Manchester-by-the-Sea

A couple of nights ago, I was watching the Oscars. I was actually invested this year since Manchester by the Sea was up for a handful nominations, ultimately taking home Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay at the end of the night. I’ve been trying to see the movie since it was released, but it kept selling out everywhere, thanks in large part to the enduring hometown pride of New Englanders. I get it–part of the reason I wanted to see it was because I’ve been living in Manchester-by-the-Sea for over 20 years, and it’s where I’m raising my kids. I finally got to see the movie a couple of days ago, and the familiarity and close proximity of the featured locations was a really cool thing to experience. While it was the personal connection to the location that initially interested me, the storyline was what really drew me in.

The film was incredibly well done in every way, and I came away with a lot of creative inspiration, but I have to think that there was something particularly special about watching the ending in a theatre full of Bay Staters. For those who haven’t seen the movie, the basis of the storyline is that the two main characters, Lee and Patrick, are brought together by an unexpected death in the family. The last scene is this great shot of the two of them on the family boat, reminiscent of the time they spent together when Patrick was younger. The scene is nostalgic and peaceful. It cuts to black, and the credits roll. And then, out of nowhere, a woman in the audience jumps to her feet, and in the thickest Boston accent you have ever heard screams out, “Are you frickin’ kiddin me?? This is how it ends?! You gotta be SHITTIN’ me!!”

Definitely see Manchester by the Sea, and feel free to take a look at some of the images I’ve made of this picturesque North Shore town during the time I’ve lived here. If you’ve seen the movie, you might even recognize some of the locations yourself. I’ve pulled a few of my favorite images below, but you can view the entire collection HERE.

 

RIO 2016: 30 DAYS UNTIL THE OPENING CEREMONY!

PRESS – ESPN.COM

I’ve been working in print and broadcast for a long time, and each medium presents its own challenges and rewards. More and more often I get the opportunity to shoot both on a single set. Last month I headed down to Miami to shoot a multimedia story for ESPN.com featuring Danell Levya, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in men’s gymnastics. I captured his World Championship routine on the parallel bars in still and motion, and the resulting images and videos are paired with Danell’s descriptions of what he experiences as he goes through the moves. You can check out the story at ESPN.com and see some more of the photos below:

 

PRESS – ESPN.COM

I recently got back from a week in my hometown, Tarentum, PA. Far from a quiet visit home, I spent 7 days shooting the 2016 US Open at the Oakmont Country Club for ESPN.com, one of the toughest golf courses in the country. I knew going in that the tournament would be unpredictable with the difficulty of the course, and I was only more sure of that after photographing the practice runs Monday through Wednesday. Then, on Thursday it rained about three inches, probably giving the golfers a false sense of optimism with the extra drag on the lightning-fast greens.

But as the course started to dry out, the game became more and more difficult every day. Some of the top ten players like Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, and Rory McIlroy didn’t even make the cut, let alone come close to winning it all. After the tournament, Jim Furyk told PGAtour.com, “Oakmont has a way to turn pars into bogeys and bogeys into doubles.”

Rough Cut,” the photo essay I did for ESPN, clearly captures the players’ stress as they battle the crazy elements at Oakmont. For me, a photo that sticks out is the shot of Shane Lowry, his hands over his face. Earlier, he had been holding the lead by 3 strokes, and then started to fall behind. By the time he reached the 18th fairway, he had known for a while that he had lost. I took the picture of Lowry right after he putted in, and got the exact moment when he seemed to finally let go of all of the emotion he had been holding in.

Check out the photo essay at ESPN.com and take a look at the outtakes below:  

Pieces of Grace

At 23 years old, jazz saxophonist/singer and Brookline native Grace Kelly released her 10th studio album, Trying to Figure it Out.

“It’s a compilation album of human experiences I’ve had during the last couple of years as I’ve been looking for myself as an artist,” Grace says. “12 years of being on stage has been a learning process, but I think my own thing is finally embracing all of the pieces that make me me.”

If only all of us were that sure of ourselves at that point in our lives, our 20s would have been far less messy. But that’s Grace for you–an old soul with the hip, blue-streaked hair of a millennial.

Grace is a natural performer, which is obvious from her cool attitude in the photos. She nurtured the dream of being a Broadway star as a child and took countless dancing, acting, and singing lessons from ages 6-12 before hitting the road as a professional musician. There’s something about music that just takes over her and sets her at ease. She said she had a felt a bit awkward at first, stepping in front of the camera for the Improper Bostonian shoot–mostly due to her feeling under the weather that day. But as soon as Michael Jackson started pouring through the speakers and filling the room, she was able to really have fun on set.

“John has such vision and knows exactly what he’s looking for,” Grace says. “He’s so awesome to work with and laidback–so humble too. When I saw the photos, I was stunned.”

The idea for the shoot was to place Grace in a stereotypical, smoky, underground jazz club–the complete antithesis of who she is as an artist. Yes, she adores and take notes from jazz legends like Stan Getz and Paul Desmond, but Grace also loves to blend modern genres with her old school training and inspirations.  

“Sometimes in the music business, people don’t know what to do with me because I have such a wide range of styles, and switch between singing and playing,” Grace says. “But my own thing is uniqueness and audiences embrace this.”  

The best part about these photos of Grace Kelly is how that “uniqueness” is captured. The photos are vibrant yet moody, highly stylized yet simple, energized but they feel mellow–a collection of dichotomies, odds, and ends that sum up one young woman Trying to Figure it Out.  

For information on Grace’s music and tour dates, check out her personal websiteHead over to the Improper Bostonian’s site to read a full feature on Grace, and take a look at some outtakes from the shoot below: 

PRESS – A PHOTO EDITOR

2015_07_14_ESPN_Bill_May_0179.jpg

I was recently interviewed by Heidi Volpe for Rob Haggart’s photography blog, A Photo Editor. We talked about the technique involved in shooting synchronized swimmer Bill May for the ESPN feature, and she even spoke to Bill May himself. Below is my introduction from the piece. Click the preview to read the rest of the interview on Haggart’s blog, or head over to my website to see the entire collection of Bill May photos. 

“I don’t really adjust my style for different projects, nor can I really define my own style.

This simple story sum things up nicely – Alfred Eisenstaedt was hired to shoot our college portraits. He came into my class of 20 kids, and he asked everyone, “What kind of photographer do you want to be?” I was one of the last kids to be asked, when it was my turn, I replied, “fashion photographer.” He asked why. He’d not asked any of the other kids this follow up question. I panicked and blurted out, “Because I like girls!” Everyone in class had a good laugh, and then Alfred later explained that being a fashion photographer is no different than being any other type of photographer. You have a subject in front of you, treat that subject in front of you the same as you would a gown on a hanger.  It becomes a portrait of a gown, just as if a person was standing there.

So, I don’t look at myself or categorize myself as a sports photographer, I see myself as a photographer, and I see the subject in front of me as a subject. At the end of day, all photographs are solved with the same notes, regardless of the subject matter.”