I'm really excited to be here again. How many of you guys saw my first class? Did you all see it? OK. I might reference some stuff from the first class, but if anything you didn't see, or you don't remember, just raise a hand. The other thing is, I wanted to be really comfortable, that's why I have you guys in couches rather than chairs. Anytime you wanna ask me a question, please just raise your hand, OK? And I'm gonna start out, today, for the next two days, talking about the evolution of family photojournalism, 'cause a lot of people aren't even aware, or in the family photography industry, aren't even aware of photojournalism. And how, for me, this is how it's really influenced all the work I'm making. So, we're gonna talk about that for the first part of the day. I'm gonna give you guys a little bit of background. So, I'm based in Denver, Colorado now, but I don't do any work there, at all. All my work is out of the state or out of the country. Actually, Kelly in the audience, I j...
ust photographed her family not too long ago. But, I've shot families now in Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, England... Italy, South America, and then, all over the U.S. But I actually started out as a fine artist. And I've talked about it, but I've never shared my work. It's not great. But, I was lucky, I went to Magnet High School. I started with art much before that, but I went to a Magnet Hight School, where I could really focus on getting a portfolio ready for University, and I ended up not going to University for fine art. But I really developed my own... I guess you would say style, through my pen work, my line work, my drawing work. And, as I built the foundation, I really wanted to start doing more abstract work, and I'm really bad at it. Like, I probably made like 100 abstract pieces, and there's only two that I like, out of, like, my whole life. (laughter) And I realized-- Did anybody else do fine art? Aside from... OK. What is your background with fine art?
I studied in high school, same thing.
More figure stuff?
And I started a little bit of that, and then also did abstract.
And then, how about in the back?
Yeah, my college degree was in fine arts, and I just did this mash of everything, painting, drawing, ceramics and then photography.
So, I did a lot of ceramics, too. I don't have any photos of my ceramics. My question for you is, did you do a lot of abstract? Or was it more, like, fundamental?
I always wanted to do the figure, like even on my ceramics, I would then paint the figure onto my vases.
Right. Did you both find abstract hard? Or no?
I just never... Never appealed to me to try it, really.
OK. It's really freaking hard. (laughs) For me, because my brain doesn't work that way. I'm much better with things in front of me, and, like, then putting my own perspective on it, than coming up with something in my head. And it was so hard. And I started to actually use my photos as a basis for trying to come up with something abstract, like shooting something out of focus and then working from there. And what I realized is, when I started out with weddings and family photography, I don't have the brain, like, Tuman, I don't know if you-- In the wedding business, like Tuman or even Anna Kuperberg or Erin Chrisman. I don't have that brain with portraits, where you can come up with these crazy ideas for portraits, it's just, I'm terrible at it. So, rather than fighting against it, with my photography, I realized it's the same as fine art, I just, I don't have that capacity. I'm very artistic, but I'm not really innovative. And, so, that's why photojournalism made sense to me, early on, because it was life happening in front of me, and then all I have to do is... Put myself into it, right? I have to let you all know, I was an amazing photographer from the very beginning. (laughter) I mean, really, I was. (laughter) He looks like he's taken a lot of drugs. (laughter) And this is weeks after birth. Look at that on-camera flash. But it's right towards whatever-- I think that's just medical gauze. (laughter) Very good. How about this? Those are just towels, probably from Target, for $1.99. I didn't even have the sense to make the background soft. I'm probably shooting at like F-8. But then I put like that Gaussian blur all over it to make it really soft. I started doing birth photography way before it was ever a thing. Friends of mine were just like "Hey, wanna come photograph my birth?" and I had never heard of it before. It was 10 years ago. And I was like "Sure, I might pass out or puke, but yeah, I'll come." And I had no idea-- OK, so these are the photos I made at the birth. Because, really, Hill-Rom needed some product placement, right? For the beds they make, like, that was very important to the family, that I have that. It had nothing to do with her, like, why would I even ma-- I delivered this photo. And was proud of it, apparently. This is good. (laughter) It looks like I photographed this from like a helicopter over her, (laughter) and she looks like she's part devil. (laughter) This is not good, at all. This is how I started, right? This is.. (laughter) Very arty, right? This is just arty. They actually are all magnetically being held to the ground by, like, magnets, so that they don't all fall over. Perfect for a frame. How about this? Do we even know what this is? (laughter) It might be a hand. Maybe. Let's turn it around. No... (laughter) Oh, it's a butt. Maybe it's a baby butt. And my favorite would have to be, we were looking at this yesterday, (laughs) absolute favorite. I can't even... How about this? (laugher) Everyone wants a photo of-- (laughing) their body-less feet! Look at this family, it has no bodies attached! There's no body there! There's no body. (laughter) Oh, God, this is so bad! Why would I give that to anybody? Whoever I took this photo of, I don't even remember, I'm so sorry! (laughs) Well, at least we can't see their bodies, right? (laughter) It's just awful. OK. So, as bad as a photographer I was, looking back, at all these horrific photos that are very humbling, I realize, going through, that even when I knew nothing, the instinct for some sort of moment was there. Even though it was really bad, and poorly executed, I had these photos and I was drawn to humor right away. So, this is where I thought it was really funny, his look. Not like he was on acid, but just that made a funny look as a newborn. And, you know, again, 10 years ago, I still was drawn to making moment photography. Even though I was a terrible photographer, there was something there. And I was shooting through what nobody else was shooting through, that I knew of, at the time. And most of this stuff is film. Check out this sepia, this is lovely. But again, seeing moments there.