There are so many facets of us that no one image can capture our nuance. And that’s what we’ve lost lately, that nuance. Everything is so facile, so black and white. But people aren’t like that. We are each a rich and complex fabric woven of experiences and dreams.
When I first envisioned this concept that I call ODE, I imagined that each person was a mosaic, a stained-glass window. I would take many photographs and choose a representative few, combined with written content I gleaned from interviews with them and their family and friends. The end result would be a tapestry of images and words that created a fair portrait of who they are.
That’s what I did with Marshall Guttenberg. Although I have done dozens of single-image ODEs since then, his 9-panel ODE is the closest I have come to what I envisioned. This is panel number 9, in which we pulled a quote from The Alchemist, one of his favorite books.
I’d like to do more like this. The idea was to post them all over social media and the we...
A company is made of people. It is the people who define the brand. If you can feel the passion, feel the zeal, your connection to that brand will be authentic. You can’t believe in a logo. You believe in human beings. Sometimes that begins with a photograph.
I’ve been lucky. I’ve had the opportunity to photograph brilliant people at companies large and small. From start-ups to industry leaders I’ve played a small role in capturing the magic behind the brands.
My specialty is in corporate portraits. About Us pages. Speaker bios. It doesn’t matter the size of the company. All that matters is that the people love what they do. Because that passion can be captured. In fact, if it’s real, it can’t b contained.
I specialize in portraits. Not so much headshots, but authentic, real, true photographs that capture the essence of a person. I'm especially good with people who don't like their picture taken. The process of a portrait involves a conversation. The result is a natural photograph. I don'...
Not everyone wants to be seen. I mean truly seen. Many of us prefer some degree of obfuscation. The people I photograph, mostly, want to be seen. They’re looking for something a bit more authentic, something not as plastic as a headshot.
I approach photography like I approach all relationships. I’m looking to know people. I want to get below the surface, past all the small talk and into the realms of the real. Life is just too short for anything else.
So if you’re going to look at me, look at me. I don’t care if this is your ‘business’ portrait, authenticity matters more than ever now. I think we’re learning that through this experience with Trump. It’s not that this president taught me anything, it’s that he’s validated something I’ve always believed. Sincerity matters. Truth matters. People matter.
Across the board, from business to pleasure, how we show up in the world is not determined by a hard line between different personas compartmentalized for different purposes. It’s all the sam...
For our first photo session we met at Limantour Beach in Pt. Reyes. It was a bit overcast but that’s the most magical time on West Marin beaches so what we captured was really pure magic. That day was all about movement.
For our 2nd session we met at Ring Mountain which was where this photo was taken. That day was all about stillness.
Eugenia is probably the most comfortable person in her own body I’ve ever met. During our time together I felt I was with someone I had known for years. Her energy is so grounded and open. I had to do an ODE for her because what she does is so interesting and unique. And I like how she talks about our bodies as carriers of stories. As a storyteller that resonates with me.
I don’t have any trauma to work through but if I did I’d work with Eugenia. Not that that’s all she does. But she is indeed a safe place to rest and feel seen and heard. What I’m hoping is that this ODE might help her to help others.
Sometimes we tell stories with words and sometimes we tell...
It’s strange and miraculous how people come into our lives. We are each like celestial objects hurtling through space until our trajectories cross. Sometimes we collide, violently. Sometimes the dust of our comet tails intermix. And we move on, on our courses, but we are forever changed.
When I met Paul I was at a low point in my life but that was ten years ago and since then things have gotten better. During this time I encountered many angels, many helpers, whose kindness and friendship contributed greatly to my well-being. Paul was (is) one of those angels. He is a helper, a benevolent force of good, and when I would see him I would feel his energy and my state of mind would improve. He’s the kind of person I want in my orbit.
Paul is a healer. But he’s not arrogant about it. There’s no ego there. It’s true that he’s a dog whisperer, but he’s a heart whisperer too. Dogs. humans, it doesn’t matter, where there is a need for love and understanding, he fills it.
It begins with an image. And the location we choose is almost always an intuitive guess. In my mind it has to have some thematic relevance but also offer an opportunity for interesting curves, texture, shadows, light. The photograph I ultimately select says something about the person, but it also acts as a palette that will contain a story.
Taft here had just graduated high school and was going off to college back east. And we wanted this to be a tribute to her spirit and to her life. Just below the surface we see more. And only through one’s willingness to explore, to want to know, can we truly absorb a story. Here she stands, exuberant, above the city that helped make her who she is. She’s wearing the cool pants she made. And she’s ready to take on the world.
This ODE is dense. There’s a lot to explore here. Some words are large and thus easy to read upon first glance, others are small, requiring further exploration. This is intentional. I have always imagined ODEs as interactive maps...
I wanted to do an ODE for Brandon because he’s a really good guy. And I wanted to know more about him. The ODE process lets me dig a little deeper into a person’s story. If I can convey it to you, I learn something by default. And that’s how this whole thing got started. Because I wanted to tell people’s stories. Not the whole story but enough to get a sense of who they are, what they’re made of. Could I distill a person’s experience and philosophy down to a few basic truths? Maybe. Sometimes. But regardless, I could at least hope to depict someone with dimension, and depth. The whole point of ODE is to humanize people in an increasingly dehumanizing world.
I don’t wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable. If I do an ODE for you it’s because I admire you and I want the world to see what I see. Some of these first ODEs have been for strangers and others for old friends. Chris isn’t an old friend, but he’s a friend, and certainly no stranger to me.
He lives in Japan so I don’t see him much but we talk from time to time. And he’s doing something amazing - he’s running an independent games studio and doing really great work. That’s something I tried and failed so I understand the challenges of the endeavor.
His motto is be kind, try hard, build things. He didn’t tell me that was his motto, but he did say that those are the three things he imparts to his children. Kindness, perseverance, and creativity. That’s got all the makings of Latin creed. A quick run through Google translate yields:
indness, perseverantia et proprii ingenii.
My hope is that by reading this, and reading his ODE, you get a sense of the person behind the name. I think that’s im...