explosive creativity

LANDO STILL ROLLIN'

What a fun and funny ride this whole Lando project of mine has been. What started as a way to capture some zaniness and odd behavior of a friend has turned into something a bit more. Lando and I were interviewed by the Missoulian last Wednesday for an article they wanted to run about the calendars. Needless to say, we obliged. We were shocked, but we obliged. You can read the article here. When we began this thing, we didn't expect anyone to really care, but now that we have had two newspaper interviews, some radio time, and a gang of social media buzz, our eyes are wide open. With most of our inventory sold, we are encouraged about the future of this project. I have a pretty solid plan for the 2014 calendar and hope to beef up the product line a bit too. Greeting cards, postcards, prints, posters ... they're all in mind. Plus, Lando and I have been brainstorming some bigger and better goals as well. We'll see. Regardless, this experience has been fun and affirming to me as a photographer. Naturally (and obviously), the spotlight has been on Lando from the get go. But I have been on the periphery of that light enjoying the fruits of my labor and learning a thing or two along the way. Sure it's a goofy "thing" to have done, but I am very much looking at it through the eyes of a serious photographer too. And just like the gallery show I had a few years ago, which produced a few nice jobs, I trust the Lando project will generate some more work for me as well.

Onward ... with high hopes.

LANDO.

And so it begins... For the past umpteen months, I have been working, ahem ... "working" on a project with a big, loud, weird friend of mine named Lance. He goes by Lando. He's a character to say the least. We decided to capture and present to the world many different looks of Lando and package them up, calendar style. With many, many nights and weekends spent shooting photos of things that make certain people cringe, kick ass help from our web developing friend and lots of eye rolling from others, we have officially launched Lando406.com, and have pulled the trigger on ordering the first run of Lando 2013 calendars. 12 months of half-baked photos of a big dude doing big things: mountain biking on an exercise bike, loving cats, and getting whooped at tennis.

If you are in or near Missoula on November 2, 2012 we will be having a First Friday-type opening and sales event of the calendar at Stockman's Bar on Front street.

I love having a personal photography project going on. There are many identifiable stages of the process, and right now, being at or near the completion stage, is always a good feeling and an even better reminder of why its important to keep at it. Laughter, happiness, accomplishment and all around good feelings are the reason to keep pressing on. We'll see how "successful" this project is in terms of being a money maker. But even if it falls flat, I've created something, and at this point it can''t be undone. It's out there and can't be taken back. Onward.

TOTAL FEST XI

It totally came, totally kicked some arse, and is now totally in the books. Talkin' about Total Fest of course. And in case you're unaware, Total Fest is a Missoula-based rock fest geared toward lesser known, independent bands. Another way to say it is that TF is a living, breathing, performing laboratory in which scientists study how humans interact when subjected to three days of noise, youth covered in jean shorts and tank tops, former youth who speak of the "good ol days," while being subjected to a lot of other people's body odor. Funny thing is, the whole shebang is damn enjoyable. This was the fourth consecutive year I have photographed the fest. Each year has its own unique vibe, and this year was no different. Hard to describe, but I liked it. I liked that the first band I photographed was more or less a country band. A little bit later, it was a surf rock band. Enjoyed a dose of stoner rock. And to cap things off, some face-melting hard rawk. (it's spelled like that to emphasize how rocky the rock really was. got it?)

The weekend was also a great time to hang out and float with some good friends who were in town, float a river, drink a few beers and recreate scenes from "What About Bob." It's how all good weekends go, right?

Here's some photos:

ATARI OPENING // GOLDEN JOYSTICK

Whoa! The saga that is the Atari Aesthetic juried art show at the brink gallery got a lot more exciting last night. I am quite proud to be able to say that my photo won the "Best In Show" award. Yeah, that's right! I won! (I don't really think that it was called the "best in show" award, but it was called something like that. And I won. So I'm going with it). I was even handed an envelope that said "Mr. Big Winner" on it. And guess what else? I got a gold joystick too! How cool is that? An actual Atari joystick that is painted gold. I've never won an academy award, but at this point, I don't need to. I just won a gold joystick. Damn! I definitely have to give a high five to my buddies Bob and Aaron for agreeing to "model" for me on a dreary Saturday several months ago. This image was created in my garage studio and involved a bit of homework. First, I had to track down the yellow suit at a medical supply store, buy the gloves from Ace, purchase a Russian gas mask from ebay and rent a fog machine from the local rental center. My friend Lou has been into video games his entire life and I knew he used to have an Atari console. Turns out he still has it...in the original box, with the original receipt taped to it. This thing cost $129 in 1982. Ironically enough, this is the exact Atari we played as kids growing up. Once it was all roughly in place, the Atari was suspended from the rafters with a ton of fishing line. I shot a little over 200 photos trying to get the light right, the smoke pumping and the right "look" to the scene. At the end of the day I knew I had something to work with. Then, all it took was Photoshop and countless hours of cloning, enhancing, color adjusting to get to a finished look I was happy with. I usually don't do nearly this much PS work to any of my images, but this was a special occasion. So I went for it.

Here is the finished image that was in the show. I am pretty stoked on the whole darn process and rather proud of it. I love the feeling of taking something from fuzzy idea to tangible result and then putting it out there and seeing where the world takes it.

FACES

I've never really been one to enter photography contests (aside from this one i guess). Early on, it was drilled into my head that many contest organizers are simply trolling for images which they can then use for other purposes without too much regard for ownership, copyright, payment or final usage. So naturally, I've been weary. However, we all know what they say about rules.

I had this shot in mind for a while, and when I saw the ad for the PDN Faces contest, it clicked. Also, PDN's rules clearly state that "...you retain copyright to your photograph and the Sponsors may not sell your photo entry for a fee..." Right now, I am not banking on the prize patrol showing up with balloons and a big check as there are many quality images in this contest. However, it doesn't matter. I am personally pretty damn proud of this image, and at the end of the day, it makes me happy to look at it. That's enough ... although I wouldn't slam the door on the prize patrol.

What are your thoughts? Comment below.

 

More 5

As I mentioned in a previous post here, I am working towards my first gallery show in August. I have been shooting for, and working on this project quite a bit lately. Primarily, this means I have been spending a lot of time at the skatepark with camera in hand. I know, rough stuff huh?  It's fun to see it come together, bit by bit by bit. I already feel like I owe a ton of thanks to everyone who has agreed to have their photo taken. I certainly appreciate it.

more later.

PUBLISHED: GVSA CALENDAR

Pretty stoked to share this today.  I just received a package in the mail from a buddy in Bozeman who has been working with the Gallatin Valley Skatepark Association (GVSA) for a while.  The GVSA is the organization trying to get a bigger, better, awesomer skatepark built in Bozeman. One of their fundraising efforts was has been to produce a 2011 calendar full of shots of (mostly) local skaters, bikers, shredders, skiers, etc. taken by (mostly) local photographers.  I was excited when Brian Koenig asked if I wanted to be involved, and I am even more excited to see the finished result. The GVSA used my shot of Kurt Scott riding the Montana sign in the Bitterroot Valley for September. I am proud to be amongst such other great photogs like Dan Armstrong, Derik Olsen, Reid Morth to name a few. I am perhaps even more proud to now be able to call Kurt by his rightful title...Mr. September.

TOTALED

Damn. Double damn!

That's about all I can say after taking in 40+ bands in 3 days, adding many, many GBs to the hard drives and witnessing 3 a.m. several nights in a row...as if I were a spry 20-year old again...which, as it turns out, I am not.

I spent the weekend shooting Total Fest IX at the Badlander, Palace and the Missoula Art Museum of all places. Billed as "an all-ages, volunteer-run, nonprofit, DIY event that brings together creative, non-commercial musicians and fans for three-days of great music and times," Total Fest has also been referred to as "King of all DIY rock festivals" courtesy of The Stranger in Seattle.

TF is always a good time for people to get together, reunite, float a river or two, BBQ, shoot the shit, play music and have a good time. For me, it always serves as a good reminder of what attracted me to photography years ago: ENERGY. There is so much raw, real, sweaty, loud, angry, happy, no nonsense, genuine, creative, don't-give-a-shit energy generated by every band; every person at TF, that it is hard to take it all in. There were so many moments of awesomeness over the weekend I feel like it would be impossible to grab them all.

Check out the Total Fest IX image gallery on my website to check out the moments I did capture.

THE INVITES

As I am learning these days, there is a lot that goes in to planning a wedding. Even a simple, "low-stress", low budget, just-wanna-have-fun-with-friends wedding. Recently however, in the sea of never-ending little details and expensive stuff, I had a few moments of downright awesomeness. I decided to forego the traditional invites you see in every magazine and do something a bit out of the ordinary. Hence, our wedding invites were printed on wood. No...scratch that...they were SCREEN-PRINTED on wood...that I cut out and sanded BY HAND. Damn!

With the guidance and brilliance of Aaron and Christian down at Garage T's, we pumped out 100+ totally custom wedding invites over the course of several hours. Of course, Quiet Riot and Coors helped out a bit too.

We haven't given out all the invites yet, so I can't reveal the finished version here, but this will give you all a darn good idea.

MUST BE AUCTION TIME

Last year about this time, I struck up a little photo project centered around a nonprofit organization I helped create and am still heavily involved with - The Montana Skatepark Association (MSA). Way back in the day (meaning like 8 or 10 years ago) a few friends and I sat down with the Missoula Parks and Rec folks to talk about how to go about building a public skatepark in Missoula. Eventually, it happened and on opening day in September 2006 the park was ushered in with a visit from Tony Hawk and about 10,000 fans. 'Twas quite the sight. Lot of heavy liftin' to get to that stage, but an invaluable experience for me. Learned a lot about process, working with people, sacrificing this for that, and a whole bunch about the DIY spirit. Definitely a momentous period in my life.

One of the primary fundraisers we concocted for the MSA is an art auction we call ON DECK. On May 7, 2010 at the Badlander in Missoula, ON DECK will turn 5 years old. That means that another crop of talented artists from around the country will have donated their time and talent to help us raise money to further skateboarding in MT. I started photographing these artists a couple years ago and am enjoying it thoroughly. So far this year, I have only snuck in one shoot with local artist Courtney Blazon. Her work has a very unique, almost dreamlike style to it. And, she couldn't be a nicer person to hang out with and photograph. Here are a couple of images from a shoot I had with her and the deck she created for ON DECK 5. I encourage you to check out her work and bid on this deck during the ON DECK auction.

Courtney Blazon

MAGAZINES and A MOVIE.

Happy Friday. This one is shaping up to be a good one, and its looking like it will continue on throughout the weekend. Full of film, photography and even some good old fashion work - the manual labor kind, not the stare-at-a-screen kind. (Cause if I'm gonna have a sore back, it might as well be from doing something other than sittin.') Anyhow, i thought i'd share this video today. Found it on David Marx's site, computersforphotographers.com

Yet another interesting display here on how the world of magazines is changing. Very interesting to see where it is all heading. And while it is obviously cool checking out all the bells and whistles offered, I was reassured that even though the method of reading/watching/tickling your fingers through a publication are changing, it only solidifies the importance and need for strong photography and good writing. Smart, creative human beings can breathe a sigh of relief.

In other, somewhat-related news, I went and saw Doug Pray's documentary Art & Copy last night at the Wilma Theater. The film was just one of 136 films being shown during this year's BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL. The festival is quickly rising to the top of my Reasons I Live In Missoula List. Hell of an effort pulling this altogether. Great results year after year.

I thought the film was a fantastic commentary on the double-edged sword that is the world of advertising. In the Q & A afterwards, I especially liked how Mr. Pray likened advertising to the counter-culture world he has portrayed in some of his other films like Surfwise, Hype!, and Scratch. Here's a trailer for Art & Copy:

SPAGHETTI WIG? GREAT.

Last Friday night, I sent a friend a text message saying "spaghetti wig?" Got a response saying "great." That's pretty much how all perfect Saturday's begin, right? The following day I went over to "the model's" house where I found him and another friend engrossed in a zombie movie. Wasn't surprised - only pleased. An undisclosed amount of Rainier was introduced and then the wig was born. It just so happened that it was Halloween last Saturday. Even better.

Here are a couple of results from an afternoon of vitamin R, zombies, spaghetti and a whole bunch of giggling.

20091031_Matt_2834

20091031_Matt_2783