Charming and Informal Greeting, citizen!
HOW MY RESTLESSNESS BECAME A WEBSITE
When I was eight, my parents bought a pretty decent Nikon film camera (it was about 1980, digital cameras were still a LONG way off) and quickly realized that they had no idea how to use it. In time, they went back to the Kodak Instamatic X-15s we’d always had around the house, and the Nikon came to me. I’ll not pretend that I was any good with it right away, but it DID start me down a path that I would keep coming back to throughout my life.
As a teenager, I would explore any hole in the ground that I could find with a bike and a friend. Caves and sewers abounded, in those days, and it was glorious. This was another hobby that kept coming back around, again and again, evolving into a general exploration of the obscure, the hidden, the forgotten, and the off-limits.
As an adult, after having tried a number of other individual hobbies, these two life-long passions finally crashed together explosively.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
AREN’T SOME OF THESE PLACES DANGEROUS?
Well, yes, some of them are, but not always the ones you expect and not always for the reasons you might think.
DO YOU HAVE TO GET PERMISSION TO GO TO THESE PLACES?
That would be a great idea, yes.
WHAT CAMERA DO YOU USE?
Honestly, I hate this question, because it’s the wrong question, but here we go.
While I come from a film background, most of the work I show is from digital cameras. A long, long time ago, my film Nikon shit the bed, and I was very sad. After a few years without, my wife and her brother spent what seemed like an obscene amount of money to buy me a Canon Digital Rebel – the 300D. It was the first “consumer” digital camera that Canon made. Comparative to what’s available today, it wasn’t much of a camera, but the thing is, it’s not the tool that makes the art, it’s the user having a deep understanding of that tool and how to use it that makes art out of a potato – This is a big part of why I hate the “what camera” question. Because truly, the BEST camera is the one you can put hands on right now and that gets you out the door. With it’s “mighty” 6 MegaPixel sensor (which seemed amazing at the time) and a kit lens that had been abused mercilessly by that time, I captured what is still one of my most popular images, popularly dubbed “PillsBuddies“.
Eventually that camera died, and I bought a refurbished Canon XSi, a dramatic upgrade from the Digital Rebel. I don’t have any specific stories for this one, but it was another humble entry that I made some pretty nice things with.
After a few years, wanting to start getting serious about photography, I managed to swing some creative financing and bought my pride and joy, a full-frame Canon 5Dii. Part of the creativity-in-financing was just that I bought it when it went on discount because the 5Diii had just come out, but I had to swing a few things around to do it.
And we lived happily for a good few years, and I made a LOT of really nice images with it. My only issue was that it was SO goddamn BIG. Like, seriously, with the body and a lens or two, it took up THREE BEERS WORTH of space in my bag!
So one year, for Christmas, I cried and I whined until my wife (and a friend) agreed to put my next bunch of Christmas/Birthday presents into an ADORABLE little Sony mirrorless a5100. It was SO TINY! Once I really got the hang of it, I started making some pretty damn nice images with it and, before I knew it, I had all but replaced the big Canon for most of my shooting.
As such, after a few more years with that, it was time to make the next step. Looking into full-frame mirrorless Sonys, I found the a7III was on it’s way to the market and the specs pretty well blew all competition out of the water. I’m still getting the hang of it, and to be fair, it is significantly larger than the a5100, but so far I’m in love with The New Hotness.
And on top of all that, I have an old film Canon EOS Elan 7E that I like to play with occasionally, and an old Rolleiflex that I like to pull out when I’m feeling REALLY old-school.
So that’s the rest of the reason why I hate the “what camera did you take these with” question – the answer is too damn long. And also, seriously, the gear is NICE, no mistake, but you don’t always NEED professional tools to get professional results.
WHERE IS YOUR STUDIO?
My what, now? I don’t actually have one of those. I have a real job, photography is just a long-held hobby, for me. As such, I do what editing I can be bothered to do out of my home office. (Goddamn, I hate editing!) I have a workshop in the basement where I do all my mounting and framing. I look for Art Crawls, and the like, that I can participate in (I’m a LoLA regular, now) but I don’t really have a permanent place to show people that isn’t cluttered with my son’s Legos.
HOW DO YOU ILLUMINATE THE UNDERGROUND SCENES?
I carry around a BUNCH of small, powerful LED flashlights with diffusers to spread the light. I specifically look for lights that have a neutral or a warm tone to the light, because the ghoulish blue tint from cheap LEDs grosses me out (and again, I am a VERY lazy editor). Sometimes the lighting is just a five minute exposure where I’m walking all through the frame, shining light around myself and trying to keep moving so that I don’t show up in the final image.
HOW DID YOU DO *THIS* ONE?
I’m happy to “talk shop” in person, and all, but I’m not going to just give away all my tricks online. 🙂
YOU MUST KNOW A LOT OF GUYS IN THE 501ST TO GET ALL THOSE STORMTROOPERS!
They’re all toys. The little 3.75″ ones, even, not even the big swanky 6″ dudes. It’s all about controlling the angles and the depth of field.