It’s been a while since I posted up a new blog update. Apologies for the month-long delay. I honestly didn’t think I’d shot much recently that was worth sharing. Then when I started to look back I realized there were several shoots that I’ve done that I haven’t shared on my blog.
Mark Fightshark Miller, Shelby Jones, Rita von Riot.
Three new amazing additions to my ongoing portrait series and the last additions to my upcoming showcase this Thursday!
Mark Fightshark Miller has had one of the most inspiring stories behind any of my portraits so far.
Heavyweight kickboxer Mark Miller is the only person to get back into the ring after open heart surgery. Here, check out this video about his story..
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
The opportunity to meet and photograph Mark was actually offered to me by Shelby – a model-turned-fighter who I was talking to about photographing for my series as well. But I’ll get to her story in a moment.
After Shelby told me a bit about Mark, what he’d gone through, and then reading more about him online, I knew his was a story I had to have in my series.
The idea for his portrait was simple. The image above is exactly what I envisioned too. Mark, pointing to his scar, with an expression that said “Yep. I came back from THIS.”
This was the very first image I took of Mark.
Honestly, I love this one as well because I think for this brief second, his personality and humor came through in the shot. He did this pose and expression on his own and it’s a funny, creepy, and still powerful image. Admit it, you would NEVER get in the ring with him.
Shelby Jones was someone I was introduced to through a mutual friend of ours. I was told by our friend Lisa “You gotta shoot Shelby, John. She’s hot. Has bright red hair and tattoos. She’d be amazing with your work.”
Sweet, redheads intimidate the crap out of me. Probably because I’ve never worked with any. Ever.
But, Shelby and I started chatting and were discussing shooting “at some point”. Then, when I mentioned my portrait series lacking women, she volunteered herself for it. And after seeing some of the images I’d created for the series, said she would definitely be down to be in it. She also volunteered Mark (above) for it as well.
The funny thing was that I didn’t realize Shelby was now training to fight until I explained more of my series and the concept of creating portraits of people and a side of their life. Shelby’s background includes modeling, burlesque, dance, etc. I honestly thought that alone would be a cool concept.
But come on now… How awesome is it that she fights? Anyone who says otherwise is lying.
I played around with a few variations of this image. Ultimately I went with green, to contrast her bright red hair.
But seriously the concept of “hot girl who is also a fighter” will be cool to anyone… so I wasn’t worried about backgrounds at all.
The last shot we did was with some blood and scrapes makeup (Thank you to Samantha Ward our MUA!)
This was an idea that Shelby had. I didn’t want her to look completely beat up, so we kept it light. Because honestly you never want an image that looks like you lost… You want something that looks like you got knocked around a little bit.
Last, and certainly not least, is my dual-portrait of Rita von Riot.
Some of you who follow my work might remember Rita from the K&N Filters Calendar that I photographed a little over a year ago. Rita and I talked about shooting again last Spring, but timing just never worked out for us. Then she became pregnant with her daughter Rylee! So, of course, that kept us from shooting as well! Haha!
I was hugely flattered when I received an email a week ago from Rita who said that she’d been following my portrait series and loved all the images that were coming from it. She said she would love to be a part of it and had an idea for a mirror-image type shot that showed both sides of her life. One half would be the plain mommy-side of her life, and the other half a dolled-up model side.
I loved the idea and was also very interested in the challenge of creating such an image. I knew certain factors had to remain constant for the photo, but that there would also need to be major hair and makeup changes. Rita used her favorite MUA, Maria B. Muah, who was also used for the K&N shoot.
Adding Rylee into the photo was something I didn’t plan for or expect. And while it made things a little more difficult because Rita had to adjust her body a bit to hold her daughter, honestly, it really is what made the shot great. Plus it helped that Rylee was completely mesmerized by my light.
For those curious, this is a composite of five total images, and over 20 layers. It took quite a while to edit, but, was entirely worth it.
To give you an idea, here’s the Mom-photo from that afternoon.
All three are awesome new additions to my series and each one of them a great story, too!
This week my work has been all about portraits of people around me. And to start it off, I’m going to take my photography back two years to when I just moved to Southern California.
I met Cliff as I was wandering around the Grove, in Hollywood. I was actually there with my camera seeing who I may meet and photograph. Cliff and I started talking about camera stuff – he works in film – and at some point in the conversation I took this image of him.
But it wasn’t until this week that I finally was at a point with my technique that I was able to edit it in the way I originally wanted. That took a lot more experience and practice since that afternoon long ago. So note, don’t ever delete RAW images you may one day want to go back to and re-edit.
The thing I love about this image of Cliff, his eyes.
Here’s a tighter crop… or you can just click over to my portfolio for a higher res version.
This image of Teo I shot outside of Anthony’s shop. Teo owns and operates his own mobile car detailing company and travels around the area here between shops and dealerships for his work. He stays pretty busy and I bump into him every week and a half or so. The other day was one of those times and I wanted to get a quick image of him since I was positive it would come out great.
I’m really pleased that the pose, combined with the bright sunny day adding to the squint in his eyes, all worked exactly how I hoped.
This image of Sam I took while he was on a break at work. He wasn’t thrilled at the idea of me photographing him while he was smoking, however I wanted the shot. I was actually more interested in his pose, kneeling down, and his hood from his sweater draped over his face in the cold weather. The cigarette really just ends up adding a bit of attitude to the shot.
Last is this image of Mac. This is a photograph I took yearsss ago – I actually took it three cameras ago, haha! So it’s a sensor that’s a few generations old, and it’s a third the resolution of what I shoot with now!
However this has been my most favorite photos of Mac that I’ve ever shot. The little smirk is totally his personality coming through in the image.
So, I have a question for you guys…
If I start doing portraits, say three a week, is that something everyone would have interest in seeing?
It’s a project I thought of doing when I moved to LA and then stopped as I got busy and didn’t have the time to go out and meet people.
Oh, and here’s a preview shot from last week’s shoot with Bambi in Long Beach.
I’ll have a couple more images of her to share at the beginning of next week. Later this afternoon I’m leaving for San Francisco and will be back Monday.
Bambi is a burlesque dancer in Sweden. She was in LA for a couple weeks shooting and contacted me to do some colorful fun photos. I’ll have those up later, but this was a quick image I wanted to do with her after we finished the other shots.
Have a great holiday weekend everyone! See you in a few days!
Last Friday I spent the afternoon in Hollywood shooting with Melissa Meza. Melissa is someone who heard about me through a friend, liked my work, and drove down to LA to shoot. Extremely flattering when clients enjoy my work so much that they travel (or have me travel to them) any distance that’s more than an hour drive.
Melissa is a dancer and needed some new headshots. We spent the first half the of the time shooting those – which ended up in a lot of laughter and story telling. See, Melissa is just one of those girls that smiles ALL the time. Definitely not a bad a thing, but trying to take a serious looking headshot just really doesn’t work because of that.
But we still managed to get some really nice, casual, images.
And Melissa has gorgeous hair – which you really can’t go wrong with when shooting.
Afterward we took some images that were a bit more styled and fun. She wanted to get some street-feel dancer-esc photos. Unfortunately we were only able to use one of the outfits that she brought. Bummer : ( I know
The photos still turned out great. Melissa wanted a darker higher-contrast feel to them. So we played to that and finished off the shoot before she had to get to her dance course in West Hollywood.
We had a fun time though. Hope you guys dig the photos.
Next up will be some more portraits – or possibly sports.
So I’ll see you guys back here soon.