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:


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#MakePortraits: Monday Spotlight: Dorothea Lange

What is it in the end? It is a mounted piece of paper with a photographic silver image on it. But in it there is an element which you can’t call other than an act of love. That is the tremendous motivation behind it. And you give it. Not to a person, you give it to the world, to your world…an act of love – that’s the deepest thing behind it….The audience, the recipient of it, gives that back.
— Dorothea Lange

When I first undertook this weekly mission to learn about, study and consider the perspectives of the great portrait photographers, I had to keep myself from leading with Dorothea Lange. Her work has deeply influenced my own in countless ways.

Most notably, I referenced her portraits for the Farm Security Administration during the Great Depression while preparing for shooting Untouchable on my first trip to India.

Though I poured over her work, I didn't know much about the woman behind the photographs.

On a website dedicated to the 2011 book "Daring to Look", author Anne Whiston Spirn notes that Dorothea Lange was a storyteller above, possibly above all else.


Lange held up her mirror to American society that we might see who we were, how we came to be, and what we were in the process of becoming. Her words and photographs speak powerfully to the present, for the dynamics she saw and recorded are still shaping American lives and landscapes. 


Maybe that's why I'm so drawn to her portraits, because they're connected to a story. Or maybe it's because so much of her work lives at the intersection I feel my work lives in: that place where documentary, portraiture and exploration of self collide.

Every image [the photographer] sees, every photograph he takes, becomes in a sense a self-portrait. The portrait is made more meaningful by intimacy - an intimacy shared not only by the photographer with his subject but by the audience.
— Dorothea Lange

So, if this notion of portraiture as self portraiture is true (and, confession, this is a belief I've always held), then what does the work of Dorothea Lange reveal about the artist? Along the way to publishing this entry, I've learned a few things that seem to answer this question.

Lange suffered a bout with polio at age 7 that left her crippled. This was something she came to be quite thankful for as she reflected on her life & career:


“[It] was the most important thing that happened to me, and formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me and humiliated me,”


The early days of her career were spent apprenticing for the likes of Arnold Genthe. Then, she opened a portrait studio in San Francisco around 1919. From that studio she honed her craft as a portraitist, photographing the well-to-do of the city. 

It wasn't until the onset of the Great Depression that Lange came to public consciousness. Her work (above) for the Farm Securities Administration, is regarded as some of the most important by an American photographer in history. She has been the subject of countless books and exhibitions.

During an interview with NPR, author Linda Gordon who wrote the biography Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits noted how the disassociation between the story and the image really upset Lange. Because the images were owned by the Federal Government, the images were freely distributed and as the images became icons of an era, they suffered from anonymity.

One of the reasons that she was such a good portrait photographer is that she had an extraordinary power to connect with all sorts of people, to draw them out.
— Linda Gordon

Lange, knowing that people stiffened in front of the camera, actually emphasized her disability at times, slowing the whole process down, in an effort to make the subjects of her photos more comfortable.

The style of her work has been characterized as 'detached documentary'. But, these little details seem to betray this notion in profound ways. By diving deeper into her own brokenness, Lange was able to connect with the people of a broken nation & produce works so powerful that they stand as the definitive works of an era. 

If you're interested in learning more about Dorothea Lange, you can watch the Jim Leher News Hour segment featuring Linda Gordon or peruse Lange's work on the Library of Congress website.


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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?

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#MakePortraits: Monday Spotlight: Steve McCurry

The countenance is the portrait of the soul, and the eyes mark its intentions.
— Marcus Tullius Cicero

You may not know his name, but you certainly know the work of Steve McCurry. If not the broader body of images by this amazing photographer, you know this image.

The Afghan Girl on the cover of National Geographic. Photo by Steve McCurry.

The Afghan Girl on the cover of National Geographic. Photo by Steve McCurry.


Given a word to describe McCurry's work, I believe I would choose prolific. He seems at home in almost any possible photographic situation. His documentary work from abroad is stunning. His work in conflict areas, arresting. His dedication to the craft of storytelling, renown.

He's a film student turned photographer who travels the world, invests himself into other cultures in order to tell stories of global significance. I see so much of who I want to be in who he is both personally & professionally. So it made sense, to me, that Steve McCurry be our next stop on this journey toward fluency in craft.

Of his own portrait work, McCurry says, "Most of my portraits are not formal situations; they are found situations." And this, I believe is one of the hallmarks of his genius. I mean, just look at the work:

Portraits reveal a desire for human connection; a desire so strong that people who know they will never see me again open themselves to the camera, all in the hope that at the other end someone will be watching, someone who will laugh or suffer with them.
— Steve McCurry

In an interview with photographer Oded Wagenstein, McCurry was asked about the importance of story in his images, specifically as it relates to portraits.

We connect with one another via eye contact, and there is a real power in that shared moment of attention, in which you can occasionally catch a glimpse of what it must be like to be in another’s shoes. I think this is one of the most powerful things about a photograph... It is a question of the moment to reveal something interesting and profound about the human condition.
— Steve McCurry

For me, this is key. If you want to be a brilliant photographer, you have to have a hunger to understand the human condition. As I've said several times before, if we want others to listen to our story, we must first listen to theirs.

And these portraits are really a massive testimony to the way in which McCurry, who is famous for discovering a place & her people by wandering, listens. Guided by instinct, he has learned that the details make us different, but deep down we are profoundly the same.

Everybody wants to be respected, to have a sense that you’re trying to understand their culture.
— Steve McCurry

In doing the research for this spotlight, I came across this 5 part interview series by Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist. It's very, very good & each "episode" is quite short, but Schuman & McCurry touch on a range of questions relating to portraiture, mobile photography & working in foreign cultures.

Here is part one. Chase down the rest here.

In parting, I will leave you one more quote on which to chew. In a world dominated by digitally based shares, I find McCurry's thoughts on the requisite technology of photography to be quite inspiring.

It’s your work. It’s like a poem. You put the poem on the table and you read it and no one is going to ask you if you typed it or wrote it out long hand. No one cares how long it took or how many re-drafts you did. How many pictures did you shoot? It doesn’t matter. The proof is the final print.
— Steve McCurry

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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.

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IMTX 2014

For months, I've watched my brother-in-law, Jason, transform into an ironman... but that journey is not complete. Despite the thousands of miles logged in pursuit of it, the title has to be earned.

This morning, he & 2,800 other athletes — humans of a very, very rare breed — shook loose their muscles and zipped up their wet suits as their training came to an end.

The only thing left between them & the title of ironman is 140.6 miles.

I have an immense amount of respect for everyone who can endure what it takes to make it to the start of such a race.

The swimmers enter the water for Ironman Texas. May, 17, 2014.

The swimmers enter the water for Ironman Texas. May, 17, 2014.

I plan to release this as a complete photo story later this week. Stay tuned.

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.

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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#MakePortraits: Monday Spotlight: Yousuf Karsh

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

I recently stumbled upon the work of Yousuf Karsh, an Armenian born survivor of the genocide against his people & one of the most masterful portraitists of all time. Digging deeper into his work, I found his official website, which pairs his astounding work with anecdotal stories behind the images.


We live in an age when making a portrait requires very little work — by that I mean our cameras fit in our pockets & the images are re-touched and shared within seconds of taking them — and as I got lost in the black and white images of Karsh's portrait gallery, I couldn't help but think how much we have to learn from the subtle bits of wisdom in archives like this.

#MakePortraits: Monday started as a personal exercise on Instagram, but has grown into a quest to become fluent in the craft. Reading these words from Yousuf, who by every measure is a master, gives me hope that the quest I'm on — and, I hope we are on this quest together — is a worthwhile one:

...I believe the past has no claim on greatness, for such arresting personalities are always among us. Nor can we yet judge what lessons remain to be learned from the young. I know only that my quest continues.

We are the young — though I am much too quickly escaping that classification — and I believe that many of those lessons we have yet to learn are locked up in archives like this. It is my goal to find them in hopes that that, each week, we can, together, continue to take the sunrise for our slogan.

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