Turning Ideas Into Images

Recently I ordered two iced coffees from Startbucks, one black and one with “room for cream.” When my order was up, they had misheard me and in fact given me one black and one with lots of cream. As I stood there holding both coffees in my hands I thought how beautiful it would be to have an overhead image of 16 different cups of iced coffee filled with differing amounts of cream. Over the next week I couldn’t shake this image, and decided I should do something about it. I don’t spend very much time photographing food, but I am always looking for challenges and any way to expand my skill set.

I made a quick drawing with some crude math and set out for supplies. I started thinking maybe a few different images of coffee would be interesting! I thought maybe some fun background colors as well. Once back in the studio, I begin making an epic mess, but totally worth it. I felt like I had something fun on my hands but it was missing a human element. I thought diptychs could be fun. A few phone calls later I had some willing participants. I wanted to focus on how refreshing iced coffee can be in the summer time.

Behold the most refreshing summer time iced coffee imagery, created entirely from a passing thought.

Red-coffeeGreen-coffeeBlue-Coffee

I wanted to have fun images that made people smile and maybe buy an iced coffee?

 

 

Covering New England!

Well, nothing makes you feel like you’ve been accepted into a region and community like have two covers published at once! Growing up outside Chicago I sort of thought of New England as this mythical land of trees. In the fall time that Land would turn into something otherworldly landscape! So how delightful that this September I have two separate covers on two separate New England centered Magazines!

The First cover is for Yankee Magazine. This was part of a much larger shoot of some autumn leaves from a whole back. I remember shooting this exact picture and thinking I bet this would make a great cover! Well, turns out somethings I’m right!

Yankee_magazine_Cover_MDW_Photographic

Client: Yankee Magazine: https://newengland.com/yankee-magazine/
Subject: Maple Leaves

 

Second the Down East Magazine cover, featuring The Rangeley Inn In Rangeley Maine!

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Client: Down East Magazine, https://downeast.com/innkeepers/
Photo Editor: Benjamin Williamson; https://www.instagram.com/benjaminwilliamsonphotography/
Subject: The Rangeley Inn: https://www.therangeleyinn.com
Photo Assistant: Clayton Simoncic: https://www.instagram.com/claytonsimoncic/

 

 

Maine to Guatemala… In a freakin’ Kayak!

I recently had the pleasure of photographing Deborah Walters for Rotary International! She paddled her kayak from Maine to Guatemala, a staggering 2500 miles to raise awareness and money for Safe Passage. Safe Passage is an organization dedicated to helping children living in garbage dumps in Guatemala find shelter and schooling.

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Client: Rotary International; https://www.rotary.org/
Subject: Deborah Walters
Lighting Assistant: Clayton Simoncic: https://www.instagram.com/claytonsimoncic/
Safe Passage: https://www.safepassage.org

Appalachian Trail – Revisited

In 2013 my partner, Kit, and I left our lives in New York City to hike the Appalachian Trail. We knew that life in Maine was in our future, but we also knew that we had to do something 180° from life in NYC before we could adjust to the calmness of Maine. I know the phrase “life changing” gets thrown around a lot, but our thru-hike of the AT was just that. I can’t describe it in words, but lucky for all of us Kit is a fabulous writer, and kept a blog the entire time we hiked! Feel free to check it out here:
http://trailkit.blogspot.com/p/at-thru-hike.html

In terms of photography, the Appalachian Trail for me was a chance to do my own thing. I had spent 6 years hauling around a half ton of lighting and grip equipment while working with Martin Schoeller, I am forever grateful for everything I learned about photography, but I wanted something simpler: a project that was just me and a camera. The only photo gear I carried on our thru-hike was a camera, a 40mm, 85mm lens, a small flash, and half a terabit of memory cards. It was exactly what I needed! While working in New York I had almost forgotten what it was about photography I loved so much. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved being a photo assistant, but between office work, traveling all the time, and having a life outside of a beautifully hectic work schedule, there wasn’t a lot of time for my photography. The Appalachian Trail gave me so many things, but the most notable might have been my rediscovery of my love for photography.

Fast forward to late May of 2017. Down East Magazine called to ask if I would be interested in photographing a story about the Appalachian Trail. I actually spoke before my brain had time to process this question and likely said something like YESUREYUPABSOLUTNODOUBT. After this lapse of composure I collected myself I clarified that I meant, “Yes!” The beautiful part about this story was that the purpose was to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail, and to focus on the stewards and trail angels of the Maine section of the AT. This was an absolute dream assignment! I spent several days on the Appalachian Trail hiking and photographing some of the biggest contributors to the AT in Maine.

These three short days were small compared to the thru-hike of 2013, but still provided some wonderful moments. The most notable was perhaps when a young man sipping a beer stumbled upon me, atop a mountain summit, at sunrise, which I should note, was 4:40am. I was at this moment changing pants which meant we were equally surprised to see each other. Not surprisingly he was unfazed. It’s bizarre moments like this just don’t seem to happen to me, with such frequency, in my life outside of the Appalachian Trail. In fact, prior to this assignment, I had not spent more than a few hours on the Appalachian Trail since 2013, and this story was a way for me to reconnect to the Appalachian Trail. I might go so far as to say that photography helped me rediscover my love of the Appalachian Trail!

AU5A6286Vicotria “Bluegrass” Jofery – MATC ridgerunner on saddleback mountain

060617_DE_AT_Story-0521A white blaze on the way up the AT on Mt Katahdin.

AU5A5721-V2Vicotria “Bluegrass” Jofery – MATC ridgerunner. In the background can be seen the summit of Saddleback Mountain.

AU5A7339Greg Caruso – Operator of the canoe ferry service crossing the Keenebec River, outside Caratunk, ME. The canoe has a white blaze painted in the bottom of it, making it part of the official route of the Appalachian Trail.

AU5A6684MaryEllen Royce – A trail angel that leaves homemade cookies at the West Carry Pond shelter for passing hikers. In the background is her husband, David, her coconspirator.

060617_DE_AT_Story-0831Kim “Hippie Chick” and Jarrod “Poet” Hester, owners of Shaw’s Hiker Hostel in Monson, ME with their children, Juila and Finn in the kitchen where an AYCE hiker level breakfast of godly proportions is made. In the background Hiker’s Rooster, Happy Feet, and Footprint finish up breakfast.

060617_DE_AT_Story-0776Kim “Hippie Chick” and Jarrod “Poet” Hester, owners of Shaw’s Hiker Hostel in Monson, ME with their children, Juila and Finn on the front porch of Shaw’s Hiker hostel. Above them Kim Rosenbaum, also a 2017 MATC ridgerunner and AJ Linebach, caretaker of Shaw’s pause for a break. Serval thru-hikers chat behind the Hester family.

060617_DE_AT_Story-0440Lester Kenway, in the red hat, is a trail constructing legend! He is seen here with a trail construction crew, (L to R) Erin Dahl, Adam Windsor, Phineas Peake, Katheryn Nitzschke, Brandon Joyce. They were cutting a new length of trail on the Mt. Katahdin section of the Appalachian Trail.

To see the full story please visit: http://downeast.com/keepers-of-the-trail/

 

Client: Down East Magazine; http://downeast.com/
Writer: Kathryn Miles; http://www.kathrynmiles.net/
Subjects:
Lester Kenway; http://www.trailservices.com/
Kim and Jarrod: http://www.shawshikerhostel.com/
Victoria Jofery
MaryEllen Royce
Greg Caruso

 

 

 

Bending Iron

In an ongoing collaboration with the Maine Craft Association I recently had the pleasure of photographing Doug Wilson. Not only a master blacksmith living in Maine, Doug was also an incredible host, super gracious, and I might add patient, when it came to creating photographs together! The combination of fire and decades worth of soot and ash on the walls of his shop made for a pretty picture perfect photo location. I tried to create a bit of a mood in terms of lighting to help draw out a bit of the grittiness that is metal working. You can see some of Doug’s talent over at his website: here

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Client: Maine Craft Association, http://mainecrafts.org/
Subject: Doug Wilson, http://www.dewilsonforge.com/

“May Flowers” Personal Projects

In a effort to create more work more often I am undertaking a monthly personal project. Finding inspiration and ways to look differently at the world you so often see can be difficult. So often we are so focused on the world that we know we forget to look around and forget to see things in a new light.

After a long winter and cool spring the flowers opened slowly here in Maine. I begin noticing the Forsythia blooming before everything else, it’s common for these little yellow reminders of a winter’s passing to arrive ahead of everything, but This year they seemed to be way ahead of everything else! I started noticing that there were only barren tree limbs, small budding leaves and vibrant forsythia flowers. It was a damp and grey Sunday afternoon hanging out with friends that a thought struck me, what about using all these flowers and a backdrop set against their respective complementary color. I turned to my friend Jessica and asked “do you own a purple shirt?” It was with this the project began.

I wanted to push myself beyond what I might normally, I’m not sure I achieved that but I feel with most personal photo endeavors it added a little bit to my skill set.

Flower-People-2up-3Flower-People-2up-2Flower-People-11631Flower-People-2up-4Flower-People-2up

Big Al’s Super Values – A Truly Maine Adventure!

There are some assignments that just make sense! Sometimes an email comes in with a subject line that makes my palms sweat and my mind race with ideas and excitement. This is exactly what happened when Down East Magazine asked me to photograph a feature story on Big Al. I did not grow up in Maine, which meant my knowledge was initially limited to the store front in Wiscasset on rt 1. Along with the assignment sheet came a link to an old Big Al’s commercial, do yourself a favor and check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giC7KjfjjnY.

The ideas started pouring out onto a note pad. I felt like the hardest part of this assignment was going to be trying to make Big Al not look to over the top. he was already such a character I wanted him to appear in some images as down to earth as possible. At the same time I realized this was an opportunity to create some over the top images. Here is a small sample from the shoot that I think represents a pretty good mix.

mdwphotographic-Big-ALs-3mdwphotographic-Big-ALs-2mdwphotographic-Big-ALs-4mdwphotographic-Big-ALsmdwphotographic-Big-ALs-5mdwphotographic-Big-ALs-6

Client: Down East Magazine, http://downeast.com/
Subject: Big Al, http://www.bigalssupervalues.com/
Writer: Ron Currie, http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/98373/ron-currie
Photo Assistant: Thomas Huot, https://www.instagram.com/pho_thom/