Groovy

Where Portland, OR

 

 

Groovy

 

Marketing 101: Know your target audience.

 

 

This vendor selling tie-dye shirts knows how to attract the right customer.

 

 

Or as they say in Portland, Keep It Weird.

 

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Half Off

Where: Prague, Czech Republic

 

 

Prague Bend

 

I only had one day in Prague before heading back to Germany for a video shoot.

 

 

 

So I was up at dawn to maximize my time and came across this flower shop where workers were setting up for the day.

 

 

 

I noticed when one of the workers bent over she looked like a mannequin from a department store that displays khakis.

 

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Cyclops

Where: White Georgia

 

 

Grill BW LuLa

 

Before Photoshop World in Atlanta, I headed North towards Chattanooga for Old Car City.

 

 

There are thousands of images there and this one feels like Cyclops was winking at me.

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Shuttered

Where: Lisbon, Portugal

 

 

 

Lisbon Shutters Lula

Knowing I would have a free weekend in Europe after a trade show, I called my friend Jack Reznicki, who travels extensively, for advice on where to go for Dano kinda of pictures.

 

 

Jack quickly said Lisbon because its a friendly place of colorful decay. Jack was right and I loved it!

 

 

This scene may look like bright colored shutters on an historic building. But it’s actually colored bricks designed to push the color out, and not in.

 

 

 

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Hole in the Wall

Where: Berlin Germany

 

 

Handwall LuLa

I grew up during the Cold War and am embarassed to admit this but, I kinda miss it.

 

 

I was always fascinated by the Berlin Wall and was riveted to any dramatic depictions of it from The Spy Who Came In From the Cold to Game, Set and Match.

 

 

So on my first trip to Berlin late last year, for a trade show, I took an extra day and headed straight for the former East Berlin.

 

 

East Berlin was modern, vibrant and cosmopolitan. What a disappointment! I wanted to see Trabants and Guard Towers not cool department stores and hipster clubs.

 

 

One strip of The Wall still remains and its now for artists to express themselves. While it was not the Berlin Wall that captivated me as a kid, this tourist from Israel doing a handstand did speak to how things have changed.

 

 

 

 

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Memorial

Where: Berlin, Germany

 

 

 

Memorial LuLa

 

 

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe evoked multiple levels of emotion for me.

 

 

 

The solitary silhouette helped to capture what I was seeing and feeling.

 

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Commuted

Where: White, Georgia

 

 

Old Wheel LuLa

 

Old Car City can lead to PVO:

 

(Photographic Visual Overload)

 

 

When there are thousands of potential images, it’s tempting to cram too much stuff into a composition.

 

 

In these scenarios I force myself to ignore the peripheral, and push in to find the simple and elegant.

 

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Global Selfie

Where: Tokyo Japan

 

 

Tokyo Selfie

 

According to a recent Time survey on geographically captured selfies, the New York City borough of Manhattan ranks second in the world with 202 selfies per 100,000 people.

 

 

But its a different story in Tokyo where with a ranking of 413th in the world, only 2 selfies are captured per 100,000 people.

 

 

It wasn’t the rarity of seeing a selfie being captured in Tokyo, nor the colorful Kimono that interested me, but that the smartphone was perfectly color coordinated.

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O’Hare Effect

Where: Chicago, Il

 

 

Ohare Stripes

The long day started a few weeks ago in Tokyo when I took a two-hour bus ride from the Hyatt Regency Shinjuku to Narita airport.

 

 

After a couple of more hours I boarded the east-bound red-eye to Chicago.

 

 

It’s hard for me to sleep on east-bound international flights so after 13 hours in the air, I often feel a bit out of sorts waiting for my bag and clearing customs. The disorientation also kicks in when I look at a clock and realize that after all that travel, I’ve arrived almost at the same time I left.

 

 

But the long day continues for me because I have to get to a connecting flight home. That requires re-checking my bag and taking a train to the domestic terminal and going through Security again. My strategy at this point of the journey is simply to stay awake so I don’t miss the connection.

 

 

When I got off the train at the domestic terminal I stepped on an escalator to cross over the street which runs in front of the terminal. I’ve done this several times through the years and I often think there has to be a less circuitous system until I reached the cross over and saw this amazing end of day light streaming in through the sandblasted striped windows. This time it was easy to stay awake.

 

 

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Thumbing a Ride

Where: Tokyo, Japan

 

 

Subway Rider

 

My favorite subway system (and I love subways) is the Tokyo Metro.

 

 

It’s always crowded with interesting people who do not make eye contact.

 

 

On a trip to Tokyo a few weeks ago, I rode various lines on the Metro looking for images that honed in on single subjects that would stand out from the surrounding crowd.

 

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My Peeps

Where: Paris, France

 

 

Paris Angel

We were shooting video in France end of September and I had a free day in Paris.

 

 

I emailed Jeff Dunas, who used to live in Paris, for recommendations of where to look for Dano pictures. Jeff knows my interest in street photography and directed me to various areas of the city where the most interesting people hang out. Suffice it to say I did not visit the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame.

 

 

In one of those real people places near the Place de Republique, an area that unfortunately is where many now gather to mourn after the attacks of November 13, I found this wonderful Parisian having a snooze during a motorcycle rally.

 

 

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Global Storming

Where: Long Beach, CA

 

 

Zone Pump

 

I was mesmerized by pumpjacks as a kid.

 

 

Frankly I still am.

 

 

But with this image I was able to show the simple beauty of the tried and true mechanism, as well as the long-term impact on the environment.

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As American As…

Where: Bellflower, CA

 

 

Big Bagel

 

 

In this case the Bagel has superseded Apple Pie.

 

 

But is it a bagel or an old tire?

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What’s Missing?

Where: Tokyo, Japan

 

 

 

Shinjuku Wait

I was in Japan last week for meetings with my colleagues from around the world.

 

 

Epson has several offices near the Japanese Alps and in most cases we take trains that connect through Tokyo to attend these meetings.

 

 

It’s always fascinating to watch everyday life in Japanese train stations and on this trip I was struck by an overall change in posture. I took this image only a few years ago and while the station has not changed nor the clothes, what’s different today is that few are looking up like this woman. Last week most of the people I saw waiting for trains were head-down peering into smartphones. In my travels this year I have seen the same posture shift in Germany, France, The Netherlands and of course virtually any metro area in North America.

 

 

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Left, Right and Center

Where: Tokyo, Japan

 

 

Leg Lean

 

Those that travel to Japan look at this image and just seem to know it was captured in Japan.

 

 

The woman’s posture and clothes are the likely clue, but I don’t think of this as a geographic image but one of politics. It’s as though the Centrists, represented by the gesture of the metal pole, are protecting the battered Left from the conservative Right.

 

 

 

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Livin The Dream (Again)

Where: Las Vegas, NV

 

 

Vegas Mermaid

 

 

I was talking with a colleague at lunch about upcoming 2016 trade shows.

 

 

 

 

We both blurted out the same semi-sarcastic line, “Whoopee, Las Vegas.”

 

 

 

After years of attending trade shows in Las Vegas most get a bit jaded. But secretly I actually love going to Las Vegas. It’s not about the gambling or the food or the shows but being able to make these kind of pictures after the trade show closes.

 

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Good Vibrations

Where: Los Angeles, CA

 

 

Vibrations

 

Had some free time while near Downtown LA and headed to MacArthur Park where I spent a lot of time making photographs in High School.

 

 

But on the drive to the Park I noticed this glowing entrance to a Metro station. I never made it to the Park and by waiting, I was rewarded with vibrating colors.

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Light Spout

Where: Bodie CA

 

 

Bodie TeapotWe were shooting an instructional video in Bodie, one of the best ghost towns in California.

 

 

Our priority was the video and we coordinated everything to shoot what was critical for the video in the best light.

 

 

So when I had some free time the good light was gone and everything was flatly lit.

 

But by reaching deeper for indirect light, I found this old kettle backlit by a window that had great depth.

 

 

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The Real China

Shanghi, China

 

 

Shanghai Gardens

On my first trip to China we were walking through the Yuuan Market.

 

 

It’s a lively area of shops where the art of haggling is on full throttle and the area is filled with real people, and only a few tourists.

 

 

I was struck by this woman because of her expressive face and the history she surely experienced from the rise of Mao Tse-tung, to the dreaded Cultural Revolution, to China’s resurgence as the world’s second largest economy.

 

 

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Game Face

Where: Miami, FL

 

 

Calle Ocho Stare

 

There’s a park in Little Havana where elderly Cuban Americans play “lively” open air games of dominoes.

 

 

Lots of noise, yelling, gestures. In short my kind of place. On a recent visit I challenged myself to find something that illustrated the action without showing the action.

 

 

The reflection from the white domino board lit up this players glasses and the awning used to block the sun contributed to the overall design.

 

 

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Pacific Bus Stop

Where: Shanghai, China

 

 

 

Bus Stare

 

 

After a long flight from San Fransisco we arrived at our hotel during the last remnants of daylight.

 

 

Right in front of the hotel was a bus stop and I simple photographed people through the windows of buses in the last minutes before sunset.

 

 

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Farewell Mr. King

Where: Miami via Reseda California

 

 

1

 

On August 5, I received an email from Jeff Sedlik, “Warren is dying and he is asking for you.”

 

 

Jeff and I are alumni of the renowned Reseda High School Photography Program, run for decades by the legendary Warren King.

 

 

During Warren’s tenure Reseda High was considered by many to be one of the best high school photography programs in the country and spawned a remarkable number of careers in professional photography. Images from Reseda High alumni such as Ron Contarsy, David Radler, Jeff Sedlik, Jay Silverman, Gil Smith, Jeff Widener are recognized today by millions around the world.

 

 

I was in Manhattan when I received the email from Jeff and immediately thought of my first trip to Manhattan in 1976. I was fortunate to have just won the Scholastic Magazine Grand Prize as the Best High School Photographer in North America. Warren brought me to Manhattan to accept the award (image below) and view my portfolio in the then Kodak Gallery on 43rd and 6th (now the International Center of Photography Museum). I was 17, it was my first exhibition, and this Valley Boy from Reseda caught the bug for New York City which turned out to play an important role in my career.

 

 

Warren and Dano 1976

I was able to reach Warren by phone and told him I would come to see him. I was on a long business trip and could only hope that he would still be with us by the time I made it to California. I did make it to the King’s house to visit with Warren in hospice care.

 

 

While sitting with Warren I looked around the room that was filled with amazing prints from his students, prints of his own wonderful images, numerous awards and even a signed Karsh of Winston Churchill, but the most poignant object for me was a paperweight on the coffee table. The paperweight was composed of the capital letters KISS. KISS was often called out in class by Warren and stood for, “Keep it Simple Stupid”. It was and continues to be the compositional foundation of any successful Reseda graduate’s work because the most memorable images are those that tell a compelling story with singular impact. It’s the reason Warren loved the image above of the mop, simple elegance of an everyday object. Now its easy to say KISS, but quite difficult to pull it off. The term is attributed to the head aeronautical designer of the Lockheed’s Skunk Works that produced some of the most sophisticated aircraft ever to fly. And the concept is cited in this Forbes article by Amy Rees Anderson which starts with the quote by C.W Cernan, “Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple” and Anderson then speaks not about design but to business with, “Too often, people over-complicate things in business in an attempt to display their intelligence…” Warren’s introduction to KISS continues to empower me in situations well beyond photography.

 

 

Because of Warren’s reputation, the Reseda High Program attracted many of the most promising photo students in Southern California. It was quite competitive and it would be fair to say there were some boisterous personalities. One way Warren managed this environment where egos would sometimes get out of control was to simply point to a sign in his office which said, “Don’t Tell Me How Good You Are, Show Me”.

 

 

I distinctly remember taking my dripping darkroom tray with what I thought was an amazing print for Warren’s approval and being told to dodge this, burn that, e.g. reprint it.  And then reprint it again. And then on the third attempt watch him point to the sign which of course meant, reprint. But that process to me was never destructive and only nurturing, it turned me into the photographer and printmaker I am today.

 

 

Warren also exposed us to amazing photographers and photographs that few at the high school level would have known. He would show the works of Eddie Adams, William Albert Allard, Richard Avedon, Paul Caponigro, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Yousef Karsh, Brian Lanker, Jay Maisel, Arnold Newman, Joe Rosenthal, Pete Turner and many more. I only mention these few names as I have been fortunate to have met them and in some cases the honor to work with them. Seeing great works of photography at an early age fueled my passion for photography.

 

 

I remember in my first year at Brooks Institute where the drop out rate was close to 50% seeing fellow students bellowing that they could not handle the pressure of the assignments and deadlines were totally insane. Those that eventually dropped out never saw Warren’s sign or had to deal with the challenging assignments Warren would give us in High School like, “Create a photograph of a loved one but that person cannot be visible, critique will be on Friday.” Many of my fellow students in college were not exposed to the great works of photography as I was by Warren, and it has been all of this which reinforced all that is creatively possible and sustained me through tough times.

 

 

Today I oversee and print many of the images at Epson professional photography trade shows. Amongst my Epson colleagues I have, at times, a semi-annoying reputation for being a perfectionist and making multiple prints until I’m happy. That level of perfection is also in play with just about every form of marketing communication of which I’m involved from video to advertising. But what my colleagues don’t know is this zeal is not to make me happy, but what was drilled into me by Warren with the goal of getting that understated, but so critical subtle nod of approval vs being directed to that damn sign!

 

 

I am fortunate to have the trust of many of the greatest photographers in our industry. These photographers have seen how I work, due to my training at Reseda, and as a result they have confidence that their work and their reputations are in the best hands. There is an old adage amongst professional photographers that you’re only as good as your last job. For me I feel that I’m only as good as my weakest print, video or ad. On a daily basis I act on what Anonymous is credited with saying, though I suspect it was really coined by Warren that, “Excellence is the difference between what I do and what I’m capable of.”

 

 

As I learned of Warren’s passing I closed my eyes and went back in time. I could almost smell the fixer and see the double door entrance to the color lab, the dichroic enlargers and the accompanying color analyzers and timers, the light trap into the black and white darkroom, the studio lighting in the back of the classroom, the drum dryer to the left, the small room in the front for loading film to the right, and off to the side Warren’s office which was a converted closet and above his typewriter, that infamous sign. This was more home for me than my real home and Warren was more a father to me than my own.

 

 

It was in this small section of an average school, in a nondescript part of the San Fernando Valley that my mentor propelled me into a career working with the greatest photographers, a career that has literally, taken me around the world.

 

 

And in keeping with what Warren taught, moving forward there will be fewer words, more pictures, striving for excellence and most importantly, I’ll be keeping it simple.

 

 

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Speak for Yourself

Where: Portland, OR

 

 

70

 

 

Ran into the Urban Idiotarod on my way to the Portland Airport.

 

 

 

Not much to say other than some images speak for themselves.

 

 

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Doing Time

Where: Anaheim, CA

 

 

 

Tennis Bars

 

I recently attended a meeting at the Disneyland Conference Center. While the meeting turned out to be a bit Mickey Mouse, on the way back to the office I was able to make a decent picture.

 

 

 

This might seem like an inmate behind bars, but it’s a tennis player wearing white and the stripes are created by the blue tarp wrapped around the chain link fence surrounding the court. I simply shot through the tarp and used selective focus to emphasize the player.

 

 

 

 

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Steam Bath

Where: Miami Beach, FL

 

 

 

Lonely South Beach

 

After meetings in Boca Raton last week I decided to spend an extra day in Miami before heading to LA. If I flew home from Boca I would only have half a day to take a shower and mow the lawn before heading back to the airport. And this way I could spend time at great places like South Beach and Calle Ocho.

 

 

 

I’ve been to Florida in the summer before and was prepared for the heat and humidity, but this time the temperature humidity index was close to 110 and fit only for gators.

 

 

 

Because of the heat, the beach at South Beach was relatively quiet. It seemed the only way this lone sunbather could escape the searing heat, was to seek shelter in the “refreshing” 84 degree F water with red highlights reflecting the above angry sky.

 

 

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