The Dark Secret of Photography

Saw this interesting blog on Photoshelter.
I love their product and their advocacy. However, the dark secret of photography (especially photojournalism) as a profession is that it's basically only available to privileged people with a lot of resources (or special access). Not all of us are on tour with a world famous rock band, or are famous movie stars married to other famous movie stars. To me, it seems entirely predictable that celebrities are "accomplished" or "serious" photographers.

A basic professional kit of 1 camera, 2 lenses, a flash, and a computer with software and peripherals etc. is $10,000. Thankfully I have parents that helped me get started. The best piece of (sobering) advice I've ever heard is that if you want to start out as a freelancer you should have $20-30k in the bank. It would've been impossible without that help. I was also in a relationship at the time …

Rep. Josh Gottheimer

Maintaining a foot in the photojournalism world has been difficult lately, because often assignments come with very little notice, whereas the corporate and event planning worlds generally schedule jobs weeks in advance.  It's tough to keep the calendar open for occasional photojournalism jobs to get through.  I wanted to be proactive and change that in 2017.

I've always enjoyed the unpredictability of photojournalism.  The feeling that you're "in the middle of it".  January 3rd is that date that the new Congress convenes and newly elected representatives are sworn in.  There are lots of opportunities for pictures.  Open houses, lots of back slapping, friends and families are all around.  I circled the date on the calendar and found a couple freshman congressman whom I thought would be interesting and were from parts of the country where I had connections to the newspapers or magazines.  My first idea didn't pan out, so I contacted The (NJ) Record on the mor…

Corey Stewart for Northern VA Magazine

Recently I had the opportunity to work with Jonathan Hunley on a political story.  He and I go back several years to our days at a community paper in Woodbridge/Manassas (The Potomac News/The News & Messenger, '08-'12).  This was our first time in 4 years to get the band back together, so to speak.

In March, Jon and I were munching Tex-Mex at Bar-J in Occoquan when he talked about wanting to do a political profile story on Corey Stewart.  Stewart was gearing up for his run for Governor of VA and had a schedule of appearances throughout VA.  He also happens to be the Virginia State Chairman, Donald Trump for President.

After a few weeks and several emails pitching the story to various publications, Northern Virginia Magazine said "yes".  Pick up the issue, if you have a chance.  Jon did a great job putting it together. Jonathan attended a rally in Norfolk, did a sit-down dinner interview, and finally we both attended the Page County GOP Jamboree where Stewart wou…

Dr. Charbel Moussa and Finding the Cure for Parkinson's

I was honored and excited to get the call to photograph a portrait of Dr. Charbel Moussa (Georgetown University) for an article in the relatively new medical news journal, STAT.

Some of you may already know that I used to have a career in Neuroscience Research before starting my photography path in '06.  It was nice to dip my toe back into that world, and after we did our pictures I had a nice 15 minute conversation about what he was working on and how he got there.  It's a fascinating story and definitely worth a read.

This article is so illustrative of the obstacles presented to trying to cure major diseases.  It isn't all about the science.  Politics and money (doesn't it always?) play a role in the race for the cure.

Sherron Watkins, 14 years later

Last month I had the opportunity to photograph Sherron Watkins speak at George Mason University.  Sherron Watkins is known as the whistelblower of the Enron Scandal, which happened 14 years ago this month.  I don't suppose corporate malfeasance started with Enron, but it sure feels like it.  Since then we've had the recession, and countless numbers of corporate shenanigans.

Knowing I had a chance to photograph someone who participated in something so historic, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to shoot a portrait.  We all worked out the particulars, and I assured Sherron that I'd be ready for her and we'd take 10-15 minutes of her time.

For a larger selection of portraits, visit my photoshelter gallery, here.

Watkins has been touring and giving speeches for years, now.  I thought the most interesting observation she made was comparing the leadership of Enron to the fable, The Emperor's New Clothes. Those that did speak up, Watkins admits that there were sever…

Lessons in Holding on to Your Pictures

I recently received an email request from New York Magazine regarding a portrait I took of Dan Backer.  It was a little surprising, if only because the picture they were thinking of was one I did of Dan 4 years ago.  He and his wife are personal friends of ours.  In 2011, I was a staff photographer at the News & Messenger and working on getting better at portraits and specifically business-style portraits.  So we agreed to meet up.  He needed professional portraits, I needed to practice, so we met up and spent a little time doing some portraits.  He's still using those portraits.  Which is how NYMag found me.
I contacted Dan and we met up quickly on a Saturday morning before one of his meetings and we did a little refresher session.  NYMag ended up going with the one I did 4 years ago, but that's ok.  I have more portraits.  And so does Dan.  It's a good lesson in hanging on to your work, because you don't know who will come looking for you.…

Save Oak Flat

I don't usually use this blog to talk about causes, but two days ago I became aware of one of the more perplexing land swaps in U.S. history.  Perhaps for the first time ever, the U.S. Government is attempting to transfer sacred Native American land into the hands of a private foreign interest.  How?  Why?  Maybe we should follow the money.

The pictures are from the demonstrations held on the U.S. Capitol lawn yesterday.  These are the San Carlos Apache and their supporters. To see a full edit, check my gallery here:

In December of 2014, as we drew near another shutdown, the Defense Authorization Act was passed in Congress and at the last minute, a rider was slipped in...

Buried on page 1,105 is a land transfer of 2,400 acres of Tonto National Forest in AZ which includes Apache ancestral medicinal, ceremonial and bur…