Creative Combustion: Now Available


I’m a bit late to the party about writing up a blog post about this, but back in August of this year I debuted a project that I had been working on since February of 2015, and planning ever since I wrote up my last blog entry, you know, the one from almost two years ago. Well, for once I have an excuse for the gap in my posts, and here it is! The project is called Creative Combustion, and it features 18 artists who are either from, or located in, Minneapolis. The exhibition was hosted by Gamut Gallery and its wonderful staff, who documented the opening night in a facebook album. There is a print edition which is available for purchase from Blurb and a web version where you can view all of the essays and photos for free on Medium, both links are below. If you’re curious about what this all is, read on for full project information.

Links to Creative Combustion

Print edition

Web edition

Press Release

City Pages Mpls Article

About This Project

***This description is taken from the book***

What we might know about an artist’s work, regardless of the medium, often stems from our own perception of that work as a viewer. With prior knowledge of the artist’s intent, we can skew our perception to match closer to that of the artist’s vision. We bring in our own meaning to a piece, drawing from our own ideas, opinions, and life experiences. We also draw in the message that the artist had intended for their viewers to think about and create for ourselves a story behind the artwork and why it is — or isn’t — something that we relate to. However, while each viewer is entitled to his or her own perception of art, how often has an in-depth look at what makes that artist tick, what drives them to create their works, been examined? Responses to the question “What inspires you?” are met with only a short discussion, leaving the person asking with only an interpretation of a response. As a result, the artist’s original vision becomes foggy to the recipient and the true source of the work is left behind and unexplained, despite its key role for the artist.

Among the ever-rapidly growing list of creative individuals in and from Minnesota, there are those with a truly spectacular view on their craft and their motivation behind it. They have shown that innovation is not a concept that they take lightly. They take their work very seriously, never faltering or giving up in their craft. Their work stands on its own, projecting the skill and confidence of its creator. These are the individuals that I began to seek out over a year ago when this project began, hoping not only to discuss their work but to discuss their creative spark, and the ingredients that come together to light it in an event that I call creative combustion.

Like a translator tasked with creating books in different languages, the task that I had placed upon myself was to interpret the artists’ thoughts and ideas and put them into my own words and photographs, going from the language of thought to the language of tangible written and visual narrative. However, my intent was not only to interpret their thoughts, but experience them. If an artist mentioned a location, I traveled there with them or met them there, or if the spark was lit by an idea or a thing, we would make sure it was present in the room before proceeding with our conversation. I wanted to understand the psychology behind their responses by experiencing the spark firsthand and capture it in photographs and words, eventually showcasing the process of creative combustion itself.

Over a year later, I, as well as a few others who have helped me in this journey and have been key contributors to the project, have had the privilege of meeting with a sample of artists from a large variety of creative fields. Painters, musicians, gallery curators, master brewers, and aerial performers are a small sampling of the types of individuals who are featured in this book, each with a unique story to tell about their work and their creative spark. It is thanks to their tireless work ethic, ability to innovate, and unique sensibilities that Minnesota is seen as a state full of creativity. Without them and their generous donation of their time and thoughts, this book, these words, and these photographs would not exist today.


Almost A Year’s Worth Of Updates pt. 1

It’s a been a long time since I’ve written here, and I apologize for that. College and work tend to take over my life when they’re in full swing leaving no time for me to write about recent shoots. As a result, I’ll try to sum up a year’s worth of work, hopefully it won’t end up being too long. Most of my work in the past year has dealt with studio shoots, on location shooting and photojournalism, so it’s all been entirely digital due to the work being for somebody else more than for myself. I’ll start with the studio work. Over the winter I did several studio shoots for people with various needs such as portfolios and applications, I used the same studio I had for the Lights, Camera, Interaction! post a while back. Some of these photos might be old news to some, especially those who follow my facebook, but nevertheless a few stragglers haven’t checked on everything I have there ;) Due to me having a lot of photos to add, this is gonna be the first part of a two part series, so the posts aren’t so long.

Studio Shoot 1

This was before we actually drove over to the studio, we did some on location shooting. This is my favorite photo from the on location set.

The photos were for an application to NYU for dance, so I thought we should incorporate some dance elements into the photos, such as this one.

Fun with mirrors, surprisingly a lot more fun than I had thought was possible in a studio.

More dance theme like photos, I couldn’t get over the staring at the shoe photos. I think I have more of these than any other type of photo from this shoot.

Sitting on a stool, pondering life I think. Lots of pondering goes on during studio shoots, with the looking away and all. Oh, and if you’re wondering, she ended up getting into NYU in the end, glad that I contributed to that outcome :)

This shoot was also for a portfolio, a modeling portfolio if I remember right. I had a lot of fun with this one, she was a great person to work with, and since the shoot we’ve become better friends.

I wonder what she’s looking at over there, seems mildly amusing…hmm

I had a fun light setup for this series of shots, black umbrella with a 300w continuous light camera left and slightly behind me. I liked the results for that setup a lot, some of my favorite shots came from this series.

Same light setup as the shot before it, the umbrella was working really well for these.

This was for an album/acting/modeling portfolio, wish I had a ringflash for this one, but alas my equipment is limited. Hopefully soon I’ll be incorporating a ringflash into similar shoots.

Rockin’ the fedora, probably my favorite shot from the entire shoot.

More fedora action, still love it.

Playing around with clothing ideas, a lot of that happened during this shoot.

More shooting for an application, another dance application I believe. Again, I tried to get some “safe” shots and then went for some more creative ones.

I love the shadows here, they make a nice mysterious look.

A conventional “safe” photo for application use, you never know what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to applications to artistic institutions. Finding the borders between being the same and standing out, or just being too outlandish takes some practice.

Similar to the shot above, but with a black backdrop.

That’s it for this portion of updates, the next section will feature all photojournalism, get ready!