Journal

Fifty Dollar Bills

Do you remember that scene in Goonies when Data accidentally bumps the counterfeiting machine in the basement of the Lighthouse Lounge? The machine rumbles to life and sheet after sheet of "fifty dolla bill!" come rolling out. In a fleeting moment before the story even starts, the counterfeiting machine nearly brings an end to their quest for the real treasure that will save their town.

And that's the the thing about the counterfeit - it's so convincing, it promises us reprieve from the hard work ahead. I can't tell you how many times I've chased the counterfeit when real treasure was waiting for me, if only I would join the quest.

WELD life is good life.

WELD life is good life.

About 5 years ago, my buddy Steve & I had an idea for a co-working space in Dallas. I only mention this little detail because what I did with the idea stands in stark contrast to what my friend Austin Mann did with a similar idea. I looked at the cost (financial, personal and professional) and balked, whereas Austin sacrificed everything to bring WELD to life.

And, make no mistake, Austin has sacrificed everything he once treasured — a blossoming career as a photographer, numerous opportunities to have his work (which is brilliant) featured in national publications, stamps in his passport from far flung and exotic places and adventure. He's sacrificed so much adventure.

WELD's founder, Austin Mann // a birds eye view of the WELD Dallas patio

WELD's founder, Austin Mann // a birds eye view of the WELD Dallas patio

But, as he heads off today to start WELD Nashville, I see that, maybe just maybe, his sacrifice of the very things I was unwilling to let go of is a statement of faith in what he deems to be treasure. And what he considers true adventure.

To enable, inspire and grow the creative communities of Dallas — and now Nashville — is a gift that multiplies Austin's heart for people a thousand fold. And amplifies the impact he alone can have in the world.

WELD-003

Five years ago, I said no to that quest. I didn't have the capital or the desire or the stomach to risk everything for others. That's hard to admit, but it's honest.

So, when Austin came to me and asked if I'd be willing to move into the roll of "Chief WELDER" in Dallas, I was faced with a similar dilemma. And there were a hundred reasons to once again say no. I mean, $50 bills are rolling off the machine, y'all. But, as I thought about my friends in Dallas who come to WELD every day, and this city my family calls home, and the deep seated beliefs I have about who we creatives are supposed to be in society, I realized those $50 bills are a sorry substitute for the quest that I was being invited into, which is the real treasure afterall.

I'm incredibly thankful to Austin for cultivating this community and revealing the deep truths of life to me in all he does. And, I'm incredibly honored that he'd hand me the opportunity to care for the fruit of his sacrifice.

I don't know what will happen next. Starting today, I'm in the tunnel, juggling my workload as a storyteller and the needs of the WELD community, and I'm sure that both the reminders of other's failures and a few boobie traps lay in front of me (that's what I said, 'boobie traps!!'"). But I also know that there is a treasure out there & I have a group of people (and, I genuinely love those people) who have climbed into the tunnel with me. And all any of us want to find is something better than the comfort of the counterfeit.

So, WELDERs, here we go.

DSLR workshop

Let's be honest, I've done a terrible job of promoting this, on a personal level, but I wanted to let you know it's not too late to sign up for this weekends WELD lab that I'm teaching. We will spend four hours with our hands on our cameras, learning everything from how to navigate your cameras menu system to taking advantage of features inside your DSLR that you haven't tapped into yet so that you can get the most from your camera.

This class has been designed with beginning photographers in mind. All you need to come with, besides your camera, is a willingness to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. That's it. Oh, and remember, you learn more when you're with friends - so please take a minute to share this with people in your life you'd like to learn alongside. We're going to have a good time.

You can register online by clicking the image. So, please do that.

You can learn more about WELD & WELD labs here: http://weld.co.

Kyle Steed

When I started this series on mobile photography, I knew I wanted to feature the work and thoughts of some of my favorite mobile photographers and I knew, without question, that one of those people would be my friend Kyle Steed. 

Tyler Sharp  Kung Fu's with Kyle

Tyler Sharp Kung Fu's with Kyle

We met a couple of years ago at the Echo Conference. I remember sitting next to him (and his trademark hat) during a Barton Damer breakout & thinking, "this guy's notes look so much better than mine."

I took this photo with my phone to commemorate that moment:

Kyle-Steed-by-Trey-Hill
Kyle-Steed-by-Trey-Hill

Kyle doesn't call himself a photographer, though he has a crazy following on Instagram that believes he and a camera do okay together. By trade, Kyle is an illustrator and has a distinct artistic voice.

I know Kyle's work anytime I see it, even when I'm not expecting it, like in a Walgreens spot (that's his hand-drawn typeface at the beginning). You might be familiar with some of Kyle's work, too. He's the creator of the super popular Instaxagram, the man behind WhatIsDallas.com, and Folly. Attempting to list all the wonderful projects he's had his hands in would be superfluous, at this point, so let me just attempt to wrap up by saying this: Kyle is one of those people whose talent and artistic vision is overshadowed only by the love he shows his fellow man.

"you find them when you're not looking." - Kyle Steed

"you find them when you're not looking." - Kyle Steed

I think that comes though in his work, his photography and I think you'll hear a bit of that in his answers to the three questions I asked him.

Trey: What is your guiding philosophy as an artist & how does IG fit into that?

Kyle:The world is a complex and often frustrating place to be, so I always seek a way to find and hold on to the simple things I find. Sometimes it requires a lot of searching and digging to get there, other times it’s just right in front of my face, but when I find it I hold on to it. There exist a certain peace in simplicity. But I also believe there is a way to have peace in the midst of the chaos of our life. I guess this is the fire my eye for photography has been forged in.

My hope is to always continue to refine and sharpen my eye. Nothing here on earth is ever finished.

Kyle-Steed-Church

Trey: How has mobile photography altered your way of moving through the world?

Kyle:If I’m being honest there have been times when I’ve been totally caught up in the whirlwind of social media (Instagram) and feeling like I have to share my entire life. But that kind of thinking really stresses me out. The stress of feeling like every shot has to be perfect, or worse... has to get thousands of likes, is just silly. I don’t regret that time of my life, just learn from it and move on. Now I feel like I exercise greater control over how and when I share my photos. I don’t spend all day trying to think up my next shot, instead I just let the shot come to me. Some days I don’t post anything, other days I may have a handful of photos to share. But that’s the beauty of it, having this mobile device in my pocket makes it so accessible. It comes along with me on my journey.

Kyle-Steed-Dont-Play-Safe

Trey:Who is your favorite follow on IG & why?

Kyle: There are so many great photographers on instagram. It’s still such a new medium for photography that I don’t think we’ve seen the best of the best. I can say that @colerise has to have one of the best consistent feeds that I follow. That man knows his way around an iPhone camera, that’s for sure. But I’m afraid to give this question a definitive answer, because it’s not about numbers but about the feeling and stories a person chooses to tell with their photos.

this is Cole, you can follow him on  Instagram .

this is Cole, you can follow him on Instagram.

Kyle has something pretty exciting coming up for anyone interested in mobile photography. He's teaming up with Austin Mann to teach a mobile photography workshop, part of the recently announced WELD creative labs. If you're interested in taking part, you can learn more here: labs.weld.co.

Part I: The Original Social Media

Part II: Mobile Photography Apps

Part III: #panogramtastic

Part IV: Kyle Steed