Inside Firearms Manufacturer PTR Industries for USA Today

A few weeks ago I spent the day at firearm manufacturer PTR Industries in Aynor, SC during an editorial photography and video assignment for our client USA Today.

Aynor, SC — GunsRelocated: When Connecticut and New York passed strict gun laws following the 2012 Newtown massacre, some gun-makers firmly rooted in the heart of the firearm industry made life and business-altering decisions. They left. In their pursuit of cheap land and deep tax breaks offered by friendly suitors from South Carolina, Texas and Nevada, they have been forced to contend with new challenges: finding skilled workers from the plentiful pool left behind in the so-called “New England Gun Valley’’ and new distribution channels to get their products to market.– Photo by Brett Flashnick, Freelance

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Travel to Reno Nevada for Hot August Nights 2015

One of the best things about traveling as a photographer is the ability to experience a variety of different events that you wouldn’t specifically seek out otherwise. At the start of a week of outdoor adventure and exploration around the Reno Tahoe area, I decided to head to Downtown Reno for the final Controlled Cruise for the week long classic car celebration Hot August Nights.

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A Day in Philadelphia PA

A few weeks ago I found myself in Philadelphia, PA for a magazine photo shoot. With about 8-hours of down time between scouting and the shoot, I set out with my camera, a desire to explore, some helpful advice from visitphilly.com, and an empty stomach. After a full afternoon/evening I come to know why people refer to this as the “City of Brotherly Love” (aside from the fact that Philadelphia is actually Greek for brotherly love which is derived from philos, “love” or “friendship”, and adelphos, “brother”.  Sadly 8-hours was barely enough to scratch the surface of what this great city has to offer. If you find yourself in Philly, here are a few things that I learned to help you along your way.

The Washington Monument Fountain, situated just inside the northwest edge of Eakins Oval, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art stairs, is shilouetted against a backdrop of scattered clouds.

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Rayovac Battery for MacBook Pro: A Cautionary Tale

Rayovac Laptop Battery for MacBook Pro, COM11061, purchased on November 16, 2011 has a catastropic cell explosion after only 6 months of use. (© 2012 Brett Flashnick/flashnick visuals, llc.)

Batteries for most of the devices that we as photographers use these days are far from common at local shops (especially here in Columbia, SC) and far from cheap at the specialty retailers who stock them.  Aside from a few devices that use standard AA (LR6) batteries, electronic camera accessories use special rechargeable or photo lithium batteries like the Canon Speedlite ST-E2 transmitter which takes a 2CR5 lithium, or the Sekonic L-358 Light Meter that takes a CR123A, or our backup Audio Technica wired lavalier mic that uses 357 button cells, not to mention the cameras themselves, on the notebook computers we use to process our images on location.  In situations where I’ve been in a pinch and needed something immediately the folks at the local Batteries Plus store on Harbison Boulevard have always come to my rescue.  They always seem to have what I need in stock at a fair price with good customer service. I can’t count the number of Rayovac Lithium 2CR5’s, CR123A’s, CR2450’s and 357 button cell batteries that I have bought from them over the years.

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PPP at the SC Book Festival

This is an open invitation for everyone to join me for special panel discussion of the Palmetto Portraits Project at the SC Book Festival this Sunday, May 20, 2012 from 2:20-3:10pm.

The festival and panel are free to attend and will be held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, located at  1101 Lincoln Street, in Columbia, SC.

I will be joined by Series II photographer Vinnie Deas-Moore from Columbia, SC, Series III photographer Cecil Williams from Orangeburg, SC, and I will be representing the photographers of Series IV.  We will also be accompanied by author, Josephine Humphreys who wrote the forward for the book, and the panel will be moderated by Harriett Green, Director of Visual Arts at the SC Arts Commission (and my adviser for the Artists Ventures Initiative grant from the SC Arts Commission.) For more information about the 16th Annual South Carolina Book Festival please visit scbookfestival.org.

The panel discussion is scheduled from 2:20-3:10 in the Richland Meeting Room (located at the back) of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. (see map below)

If you are just hearing about this project for the first time, here is a brief history of the Palmetto Portraits Project, as stated in the book.

In 2006, the first year of the Palmetto Portraits Project, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) commissioned six photographers to focus on portraying South Carolinians in the Lowcountry, the Piedmont, and the Upstate, reflecting the full range and diversity of the state’s citizens, occupations, and recreational activities. In creating a collection of art to display within MUSe’s educational and clinical buildings, the university hoped to remind students, faculty, staff, and visitors of those they serve at MUSC and throughout South Carolina. Each photographer was given free rein to subject matter. MUSC did not establish any guidelines or place restrictions on whom the photographers might choose as subjects. At the conclusion of the inaugural year, the six photographers invited six additional photographers to create the second series for the Palmetto Portraits Project. This ongoing method was repeated for Series III and Series IV, concluding in 2009. In this way, these accomplished artists helped perpetuate the project, broadening the scope of participation and reaching other photographers throughout the state.

The undertaking was managed by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston. Project partners and the selected photographers expanded the ultimate impact by donating an identical set of finished photographs to the permanent collection of the South Carolina State Museum, in Columbia. This publication accompanies the exhibition, and serves as a lasting record of this historic adventure.

Reminiscent of the Farm Security Administration’s photographs of 1930s’ America, the Palmetto Portraits Project is a visual survey of state residents at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century. Novelist Josephine Humphreys provides a first-person narrative about what it is like to be “from here,” and contemplates our shared kinship. Mark Sloan of the Halsey Institute offers insight into the privileged access that portrait photographers have long provided into the lives of their subjects. In the Afterword, South Carolina State Museum chief curator of art Paul E. Matheny, III, offers an assessment of how these portraits may be viewed by future generations, and applauds the photographers for capturing “the soul of the state.”

The Palmetto Portraits Project partners include the Medical University of South Carolina, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston, and South Carolina State Museum, in Columbia.

Palmetto Portraits Project Book Details

Hardcover: 176 pages

Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (December 15, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0615354742

ISBN-13: 978-0615354743

Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 10.3 x 0.9 inches

Available for purchase at the SC Book Festival, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Speaking at SC Center for the Book 2/16/2012

I’m excited to announce my first speaking engagement of 2012. On Thursday, February 16, 2012 I will be speaking about my participation in the Palmetto Portraits Project at the South Carolina State Library’s Center for the Book (an affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book). This program is presented in partnership in cooperation with USC Press.

This event will take place at the SC Center for the Book located at 1430 Senate St. in Columbia, SC from Noon-1pm, and it is free and open to the public.  I will be joined by Paul Matheny III, art curator at the South Carolina State Museum  and South Carolina Novelist  Josephine Humphreys, who wrote the essay for the book.

During this talk I plan to share my process for finding an creating the portraits that I was commissioned to photograph for this project. I will also be glad to answer any questions regarding the book, my process for finding and creating engaging portraits as well as any general questions about photography.

If you aren’t able to make the event you can find out more information about the Palmetto Portraits Project on the MUSC website. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book it is available from USC Press and Amazon.com.

-Brett

2011 Favorites – Assignment & Personal Photos

2011 was an interesting year, with a lot of changes. The collection of images in the gallery below is the best way for me to share that.

I’ve been putting together galleries of my favorite images for the past seven years, and this gallery looks completely different than any other gallery I have shared before, and that excites me beyond belief for the potential to grow even more in 2012. I hope you enjoy looking through this gallery as much as I enjoyed putting it together.  I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for us.

-Flash

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2011 Favorites – Mobile (iPhone 4) Photos

Exactly a year ago I finally decided to break down and get an iPhone 4 (my first iPhone).  One of my favorite things about this phone is the camera and huge variety of photo editing/sharing apps that are available for it.  I’ve had several phones with cameras before this one, and always found myself snapping a photo on them from time to time, but I usually wasn’t happy with the resulting image quality, and almost always forgot to download the picture to my computer so I could share it.  In all honesty what is the point of taking photos if you can’t share them for others to enjoy?  The iPhone has changed all of this for me.  I’m now happy with the results more often than not (realizing the limitations of the camera on a phone), and I almost always share them via facebook, twitter, and as @_flashnick on instagram, or here on the blog.

You can see a 25 image gallery of my favorite photos from my first year of iPhone photography, and a list of my favorite iPhone photo apps by clicking to read more below.

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Beginning the National September 11 Memorial

Four years ago I was asked to photograph the first of many structural beams for the National September 11 Memorial and Museum as they rolled out of Owen Steel Company Inc., in Columbia, S.C., on September 11, 2007. As I arrived on location along with a film crew just before sunrise the workers at Owen Steel were already busy preparing the rigging to lift two massive I-beams onto a 50-foot flat bed trailer for their journey across the United States. There had been many sleepless nights leading up to this moment as a sense of tension and accomplishment filled the air of the massive building, while officials with the NS11MM met with executives of Owen Steel to witness this process. After the beams were lowered onto the trailer and strapped into place, all of the employees made their way to the parking lot to watch the tuck depart and begin to make its way through downtown Columbia toward the unveiling at Finaly Park.

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USA Today Mobile Clip

Just wanted to share a quick screenshot from the USA Today iPhone App. The image below is from the recent Gullah-Geechee project that I worked on with writer Larry Copeland. It was originally published on April 21, 2011.

I guess the iApp is the new equivalent to going to the paper box in the morning to see your clips for the day. It’s amazing to think about how the industry has changed over the past 12 years.

If you don’t have the USA Today app already, I would recommend heading over to the iTunes App store, and downloading it today. It has become one of my daily GoTo news apps.

P.S. This post was published from my iPhone. Yes the world has changed!

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