If you have ever ordered a latte from a small town coffee shop and were blown away by your experience. You were amazed at the sheer amount of time the barista invested into the design that you would only come to admire for moments before you covered the coffee with a lid; you can appreciate, it's all about the details.
When I ordered business cards from a company named Moo, and the package finally arrived after weeks of waiting, I was captivated by the gorgeous box that my simple parcel arrived in. The small package was wrapped with a brilliant purple ribbon and a large wax seal with their logo pressed firmly into it. After opening the box I was quickly greeted by numerous witty messages saying things like, "I think this is the beginning a beautiful friendship." I am inspired by the idea that their packaging itself emanates excellence, so much so, that it basically asks, "What did you create, worthy of me?"
Over the years I have experimented with how to achieve the perfect ‘final experience’ with all of my clients. When I first started photographing weddings, I simply gave them a disc and a handshake. Apparently, after the client had invested in my personality, my promises and my potential, in return what I delivered to them was mediocrity.
I have learned that the last interaction is just as important as my first meeting with people. It’s the finish line; the end of a journey that had once started with an agreement and finishes with a product. That’s how we get to the final presentation: a plain wooden box that I spend hours sanding and staining. It is wrapped in long dried grass and greets the couple with a personal handwritten note. Inside the box is a bed of brilliant green moss that perfectly contrasts the stain I’ve chosen. In the middle of the box is a bundle of my favourite moments from their wedding day and a USB drive. After many failed attempts, I have discovered a few clever ways to disguise the tacky USB's exterior. Some tightly wrapped twine quickly hides the plastic housing. After 'the Great Storm of 2015' a fallen tree branch was an obvious choice to hollow out and become the home for a USB, like a hermit crab to it's new shell.
Some people may argue that the amount of effort I pour into the tiny details, that ultimately add up to the overall experience, are a waste of time. That I am wasting my 'talent' on the ungrateful. I don't believe I am talented, I am obsessed. Excruciatingly obsessed with the pursuit of creative enlightenment. Those details feed my obsession.
When my head hits the pillow every night, that's when the real work begins. That's where I start to nurture the details of an idea. My imagination has become a playground where failure and uncertainty are very certain. I am not scared of making mistakes, because the only ingredient to success is sufficient failure. Those are the details that matter most.
People watching on my annual trip to Seattle to watch the ever incredible July 4th fireworks.
As promised in my previous post, here is a collection of Black & White photos I captured on my road trip down to the Oregon coast for July 4th. If you are ever given the opportunity to travel to the U.S. to celebrate Independence Day, bring a camera and change the picture style to monochrome. You may overlook the simple and seemingly mundane lives of the people around you, but photograph them in Black & White, and let their stories come alive.
An homage to the iconic raw masculinity of James Dean, and an ode to the classic rebellious nature of muscle cars. Finally a photoshoot with a sexy car! Not just any car, a gorgeous 1972 Cuda. My good buddy Ravi has been wanting to do this concept since last year. His wife, Fatima, has been one of my biggest supporters and graciously volunteered to model alongside her husband.
The hardest part was finding a location. The idea was to park the car in the middle of the road and pray for no traffic. We lucked out and found a dead end road in the middle of Surrey that was surrounded by grass fields.
A new technique I have been trying out is photographing an entire session in black and white. I shoot in RAW so I can decide if I want to add colour in post, but all I see on my viewfinder is B/W. The added bonus is that every photo looks like the final edited shot right off the back of the camera. This method has changed the way I shoot entirely. It helps me concentrate on composition, contrast, and lighting, and less on the warmth or hues of a shot. I first tried it on a trip to Oregon and LOVED how much character and story it brought to my photographs (I'll post images of that trip in a future post). **Updated: OREGON TRAIL**
Black and white photography has lost it's grandeur and charm in this day and age where we can flip between filters so frivolously. I challenge you, next time you have a 'real' camera in your hands, turn it to black and white and don't go back!