~ Seeing Beyond Sight: Photographs by Blind Teenagers. (buy book here)
~ Great review by Andy Ilachinski (here)


Boudoir Sessions & Valentine's Day

Check out Elizabeth's blog for an update on her boudoir photos.

"Hello Everyone! Been staying inside to stay warm lately and getting ready to gear up for the upcoming Romance Holiday. In spirit of one of my favorite holidays (yes…I’m a hopeless romantic) we’d like to offer a special for Boudoir Sessions. Normally our Boudoir shoots are between $500 to $1,000 but from now until February 14 we’re offering a 50% DISCOUNT on all of our Boudior Sessions. The shoots are on location (your home or any other location you would like) and are for any hopeless romantic like me (with a little bit of NASTY thrown into the mix ) that would like to surprise their loved one with some sass. "

Email or call Elizabeth Craig for more details…


Living Room Series

To cold to go outside. Creative photo found inside the home...

Camera: Nikon D700
Exposure: 0.01 sec (1/100)
Aperture: f/1.6
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 1000
Exposure Bias: +1 EV
Flash: No Flash


Facebook Conversation

Asking: Why is capitalism aloud to spread disease but democracy is not permitted to stop it?

Rick Mitchell at 9:58am January 27
What disease does capitalism spread, and how is democracy supposed to stop it? Poverty spreads disease and capitalism is capable of stopping it, by building hospitals, schools, and training and teaching people how to raise themselves out of poverty. I agree that greed is a large reason why this doesn't happen, but it's the people that are flawed, not the system. LBJ's Great Society programs have largely failed. Communism has largely failed. Capitalism works. Besides, we are a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. Sorry this is so long, but you hit a sore spot! ;)

John Craig at 10:15am January 27
Rick – Good to hear from you, miss playing music with you…Great response…I am a fan of Conscience Capitalism. Educate me on “Constitutional Republic, not a democracy” .Peace ~ John

Rick Mitchell at 10:35am January 27
Ditto John! We need to remedy that! Anyway, a democracy, simply put, is one person - one vote, and they would have to vote on EVERYTHING (remember, I said simply put - there are many more factors at work here). A constitutional republic (or representative republic) elects people to represent the populace in government, and those folks (senators, congressmen/women, councilmen/women, etc) go to the seat of goverment (local, state, national) and vote on issues using their own wisdom and (hopefully) the will of their constituents, based on a written set of laws (aka the Constitution). I hope my old civics teacher doesn't ever read this! I'm sure I'm missing a lot, but that's the gist of it. Hope to see you soon, Bro! ;)

John Craig at 10:43am January 27
Political Views: “Evil” Neo-Con…does that make you a liberal or conservative. Me by default.. I have to be a liberal…You have to sign a form when you buy an acoustic guitar….or no paying gigs…

Rick Mitchell at 10:57am January 27
LOL!!! That's great! I'm a Reagan Conservative. I put Evil Neo-Con as an inside joke after being called that because I disagreed with a liberal friend on mine on something or other. I hope we can still be friends... ;)


Current Reading: Life of Picasso: The Cubist Rebel
Current Music: Between Now & Then by The Clarks
Smells: Coffee
Mood: Mystified
Sounds: Humming Heater
Temperature: 18 degrees
Thoughts: Why is capitalism aloud to spread disease but democracy is not permitted to stop it.


Photo of the Week

Our baby turns 3 today, OMG time goes by fast. We love you Ella,

Mommy and Daddy
(p.s. photo taken by mommy)


No Demons - Short Story

Sander Yari was found dead in his apartment on the South Side of Pittsburgh, PA yesterday morning, approximately 30 minutes after sunrise. Yari’s body was discovered by his girlfriend, Emily, of the past 2yrs.

I told the paramedics that I was picking him up that morning to go jogging down by the waterfront. I let myself in the apartment with the key that he gave me and noticed Sander sitting on his meditation cushion. This was nothing new for me to see, Sander has been a practicing meditator since high school. The next ten minutes I sat in the kitchen drinking a cup of tea and I didn’t become concerned until I saw that his head had fallen forward onto his chest. When he didn’t move I walked over to him calling his name and when I placed my hand on his shoulder I felt nothing. No movement, no breath, no warmth, no blood flow, no life. I panicked. I called 911. I screamed. I froze. I waited for the paramedics to arrive. There he sat in the lotus pose dead, with the slightest smile on his face and a note paper-clipped to his dog tags.

The paramedic told me that it seemed he suffered no pain; his body had no sign of trauma. His heart just stopped…it’s a damn mystery. Then the paramedic zipped up the black bag that now held Sander’s body. He handed me the letter and Sander’s dog tags, gave me a bereaved smile, said he was sorry for my loss and pushed the gurney out the front door of the apartment.

I placed Sander’s dog tags around my neck and read his letter.

The note read:
This is not a suicide letter. This is my letter of samsara; my cycle of death to re-birth has begun. It is my intention to transmigrate from the organic to the ethereal, back to the organic world. I sit…breathe in and breathe out, staring at the sunrise asking my soul to leave this subtle body.

With love, Sander
P.S. I found God and s/he wears shoes

“What…what…what!? Sander!” I screamed…death, samsara, God, shoes…F-you. Why? What do I do now? Who do I call first? I am cold, I am alone…Sander…why?

Not knowing what to do next I sat down in the lotus pose on Sander’s meditation cushion staring out the same window as he did, seeing the view which would have been his last. City skyline, tree tops, white clouds, gray-blue sky and the smell of clean morning air. This is what Sander would have seen. I cried…I pressed his dog tags to my chest and felt the cold steel that he wore around his neck since before we met. For all the time that I laid in his arms I never took notice of what the dog tags had inscribed on them.

Surname, First name, Second Initial: Yari, Sander A.
Army serial number: 3733756 T42 430
Blood Type: Negative A
Religion: No demons

Three days later I was in front of a crowd of 300 people. A gathering of his ex-army buddies, college friends and relatives, all of whom I had never met. I stood in a church that Sander would have never attended and gave his eulogy.

“No demons…that is what Sander had on his dog tags for his religion preference. That is Sander Yari, he no longer cared for organized religion and felt no need to pick any one house of worship over the other. In his simplistic way… no demons…was a perfect fit for his statement of faith.

“I met Sander in November ‘06, waiting in line for coffee. Actually I met Sander when I accidentally spilled my coffee on his hands at the cream and sugar bar. I was so apologetic, he was calm and smiled. We introduced ourselves, we talked, shared a scone and fell in love over the next couple of months. We would go jogging in the morning and at night would cook dinner together. He called it our “cooking therapy”. No television, no music, just us talking about our day while we prepared our meal.

“Every Sunday afternoon we would have dinner with my family. Sunday evening would be spent in my father’s woodshop, building ornate picture frames. It was great time spent. We would turn on football games or a hockey games or if there were no games we would turn on the iPod shuffle and listen to our jukebox of music. He would build frames, I would watch, we would both drink beer and sometimes we would dance in the dust.

“Sander held a job that he was impartial to. He was good at his job, or at least the company he worked for liked him. Sander did not like to spend the money that he earned from his job, if he could help it. He did spend it, but he preferred sweat equity. That’s what he called it…sweat equity….hard work in trade for service. That’s what he did with all those picture frames that he built in my father’s woodshop. Trade for service; sometimes he would get a haircut or vegetables from a local produce shop. One time he even got his taxes done. It seems to make people happy….sweat equity.

“I called Sander my twenty-something-disco-monk; energetic on the outside and fully devoted on the inside. He was urban chic, artistic and cultural. He enjoyed experiences of the city life, good conversation and long dinners at home. He took pleasure in meditation, yoga and reading spiritual texts of all types.

“The spring of 2002 he was in the army station between the ice cube tray of Alaska and the sandbox of Iraq. Fire and ice, that’s how he described traveling between the two of them. Sander never had to shoot a gun in combat nor was a gun ever shot at him. He was very happy about that. He was a Chaplin assistant in the Army, which gave him a lot of free time and a large library to read through.

“After reading the Gospel of Thomas he proclaimed an apostasy, a formal disaffiliation with organized religion. Sander interpreted a passage from the Gospel of Thomas in which Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." I believe these are the words that have brought us here today. Sander did not believe that there was separation between Jesus and himself. I think he needed to prove it to himself.”

At this time I read Sander’s letter to the funeral congregation.

“This is not a suicide letter. This is my letter of samsara, my cycle of death to re-birth has begun. It is my intention to transmigrate from the organic to the ethereal, back to the organic world. I sit…breathe in and breathe out, staring at the sunrise asking my soul to leave this subtle body.

With love, Sander
p.s. I found God and s/he wears shoes.”

I touched the neckline of my dress and pulled out his dog tags that I had hanging around my neck. Holding them tightly in my head I repeated the last sentence - P.S. I found God and s/he wears shoes.

Crying, I look down at my shoes… Breathe Emily, I say to myself, breathe.

Looking up from my shoes I see Sander standing in the back of the church…



Current Reading: After Photography by Fred Ritchin
Current Music: Narrow Stairs by Death Cab for Cutie
Mood: Energized
Sounds: Plastic noise
Temperature: 25 degrees
Thoughts: I found God and s/he wears shoes


5 Question Interview Series with Kit Anderson

Kit Anderson a producer, writer, director and author of “Never Cry Jack” has graciously agreed to take part in my ongoing “5 Question Interview Series.”

Amazon.com editorial description of Anderson book:

“Jack Champagne wanted the life, liberty and hot pursuits promised to her. She traded a world of tall trees, dirt bikes and milk money stains for a Big Apple American Dream. Her story begins with Monday Night Footbal, bobble head Jesus, a clock blinking eights and a cassette tape. It ends on blood letter print, the iPod, a Glock 27 and a crimson tulip growing from cracked mortar and broken eggshells. This is her life. This is Jack in Manhattan 1996-2001. Don't mind the smoke... “

How and when did you get started as a writer?

I’ve always been a storyteller. As a boy, my mother would sit me down and say, “Kit—That’s a good story, but you do know that actually never happened.” Typically, I would defend the story, passionately claiming it was true and honestly confused when realizing, indeed... It was only a story. “Only a story” I could sound off on that, but I’ll just say this. “Only a story” is akin to looking at the heavens and saying, “It’s only a bunch of rocks and gas floating around.” When I was ten or eleven, I wrote a 200-page story about an epic battle, being waged in the carpeting of my Lego room. The Carpet Commandos and Rug Rat Rebels were fighting WWIII and I was the only person aware of the conflict, so I wrote about it. I’m not sure what happened to that story, probably on a floppy disk somewhere. In college, a Creative Writing professor told me to switch from Graphic Design to his curriculum, but I rejected the idea. I hated studying anything creative shackled to a desk in a sterile classroom. I announced, “I am a writer—but I will write when I have something to talk about. Right now, I’m late for a snowboarding competition.”

What are the major challenges that you have faced in your career?

Major challenges? Does putting food on the table count? My career as a professional artist is brand new. I spent 10 years pursuing a professional snowboarding dream, but eight concussions turned my head into an eggshell and I got bumped out of all my snowboarding sponsorships and replaced by some seventeen-year-old kid. The same week, a truck ran over my rice-burner. Then a buddy was murdered, then a couple more... I broke down. Now, I have to write. It’s survival. It’s how I’ve learned to function. It’s a compulsion. Without a notebook nearby—Well, I just keep one with me all the time. We don’t have to talk about me without the notebook nearby. I don’t like that version of me. I like me as a writer—it’s the most stable version of me yet. Maybe, I’m just growing up.

Why did you choose to license your book with a Creative Commons copyright?

Why license through the creative commons? I became a fan in 2004. I had just finished making a movie with my production partner Ben Mahoney of http://web.mac.com/freshuan/iWeb/FreshuanFilms/Freshuan.html—Ben is the one who got me into making movies. I didn’t know you could do that. I thought rich people made movies, but he showed me some stuff he’d made. He told me to spend the insurance money from my wrecked rice-burner on a camera. I bought the camera the next day. I started shooting the snowboard park at Breckenridge, Colorado. It was a role-reversal for me. I was behind a camera now—Anyways, two years later I had moved to Lake Tahoe, California and finished shooting a movie we called Gapers Gone Wild. It was a quirky satire we billed as “The Most Extreme Movie Ever Made”. One day I get a letter--Girls Gone Wild is suing us. I got well versed in copyright and trademark law, really quickly. We won. We kept the name, but I learned some things. The simple fact is this—if we don’t change the laws, we will destroy a hundred years of creativity in American arts. The current laws are driven by purely capitalistic engines and are completely disconnected from the nature of the creative process. Read Ezekiel. There is nothing new under the sun. What you say is not unique—language is shared. Our voice is unique, not what we say. No one else can tell the story of Jack and the Beanstalk quite like me. That’s the fun. This “life of the artist—plus 70 years”… Let me put it this way: If Napoleon was born today--His last name would be Disney.

What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

What inspires me? Well, I feel like I covered that earlier, but motivation can be difficult. I don’t have a problem being creative all the time, writing, drawing, shooting, whatever—mostly my big issue is focus. I do a lot of visualization techniques, something I learned from snowboarding. I also pay attention to my diet. I also adopted a kind of monastic existence. Everything I have right now is listed at my old blog, with the addition of my cowboy hat, new boots and jacket. I like it simple—real simple. Inside my head is complicated enough. Got to stay Zen, or things get ugly quick.

What’s next for you? New book, Movie deals?

What’s next? Currently I’m working on a series of short films on the American Dream. A feature length movie adaptation of my novel called Luxury-and-the-AfterBang is in pre-production right now. I also just finished a two year project with the mathematicians called Transdimensional Odyssey of Doom. It’s footage from over 100 shows and two national tours, combined with some badass anime we made. Anyone in Washington DC for the inauguration can party with me and Mathematicians at the http://www.brightestyoungthings.com/. I’m also producing a new western on snowmobiles that is something like a Mad-Max/Point-Break mash-up based on a true story. We’re working on financing now. Anyone interested in being a part of that project can contact me through my Kit Anderson. The next novel is in pre-writing now and tentatively titled “Once Upon A Black Flag; Blood”. It is a historical fiction piece about my ancestor Bloody Bill Anderson. He taught Frank and Jesse James outlawry, led the first train robbery and the first daylight bank robbery in American history, and was the first to fly the black flag without skull and crossbones. Anything else? Let me think… That’s all that’s fit to mention right now. anyone interested in my novel or any of my other projects should exploit these links:file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/craigja/Desktop/www.kitanderson.com & Never Cry Jack: A Novel.


Ansel Adams - Quote

“Musicians practice constantly; most photographers do not practice enough. The siren call of the hobby obscures the necessary exactions of art. It is easy to take a photograph, but it is harder to make a masterpiece in photography than in any other art medium.”

~ Ansel Adams

I agree.

Recommended Reading

Building Muscle on a Vegan Diet: The Ultimate Guide
The Peak Condition Project in 2009
Plant Based Muscle Building (link via of IOC)


Active Play

Describing photographic style has to be one of the utmost difficult things for me to do. The words I choose have to be specific, detailed, accurate and have to be said simply in a non-jargon language.

Cinematic documentation is the title or phrase that I have been using for the last couple of years. (So much for the non-jargon) Cinematic documentation style of photography is taking a director’s role in producing images. It can be slightly journalistic within a controlled setting. We evoke techniques from theater and films such as stage blocking and the fourth wall to create an atmosphere of improvisation and spontaneity that leads to fresh original relaxed images.

Cultural adaptability, storytelling and active play appear to be where our compositional style is at today. This helps us to produce simple, honest, fun and beautiful images.

Active Play is a term that I have been tossing around about how we interact with our clientele during photo shoots. It is a high energy approach to cinematic documentation style of photography. Entertaining, directing, experiential, free-flowing fun photography that creates a connection, builds relationships and places the clients in an environment of trust.

Next time I am asked to describe our style my answer will be “Active Play” to create the images and “Cinematic documentation” for viewing.


Photo of the Week

Camera: Nikon D70s
Exposure: 0.5 sec (1/2)
Aperture: f/9
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 200


Craig-Photography 4.0 is launch

Craig-Photography 4.0 has officially been launched. Our new site is about active play, transparency and storytelling.

The newest addition to the site is Elizabeth’s wedding blog. The wedding blog’s function is about relationship building and storytelling. Elizabeth brings her love for composition, timing, perseverance and unquestionably her passion for photographing people to the site. Her blog went into beta mode on October 20, 2008 and has developed into a resource and a conversation starter for newly engaged couples. We are pleased to see it dwell on our new website.

Additionally, we added a new Investment page. This is where we try very hard to be 100% transparent to our clientele. We understand how hard and confusing it can be for customers to make informed decisions about wedding vendors. Simplicity with direct information is our answer to the confusion that many couples run into. We live by “please feel free to ask”, if at any time there is any puzzlement just ask, we’ll answer.

Lastly we would like to thank Direct-Axis for helping to develop our idea and then bring it to fruition. The team at Direct Axis has been kind, professional and fun to work with.

With deep bows of gratitude, we would like to thank you for spending time with us over the years. We are looking forward to seeing where this journey takes us.

Peace ~ John & Elizabeth



Current Reading: Ansel Adams: An Autobiography
Current Music: The Beatles, all there albums
Mood: Happy
Sounds: Typing fingers
Smells: Coffee
Temperature: 25 degrees with light snow
Thoughts: Sneak peaks are fun, go ahead and look




Two weeks of life without the computer screen in front of my face. What did I do? First, I miss you…a lot…seriously, hugs all around. Second, I read John Lennon: The life by Philip Norman. Excellent read: 800 plus pages on the life of Lennon and I couldn’t put it down. Filled up my iPod with the entire collection of the Beatles’ albums and I listened to them as I turned the pages on Lennon’s life. Pleasurable time spent.

Watched my daughter enjoy Christmas. She is 3 this year and what she enjoyed the most about the holidays was spending time with her family. She’s still a little too young to enjoy presents. Nonetheless, she takes pleasure in an empty broken down cardboard box and a pink crayon in her hand. That keeps her busy for days, or at least the next 30mins.

I was given a bottle Hennessy Cognac as a gift this year. I can for see this becoming my addiction of choice throughout this year. I feel like I am cheating on Chivas scotch but I’ve been faithful long enough. I call this year’s addiction to cognac my lost weekend of choice.

Next week I will be installing (with my Father) a hardwood floor in my mudroom, which will then turn into my yoga/meditation/guitar/photography/practicing room. It’s nice to have a space of your own. If your wife permits it, and mine does. J Love you E.

Went to the movies this past Sunday to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It’s good, very good; this movie has rhythm and tempo. It will move you.


Year 4

Year four in the blogoshpere. What to expect? The continuation of rants, compositions, moments, photos-of-the-week, 5-question-interview-series and the occasional humorous whatnots of me making fun of everyday life will be the groundwork of this blog.

New things for this blog and my life will be short story writing, diary entries and a focus on real life networking. 2009 is the year that I shake hands, make new friends and get involved in the Pittsburgh art scene. I will be attending a writing class this February titled “Point of View - a new way of looking at and responding to photography.” Lectures, art openings and seminars will make up my social calendar this year. I need to see more people and less computer screens; we have become people of the screen.

Pittsburgh has been good to us. This city, our clientele and the social networking scene that has developed with the birth of web 2.0 has pushed Craig Photography to greater heights than either of us could have hoped for. With deep bows of gratitude I thank you for joining us on this journey.

~ For an update on the Wedding side of our business see my wife’s, Elizabeth, blog (here).