Back to the Streets - Little Italy / Downtown

Needed an afternoon pick me up yesterday so took a walk to get a dirty chai. I picked a spot my wife recommended about a mile from the studio so I could log some time on the streets. Bold, graphic elements are what presented. Take some time this Labor Day weekend to explore what’s around you. Immerse yourself, be present. But most of all enjoy the 3 day holiday!

Back to the Streets - Downtown San Diego

Like many large American cities over the last couple of decades San Diego’s downtown has seen a resurgence and revitalization. Most areas of downtown are now safe and “happening”. This was not always the case. Prior to the Padres building and relocating to PetCo Park the area was blighted and dangerous. That, along with many other revitalization projects has transformed downtown SD into a destination for tourists and locals alike. People actually live downtown now. There are numerous hi rise condos - a new concept for San Diego where sprawl has always been the name of the game . Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter is considered the Heart of San Diego. It’s teaming with restaurants, bars, clubs - hard not to be entertained. It’s a happening destination. The Gaslamp is often compared to New Orleans’ French Quarter. I’ve lived in both cities. The Gaslamp is no French Quarter. It doesn’t embrace it’s history the way they do in Louisiana. For that matter, it doesn’t have the history that the French Quarter does. But what little historical significance it has is whitewashed, as you often find in historic areas of California. There’s still enough happening downtown and in the Gaslamp to make it interesting and weird. Great place to explore with a camera, especially as the sun is going down.

Back to the Streets - Transpo

More walking. More street photography. Stumbled on a bit of a transportation theme today.

Back to the Streets - City in Motion

How do you get around in the gig economy? E-bike? Scooter? Trolley? Or the quintessential Southern California ride, a Skateboard? Me? I’ve been walking. Slowing things down. Taking some time to observe what’s around me. What I’m seeing is a lot of people on the move. Moving fast. Lots of motion in all directions.

Back to the Streets - OB at Night

Ocean Beach, a small beach community in San Diego, CA is one of those unique beach communities in Southern California. Sadly, like so many other funky hideaways, it’s slowly being gentrified, with OBceans kicking and screaming the whole way. But when the sun goes down there’s still a a whole lotta flavor.

Back to the Streets - Harbor Drive

I’ve been walking a lot lately. I’m walking places I’d normally drive. I know, nobody walks anywhere in Southern California. I get the weird looks and double takes when people ask me how I got there and I say I walked. But it’s summer in Southern California The weather’s great and I’ve got a creative itch. I carry a camera. I’m looking to get back in touch with my roots. Every couple of years I need to scratch this itch. Back in school I carried a camera with me everywhere. I fancied myself quite the street photographer. I was inspired by the greats; Cartier-Brasson, William Klien, Walker Evans, and all the rest. So when I want a jolt of inspiration, I get back to my roots, I get back to the streets.

Filmmaker Portraits at the San Diego International Film Festival

Independent filmmakers are by nature creative, tenacious and passionate. They embody all of the elements of craft, hard work and dedication that have inspired me to photograph and explore workers from all walks of life. I present here a selection of the passionate independent filmmakers featured at the 2017 San Diego International Film Festival.  

Selling Isobel   Writer and Lead Actress Frida Farrell  "What you are about to see is not just based on a true story, it's based on my story."  The most chilling line I've heard delivered in a trailer in years.  There was a lot of chatter surrounding Frida's film - must see, couldn't watch it, too intense.  I wasn't sure what to expect when she arrived for her portrait.  She was engaging and absolutely delightful. Her film is intense and worthy of the San Diego International Film Festival's 2017 Break Out Feature Film of the Year.

Selling Isobel Writer and Lead Actress Frida Farrell

"What you are about to see is not just based on a true story, it's based on my story."  The most chilling line I've heard delivered in a trailer in years.  There was a lot of chatter surrounding Frida's film - must see, couldn't watch it, too intense.  I wasn't sure what to expect when she arrived for her portrait.  She was engaging and absolutely delightful. Her film is intense and worthy of the San Diego International Film Festival's 2017 Break Out Feature Film of the Year.

Dog Years  Writer and Director  Adam Rifkin   Winner of the 2017 Chairman's Award 

Dog Years Writer and Director Adam Rifkin

Winner of the 2017 Chairman's Award 

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Resistance is Life   Executive Producer Goran Zaneti (top) and Writer / Director / Producer Apo Bazidi  Audience Choice for Best Documentary

Resistance is Life Executive Producer Goran Zaneti (top) and Writer / Director / Producer Apo Bazidi

Audience Choice for Best Documentary

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The Lonely Italian   Domenico Nesci (top) and Writer / Director Lee Farber  Winner Best Comedy Feature  Domenico leaps from the screen.  The story is original and well played.  Both he and Lee were thoroughly engaging during their portrait session, bringing the same high level of energy and humor they did to the film.  Ben Fatto!

The Lonely Italian Domenico Nesci (top) and Writer / Director Lee Farber

Winner Best Comedy Feature

Domenico leaps from the screen.  The story is original and well played.  Both he and Lee were thoroughly engaging during their portrait session, bringing the same high level of energy and humor they did to the film.  Ben Fatto!

GUN  Writer / Director / Producer  Sam Upton     What can I say about Sam, incredibly gracious and giving on my set.  I can't wait to see his passion project GUN.  I just hope it's on the big screen where it's meant to be seen.  

GUN Writer / Director / Producer Sam Upton  

What can I say about Sam, incredibly gracious and giving on my set.  I can't wait to see his passion project GUN.  I just hope it's on the big screen where it's meant to be seen.  

The Last Animals   Director Kate Brooks (right) with Leed Keeper of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Jane Kennedy  Winner of Best Documentary   A must see film for anyone living on planet earth!  Yes, you...

The Last Animals Director Kate Brooks (right) with Leed Keeper of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Jane Kennedy

Winner of Best Documentary 

A must see film for anyone living on planet earth!  Yes, you...

Butterfly Caught   Writer / Director / Producer manny Rodriguez, Jr.   Winner Best Ensemble Film

Butterfly Caught Writer / Director / Producer manny Rodriguez, Jr. 

Winner Best Ensemble Film

Juggernaut   Writer and Director Daniel DiMarco

Juggernaut Writer and Director Daniel DiMarco

And Then There Was Eve   Director / Producer / Co-Writer Savannah Bloch

And Then There Was Eve Director / Producer / Co-Writer Savannah Bloch

Apache Warrior   Pilot Allen Hahn  Winner Best Military Film

Apache Warrior Pilot Allen Hahn

Winner Best Military Film

The Streets of DC

I’ve been in DC a couple of times this year.  I love the city.  There’s an intensity there.  The politics, obviously. The young go-getters. The hustle. Even the weather.  But there’s also a calm serenity grounded in the throngs of tourists who slow the pace to their own agenda. Set to a backdrop of intense security, these groups commingle and collide daily among our national treasures.  

Torso - The National Gallery
Standing Guard at the National Gallery
Moving Walkway
The Metro
Zoo
Washington Monument
The National Mall
The White House
Flowers & Roses

Who's Your Butcher?

Butchering a whole animal is an artful skill.  I worked at a restaurant in New Orleans years ago.  It had it’s own butcher in house. It’s still one of the only restaurants I’ve know to have it’s own in house butcher.  I remember being in awe of how quickly and efficiently he could break down an animal, dress a hen, filet a fish.  He taught me to filet fish without gutting the animal - simply following the bone line down the back to remove the filet from each side of the fish.  It seemed like magic, and so simple, when I finally learned to do it right.  

Butchering an animal can be violent and strenuous.  There is a lot of finesse to breaking down an animal.  It’s pretty remarkable to witness. The butcher knows the lines, muscles, and bones of the animal intimately.  Sides of beef can weigh several hundred pounds.  Moving these beasts around takes strength. And not every cut is intricate.  There are also the saws, and the large cuts, where brute strength is required.  

Grocery store “butchers” are not in fact butchers.  They are meat cutters.  A butcher has the ability and skill to break down an entire animal.  He has to know the animal.  He has to know the bone structure, the muscle structure.  So called grocery store butchers receive select sections of an animal and cut them down to serving size filets.  They do not require the skill to break down a whole animal.  

There is virtually no waste in the shop.  It strikes me as a Native American approach to food.  When the shop receives a side of beef they’ll break down all the regular cuts, the tenderloin, the ribs, etc.  What’s not used for the case or primary cuts is used for in house deli meats, sausages, bacon, and stock.  There is very little waste of the animal.  And there are no preservatives or chemicals.  It’s a very wholistic approach to animal consumption.  

Local butchers know their suppliers and know where the meat they sell comes from.  They’ve often toured the farms and ranches that supply their meat and have personal relationships with the farmers and ranchers.  They get the best quality meats because it’s their product, their reputation on the line.  They have their hands on every animal that makes it’s way through the case.  If it’s not up to par, they’ll know it before you do.  

The prices are still high.  You pay a premium for hormone free, chemical free, non GMO and grass fed.  There’s no way around it, yet.  The industry is set up for cheaper and faster production, delivery and consumption: the CostCo / Walmart approach.  The tide is slowly turning.  Consumers are making their voices heard by seeking out organic and chemical free options.  We have a long way to go and price is still a huge component of the equation.  The more consumers opt out of hormone and chemical fed meats the more the scales will tip.  

We need to support those that bring these great products to market.  Thanks to Heart & Trotter for opening their shop to me and teaching me more about whole animal butchery.  James Holster is the head butcher.  Stop by and say hello next time you’re in North Park.