This history writing took place early in my college years while attending UW-Stout in Menomonie, WI in 2009.
I became busy with school again but I never quit photography. Most of the work after this was added to my open series. I was really trying to stay away from the whole modeling theme and go for deeper and darker concepts of anything that jumped out for me. Below is an example for an open series I have yet to complete (as of writing this) and need to develop more. The image represents the contrast between elderly and everyone else in terms of not only technology but the wearing away of your senses as age comes.
I continued to think about more series to work on. When I say “think about” I really mean taking note of what struck me as powerful in the moment, even if I did not understand or could explain it. This often happened randomly when ideas or brief insights inspired me while driving or socializing. This usually happened when I least expected it.
School kept me busy but I had a small break in which I could work on a series I could put together. I had this idea for awhile, but lacked the time and resources for it. I got help from two friends on this shoot, Brittany Waltz and Jay Plemmon. The idea here was to represent a relationship that lacked the ability to gain any momentum and was getting dulled by time. In response, drugs were offered to perform a counter measure and save the relationship.
My second scripted series.
This series was pretty good but I really felt it could have been stronger. What few images I really could use for this series turned out exceptionally well for only shooting this in about 3-4 hours. I needed to plan better, I realized. Scripting a closed series wasn’t enough and I needed to think about actual scene-by-scene story board ideas.
Breaking up this momentum happened when I was asked to shoot a friend of mine in the local theatre for one of her own projects. I turned this into a series after looking over the photos again.
My family moved to Michigan and I was still visiting them. When I got back I had more images than I cared to edit and go through. Some of the notable images from this trip were from the Henry Ford Museum’s outdoor exhibit. The image below was taken when my brother and I snuck into one of the houses. Of course the blood wasn’t there when I took this.
Taken in Detroit, MI at the Henry Ford Museum.
On the flight back home I snapped some pictures above the clouds. These were the first pictures I ever took in a plane because it was in fact the first time I had ever been on a plane.
Taken in a plane from Detroit Mi to Minneapolis, MN.
It was less than one week after coming back home when I took some amazing pictures of fog one morning. I was really wishing I had purchased a newer camera by this time but could not miss this moment at something like 5:30am. If you were to ask me why I was up that early I couldn’t tell you. I just woke up and looked outside for some reason that morning very early.
A very strange morning indeed…
One of the best spontaneous portraits of someone I didn’t know. The last picture I ever took with my Canon 20D.
While I was putting more images together in post-production I spent more and more time on UW-Stout’s college campus. I began to take several portraits of people walking by. Here is the best example of that below.
I had the idea in my mind for a series involving stabbing oneself with a syringe in the neck. Thanks for my friends Kaitlin and Michaela for helping me out with this one!
These were shot with my new camera, the Canon 5D Mark II (which is an amazing piece of equipment).
A studio test of a shot I wanted to try out.
I finally found some work for a magazine, Prothos Media, in which I had to portray domestic violence between a Greek American male and female. The shoot went smooth, thanks to Tracy Charpentier’s hospitality and playing the role of an abusive husband. Thanks as well to Alex Tuchel for playing great in this role as the submissive wife.
I began to do a lot more shooting with my new camera. Most of this was for fun. A school trip for the photo club I was a part of allowed me to travel in a group to St. Croix in MN and just take fun pictures.
Taken in St. Croix, MN.
I decided to step things up for real and actually do some photo-manipulation more so that I had done in the past. Of course, not every image was completely transformed but a higher percentage of them came out altered in a more dynamic way than simple color and curve adjustments.
Taken in St. Croix, MN.
It was after I put these images up from the trip that I decided to bring in more digital painting and complex masking into my images. Taking a pretty picture was not the intent (usually) —It was soon more about the potential an image had and what I could do to it.
This mindset kept me going when I wasn’t sure where else to go or what else to do. I knew that I was only scratching the surface and was onto bigger and better things. It was difficult to find the time between work, school, and having a social life to really bring out more and more experimentation. I usually stayed in and worked, burning myself out.
On top of that, I was dealing with more wedding photography and senior portraits. It wasn’t long before I soon became burned out for real and took a small break, which ended up lasting about a month.