HEMISPHERES MAGAZINE

Got some new work out there in the wild! If you happen to be flying the friendly skies with United Airlines in September 2019 (and beyond?), check out the University of Montana ad on page 90. I shot this photo of UM student Shandiin Russell as part of a shoot to freshen up the look and feel of the American Indian Gateway website back in July. Cool to see it take flight!

Pun definitely intended.

VIDCON 2019

Earlier this summer I was fortunate to be able to return to Anaheim, CA to photograph VidCon US. As this was my fourth consecutive year of taking part in all the craziness and excitement that transpires over four or five days at the Anaheim Convention Center, I find that I am just as giddy as I was the very first time. The entire scene is so impactful and overwhelming, I am constantly reminded of how stoked I am to be involved. I am also stoked on how my role and duties have evolved over the years.

My first year in the role of lead photographer and photo team leader had me hiring and managing a small team of photographers, and running around to capture what seemed like 10 million images of 10 million activities. The experience couldn’t have been better … even with days that ranged from 18 - 21 hours long. Contrast that to VidCon 2018, at which my focus was on creating portraits of specific YouTube personalities with a variety of animals, and now to VidCon 2019 where I worked alongside a video crew to capture portraits in a makeshift studio for ongoing marketing needs. The evolution has allowed me to grow personally and professionally, and I am very proud of the images that I have created in the process. Here’s a small sample of some of the portraits I created in Anaheim in 2019.

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MUMFORD & SONS

Sometimes opportunities just seem to strike outta’ thin air. This is certainly one of them. While fumbling with a parking meter in downtown Portland, OR my phone rang. Having been on vacation for a little over a week I had avoided talking on the phone rather successfully. But there was something about the unknown number that told me to answer the call. When I did, it was Jon from Ear Candy, an independent record store in Missoula, MT. He proceeded to tell me he was hosting a small, intimate and private show with Mumford and Sons in his store and needed coverage. Would I be available to shoot it? Um … hell yes.

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PEAS FARM

I’ve been to Missoula’s PEAS farm many, many times: Harvest parties, my daughter’s kindergarten class field trip, to film a spot for the Boy Scouts of Montana, to photograph a subject for a stock shoot, to tag along on a photo workshop. Every single time I’ve been there, it has a pretty great effect on me. I always revel in how unbelievably pretty the farm is, how nice the people are, how insanely great the carrots taste, how the overall mission is just so obviously easy to get behind. I mean, chances are I’m not going to run out to buy overalls and grow a huge beard tomorrow, but hawt damn if it’s not easy to see that way of life take shape while straddling a row of kale gazing off into the Rattlesnake wilderness.

I recently had the opportunity to revisit the farm to photograph an assignment for the University of Montana Relations department. What could have been a fairly quick, in-and-out assignment got stretched into a 3+ hour experience, simply because I wanted it to. I was there to capture the farm, photograph the new co-directors Caroline Stephens and Dave Victor, and see UM students in action. All of that happened, as did some cloud-staring, beet-eating, dog-petting, and field-walking.

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VIDCON PROMO FEATURED ON APHOTOEDITOR.COM

For me (or probably any photographer out there), there kind of aren’t words to describe the feeling of seeing a notification on my phone, or opening my email … and seeing a message from Rob Haggart, the dude behind aphotoeditor.com. Rob is an icon in this industry and has helped to inspire thousands upon thousands of photographers. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that he featured my VidCon promo on his aphotoeditor Instagram feed. And then, double that excitement when I saw that he sent an email asking if he could also feature my promo on his website. I was (and am) totally honored and still kind of giddy. Especially considering that I wasn’t even going to send this promo to him, and then when I did, further assumed that it wouldn’t make the cut. But alas … it did. And I am stoked. Thanks Rob.

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51st ANNUAL KYIYO POWWOW

Happening every year for the last 51 years, the Kyiyo Powwow is quite a sight to behold. Descending on Missoula from all parts of the US and Canada, Kyiyo participants gather at the Adams Fieldhouse at the University of Montana for two days of dancing, drumming and celebrating native American culture.

I have been to this powwow a few times in the past, but never have I attended specifically to create portraits of the participants. This year was different, and thanks to coordinating with the Native American Student Association (NASA) at the University of Montana, I was able to make it happen. As a photographer, I’d say there are few locations or events that could rival a powwow in terms of excellent subject matter. Sooo many colors, headdresses, interesting beadwork, feathers, face paint … and the list goes on. Every time someone came to my “studio” and wanted to have a photo taken, I got giddy and knew I was right where I wanted to be. Many thanks to every participant who worked with me.

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PEARL JAM EMAIL

It’s pretty hard to describe the feeling of casually opening an email from Pearl Jam (yeah, I’m on their list), and being greeted by a big ‘ol photo of Eddie Vedder that I captured at PJ’s recent show in Missoula. I definitely had a pretty reflective moment as soon as I saw this photo and realized it was mine.

Of course a photo credit would have been nice though ….

#TENWEEK SALE

In the Peal Jam universe, today - August 27, 2018 - is a special occasion. On this day 27 YEARS AGO (!!!!), Pearl Jam released their album Ten. If you are anything like me, you just did a solid face palm realizing that you really are getting OLD. For fuck's sake I was 16 when that album came out. 16. 16! I can still vividly remember several occasions in high school when songs from this album were playing – at my friend's lake house, soccer game after parties, on the way to go snowboarding. It was definitely a definitive time of my life. Pretty cool the soundtrack from that era is still holding up.

With this lil trip down memory lane in mind, I am taking 10% off all the PJ prints for sale in my store through the end of this week. On top of all that, a portion of the proceeds will be going to the MSA. Good stuff right there.

Now go buy a photo and rejoice in the fact that your aging still sounds so good.

ANTHRAX and TESTAMENT

Full disclosure: When it comes to being a metal head, I do a pretty shitty job. There was a time, or times I should say, when I sort of, kind of made an attempt to go down the path of all things metal, but it just never stuck. While I do love me some metal music while skateboarding, or pumping through the headphones once in a while, I never managed to make it a lifestyle. Probably a good thing. True metal fans would be able to sniff me out a mile away and would probably dismember me with their teeth.

But none of that mattered when I got the text message asking if I were available to shoot Anthrax and Testament at The Wilma. I knew it would be an amazing thing witness, up close through the viewfinder. And it was. Better yet, when they took the stage and I got into the photo pit, I was the only one shooting. Free reign. No bumpin’ elbows. No jockeying for position. It was just me ... spittin’ distance from a metal band that has been a force for over 35 years. Here are some of the photos from that night.

PEARL JAM

Pearl Jam played Missoula’s Washington-Grizzly Stadium on August 13, 2018. It’s an understatement to say that it was a big night. But then again, every time PJ plays a show it’s a big night. Having the opportunity to photograph a band of PJ’s magnitude, and one that definitely played a part of my upbringing was a pretty cool experience to say the least. The 17 year-old version of me was/is stoked! Shit, the 77 year old version of me is stoked!

As usual, I was only allowed to shoot the first three songs from the photo pit, and was with about 10 other photographers. And being on the ground in a stadium with 25K people at your back, it was hard to capture an image that showed the experience, especially when my vantage point was pretty limited (they didn't allow a lot of movement in the pit). That being said, I am proud of the images I got. Here's a few:

ADDICTION RECOVERY STORIES

Every opportunity I get to mix a bit of my photojournalistic background with the commercial side of things, I light up. Such was the case with this project for the Western Montana Mental Health center. The goal was to shoot simple photos that would go alongside their very personal, very real, and sometimes very hard to listen to stories of addiction and recovery. Each of the people pictured below have been through some hard times, but are working to turn things around, and live life in a different way. Hats off to them all.

Click here to read their full stories of recovery, 

ANDREW POMMIER

I managed to sneak in one last portrait session with an ON DECK 11 artist before the whole thing got swept away by the endless current of bidding, winning and shipping. Lucky for me Andrew Pommier drove all the way from Vancouver B.C. to Missoula to attend the show in person and was up for spending some time shooting some photos. Andrew has been in ON DECK several times in the past so it was great to finally get to meet him in person and hang out a bit. Not only was he willing to eat glass for me, he even helped put together a trampoline for some friends. Nice dude. 

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COURTNEY BLAZON

Anyone with a fraction of a pulse and who pays at least 1% attention to the happenings around Missoula, MT are no doubt familiar with the name Courtney Blazon. Courtney, with her instantly recognizable style, has had her work involved with many, many, many local and national events, publications, companies and private commissions. I love her work and think beyond the shadow of a doubt that she is deserving of all the success she earns.

Also ... she's a god damn delight to be around. During our shoot, which featured her skateboard for the ON DECK 11 art auction, there were times I didn't want to end the conversation by picking up the camera. She is so easy to interact with – and whether talking about her passion (obsession?) with blowing bubbles, love of shoes, her work habits, or a random dog rolling on a dead mouse – there was rarely a minute without a smile on either one of our faces. The weather (wind, rain, sun, clouds) was a factor on this shoot, as was a mine field of dog poop, but I loved every second of it. Thanks for being you Courtney!

THEO ELLSWORTH

In my ongoing series of photographing artists with their custom skateboards created for the Montana Skatepark Association's ON DECK 11 art auction, I knew that I had to include Theo Ellsworth. A million years ago, Theo and I grew up a few blocks away from each other, and attended the same schools all the way through high school. Although we knew each other casually, we never really hung out. Fast forward to today and it's fun to be reconnected through the art he makes and an art auction I help run. Life is funny. And fun.

IAN CAROPPOLI

As part of my ongoing series of portraits centered around the artists that take part in Missoula's ON DECK skate art auction, I recently got to spend some time with tattoo artist Ian Caroppoli. I photographed him on a Friday night at Blaque Owl Tattoo in downtown Missoula, at what turned out to be a totally great session and really enjoyable time.

As I set up whole mess of "stuff," Ian finished up with a few clients. We gradually transitioned to shooting, and were pleasantly joined by a handful of friends. Sometimes too many people present on a shoot makes me feel awkward, and sometimes too few makes me feel just as awkward. This session – spurred on by Ian's laid back demeanor and great attitude – was just right. 

Ian is obviously a talented artist, whether his canvas is a skateboard or someone's arm. I hope to see his custom skateboard go for a lot of $$$ at the upcoming ON DECK 11 auction.

LARKIN MATOON

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of photographing Missoula artist Larkin Matoon with the custom skateboard he created for ON DECK 11, which is an annual skate art auction put on by the Montana Skatepark Association.  All funds from the auction go toward building skateparks around our great state. Larkin has been in the show several times , and each piece he has created has been an absolute showstopper. 

So many times on a shoot, I end up either neglecting my settings, compositional goals, and ideas because I get so involved in a conversation with my subject – or vice versa – I forget to interact with them because I am only thinking of my camera.

Larkin spoiled me.

He was so calm and relaxed about the whole situation, and was so very easy to carry on a conversation with that I never felt too rushed or that it mattered if I stopped shooting to chat. Or, as was the case more often, he never minded that I cut him off mid-sentence to tell him to hold a pose or to redo a look for me. The result of being so comfortable on the shoot was some images that I am genuinely excited about. 

Thanks Larkin for your contribution to ON DECK and for being so damn pleasant. 

RICK BARGHOLZ

After seeing images of Rick's bike from his trip to the One Moto Show in Portland, OR, I knew I wanted to see more. Having photographed him in his garage before, I knew it was as easy as a phone call to set it up. I love shoots like this, where it's as much about the shoot as it is hanging out, shooting the shit, and generally catching up with each other. 

This bike is impressive. It started as a few tubes of steel and a chalk drawing on the garage floor. Many months (years?) later, after having bent tubes to make the frame, cut angles to get the fork perfect, rolled every inch of metal to make the tank, and I'm sure a few choice swear words, it was finished. And then, in 2017 Rick set a speed record at Bonneville at 69.258 MPH.

PODCON

Back in December, I was lucky enough to find myself reunited with the fine folks from VidCon in order to photograph another one of their events. This time, it was the inaugural attempt at putting on a show focused on the world of podcasts. Appropriately titled PodCon, this event attracted 3000 people from all walks of life to the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA to celebrate all things related to podcasting. As with VidCon, I love the energy, unique moments, freedom that each attendee has to be themselves, and the collective feeling of being part of something cool. 

Check out some more images from PodCon in the gallery here.

Thanks PodCon!

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SMOKE ELSER

No matter what circles you run in around Missoula, MT, you have most likely come across the name Smoke Elser. He has spent his life working as a backcountry guide and outfitter, is a staunch defender of wilderness, and has been on the receiving end of almost every award out there. The stats I keep coming back to that define Smoke the best are these:

  1. Add up all the nights he has slept on the ground, under the stars, sometimes in a makeshift tent ... it's over 22 years!
  2. He's racked up over well 60,000 miles on horseback.

Damn.

Throughout 2017 I have been working on a promo video for the Montana Council of Boy Scouts that focuses on Smoke and his contribution to the things scouting stands for. Every time I walk into his barn near the doorstep of the Rattlesnake Wilderness, I have to pinch myself. Walls of saddles, horse bridles hanging over a workbench, antlers, tools, photos of special times in the backcountry. Really, it's more of a museum than a barn. As part of the video project, I recently had a quick photo shoot with Smoke. I love the images i captured and can't wait to see them as part of the BSA's annual ICL campaign. 

METTE ROMAIN, LCSW

It was hot. It was smoky. But during the photo shoot I had with local social worker and counselor Mette Romain, you'd never be able to tell. We laughed and goofed off almost as much as we shot photos. I was stoked that Mette looked me up when she was looking to create images for her new website.