Welcome.

If you are landing here from a link off the CNN lens blog, welcome.  I can’t tell you how much exposure this is giving me so, I figured a formal hello is in order.  So, please, look around, stay awhile and don’t forget to check out my full site HERE.

 

Party on.

Iron Maiden Atlanta Tailgate_014

 

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A small-ish update

I had one hell of a long weekend these last few days and Im feeling it.  I was outside all day Saturday and Sunday at the rugby tournament that we (Nashville Rugby) host every year and it is exhausting.  That being said, I was able to try out my new mobile studio set up and it went great.  Ill have a bunch of new photos trickling in through the week as I process them but here are a few…

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Ive been playing rugby my whole adult life and its one of those things that is hard to really describe to folks who don’t play or aren’t familiar with it.  Regardless of the actual sport and its own unique rules, the culture that surrounds it is amazing.  There is a bond and camaraderie that you really don’t find anywhere else and there is a certain insanity element that goes with it as well.  The shenanigans that take place at any sort of rugby event are as numerous as they are inappropriate for this blog.  These rugby portraits are my attempt to put into a picture what its really like being wrapped up in this crazy crazy world.  There will be lots more to follow and this might turn into a full out project of mine, the only problem is that it is hard to stay behind the camera when there are matches to be played…

 

 

 

Featured in the Oxford American this week..

I have been lucky enough to be featured over on the Oxford American website as part of their Eyes on the South series.  This great venture into Southern photography is being curated by Jeff Rich and he is doing a bang up job at it (yes, that is a biased opinion).  Anyways, go check it out and then take some time to poke around the rest of the Eyes on the South project as well.

Home, Part 1.

I arrived back home Sunday night from my 2 weeks in Morocco and I am glad to be back.  Really, really glad to be back.

To give a bit of background, I was selected to be one of 2 artists in residence for the moussem (pilgrimage) of Sidi Ali bin Hamdouch up in the foothills of the mountains in N. Morocco.  This pilgrimage is a very loose collection of folks from all over Morocco and NW Africa but all share a common thread in that they are all members of Sufi Muslim brotherhoods.  My intention was to arrive, shake some hands and set up the 4×5 and start shooting deliberate, honest portraits of the folks that attend to show the numerous differences between everyone but also the commonalities that they share.  This didn’t exactly happen as planned…

As soon as I arrived in Fez it was pouring rain and cold and generally horrible weather.  That cleared for a little while the next day once we had arrived in Sidi Ali and I decided it was time to set the big camera up and see what sort of response I got.  In less time than it takes to type half this sentence the city council officials were on my ass and demanding that I take the tripod down (hadn’t even gotten the camera on it yet) and all hell was breaking loose.  The coordinator for the residency stepped in and tried to make sense of things and diffuse the situation but to no avail.

The frustrating thing about this was that I was worried this might happen so, I made sure that the residency folks secured permission before hand, which they did, but as are the ways of the world, the powers that be revoked my permission.  Shit.  No what?  After trying and trying to get them to allow me to shoot it got me nowhere other than a few deportation threats and a permanent shadow to make sure we didnt break the rules.  Now, mind you, I was livid about this as I had spent a lot of money and more importantly, a lot of time to get over there and now I was rendered about as useful as an asshole on an elbow.

So, the days go on with out me shooting but observing and being in the moment of things at this pilgrimage and I tell you, as a photographer it was one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with since the visuals were so intense and there were so many good photos to have and, well, Im still a little bitter but Ill get over it.  Again, for some clarity, I should explain a few of the things that were going on at this event…

The pilgrimage goes on for about 10 days and starts roughly on the Prophet’s birthday but these are not hard and fast rules – as we have seen earlier, there is no such thing in Morocco.  So, people come from all around to the shrine of Sidi Ali bin Hamdouch to receive baraka or blessings and they bathe in the holy spring that comes out of the mountain.  Sounds pretty tame and like many other religious sites the world over (Lourdes, Ganges, etc etc) but oh, it is so much more.  The big component to Sufism that differentiates it from the rest of Islam is their strong belief in spirits or Djinn that are constantly present but sometimes need to be coaxed from the ethereal into the physical and they do this with music.  The way it manifests itself is that people start going into trance and pretty much lose their shit.  I was fortunate enough to be invited into some private homes to attend and ‘participate’ in these conjurings and Im still trying to wrap my head around all that I saw.  Not in order but I saw…

Women shattering glasses on their heads and eating the glass

A cow sacrificed in a living room

A woman trancing in the cow’s blood as it kicked for life (heavy)

Lots of knife play and lots of human blood

Speaking in tongues and animal voices

Lots of eyes rolling back into peoples heads

and lots of other bat shit crazy things.

 

So, Ill leave the follow up post to deal with the second half of the trip and add to these observations as I still need time to process everything.  Hell, I don’t know if Ill ever process everything.

To be continued…

 

Boom.

Cars + Machine Guns + Kentucky = this…

Plenty more where that came from coming up soon.  Have also been busy with some new editorial work as well, Ill get that posted once it goes to press.  A little different than what I normally shoot but should be pretty good.

 

Also, to all of those that received the new magazine promo I sent out, I hope you enjoy it.  Ive received nothing but positive feedback so, thank you.  To anyone who wants one, please, email me and Ill make it happen.