Vladimir Preshepha (Владимир Иосифович--Кто такие мормоны?)

I cannot believe I never posted the 5th and my favorite of the short documentary series I created while in Russia two summers ago.  This one is of Vladimir Preshepha, a former Russian cosmonaut.  They were a series of videos created with Brigham Young University for The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints, sending me to Moscow to complete the project.  Vladimir was one of my favorites, one of the nicest and smartest older man I've ever met.

 

Credits:

Jed Wells, director, editor, and mentor

Jonathan Wright, photographer and assistant to the director

Christine Armbruster, photographer

Joseph Belliston, Sound mix

Kaleidoscope Pictures: Color correction

Seth Adam Smith for the initial Vladimir edit


The Colorado River of Texas [Austin, TX]

While spending some time at home in San Antonio, Texas, I got to venture up to Austin for an evening of Stubb's BBQ and watching bats fly out from underneath the Congress Bridge.  While waiting for the nightly exodus, I went for a wander around the parks to look at all the people out of the Colorado River of Texas (did you know there was a second Colorado River?  I sure didn't).  I always thought I would get into kayaking or canoeing when I graduated college and live somewhere like Austin where I could casually play in the water al the time... and then I moved to Chicago and sold my car.  Maybe next time.  Or maybe I should buy that foldable kayak I found that transforms into a giant portfolio and strap that on my bike on my way to Lake Michigan.. 

Pilsen for "Why So Red?"

I recently was asked by the blog "Why So Red?"  to do some collaborating, featuring the different parts of Chicago with Eastern European influences.  Whether architecture, restaurants, or just a good shop full of all your Balkin needs.. we will be working on finding them.  It will be a series of adventures and pierogis.  The first neighborhood we featured was Pilsen, named after the Czech town of Plzen.  Here we mainly focused on the handful of churches with various influences and Dvork Park in the southwest neighborhood in Chicago.  To read more, please visit the blog post.. but here are a handful of images, some not posted on the blog.

Fototazo Publication!

Fototazo is a fantastic on-line source of photography.  Featuring photo essays, individual images, and one of my favorites is a series of stories behind individual images---which I got published in yesterday!  I wrote a short essay about the story behind one of my favorite images of two children on a carnival ride in Sarajevo, Bosnia from my Mortar Shells and Cigarettes exhibit.  Read the story at their website.  And while you are there, check out their micro-grant program, fundraising money to "purchase equipment for young, emerging photographers from economically disadvantaged backgrounds from Colombia."

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Throw Back: Gold Mining in Elko, Nevada

  I do a lot of cool and crazy thing.  And sometimes, I forget about some of those things.  Like that time I photographed in a gold mine in Elko, Nevada.  I was putting together a new portfolio and decided to dig out a few portraits to include and found all these gems (I know I was just talking about mining... but I didn't mean to use the word "gems"..and "dig"... that's just the way it happened.)  I don't know why I never posted them... but I do find them to be quite wonderful... especially the geologist at the end who was just so excited about rocks.

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Images taken in a gold mine in Elko, Nevada while filming a shot documentary film.  Taken November, 2010.

A sad story that turns out ok in the end

Once upon a time I was planning a trip to Jordan.  I packed my bags, and committed to shooting my entire upcoming documentary project on film.  I took one backpack, filled one third with film, one third with cameras, and the rest with clothing and a toothbrush. Upon arrival, a series of events unfolded and I ended up living in a cave in Petra.  On my third day of adventuring around, photographing everything, my Bronica ETRS broke.  Leaving me with two gallon sized Zip-Lock bags of medium format film.. only three rolls shot.  Unable to fix it, I retired the camera and took up my digital camera to complete (or at that point, start) the project I was going to work on... carrying now half my backpack full of unusable things.  As sad as it was, as beautiful as the film would be been with that harsh Arabian sun, my photographs turned out just fine.  If not, great.  I developed those three rolls just recently, only to find this hidden gem.  Omar, a donkey driver who gave me free rides on his donkeys while in the tourist sites.  His donkeys were named: Shakira, Michael Jackson, and Ferrari.

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Spring or Summer?

I can't decide if it's spring or summer yet.  It feels like if summer is about to happen, but it is too hot for spring.  It is that awkward time where everybody pretends like it's summer.  I leave my sweaters at home and brave the ride home on my bicycle at night because I don't want to have to wear the heavier clothes.  I go swimming even if the water is cold.  But I am not quite ready to commit to the intensity of summer,  popsicles hurt my teeth and I don't really like the heat if it's above 85.  I'm giving myself until the official day in June when summer hits and will live in limbo until then, continuing to claim it's spring.  (Can we also discuss my friend's great view from her apartment's pool?  Don't worry, I don't live there.. I just have great friends who are that cool.)

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