Friday, December 6, 2013

Old School and new Sh$t - Busta Rhymes and Q Tip

I was hype as hell when I heard this track a few months ago!
The single "Thank You" featuring a new mixtape The Dragon, by Q Tip and Busta Rhymes, and one hell of a loop from the original 1981 club hit "I Wanna Thank You" by Alicia Meyers.

Its so good to hear rappers killing it lyrically and with the delivery! Plus hilarious antics from my mans' and them.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Insanely Creative - Facial Optical Illustions with Make Up

Thanks to my facebook friend Robin, who is a dope make up artist herself, for posting this.
"Moscow-based photographer Alexander Khokhlov and makeup artist Valeriya Kutsan have teamed up to create an amazing series of portraits, using the natural lines of models’ faces to create illusionary forms.

The series is cleverly called “2D or Not 2D” and is designed to make the faces look like 2D images when viewed in real life."


I was blown away by these!

See more of them here at

Monday, November 25, 2013

Father John D'Amico

I took for granted that my best friends' father was a jazz pianist.

I guess because I never saw him on tv, or heard him on the radio, I didn't take him seriously. Probably how people see me as a "photographer"; good, but not "real". Despite the piano I saw in the house over and over in my visits, I never believed until I saw him play with his band one night.

Why do we take things for granted?

Mr. D'Amico passed away a few weeks ago. This made me sad not only because someone close to me lost their father, and that my mother was very sick at the same time and I was worried she would be next, but because I didn't pay attention while he was here.

I remember when we talked about Brazilian samba fusion for a long, long time outside of Rite Aid. I was playing him an album I had and he was breaking down the music, the sounds, rhythms, in a way only a musician could.

That will be the best, most fun memory that I have: Talking to him about something he loved. Jazz.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Soup Factory Open House

The studio had its open house a couple days ago. It was really nice to make large prints (11x14 for me) and to be able to hang my work up, something I have never done before.

Unfortunately, the event fell on a day when everyone I knew was busy, away on a trip, or otherwise engaged. Even my own mother was in the hospital! She wanted me to show up and be seen, so I still attended. I saw her afterwards and showed her the photos in my phone.

 The essentials.

I got a chance to talk to a few people in "real life" and meet some new faces, like studio mates Nate Middleton and Aaron Stallworth Jr. plus the talented Andrea Harper. Watching Nate retouch in real time was valuable and informative; using some techniques I knew, and some I didn't. Who knew Photoshop's smart sharpen was actually that smart?

Stylist MelSlim Edmond

The most fun was the "unofficial" photographer talk session afterward, where I found out that while our experience and skill levels are different, we are all the same, with the same problems, insecurities, victories and defeats.

We talked gear, lighting, models, business, set backs, guys with cameras, TF, all kinds of stuff.

Times like these are when I am glad that I joined the studio and have a chance to talk with like minded minds, instead of sitting home.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Lens - Rhym Shoot 2013

Rhym and I have not shot together in years, since my first attempt using softbox lighting. The results were okay, but there was a lot I wanted to do that I didn't. I have always wanted to get her back in front of my camera with my newer skills. 
I wanted to practice my portrait lighting, as well as my composition. Rhym was down for some testing, complete with her own assistant (shout out to Chris for his reflector holding skills)

Of course the plan went awry as Rhym and I found other interesting poses and light to capture. I loved how the back lit photo came out.

I still want to shoot Rhym's legendary Ninja Costume in the future. We will see.

Friday, August 30, 2013

My Lens - Bridgit Silva Shoot 2013

I've been wanting to shoot with Bridgit since I met her a couple years ago at a fashion show. I connected again with her when I was assisting another photog, Kory, on a shoot with him.

Since she ran track for her college, I wanted to do something with her amazing legs, and the numerous shoes she owned. The concept was to show her fancy shoes off as if they were featured in a magazine ad or catalog.

Although the focus was on the shoes, I didn't want to ignore her pretty face, so I worked with talented make up artist Denise Rice to give her a look that enhanced her features.

It was hot on the day we shot inside the studio, so the huge fan not only cooled her off, but added some 'drama" to her hair.

I was satisfied with the photos we took, but I suffered some backfocusing issues with my Sigma lens. I heard the beep indicating focus, but some of the photos was "off"  Dammit!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Black Star Film Festival 2013

Over the course of 3 days, I went to the Black Star Film Festival in my home town and was able to see shorts and feature length films made by some of the most talented African American and creative minds of people of color.

I missed it last year when I went to Atlanta, and my girl Andrea designed the logo and signage (go Drea, go!) I was excited to see and participate in discussion panels and just see some works that is different than what I see on tv.

I did some unofficial event photography in order to test out the Canon 60D.

I networked a little with some of the stars and writers.

Stacey Sargeant, (left) write/director of the documentary Though I'm Not Perfect.
Above was the cast/writers of the short Color Me In

See the short here

COLOR ME IN (short film)

The talented director Rashid Zakat

One of the first things I noticed was how much easier it was to capture low light exposures inside when I had more iso settings to choose from. After an hour or so, the new button placement was second nature to me. I loved it.

 I love the natural sistas!

 Marques Green, director of The Bluest Note

The best full length feature I saw was Things Never Said. Dope. Great acting, interesting story, and a little more depth to characters than we normally get in movies. I wish films like this were in national release like Eat Pray Love, and all 12 romantic dramatic comedies that come out every year. I am now a fan of Omari Hardwick

More on the important advice he gave to an audience member later.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Piece

I'm glad that I have my friend Bruce around because he pulls me back from taking in too much pop culture crap and gets me back to my artist roots.

We watched the documentary of performance artist Marina Abramović a couple months ago on Ovation channel, and we were amazed at her unusual work. Now finding out that Jay Z did a performance piece with her was interesting to say the least.

I like how Jay Z is dropping all these artists names and references in his new album. Its better than naming clothing lines and liquors. 

Read more about it at

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fake it Till You Make It - Renting A Camera Body

I've been going back and forth all summer (all year, really) about whether I truly need another camera body, if I need to upgrade etc. I got tired of reading the reviews and listening to opinions so I jumped in and rented the Canon 60D that I've had my eye on for some time now.

I felt that it would have been a good step up in quality and features without spending too much money. I originally wanted the 7D but I felt that was too much without the clientele to justify it.

It was unusual having to find the buttons that I knew how to use, but were in a new location. It is larger and heavier than my little Rebel, even the weird, plastic sounding shutter click annoyed me, but what mattered was how it shot.

I got a chance to test it outside of my house as I went to the Blackstar Film Festival in my next post.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Way Way Behind!

Ok this summer really sped up, and so did my work schedule, lack of sleep and chaos. Sorry for no posts!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My First Studio - Soup Factory Studios

Actually, this is my second because my first studio was my living room, and although I did good work there, I needed an actual studio with space and availability beyond sneaking around my family, plus not bringing strangers to my home.

I decided to join Soup Factory Studios after my test run/shoot with Megan last month. I loved being able to move around freely, without moving furniture, and having inspiration from various locations and backgrounds.

This is a big step for me, especially financially, but you gotta try new things, right? I can't keep complaining about what is wrong, and what I need without doing something about.

Lets see where this leads...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Creativity Gone Wild - My Friends

My Friend Andrea created this graphic to describe her trip to Brazil. 

This is hilarious to me because this was exactly what I had pictured in my head when she told me!

This is hilarious to me because this was exactly how I had pictured her travel in my head when she told me! Now only if it bounced around while making cute sounds.

Read about her trip and other creative things she does at Flygirls

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Lens - Meagan Fitness Shoot 2013

Months ago I saw this photo of a very fit, beautiful woman lit with soft light and dark shadows. I fell in love with it. I would have loved to have a shot like that in my portfolio, but how could I make it happen?

Thanks to photographer Joshua Black offering me a test space, and Black Soup Studios, plus a rare Saturday off, my fitness model and old acquaintance  Meagan, everything came together to help me to make what I imagined a reality.

If I ever had a chance to shoot a female fitness model or bodybuilder, I wanted to get them away from their usual competition style posing and flexing and make them look more feminine and sexy. I didn't have to worry about that with Meagan because she is attractive. Most people would kill to look half as fit.

With her style and fashion sense, I didn't have to worry about her dressing in baggy patterned pants like someone stuck in the 90's; something I've seen bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts do. What happens to your fashion sense once you get muscular? I digress.

 We rocked it out, and I was glad to have had the opportunity to try some new lighting.

Monday, June 17, 2013

JAY Z + Samsung + Creativity

I just saw the commercial for Jay Z's upcoming album The Magna Carta Holy Grail last night.

It got my attention instantly.

I'm always interested in the creative process; when rappers hear beats for the first time, write their rhymes, when changes are made, sounds added and subtracted. I not only like to hear good music, I like to see how the masterpieces are made

This is what this commercial felt like, a peek inside where the magic happens. You have no choice with Swizz Beats, Rick Rubin, Timbaland and Pharrell all in the same room?

...or maybe its just self promotion.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Class 1974 - Gillie Tha Kid

I love these guys. They are always doing something crazy.

Check out the 2013 Hip hop version of Gilligan, Mary Anne, and Ginger, complete with kicks, chains and dope frames.

And yes, I did screw up and not get one of these shirts. When will I learn to pre-order?

Browse for other 70's nostalgia mash ups on other stuff on their site

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

GQ UK - Portraits of Rappers

Continuing my study of lighting, I found some really nice portraits taken of up and coming music artists for GQ UK magaizne's Spring 2013 “Bigger Than Hip Hop” issue in their style section. My favorites were the ones of A$AP Rocky, r&b singer Miguel and Philly's own Meek Mills, though he looks the most shocked to be there.

I love the pastel background colors and the shadows cast on their faces, especially A$AP Rocky and Miguel. Very masculine. I gotta do some shooting!!