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.
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.
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)
Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 10.3 x 0.9 inches
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.
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.
Yesterday afternoon, I was fortunate enough to be the only photographer for a civilian media outlet on hand for a closed demonstration of the U.S. Army’s newly revised fitness tests for soldiers. Back in the days of print, I would wake up and head to the news stand to get a copy of whatever publication I shot for. These days all I have to do is open my Google Alerts, and I’m instantly notified of every publication in the world who used my images online. After more than a decade of seeing my images in print its still a pretty good rush when you open up your alerts and see double digits in the results.
I just found out that Command Sergeant Major Teresa King, who I spent a day photographing back in September of 2009, after she was named the first female commandant of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School, was named to Oprah’s “2010 O Power List”. Congrats to CSM King, who is an amazing person. It doesn’t hurt knowing that you beat the queen of all media to the punch by an entire year either!
Here are the resulting pages from the November 2009 issue of Jolie. While I’m still not a fan of the layout/design used, it was a great story that was and still am proud to have been a part of telling.
CSM King is in pretty good company this year. The other nominees include the likes of Julia Roberts, Diane Sawyer, and Vera Wang. You can check out the full list at http://www.oprah.com/world/The-2010-O-Power-List
As I checked my Facebook page before heading out for a 12 hour photo day on Saturday, I was a bit perplexed when I saw that friend and fellow shooter Chris Keane had left me a note for me to check out MSNBC’s The Week in Pictures for Oct. 30 – Nov. 6, 2008. Much to my surprise one of my images from the bond hearing of Quentin Patrick, who is accused of killing 12-year-old, trick-or-treater, T.J. Darrisaw, when he fired 29 rounds from his AK-47 through the front door of his house in Sumter, S.C., upon seeing the 3 masked figures, outside of his home on Halloween night, and thinking he was about to be robbed. This image came from my second day of covering this extremely emotional tragedy for the Associated Press, and can be found in Oct. 30 – Nov. 6, TWiP at the following link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27578284/displaymode/1107/framenumber/7/s/2/
I have received several emails from readers and people who have seen my shot from the 2008 Carolina Cup Races, that I posted a few weeks ago, so I decided that I amy going to demystify how you make a shot like this work, by using a remote camera.
For those who don’t know, a remote camera, is a camera which you place in a specific location ahead of an event that would not be accessible during the event, and is then triggered by a hard wire, or radio signal. The list of equipment I used to make this image is as follows.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D Digital SLR
Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM
Remote Trigger: Pocket Wizard (not pictured) and LPA Designs Pre-Release Cable CM-N3-P
Mounting Hardware: Ultra-Pod II
Protection: Kata E-702 GDC Elements Cover
Complete Setup: This is what the setup looked like when it was completely assembled. The camera and lens were mounted to the Ultra-Pod II and then inserted into the GDC Elements Cover. After everything was strapped down and the camera was protected from any flying mud or sudden rain showers, I used the left arm hole to attach the PocketWizard and the Pre-Release Cable to the camera and then cinched up all the other loose openings. You don’t have to use a rain cover or a remote cover, a clear plastic bag, a plastic cup, and some tape will do the same trick. I really do prefer rain covers as opposed to remote covers, so you can see to make any adjustments to exposure or focus without disturbing the entire setup.
Now comes the setup. Be prepared to get there early, some venues require you have the remote in place days before the event, while others will allow a remote to be placed hours before the event. It is also a good idea to make sure your liability insurance is up to date, because if someone or something trips over your remote and gets injured, you could be in some hot water. Once you have looked into all of the logistical details, its time to place the remote. It generally helps to have some working knowledge of the event or sport you are photographing, because you will have to anticipate everything happening long before it actually occurs. Since this was not my first time photographing a steeplechase or horse racing in general I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to see. With this in mind I chose a fence to place the remote under, and estimated the spot in the jump where most ofthe horses would come over. With these things in mind I had my assistant for the day, Cindy stand at that position in the jump so I could focus and frame the image up. Once everything was set, I taped all of the adjustment dials, focus rings, etc… on my camera in place so they wouldn’t move, made sure the whole setup was nice and tidy, and proceeded to make some test images of Cindy and I jumping around the frame to verify focal plane, and framing of the image. Once this was all done, it was time to go make some feature shots while waiting on the race to begin. *This is why it is important to use a pre-release cable, because it will keep your camera awake and ready to fire, so there is no delay firing the first frame when the time comes.* When the race began I decided to shoot from down the track with my 300mm f/2.8 and 1.4x converter, with the PocketWizard on the hot shoe of the camera, so I could have two angles of the shot, incase the remote didn’t work for some reason. Once the event is done with, you can go back to your remote, and collect your images and hope you got what you envisioned.