For the past month, I’ve been working on a project multiple people have referred to as “a perfect fit.” It’s basically what I was made for.
I’m currently teaching a lighting class and a recent assignment focused on texture and the ability to minimize or exaggerate it as the situation required. Since sandpaper is all about that texture, it served as the perfect model.
I got an email the other week from a media company in Ann Arbor. It was a request for environmental portrait photography for a client of theirs – a Metro Detroit shipping/trucking company. The dates lined up, details worked out fine, and I was on board with the project.
Who’s the client? Con-way Inc. Oh – cool.
So the project brief and shot list came… Hang on a second. Something’s not right. This isn’t Con-way’s address. This is the address for Menlo Intl. I know that because my father has worked there for years.
A number of years ago – maybe 3 or 4 – I did a class project, designed to make use of my major for someone’s benefit. My mother manages nursing education at Sanctuary at Faser Villa, a Metro Detroit senior care center, part of the Trinity Health System. This particular center hosts a number of yearly parties for their residents.
In other words, things lined up nicely.
Throughout the growth into my career, I got a boatload of experience shooting events and operating on-site photobooths. For a couple years my girlfriend and I brought a photobooth setup to the senior center; she ran the booth, I shot candids. Over time I began dabbling in video and eventually brought it into the mix. Now each time we attend an event, she shoots pictures, I shoot video.
It’s kind of interesting, working within a set group of people. When you shoot any given event, be it a wedding, or Mitzvah, or company picnic, you have to read the crowd and get a feel for the people. Pinpoint the couple guests who are super outgoing and seem to exude happiness into whatever group of people they happen to be near. You’ve gotta learn the venue and figure out where the best light is. You also have to try to anticipate the event schedule and be in position before things happen. In the end, you’ve gotta do the best you can and work with what you’re given.
But shooting the same event each year gives a different edge. It’s especially pronounced in a setting like a senior center. Activity schedules tend not to change much (it’s difficult for the residents if things change all the time). The setting is the same (it’s in the same building each time). Also, for the most part, the residents live there full time, meaning the attendees at the parties tend to remain fairly consistent.
So, instead of a reset each time, I get to work with the information about the event, guests, and venue I had from the previous party and build on it. It’s unique in comparison to my experiences shooting parties and events.
The most recent party we attended was the Annual Harvest Ball, an Autumn-themed event they host every October. Check out the video below!
It’s the mid-winter reset!
OK so the New Year isn’t a clean-cut video game reset. The past still happened and the ramifications still exist, but that’s not what the whole “resolution” thing is all about anyway. The New Year isn’t for starting over, but for learning from last year and reinventing yourself.
Which is precisely how I’m getting down… now, where to start…
IT’S A WHOLE NEW CITY!
As of a week and a half ago, JonKPhoto is Royal Oak official! Royal Oak, Michigan is my new base of operations. You may not think 15 miles would make much of a difference when it comes to clientele, but it it’s surprising how many companies you notice in an area when you’re always there as opposed to just driving through.
There are a few details that need sorting. Paper work needs organizing. My desk still needs to be relocated – I’m currently coffee-tabling it up. But all things considered, I’m stoked for the new market. What with being a solid half-hour closer to downtown, I’m really looking forward to the new opportunities.
IT’S A WHOLE NEW COMPANY!
Well, yes and no. For about 2 years, I’ve been offering media services beyond just photography, but they were almost entirely by request. As of 3 weeks ago, this site and all my promotional whatnots are firmly rooted in multimedia.
To get a feel for what I’m talking about and to see why multimedia is so incredibly important for the success of a business, swing by my ABOUT page and take a gander at the breakdown.
IT’S A WHOLE NEW AUDIENCE!
In the last 3 months I’ve been regularly requested to critique portfolios, review projects, and speak to media students. Developing into my career I always knew the ability to communicate clearly was essential, but it never crossed my mind that I may actually enjoy public speaking.
Each and every one of my clients and projects requires a unique and completely customized solution. It’s the exact same with audiences. Whether you’re talking with a 45-year old hobbyist about to turn pro, a room full of undergrad students, or an auditorium jam-packed with high schoolers ready to start their education, you’ve GOT to connect with your audience. It’s just the kind of challenge I love.
So 2014 will see the next big evolution in JonKPhoto. Motivational seminars for current, upcoming, and future creative professionals are about to hit Metro Detroit like so much inspiration!
In the meantime, the JonKPhotoClasses site has been totally overhauled and is fully loaded with an array of personalized photo and career development courses, ready to shock-&-awe you right into your new career.
IT’S A WHOLE NEW BODY OF WORK!
If you’ve been anywhere near my site in the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard me mention the fully re-vamped fine art site. If you haven’t, then let me elaborate…
I began my photographic education as a fine art photographer. In the process, I got bits and pieces of experience with the skill sets and lighting techniques essential for commercial photography. The rest is history. But that’s not to say I ever stopped shooting the stuff I simply like to shoot.
Over the past years, my portfolio amassed a rather sizable selection of work. While organizing and reconstructing the site, I realized that while I refined and adjusted my techniques and styles, the subject matter never really changed (at least on a broad scale). It became apparent that nearly all of my imagery is of Michigan.
So the site was overhauled and is now the home to a body of work devoted to images of and inspired by Michigan – my home state and pretty much the most awesome place I’ve ever known. To get an eyeful of Great Lakes goodness, check it out at JonKArtography.com
EVEN SOME NEW PICTURES!
You know me – a conclusion isn’t a conclusion without a bit of shiny new eye candy.
In the recent holiday season, my parents gifted a lovely set of forged-steel Wusthof blades for my culinary endeavors. As with any sparkling new metal instrument, some pictures were in order. Drop me a comment and let me know what you think.
And have a glorious new year!!
I’m not a big “car guy.” If you know me at all, you probably already knew that.
Well, last winter, a group of fellow photographers went downtown to ogle the curves (both the cars’ and the models’). In the spirit of journalistic creation, I joined in. As expected, once I arrived, the seething mass of “aficionados” easily overwhelmed the subject of the event.
As with any large public gathering I attend, my focus was on the people looking at things instead of the things they were looking at. Oddly enough, a lot of people looked really bored (most of them were working the booths).
Here are some shots – sorry they’re nearly a year late…
Much like birds and whatnot on National Geographic, people do things to attract attention or show off. For the most part these things can be summed up in a word:
Sometimes it’s clothing style, cosmetic style, artistic style, or personality style. Many times, these days, it’s hairstyle.
Recently I did a photoshoot for a long time friend of mine, who happens to be a top-notch stylist. By “top-notch,” I mean Redken Certified. If you know what that means, you know how prestigious it is.
Anywho – she has had her styling fingers in many heads of hair and, as such, has developed her own unique style of cutting, feathering, trimming, coloring and other verbs that I don’t actually know. The point is that she’s good and has something to show off.
That’s where the actual photography comes in.
Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Check it out.
However, the whole point about trends in style all filter down to the point of the whole post.
Much like with wolves, if you don’t keep up, you fall behind to get eaten by crows and such… OK, maybe not to that extent, but still – there are ramifications. Really what I’m trying to say is “beauty is determined by the determiner.” I know that sounds convoluted, but its just the case. This model is beautiful. She’s beautiful with the retouching and she’s beautiful without the retouching. In fact, she’s flat-out hilarious (one of the most fun people I’ve worked with in quite some time.) Just to drill home my point – she busted out the robot in the parking lot for the sake of a funny portrait. Awesome.
However, people that look to style mags demand a more “commercial” level of beauty, and so the process of retouching begins.
Now, I know what you’re saying (or at least should be): “Jon! Didn’t you write a post a few months back about not doing this exact thing if at all possible?”
Well, yes. Yes I did. But in the same breath as condemnation, I will always stand straight up and say I will break my own rules to help my friends succeed. Also, I like paying my bills… well not… I… YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!
So yes. I am conflicted and my brain doesn’t quite know which side of the fence to come down on… So I sure wouldn’t mind some opinions. There’s a comment box down there somewhere…
But, because I know you’re looking for it, here’s the before and after:
It was a brisk fall day in northern Montana… OK – that’s a lie. It was the last day of June in Detroit and it was HOT. Like really, really hot.
But that’s all I really have to whine about. The rest of the day was super awesome.
Based on this post, some of you may know that I don’t regularly shoot weddings. It’s not so much because I don’t like them (’cause I do). It’s more that shooting a wedding for someone you didn’t know until they hired you has some drawbacks:
– They aren’t your buddies and there’s a chance they may feel a bit uncomfortable with a camera pointed at them (regardless of how good you are).
– You don’t really know a lot about their personal lives, so striking up conversation/making them laugh is pretty much left to the stock commentary that gets used with every client.
– (This is my big one) – Their personal bubble is a LOT bigger.
Those are just a couple of reasons why I only shoot weddings for family and friends. I can get closer, make them laugh more consistently, and – most importantly – it seems like less of a job and more like fun (which GREATLY improves image quality).
Here are some of the nifty shots we got.
It’s just about summer and as far as I’m concerned, that means festivities.
Now, I don’t know about where you live, but in my neck of the woods (Metro Detroit) there are fairs, events, and festivals EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND from Memorial Day to Labor Day. However, there is one kick-off that draws people from a really really long way off.
The Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair.
This thing is straight up awesome. Forget the corn-dogs and elephant ears for a second – most fairs take a few days to set up the rides and pavilions. This one takes 2 WEEKS. It started small and insignificant about 40 years ago… as of last year, it topped 110,000 attendees.
North American Midway Entertainment puts on the show (they’re the “world’s largest traveling outdoor amusement park”).
There are, of course, many a photo opportunity at this thing. For your viewing pleasure – here’s a little gallery from my trip to the fair yesterday. If you’d like to check out the rest, or pick up a print, be sure to swing over to the full event gallery! <– (link).