Back With the Best of Both Worlds!

Well hey there, folks!

Nope – I didn’t drop off the planet and I didn’t take a crew position on the H.M.S Galactica. In reality the answer’s a bit more boring.   Life’s been busy, projects have been in flux, and work’s been less visual and more consultation-based.

Over the last 6 months I’ve acquired some new clients, started fresh projects with previous clients, and been on a number of adventures.  Why, I even started teaching at an accredited institution and have been presenting a growing series of motivational presentations directed at upcoming professional creatives.  (So, I can safely say you should be expecting some content that’s excited to jab at your cerebral cortex.)

To kick things off, I’d like to showcase a recent project.  It took about a month to put together and ended up producing one of the best outtake reels I’ve ever shot. (That’s coming a bit later).

Going on a year and a half ago, I put out this post for a recently finished project.  Canine Resolution contracted me for a branding package, photo series, and promo packets.  It’s now 18 months later and video’s the name of the game.

I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Canine Resolution is the Metro Area’s best dog training institution.  No – really.  They just won 1st place in the 2014 Detroit A-list Competition for “Best Dog Trainer.” They work in all programs from puppy and the A.K.C Canine Good Citizen Program, to agility, scent training, and schutzhund (attack training). Their program shuns shock collars or negative reinforcement and promotes simultaneous training of owner and dog.  All things considered, it’s pretty awesome.

So, let your eyeballs be entertained and soak in the official Canine Resolution Commercial.

– Jon

This City’s on Fire

On the way to a friend’s house in Southfield, MI, I drove over an intersection with good visibility and saw a plume of smoke on the horizon.  Thinking it would be something close, small, and insignificant, I picked up my buddy and we went to check it out.  (We are photographers after all).

Well, as we were heading in the direction of the smoke, we realized it must be bigger than I thought because we didn’t seem to be getting closer.  Turns out it was actually 20 miles away.

From what I gather, it was an abandoned factory complex on Detroit’s West Side and the PD have no idea what happened.

To reiterate the scale, we met up with a volunteer firefighter from a northern suburb.  He was there because he saw the fire from Auburn hills – almost 40 miles away.

Here are some of the shots.

– Jon

The Golden Gang

A friend of mine has a golden retriever.  His name is Mondego (after the character in Alexander Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo).  He also happens to be the smallest fully-grown male golden I’ve ever met, tipping the scales at something like 40 pounds.

But that’s beside the point.

This dog is a member of an extended family that also loves goldens.  Parents and siblings included, there are 6 golden retrievers… and I got to photograph them.

Oh, and there’s a cockatoo as well.

Here are a few of my favorites.

– Jon

A Tale of Two Businesses (Mine and Yours)

A QUICK NOTE:   THIS POST IS A BIT LENGTHY, SO I’VE CUT IT DOWN TO THE NITTY-GRITTY  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ THE WHOLE THING, THE STORY CONTINUES AFTER THE PICTURE.  IT’S A FUN-FILLED BACK-STORY OF HOW I FOUND MYSELF WORKING MULTIMEDIA FOR INDEPENDENTLY OWNED BUSINESSES.

NOW ONTO THE POST!

I’ve decided to make an official upgrade in my business.  Up until now, I have primarily offered photo services, with additional media upon request.  JonKPhoto is now actively marketing a full selection of media services, from photo and video, to advertising and social media.

Basically, if you think your company could stand to have a classier look, market more effectively, and acquire more customers, give me a ring and we’ll chat.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on a brochure for the multimedia services.  It’s a bit of a read, but there’s a pretty solid rundown of the primary forms of media that companies need and why they’re important.

– Jon

Untitled-1

… and now a little bit of back story.

A Project of Furry Proportions

Hooray!  I’ve been waiting quite a while to share this one with you guys, but I had to iron out the finer details first.

Way back in the spring, I began doing video work for The Michigan Animal Rescue League.  The promo spot caught the attention of one of their TheUrbanDogD56aR07aP01ZLsponsors, The Urban Dog, an all-natural dog food and supply store out of Rochester Michigan.

After a fairly lengthy amount of planning and conceptualizing, we settled on an advertising project that would include a promo video, a series of ad posters, and a collection of interviews about the store.

Then the fun started.

Probably a good 80% of the dog owners I know graciously allowed me access to their furry family members.  After a couple months of video, photography, editing, audio selecting, and post processing – the project is locked, loaded, and ready for you, the loving audience.

Also, be sure to swing by TheUrbanDogStore.com to see what they’re all about.  I learned a lot on this project I wish I had known years ago about maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle for your dog.

And I’d also like to mention how massively thankful I am to everyone who helped my out and let me borrow your dogs for the afternoon.

Check it!

Jon

A Midsummer Night’s Celebration

Well hi there!

It’s been a minute…

I don’t know about you good folks, but this summer’s been a wee bit crazy.  By “crazy” I mean busy, and by “busy” I mean I have projects coming out of my ears.  There’s been corporate-y stuff, assorted events, videos, commercials, and one big-time marketing campaign for a regional company that’s about to go national… there’s also been a bunch of dogs (like you’re surprised).

But all that in time.

To get you guys caught up, here’s a little ditty from earlier this month.  A couple friends of mine tied the knot at Indian Springs Metro Park in White Lake, MI and I got to photograph it.  It seems that each summer I end up shooting one wedding.  So, who’s gettin’ hitched next year?

– Jon

One Giant Movie Set

It’s been kind of hit-and-miss with the nice days in Michigan this spring.  Now, I’m not really one to mind rain, but my camera seems to have a rather noticeable aversion to it.  Last week summer came out of nowhere and hasn’t shown signs of leaving.  That paired with a bit of free time, I journeyed into downtown Pontiac for a bit of photography.

If you aren’t local to Metro Detroit, I’ll understand if you don’t really know much about Pontiac.  Let me explain it like so:  If they were looking for somewhere to film “I Am Legend,”  Pontiac wouldn’t even need CGI or set design.  I suppose that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.  “Desolate” is a good word  for this situation.

I like to refer to Pontiac as Detroit v2.0.  In addition to the lack of anything redeeming, the city seems to be headed toward 2 extremes of a spectrum.  On one hand, artists and galleries are making their way downtown and creating a kind of depressing version of Ferndale-Corktown.  Also, by my count, there are half a dozen locally well-known nightclubs.  There’s also Erebus, a rather famous haunted house.

On the other hand the city is like a ghetto.  Nearly all the schools have closed, which forced the assimilation of multiple schools under one roof and has resulted in more than a handful of gang brawls, including shootings and the like.  Driving around, I feel like perhaps 1 in 7 buildings is abandoned or in need of demolishing.  A good 80% of the businesses that are still open are all lumped into a 3-block stretch of a single street.  I even drove past the homeless shelter yesterday and noticed there was a special parking area just for female staff members (it’s well-lit and right next to an entrance).

Even the cops left.  Seriously – last year the Pontiac PD was decommissioned.  The city is now paroled by State PD.

I’ve always liked Pontiac and I don’t want to say it’s hopeless, but when I see news articles about the “revitalization of Pontiac,” I usually just ignore them and move on.  Detroit has a fighting chance – enough people care and are actively trying to improve the city.  Pontiac isn’t really getting the same energy.

Well, scattered among the vast seas of parking lots, there are quite a few grand structures that deserve some photographic attention.  So, I suppose I’ve found my new project.  Here are a few of my favorite shots so far.  They will be on my fine art site and available for purchase after I feel I’ve really sunk my teeth into the project.

– Jon

A Legacy For The Ages.

Murphy_01

This Tuesday my golden retriever, Murphy Riley Kopacz, passed away.  He is 11 & 3/4 years old.

It’s sad.  The events of the last 3 weeks cycle through my head on a loop and it hurts.  But that’s where it stops.  Everything else is happy and, frankly, hilarious.  I just have to think about who he is and not about what happened.

He pooped on a shrew at the park in February.  That kind of thing doesn’t happen.  He hunkered down just as the little guy popped out of its hole to see what was going on… imagine what went through that shrew’s mind.  Hilarious.

We ran out of dog food one morning when he was about 5.  So we gave him a can of SPAM.  You ever see a dog try to eat a cube of SPAM?  It’s terrific.  Every time they try to take a bite it slides across the floor.

I was about 22 when I was hanging out with him on the beach.  A couple of rather attractive young ladies walked past and exclaimed how “OMG absolutely adoooooorable he was and if they could PLEEEEEASE pet him.”  Knowing precisely how to use my dog’s charm for my own gain I of course said that they could…. then he brought them half of a rotting dead catfish.  That one was probably funnier to him than it was to me.

Here are a few of the things he was by my side for:

  • The end of high school
  • 2 cataclysmic exes
  • The best relationship anyone could ever have (her name is Ashley and he ran to HER when he was in trouble).
  •            – Fun fact: Ashley was terrified of dogs until she met my 100 pound, teeth filled, carnivorous beast.  Now she loves dogs.  Yeah – Murphy did that.
  • 2 degrees
  • The entirety of the development of my career.
  • weight loss
  • weight gain
  • He was also the inspiration for me to undertake the longest-running project of my career.

He’s my hero.

If you knew him, you already knew how awesome he was.  For those who didn’t, here’s a look at Murphy

– Jon

Im-paws-ibly Awesome People

While a small handful knew some details, the campaign went live this weekend, so I can officially unleash (as it were) the project.

JonKPhoto_Genesee_030

logo

A few weeks ago, I was hired by Pedigree, these guys –>  https://www.pedigree.com/ 

For a bit, now, they have held a national competition where a number of rescue shelters receive free dog food for a year.  The event is divided up regionally and during this round, Metro-Detroit was one of the picks.

As for my part, I was tasked with documenting the goings-on at the rescue shelters in Flint, Pontiac, and Dearborn.

Untitled-1

Those you who know me know I am an animal lover and have a very hard time dealing with, knowing about, or being exposed to the many ways people mistreat animals.  That said, I understand the feeling a lot of people have when they visit a shelter.  It seems depressing and hard for the animals – and it is.  It is especially hard when a dog or a cat is used to having a home and is suddenly thrust into what probably seems to be a jail.

I could keep explaining the negative side, but you’re on Facebook, you see the news, and you watch the commercials.  So, I won’t drive my point home any further.  What I WILL do is tell you about the other side of the story.  I want you to know about the people that make these shelters work – the staff and volunteers.

The definition of volunteer tells you a bit about a person right from the start.  They aren’t being paid, they aren’t receiving time off work.  These folks are giving up their time to help with a situation a lot of people don’t want to even hear about.  More than that, they LOVE these animals.  When a dog has been at a shelter for five years, you might look at it and think it has nothing left and it will never be happy again.  Then that one person – THAT DOG’S volunteer – walks in and it’s like he’s a brand new dog. Tail wagging, ears up.  It’s his favorite person in the world and they’re there just to see him.

The “staff.”  I don’t like that word.  It implies that this is simply a job.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s their job, but it’s also their life.  At each of the shelters I photographed, I found out the staff members regularly foster dogs at their homes, teaching positive behavior and building emotional bonds, knowing that they will have to give up the friendship so that the dogs can have  happy lives.  Trust me when I say this is a LOT more than a job for these people.

While this project is all well and good, I’m using it as a platform for something much bigger.  Confirmation on a few planned events should come down the line early this week – so stay tuned for the updates.  Plus, a few videos are on their way soon.

In the meantime, check out some of the shots from the three shelters.

To vote for the region to win free dog food, swing by the Facebook page, here.

This campaign may change the lives of a number of dogs, but there are tens of thousands out there that could desperately use your help.  Shelters are constantly in need of things like food, cleaning supplies, newspaper, and bedding.  Those last two are things you probably have sitting in the corner of your basement waiting to get thrown away.

Please look up your local shelter and drop off a thing or two.  It may only take a second of your time or a bit of spare change, but it can make all the difference in the world to a pet that need s home.

If you would like to see the full gallery of images from the different shelters, click here.  All the pictures are for sale and half of all proceeds are donated to the shelter where the picture was taken.

Thanks guys

– Jon

 

The Faces of Few Shades

I’ve got an idea for a project I’m going to be starting in a week or so.

So much of my time is taken up with design or marketing or contracted work that it’s hard for me to get around to personal projects.  Also, as hardly a single recent job has involved portraits, I’ve got the itch to shoot some people (No-not like that.  What’s wrong with you?)

The new idea that I’ve got kickin’ around involves faces, a considerable amount of mess, and exquisite lighting.  If you haven’t already heard the deatils, then you’ll just have to wait and see the results (come on – I’ve gotta keep a few secrets.)

But to wet your whistle, I went back through my image library and picked out a selection from some of my favorite shoots.  But to mix things up, I ran a bit of black & white reprocessing.

Whataya think?
– Jon

This slideshow requires JavaScript.