Sorry it's been a while since I've written—you're certainly overdue for an update! Let's get the biggest news out of the way at once: I am, as of the middle of November, a Californian again! I've just relocated to Los Angeles!
LA is both home and not home. Home, in the sense that I was born here; home, likewise, in the sense that home is (as my friend, Asaf, is fond of saying) wherever you are. But Los Angeles is also not home, because I moved away from here when I was six years-old and haven’t visited hardly at all since my grandparents died. I've chosen LA for a number of reasons—the most looming being a need, personal and professional, for the energy of a big city. It feels exactly right to be here.
I've already had my first session in LA, since the move, thanks to a fashion model (unrepresented) called Grant S., who was visiting over Thanksgiving. That's him, holding the cigarette above. We shot over in Echo Park and Chinatown mostly—drinking in some of the city's gentrifying neighborhoods. It was a little disorganized. I was new; Grant was in town for only a few days. And neither of us had any idea where we were going. But we had fun and got some fun shots. Hopefully I'll get to work with him again...
Of course, I'll miss Portland. PDX was home for the last four years and a place of surprising artistic growth for me, despite my issues with the place. I've left behind good friends; the day-to-day operations of my other business, Backwords Press; damned good coffee and restaurants; plus a self-made modeling network that other photographers have gratefully utilized and expanded themselves (such as Alex Stoddard and Rob Woodcox). Some of the best working relationships of my artistic life—with editors and creatives like Phillip Coates and Jenny Chu, with models like Dillon Miller, Lee G., Bear Michael, Pablo, Derek Villanueva and Franklin M.—became the backbone of my professional interests, my salve against creative fallow periods and their accompanying existential dread. Most importantly, the unqualified joy in following an idea where it can go—these people have given me that.
Other reasons, too. Portland is home to Buck East Studio, where I was able to realize some of my longest-held photo ideas. And Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful places I've ever had the privilege of working: the Three Sisters Wilderness, the Columbia River Gorge, Rowena Crest in particular. Sure, some of these people and things will still be there when I visit; but Portland is changing, and some passages are only traversed once.
I'm grateful to say that I was able to have a number of final sessions before I left Portland. I did follow-up sessions with Erik N. and Lee G., plus some sessions with new models: the dancer, Shaun; the stylist, Brandon; the artist and ex-lover, Philip. (One other, who has asked to remain anonymous.) In addition, I had a couple client sessions prior to leaving, too, whose photos I am eagerly awaiting to deliver.
Final sessions are bittersweet things. While I'm certain I'll see Lee again—we're friends—this may be the last I work with Erik. And leaving affects things, who knows if Lee will end up in front of my lens in the future. Likewise with new collaborations. They are genuinely weird, too, when I know I'm going: it's heart-bending to see potential flowering in a new artistic relationship when that experience has a kind of built-in expiration date. It's harder to stay present, and also more rewarding when you get presence right.
I'm excited to share with you all some of the results of these final sessions in Portland. Let me also point you to a new series on the website, Annuals, the finished work from September's studio time with Bear. Enjoy!
I hope you're as excited about Los Angeles as I am...