsy.

On this particular day, I decided to push away from my desk, load my camera with a roll of film and just get in the car. I had never shot film in the rain, and I was honestly getting tired of just practicing film in my backyard. So, I drove just down the road to a little trail head that I had discovered a few weeks before and began the 50 yard trek down to a tiny creek.

It was so great for me to just focus on what was right in front of me. I’m so used to trying to capture emotion and moments and kids running all around me. But, on this particular day, I forced myself to slow down and look at the details that were everywhere. At first glance, it didn’t look like much. But, then I started seeing some really spectacular things… trees with crazy vines and odd growths on them… water droplets that were barely hanging on leaves… tall blades of grass hoisting up tiny beads of water as if they were trying to get me to bend down and take a closer look.

It was so good for me to just drop what I was doing that day for about an hour and feed the creative longing in my soul. I never want to strangle out the art of photography with the business and branding side of things. I was reminded that day why I love doing what I do.

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Images shot with: Canon 1V, on Kodak Portra 400 / Processed by PhotoVision

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The Bayou

I was honored to have this photo essay of a trip back to my cajun roots with my dad and son featured on TRIAD Magazine last month. If you haven’t had a chance to spend some time over there, it would be good for your soul… promise.

I wanted to share it here as well because it has a special place in my heart and heritage.

Bayou01 Bayou02 As a kid, I can remember packing up our small flat-bottom boat with my dad for a little evening trip to the river. We would fill a small ice chest with a few Cokes, some Ritz Crackers + Cheese Wiz, and usually throw in a small fishing net for good measure. After dousing ourselves with sufficient amounts of DEET to ward off the mammoth mosquitoes that serve as armed guards for the Southeast Texas bayous, we would make the short trek down the road to the boat launch.

Within about five minutes, we would be transported to another world. Away from the hissing sounds of the highway, things are much slower on the bayou. Your senses are awakened to sounds that you rarely hear… birds screeching… dragon flies buzzing by… random fish grazing the surface of the water before plummeting back down. Water moves at a crawling pace, and if you’re lucky and patient, you’ll just may find yourself eye to eye with an alligator as it slowly peeks above the surface.

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Almost all of my family has roots in this small part of the world. An area that is soaked in culture that is intimately tied to the water.

As we would putter along in the boat, my dad always made a point of reminding me that my Great-Grandfather helped float cypress logs down those narrow canals many years ago. “Oh… and that little bayou over there… that’s where I used to come with my grandfather when I was a kid to fish. It’s amazing how some things don’t change back here”, he would say.

One of the many things I am thankful for in my life is the heritage that I have. Something deep inside my soul stirs around when I sit on the front of that little flat-bottom boat and drift through those bayous. I see the bearded cypress trees with their Spanish Moss gently moving in the wind, and I start thinking about the people that have gone before me. The ones that had similar blood running through their veins as myself and who floated along the same bayous many many years before I.

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When I brought my wife and kids back home recently, I was once again hit with this nostalgia overload. This time, it was my oldest boy wearing an oversized baseball cap helping his Papa load up that same old boat. We were careful not to leave home without the Cokes, but as people and times change, the Cheese Wiz did not make the journey.

As we began weaving around the maze of little bayous that evening, my soul was filled as I listened to my dad once again recall those same old stories to my boy, as if he was telling them for the first time. A heritage being passed down unknowingly to an eight year old from his grandfather.

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Contax 645 / Fuji 400H and Canon 1V / Kodak Portra 400 // Indie Film Lab

 

One Afternoon…

A few weeks ago, I was at home alone with this little guy while he was taking a nap and mom and brother were off doing something important. When he got up, we planted ourselves on the back porch and enjoyed the warm summer (perfect for waking up from a nap)!

He was laughing with me and having such a great time, so I decided to pull out a roll of film and just unload it in one sitting… capturing all his different faces and personality. One of the best ways I could see spending $25! Mason1

Mason2 Mason3 Mason4 Mason5Canon 1V  //  Kodak Portra 400  //  Developed by: Indie Film Lab

A Trip Back Home

Early this summer I spent a weekend back in my hometown. The more time that I am away from those roots, the more and more it seems things change. Things simply look different when you return with different eyes in a different stage of life.

One day when the kids were napping and I had some free time, I went on a little walk with one of my film cameras. One of the refreshing things about learning film is that it has forced me to take photos of things rather than people. The last thing I would want to do would be to “learn” my camera on a client’s dime. So, I’ve been taking lots of photos of plants and other non-moving objects.

I grew up just across the street from my grandparents and great-grandparents… one of the most amazing things about my childhood. I spent lots of time in their homes, in their yards and in their lives. I learned a lot about plants and gardening and being outside from the times I spent with them.

As I walked around the dense pine forests that make up our homestead, I came upon my Maw-Maw’s old green house. Of course it looks much different now… only a skeletal frame of what once was. Overtaken by vines and young trees vying for space. Many pots laid in piles on the ground, full of soil but void of life… symbolizing a passing away of more than just a few people, but a way of life.
Heritage01Heritage02Heritage03 Heritage04 Heritage05 Heritage06Canon 1V  //  Kodak Portra 400  //  Indie Film Lab

The Rarity of Great Artists

I think it’s fairly rare to grow up knowing an artist.

Now, I know that the term “artist” can be thrown around loosely. I mean, anyone with an Instagram account and an iPhone can call themselves an artist. The advent of Pinterest has basically sold art as a cheap commodity to be copied and pasted into homes everywhere. But, that’s not the kind of artist I’m referring to.

I’m talking about the artist that gives their life to their art. The kind that lives each day creating a masterpiece that few people understand. The kind that forsakes many comforts in the world and foregoes most material possessions because the pursuit of art is all-consuming.

Of course, it’s arguable whether or not art is a worthy thing to give your life to. But, whenever you encounter such a person… such an eccentric and counter-cultural individual… it definitely causes you to pause and think. Much like great art itself.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was one of those rare individuals that was blessed to be able to grow up next door to such a person. He was my great uncle, and he will be forever known for the art he produced. He was the type of person that was mocked by the ignorant and thought to be a little crazy… but, when you stopped and listened, conversations felt like reading a good novel. It was refreshing to be able to talk about things that just weren’t discussed in normal culture.

Last year, Charles Stagg passed away. I wrote about his impact on my life back then and how he helped shape me as an artist (someone who hopes to be an artist).

A few weeks ago, while I was home visiting, I walked over to his studio/home/art-masterpiece with my film camera. It was kinda sad to see things that had been destroyed by ignorant people that don’t respect beauty. But, it was also cool to be able to walk in and around a structure that represented the life work of a single person.

Here are some of the images that came from my visit //
Charles Stagg 01 Charles Stagg 02 Charles Stagg 03 Charles Stagg 04 Charles Stagg 05 Charles Stagg 06 Charles Stagg 07 Charles Stagg 08 Charles Stagg 09 Charles Stagg 10 Charles Stagg 11 Charles Stagg 12 Charles Stagg 13Canon 1v  //  Kodak Portra 400  //  Indie Film Lab

The Beginnings Of The Spring Garden

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Our spring garden is off to a great start! We’ve already begun harvesting a handful of different things, and I have tons of green tomatoes that will be turning red any day now.

For the past few years, I have stuck to my guns about making sure this thing was all organic and done naturally. I’ve had almost 100% success with keeping away any and all chemicals… that is, other than my very first year when my super nice elderly neighbor decided that I didn’t know what I was doing and poured fertilizer over my squash to show me how much better it would do with a “little help”. I simply had to bite my tongue and respect my elders.

But, as fun as it was to be able to do this all organic, I was slightly disappointed that my plants were always a little smaller than other people’s stuff. I longed to have a giant squash like the ones I had seen on Facebook.

Well, it took me 2 years… but, I’m confident that this is the year that my garden has finally come to life. My soil has only gotten richer each season, and this year, the plants are going crazy in it!

Over the past few years, I’ve been fascinated with figuring out how to naturally grow plants. I love being able to do something the way it has been done for thousands of years, and not depend on man-made products that lessen the quality of our food. For me, it has almost been a challenge just to see if I could do it… and through that challenge, I feel like I have really connected with our food and with the whole process.

So, if you’re just getting started and are tempted to dispair, let me just encourage you to press on. It may take a little while, but it’s worth it.

Here’s a little glimpse into what the garden is looking like in its early stages. I’ve decided to focus more on the things that we love eating rather than trying to grow everything I could get my hands on this year. We’re going with: Tomatoes (a few varieties), Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, Green Beans, Eggplant, Okra, and Jalepeno.

000075430002Garden003Garden004000075430001 Garden006 Garden007 Garden008Canon 1v  //  Kodak PJ100 Ektapress [Expired]  //  Indie Film Lab