9.10.2019

A Lazy afternoon at the golf course, camera in one hand and a club in the other. Is it f8? Or a par 4?

Golf Professional, Chris DiMarco, shows me a few better ways to get up and out of a bunker. 
We were on the Fazio Canyon course at Barton Creek Country Club. 
Nice day to be out on the fairways.

Yes. It was hot yesterday, but it was about eight degrees cooler than the same time 
last week. I took a break from my usual work to take a few photographs
of beautiful chunks of Summer clouds moving with purpose over the golf course. 

I'd love to insinuate that I spend some of my free time with a Ryder Cup champion, out on the local luxury links instead of feverishly clutching a camera in my hands, wiping my face off with an already damp bandana and hoping not to be overcome by the Texas heat...

...but yesterday was one of those rare, pleasant jobs that goes along nicely paced, complete with a convivial and accessible celebrity guest and a small group of laid back folks; the kind of people that can leave the office at the drop of a hat, middle of the afternoon, to spend time learning how to play golf better, do a little low key networking, and enjoy an open bar and a nice buffet at the nicest golf course in central Texas. 

I was there to snap a few candid photos, have some pulled pork nachos, photograph 20 or 30 of my client's clients, have a cold Fireman's Four beer, and generally enjoy the scenery. 

After Chris DiMarco gave us all a private clinic I brought the guests over to a scenic spot at which I'd previously set up a battery powered monolight on a stand, with a soft box, and spent twenty minutes or so making what we'd call, "grip and grin" photos of Chris and individual guests. 

Afterwards we retired to a small rock house called, "The Rock House" situated out along the golf course, savored the air conditioning and listened to DiMarco talk about the life of a professional golfer. My takeaway? Get a pocketful of great sponsors....

I arrived at 2 pm and was back home by 6 pm, in time for supper. I spent some time editing and tweaking the files this morning. They are now uploaded, with download links sent, and now I'm onto another project. 

I'd nearly forgotten how wonderful a photographic assignment can be when one is working for a huge client, with pockets deeper than the Marianas Trench, whose expectations include....everyone being comfortable and having a good time. The venue was 7 minutes from my house and studio, the weather was benevolent and the catering superb. All that's left now is to send along a bill. And to search the horizon for another job as relaxing as yesterday's. 

Golden Age of commercial photography? September 9, 2019. 

I woke up and read some sad news this morning. Photographer, Robert Frank has died.


When I drove through West Texas in 2010 I spent quiet evenings in small, out of the way hotels and motels, reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac. It's no coincidence that Kerouac wrote the introduction to The Americans, a revolutionary collection of 80+ images from the 1950's by Robert Frank. Kerouac and Frank mined the same subject matter = culture without the saccharine gloss of the post WWII, suburban perspective in which everything is fine, everyone is doing well and there is no inequity or angst.

To many photographers who are slightly older than I Henri Cartier-Bresson was their role model and an exemplar of modern photography. HCB was probably singled handedly responsible for the sale of more Leica rangefinder cameras than any photographer before or since. But to my generation it was Robert Frank's piercing, counter-cultural point of view that made him our "hero."

The magazines and art critics of 1958 ( the publication date of Frank's breakthrough book) were livid about the style, content and presentation of Frank's work. To read reviews published at the time one would think his work was a complete failure, but what strong legs the work has turned out to have. Since 1958 it seems that each generation of photographers is in some way influenced by work done over six decades ago. Much of the interest in "street photography" was initially created and generated by his work.

Of all the masters of 20th century photography whose work I've seen, and even experienced first hand, in the form of original prints there are only two whom I would list an primary inspirations. As photographers whose vision helped to shape my understanding of the power of photography. Those two are Richard Avedon and Robert Frank.

Of the two I see Avedon as an outlier; an artist who would have been just a successful as a painter or illustrator but I see Frank as the most pure example of the artist solely as a photographer. He exemplified to me what the real power of photography is all about.

Now, I know that Robert Frank moved on from photography to work in motion pictures but that doesn't diminish what he accomplished in a few years in the middle of the 1950's, working with no crew, no assistants, no entourage and no roadmap.

We should all stop, grab a copy of The Americans, sit quietly and just soak in the images. Whether you like it or not the images in this book single-handedly changed our shared language of photography forever.