Few words can describe what it’s like to be grazed by a flaccid, semi-frozen salmon. The Ghostbusters scene where Bill Murray’s character gets “slimed” comes to mind, but in a thinner, less viscous medium. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been thwacked twice. Let’s leave it at that for brevity, and to spare you details of what fish glaze smells like after a 45 minutes car ride with the heater set to 80 degrees. Nasal sanity aside, the experience is one that everyone should live. I’m not saying one should try to find happiness in accidentally ripping a salmon’s head off, twirling it atop an index finger, and whistling a Ted Nugent song. First off, the Nuge would never disrespect an animal like that. The key is getting out of an office, city or “comfort zone” that is conversely more conducive to a heart attack, and relax a little. There is also that part about not taking yourself so seriously.
Where do I even begin? I love this kid. I love Jonas. I love my wife. I just love my family. As stressed out as I can get about not having a staff photographer job, family is what keeps me grounded. Otherwise, I might work 18 hours a day, and blow my money on equipment that I’ll never use. That’s part of why I tried out the app “ShakeIt.” It was just for fun, and only cost me $1 or $2. However, it has become my favorite photo app. It’s square, looks like old Polaroid SX70 prints, and seems to recognize faces, so as not to chop them off. Ya, it crops a little, and has indeed cut off/cut short my kids, wife and friends, but it’s fun. The “shake it” part sucks, because you have to be very selective about photographs, as the app takes a while to produce the image. It just wastes time, but I’m okay with it, because the photographs look cool, and allow me to utilize my phone’s touch screen metering and autofocus. If I could change anything, however, I would fix the bug shuts the program down when to many pictures are made, and as previously stated, I’d enable the user to dodge the shake function.
All that being said, I still love this app. It enables me to do what I love, making photographs, of who I love, friends and family, when it’s convenient, and without taxing my equipment.
This photograph is of Henry at Boulder Reservoir, as all of us watched sunset from Boulder’s best beach.
A rest area with a scenic overlook: only in Colorado. Okay, so I guess it could also be in Hawaii (near Mountain View, on the Big Island). Okay, there is also one next to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida. Okay, terrible lede. My point is that the seasons are changing, and even rest areas can be beautiful places. Take this place, for example, on the north side of I-70, right before the Copper Mountain exit. There is a man painting or sketching 50 feet from his car, and 100 feet from traffic zooming by at 65mph. When I see stuff like this, I know that I am living in the right state. I used to have dreams about this kind of terrain (not rest areas, rather beautiful scenery), so returning home two years ago eased a lot of geographic tension I felt. Some people don’t like, or can’t hack the cold weather and dry air, but for me, the beauty outweighs any negative drawbacks. This is Colorado. This is home.
A few weeks ago, Verdant Living (http://www.verdantliving.us/) came to me, and asked for something visually different. These guys are awesome – Full of energy, yet respectful of the world and those around them. Their perspective on green living is fresh, new, progressive, and in many ways, appeals to traditional thought, while delivering a sustainable product. This is how we progress as a global civilization: adaptation through technology. That said, being given the task to produce something different puts a smile on my face, and sends my creative functions into overdrive. I sketch, look at the best work of our time, and read on the new trends. For Verdant, I wanted to make sure there was a fall back, in case my work was “too hip for the house” (a phrase made famous by Indianapolis Star staff photographer Frank Espich, who is one of my many heroes). As a result, I not only photographed these images through the ground glass of a twin lens Rolleiflex, I also used the TLR to shoot numerous rolls of chrome, sans the dust and grid lines. It’s truly an honor to be trusted, and given creative carte blanche for a client. Collaboration, however, made it possible. A lot can be said for a client willing to look outside of the box, and be open to the world around them. In a lot of ways, they are personifying their product. So, kudos to Verdant Living for not adhering to traditional “stick builds.” Kudos to them for thinking different. It’s what a good life is all about.
So after much internal debate, I’m going to include other assignments on my blog. I’ve made it all about Henry, Jonas and Amelia until now, but have been so busy that I seem to be taking fewer photographs. On a good note (especially for our finances), I am getting many more assignments with families and couples, so you might start seeing people you don’t recognize. But that’s okay. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:
Above is a link to the photographs I made yesterday (just click on “The First Day”), which just happens to be one of the most important days of my life. Until now, the photographs have been mainly of Henry. However, we had a new addition to our family yesterday: Jonas Edward Mattson. My insensitive dad said the name “Jonas” reminds him of what one would name a hemorrhoid. My sister says she’ll call him “Jones,” because she had a dream. A friend of my nephew has already brought up the “Jonas Brothers,” as if his sentiments were original. Does it sound like I have a crazy family? Well, which one doesn’t have a bit of dysfunction? Let it be known from this day forward that I got the idea for “Jonas” after coming to admire the work of Norweigian Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen (http://www.jonasbendiksen.com/). After sharing a conversation with him over email, he seems like a nice guy, which is a prerequisite when naming a child after someone. Wish I could say the same for Jonas’ middle name, “Edward,” which is titled in honor of my father… The same one that said Jonas reminds him of a sore. My dad’s middle name, however, is Herman, like “Herman Munster,” the newly created word “Herm-orrhoid,” or “Hermonster.” Needless to say, there will be plenty of fun in our relational dynamic. There is no anger in my family, just a lot of fun, and making fun of each other. Seriously, I swear. This is why I wish there was more time and ability to be with my family. I wish they were able to be in Colorado on a permanent basis, but know it’s probably not possible. On a good note, my big sis has the potential to move to Colorado, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for her (and her husband, to find employment outside of Duncan, Oklahoma).
All that said, I’m overjoyed and humbled to be the father of two boys, and husband to the world’s greatest wife. If it get any better, you’ll find me pinching myself at every opportunity. Time to close my eyes for a moment before Jonas opens his.