Maggie Shipstead


Maggie Shipstead, Dolores Park San Francisco

I had a good time walking around The Mission with author Maggie Shipstead on a shoot for The Telegraph UK.  I was driving around Dolores Park before the shoot looking for places to meet up when the unthinkable happened; A parking spot, right at the top of Dolores Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  If you know Dolores Park on sunny weekends, you know how hard it is to get parking anywhere close to the park.  What makes it even better was the fact the spot was the exact location I wanted to photograph Maggie.  The photo above was taken maybe 10 feet from my car.

After that shot we spend some time walking around the surrounding neighborhood.

Maggie Shipstead, The Mission, San Francisco

Maggie Shipstead, The Mission, San Francisco

Marianne Vos - Bicycling Magazine


Marianne Vos

I've been going to Laguna Seca since I was a kid.  My dad would take me there every year to see auto races like the Can-Am series.  I even had the chance to drive the track myself years ago (and even spun out in The Corkscrew).  This time my visit to Laguna Seca was for Bicycling Magazine to photograph Marianne Vos who was there to race in the Sea Otter Classic.

As the article will tell you, Marianne is a pretty big deal.  She's the most dominant cyclist in the sport right now.  While setting up for the shoot one person stopped by to see what was going on. When I told them I was a shooting someone for Bicycling Magazine, their response was "must be Marinane Vos".

I didn't have a lot of time with Marianne, but she was great to work with.  She was probably tired and the shoot was likely that last place she wanted to be; but she had a great attitude and was relaxed in front of the camera. She had just actually won the Elite Women's Short Track race minutes before coming to the shoot.    The next day she went on to win the Elite Women's Cross Country race.

Check out there article in the current issue of Bicycling on stands now.

Marianne Vos, Bicycling Magazine

Marianne Vos, Bicycling Magazine

Marianne Vos, Bicycling Magazine Contents Page

Marianne Vos, Bicycling Magazine Contents Page

Jeremy Stoppelman - Yelp


Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp CEO, Emerce Magazine

Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp CEO, Emerce Magazine

I had a great time shooting Jeremy Stoppelman, the CEO of Yelp, for Emerce Magazine.  Doing a little research on Jeremy before the shoot, his first job was at @Home Networks (a long defunct Cable ISP).  Before I was a photographer I was a network engineer at Cisco Systems.  I was assigned to @Home and we would have been working there at the same time.  That was so long ago I can't remember much from those days, but maybe we crossed paths.  

Sometimes I wonder what I'd be doing now if I hadn't left the tech world back then.  Maybe I'd have started a wildly successful company like Yelp and be worth hundreds of millions... or, I might have just started the next GeoCities.

Jeremy Stoppelman at the new Yelp headquarters.

Jeremy Stoppelman at the new Yelp headquarters.

Jeremy Stoppelman at Yelp's new headquarters,

Jeremy Stoppelman at Yelp's new headquarters,


Leonard Susskind


Leonard Susskind at his home in Palo Alto, California

I've shot some smart people in my time as a photographer.  On the subject of politics, I photographed Christopher Hitchens.  On the subject of philosophy I photographed John Searle.  But I'm going to say that the smartest person I've ever photographed has to be theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind.  I shot Mr. Susskind at his home in Palo Alto for The Telegraph.  How smart is he?  Well, he's known for calling out Stephen Hawking and proving him wrong.

It's good to know where you stand and since it was only the two of us, I clearly was not the smartest person in the room... but then, I'm used to that by now.

Leonard Susskind at his home in Palo Alto California.

Leonard Susskind at his home in Palo Alto California.

Western Academy of Photography


Well I guess this is as good a post for “Throwback Thursday” as any.  Last night I found out that the school where I studied photography has closed its doors.  

In the summer of 2002 I left my Silicon Valley Tech job and moved to Victoria British Columbia (I honestly can't fathom how it was that long ago already).  I didn’t really have anything to do up there and I had randomly heard about a photography school; the Western Academy of Photography.  I wasn’t really into photography or anything… I had recently bought a digital camera on a whim (a newly released top of the line super high resolution 6MP Canon D60) and thought it would be interesting to go to the school as a way to pass the time..

I almost didn’t get in.  The Professional Photography program was completely booked.  It was the first day of school, my birthday as it turns out, and apparently someone didn’t show.  I got their spot.  I showed up with my D60 and was told that I couldn’t use it.  I needed a film camera.  So I went out an bought a Canon Elan7 or something like that and started from there.  

The program starts you out with the basics; black and white.  We learned to shoot, process and print on black and white film.  I loved it right away.  It didn’t take long before I decided to upgrade my camera to a Hasselblad 501CM.  Man I loved that camera.  Even as the classes moved on to color film, I pretty much stuck to black and white.  I probably shot about 3 rolls of color film… whatever the bare minimum was to pass the color portion of class.

I was a pretty bad student.  I was only there to learn so I didn't really care about passing or graduating.  If I wasn't interested in the subject I didn't bother with it (uh, those damn photograms).  When I started I didn't even know what I was interested in shooting.  I shot everything... flowers, trees, buildings.  Anything I saw.  But it didn't take long to figure out that I really liked shooting people, so that's what I started to focus on.  

When you look through the photos below you'll probably be able to clearly see who I was ripping off:  Avedon, Peter Lindberg, Nigel Parry, and Keith Carter.  I became obsessed with buying photography books, those photographers in particular.  I haven't bought many photography books in years but my girlfriend still complains about the space they take up and that's just the ones from when I was in Victoria.

I honestly always expected to move back to California and go right back to being an engineer.  But after getting in the program and falling in love with photography, I decided to give it a try when I moved back.  I can honestly say that my life would be a night and day difference to what it is now if it wasn't for the Western Academy of Photography.  So I'd like to thank everyone at WAP but most importantly I want to thank Andrea Kucherawy, who ran the program, for everything she did for all the students (and myself in particular) for all these years.  Andrea made it what it was.  Thank you Andrea!

Well, here are some of the shots from from that year at Western Academy.  As you can see, I loved my Hasselblad borders: