So, the Times-Union ran an article today about a trip to India a group from my church went on recently. It was odd being interviewed for the story, and even odder seeing something I said nailed down in black in white on the newspaper page. I was quoted as saying the first image that comes to mind when I think of India is “cow dung”. I feel like I need to explain further.
The cow dung there is quite beautiful in the way it’s used. After it’s supplied by the many cows and oxen roaming around, villagers pat it into long columns and leave it to dry on the ground. It gives the appearance of hundreds of tiny fins sticking out of the earth. Once dry, it’s stacked into quite photogenic tiered, circular mounds until it can be used as fuel for cooking, heating, etc. Although, the idea of cooking with dung sounds a bit repulsive, it was amazing to see how resourceful people were in overcoming everyday obstacles. And because these mounds of dung were everywhere we went and because it was an unexpected sight and because it was such a neat use of something that was readily available, it stuck in my mind and popped out when the interview turned to me. I think next time, though, I should probably just stick to doing the photos.
Here’s a link to the story:
Thanks to reporter William Browning for making the trip out to the church to do the interviews of all the team members, and for the truthful report… even the cow dung part.
My head is buzzing from an absolutely amazing trip to India. I accompanied a group from my church to document our efforts to share the hope and love that Jesus Christ taught. It was certainly a time that I will remember and replay over and over on the highlight reel of my life. More photos to come.
I had a first this week… a photo on the cover of Forbes magazine. The portrait was taken during a shoot last month with Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Kahn. Here’s a link to the story: http://www.forbes.com/sites/briansolomon/2012/09/05/shahid-khan-the-new-face-of-the-nfl-and-the-american-dream/
As part of my ongoing series on eclectic collectors, I had the pleasure of collaborating with the great Michael LeGrand, a fellow Floridian photog with a pretty impressive Swatch collection. For the shoot, I built a $10 suspension rig out of peg board and 2x4s that could fold down small enough to fit in the back of my little Toyota. We set it up in Michael’s dining room and commenced to stringing up a majority of his collection with a cool product called “invisible thread”. Our eyesight was put to the test, but I was happy with result.
I wrote a story to accompany the photo, which appeared in The Florida Times-Union and www.jacksonville.com.
Michael’s work is viewable on his website, www.michaellegrand.com.
I had the pleasure of doing a shoot with Rivian Automotive CEO R.J. Scaringe to introduce a working prototype of his new lightweight and uber-fuel efficient car. The challenge was the fact that he’s not quite ready for the full reveal to the public, so we shot the car under cover with Scaringe just giving a peek. A series of details teased the modern design even further.
Thankfully, this year has started out with a busy streak. For the past four months, Florida Trend magazine has featured photos and illustrations of mine on their covers. February’s was appropriately red for Valentine’s Day with Jorge and Diane Brunet-García, the very cool owners of Jacksonville ad agency Brunet-García. In March, Trend used an image from a portrait session I did at the state capitol with newly inaugurated Florida Governor Rick Scott. I did a photo illustration for an April cover story I shot about big time Florida landowners. My model fell through at the last minute as the deadline was approaching, so I had to use my own worn and calloused claws in the photo and give myself a Photoshop manicure. This month’s issue featured an illustration that had the biggest budget of any I’ve done for them, using 10 bundles of one dollar bills with a Ben Franklin on top for the illusion of real wealth. It was for a story about the issues pro athletes face when the money starts rolling in. That was the first time I had to be given a paper bag to carry away a withdrawal from the bank. Fun times!
I’m starting a new portrait series on folks with eclectic collections. My first meeting was with Mr. John L. Shadd. He’s built a room onto his house to accommodate the hundreds of mounted animals he’s gathered through hunts around the world and taxidermy auctions.
I just made contact with a chainsaw collector, so stay tuned for periodic updates to this project. If you happen to know of someone with a eclectic collection in the North Florida/South Georgia area, please let me know about it.
I recently took a drive over to the State Capitol in Tallahassee for a portrait session with newly inaugurated Florida Governor Rick Scott. I set up a white seamless in a conference room off from his office. While I was waiting for him, I removed my shoes so as to not dirty the paper while doing some test shots. He arrived early, so I ended up shooting him shoeless. Thank goodness I remembered Mom’s advice and wore clean socks.
In the July issue of Charisma magazine, you’ll see that the cover story addresses some questions of eternal magnitute. What you don’t see is that the cover image of Heaven and Hell was created on a much more diminutive scale.
Shot in my garage, a foot-tall block of selectively distressed styrofoam was used for the cavernous vision of Hell and a bag of cotton balls provided a platform for the figure entering the glory of Heaven (actually, that’s me standing in my driveway).
Working in miniature gave me versatility in changing the two landscapes on the fly and was just right for this project’s props budget, which was little more than the cost of the cotton balls.
I’m back after an amazing trip to Milot, Haiti, where I was covering a team of surgeons helping medical refugees staged there. Patients were being flown in by military transport helicopter daily from areas hit hard by the earthquake and teams worked out of the local Hôpital Sacré Coeur in Milot performing surgeries around the clock. It was a difficult scene to witness to say the least and it is seared in my memory forever. In addition to stills, I shot video with my Canon 5d and combined it with interviews with a medical team from Jacksonville to tell the experience through their words.
© Jon M. Fletcher 2009