A Post-Cyber Society

Everyone has been trying to sell you shit for the last two weeks and I’m sure you’re about fed up with it.  Buy this 75lb turkey!  Buy plane tickets to see your sucky family!  Oh shit it’s Black Friday!  It’s Crimson Saturday!  It’s Shop Local Cheese Shoppe Sunday!  It’s CyberHacktober Monday!  Really, this could go on forever.

In the spirit of all this ridiculous Brands-As-People and People-As-Brands Season of Consumer Fatigue, I’m offering you something for nothing.  Srsly.  My postcard game is hella strong, I love mail, and I’m doing my semi-annual mailathon so send me a message with your address or the address of someone you’d like to get a card from me and I’ll mail it off.  I’ve got scads of postcards, a bunch of stamps and I’m about to hit my slow season which means I’ve got nothing to do except all of the million things I need to do to run a business that I can’t do because I’m shooting.


As a “cyber” Monday (don’t ever say “cyber.”  Are you wearing Mom jeans?)  deal I’ll send a couple of you an envelope of test prints and that’s got to be kind of exciting.  

I spent the last week with my family and while I’m really lucky because they are cool, I’m so freaking ready to go make some weird shit in the woods with some friends, so that’s what I’m doing today.  So hey you! chris@cultnoir.com with your address and let’s be Pen Pals, player!

Boosting Saturation With Dodge and Burn

Hey!  It’s almost thanksgiving which means LA has basically stopped doing anything except mentally preparing for El Friday Noir!  I have nothing to sell you, except this good time you’ll get watching me retouch a new photo of Kris Benton where we boost some color and richness with the dodge and burn tools.

Plus, some jokes.  Not necessarily funny ones.  One funny joke and three ok jokes.  You guys be careful sleeping outside of Bestbuy Thursday night.

How to Meet Models and Photos of Tiffany Toto


Whenever I hear or read “People always ask me…” the first thing I think is “No one has ever fucking asked you that, ever.”  Here’s your chance to turn that cynicism back towards me as I break the cardinal rule of blog douchery:

People Always Ask Me: Chris, Where Do You Find Your Models?

What a fantastic question!  I’d love to answer that for you.  When I first moved here I didn’t know anyone so there was definitely a quantity over quality kind of scenario where I was reaching out as much as possible, trying to connect with modeling agencies, ModelMayhem, etc.  It takes some time but eventually it hits a kind of stasis where you meet a few people you really like and they connect you with a few like minded people and so on.  You can ask to get on agency mailing lists and they’ll send you updates anytime they get in new faces or traveling models that need some local tests.  Meeting other photographers helps with this, too.  It’s good to alert a buddy if someone cool is in town or if you recently worked with someone amazing (or less than.)  These are all good ways to get your name out there and meet some people if you’re new or new in town.


(A side note.  I had to shoot a location today and upon entering I banged my head SO HARD that I am now bleeding as I write this.)

Eventually, though, I wanted to start forging more creative relationships with models and artists who think and create along the same veins that I do.  This can take a long time as you build trust in the relationship which, as you may already know, is tenuous when you’re dealing with two artist-creative-types who are hypersensitive and sort of mistrusting of the world in general.  The shoots that usually yield the best results for me are the 2nd, the 3rd, and on and on, as you get used to each other and can start to push each other to go further.


Tiffany Toto and I worked together for a commercial shoot a few weeks ago for Denim Refinery and we linked up again to make some photos later on.  This is another great way to meet people since you’re working together and can kind of gauge your chemistry on set.  This is no guarantee of course, and I get turned down to shoot after the fact all the time, but when it works it usually works well.


We hit up one of my favorite spots in the valley and hiked around in the woods for a couple hours.  The winter light in LA is really something fantastic.  In fact, I think I appreciate it more than the summer light.  There’s less of it and you have to work harder for it.  You can see the whole set on the Junnnktank site.  They featured us in an editorial a couple weeks ago.

Tiffany Toto can be found at @tifftoto on IG and at http://tiffanytoto.tumblr.com/.

Portraits of Brock O Hurn!

I had no idea who Brock O’Hurn was but if you’re a lady or have lady-parts, you probably know who he is and have seen him tie his hair in a bun.
This was all news to me, but his agency contacted me a few weeks ago and I took that burly man to the woods and made some pictures.
Spoiler/Panty Dropper: He’s a really nice dude who’s involved in a lot of charity and activist work.  He did try to benchpress me a few times but I think that sort of thing just comes with the territory.  He doesn’t need my help dropping him links, but here it is anyways.

Tutorial Videos, and Oh Yea, Hello, Again.

Shall we address the big, social media-averse elephant in the room?  If you’re wondering when the last time I posted a blog was, you’re not alone.  I’m not entirely sure either.  It was easily a year ago (maybe more?).  So lame.  I know, I know.
YouTube is a total mystery to me, I feel like I understand the shit out of Vimeo,(warning, this link is R rated) but YouTube–totally lost.  In an effort to embrace the unknown, however, I’ve added a couple new videos to my channel if you’re interested in checking out a little of the way I work and hearing my sweet southern accent. (sigh, embarrassing)
First Video: people ask me a lot about my retouch methods, and I think what a lot of people like is that I try to keep skin and retouching as real as possible and still keep people looking good.  Basically, I go by this rule: Blemishes we remove, skin we leave in.  In other words, keep the integrity of skin which is interesting and personal and get rid of problems that would distract.  After that there’s some business about curves and such, but overall it’s a pretty good primer on my methods in post.  BONUS! It’s a dude!  Right?! I know, crazy. I’ve been shooting a lot of mens’ portraits lately and it’s been a fantastic break from the norm.
Secondly I did a What’s In My Bag video for a portrait shoot.  I keep it pretty barebones and like to travel light, but you’ll get a feel for my kit.  Plus I got a sweet new orange camera bag that I kind of love.
When you have a few minutes check these videos out and subscribe.  I’d like to start being more active with tutorial videos such as these and hope you’ll join me on the way.

Tiina, from Kismet Management in DTLA

Sophie, for LA Models

Check Out Some New Work On The Juxtapoz Blog

Check out Hannah and Natalie camped out at a hotel in Silver Lake.  Juxtapoz was kind enough to feature these images on their Erotica blog this week and I’m excited to pass them on.  I’ve been sitting on them a while trying to find an appropriate outlet for them and I feel like this is a perfect venue.

Hannah and Natalie

Click the photo to go directly to Juxtapoz

These are NSFW, so use discretion.  Or not.

I hope everyone’s 2014 is rolling right along.  See you soon.

Here We Go, 2014

This is the time of year for best intentions, right?  Fresh starts, new running shoes, blank journals, and 12 resolutions, 8 of which I’ll achieve.

A month ago I decided not to buy anything for anyone this Christmas, and instead, spend that hard earned money on a new video-specific camera for myself.  Here’s the first product from said camera.

This was Kara Kaye’s first time on video and my first time using this camera and I was thrilled with us both.

Enjoy your day off, your low grade hangover, your black eyed peas, and some hair of the dog, should that be necessary.

Flat World, A New Photo Series


Architectural photography is not my strong suit, but I have some familiarity with the artform.  One of the most important aspects of architecture (or cooking, synchronized swimming, sculpture etc) is an overall intentionality and purpose in the design.  I feel like those aspects have been lost in the wave of sub/urban sprawl, a glut of self-storage facilities and forgettable big-box architecture that fulfills only the most basic of structural requirements.  I began exploring these ideas photographically not only in and around LA, but in Nashville and Memphis as well.  The following series tries to capture the feeling of sub/urban malaise, the oppression of a walled-in life, and the overall melancholy of living in the midst of disposable architecture.


The title Flat World came about after noticing that my cellphone camera flattens space and distance at times, so absurdly, that it takes away any sense of depth at all, creating a flat, one dimensional image.  Click any photo to take you to the collection.


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