Tech Monk!

In December, I took a wild adventure to SE Asia (and Japan). I got a small chunk of money from a start up media company to make some short doc videos (used to build their travel channel). The incentive was just enough since I've always wanted to visit all those countries. I went with my video partner, Dan, and first Japan, then Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and last Vietnam. 

With all the tourism work that I've been doing the last couple of years, I've been wanting to dig a little deeper and make more artful documentary work. After all, I have two majors in fine Art and journalism.

I wasn't ready to fully dive into a heavy topic that would take weeks, months or even years to finish. I wanted to make a handful of shorter, light-hearted doc style videos that had an inspiring and positive tone. I like the theme of contrast -- juxtaposing two identities or two unlikely lifestyles together. I like the element of surprise. I also like the theme of leaving the world a better place than when you arrived, which is the theme of some of the other videos that we did. Those are still being edited and I eager to show those when finished. 

There were ups and downs on this trip. One of the lows was my camera breaking pretty early on in the trip. That was challenging. I took over Dan's Sony A7s and shot all of the footage for these stories. Dan was in charge of audio, interviews, anything to help me out. SE Asia was sensory overload for me and I had quite a bit of anxiety the whole time. Everything worked out though, and looking back at the footage, I'm surprised it turned out so well considering all the roadblocks we had. 

Overall, I'm really happy with the outcome. Having the opportunity to travel the world and create these little videos has been so inspiring for me. 

On my own path.

The one thing that I've really learned about myself while living in Los Angeles for the past few years is that I have not only accepted, but respect that we all have our own path. This has to do entirely with the experience of living in LA and this coming of age realization that I didn't even know I had to realize. I would not have grown this much had I stayed in the Midwest. I came to Los Angeles in pursuit of trying to emulate the success of photographers I yearned to be like. I fully admit, I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to have their talent, their relationships, their personality, similar clients, their lifestyle. Something has fundamentally shifted in my outlook and attitude about my life. Over these few years, I've paid less and less attention to those people. There were a handful of photographers who I once adored from afar. Not only am I unphased by their work and their life, I want nothing to do with their career or lifestyle. I don't want to have their relationships, I don't want to be around the people they hang around, I don't desire to dress like them or think like them. I think this all has to do with finally respecting that I have my own place in the universe, and that path is very different that those whom I've admired, and those who I will admire in the future. I know these feelings are true because I no longer have that feeling of jealousy. I'm happy for them. The opposite of love isn't hate; it's apathy. I feel apathy toward them -- in a good way. I have my own ideas, and eventually my own style. I have my own dynamic in relationships. I think I'm finally figuring out what it means to be me. And now that I've lost interest in my "role models," it's a lot easier to do. I can freely think for myself and execute my own ideas without comparison or self judgement. 

Entering Latsch Island into these festivals was an important step for me. These "festivals," were basically just screenings..and they were small. It wasn't a big deal. It was more about creating something that I felt close to, and a step in the direction of exploring my own ideas and being more grounded. I submitted the film to a few festivals for the hell of it just to see what would happen. It got accepted to a couple and that was a great experience. It was just enough encouragement to keep making more things that matter to me, explore humanity, and search for truth in my own path.

I'm finally thankful for where I grew up. I'm from the north. A small, working class town on the mississippi. I have my own perspective. As a child, I wished I lived in southern California..but my path was not to grow up in the valley, or orange county or san diego, or any of those incredibly vapid suburban places (the beach is still awesome though). And I am finally thankful for that. Because of where I grew up, I have the ability to relate to people on Latsch, and those around the country like them. I'm excited to make more films like this one. 





Wailea Shops in Maui

These jobs in Hawaii are always a blast. I've been nothing short of honored to be chosen over and over again to be a part of 7 shoots over the last few years. Out of all the fashion photographers out there, they choose me, and I don't even consider myself a fashion photographer. However, I think my lifestyle and documentary style work well for the tourism and lifestyle vibe that this client is after. I'm doing a fair amount of video and editing work these days, and along with the stills, I took a little bit of video footage. I edited the footage together with beauty/b-roll footage to create a feeling of selling the dream of Hawaii. It's not really about the swimsuit, it's about being there in the swim suit. I'm really excited to go back at the end of May for the next issue and produce both stills and social media videos!