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PR Writing

On looking back.

     The winter break of two weeks has given me some time to look back into the recent archive, for a few updates to the website along with a bit of file handling update and whatnot.

      While culling through the digital file cabinets, I tripped over a few old images. Some lovable, some detestable. The images posted today come from one of a few trips made to Colorado over the summer, when traveling with the youth group from my home church in Houston. The venue (Silver Cliff Ranch) consists of a few meeting places, cabins, outdoor activities, and endless mountain terrain.The trip from Houston to Silver Cliff (near Nathrop, along the Arkansas river) was one made on road. For me, this meant packing equipment for both photo and live production, for 1,025 miles across 18 hours for the week long event as they had no other facilities there. I think at last measure it came to around 18 cases of various cables, speakers, amps, screens, projector, outboard, and... so forth. Fun stuff loading in and out with the only entrance being by rocky outdoor stair.


     Somewhere around my second year making the trip, I had adopted a bit more silver-based photography.I hadn't been making too many images along the way (primarily due to sleeping). We stopped about 20 minutes outside of the ranch for a peek at some other similar venues. Along the way was a sheer cliff and drop off that revealed an amazing view of the mountainside (and some part where a pool was being dug). The trip to Silver Cliff was always a long one, but worth it. As of late, working / interning in Summer has kept me from going unfortunately.


      On the images: Shot with an RB67, most likely Neopan 400 or Tri-X, hand developed in HC-110, dilution B in my bathroom.



Four weeks of sleeplessness, shouting, and some of the hardest work I've ever put into anything. A huge thanks to my team mates, Jason and Rob for their support and patience.


     Per the curriculum a group of three students are to build a campaign of five images that represent a brand or organization. Our project began the planning stages around December of 2011, with Robert and I originally intending to build a project around Polaroid.  As our creativity ran out with the initial idea, we considered our second passion: biking. After some more brainstorming, reality checks, and pre-existing content research, we brought Jason on as our third team member during the summer and during our return to classes in Fall, we began putting pen on paper.

    In the final iteration of our campaign, we sought to sell a product, but also visually communicate the versatility and diversity in biking, mixing in humor, realism, and having fun too. In the end, we created images for the Bell Bicycle Helmet company, showcasing different styles of helmets for different styles of riding. Our project was fueled by the tag line for the campaign: "A Helmet for Every Ride."


We shot for three days, across two weeks, and spent a week and a half in post and printing. I handled direction and planning, Robert was our prop and facilities master, and Jason shot. The biggest challenge ended up being in the post production. A shift in a few details resulted in us requiring some pretty intensive color compositing. In the end it proved that while we were all talented thinkers and shooters, there's still much to learn in our remaining time here at RIT.

After this, there's plenty more shooting to be done, but I'll enjoy some time off for a bit.


I Know What You Did Last Summer

Following my first year of college, I went back to Texas. But after my second year, I knew I didn't want more of the same. I wanted a change of place, a challenge, and growth. Internships.

Through some mix of serendipity, a last minute trip to NYC for a day, and some amount of prayer I landed two internships for the summer.

The first was with Quirky, a product development company based in Chelsea. In a very simple sense, Quirky allows people from all walks of life to submit their ideas for inventions and through a community-based process, makes these ideas happen. Quirky opened my eyes to new ideas in business and working with people, but most of all it instilled in me an attitude that is their mantra: "Get sh*t done." By nature the culture of company is impatient, it is vocal, and it does not wait around.      Adopting this attitude has become my work ethic and the initiative that drives much of my work (and lack of sleep). Quirky continues to amaze me with the cool things they do.

The second internship was with Studio D, the in-house photo studio for the Hearst family of publications. Studio D was one of the biggest parts in developing my skill as an assistant in the studio. I learned more in my time there than I did in the combined years of shooting head of them. Assisting knocked me down a few pegs (which never hurts) and showed me that how hard I'd have to work to make it. Hearst taught me how to be a great assistant, and they hold a very special place in my heart.

That's my last summer. I'm still thinking about what I want to do this coming summer. Something photo, something challenging. 

This blog post is part of a series of course work for the PR Writing Course in the College of Liberal Arts at RIT. In the winter quarter, Dan will be discussing his life as a photo student and the many things that entail. You can follow the series by selecting the "PR Writing" on the post page.

So you got here...?

There was very little debate as to whether or not I was going to college, but the question was always when and where. A degree in photography is not necessary (read: there are many amazing photographers who have unrelated degrees, if any at all) but I came to the decision that should my career not be as a shooter, I'd need something to fall back on. Simply put, in case my vision was not marketable, I wanted a technical knowledge to at least pay the rent.

At the same time I was also balancing a mix of commercial work and photojournalism. Commercial portraiture (weddings, seniors, events) was proving to be increasingly profitable while photojournalism offered the opportunity to travel and meet interesting people. I didn't know if I wanted to move forward as a documentarian of stories or ideas.

In that, two schools came to mind with one back up. Ohio University, RIT, and the University of Texas as a backup.  Ohio's photojournalism program offers one of the best schools in photojournalism in the U.S. UT was close to home and I'd benefit from in-state tuition. All thee accepted me, but in the end RIT offered me the opportunity to get away from my native South, and an impressive technical education that has already proven to be useful.

The road here hasn't been the easiest, I miss Texas dearly but I'm pretty sure the move here was the right move. In the meantime, there's plenty of work being done (and updates on that coming soon!)

This blog post is part of a series of course work for the PR Writing Course in the College of Liberal Arts at RIT. In the winter quarter, Dan will be discussing his life as a photo student and the many things that entail. You can follow the series by selecting the "PR Writing" on the post page.

So What Do You Do?

The title of today's post becomes the inevitable question at every party, gathering, and event. In all logical cases, it follows the icebreaker and introductions and a question I've worked on boiling down from the dozen hats I wear, to one.

"I'm a photographer in Upstate NY, working on my undergrad BFA."

This is usually followed by some discussion of a relative who is also a photographer or most often, a big shiny new camera they bought. I don't say the second callously, cameras are a pretty key part in image making.

 My specialty as a student follows Advertising Photography, or most things done commercially. Sepcifically, I love working in editorial / environmental portraiture (we'll get to work I dig in a few posts). In the past few months my semblance of an artist's manifesto has grown to become:

"I love working with people with a cool story to tell, in the studio or where they do their thing."

As a photographer, rather a student of photography, the life that entails is a bit more than just Ramen noodles and an advanced consumption of alcohol. During the academic year we also become our own producers, stylists, retouchers, and printers. We strive to build styles of our own and emulate others. At the end of it all, more often as students we are working for what goes on the wall, rather than for ourselves... something I hope changes in the coming year or two before I graduate though. In the coming weeks, we'll be discussing exactly that - work now and what happens moving forward.

This blog post is part of a series of course work for the PR Writing Course in the College of Liberal Arts at RIT. In the winter quarter, Dan will be discussing his life as a photo student and the many things that entail. You can follow the series by selecting the "PR Writing" on the post page.