One step at a time.

Day 318 of 365

Somethings in life are really simple.
Put good in get good out.
Put bad in get bad results.
So why is it so hard to do live by that resolve all the time?
I think for me it’s baby steps.
I see where I want to go and I try to play life like monopoly skipping all the steps in between.
This leaves you with a terrible foundation and inevitably it will come crashing down.
The goal now is baby steps.
Like this blog, like photography, I have only learned from continuously doing something for the love of it and doing it often.
My hope is that the more aware I become of baby steps the more I will keep my feet moving forward focusing on each step rather than just the end result.
I hope this helps someone who feels the same because when you make one small move a day towards your goal you will one day look back and have a giant body of work or accomplishments behind you.

Happy Friday

Have more fun.

Day 317 of 365

5 am this morning I woke up expecting to see snow.
It was cold but not so bad.
I had arranged to photograph a local baker in collaboration with a soap company Hudson made which I have mentioned on the blog before.
Hudson Made has me shooting a workers series where I go out and photograph, local artists, craftsman, and makers in my area of Brooklyn.
I personally am loving it so far.
It’s amazing to see what people are good at and how skilled they have become at their crafts.
Today I photographed Nick who owns his own bakery next door to my last apartment in Williamsburg.
Besides being amazing at baking Nick used to be a professional photographer although his photography work is still that of an expert level he decided to leave this career behind.
He lost the fun he once had with his work so he decided to pursue something else.
This is where he found baking on a trip to Iceland where he fell in love with a local bakery.
Nick learned to bake at that same bakery and for almost a year now he has owned his own bakery.
It is quiet the shift from photography but what Nick holds consistent is level of expectation for himself.
His mostly vegan baking is top notch quality supplying for a few luxury hotels, whole foods, and coffee shops in the area.

It was really inspiring to talk to Nick and get his advice on photography and business.
He’s been a massive success in anything he has undertaken and I guess the point here is if your going to do something decide to be damn good at it and have fun doing it because if you aren’t having some fun along the way then it isn’t worth doing it at all.

In the Arena

Day 316 of 365

Moving towards something new always involves a certain level of pain.
I say this in critique of my once ill founded belief systems.
Some ideas I once held so dear to my heart no longer serve my purpose.
Often these beliefs take shape in the subconscious and are so deeply routed that we are hardly even aware that we hold them.
What does your heart long to do or become?
This is often the very thing our subconscious beliefs are holding us back from.
The point here is to try.
To fail.
Do not sit in the middle waiting to succeed.

I read a quote on this yesterday and it has me starting my Monday with so much inspiration.
I hope it does the same for you.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “

-Theodore Roosevelt

Don't BS yourself.

Day 315 of 365

There is a beautiful feeling when you decide to be vulnerable and it is well received. On the other hand one of the worst feelings is when you put yourself out there and you are made to feel like a complete fool.
I guess the sweet spot is taking that on the chin and trying again.
I tend to value creative relationships and spaces.
Relationships in which you can create a new project, or a random idea and present it and with whole heartedness the person tells you candidly what they think.
I learned this from a friend I had in college who would frequently tell me “this is shit” when I would show him new photo ideas I was trying. Yet 1 out of every 20 photo prints sometimes way more than that he would say in his broken polish accent “This is bangin! the light is really nice, the subject is great maybe work on this.”

This changed my perspective on what it meant to be a good friend, and what true honesty really is.
I realized that the way I grew up in America values lying to someone to make them feel good rather then telling them your truth and allowing them to make changes.
Eg. When your friend is wearing something new and they ask you how you like it and you say you look great….but really you want to say woh I think those pants might be too tight.

I find myself lately falling back into that polite, lying, sense of honesty.
Instead of telling my true feelings.
This isn’t good because it allows you to be walked over in business, it doesn’t allow for a safe critique of your work, and most importantly it doesn’t allow the person your fluffing up to make changes or make their project better.

Being vulnerable in your creative, personal, and business pursuits and allowing people to truly critique your work is one of the fastest ways to grow.
It may be painful to hear that you fucked up or missed your mark on something but wouldn’t you rather have someone bring it to your attention so you can fix it rather than walking around oblivious to your short comings and having people talk about them behind your back.

My point today is that I am going to try and be more conscious this month about the critiques I give when people ask for them.
I am going to put my foot down when a client asked for too much and doesn’t pays too little.
You hurt yourself most when you’re not honest with good intention to other people.
So if I sound a little harsh this month just know it’s because I need to cut out the fluff.

Make your current state.

Day 314 of 365

Some photos are just quieter than others. They don’t need to scream at you to get your attention.
You can either view them or keep moving and that’s okay. My photography has always existed as an extension of my current state. I still thoroughly believe in something I once wrote “What’s daily will define” what you do shows. What you dream of doesn’t unless you are doing things to pursue it.
I spend a lot of time alone in quiet, editing, emailing, working on new concepts, etc.
I find then when I go into public I often forget about the people and seek out light, shapes, and more simple yet overlooked details.
I’m learning to get back to the human element in my photography.
After all we are extremely social creatures.

Below are some of those quiet photos.

Live in the Now.

313 of 365

This Sunday I went back home for the superbowl spur of the moment and against my better judgement.
I ended up having a great time but It felt really weird.
I felt emotions that I’ve never really felt before.
The place I once called home now feels like a distant memory because that home no longer exists.
That time has passed and that’s okay it was amazing while it lasted.
To get out of that feeling I didn’t want to run away from it but rather I wanted to face it head on.
So I decided to go on my favorite hike in my hometown and bring my brothers dog along.
It was great I felt the toxic mood tearing away from my stomach with each step.
I’m glad I grew up where I did, glad I moved away, and glad that I can take the change head on.
It also made me really appreciate where I live now and where I grew up.
New York has so much opportunity, so many great people, and really great food, Connecticut has much more intimate communities, nature, and room to live at an affordable cost.
There is good in everything you just have to seek it out.
Most importantly don’t morn the past appreciate it for what it was and for what you have now.


Day 312 of 365

I often reach out to brands I like to collaborate on shoots.
Not as much as I used to but I still do it from time to time specifically with brands who have products I like or who tell stories that inspire me to make new work.
Today I got an interesting email from a brand that I think is just okay.
They sell buckets particularly for wetsuits.
So when you get out of the water and get to your car you can put your salty soaked wetsuit in a bucket of fresh water this helps clean the suit on your way home.
For me this means a cleaner car and less time spent cleaning my wetsuit.
I figured this would be a cool easy brand to collaborate with so I sent them an email yesterday and they replied this morning.
The email read we like your work but there is nothing on your site that indicates you would be a good fit for us.
I was kind of shocked I was like all I’ve been shooting lately is surf stuff and photos that seemed to match their instagram to the T.
It was a great email though because his honesty gave me the chance to present them with a look book I just shot which was way ore on brand for them.
It also made me take a look at my website and realize how it needs to be updated to show the work I want to make with the brands I want to work with.
Honesty is rare in this line of work.
People most of the time totally ignore you which gives you no chance for improvement.
Instead this mans honesty gave me a chance to correct course and evidently try again.
Honesty goes a long way and although it may hit you right on the chin without it there can be no progression.

Surfing from Brooklyn, Ny.

Day 311 of 365

Mixing work and pleasure for Hudson Made.

This past Friday my best friend and I set out early in the morning to spend the morning surfing in Rockaway, Queens. Meg doesn’t like cold water very much so she decided to watch and read on the beach instead of joining me in the water.
Mornings like this remind me of being a kid and playing football in the colder end of the fall.
The heat from the sun still resonates on your skin but the wind always finds a way to bite through that warmth.
After a long soggy, cold, and fun morning at the beach there is no better feeling than a hot shower.
This is why Hudson Made was the perfect combo for this morning.
I’m a big fan of ethical and natural products and I still want to smell manly and Hudson made’s workers soap hits the nail on the head with this one.
Their products don’t pollute our water ways and I am really happy to be working with a brand like this.

They’re pricey but if you’re into quality, sustainability, and all natural products that are healthy for your skin, feel free to give them a shot.

Learn Something New Every Month.

Day 310 of 365

With only 55 more blogs left to go we’re coming to the end of my written blog journey. I am going to keep this going in other ways, most likely via video blogs.
Filming my everyday life, new things I am learning and experiences I am having.
I want to be more vulnerable in my approach because all this blog is for me is a chance to become aware of my own faults and confusion so that I can take action and learn from my mistakes.
I often see vlogs and blogs as a way for others to project the awesomeness of their life, or to fabricate an artificial reality.
To prove to people they’re more than they are, essentially fake it till you make it.
This seems more like an insecurity to me and I know I’ve been guilty of it for sure but I wonder what would happen if you were just purely open.
Showing the struggles of making it in your creative endeavors, career goals, relationships, etc.
I’ve always strived for that but video seems like a much more revealing and narcissistic medium.
Anyway I need a next step.
I will continue to write ever morning but the content of those writings after blog 365 will remain solely for self improvement and routine.

Keep Learning.
Keep progressing.
Only forward.

Stay moving.

Day 309 of 365

Grow is an illusive beast.
Seems to me that when we focus on growth we rarely do so.
Instead we stress on the very thing we are trying to obtain.
Grow for me has always come in the form of decision making and action.
Never Comfort.
Never planning.
The most growth ever ever had was when I moved to Australia.
A rather impulsive decision but it was one I planned and worked for 6 months in advance.
Whatever decision you are avoiding, make it.
Move, quit, kiss, make, finish, decide, do, more, whatever it is do it now.
You will thank yourself later.

Lifestyle first, Goals second.

Day 308 of 365

I’ve been thinking about my new years goals this past week.
Taking specific notice of what I have started and what I haven’t and what has already begun to stick.
There is no secret to learning a new skill, do it consistently and research it thoroughly and you will learn that skill.
I think this is the same for our goals but instead of saying I’d like to achieve this we need to say “What can I do everyday that will help me achieve blank?”
That often comes down to a new habit or a new lifestyle and it takes a lot of discipline.
For me to establish new habits I need to add them to existing routines.
For example I started writing just over a year ago.
I bought a journal and decided that every time I drink coffee I will sit down and write for 10 minutes.
Those 10 minutes quickly turned into 20 and before I knew it I was filling up journals monthly.
There was no specific goal with my writing other than to write and to hopefully be able to look back on it one day and have learned something, it’s also a great way to keep positive.

My roommate this year decided to learn how to play the guitar as his new years resolution.
Since we moved in he had been talking about wanting to learn but he would never try.
Once he starts something he will do it everyday he is just that disciplined.
So he decided that for the new year he would pay for classes knowing that would make him make him take his learning seriously and it has.
He plays guitar everyday and he is killing it.

My point here is to reach most goals is often a lifestyle change not just a hey let me do this and finish it today.
It takes years of dedication to achieve goals not just a brief resolution.
For me those lifestyle oriented goals are photography, writing, finishing all of my showers with 30 seconds of cold water, exercising, and healthy eating.
I want to do these things until the day I die.
What do you want to do forever that can help you achieve your goals?
Lifestyle first, goals second.

Ghetto by the Sea.

Day 307 of 365

I learned a lot about surf photography the other day.
At least my interpretation of it.
I learned how opposite the direction of the sun has to be in comparison to my normal shoots.
I learned how inconsistent someone can be while editing the color of water.
I’m experimenting and figuring out which look and direction of light I like the best and I think that’s ok.
I love being outside and shooting and failing makes me really excited to try things again.
The photos below are shot in Rockaway Beach, Queens. Quite literally the ghetto by the sea, but boy do I enjoy this place.
Hope you enjoy.

Think about tomorrow.

Day 306 of 365

I’ve been thinking a lot about long term decision making lately.
Whether your decision is for a few months or a year or for life, I think it’s important to see past instant gratification.
For example wanting chocolate and going to the store the same day to get chocolate.
What if you waited a day every time you had a crazing for sweets?
Would you still want to eat poorly the next day?
If the answer is yes then by all means your body probably needs that sugar if youre craving it for more than a day but this type of long term decision making is important to our conscious mind.

The subconscious screams for things it wants but doesn’t need.
It screams for habits, good or bad.
I think once we control our life more consciously we start to control the outcome.

When you do what your friends do and feel bad about drinking your face off every weekend but continue to do it anyways you will stay in the same place.
Or if you work your weekends away and wish you were out having fun with people you loved you will still be stuck repeating what you hate.

Life is a marathon not a sprint.
I was extremely impulsive as a teenager but now as I am learning more each day I realize the importance of long term decision making.
For yourself, for the environment, other species and for the generations to come after us.
We need to consider the implications of our actions.

Morning Routine

Day 305 of 365

I cherish my mornings wherever I am.
I love to be around people but when I first wake up that is me time.
It’s how I jumpstart my day.
I run through a strict routine and if I don’t do it I often feel a little thrown off.
It starts with a work out.
Followed by a shower, water, coffee, writing.
Then a blog.
Then breakfast.
Then 20 minutes of reading, and 15 minutes of meditating.
Then I start my work day.

This routine takes me about 2 hours.
I know for people with 9-5 jobs that might be unreasonable but if you get to bed at 10 o’clock sharp it becomes a lot easier to wake up at 5:30 am and you’ll have an entire morning to yourself.

The hardest part for me is getting to bed.
I couldn’t get to sleep last night so I woke up at 7:30 today.
It’s not always easy but I will correct it tonight so that tomorrow I can have my morning and not have it creep into my work day.

Photography with intention.

Day 303 of 365

Starting the new year I’ve been reevaluating my practice in photography.
Having photographed objects, light, and everyday details in life for the past 2 years I’ve been longing for the human condition.
I am now returning to what first got me into photography, people.
I like to document people doing things.
Real life happening.
It never felt so interesting when I worked manual labor but watching people work, celebrate, and live has always fascinated me.

We’re so much more connected then we think.
We seek security, consistency, food shelter, and love.
I decided to take 10 portraits today after shooting about 4 or 5 a few days ago and it was a great experience. (not all 10 are featured below)
In just a short amount of time I encountered reactions on all ends of the spectrum.
Most were mainly just cold and wanted to get home.
Some were confused but said okay, some were so happy to get there picture taken and just laugh about it and the least common reaction….1 person in the past few times of doing this wanted to fight me.
We often build up an irrational fears in our mind like rejection, confrontation, and worst of all failure.
These things are going to happen you cannot avoid getting knocked on your ass.
The only failure at this point is not trying.

Bottom line is were social creatures, and other humans are the key to where you want to go and you are the key to where someone else wants to go.
Help someone who deserves it get through a gate you have a key to, and I am sure someone will do the same for you one day.
Do not operate in fear.
If you want to take pictures of strangers go do it, explain to them what you want, or don’t.
Ask for that promotion if you deserve it.
Be genuine, work your beans off, most importantly share with good intention and ask with good intention.
”A closed mouth doesn’t get fed.”

Goodbye Poler Stuff

Day 302 of 365

Back when I first got into photography I remember seeing these amazing photo stories from around the world. Friends setting out to go places most often untouched by the average tourists. To connect with nature a bit and to have a good time. They were more laid back stories about heading into the unknown rather than climbing Everest or triumphing over the most agonizing of feats. Which don’t get me wrong I’d love to overcome some harsh obstacles like running a marathon or hiking to the summit of a mountain but I’d also like to see some amazing things in other countries with my friends and drink beers while doing it.
The fact that Poler stuff was able to do this and be productive on these trips all while making lasting memories amazed me.
Since I first saw their photo stories and the talented photographers they worked with I knew I wanted to shoot one of these trips and bring my friends along for the ride.
I knew for sometime now but just today Poler stuff declared bankruptcy which is okay everything has it time but it was damn fun and inspiring while it lasted.
Poler made some amazing things that I will hold onto for a long time.
I guess my point here is we all have that thing, that person, that job that we look up to and it seems so far away but in reality it’s far closer than we think.
Don’t give up on what you know you can do no matter how small or stupid it may seem, ex. like shooting photos for a small company.
Once accomplished those little goals make us into a better person then we were yesterday and with out them we’re doing nothing but wasting space.

Do something productive today.

Happiness is doing what needs to be done.

Day 301 of 365

Have you ever been really unhappy?
I’m sure you have, we all have.
From my own experience the only times I have ever been truly unhappy is when I am not doing what I know needs to be done.
Even if someone does something shitty to me it’s more about how I respond that determines my happiness and 4not so much their actions.
For example I came home early for Christmas to hang out with my brother who was working Christmas eve and Christmas day.
When I got there he told me he had dinner plans and I had to leave and boy was I upset.
The only person in the world I cared about spending that day with and he sent me off 30 minutes into being at his house just to have a pizza party and watch football with his girlfriends parents.
He wasn’t wrong doing this.
I was wrong for getting upset and letting it fester all the way through Christmas eve.
What I realized was that one little thing was a huge deal to me because I had bene putting off my responsibilities and allowing the holidays to be an excuse.
If I was taking care of all my business responsibilities, taking care of my personal life, and communicating properly I probably wouldn’t have had the time to see him 1 and 2 I wouldn’t be upset with someone for not hanging out with me.
Filling your time with things that are valuable to your life’s mission is important.
Too much down time is a bad thing.
If you are unhappy make a list of things you should be accomplishing on paper, and as you cross each off just watch and see how good it feels to be putting your nose in the right direction instead of worrying about hanging out with people outside of your path.

Bad hands good Brain.

Day 300 of 365

The hands make what the mind tells it.
The only problem with this is that your brain is far more skilled than your hands will ever be.
At first glance that can be very discouraging.
We’ve all had that moment where we say I want to be a “blank” we try it we suck and we give up, or we try something new, like it then shortly after we realize how long the journey will take and we give up.
First things first, what I am talking about here are passions but can be applied to careers as well.
Whatever you are doing I hope it ignites something in your belly, and I hope you get fired up to learn more about it.
For me that’s always been photography, I can’t get enough I could look at it everyday and learn something new everyday and it’s fun for me, hence why I don’t mind doing it all the time.
Yet so often I am so displeased in what I create for example the pictures below were very hard for me to edit.
Sense I have been editing in a new software I have had to adjust to some new things and it has been very challenging.
I know what my brain wants but for some reason my hands cannot live up to my brains expectations or taste.
We have all felt that.
The secret sauce here is practice.
You will never obtain exactly the specifics of what your brain wants but you can get damn close.
There is a beauty in that imperfection.
Don’t waste time being discouraged by that the important thing here is to finish quick and finish often so that you can critique and move onto better projects.

Whatever it is you want to do keep practicing and if a door doesn’t open eventually kick one open.