Connected, Disconnected and Suffering

What is more of an odd feeling, being connected or disconnected?

Tuesday morning I am drinking coffee and sharing a piece of toast with my daughter. The news headline is that President Obama will being holding his address to the nation tonight and the topic will be on the end of the war in Iraq.

Accept for news headlines I have been disconnected from this war. Sure, I have shared my opinions during conversation (my opinion is war sucks, George Bush was wrong and Saddam Hussein was evil, good riddance). But I was never connected to the war. I have not met one soldier who served. I have not met one family affected by the loss of a loved one. I have not met one community suffering from the loss of the young men and women who have left home to serve. (God bless you, all of you for your services)

The last decade in America was war. How could I have not been affected at all? How could I feel no pain or see no suffering? How could I not even have been a spectator?

I am sorry for my actions. For my disconnect. I am sorry for the prayers that I have not offered up.

Later in the day I walked to the bank and then to the post office and then to the drug store. I buy shampoo. I stand in the cashier's line waiting to pay behind an old man buying his daily newspaper. His mobile phone rings…”yes, they are shipping home the body today from Afghanistan.” He pays for his paper I pay for my shampoo.

When I walk out of the drug store I see the man leaning against his car crying, trying to recompose himself.

I feel connected.

Look Mom it's Me

Coolest tripod ever!!!!! If you want to see the photo that I took click (HERE)


Published: Whirl Wedding Guide

The Whirl Wedding Guide hits the stands on Thursday this week, they decided to pick up a few of our photos from our weddings! We even got 2 full pages. To see all the photos you click over to Elizabeth's blog (HERE)


Photo of the Week

All photography & artwork on this site is licensed under a creative commons licensing: Please feel free to use and distribute the photography & artwork in accordance with the licensing


Got Sleep

Went to bed Monday night at 9pm and woke up Tuesday at 1pm, still tired.

Went down to the kitchen, drank a bowl of cold miso soup that my wife left for me earlier in the day. Sat down at the computer at 2pm started editing the wedding from the weekend before. It was an Indian wedding, beautiful colors and lots and lots and lots of photos, 8pm done with the bulk editing. Thinking about food seems like too much work to cook, but decide on rice and vegetables.

Sitting on the sofa for the first time in two days, turn on the TV nothing on, no surprise there. Try to watch some news but too boring. Why do people care if Obama is a Muslim anyway? A country that is built on freedom of religion, just as long your religion is something a white guy believes in. (no comments please, I will just delete them).

Decide on watching TEDTalks videos on design thinking; I like this train of thought. I have been implementing design thinking into our photography biz. Keeping people and technology on the same page is a good marketing tip.

11:30pm need to go back to bed, tired but not tired enough to sleep. It’s time for repeats, turn on Hulu (is it turn on when watching on the net?). LOST the final season episode 17 Titled “The End”, not a bad starting point for my drifting off to sleep TV watching (or is it screen watching?)

With new technology new names for things seem to be the last thing to be decided on.


The Best Photographer

Tuesday evening 10 pm, standing outside on a sidewalk on Penn Ave in front of Heinz Hall. A Herbie Hancock concert just let out, a concert that I wish I would of seen. Have you listened to the Joni Letters by Hancock? It's great, in a complete project sort of way. Complete bodies of work are becoming a lost art. In a world of mp3, facebook, googles (just wrote that to see if you were reading, you know who) blogs (like this) media-5-minute wars and the randomness that might hold our attention.

Completed work. Seems...well...too time consuming to consume. Why listen to 45 minutes of music when 3 minutes repeated will do? Why read a novel when 140 characters can say all that we need? Why write in complete sentences when a text will do?

Why? Because it is about the journey. Life is complex until it is simple. Truly. It is that simple. Past all the confusion lies only simplicity. Not simple, but simplicity; the ability to be slow with action, purpose, effort to move with meaning towards a journey.

Tonight on this sidewalk standing outside of a concert that is letting out I think I may have just met the best photographer I have ever. I have not even seen one of her photos. Well, I did see one photo; it was taken on her iPhone and it was better composed and with more emotion than I have taken in a long time…if ever. And I am a good photographer, that may be a subjective statement, but I understand my craft.

I desire to understand the passion of what moves a person. This photographer with her ability to ask questions to see what is in front of her, not to create but to see, had a conversation with me about photography, life, therapy and the ability to help improve life with the click of a shutter.

This conversation meant a lot to me more that I can ramble on about. But to her I think this was just a sidewalk conversation that is one in the many of a photographer who chooses to the see the world, daily. To show up to what may present itself to the muse that is standing next to all of us.



Current Reading: The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely
Current Music: 12 Gardens: Live by Bill Joel
Mood: Under the weather
Smells: Coffee & pancakes
Sounds: MSNBC
Temperature: Currently 66 degrees high of 83, nice…
Thoughts: 24 hour news media TV is depressing.


Engagement Sessions

I hardly ever post anything about our daily work on this blog. For the bulk of that you can go over to Elizabeth's blog to see that. But I really enjoyed this past engagement session. Here is my favorite pic. Let me know what you think?


Photo of the Week

All photography & artwork on this site is licensed under a creative commons licensing: Please feel free to use and distribute the photography & artwork in accordance with the licensing


What Would Kill the Photo Industry?

Better cameras, better software, understandable how-to books. What do you think?

Will the digital revolution leave no stone unturned? The e-book recently killed the book binding business. The mp3 killed the album/cd market. Stock photo market died about five years ago.

What will e-industries kill next?


Last week I wrote “Be Creative: Manifesto” part 1 (here) & part 2 (here…), it was written after a week of what I called my digital sabbatical. Now, a digital sabbatical is nothing new to most creative types who work in this new medium called digital.

Creativity lives in life, not in the bliss of the pixilated universe...sorry programmer peeps out there. I do love your work!

It is an odd feeling going back to the digital life after only seven days away from the computer and all its connected-ness. I like the social life that the web provides; Facebook, Twitter, even this blog is a main connection to my world.

Just as of tonight, right before I started to write this post I submitted my first proposal to speak at an event about how to mix digital culture with old world skills.

That is the point…

In the end it is about keeping your feet rooted in the soil and your head in the clouds. Never would I have thought the clouds would have been in cyberspace.

As always, I’d love to hear what you think...

Create | Connect | Grow - Meet Up

Create | Connect | Grow - Meet Up

August 17
Networking Q&A: 7pm - 9pm
Topic: Lightroom follow up discussion
Where: 502 W. North Ave. Pgh 15212

Open to all....

PS. If you have not seen Adobe TV the how-to-videos, you can check them out (HERE) .



Current Reading: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larrson
Current Music: Symphonicities by Sting
Mood: Great
Smells: Coffee
Sounds: Dora the Explore
Temperature: 84 degrees & rain
Thoughts: You can read “Be Creative” Manifesto Part 1 (here)& 2 (here…)

The Beauty Within Project is all about celebrating women’s lives, struggles, survival, power and will to just…be....go check it out HERE.


Be Creative: Manifesto Part 2

Part 2 of 2

Have we lowered our standards of creative intelligence to wait and see what the machine replicates?

Great things come out of crap. A couple of examples: the universe, the soil, our food, death to rebirth. It is all based on the idea that great things come out of crap.

This gets me to the purpose of this manifesto on “Be Creative”.

What is the purpose of life? To entertain the rest of nature, Gary Snyder wrote that and it’s true. Humans were created last, be it of God’s will or the last thing the primordial ooze of evolution got to. We were placed on this planet after everything else was done. We are only here to entertain the rest of nature.

Create something new, daily, that is your purpose. Creativity entertains, heals and sustains life; it is what we were pre-destined to do.

If we leave creativity to the machines, it is as if we are committing suicide. Consciously attempting to will ourselves out of existence. What is left for humanity when creativity is done by machines? What then is our purpose?

You want to know how to live to your fullest potential? It is done by creating something new, daily. Great things come from crap. Make mistakes, fail often, this will lead to acts of discovery.

I have dreams of becoming a motivational speaker on “Be Creative”. You know; late night infomercials, book tours, conversations with Oprah, Barbra Walter’s 10 most fascinating people of the year. I foresee the whole gamut of possibilities in my head.

I believe in the power creativity, beyond that I believe it is our only purpose to live on this planet. I believe everything we do is a creative act if we purposely choose it to be. Education, child rearing, cooking, prayer, exercise. “Be Creative” is the forethought of the “why” of doing what we choose to do. What we choose to place purpose and effort into.

Being creative will cure disease, it will help you sleep better, it will help you lose weight, it will help you connect better with others…it is the fountain of youth. Can you now in-vision my conversation on Oprah (Welcome to the show, the guru on “Be Creative”. I’ll come out dressed only in white robes, it will be trippy.)

Ok, so I am getting a little new age-y. Let me finish off with one last new age-y thing then I will get back to the real life.

Embracing our artistic-ness is the next wrung on the evolutionary ladder of life. It is human nature to seek purpose…this is it.

Your purpose is to be creative. Go out into the world and create great things out of crap. If you work in accounting be creative, think different. If you work in construction, think out loud, share your ideas. If you’re a teacher embrace your ideas that are already swirling around in your head.

Creativity is only thought, don’t let the machine do it for you. Your purpose is to make this world a better place through your artistic thoughts and actions. Share what you created, give it away, brag about it, get feedback, share ideas and most importantly live…for that is why you were created.

Art’s purpose is to serve. Serve it well.


Be Creative: Manifesto

Part 1 of 2

I am beginning to feel more and more like a defender of the creative dharma. In all of my classes and workshops on photography I utter the phrase repeatedly, “you cannot purchase your way to being a better photographer.”

A photograph is everything that happens before the snap of the shutter. I do mean everything; every book that you read, every movie that you watch, every walk that you have taken, every conversation that you have had. A photograph is the history of the person holding the camera, a true perspective.

A photographer is only a photographer for his ability to see. To truly see the world though a lens equally physically, mentally and spiritually; this is how to create. Photographs evolve on their own, a photographer has to evolve to keep the creative dharma alive.

Photography is not “wait and see”. So many times I watch budding photographers shooting in Auto mode and critique their photos after capture. A photo is not a remix of what the computer inside your camera took. The purpose of a photograph is to create the image you want, not to wait and see.

I have started to ask the question: is the digital age making us less creative?

It seems that we are in a culture of mash-up and re-mixes of yesterday’s works. A culture of how to react without ever placing effort into the original act of creating a photo, or whatever medium you chose to work in.

The digital age has been a blessing for me, don’t get me wrong, I do not want to go back to the analog age (except for albums, bring them back) and I definitely do not want to go back to the darkroom or even film. Still the question that I raise is, “is our dependence on technology to fix things killing our will create things?”

More times than not I get asked the question for a “how-to map” on how to fix things after capture than I do on how to create things in camera. There is no map, only a journey.

Great things come out of crap. Believe it. A great cellist can play beautiful music on a crap of a cello. A pristine instrument is preferred, but the music is in the hands, mind and heart of cellist. Why should it be any different for a photographer?

It does not matter how smart our machines-computers-camera have become. Photography is about the person holding the camera, not the machine. People create, machines warehouse our work.


Photo of the Week ~ Ambient Art

Camera: Nikon D200
Exposure: 0.167 sec (1/6)
Aperture: f/4.0
Focal Length: 24 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: No Flash