Everyone who has a Facebook account has been talking about how much 2016 sucked pretty much since January 2nd. Overall, I’d have to disagree (despite at the time of writing this I’m in the midst of canceling my NYE plans due to the stomach flu). It was filled with some pretty deep valleys emotionally but because of that it was also a very transformative year for my life personally and professionally. I finally kissed my 7 year old dreads goodbye, moved away from Cincinnati after a decade of calling it “home”, quit my job at CityBeat to start doing freelance photography full-time, moved out of my first non-living room photo studio and made the decision to get a double MFA. I added an estimated 30000000000000 miles (or so) onto my car going from festival to festival and random shows throughout the Midwest, which might be why the mechanic let me know earlier this week that I need my front & rear brakes replaced before I make any other road trips (aghh!). And, as you often do as you age, learned a lot more about myself and my aspirations. Instagram gave me a collage of my 9 most liked photos of 2016 and while my ego appreciates the fact that they’re all selfies, I wanted to compile a list of the most memorable moments in my photography career to summarize this year for me.
Most photographed band: Twin Peaks
I met these guys just a couple years ago and they quickly became great friends and one of my favorite group of performers to photograph. Twin Peaks are constantly touring, so it’s not surprising they’re my most photographed band. They also always put on one hell of a show so it’s not difficult to get a solid photo, but a fun challenge to try and one up myself from the last time. This shot was from their most recent stop in Nashville while on tour with together PANGEA and Golden Daze.
15 minutes of fame
After a long and sleepless Valentine’s Day weekend & traveling through a snow storm, Hailey Bollinger and I directed, shot and edited several photos to celebrate the premier of Broad City’s Season 3 return. We did this along with Danielle Chevkoski and Sam Locey. Aside from this being so much fun to do with my three best friends it was pretty damn exciting to have Abbi and Ilana repost all the images on Instagram and call us “creative geeen-iii-uuuu-es” too.
Birds of a shitfeather…
One of the things I appreciate most about my friends is their willingness to do just about anything I think up for photos and videos. I don’t often get the chance to pitch those ideas to the actors, musicians and models I work with though. Until now. John & Pat were so much fun to work with and watching Mr. Lahey & Randy have a romantic pillow fight in their hotel room was even better than I imagined it would be.
It’s been a few years since I’ve created a personal series of work with a message behind it. Since I began primarily photographing live music I sort of strayed away from my conceptual art. But this election changed that for me and many other artists. I shot this series for Sticks & Stones Agency and it was a satisfying way for my friends/models to lift their middle fingers high to our new president-elect.
In February I had the opportunity to photograph Diane Coffee on his winter tour. Shaun is so fun, theatrical and creative (aka everything I love in a person I’m collaborating with) and I can’t wait to work together again.
Possibly the most exciting photographic moment of 2016 was having the opportunity to photograph the incomparable bell hooks. Spending a couple hours talking with and photographing such a legend was such an enlightening & special experience. The issue of the magazine I photographed her for doesn’t come out until spring 2017, but our iPhone picture together is probably my favorite photo of the day anyhow.
Amazing to watch, hardest to shoot
If you’ve ever been to a Portugal. The Man show, you know just how incredible their lights are and how well it matches the mood of the show. Until this year I’d only managed to catch them at festivals and dreamed how much better it must certainly be at a regular concert with their own set-up. Ahhhh, if only. I caught them in November and they officially win the 2016 award for ~*most difficult show to shoot*~ as I came out with only a handful of pictures I deemed to be useable. But man, was it an incredible show– and a great challenge for anticipating light changes!
Collaborating again with Sam Locey, Hailey Bollinger and our incredibly talented friend Jenna Blazevich we set our sights on The Eric Andre Show with a series of faux advertisements anticipating the 4th season premier. It was not as well received over social media as the Broad City recreations were, but having a reason to create a bong out of ranch dressing was satisfying enough.
Just gimme a kiss
In January I went to Nashville to watch my friend Eric on his tour with Macklemore. Eric is that quirky fellow who kicks a hot dog in the music video and sings what any biased friend/person with ears would consider the best part of Macklemore’s ”Downtown.” I’ve seen Eric perform countless times, but this time was pretty special. After the show while introducing me to the people he was touring with he casually introduced to none other than Steven Tyler. I was getting a photo of him and Eric, but wanted to set something up that was a bit more interesting than where we were. I gave them some posing & attitude directions and Steven jokingly commented on how bossy I was & later gave me a quick kiss on the cheek when we were saying our goodbyes… so basically my year was made on January 30th.
Thanks to anyone who was a part of these memories. Cheers to a year filled with ups & downs, learning experiences, new friends, failures, heartbreak, laughs, sleepless nights and everything in between. Onward to 2017!