The Mystery of Glass for: Distinction Magazine

Process can be a beautiful thing. 

At the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio the art of glass blowing becomes an act of rhythm and harmony.  The synchronization of ones breathe and movement is as much an art form as the elegant sculptures crafted from the glowing globs of glass molten.

Working in unison, two artists transform a chalk sketching on the concrete slab floor into a three dimensional dissertation of glass. This shapeshifting of molten takes on a sense of Zen and watching the dance assures me of this notion. 

“It is both liquid and solid, elastic and brittle, captivating and extremely humbling,”  says  studio manager Charlotte Potter.

Read more about The Mystery of Glass by Janine Latus in this seasons issue of Distinction Magazine

.

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Beer Reborn for: Distinction Magazine

Beer, beer, beer and more beer!

Several days after wrapping up this recent shoot for Distinction Magazine I kept thinking that I could smell the distinct aroma of hops brewing. A sweet yet bitter flavoring of the air seemed to be embedded in my senses.

I have to admit, I'm not really much of a beer guy, I might have a beer or two once or twice a year and it's always a challenge to finish just one measly pint. Needless to say, during this assignment, I really wished that I did embellish in the festivities of craft brews. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise, at least all my pictures remained in focus. This may not have been the case if I were a raging drink-a-holic. HA!

All taste buds aside, I truly enjoyed learning about the process and passion of craft brewing from a few of Hampton Roads local brewers. Stories such as Kevin O'Connor's of O'Connor Brewing are inspiring and well worth a read - you can pick up a copy of the Spring 2013 issue of Distinction at Barnes & Nobles. 

Cheers!

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Flavors of the Holidays for: Distinction Magazine

One of the the aspects I really enjoy about life as a freelancer is that I have the opportunity to shoot a range of subjects and topics for editorialcommercial and wedding clients. I've found that the diversity in both my clients and assignments nurtures problem solving skills, creativity, and the overall growth of my photography.

Some might argue that a photographer should brand himself as a specialist in one style or one specific subject matter. In doing so, editors, art buyers, and clients know you are the go-to-guy when they need someone to make photographs of that particular topic or style.

To some degree, I agree with that train of thought, after all if I go to the local fast food joint I go there because I know exactly what I want and how I want it. I know that if I go to "X" my pizza will be spicy, if I stop at "Y" my fries will have just the right amount of grease, or  if I go to "Z" my potato, egg and cheese burrito is going to taste exactly the way I want it.

That said, I'd like to think that rather than specializing in one specific style or subject matter I specialize in giving my clients peace of mind. I serve up stability, trust, and the reassurance that whatever they send my way they don't have to worry. I leave them with an aftertaste of confidence in both their decision in hiring me and in my ability to deliver.

Case in point, one of my recent shoots with Distinction Magazine was slated for an 11 page spread. I don't have any food photography on my website or in any of my portfolios. That's not to say that I have never shot food for other magazines or publications, I have definitely done my share of food photography. I actually enjoy it. However, the powers that be at Distinction trust me and my work, so without asking to see any of the aforementioned food images they hired me.

The images below are pages from that assignment. Thanks for looking and definitely try out one of the recipes from the article, you won't be sorry.

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Rich-Joseph Facun Photography :: my (Favorite) Best of 2012

January 1, 2012 rang in the New Year inaugurating my fourth month of self-employment as a photographer. Just a few months earlier I was a staff photojournalist for an English language paper in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. I wasn't the cliche of a starving artist or the poor liberal photojournalist.

For once, I was earning a decent living; poolside country club dining, five star hotels and European vacations with the family became the norm. I wasn't filthy rich, but lets just say I was no longer counting my change to buy a candy bar. Know what I mean?

After three years of kush living while reaping the benefits of another country's petroleum based economy my wife Jasmine and I decided to bail. As the stifling heat of a Middle Eastern summer arrived we relocated her, our baby girl Opal and young son Levi-Joseph back to the States. We agreed that I should stay behind for just a bit longer to earn a little more before permanently jumping ship. 

During this transition in my life (2011-2012) I shot the essay Coming to America. It takes the form of three acts. Act one looks at the formative years of an American expatriate boy, my son, returning to his native country. In act two, I follow with images from a time of solitude during my last two months in the UAE. Act three closes with a cautious celebration of my departure from the unfamiliar and a reunion with the familiar. I've included a small sampling of this essay in this year's my (Favorite) Best of 2012 .

Another essay I've extracted work from is my portrait series Child Hope. Simply stated, I paired portraits of at risk youth in Haiti with their favorite or most valued possessions. These images were made at Child Hope International, a non profit organization based in Haiti.

The group provides orphaned, abandoned and needy children with physical, educational, spiritual and personal care through homes, programs and ministries. 

The remaining work consists of four images taken from editorial and commercial portraiture assignments. I close the final selection of my (Favorite) Best of 2012 with singles made on assignment for clients like the New York Times, Reuters, the Associated Press and Distinction Magazine.

Lastly, I've also included some frames from personal work and even a few photographsmade through my fine art wedding photography business Love Minus Zero

Thank you for looking, all the best! 

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Inactivation Ceremony of the USS Enterprise for Reuters

Eve

r s

ince I was a boy

t

he she

e

r presence of the docks at the

Norfolk Naval Station

has always stirred one type of emotion or another in me. My father served 22 years in the United States Navy and I can remember as a child standing in the very same place where the

Inactivation Ceremony

for the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier the USS Enterprise was taking place. In that same area, I was either sending my father out to sea or waiting for him to return home from his deployments. 

While on assignment the other day, I stood amid the crowd thinking about the orange ice cream popsicles my dad would often buy me from the little market that used to sit just a few hundred yards from the water. His homecomings ran like clockwork. First my father would disembark from the ship and of course my mother, sister, and I would run and hug him. Next we'd all hop into the ol' brown Chevy Impala to head home, but not before my dad stopped and bought ice cream for my sister and I. It meant the world to me.

Mid-day dream and just as I was about to leave the dock and call it a day, retired Petty Officer 3rd Class George Mallory caught my eye. I watched him closely and for a split moment his eyes spoke what his words would later confirm. "It's like attending a funeral, I'm sad to see her go," said Mallory while reflecting about his time serving on the

USS Enterprise

from 1961- 63. 

After swapping a few stories we went our separate ways. I walked away, like Mr. Mallory, I too was moved by the memories of yesteryears. 

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The Yin and the Yang of Tench for: Dinstinction Magazine

The digital age has brought with it many welcomed advances in our lives today. There's such a long list of opportunities it has afforded us as a society I'll just skip making one. 

Let's face it, what would life be like today if everything was stuck in the era of snail mail and the analog phone? How did we ever exist without digital technology?

(Insert sarcastic tone here.)

Today Tench Phillips, co-owner of the vintage Naro Expanded Cinema in Norfolk, VA, is faced with the challenge of the digital age. "As early as next year, the movie industry will stop using 35mm film, the standard for more than a century and the only format the Naro uses. It will be replaced with movies in a digital format."

After 35 years of servicing the Hampton Roads area, today the fate of the Naro is up in the air. The philosophical Tench faces the existential ideology, to go digital or go home! Writer Bill Burke tells his story in this months edition of Distinction Magazine, go and have a look online or better yet, take a step back in time and pick up a copy at Barnes & Nobles.

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Photo de la semaine for: 6Mois

One of my images was selected by 6Mois, a french magazine of photojournalism published twice a year and based in Paris, as this week's Photo de la semaine. But despite being available just in France at the moment, the magazine has still achieved near-cult status among photographers.

Read more: http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/report/2207632/biannual-french-magazine-offers-different-approach-to-photography#ixzz2DLKsmR52

Subscribe to BJP and save money. Click here to save 29% today.

But despite being available just in France at the moment, the magazine has still achieved near-cult status among photographers.

Read more:

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/report/2207632/biannual-french-magazine-offers-different-approach-to-photography#ixzz2DLKsmR52

Subscribe to BJP and save money. Click here to save 29% today.

Basically Photo de la semaine, translated into English as The Photo of the Week, showcases a single image from a photographer's portfolio. There are some really outstanding frames within this column such as one of photographer Claire Schneider who won the PDN World in Focus 2012. Another frame that I enjoyed from the 6Mois weekly column is the Joop Swart World Press Masterclass nominee Mona Simon photograph from her series Traditional Romania.

Those at 6Mois state that the goal is simple: to portray the 21st century with images.  Currently, the print version of the magazine is only available in France. However, amid several other compliments, the British Journal of Photography reports that the magazine has still achieved near-cult status among photographers.

Thanks to 6Mois for their efforts in showcasing work from photographers throughout the world and for their support of visual storytelling. All the best!

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Black Turnout Key in Virginia for: The Wall Street Journal

So much has already been said about the

2012 election

. We've seen the dissection of every facet of each candidates strengths, weaknesses and character in general. Some have even gone so far as to ask for birth certificates, college records, several years of tax returns and even DNA hair samples, well, maybe not all of those things, but you get the idea.

Here in Virginia, we've been inundated with fliers, political canvassers, mailings, signs, commercials and more. That said, I'll try to keep it short and simple.

The following images were made on assign

ment

for the WSJ. I started my coverage in Virginia Beach, where voters, myself included, waited in line for up to four hours. From my hometown, after casting my ballot, I headed to the historically African American communities in the heart of Richmond.

After hopping from polling precinct to precinct WSJ writer Josh Mitchell and I ended up camping out with Obama supporters at the Die Teufel Club. The club is about to celebrate it's 75th anniversary and is located in the

Jackson Ward

district - an area that once boasted the nick

n

ame "Harlem of the South."

Our agenda was to

report

on the imporatnce of the African American communities and their key role in winning the swing state of Virginia.

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The Great American Mud Run: for The Virginian-Pilot

A few frames from a quick shoot this past weekend where grown men and women rolled around in mud and liked it. 

Prior to covering the The Great American Mud Run I had no idea that people, buff and physically fit people, athletic people, and some with just a gut to get dirty, acted out their childhood fantasies and played in the mud.

Good times were clearly had by the participants. 



Hurricane Sandy: for Reuters

It's just past midnight and the streets are still cluttered with debris from the storm. The earth remains damp in a tapestry of wet and I can even hear the trees swaying in the wind just outside my window.  Even so, it seems Hurricane Sandy or "Frankenstorm" has left the building.

Over the past two days I've weaved my way in and out of

Hampton Roads

starting on the shoreline of the oceanfront in Virginia Beach. I later hopped puddles on the edge of the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth and navigated back over the Berkley Bridge to find the Lafayette River overflowing beyond it's rim in Norfolk. Down on the Chesapeake Bay in Ocean View I photographed places of my yesteryears. 

sea and salt

summer and sand

here is where 

I once swam 

as a brown eyed boy

here, at the seashore...

In the fleeting seconds between the click of my shutter I thought about how easily faded memories can be triggered. I was amused in how they too can rise and then fall like the tides, or in this case a hurricane.

The following images were shot while on assignment for

Reuters

. Many of them found a home at the

Wall Street Journal

, New York Times, and the

Chicago Tribune

amid many other publications.

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Bushka Vidal: for Meeksterbrau

Killing two birds with one stone is always a good thing, right? Well maybe killing, in the literal sense, is not such a good thing but it's nice when it happens figuratively. 

A few weeks back while out shooting for a potential story I made some photos of Virginia Beach's

Bushka Vidal

"killin' it" during a

Trashmore

session. Later that night I passed them onto Bushka for personal use but asked that he not post them on Facebook or elsewhere.  I explained that I was working on a story that was slated to run next spring and needed to sit tight on the photos until that time. 

However, unknown to me, Bushka pitched one of the photos to his recent sponsor

Meeksterbrau

. One thing led to another and after talking with me one of the photos I sent Bushka was used for an ad.

Word em

up. 

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Turning Point for Suits Over Chinese Drywall : for The New York Times

Every now and then you get a phone call from a client and they need you to get out and make some pictures happen on the fly. In these cases you don't always have the best shooting opportunities set out for you. 

With some assignments you often have the chance to research the topic of the story, call the subject and set up a time when the light works best. Typically, you are also afforded the time to work the situation in order to render the best batch of images for your client. In all cases, planning is the key to success. 

However, from time to time, I do receive an assignment that needs to be cranked out fairly quickly. In these cases I do my best to bring back the same quality of work I would under normal circumstances. When I was assigned the shoot with Virginia homeowner Colleen Stephens the Times needed the photos immediately. The story was slated to run the following day and they would need ample time to edit and design the page for the next day's paper.

As soon as I got off the phone with Jose Lopez, a photo editor at The NY Times, I immediately called Mrs. Stephens, thankfully she was willing to push the original shoot time up by an hour, next I gathered my gear and was out the door. While en route to the shoot Lopez emailed the details of the assignment - just before arriving I pulled over, read the specifics and then brainstormed some different approaches I might be able to take upon my arrival. 

Generally speaking, they wanted something to illustrate the smaller house she was forced to move into after her 5,000 square feet dream home was remodeled with toxic Chinese drywall and rendered uninhabitable. They also wanted a detail shot of some items that showed the effects of the toxicity of her former home.

Once I arrived I was fighting the noon light. It was almost directly overhead and the shadows cast on the lawn were all falling in the wrong spot. I tried several different options in order to get her and the house in the photo. However, from the angles I wanted it put her in the shadows and her house in the highlights. 

In the end, I was able to find a few angles that worked to complement

the story

. A special thank you to Mrs. Stephens who was very patient and giving of her time.  

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Mind Over Matter: SUAS

Mind Over Matter: SUAS* is an ongoing column that aims to document skateboarders from all walks of life who are still riding their plank after 30+ years of age. My principal intent is to offer the viewer both an insight to why grown men/women choose to continue to ride despite being what many consider “too old” and to encourage the masses to get out and get theirs - whatever that might be.

*SUAS is an acronym commonly used in skateboard rhetoric, it simply means Shut Up And Skate! Click the image to view it super-sized. Enjoy.





The Brotherhood: Alex and I go way back. It wasn’t until the other day that I realized we’ve been skating together since we were somewhere around 12 or 13-years-old. We’ve shared a lot of history and thankfully he’s still around. About four years ago I reconnected with Alex. We hadn’t talked for some 20 years.

He moved to Richmond during high school and even though we wrote letters keeping each other in check about what new tricks we learned, eventually we lost touch with each other. Later, I vanished, traveling around the US and eventually moved abroad. Just before heading to the Middle East I called Alex out of the blue. I had heard from a friend that he was running a restaurant that he co-owned. We caught up briefly in our conversation but life pressed on and we never did have a chance to kick it.

About four years later I returned and made it a point to get ahold of him again. He hadn’t been skating for years and I made it my duty to get his ass on board again.

When he came out to the first session, with the D30 crew, it was like he had never stopped. His style and tricks were right where he had left them. A few days ago I saw him cruisin’ down the street and he popped an ollie, it took me back to our wonder years, nothing had changed. It was so surreal to find that a simple trick could trigger so many memories. Its hard to explain, but it did.

I should mention, I owe Alex some money or something, I think I burned his clutch out on his Datsun B210. That was many many moons ago, but how else was I supposed to learn how to drive a five speed? Homies for life.

A HISTORY of HIS OWN: for Distinction Magazine

When I first started out, when I was very green, when I knew much much less than I thought I knew, I often found myself frustrated on assignment. Some of my editors wanted it one way and I wanted it another. Forget about the fact that they had been doing it for much longer than I ever had. The time they had already put into the trenches of the daily grind at a news publication was irrelevant. Never mind that I might actually learn something from them. I wanted to do it my way.

I was full of passion for both photography and my trade as a photojournalist. I was eager to get out there and create, to do my best and to be the best. Unfortunately, I sometimes overlooked that it wasn't just about me. I had editors, and my editors had managers and those managers had administrators and on and on. In the end it was about our readers and about quality storytelling.

Sometimes I got too hung up on how a photo ran or how it was cropped. There were times when I questioned why I was even in the industry. At one point in my career I walked away from it all and didn't pick up the camera for a year. The truth is, growing and learning hurt and was at times down right painful. Even worse, in hindsight, some of it was self-inflicted.

Thankfully, I'm not the naive young blood that I used to be, but I'm still just as passionate about photography and storytelling.

During a recent assignment with

Distinction

magazine's creative director we both worked through each others vision of how we could best tell the story of  historian

Dr. Tommy Bogger

. We took two different approaches. One batch of photos were shot brightly lit while the others were shot with a darker mood. In the past, I would have shot it one way - my way.

Thankfully, I've grown, I've humbled myself. I've dropped the ego at the door and wow, it's feels so good. Talk about liberation!

Taking the different approaches not only allowed my client to have options but pushed me to visually explore the subject and grow. Wow, imagine that, they could pick and choose what worked best for their vision while incorporating photos that reflected my way of seeing. Not to mention,  I had an opportunity to learn while getting paid.

It was a win-win situation.

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Mind Over Matter: SUAS

Mind Over Matter: SUAS* is an ongoing column that aims to document skateboarders from all walks of life who are still riding their plank after 30+ years of age. My principal intent is to offer the viewer both an insight to why grown men/women choose to continue to ride despite being what many consider “too old” and to encourage the masses to get out and get theirs - whatever that might be.

*SUAS is an acronym commonly used in skateboard rhetoric, it simply means Shut Up And Skate! Click the image to view it super-sized. Enjoy.

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The Brotherhood:

When Sean and I first met we were on the up and up in the local

Virginia Beach

and

Mid-Atlantic

skate scene. Just a couple years into our teens and we both had already picked up a couple of sponsors. More often than not we were competing in contests up and down the East Coast, collecting our share of

trophies

along the way.

Throughout those early years, we always had an underlying competition against each other. Sometimes it was friendly but, I’m pretty sure we were hatin’ on each other. When we talk about that time in our lives we always get a chuckle about how things were back then. Regardless, Sean’s raw style always encouraged me to push myself and my skating. At every session we were always hyped to get down with the get down.

During our high school years, we were still riding hard and getting things done. However, we did spend many nights going out to parties and getting into a little trouble here and there. Summer days were filled with skating and the evenings were occupied with hooking up with the girls. We both had long hessian hair, I rocked a leather jacket and Sean always had some

Eighties or early Nineties

skate punk vibe going.

Today, some twenty or more years later, everything has changed, we’re both married, we leave trouble for the young bloods and we’ve traded our mop tops in for what little hair still sprouts out of our craniums.

But...we still get ours when the session is going. Homies for life.

Mitt Romney: for the Associated Press

Mitt Romney arrived in Virginia Beach, VA this past Saturday for a quick rally at the Military Aviation Museum. The press, myself included, arrived in swarms like busy bees buzzing around collecting and gathering data to feed to the masses. Meanwhile the young and old stood in droves, melting in the sun and heat, milking patches of shade for relief.

For a few moments, in the smoldering air a sense of political division and grief floated amid the crowds. It almost seemed to seep by the outskirts of lips and creep along the tips of tongues.

But when the gates opened to the grounds of the museum, I met a proud mother, Wanda Morris, as she stood front and center with her son Jonathan Morris, 17.  "He'll be turning 18 soon,  just in time to vote!" said Morris while eagerly awaiting Romney's arrival. The two of them reminded me of friends of my family.

Then there was volunteer Carole Hersch rocking out her pair of politically themed earrings. She shared her story with me about how she had picked them up some ten years ago but couldn't recall where.  Remnants from so long ago, but she still managed to hang onto them; they didn't look a day old. Hersch made me think of my mom and her endless collection of kitschy jewelry.

I can't go on without mentioning Titan Beyer, 7, bowing his head during the invocation with his mother Shannon Chapman. We may have not exchanged stories in words, but their presence reminded me of my own wife and son. 

During my time at the rally, I meet many other supporters and we swapped stories that ranged from traveling the back roads of America to the different ships my father was stationed on throughout his Naval career. Whatever the topic, we found a common ground in one another. 

I couldn't help it when I found myself humming...

This land is your land, this land is my land

From California, to the the New York Island

From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me Woody Guthrie, This Land is Your Land, 1940

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Driven: for Dinstinction Magazine

I'm a firm believer that there isn't any ailment that a road trip can't heal...

Just broke up with the love of your life? Get on the road. 

Soul searching for your place in the world? Get on the road. 

Looking for liberation? Get on the road. 

Feeling the need to explore?

Get on the road

...

That said, whenever I have an assignment that gets me out from behind the desk I welcome it home like a long lost friend. Anytime a client wants to send me on a shoot and put me behind the wheel for a good drive is perfectly fine by me. 

When I was much younger I lived out of my truck and loved being on the road. I roamed and fed my gypsy soul thousands of miles of US highway blacktop. Nowadays I'm a homebody of sorts, but I definitely enjoy a quick trip around the block.

On this particular assignment I headed four hours west to Alton, VA where I met up with Crawford Anderson and his

350Z

at the

Virginia International Raceway.

Anderson is a pathologist from Virginia Beach who spends at least one weekend a month navigating this raceway, one of the top racetracks in the country.

Like myself, Anderson has a passion for the road. Read about his romance with the sport of racing and it's S-curves in

Distinction Magazine

.

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Mind Over Matter: SUAS

Mind Over Matter: SUAS* is an ongoing column that aims to document skateboarders from all walks of life who are still riding their plank after 30+ years of age. My principal intent is to offer the viewer both an insight to why grown men/women choose to continue to ride despite being what many consider “too old” and to encourage the masses to get out and get theirs - whatever that might be.

*SUAS is an acronym commonly used in skateboard rhetoric, it simply means Shut Up And Skate! Click the image to view it super-sized. Enjoy.

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The Brotherhood

:

I can't remember when I first met Ed. I think it might have been here, at the

Dust Bowl

, in the mid-Eighties. He pretty much ruled this spot and worked his style and speed lines around anyone who came to session it. Ed was/is an artist of sorts and at that time I had him paint the

Dogtown

logo on the back of my leather jacket. I was so stoked! I wore that jacket everywhere for years.

In the Nineties I lost touch with Ed. However, just before the millenium ended I took a photo class and ran into him again at the

Visual Arts Center

in Portsmouth, VA. He encouraged me to enter a portrait series I was working on at the time, into a local juried museum exhibition. I was hesitant but when Ed offered to frame the work for me I took him up on the offer. To my surprise the photo series was selected for the exhibition. The photographs also won best in black & white photography which in turn led to a feature write up about me in the local paper. Needless to say, Ed helped me along my way to becoming a working photographer. 

Today, after traveling much of the world as a

photojournalist

, I'm back in Virginia Beach skating a ditch with an old friend. Ironically, it's the same spot we rode some 25 plus years ago.

Homies for life.

Sole Searching: for Distinction Magazine

Here's a recent look at a story I shot for

Distinction

. More often than not, when I pick up an assignment from the magazine I'm usually working with Distinction's

Creative Director EJ Toudt

.

EJ and I work side by side before and during the shoots, collaborating on a lot of the visual ideas and approach. Quite often the final outcome is an alchemy of the hours we've spent brainstorming an idea and then actually executing it on location.

With the

Sole Searching

photo essay EJ took on the part as both a creative director, assistant and every other role in between. A lot of photographers prefer not to work with the client looking right over their shoulder after each release of the shutter. To be honest, I usually don't either.

However, with EJ, I don't feel like he's on location to dissect and critique each and every move I make. In fact, it's quite the opposite. When he is on set he actually complements the shoot and feeds the creative process. In the end his presence, input and assistance nurture the success of each shoot.

As always, thanks to EJ and the staff at Distinction for bringing me on and for the work. 

You can check out the story

here

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President Barack Obama: for The Associated Press

It's that time again! What time?!

Time for our President and his political opponent to run their campaigning laps throughout our beloved nation. Today, President Obama landed in Norfolk, VA and was off to speak at my alma mater

Green Run High School

in Virginia Beach.

I was posted up for the day to cover the arrival and departure of Air Force One and its entourage. Although I had fun, and I am thankful for the work, I think it would have been great to photograph President Obama at my old stomping grounds. I always have a certain sense of pride when I get to work at

GRHS

. The last time I shot there was for

Education Week

and I had a great time. I blogged about that experience

here

Either way, I'm grateful to be spending the day out of the office and in the fresh air making photographs. Thanks to the

AP's

Steve Helber for bringing me on for this go around.

 The follow images are a few selects from my time on the tarmac at Norfolk International.

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