Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Favorite Photos of 2014: Seven through Sixteen

Editions two and three combined today (since I fell asleep writing Monday's post).

Remember that these are in no particular order. They also don't mean that I think these are the BEST pictures I took. They are not all of the "five-star" rated photos from the year. I tried to pick with a little bit of variety, so that the same person didn't end up in multiple photos. These are just the ones that I looked at this weekend and thought, "yes, those are my favorites."  Next weekend might be different.

On we go!

Self portrait. I took this in a session when I took several other high-contrast portraits sarcastically emulating models with my big frame and weird lines. Then I took this, sort of as an afterthought. Just out of the shower, what you see is me with my hair in the process of drying uncombed, as I twiddled with settings and various looks. The majority of response I had to this photo boiled down to "Why don't you have a shirt on? That's weird." I'd be lying if I said that was what I thought about while shooting it, but it certainly does create the interesting idea that I'd inadvertently created a photo of myself that was somehow vaguely indecent.

Scene from almost directly in front of the house I grew up in (not the one in the background). My mom and dad frame the neighbor from across the street, telling a funny story. I love the faces in this photo that set the tone, even if the subject matter is lost. Another shot taken outside my comfort zone: off-angle, shot from the hip, and just a guess at proper settings.

Portrait of Caleb. I love this photo, because I read his expression differently every time I look at it. Because he's the child of friends, I occasionally also see a part of their faces, though in that ephemeral way that defies good explanation.

Portrait of Alana. She'd just posed for a couple of smiling shots in the same place, shouting "Take my picture, Andy!" and receiving chiding from her parents about manners. After I signaled I was done, she began to walk down the hill in a bouncy way that made me put the camera back up and capture this shot. It shows me her personality, even though her back is turned.

Jazz in a KC club. A prime example of a photo that I took among maybe 800 that particular night, which happened to contain several jazz greats. From left, drums John Kizilarmut, trumpet Clint Ashlock, bass Ben Leifer, alto sax Bobby Watson, and alto sax Michael Shults. A prime example something I've become known for: photographing jazz artists in dimly lit rooms. How dim? look how much light that table candle in the lower right is adding to the scene. I'm convinced Clint's linen jacket helped keep this photo above absolute black.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art "new" lobby. One of my favorite places: taking photos or just walking through. On this day, I managed to get the lobby almost totally empty except for an older gentlemen who also accidentally found his way in two more photos I took from other areas of the museum. My museum partner for the day.

Portrait of Brett Jackson. This photo turned out better than I hoped (side note: I love it when that happens). Brett has been in damn near every jazz gig I've ever played in KC, and he seems to be in a fair few of the ones I've photographed. This particular shot is a representation of a jazz artist making things happen. Trying to turn the kinetic energy and sonic variety of jazz performance into still pictures is one of my favorite challenges in photography.

Portrait of David Dimmit. Taken while the Fountain City Brass Band was performing in Estes Park, Colorado. Even though it looks like posed photo, it was the pose David was in when I turned around. We had just been unloading the equipment truck: my instrument is behind him and other members are off in the distance heading into the building. But who wants to warm up inside when Colorado exists? My regret in this photo is that all of the pretty mountains are behind me, but it's difficult to take pictures uphill and show mountains.

My homage to Stanley Kubrick. I took an inordinate amount of time to balance and line up everything. I'm still not sure I'm in the the center of the hallway, but when I'm not using a tripod and don't decide until that second what I'm doing, that's what will happen. Cameo appearance by Ron Stinson, who appears in the next photo.

Unloading scene. Our equipment is heavy, but Ron is ready. The most meaningful compliments I receive are the ones that comment on how viewers felt like they were a part of the scene. I usually try to make my photos feel less like a picture staged for the camera, and more just a representation of what the viewer might see if they were dropped in the same place. This photo also shows how much I struggle with trying to render the black and dark-blue uniforms in black and white. Nothing looks "right."

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