2016.12.28 My 15 favorite photos I shared in 2016
White Crane Style
I say to myself a lot, "you can't call yourself a photographer if you are not taking photographs." I have to push myself to get out there, walk around and shoot.
This was just a random Saturday this summer where I walked around my neighborhood in San Jose for an hour. Saw these cranes, liked the look it, had to spend a lot of time framing (back up, squat, frame, rinse, repeat) to get what I wanted, but here it is.
This photo was actually selected to be in a "This is San Jose" photo show at city hall, but unfortunately I was out of town and couldn't attend. Regardless, it was nice to be recognized for a photo that wasn't of a girl's butt, since that's all anyone seems to like on Instagram.
Candid, starring Penelope Reed
I tried an experiment for a few shoots where I took some candid shots of the girl as soon as she came in. It had mixed results. Most of the time the girls just looked nervous or bored, which isn't surprising, since they had just entered the house of a creep from the internet.
Penelope seemed oddly comfortable in what is usually an awkward situation, and it showed.
Gonzo, starring Reya Sunshine
I like the authenticity of her face in this photo. You'll notice it once you stop staring at her butt. I'll wait.
Sexy photography is very contrived. The mood of the photos rarely matches the mood during the shoot. Because of this, people forget that the models are just normal girls.
To me, this photo shows a glimpse of Reya as a normal girl. A normal girl, with an abnormally tremendous ass. Also an abnormally tremendous personality, and I'm sure many other abnormally tremendous things that I didn't absorb during our brief time together.
Slang, starring Jordan Bunniie
You can't see Jordan's face in this photo, which is tragic. But in my experience she will do anything to get a cool picture, even if it involves biting her shirt and tilting her head backwards. Most models would never think of this. And if they thought of it, they wouldn't have the courage to try it. And if they tried it, they wouldn't pull it off.
Pizarro, starring Inertia Creeps
This photo feels mysterious, sensual, mildly terrifying. Inertia is a uniquely talented model, she has an aura surrounding her, a dense cloud of sexual energy and obscure physics knowledge. If you're looking to acquire a confused boner go to the videos page and check out the video I shot of her about a year after we shot this photo.
Unbearable, starring Sumalee
I found Sumalee randomly on Instagram and we set up a shoot. We met for coffee first so she could ensure I wasn't going to rape and/or murder her. Then somehow I ended up on a ladder shooting her in this beautiful light. When you are living life in the fast lane, everything is a blur.
1955, starring Lizzy Lamb
I've been forcing myself to use a flash more in order to expand my skillset. Some of the photos are underwhelming, while some of them come out looking magical, like this. This has a real 1950s pinup feel to it. Lizzy gave me her "fetish starlet" look, the light bounced beautifully from the shower walls, and we were in business.
At one point she needed a smoke break so we went downstairs. I thought she would stand out wearing these crazy striped pants, but my hotel was hosting a cosplay convention so there were tons of sweaty nerds walking around in furry costumes. Her pants looked understated in comparison.
Strands, starring bbygirl415
So much going on here: the hair, the face, the bright swimsuit, her arm, her hip, her shadow, the lines of the wall, the lines of the shadow. I could lie and say all of this was part of a plan, or I can admit that she stood in that spot and it just kind of happened.
Let's go with the lie: I planned all of it, because I am a genius.
Lies, starring Angela
I always thought paper backdrops sucked, but I've used up most of the spots in my house and needed some new vibes for my photos. I was just fucking around and took a shot of her that actually showed the stand holding up the paper, and the clamps keeping the paper on the ground. I thought it looked cool, but I think a lot of things look cool in the moment that end up looking horrible afterwards, so I was wary. I took a risk, and this ended up being one of my favorite photos I took this year.
I like the idea of exposing some of the underbelly of photography, to show that what you see isn't really what is happening. Some people feel like it kills the fantasy, but it doesn't kill it for me, it just mutates it into something else.
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Intertwined, starring Ayumi Suicide
There's a real vibe going on here. Well, a fake real vibe.
I shot this in LA during a work trip. I had just arrived at my hotel and didn't have much time to plan the shots, but the light was interesting and Ayumi was a pro.
This is not the type of photo that gets a lot of likes on Instagram, but hey, someone has to shoot it.
Streep, starring Burgundy
I wanted to shoot more portraits this year, but it didn't happen for a number of reasons. This is one of those in-between shots that I caught when shooting in burst mode.
Burst mode sometimes feels like a cheat code for capturing unique poses, but maybe a digital camera is a cheat code for measuring exposure, and maybe the sun is a cheat code for setting up proper lighting. It's the ends, not the means, just do what feels right.
My Strip Mall Motherland
Maybe this is a good photo and maybe it isn't, I can't say. But I can say that this photo captures exactly what it feels like to stand in an empty strip mall in my hometown of Harrisburg, PA.
If you capture a feeling perfectly, isn't that a perfect photo?
I spent my teenage years sitting in parking lots like this, smoking weed with my friends, talking about UFOs, wu-tang lyrics, and what we wanted to do with our lives. When I go back there now I am older, so my world has expanded and my perspective has changed, but it still feels exactly the same, and even if it's a shitty town full of strip malls, I still miss it, every day.
Cracked, starring Luna Leung
An extremely weird girl, an extremely weird shoot, and I would not change one thing. She had no inhibitions, she was an infinite stream of weird activity. Some of it worked and some of it failed ridiculously, but at least something was happening. We were trying things, we were learning, evolving.
It's the mixture that gets me: her face looks silly, her armpits and covered feet are unexpectedly sensual, and there's a blip of her crotch in the corner. When I look at this photo it's like taking a sip of a drink in a fancy cocktail bar, I say "wow, there's a lot going on here, and I like all of it."
Amorini, starring Anonymous
Sometimes when I am having a bad day, I'll look at this photo to be reminded that there is beauty in the world and that god has a plan for all of us. This photo is like breathing fresh air after a day cooped up inside, it's like a cold glass of water after long hike in the dry hills. It completes me.
When I die, put an engraving of this photo on my fucking tombstone.
Never before have I received so many DMs from dudes asking me who a model was. The point of anonymity is, you know, people not knowing who you are. She was a random girl from Craigslist and she's gone, long gone.
Nothing, starring Sarissle
The correct reaction to this photo is "god damn", because that is what I say every time I flip by it. What can I say about Sarissle that isn't said by the 800 people who comment on everything that she posts?
She takes the bus up from Santa Cruz to shoot with me, and always shows up early. So I figure the least I can do is allow her to take 2 fucking hours to choose her wardrobe, plan ahead so she'll be standing in this magical light, and hope the photography gods bless us with a miracle. And they answered our prayers, they blessed us, we really did it, we're number one.
Thanks to everyone to supported my work this year. I look forward to creating more cool stuff in 2017, including a book I'm currently editing that will either be the best or worst thing I've ever done.