52 Portraits, No. 20

Ben has been around since I first attempted to make a full time living at photography. We were roommates together in Denver, and I will never forget the adventures we had. Both of us moved out there on a whim without really knowing each other, and it is a season of my life that has really shaped me into who I am today, both creatively and personally. We have seen each other at our best and worse, been on awkward double dates together, and both tried out for Ninja warrior together... (seriously, scroll back through my facebook videos!)

52 Portraits, No. 18

Seeing as today is Mother's Day, I had to include my mom in this project. She has supported me through every crazy idea I have had... from my long haired, punk rock guitar days, to dropping out of college to travel across the country, to starting my own business and getting married, she has been believed in me the whole time. Thanks mom! Much love, and I wouldn't be who I am without you.

52 Portraits, No. 11

My Uncle Ned is this weeks subject for the 52 Portraits project. We spent a lot of family get togethers jamming in his basement on one of the coolest guitar collections you could imagine. A couple of years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Instead of letting it define his future in a negative way, he has decided to use it as a tool to both strengthen others with Parkinson's, and educate people on the topic. A series of events led him to join a program called Rock Steady Boxing, where boxing is used a tool to literally fight back against Parkinson’s. You can read more about the boxing program, and my Uncle’s story here.

Making Portraits

I think one of the hardest parts of being a photographer is having to connect with complete strangers in very short amounts of time. Sure, some people are easier to talk with than others, but it can definitely be challenge to gain the trust and attention of someone while also guiding them towards what I am trying to accomplish with a photo. When I shoot someones portrait, I like to get them as involved in the creative (and sometimes technical) process as they are interested in. It helps them feel like they are partnering with me towards achieving a goal, rather than just being directed towards an end result they may envision differently than I. When the subject feels like they are part of the process, they often bring ideas up that I may not have thought of that make the image that much better. Collaboration is almost always better than a single persons vision, so why not include the person you're photographing?

I wouldn't at all claim to be a street photographer, but that said, I don't shy away from asking to take a portrait of someone I find interesting. Its a great way to keep exercising my communication skills on the fly in random situations, while trying to develop a story and get a good photo. I grabbed this one while on the 5th Ave bus in NYC a couple years ago, and its one of my favorites. Ask people to be a part of your creative process, see what you learn, and how your work improve because of it.