Journal

WHAT HAS CHANGED

Have you seen the Time Magazine cover featuring the unrest in Baltimore?

It's amazing.

The May 11, 2015 cover of   TIME   Magazine. Photo by Devin Allen.

The May 11, 2015 cover of TIME Magazine. Photo by Devin Allen.

Amazing. And shot by an "amateur". A guy from West Baltimore who hasn't missed a march. Who protests while he shoots. Whose photography is a remarkable protest, all of it's own.

His name is Devin Allen & I'm blown away by his story.

For starters, his work was discovered on Instagram (after Rihanna posted one of his images) by Time's Director of Photography Paul Moakley

In digging through his Instagram feed, Paul said he saw "a singular vision throughout the work and we laid it all out. It runs through six pages in the magazine and it’s our cover now.”

Yes, you read that correctly. The head of photography for one of the biggest publications in the United States sourced work for the magazine on Instagram, a social media platform. You probably just thought it was for lunch & baby photos.

I would recommend checking out Devin's Instagram feed to fully comprehend why Moakley made the decision he made.

Anyone else having their mind blown?

This is the Revolution I wrote about last week. I'm telling you, the establishment walls are coming down. In Devin's words: 

 
Somebody tell the [Baltimore] Mayor that Time put a thugs artwork on the cover of with a full spread.
 

With our art we protest broken systems and inspire a better world. From Instagram to TIME, talk about a further definition of a medium. 

For those of us who desire to tell great stories, to use our work to make change in the world, we should read this story and take heart. Our time is coming, if it hasn't arrived. 

If you learn anything from Devin, learn this:

Be thoughtful, be thorough, hone your voice & be patient. You'll get your shot.

I know Baltimore is an explosive topic. This is a story about a story being told, yes. But it's also more than a story to many, it's life (and death). Should you feel led to leave a comment below, I simply ask that you keep it civil & respectful. 

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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 TIME.com.

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 instagram.com 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:

 
 

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One by One

Not long ago, I did a series on mobile photography because I believe that photography has always been a social medium, a thing to be shared. Over the last few years, I've really embraced this reality. And I'm not alone. In the wake of the advent of new venues, like Instagram, that play host to millions upon millions of shares, whole communities have sprung up and relationships have leaped off of devices into real life.

This is post is about one of those things. And I couldn't be happier to have a very small part in it, for my city.

Last year, InstaDFW founder, Jeyson Paez, reached out to me with a simple, but intriguing idea. Let's put on a group photography show that features the mobile photography work of the DFW community. I was intrigued. Then he asked me to curate the show which opened at WELD, the co-working space I call home, on September 27, 2013.

It was an incredibly fun evening.

Well, here we are, less than a year later and One by One 2014 is upon us.

The One by One 2014 poster was hand-drawn by Kyle Steed.

The One by One 2014 poster was hand-drawn by Kyle Steed.

This year the show has grown a bit, reaching beyond the bounds of the DFW community to feature twenty of the top Instagrammers from across the United States alongside DFW's vibrant community. Not only that, but the month-long show will be accompanied by artists talks, and a Dallas Block Party on June 20th.

I'm am thankful for the opportunity to have, again, curated the show. The work this year is stellar & the challenge brought out some unique connections between the work of the individual artists as well as their relationship to one another. I'm particularly proud of what will be on display beginning Monday, May 19th.

All the details about the show are available are available here. I genuinely hope you're able to stop by and enjoy the show.


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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.

7. DEDPXL DISPATCH :: CUBA

 
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? 


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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