There is a wonderful line in A Thousand Names for Joy where Byron Katie asks: Who would you be without your story? “There is no story that is you or leads to you,” she says. “Every story leads away from you. You are what exists before all stories. You are what remains when the story is understood.”
Katie’s books and public workshops have helped tens of thousands of people understand how their their attachment to stories stand in the way of their own joy and freedom. I discovered her work about ten years ago and it’s safe to say I had my mind blown.
Given the influence Katie has had on me, I was thrilled to be invited to photograph her at her ranch in Ojai, California. We spent an afternoon taking pictures, having tea, talking about our favorite books and teachers. It was one of the easiest photoshoots I can remember. The afternoon flew by in an instant.
Katie herself seemed completely present, open to ideas, even playful in front of the camera. Many people are uncomfortable in front of big lenses and studio strobes. Not Katie. I was reminded of another line from her book:
“A mature mind can entertain any idea,” she writes. “It is never threatened by opposition or conflict, because it knows that it can’t be hindered. When it has no position to defend or identity to protect, it can go anywhere. There’s never anything to lose… Laughter pours out of it.”
Beautiful words, ones which Katie herself teaches by example.
My portrait of Katie appears on the Spanish edition of A Thousand Names for Joy
Burning Man 2015 will be remembered for the wind, the dust, and the unseasonably chilly temperatures. But it was also a year of first-rate art installations, stunning fire performances, startling art cars, burning pianos flying through the air, and much else besides. It was my 4th year covering the event for Rolling Stone and if you head over to their site you’ll find about 20 images of mine gathered under the heading, See Trippy, Surreal Photos From Burning Man 2015. Some of the same images also appear here (but without the pesky ads!), along with about 80 others that try to capture something of the art, the people, and the performances from an all-around incredible week.
A few weeks ago, the producers of Discovery’s “This Happened Here” contacted me about an image I had made at Burning Man in 2011. The series features short documentaries that revolve around compelling or unusual photographs.
I answered some questions about the photo and reflected on why I happen to love making pictures at the event.
They have just posted a new episode under the title, “Can Burning Man Change Your Life?” As it turns out, they let me do most of the talking.
Check out the clip above, or read more about it here.
The timing couldn’t be better, as I’m scrambling to get ready for Burning Man 2015 which kicks off in just a few short days.
In the new issue of Wired Magazine, fellow photographer Sidney Erthal and I offer some thoughts about our favorite Burning Man art pieces from the past along with installations we’re looking forward to seeing at this year’s event, which kicks off in less than two weeks.
“A five-storey mesh dancer, a giant game of fire Tetris and — if rumours are to be believed — a hacked Boeing 747 are just a few of the oversized artworks on show at Burning Man (August 30 to September 7),” writes Oliver Franklin-Wallis. “But here, such awe-inspiring projects are the norm — the Nevada desert festival has a reputation as an alt-art showcase. ‘It’s a laboratory for creativity,’ says Scott London, a long-time photographer of the event who, with fellow snapper Sidney Erthal and author Jennifer Raiser, has collaborated on Burning Man: Art on Fire (Race Point Publishing).”
The piece features about a dozen of our photos. You’ll find the images and full text online: http://wired.uk/JFmODc
This week, the Pocko Times is showcasing my Burning Man photographs in a special feature that includes more than 30 photos and an extended interview about the project.
The Pocko Times began as a large format print magazine devoted to art, photography and ideas. It has now evolved into what they describe as “a curated platform of innovative ideas and artist endeavours” — an online platform of sorts showcasing talented individuals with a unique perspective about the world through their work.
It was a delight and an honor to to be profiled. You can read the interview and see the photos here: pocko.com.
Over the next week, I’ll be taking over the Instagram feed for Color Services, a wonderful photo lab I’ve been working with for over 10 years now. Not exactly “taking over,” more like guest hosting. They’ve invited me to share some of my favorite images from the past few years, along with some new stuff. If you’re on Instagram, I hope you can follow along: @colorservices
UPDATE (July 31, 2015):
Thanks to Gabe, Glen, Linda and the rest of the team at Color Services for letting me take the reins for a week. To read their blog entry about the takeover and see some of the photos that I posted, head over to the Color Services Blog.
Steampunk is a curious aesthetic, an unlikely mix of seemingly incompatible frames of reference. Inspired by science fiction and informed by 19th-century industrial machinery, it’s part Victorian England, part wild west Americana, and part 21st-century nostalgia. It seems to be everywhere now, from fashion runways and design houses to artist collectives and Makers Faires.
I never set out to focus on the phenomenon per se, but hanging out with artists, engineers, sculptors, builders, designers, and other creative types, and carrying a camera, has meant that I’ve been on hand to document some great steampunk projects.
My photographs have been exhibited at two recent shows — the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’s exhibition Steampunk: The Exquisite Adventure and the San Diego Automotive Museum’s show Steam Punk. A handful are also included in a new book, Steampunk, by German author, curator, collector, and steampunk aficionado Dan Aetherman.
California governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County after a ruptured pipeline spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the ocean near Refugio State Beach.
There’s nothing to drive home how devastating an oil spill is than seeing its effect on wildlife — in this case a brown pelican covered in oil and struggling for its life. It’s one of the more harrowing things I’ve seen.
Fortunately, I came across very few oiled animals out there at the spill. And it was comforting to have people from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on the scene to help with the rescue effort.
But I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more of these images in coming days and weeks, as the Gaviota coast is home to a rich diversity of wildlife and the spill is already affecting a swath about 10 miles wide.
I took quite a few photos out there at the spill, but this one seems to have struck a nerve, already popping up on dozens of news sites. I’ll have more images to share soon.
I went up with my pilot friend John this evening for an aerial view of the oil spill. It was hazy and the visibility wasn’t great, but you could clearly see the oil slick covering the area from Refugio State Beach toward El Capitan State Beach.