For those of you who don’t know, I’m from Seattle, WA.
I was born in Seattle and grew up in South Seattle (in Skyway, to be exact) before moving to Federal Way, WA in the middle of junior high school. I eventually moved back to Seattle in 2005 and went to Seattle University for undergrad, where I studied Photography. After finishing undergrad, I spent 3 more years in Seattle focused on documenting the local music scene and photographing local artists. First focusing on live performances and then eventually, focusing only on portrait sessions. Below are photos from some of my favorite sessions during that time period.
After spending a few hours going through my external hard drives to find the photos above, I had the realization that I had already shared some of them on Flickr more than a decade ago.
Real ones know – Flickr was the site you used to share your photos before Instagram became a thing. Tumblr was another way to share photos, but that site launched sometime in-between Flickr and Instagram. If you considered yourself a photographer and/or generally enjoyed taking photos and sharing them between the years of 2004 - 2010, you probably used any one of those two sites. Or if you were like me, you used all three.
So once I realized that I had already shared some of these photos, I logged into my Flickr account (I thankfully was able to recover the password) and spent some time editing and curating the collection of images on that site, which is now focused entirely live performances. If you’re curious to see what that looks like and don’t mind walking with me down memory lane, you can view that here.
Looking back can be bittersweet; naturally, you remember who you used to be and can get swept up in comparing your today-self with yourself back then. Revisiting old work always reminds me of how much I used to shoot and how much I don’t anymore. Despite that fact, revisiting old work also always reminds me that I’ve become a better photographer from a technical perspective.
Most, if not all of the artists featured above are still making music and if you have Spotify, I highly recommend you check them out. I’ve also created a playlist here.
In early December last year, a dear friend of mine, Joshua Hatcher, reached out about needing new portraits. Like many performing musicians around the world, he hadn’t performed live since before the pandemic and wanted new images to promote his upcoming show on social. With the new year right around the corner, I always try to set forth creative intentions and this was exactly the inertia that I needed.
Ahead of the session, we scheduled time to chat through visual direction and his plan for social so that I could make sure we had enough content in the end. We went over things again via email to drill down the vibe, and then scheduled the session early this month.
The session went well, but I did something different this time. I shot with my mirrorless Olympus and my tried and true Canon. Unsurprisingly, I had a preference for the images shot on my Canon, but I think it really came down to the glass. I shot with a fixed 50mm lens on my Canon and the 14-42mm EZ lens on my Olympus. Until I get relatively similar glass for the Olympus it isn’t possible to make a real comparison, just yet. Sharing photos from the session below. The first and third image were shot on Canon and the second and forth were shot on Olympus.
After that session wrapped, I felt inspired in a way that felt both new and familiar at the same time. The newness feeling was likely because of the new gear and the familiar feeling was because I used to do this all the time.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I started my career photographing musicians (you can read a little more about that here, here, and most recently here). I came up documenting the local hip-hop music and fashion scene in the Seattle area. And to clarify, the fashion was streetwear circa 2007-2010. This session actually inspired me to revisit some of that old work and share it in a future post, along with links to their music (for reference, I linked Josh’s music above).
More to come on that front. And soon I’ll also share a photo roundup to highlight my decade in New York.
Over the years, I’ve read many articles about the difference between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. This past April, I finally made the decision to take a more hands-on learning approach and purchased an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV.
As a self-proclaimed Canon enthusiast, going with Olympus instead of Canon was a risk. Ultimately the size and the of weight (and the price point, let’s be real) of the Olympus made the decision a bit easier to make. This camera fits inside my everyday bag, only weighs .0844 lbs, and it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, in that new-vintage kind of way.
Before it sounds like I’m team mirrorless, I should briefly summarize some of the core differences between the two camera types.
A DSLR is a digital single-lens reflex camera and it uses the same mirror reflex technology that film cameras have historically used. In these cameras, the optical view finder directs light through the lens into an angled mirror, which shoots the light upward into a prism and outward into the optical viewfinder. What you see in the optical viewfinder is the exact view of what the camera lens sees - there is no processing or rendering.
A mirrorless camera doesn’t have a mirror. With these cameras, the light passes through the lens and onto the sensor to be processed. When you take a photo with a mirrorless camera, you use the electronic viewfinder, and the camera is recording what is on the sensor.
I had a trip to Italy planned in May, so I decided to bring my new Olympus. I figured it would be a good place to test it out, considering that it was much smaller than my Canon 5D. As it turns out, I preferred shooting with my Reto (which is a 35mm film camera I wrote about in the previous post), but I did manage to take a few shots with my Olympus on that trip. Below is one of the few.
I don’t particularly love the image above because I feel that the image quality isn’t as crisp as it would have been if I had used my DSLR. It’s giving point-and-shoot, circa 2011. Separately, ahead of shooting, it was also more tedious than necessary to change the camera file settings from jpegs to raw files. Though, this could be chalked up as getting used to new equipment.
I left this trip feeling kind of ‘meh’ about mirrorless cameras overall, but I realize I didn’t take mine out enough to really give it a fair chance. So in November when I had a trip planned to go to Sweden, I decided to take it along with me to give it another try. While in Malmö visiting Natta, I brought my Olympus out again. Below is are two of the few images.
Again, I don’t particularly love either of the images above, but I do feel like I was able to capture the quality of light better than my first attempt while I was in Italy. Still, the digital viewfinder’s autofocus wasn’t giving me the quality I expected or was used to.
I realize this post is a bit anti-climatic, since I still don’t have a firm stance on whether I prefer a DSLR vs a mirrorless camera but I’ve only really used the camera a handful of times. If anything, I am now wondering if I should have invested in a Canon mirrorless camera and if Olympus is the problem. Regardless, I won’t be able to make a clear distinction between the two until I take photos of the same thing, in the same light, with each of the cameras. I’ll be working on that (and continuing to learn) and will share the results soon.