Weekend Links // June 13

Last week was fun as I worked with Fair Trade Services, a record label out of Nashville, on upcoming album art for one of their acts, CCM trio — and institution — Phillips, Craig & Dean. But, all that work meant less being social & no time for Weekend Links.

So, this will be a two week edition.

Here are 7 pieces of awesome from the last 2 weeks that you may have missed:

1. What We Storytellers Do

It’s what we storytellers do, Ms. Travers. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again, and again, and again.
— Walt Disney, in Saving Mr. Banks

2. Courage: from Normandy to Tiananmen

In the last two weeks we've seen the anniversary of two remarkable moments of valor — the 25th anniversary of Tank Man standing alone in the face of the Chinese government & the 70th anniversary of the Allied troops storming the beach at Normandy on D-Day.

That got me thinking a bit.


Seventy years ago, on June 6th, 1944, with the fate of Western Civilization under threat, more than 300,000 brave kids from Great Britain, the United States & Canada landed as a collective force set diametrically opposed to the ravenous conquest of Europe by Nazi Germany. To more clearly define this, the bravery on display at D-Day was a collective expression of courage that changed the world.

Juxtapose that with June 5th, 1989. A seven-week long student-led protest against the Chinese government, favoring freedom of the press, speech & a slate of economic reforms, came to a frenzied climax as 300,000 Chinese military troops converged on Tiananmen Square a the heart of Beijing to clear the students from the square. As tanks rolled through Tiananmen, a lone man stepped in front of a line of tanks, blocking their path. The bravery of one, in the face of an immovable force, that changed a nation.

Juxtaposition is a beautiful thing, don't you think?

3. Capa's D-Day & Widener's Tiananmen

The courage in both of these momentous occasions was also documented by photographers who exhibited another kind of valor — the kind that goes weaponless into war.

Here are two short videos that commemorate the photographers behind the images you know so well.

Robert Capa's D-Day, from TIME Magazine:


Jeff Widener Reflects on Tiananmen, from the Wall Street Journal:

As an addendum to this, the story of Jeff Widener's negatives in the video above bear striking resemblance to the story of Capa's negatives from D-Day. The story goes something like this:

And although Capa shot approximately 106 frames on the beach, only a handful have survived. Though the exact number of surviving frames is uncertain, the actual negative of the picture known as The Face in the Surf, along with another from the set, was lost sometime after the photo’s publication in the June 19, 1944 issue of LIFE. It is, in a sense, a testament to the incalculable hardship and violence of the Longest Day that the only surviving photographic record of the Omaha Beach landing from the beach itself are nine hard-won, fragile, immensely powerful negatives. (source)

The images we take for granted are not easily captured or brought into view. The storytellers behind them must battle for everything they get.

4. The Photo That Made Me

VII photographer Christopher Morris recounts the story of the photograph that jump started his career in a new series on

Panama, 1989. Photo by Christopher Morris, VII, for TIME

Panama, 1989. Photo by Christopher Morris, VII, for TIME

The day before the photo was taken, though, two of these photographers were wounded, and, very sadly, José died after receiving a gunshot to his head. So I was left as the only photographer still working. This all happened at a time when I was really trying to break out as a news photographer. After this, I was put on contract for TIME.

This image gave me a new sense of self confidence — it showed me that I could control fear, something that in my earlier conflict work I had struggled with.
— Christopher Morris

This is the first installment in the series from TIME & I'm really excited to see what comes next.

5. #intheWAKEof

I started a new series on instagram that I'm rather excited about. To photograph a face is one thing, to photograph a person's character is something altogether different.

Often, when I'm wrestling with a new idea or want to experiment, photographically, I turn to my iPhone & see if I can make something meaningful in much the same way a painter might turn to their sketchbook.

Here is the first fruits of an experiment I'm calling #intheWAKEof. You'll have to read the full captions on to get the full sense of what's at work here.

Also, you can follow me on Instagram by clicking on either image above to see where this series goes next.

6. Shooting News w/ an iPhone

Mike Castellucci, reporter for Dallas' ABC affiliate, WFAA, is well known in the area for his quirky human interest stories. I've always appreciated his point of view. So, I was excited when I heard he would be doing a segment on One by One. I freaked when I learned he would be shooting the entire story with his iPhone.

The finished piece aired this week. Here it is:


I don't know if this is the future of news... but if I had to guess, I would say:

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
— Peter Drucker

7. Ask Not

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kyle Steed started a mural. Last week, he released a video that some friends of ours made documenting the process. There's a moment about halfway through when the sun comes out from behind the sun that's just way. too. good.

And, apparently the Mayor's office agrees:


Related Content

Weekend Links // May 30

This week's edition of Weekend Links (coming to you a little late) winds its way through the idea of legacy. How will you leave your unique mark on your place and her people? How will your work echo in the lives of others?

Here are seven beats in a bigger story that I hope encourage & challenge your belief in what's possible with a single life:

1. The Best Places to Live

If you're a photographer, apparently Dallas is number 10 on the list according to PetaPixel. They looked at number of working photographers, number of job openings for photographers, overall cost of living and the annual average salary of those working photographers and made a spreadsheet.

I noticed something interesting, though; Plano, Irving, Garland and Ft. Worth all cracked the top 35. Couple that with the spirit of the growing community, as evidenced by the success of WELD and the attention garnered by this year's One by One show & I think you'd have to put DFW, as a whole, somewhere just above Houston, on the list.

2. Maya Angelou

This quote by the late poet basically says it all, for me:

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
— Maya Angelou

3. Where To Put The Camera

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the father of modern journalism & founder of Magnum photos, had some good advice on where to put the camera for portraits:

The most difficult thing for me is a portrait. You have to try and put your camera between the skin of a person and his shirt.
— Henri Cartier-Bresson

4. Jerry Wachter


On seeing this I'd tweeted the image, naively saying the image was reminiscent of my hockey work. I was quite mistaken. If anything, I have been working in the very long shadow of a giant.

Thanks to @DrCapsFan, I was able to learn the man behind this particular photograph was the late Jerry Wachter. As it turns out, Wachter's work is legend in the world of sports photography, though finding a portfolio has proved almost impossible.

One place his work is collected, because he boasted more than 30 covers in the late 70's & 80's, is on 

On his death in 2005, Si Director of Photography, Steve Fine, described Jerry as "that rare action photographer who was adept at all four major sports. When you sent Jerry out to a game, he always delivered."

5. Details Matter

Google changed its logo this week. But you didn't notice. Neither did I, actually. But a few keen eyed Reddit-ers did notice.

The second 'g' moved a single pixel to the left & the 'l' moved down and right by one pixel.

Many have speculated about why Google would make such an insignificant change. I believe the answer can be summed up in just two words: details matter.

6. Lavar Burton & Hayden Miethe

Lavar Burton launched a Kickstarter to re-boot Reading Rainbow for a new generation. Apparently, the news excited almost everyone who heard about it because in just 11 hours, he'd met the $1M goal. And in 24 short hours, the campaign more than doubled the goal.

Incredible, right?

Crowd funding is a great way to get things off the ground & everyone who has decided to crowd fund hopes their project can get a little momentum. Some succeed. Some fail.

Enter a guy you likely haven't heard of: Hayden Miethe.

I met Hayden while working on the documentary about Korn guitarist, Brian Welch. On our first phone call, Hayden mentioned his music project called Vinyl Jones & The Sons of Tennessee. Cool name, but what about the music? Imagine Marcus Mumford & Johnny Cash getting in a barroom brawl with Kanye West & Macklemore.

I was intrigued. And more that just a little.

Honestly, it's not that crazy to think the two genres can work together. Before country was polished up by Nashville, it was dominated by deeply honest storytellers like Johnny Cash. That same foundation of story is at the core of any good hip-hop album.

So, if you were going to give Reading Rainbow a few bucks, consider instead putting some wind in the sails of Vinyl Jones & the Sons of Tennessee.

7. Kyle's Mural

This past week here in Dallas, my friend Kyle Steed finished a fun project for his city — a giant hand-lettered mural along the new Trinity Strand Trail, which winds through our neighborhood around the corner from WELD.


The sentiment Kyle chose for the mural was a riff on John F. Kennedy's famous challenge:

Ask not what your city can do for you, but what you can do for your city.

Coming full circle with this installment of Weekend Links, it's projects like this that are the intangibles that put Dallas much higher on the list of locations perfect for photographers. This is a city of humans looking to re-make our place. And it's the humans, not the salaries or the job openings, that water the soil of my career.

If you're looking to go hunt down #thatKyleSteedmural, you can find it right here:


Before she was reciting her poem at Bill Clinton's inauguration, before he was defining a photographic genre, before Reading Rainbow or even Geordie Laforge, they were just people with ideas. 

What ideas are you living into existence?

Related Content

Weekend Links // May 23

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Esther Havens told me she thought I should pursue more opportunities to curate. I hadn't considered that before, though I absolutely enjoy the process. There's something supremely satisfying in the finding, collecting and organizing of seemingly unrelated things.

Reflecting on that conversation, I think my love for curating is the spirit behind Weekend Links.

And, in looking at the collection of thoughts & images below, I see connection. I hope, as you read & click and click & read, you see something of the world we are all forced to create in and you will be encouraged.

It is hard. It is uncertain. It is not fair. And for most of us, we will face all of this shrouded in obscurity.

Yet, we must continue forward; we must find a way to the finish line. 

1. VII Photo

In the world of independent photo agencies, few have the mystique & talent of VII. Founded by some of the greatest names in contemporary photojournalism during the editorial explosion that swept the photo world post 9/11, VII has experienced unprecedented success.

And also, as I was very surprised to learn, has faced incredible challenges.

VII member turned co-owner, Tomas van Houtryve:


“It seems that the media landscape has been constantly evolving, with photographers playing catch-up. It has been a very acrobatic last eight years. Iʼve had to reinvent myself, land on my feet. Iʼve been doing it for a while on my own and I thought I would try to apply some of that thinking to the wider group.”


To be honest, stories like this one of photographers struggling make me feel a bit uneasy. If the likes of VII can be shaken as they have been, what chance do I have? And yet, I'm left with a sense that I'm going about it in the right way.

VII's focus has shifted to become an "incubator for new ideas rather than a place that dwells on ideas from the past." 

In many ways, reading this article gave me hope that I'm ahead of the curve in my thinking on where the industry is going & validated my desire to connect myself to the larger community through membership at WELD.

Now, if only I could create images like James Nachtwey.

2. Colbert vs Amazon

A couple weeks ago, I tweeted about Amazon's insane new patent for photographing things against a white cyc. Volumes have now been written railing against this particular patent (US Patent 8,676,045), but this video from Stephen Colbert was particularly satisfying:

On a related note, I sent the news of the patent to an IP lawyer I know. My question:


"How is something that is universally done by all photographers & has been used for decades can fall into the domain of patentable IP? This isn’t new or revolutionary. In any way. This seems like it should be in some sort of public domain status."


This was his response:


"I understand your question, but we see this often, that is why we fight back against patents that we see have no validity.  We can challenge them in court or back in the Patent Office, but someone has to be willing to fight."


3. Recalibrating Concern

This Pulitzer Center story from Jeffery Sterns on perceived dangers in conflict areas really struck a chord with me. There is a big disconnect between the news I see reported while traveling in the developing world and the news that leads the nightly broadcasts here in the States.

I've been in a situation exactly like the one Sterns leads with in his piece, but with a far worse conclusion. And knew there was no chance our incident was newsworthy.

Sterns notes that while incidents like traffic deaths go unreported, "absence of evidence wasn’t evidence of absence. It’s just that when accidental vehicle deaths have to compete on news sites with Taliban raids, suicide bombings, message-sending dismemberments and kidnappings, they have a hard time making it above the fold."

My question is this: why the obsession with police scanner stories in local American news when there are much larger issues at play? Whether it's in our newspapers or our own behavior, there needs to be a recalibration of concern, but Sterns takes it one step further:


We know that ignoring the dangers won’t make them disappear, but much of the world ignores them anyway; and it’s this conscious ignorance that needs recalibration.


4. Vivian Maier — Eye to Eye


This week, FlakPhoto's Andy Adams instagrammed a photo of a new book on Vivian Maier's work. If her name is unfamiliar to you, please take a few minutes to watch the video below. It's an introduction to the illusive, unheralded photographer whose genius went unseen until 2010.

Her work is magnificent & this particular book seems to focus on her portraits. Often considered a quiet outsider, this book reveals a different side of the enigmatic photographer:


"These pictures show that she yearned to connect with people around her. That she often stopped them, talked to them, and always watched closely. These inspirational pictures teach us that around every corner is a chance encounter. Somebody new. But only if we notice."


You can order the new book, which ships starting June 1st, here.



5. The Mathmatician

photo by Julia Cybularz

photo by Julia Cybularz

I discovered this beautiful series on Feature Shoot. It's a haunting portrait of a man living with schizophrenia. I was previously unaware of Julia Cybularz work, but am absolutely blown away by her delicate sense of craft,  which seems to pull no punches.

Ellen Ruddick, on Feature Shoot:


"The natural world, a field or a pool littered with leaves, gape back at him, the vast empty space filling with his private thoughts... Through Slaweck’s eyes, we are invited to recognize the value of those tiny, banal moments which we take for granted, to seek genuine intimacy and human connection within his wrinkled eyes."


6. One by One Opened

On Wednesday of last week, I wrote about my involvement with One by One. The show opened on Tuesday & has started to generate a little buzz here in Dallas. CBS has a story about the show, which runs through June 22nd at One Arts Plaza here:

[The CBS embed code is broken... so, just click this to see the story. Sorry.]

7. Midnight Finish

Just over a month before I was born, NASA launched the Voyager mission sending two probes into deep space. Thirty-six years later, they are still going & last fall, Voyager 1 became the first man-made object to leave our solar system by breaking through the heliopause into interstellar space. Well, sort of breaking into interstellar space.

In the end, there was general agreement that Voyager 1 was indeed outside in interstellar space... But that location comes with some disclaimers - we’re in a mixed, transitional region of interstellar space. We don’t know when we’ll reach interstellar space free from the influence of our solar bubble.
— Ed Stone, Voyager Project Scientist

Isn't almost everything just like that? The end of one thing is nearly indistinguishable form the beginning of another. And that was the heart behind the story I launched this week about the end of my brother-in-laws journey to Ironman Texas.

I began this post with the idea that life is hard & somehow we must press forward; we must find a way to finish. There is something of a post script to Jason's story that I feel compelled to share. And that is this:

Together  best friend by his side along with friends & family and hundred of strangers flanking the finish line, all willing the two of them to the goal — Jason heard those long coveted words, "Jason, you are an ironman."

He travelled 140.6 miles in 13:51:28 to earn those words... but that was just his heliopause. Leading to that he — along with my sister-in-law & two nephews — sacrificed time, energy & comfort for 9 months to earn those words. 

But now he's there. He's finished. He's free of the influence of the solar bubble, that thing that tells you what is and isn't possible. 

Another friend of mine, Jeremy Pope, was also there. He & his family endured a similar journey to the start. I found his post race recap to be an incredible read. There is a depth of wisdom in these words that transcend ironman and, even, sport.


It was an unbelievable feeling to finally have made it. To have succeeded, when so many times I wanted to quit, when I knew I would fail. Only later did I find out how many people had stayed up to watch me finish live online. It was truly humbling to know that many people cared and were pulling for me.


Yes we must endure, yes me must finish, but no, this is not something we do alone. We are in this together.

Find your people and let their voices fill your lungs with breath when you are deflated, align with those who will make the next few steps bearable and will be there flanking the finish line with their presence and their cheers as you break into interstellar space.

Because at that point, a whole new journey begins.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Related Content

Weekend Links // May 16

I need to lead off this weeks edition of Weekend Links with a massive thank you to everyone who has visited, texted, called, emailed, purchased a print, shared and in all other ways supported the launch of the new website.

The response has, literally, been overwhelming.

So, here we go. A few things that may have eluded you this week that are none-the-less worthy of your time.

1. Love Letter: Dallas

I came across this charming series on The Huffington Post called Love Letters. And, was pleasantly surprised there was a love letter to Dallas, the city I've called home for almost 20 years.

If you're in Dallas, or know someone who is, I think they'll find this short read to be pretty spot on. 

I can’t deny that when I see the Green Building, something inside me stirs and I know I’m home...
— Hayden Bernstein
The Green Thumb, as my wife calls it, photographed for the Dallas Stars to help launch their re-brand.

The Green Thumb, as my wife calls it, photographed for the Dallas Stars to help launch their re-brand.

2. Yousuf Karsh

How I wish that mankind would take the sunrise for their slogan and leave the shadows of sunset behind them.
— Helen Keller

I started a new series on the great portrait photographers & led the series off with Yousuf Karsh, an Armenian genocide survivor who was one of histories greatest portraitists. The man's work is phenomenal... but, possibly more phenomenal is how his website pairs the work with small snippets of story and insight from Yousuf about the work and the people he photographed.

George Bernard Shaw, 1943. Photo by Yousuf Karsh.

George Bernard Shaw, 1943. Photo by Yousuf Karsh.

3. Zack Snyder's Batman

Sometimes (and lately these moments have been rare) social media rises above the gossip & trolling to democratically provide something awesome.

This first photo of Zack Snyder's Batman was, in my opinion, one of those things. Here's the tweet the Batman vs Superman director used to light the internet on fire.


4. Brotherhood

I originally shared about Dylan & Wheeler's documentary 'Brotherhood' several weeks ago when they first launched their Kickstarter campaign. Well, they met their goal & this story is going to happen & I couldn't be happier for these two passionate storytellers.

These are the kinds of stories that all of your support has made it possible for us to tell. This piece more resembles our eventual film than anything else we’ve shared to date.
— Dylan Hollingsworth, on getting funded

When I first learned about this project I wrote:

"On the surface, supporting this story may trouble you, which is exactly why you should support it. Help create a world where people with differing ideologies listen to one another, where slander is replaced with dialogue and the politicization of issues gives way to an exchange of stories.

If we want others to listen to our story, we should first start by listening to theirs."

Now that the film is fully funded, the cost to invest in this film is merely an open ear. Please take a moment to listen:

5. Bring Back Our Girls

From Lens, the New York Times Photo Blog:

"A Twitter campaign using the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls has focused global attention on the plight of some 276 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Three photos of girls have been posted and reposted thousands of times, including by the BBC and by the singer Chris Brown (who himself has had issues with anger management and violence against women).

One problem: The photos are of girls from Guinea-Bissau, more than 1,000 miles from Nigeria, who have no relationship to the kidnappings.

The use of these pictures raises troubling questions of representation, and misrepresentation. Ami Vitale, the photographer who made the original images as part of a long-term project, spoke with James Estrin on Thursday. Their conversation has been edited."

If you work in the world of advocacy, photography or happen to find yourself at the intersection of those two roads, please read that conversation on Lens, here.

6. Air Review's 'Young' Is A Vimeo Staff Pick

And that's just freaking-A awesome.

For those that don't know, Jeff, Doug & Richard — three of Air Review's four members — have worked closely with me on music & voice over for the films I've made.

I'm rather partial to the music Jeff & Doug created for Shutterfly & East West, not to mention the VO work Richard did for me for

While I had absolutely nothing to do with this video, I'm definitely it's biggest cheerleader. Please watch & be impressed. Then, if you want, buy the song.

7. Strobist 

David Hobby, aka Strobist, has started a new series called Ecosystem 101. And it is pretty great. 

...if you haven’t stopped taking photos long enough to figure out why you do it, I can promise you that you don’t even know what you don’t know.
— David Hobby

I'm a big fan of asking the questions David is asking. They're reminiscent of the questions Simon Sinek advocates for companies/brands asking in his TEDx: Start With Why

Why do you do what you do? It's an important question because, as David points out, photography is fungible (hey, there's a fun new word!); "you can make it, you can spend it and you can exchange it. You can create it out of nothing. And the more you think about that, the more possibilities will start to pop into your head."

Have fun chasing possibilities this weekend.

Weekend Links // May 9

It's no secret that I'm a sharer. My wife would say, at times, I'm an over sharer. So, each Friday, I plan on sharing 7 things — a week's worth — I found around the internet that you may have missed. I'm hoping this is a decently regular thing around here. No promises, though.

Trust me, these are all worth your time.

1. The Mystery of the Caterpillar Chrysalis

Radiolab did a beautiful piece called "Black Box" recently — a collection of three stories about mysteries to which we can't know fully know the answer. And, I'm usually pretty freaking geeked up about Radiolab... but, with this episode, they've outdone themselves.

I highly recommend you listen to the whole thing... but on the off chance an hour long listen isn't in the cards for you today, skip to the 50 minute mark & listen to the final 10 incredibly beautiful & mysterious minutes on the caterpillar chrysalis.

I'm consistently amazed when the spiritual & the scientific collide. This statement about the full weight of the mystery of the chrysalis, in particular, floored me:

It’s kind of erie, it’s not just what of me carries forward into the future. It’s like, what of my future self is in me right now?
— Molly Webster, Radiolab Producer

Seriously, don't delay. Listen.


2. TIME Magazine Atop America

While out in the main workspace at WELD, my friend Esther Havens showed me this amazing image her friend Jonathan Woods, Senior Editor at TIME, Photo & Interactive:

Photograph by Jonathan D. Woods and Michael Franz for TIME;   Stitching: Gavin D. Farrell; Compositing: Meghan P. Farrell; Color: Claudio Palmisano/10b       

Photograph by Jonathan D. Woods and Michael Franz for TIME; Stitching: Gavin D. Farrell; Compositing: Meghan P. Farrell; Color: Claudio Palmisano/10b



Stunning, right? To call this the image of one man, though, is a bit misleading. This is an epic & TIME was smart to include this "Making Of" video. In many ways, I find this to be the most compelling piece of the whole interactive experience:



Note: TIME only offered a flash-based player for encoding, which is a giant bummer considering it's limitations on mobile devices. I'm sorry.

3. Fiddleoak

Fiddleoak is a 15 year old photographer named Zev. Best I can tell, Zev has more talent & ability at 15 than most people acquire in a lifetime of honing a craft. He makes stunning images like this one:

photo by Fiddleoak

photo by Fiddleoak

Which, maybe you look at this and think, "that's a great image, but, so what?" Here's what. Look at what went in to crafting this image. He details the whole process, step by step. So, not only is he incredibly talented, he's also part of the open source generation.

The sum? Very, very cool.

4. Reframe Your Failure

We must think of the cost of failure as an investment in the future.
— Ed Catmull, Co-founder of Pixar

Maria Popova, of Brain Pickings, has a wonderfully concise synopsis of a single chapter from Creativity, Inc. (which has been added to my list of want to read books) on not hiding your failures.

It's good stuff. Read it here.

5. Phillip Bloom's Slow Motion on Instagram

If this doesn't make you smile, then... man, I just don't know.


6. Day of Night / Nights of Day

photo by Elena Chernyshova

photo by Elena Chernyshova

I found this incredibly poignant, beautifully photographed and masterfully reported photo essay over on Lens Culture. Of the project, photographer Elena Chernyshova writes:

This documentary project aims to investigate human adaptation to extreme climate, environmental disaster and isolation. The living conditions of the people of Norilsk are unique, making them an incomparable subject for such a study.

Please make time this weekend to pour over this story. It's stunning & the amount of rich, anecdotal detail Elena includes via captions is truly inspiring.


From the struggle beauty arises. That beauty is fought for.
— Zack Arias

I've been a Zack Arias fan for a long time. In fact, his blog is directly responsible for helping me learn the in's & out's of shooting on white seamless, which I was able to directly apply to the I Am Second campaign. He's a man with a keen eye and a passion for helping others grow.

In that spirit, he wrote a piece on his recent trip to Cuba that you should definitely take time to mull over.

photo by Zack Arias

photo by Zack Arias

I'm often asked how difficult it is to vacillate between the vastly different cultures I visit and my own. Is it hard, people wonder, to go from a leper colony to Disney World? My answer, unlike Zack's, is no, it is not because I've come to learn that the less you have, materially, the more you are have, spiritually.

I guess, we kind of get to the same place, though. Many think of the gear as the great catalyst to creativity, when, in fact, it's usually the thing that makes us fat and lazy, creatively.

The question Zack ultimately lands on is one that I wrestle with greatly. And seems a great place to land this plane.

What's keeping you from growing? 

Related Content