I don’t always feel articulate when I speak, but I thought I’d try a vlog-ish version of my blog today. Art is hard for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is dealing with my clinical self doubt, a constantly bruised and limping ego, a grand sense of entitlement and a pretty rocking persecution complex. It would be funnier if it wasn’t so true! Anyways, here’s the video and a rambling train of thought, struggling not to derail.
Thanks for hanging with it! To sum it up: Not everyone with an opinion about your work is right. Not everyone in a position of power over you with an opinion is right either. I’m quick to internalize certain criticism. And some criticism is certainly warranted. However, knowing when to listen and when to shrug it off is the hard part. Today I shrugged it off. Cross you fingers for tomorrow.
Have you been completely impregnated through your eyes yet with the advertising phenomena known as Star Wars? Are you balls deep in Kylo Ren Campbells Soup? Are you brushing your teeth with Rey’s Aquafresh Sand Squirts? Maybe today you read an issue of Deathstar People while drinking a Darthacino from Saberbucks. Does it feel like I’m really hammering this Star Wars thing a little too much? Yea, exactly.
Full disclosure, not a Star Wars person. I don’t care. Nothing is ruined if the movies suck or establish a new religion. That being said, Dana and I saw it on Christmas day and it was excellent as far as movies go. Also, it was basically the first movie. Find a reluctant Jedi in the desert, outlaw sidekicks, droids with messages, blow up a planet sized space ship. It would have been cool to see the reboot of a franchise that wasn’t just the same movie from 30 years ago. But whatever. I’ve got a bag of Chewbacca Cold Chews I’m working through to ease this terrible Hoth Cough.
This is Kris Benton and she’s pretty rad. We tried to get lost in the woods but ended up only 12 ft from the road. When it works it works.
Christmas blows, but we are still all over that shit like huge college debt and non-paying internships. We just CANNOT WAIT to get in line for the whole rancid pine-smelling poop-show, so I’m trying in my own small way to combat the ennui of this time of the year.
Full Disclosure: I live in Los Angeles, which is amazing and warm and full of palm trees and malls that pump soap into the air to look like snow. Plus, I love Christmas in LA because NO ONE IS HERE and I can actually drive from point A to point B as god intended.
In the spirit of giving things away and asking for little to n’er in return, I’m sending out random, plump stockings (ed. note: envelopes) of test prints to 2 lucky people who reblog this post. You need to be following me here and it needs to happen in the next week. (ed. note: also, 18+ please) And that’s it! Eventually I’ll need your snail mail address but THAT’S IT!
Prints are RAD. It’s the whole root of photography and it gets old as shit starring at my phone trying to decide if I want to unfollow half the people in my feed for posting cute quotes and ugly pet photos. Prints are REAL. You can hold them, hide them, frame them. It’s cool embracing the 3rd dimension.
This weekend I finally finished the movie, Magnolia. It took us three sittings to get through the movie, which a client had recommended I watch. It took so long, that I’m not even sure I can sum up the major plot points, but I vaguely remember at least two attempted suicides, cancer, death, dying, dead people, guns, drugs, Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is, regrettably, dead, and Tom Cruise.
About a month ago, Cindy and I hit the studio for a quick session. I’ve been trying to think about shooting as more of a portrait photographer than a fashion photographer. That doesn’t exactly feel like the right terminology either but it’s closer to the final result I think.
You can see more of Cindy here.
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! firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and let’s be Pen Pals, player!
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.
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.
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/.
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