Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sukhmani Nob Hill

I was brought on to photograph the grand opening reception at Nob Hill's newest jewelry+ store,  Sukhmani.The store evokes the calm centeredness of Eastern philosophy and is owned by the brother/sister team of Sat Bachan Anthony and Sat Gurumukh Khalsa – themselves lifelong devotees of the Sikh religion.

A few days after the reception I came back to capture a sampling of the items and the general feel of the glorious space. The shot list emphasized exquisite one-of-a-kind designer jewelry, but also included sculptures, furniture, body care products, and a couple of amazing paintings by local artist Harimandir Kaur Khalsa. The space itself was also a subject. I am very happy to have this interesting new option in Nob Hill, an Albuquerque district that gets more dynamic by the day. Be sure to stop in. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Mexico Magazine: Gallup, New Mexico

I was contacted by New Mexico Magazine a while back to photograph artists and trading companies in Gallup, NM for their November 2011 issue. It was my first contact with the publication, and after wanting to shoot for them for a long time I was elated! One thing led to another, and before I knew it I was also writing a part of the article. The process of stoking the slumbering writer in me was two things: agonizing and exhilarating. I struggled to put the story together, and worried that I was going to make it hard for the publication to ever hire me again. But I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed getting back to something I had once devoted so much time to. I may not become a regular paid writer anytime soon, but it was really interesting to be photographing things I knew I would later be writing about, and at times this influenced my frame dramatically. For those that are interested, you can find a copy of New Mexico magazine right now all over the state. 

The assignment stood out for many reasons: the photogenic town itself, the pleasant surprise with which I came away from Gallup, reawakening as a writer, the company of the people that I came to photograph and ended up spending time with. I enjoyed the quiet, but at times spectacular, drive from Albuquerque — perhaps most of all, though, I am thrilled to be working with the folks at New Mexico Magazine, who show a clear commitment to delivering a quality of editorial content and coverage that our state deserves yet sorely lacks (at least in my opinion). I'm ready for the next assignment!

The photos below include the famous El Rancho Hotel's outside and lobby, the Touchin family in front of their Church Rock home, well regarded work by potter Gerald Pinto, the amazing rug room of Tanner's Indian Arts, bracelets on display at Silver Dust Trading Company, Jimmy Paywa and his famous Zuni bread, Virginia Yazzie-Ballinger modeling one of her world-renowned velveteen dresses (and later at the sewing machine), a vendor at Earl's restaurant, and an example of Bisbee turquoise, which I'm told is the most expensive in the world at over $1,000/carat. 

Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse

My business model for restaurant photography is evolving. I no longer simply head in at the right time of day with a reflector and look for the best window light to photograph a delicious plate of food near. There are more people to photograph now, often in environments with little or no natural light. I bring speedlights and diffusers to help with that. And lately, an emphasis is being placed on spaces. Sometimes I need more lighting for this as well, but I've been increasingly leaning more toward a tripod and long, often blended, exposures.

At Vernon's I arrived late one evening and took care of the food photos with waning evening natural light and reflectors. Then we moved on to actor/model Jackamoe Buzzell, who is the perfect mobster face of Vernon's. I used a couple of SB700s and my beloved Photek Softlighters for his portraits as well as those of executive chef Craig Murphy.

Vernon's is a very dark, quiet and beautiful space with a speakeasy theme. Everything has been thought out by the ownership, from the lighting to the construction, decor and furniture. I tried to honor this by drawing out the details of each space as much as possible. Architectural lines, wall art, lighting subtleties and colors, furniture choices, etc... The key, in my mind, was to preserve the dark, private environment at Vernon's (not just lighting everything up), yet provide a rich array of details for the eye to soak up. Hopefully this comes across in the resulting images.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sarah + Dan

I had the honor to photograph the wedding of two wonderful folks on September 10th. One thing that made this wedding stand out for me was the emphasis the bride and groom put on the photographs. They set aside 3 hours between the ceremony and the reception for the bridal party, myself and Jennifer Garrett (who was on board as a second shooter) to travel to the foothills and then down to the botanical gardens. Sarah trekked a mile in her heels to get the Japanese gardens! There were at least 4 generations on hand to celebrate the day and a 'photo booth' at the reception. A highlight of the evening came when a bridesmaid spiked the bridal bouquet she'd just caught like a wide receiver that had brought in the winning touchdown.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Café Pasqual's in Santa Fe

I recently photographed Pasqual's for an upcoming issue of Edible Santa Fe. This assignment stood out for many reasons, but mainly because this is my favorite restaurant in New Mexico. It's a big statement, I know. The red chile here is unmatched, which is saying something in this neck of the woods, and the coffee at Pasqual's is Europe good. Photo subjects below include chef/owner Katherine Kagel, Smoked Trout Hash (my favorite dish), and the sublime Carta de Musica Salad, which comes with fresh local figs, prosciutto and an amazing buffalo mozzarella. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Emily & Dustin Wedding at the Andaluz

A lot of photographers choose not to photograph weddings. I am not one of them. To me, weddings offer many of the same opportunities that an inspiring editorial assignment can. The day unfolds in unexpected ways and we are there to use the benefit of a trained eye and an evolving skill set to document the event in a professional and creative way. This wedding, at the beautiful Andaluz Hotel, was a bevy of opportunity. Emily was a sublime bride with a radiant smile, and Dustin was as emotional and open a groom as I've worked with. The guests and family were a very photogenic group and the venue, which I've been lucky to work in often over the years, is a photographer's playground of nooks, crannies, compelling backlighting, and outdoor cityscapes. At the end of the night Emily and Dustin collected themselves to perform an original song together that brought most in attendance to tears. It was a wonderful night to be a photographer.