I am grateful that the Universe knows what the heck it's doing.
I am grateful that the Universe has brought me some of the most incredible and supportive people.
Mike and Holly are two of those people.
I met them many years ago when we worked for the same school district. Mike and I worked at the high school together and because Holly has the patience of a saint, she worked with little ones at the elementary.
Mike and I discovered that we both had a passion for photography and as the years have gone by, we've done several shoots together, shared ideas, bounced suggestions off one another, and gave brutally honest critiques of one another's work. He has been and continues to be one of my biggest supporters and I appreciate his candid and thoughtful review of my work. I am fortunate that such an amazing photographer is also a great friend.
It's also kind of crazy that we all packed up our bags at the same time, said goodbye to the Midwest, and headed somewhere completely new trusting our gut all the way. While I headed to the Southwest with my best friend and our circus, Mike and Holly loaded up a moving van and headed to the Northeast. Despite the distance, we've stayed in touch and regularly discuss photography. Thus, the idea for a collaborative shoot was born.
Mike is an incredible photographer. Incredible. His shots are articulate, precise, and beautiful. While he and I tend to have distinctly different shooting styles, there is a cohesiveness in that we love what we are doing. His work can be found on his blog, DavisPhotog.
So without further ado, I present Northeast x Southwest: A Comparative Collection.
Click on the images for a larger view.
Ashley's photos on the left; Mike's photos on the right.
Shot 1: Self-portrait
Shot 2: Environmental portrait of your spouse
Shot 3: Coffee & Tea
Shot 4: Sunrise
Shot 5: Sunset
Shot 6: Out for a Walk
Shot 7: Landscape
Shot 8: Water
Shot 9: Day Trip
Shot 10: Film
Shot 11: Portfolio Favorite
In Mike's words -
Shooting from a list is not easy and I’m a guy who appreciates structure. I make lists all the time. I even title my lists sometimes. The only problem is after working on Ashley’s shot list for two months I was still struggling and figured out that I really only make my lists to get started; I never really complete my lists. I begin at the top, progress about a quarter of the way through, jump to something at the bottom that catches my attention, and then abandon it completely. Only to later say, what was I doing again?
So that’s precisely how I approached this project. Start at the top, skipping the first task of course, and moved straight to coffee. About two snaps and I was happy with what I captured and moved on. So out the door I went to catch a sunrise and shoot some things along my walk. That’s three checkmarks in two hours. Wow… at that pace I would be done by sunset. So I backed off a bit. Don’t want to overdo it. And that’s were the project took a 180. Three down, twelve to go, with no ideas, no creative juices, and now no time. I’m doomed.
Luckily Ashley was quite involved with her AMAZING new blog and needed to push the deadline a bit to complete the project as well. With a sigh of relief, I took a few more looks at the list and began working again. Here are my final images. I hope you enjoy this wonderful project and collaboration and that there are more to come.
1. Selfie - While annoying to take, this prompt really made me work hard. I shot this same pose and composition nearly 30 times and finally got what I was looking for on the last shot. The goal was edgy but warm.
2. Portrait of spouse - One of my favorite shots to take is of a scene in my wife’s sunglasses, however since the stipulation was not to focus on the face, I have selected this shot of my wife reading Vogue. This was shot on 120 film and self-metered. I love this shot because I made everything from start to finish.
3. Coffee - Cups and glasses are a favorite of mine and these have wonderful structure and lines. They are stark white, however I chose to backlight them, which set them darker than everything but a tiny shadow cast by the handle.
4. Sunrise - I can’t resist the light at sunrise and shoot probably 80% of my photos in this wonderful morning light. Needless to say, I have a lot of sunrise photos and it was difficult for me to select a final product. I went with this image of Spring Point Lighthouse because the serene and peaceful mood of the lighting pairs well with soft water and natural security of a lighthouse.
5. Sunset - I am not particularly drawn to this image for its technical features or for its quality, but it captures a moment that I love and simply can’t resist.
6. Out for a walk - One day this summer my wife and I walked the ET (Eastern Trail) for a couple miles and just happened upon some reed grass. The image is so dramatic due to the black vernal pool behind the subject of the photo.
7. Landscape - It was so hard for me to decide on a final landscape image! I primarily shoot landscapes and now that I live in Maine, almost every shot is something great. This landscape/seascape I chose combines the amazing evening light with a gorgeous view of sailboats and fishing houses. I love Willard Beach!
8. Water - This was the hardest image to make. I had a lot of ideas and none of them panned out as I had envisioned. I settled on the leaf in the water because I feel it conveys the surreal feeling of weightlessness.
9. Day trip - This was shot in the mid-section of Maine near Sunday River Ski Mountain. The foliage was near peak and the air was turning crisp.
10. Film - Shooting with film requires patience and a bit of faith. Every time I release the shutter with my film cameras I immediately look at the back of the camera as though there will magically be an image (like that will ever happen). I enjoy this shot because there is a calming and peaceful nature to the scene. The physical copy depicts this much better, but notice the subdued amount of color and detail in both the highlights and shadows. Overall, I feel this is a well-rounded shot.
11. My favorite image - Through 15 years of photographs my work is getting extensive and tough to remember. I selected this shot of the Brooklyn Bridge because it is so iconic and I feel it symbolizes a turning point in my artistic journey.
Thank you, Ashley, for this wonderful opportunity and for so bravely sharing your work with the world.
Sites I Dig
The Road is Home
The Seed & Plate
Sharon Covert Photography
The Define School
The Noisy Plume
Sarah Gee Photography
Fox & Owl Studio
The Stork and The Beanstalk
Mellow Yellow Photography
A Simple Little Journal
What I've Been Reading
The Girls by Emma Cline
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Never Broken by Jewel
Hold Still by Sally Mann