I photographed Lady Gaga's manager, Troy Carter for Handelsblatt Magazine. Troy was great to work with and a really nice guy. The article was on black entrepreneurs and tech people in the Bay Area. We were originally supposed to shoot at Sightglass Coffee in the Mission, but they wouldn't let us shoot there. As we were walking around looking for a new location I noticed that this building and garage door perfectly matched Troy's outfit. It's always nice when plans fall through that something better pops up.
I was asked to photograph Norman Winarsky, the creator of Siri, for Harvard Business Review. Upon arriving at SRI International I was expecting to be greeted by robots and voice automated systems throughout the building. Sadly that was not the case (at least, in the areas I was permitted) and Dr. Winarsky was much more pleasant to hang out with than I imagine Dr. Tyrell would be. That is, if it really was Dr. Winarsky. Deckard!
Whenever I'm in LA I head over to the Venice Beach Skatepark. There is always a great group of skaters there and I can spend hours watching them skate, wishing I was as good as I was back in the day.
When you go there, you'll notice something a bit different from a lot of other skateparks and the rest of Venice Beach; there is no grafitti and the place is immaculate. This is primarily because of one man: Jesse Martinez (I picked up one of his SMA decks on my last visit). Jesse spends most of his days waking up before the sun in order to clean the park and remove any new graffiti before anyone else arrives. Jesse has been doing this on his own time with no pay for the last five years. He's also using his own money and money donated by locals. Whatever minimal support from the city of Los Angeles he did receive was stopped about six months ago due to budget cuts. And if that wasn't enough, the truck used to clean and maintain the park was stolen a few weeks ago along with the power washer used to remove graffiti. Check out this article for the whole story.
I know it may not be the most glamorous or heartwarming cause, but if you love skateboarding or just want to help keep the skatepark clean and help a guy who's put a lot of his own personal time and money into keeping it clean, head over to this GoFundMe page and donate if you can.
Before I was a photographer I was an engineer at Cisco Systems. Since I'm often being asked to photograph CEO's of the valley's tech companies I assumed it was only a matter of time before being asked to photograph John Chambers, Cisco's CEO. I've been back to the Cisco campus on a few occasions to shoot engineers, but it was Harvard Business Review who finally sent me to photograph Mr. Chambers.
It was a strange experience going back to Cisco to photograph the CEO. The Cisco campus is large, but we did the shoot right next to the building I spent most of my time in while at Cisco. When I was at Cisco in the late 90's they were the largest company in the world, so John Chambers was a bit of a legend to Cisco employees (he's still considered the third best performing CEO in the world according to HBR). I remember going to the company wide meetings where he would speak and everyone left the meetings motivated and proud to work for Cisco. I guess that's what a good CEO does.
Of course, when I told my mom I would be photographing John Chambers, the first thing she said was to "make sure to ask him if I can get my old job back."
Before we started, Yves noticed my camera and was fascinated by it. He said he'd never seen a camera like it. He was being genuine but I did find it hard to believe that one of the greatest product designers of our time had never seen a Contax 645. Although, I will say it probably looked a bit more unique with the larger battery grip and bellows style lens shade. I love that camera for many practical and functional reasons; but one of the more superficial reasons I love it is that not many people have them or even know what they are. If I'm shooting with a Canon, the subject or someone on the set will invariably say "oh, I have one of those". I know it's ridiculous for me to think about, but when you're supposed to be the professional at the shoot, it's nice to have equipment that most non-professionals wouldn't have or even know about.
And after grabbing another camera most people don't see much anymore, a Mamiya 7II, I shot some film in the Fuse Project gallery.