In 2015, I set out to make at least one new portrait each week, with the goals of experimenting, meeting new people, and pushing myself to keep producing fresh work.
Week 52: As twenty-fifteen winds down I've been thinking back on the wild journey that it's been, and decided to wrap-up this little project I've been working on with a self-portrait.
When the year started it had only been a few months since I decided to leave my job, channel all of my energy into photography, and make it my full-time career.
As the months went on I was provided some of the most incredible opportunities I've had, traveling to capture a surf village in Nicaragua, fly-fishing along a remote river in Montana, wine harvesting in Sonoma, the culture of Miami, as well as spending a week in Mexico, and a pretty hilarious camping trip among the canyons in Utah.
Raleigh and I said goodbye to nearly five years of living in Colorado, packed what we could fit in our cars, and moved to Los Angeles.
During the fall we came home to Upstate NY, got engaged in a vineyard along the Finger Lakes, and celebrated with a road trip through the red leaves, cold lakes, and winding roads of the Adirondacks.
It's unbelievable how fast the time goes by, as well as the twists that pop-up along the way, and I can't wait to see what's coming next.
Thanks to my family, friends, and everyone that's supported me - this has been the best year of my life.
Week 51: Catherine is an LA-based actress.
Week 50: Rebecca is a funk musician here in Los Angeles. I met her walking around the neighborhood this week.
Week 49: On Vermont Ave., Los Feliz, LA.
Week 48: Rose
Week 47: Taylor
Week 46: Dani Payne is an actress based in Denver, and was in town for a few days this week working on a script with my fiancee.
Week 45: Dexter, Downtown LA.
Week 44: I put a sign in the laundry room of my apartment building looking for anyone who wanted a portrait. Louis was the only one to come knocking.
Week 43: Brie Larson is receiving acclaim and early mentions of an Oscar nomination for her role in Room (2015). I photographed her at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills for Scandinavian Traveler magazine.
Week 42: I was visiting home in Rochester, NY for the past ten days, and as always, it was bittersweet. Being able to spend time with my family and friends there, although only incredibly briefly, is something I look forward to most all year long. It's such a warm and comforting feeling to be there, especially in the fall (maybe my biggest complaint of LA - no seasons.) This is my Mom, in the backyard right as it started to snow a bit.
Week 41: Almost five years ago, after recently moving to a small ski town in Colorado, I met Raleigh in a less-than-classy basement bar. We were both giving ourselves a fresh start away from home and deciding what we truly wanted to do in life. We fell in love, explored life at 9000', followed our passions into new careers, moved to a different city, then a different state, and this week we got engaged. I couldn't be happier that the road has led us here, and can't wait to see where we're headed together.
Week 40: I met Kyle Johnson today. He's a great photographer plus a super sincere and inspiring dude. Check him out here.
Week 39: Ryan Schude is a great photographer, and friend who I met a year ago at Phoot Camp in Joshua Tree, CA. I stopped into The Forge this week and caught up with him a bit about life in LA.
Week 38: Kyle Mehler helps make wine at Sbragia Vineyards, outside of Healdsburg, CA. I was up in the Dry Creek Valley shooting a few days of the wine harvest for Sbragia last week. Full gallery here.
Week 36: A man named Mauro, last week in Venice.
Week 35: I am now officially calling Los Angeles home, and while it's been a crazy week, I got out for a bit yesterday to explore my new neighborhood (Los Feliz) and shoot a bit.
I met Ryan on the street and he told me he was in town from Detroit, and that he hopes he might get discovered out here.
Week 34: I've been living in Colorado for just short of five years, and on Sunday it'll come to an end as I pack up the car and head west to Los Angeles.
In 2010, while living in Buffalo, I received a message from my friend and old college roommate Tom, saying that he was thinking of moving to CO and that I should consider doing the same. There was nothing holding me back and that night I went and looked for jobs in Denver. I eventually stumbled upon and was hired for a job at a ski resort (snowboarding has always been a major passion), drove out two weeks later, and started life at 9000'. A month later, when Tom moved out, he came up to the mountains to visit and we decided to go out for a few drinks. That night I met my current girlfriend of over 4 years. While continuing to work at the ski resort, I was given an outlet for my photography, and began to gain confidence (albeit false) in my work, eventually making the jump to shooting full-time. Now, as I make another major life change, I've been thinking back a lot over the past few years and how my path led me to a place where I had no idea it would go, and quite honestly Tom has played a pretty large part in it all. Since this will be my last weekly portrait in Colorado, I think it's fitting that Tom be the subject. He's been a great friend, and I know the adventure has only just begun.
Week 33: I'm in the middle of a 10-day travel shoot in Miami this week, and met Edwin one morning as I was walking along South Beach.
Week 32: Matt Nager is a good friend and fellow Denver-based photographer. When I first moved here he gave me a ton of support, helped me get settled in, and we quickly became good friends. As my time in Denver is now winding down, I've been reflecting on past shoots we've been on, good times, and hours of sarcastic jokes along the way. I stopped in yesterday for one last portrait. Check out Matt's work is here.
Week 31: I met John Grimble on the first day of freshman year at the University of Buffalo. He lived across the hall from us and was on his skateboard more times than not. He's also both one of the smartest people and best guitarist I know. We caught up yesterday for a few hours in Denver.
Week 30: I was shooting in Winter Park, CO this past week and stumbled upon Melvin at the top of the mountain taking in views, and surrounded by mountain bikers half his age riding by in full downhill gear. He's a rancher from Texas and was passing through on his way to visit his daughter.
Week 29: Matt "Dickie" Dickinson is one of the co-founders of The Maderas Village - a boutique resort along the Pacific hills of Nicaragua. He and the crew invited me down to photograph this past week, and it was inspiring to be part of what they're building down there. Dickie has a unique mind for sure, I'm excited to see The Village grow, and continue to foster creativity. More images from my trip are here.
Week 28: I met Meli on a beach in Maderas, Nicaragua yesterday. She told me that she fell in love with a guy who lives here six months ago and they've been running a surf shop out of their van ever since.
Week 27: David Worthington is a friend and photographer who I met last fall at Phoot Camp in Joshua Tree. He's in town from NYC for a few days, exploring new places and seeing where life is going to take him. He experiments a ton with his photography, and seems to progress daily - check out his work here.
Week 26: Brei Sundberg is a Denver-based model who I met a few months ago. We went up to Central City, CO - an old mining town in the mountains, once know as "The Richest Square Mile on Earth" - yesterday, and explored for a few hours. More photos soon. Also - officially half way through the year!
Week 25: My Dad. I was home in upstate NY this past week and got to spend it with my family. It's always amazing to be home, and I really cherish the time, although it goes by much too quick. We stayed in a small cabin in the woods, right next to this great pond, and filled the days with fishing, swimming, drinking beers on the rowboat, making s'mores around the fire, and playing cards. It's been a year since I jumped face-first into freelancing, and without the support of my family and friends it wouldn't be possible.
Week 24: Darin Combs and Daniel Armitage moved to Colorado from NYC to open Armitage & McMillan - a men's clothing and lifestyle boutique in Denver's LoHi neighborhood. I photographed them and their store last week for GQ.
Week 23: Shannon Miller. I moved to the mountains of Colorado nearly five years ago, and found an apartment with a spare bedroom that Shannon had recently moved out of. Two weeks later he decided to come back, and since there was no longer a room available he lived on a futon under our kitchen counter for the next 6 months. It was pretty hilarious and over the last five years we've had a novel's worth of ridiculous stories and a great friendship. This week Shannon moved to Minnesota for a new job. I made a few portraits in the last minutes I saw him.
Week 22: Jacob is a writer who grew up splitting time between India and Colorado, and is currently based in a small lake town in Montana. We got the chance to work together last week on a story I was shooting in Montana, and had a great few days on the river.
Week 21: Aspen Rader is an actress and producer who trained at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, and is currently based in Denver, CO.
Week 20: Terry Ratzlaff is a good friend, and fellow photographer here in Denver. I stopped in today and he told me of a project he’s working on that I'm pumped to see completed in the next few weeks - be on the look out for it here.
Week 19: Pedro was making his way from Spain to California. I met him this week at a campground in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.
Week 18: I was walking around the streets of Santa Fe, NM this week and met Wild Bill Rivas. He told me he was born in Mexico, moved to LA - where he was an illustrator and recorded cartoon voices (including Speedy Gonzales) - and has been living in New Mexico for the past few years. After I took his portrait he pulled out a sketch pad and drew me a bald eagle.
Week 17: Cody Roper is a Mormon missionary from Alabama. For the past 19 months he's been walking door-to-door, spreading the message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around Denver, with the goal of baptising new church members. He's one of about 85,000 active missionaries in the world, and while a large portion of the church is brought in this way, he imagines at the end of his two years of volunteer duty he'll have converted three or four new LDS members. I met him in my neighborhood earlier this week.
Week 15: Brian was fishing yesterday in Washington Park for the first time since he taught his kids to fish there 25 years ago. He had just caught a trout and was happy to show it off and share his tricks of the trade with me for a bit. He lives in senior housing nearby but said he likes to take his friends out to get fresh air whenever they can.
Week 14: Roy Katz. In 2010, Roy and friend Tanya Fleisher began to channel their creative energy into sewing bags and aprons in their Chicago apartment. Turning their passion for art, design, and architecture into tangible goods soon took up more and more of their time, led them into leatherwork, and required heavier machines and more manpower. In 2013 they left Chicago for Denver, and channeled their focus on their business. The pair now own, and are the driving force behind Winter Session - combining traditional methods of craftsmanship with innovative technology to produce beautiful, high-quality, canvas and leather goods in the Five Points neighborhood. They invited me into their workshop last week to photograph.
Week 13: I became friends with Duncan while we were in high school in Rochester, NY. We both played soccer, and I remember travelling to a game one day we sat on the bus and talked in passing about how great it would be to live in Denver - mostly for the proximity to ski resorts. Ten years later, our lives have actually led us both here, and it got me thinking about the strange paths we take in life. Sometimes I get the feeling it's all laid out for us, and everything that's meant to happen will. I photographed Duncan in the house he and his wife just purchased. In a few weeks they'll be parents for the first time.
Week 12: I met Eddy last week while I was walking around the beach in Cancun. There was a bit of a translation gap, but I did take away that he's 22 years old, and has been raking seaweed off the beach of a nearby resort for the past two years. He's been in Cancun his whole life, and although his family no longer lives around him, he says he'll never leave because of the colors and the sunshine. I get it.
More photos from my trip.
Week 11: Rose. This week Rose came to my apartment to fix my sink. I got to talking to her and decided to make a portrait quick. She's been working for my landlord for 19 years, mostly cleaning and doing routine maintenance. For the past few years her working partner has been her oldest daughter.
Week 10: James Carter. I met James last summer in the park a few blocks from my apartment, where I had set up a little portrait studio by the tennis court. This week I bumped into him again in the same place (just so happened to be walking around with my gear), we got to talking, and he let me make a few more portraits of him. James is from Allentown, PA and grew up playing a lot of streetball in Philadelphia, NYC, and NJ. He told me a lot about his life, starting with having friends get killed playing basketball in the wrong neighborhoods, to joining the Air Force, being one of the first African Americans in management at Mack Trucks, and getting spit at and called obscenities from a white couple this year. He spends most of his time teaching tennis and basketball now, and his passion for these sports really comes across when you talk to him. After the portrait he convinced me to stop by a school down the street so he could give me a basketball lesson. He worked on my shot for about 30 minutes but told me I'd be pathetic even if I was ten feet tall. He's 73.
Week 9: Laura Brunow Miner. I was in San Francisco this week, and finally stopped into Pinterest to meet Laura Brunow Miner. Not only is Laura an incredibly kind person, but she is also currently a designer at Pinterest, the founder of Pictory and Phoot Camp (which I had the amazing opportunity to attend last summer), was previously design director and editor-in-chief of JPG Magazine (RIP), and has way more Instagram followers than you. In the brief time we caught up it was obvious that Laura has a special energy, and I can't wait to see what she does next!
Week 8: Ted Englemann. In 1968 Ted went to Viet Nam (he made it clear I should spell it this way, as it is more historically accurate) to fight as part of the US Air Force. He spent a year there, with his camera in hand, and like many others, was deeply affected by his experience. When he returned to the US he developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, daily life became more challenging, and many of his relationships began to crumble. Ted started to work with Veteran's groups and used his photography to both uncover some of the issues around PTSD, as well as make sense of his situation. In 2006, he returned to Viet Nam and photographed many of the same areas he had 40 years earlier, noticing a weight shift and realizing that this process was an incredible coping mechanism. He has since travelled to multiple conflict zones (including Iraq and Afghanistan) documenting his travels, as well as published multiple essays, and shown his work in galleries - much of this with the goal of helping others understand the emotional wounds of war. I photographed him one hour before he left for another trip to Viet Nam.
Week 7: Sarah Knight. I photographed Sarah, a tax accountant in Denver, for a story that ran in the Sunday Business section of The New York Times this week. This is an outtake from the shoot, see the full story is here.
Week 6: Chris Moody, VP of Data Strategy at Twitter. I was assigned to photograph Chris by Medium, for an article on the economics of Twitter. Chris was the CEO of a company called Gnip that was acquired by Twitter last year. We had 20 minutes together, and an entire office of onlookers. A few more photos here.
Week 5: Lonnie. I've been working on a larger scale portrait project of Alzheimer's disease for over a year now. The project started while I was home in NY visiting my Grandmother, and my hope is that in the end I will be able to convey the subtle, but noticeable effects that begin to take shape during the first stages of the diagnosis.
I've photographed Lonnie a few times over the past year, and it's interesting to see how his memory can change from day to day. Generally he remembers me, but when I shot him this week he appeared to have no recollection. After the portrait, someone asked him why he wasn't smiling. Lonnie replied that I always ask him to be more serious.
Week 4: Corbin Clay. Corbin is the founder and owner of The Azure Furniture Company in Denver. For the past four years, Corbin and the team have focused on impeccable craftsmanship, quality materials, and timeless design to handcraft furniture for some big name clients. Even better, Azure uses trees that have been killed by the pine beetle epidemic, which has affected millions of acres of Rocky Mountain Forests.
Week 3: Abby Fields. Abby is Rodeo Royalty from Beaver Creek, CO. As such, she is required to represent her region by maintaining a certain appearance at events throughout the state, attend meet and greets, give talks, and have top-of-the-line horse riding abilities. Abby is the Princess, while her sister is Queen.
Week 1 - This is Jesus Vasquez Jr., he's one of the top three boxers for his weight class in the country. He trains with his brother in a small gym here in Denver (the subject of my Brotherhood Boxing project), and will be fighting in the US Nationals next week, with hopes of gaining a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team. He's a great kid, and was kind enough to let me into his house for this photo.