* the camera roll *

little snaps from my iphone, among other things

Archive for the ‘hasselblad’ Category

behind the scenes: kingsford

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hi all, sorry that i haven’t posted in a while.  busy busy busy.  here are some behind the scenes pics from a recent shoot for Kingsford.  a week of steaks and steak-related recipes.

given the carnivore that i can sometimes be, i can’t believe i’m saying this.  but after a week on this shoot, i would be okay with not seeing another steak for a while.

we did the shoot at The Right Studio, a former firehouse converted into a shooting studio by photo producer Carmel Cottingham and her brother Chris.  Kevin Crafts provided the food styling, with Vicki Woollard providing food styling assistance.  Jim Cardosa provided the prop styling.  and Dania Maxwell served as my assistant.  Dania also shot the iPhone pics below.


Written by John

April 16, 2012 at 11:44 am

some new work

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so i had a shoot not too long ago for men’s journal. this is the first time i’ve ever shot for them. it was a series of portraits of a former us navy seal sniper, shot on location at a shooting range out in the california sierra nevada foothills. great story by rick telander.  ran in the december issue, although this was shot back in july.  had to wait until it ran before i could show these.

the shoot involved my assistant stephen and i setting up a white seamless in the parking lot of the shooting range:

gotta say, the photo equipment geek in me kinda loves doing shoots like these. lots of gear, props, location…

although this was one of their feature stories in the december mag (with alec baldwin on the cover), they ended up only running this photo as the lede image:

not complaining or anything. the pic was across a two-page spread. this was one of the pics that i liked from the shoot (not just because it was shot on a hassy with film). i was just hoping that maybe some of the other portraits on the seamless would have found its way into the layout. oh well.

as an experiment, i also shot some video with the 5d. wasn’t something i really planned, and was definitely an afterthought during the shoot. so as a result, i think i’m missing a few key things that would have helped the video editing. nevertheless, i did a down and dirty edit on quicktime (not even final cut or imovie), and the magazine ran it in their website:

Written by John

December 20, 2009 at 7:51 am


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so wardrobe stylist rachel esterline turned me onto this iphone app for photo:


it’s billed as a polaroid emulator for the iphone camera.  i’m kinda digging it.  no, i’m REALLY digging it.

i’ve always had a thing for shooting in squares.  my mind sees differently when composing in squares.  that’s why i’ve been devoted to hassys for just about my entire photo life thus far.

up until recently, i was a bit schizophrenic when it came to picture-taking.  when i would shoot with a 35mm-style camera (horizontal aspect), i would default to photojournalism.  but when i would switch to a square camera, something just clicked.  i became a different photographer.  i’m sure it had something to do with jiggling my mind around a bit, forcing my eyes to confront the change.

i’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with the years and years of television that i watched growing up.  years and years of looking at a flickering horizontal screen.  nah, that had no effect on me whatsoever…

nevertheless, it’s taken me about 4 years to break myself of this habit.  i think i’m about 95% cured.

well, when i started taking with the iphone, i initially approached it from a “purist” point of view.  or at least as much as one can be a “purist” while using a cameraphone.  i didn’t want to crop, i didn’t want to do too much manipulation beyond basic toning.  if it wasn’t full frame, it was crap.

so this shakeitphoto app is me sorta breaking my own rules.  well, but only sorta, since i’m now forcing myself to shoot iphone pics with square in mind.  i’m such a rebel.

here are some pics con shakeitphoto:














Written by John

September 12, 2009 at 9:06 am

smug me

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it’s nice to know that sometimes i’m right.  it’s not that often this happens, so i’m relishing in it right now.  

why, do you wonder, is john so annoyingly smug?  

because when i rolled the dice and stuck with film during The Great Digital Camera Push of the early aughts, i was right.  or at least it’s starting to look that way.  see, seems that lots of the photogs who made a complete switch to digi are now trolling ebay to reclaim their hassys.  

turns out that these past several years of pixel-perfect imagery and digi photo composites have made some in the media industry weary.  it’s like spending the past four years watching only “300” when you really wanted to watch woody allen flicks. 

i’ve been reading lots of photog blogs, talking about “the mystery” and “romance” of shooting film.  looks like some are actually even shooting a few rolls here and there.  and did i recently peep a nachtwey essay on the congo, published in time mag with black borders circa 1980s?  now, i know there’s all sorts of photoshop filters out there that will let you fake black borders onto digi files, but seems like nachtwey isn’t the type to do that.  so therefore i’m going to have to assume that he did it the old fashioned way.

(also seems like another photo vet is still shooting film.  tony suau shot an essay on the economic crisis in cleveland with leicas and tri-x.  his pics ultimately won him this year’s world press photo of the year.  read the pdn piece about this here…)

so this makes me feel really good that i didn’t give up on film.  in fact, the majority of my current portfolio was shot on good ole provia 100 and nps 160.  

but not to say that i’m some luddite who can’t work his ipod.  i know my way around cs4, and is pretty damn savvy with the raw processing of my canon digi files.  in fact, i’m really good at it.  so much so, that i’ve lately been finding myself fondling my trusty 5d more than my hassy or crown graphic.  dealing with a 4 gig card is SOOOO much more convenient than loading 4×5 holders.  

seeing this resurgence in film shooting makes me feel a bit better about not getting in on the first batch of 5d mkIIs that hit the waiting lists back in november.  i was getting a bit envious of these pretty 60-meg files in all their 14-bit color glory.  really sweet stuff.  

it also makes me very happy that i pulled the trigger on a nikon 9000 coolscan last summer when i saw it pop up on b&h.  that thing is perpetually out of stock.  but man, does it scan some nice 2 1/4.

Written by John

February 17, 2009 at 11:03 pm

film will never die

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this is the reason why i will never stop shooting hasselblads.  from the national air and space museum’s steven f. udvar-hazy center, next to dulles airport in virginia:


Written by John

January 26, 2009 at 11:25 am