February 2011

RE: Feb. 25th, 2011

Jujubee in the house! She was the first RuPaul's Drag Race queen whose photo I've taken, and these days she's my favorite out-of-town RPDR'er to catch up with. Her and her partner Chris are always so personable and great to see.

RE: Feb. 24th, 2011

Lifelong AIDS Alliance hosted Greg Louganis at its 2nd Annual Benefit Breakfast at The Red Lion Hotel. Regrettably, the file in my archives is an underexposoed JPEG taken at 6400 ISO on a 7D. Man, did I have a thing for jacked-up ISO when I got that camera. And here's my first photograph of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. Oddly, he raised his eyebrows for the camera; later I'd recognize that he consistently makes awkward faces in photos. He and an aide are standing with George Bakan and Rick McKinnon of the SGN.

RE: Feb. 21st, 2011

Stumbled upon another rally at Westlake on my way home from class. Shot at f16 and 4000 ISO with the 7D's kit lens, ha. Earlier in the day, stumbled upon a stabbing in front of the Starbucks at Westlake. Shook me up for awhile. This was the moment that really drilled into me that I much much much prefer making an impact by photographing happy occasions and moments, and hard news photojournalism probably isn't for me.

RE: Feb. 19th, 2011

The 40th Anniversary President's Ball at the Renaissance Ballroom, hosted by The Imperial Sovereign Court Of Seattle and The Olympic & Ranier Empire, is a night I'll never forget. I remember being amazed and wide eyed at the prospect of being the only photographer in the room, even though I'd only had a camera for almost two months. Jose Julio Sarria, known as Empress Jose I, the Widow Norton, was present for the occasion, and at the time I didn't know the great significance of that, just that she was of really old age for a drag queen. Two-and-a-half years later she passed away at the age of 91 and The Advocate and Huffington Post ran my only frame of just her (top image) alongside her obituaries, which I highly recommend checking out.

I sometimes regret having shot everything at 6400 ISO and in JPEG format, but then again I don't, because if anything had happened differently that evening I wouldn't have caught MC Jack-e Edwards, of Reno, giving Mike Dumoulin, of Vancouver, Wash., that bewildered look (2nd image down). The black-and-white version (which I prefer) was later included in American Photography 28, selected as Vogue Italia's Photo of the Day, and was published in Photo District News' 2013 Photo Annual. It remains my favorite image, and it's interesting to me that I've spent the last four years getting better with a camera but still trying to top a picture that was made when I didn't know what I was doing. In my mind I'll probably never top it.


RE: Feb. 17th, 2011

The opening of the Michael C. Weidemann LGBT Library at Gay City. I didn't get to know her better until later, but this was my first time meeting (at left) Sarah Toce, founder of The Seattle Lesbian and currently Seattle Pride Communications Director and member of the board. Her and her wife, photographer Steph Brusig, are always a joy to see and work with.

RE: Feb. 16th, 2011

March for justice for the Native American woodcarver John T. Williams, slain by SPD Officer Ian Birk. I spy Joshua Trujillo of SeattlePI.com working the Instagram angle in the second photo.

RE: Feb. 15th, 2011

Quidam, the ninth stage show produced by Cirque du Soleil, was coming to Key Arena and so Olga Pihkienko, a circus performer who specializes in hand balancing and contortion, did her thing for the media sneak peak at the Russian Community Center of Seattle.

RE: Feb. 13th, 2011

The Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle kicked off Coronation week at R Place - my first chance photographing the incomparable Madison Lane and Aleksa Manila, who'd become my muse and, more importantly, a good friend. And, I'm not sure quite how to put it, but my images of the Court would soon play a huge role in shaping my approach to photography as well as my identity as an artist and I owe them much gratitude for trusting and including me from the beginning.

RE: Feb. 12th, 2011

I think this Saturday remains one of the craziest, most influential days of photography I've ever experienced. Had to do a 24-hour project for my Intro to Photography course with Melinda Hurst Frye, so I woke up early at Uncle Ronnie's in Mukilteo to do self-portraits of us crashed on the couches, including this serendipitous shot of Buddy, his Rhodesian Ridgeback. We went out for brunch, I headed back to the hill, heard noise outside and ran out into the rain and unwisely got into the middle of an anarchists' black bloc where I witnessed but missed capturing a guy smash in a squad car's driver's side window with a hammer a few feet in front of me. It was pretty intense. Protesters were threatening and police aimed pepper spray straight at me - was definitely shaken up. Then went to shoot a radio station's anniversary party at Neighbours - it was a thrill and was also my first paid gig independent of the SGN. Then I jumped over to R Place to shoot the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's Cupid's Heat Valentine's Day Fundraiser. There I made one of my first go-go boy photos; I've made hundreds since and still haven't been able to top it as far as its simplicity and impact. I prefer it in black-and-white but am editing everything in color for this blog. Below it I've included the next frame, which just goes to show how much difference and luck a split second makes. I also met Lydia Tymon that night - we'd go on to date for the next year. We're no longer in touch, but I still get nostalgic. I loved what we had when we had it and she played a huge role in who I am today. Lydia's not pictured below, but she'll for sure be showing up. Anyway, started the day unsure of how interesting 24 hours of photos would be, and ended it at 5 AM feeling better about the direction of things than I had in a long, long time.


RE: Feb. 10th, 2011

Walk from Capitol Hill to Chinatown and back. A kid let me into a chicken coup! And how'd I get that starburst on the car, like you see in nighttime long exposures? 6400 ISO at f22 in broad daylight. Glad I was experimenting at least.

RE: Feb. 7th, 2011

This is a tripod shot of the HIV Vaccine Trials Unit team that first introduced me to Seattle's gay community in November 2010. I'd just left my preschool teaching job and my girlfriend-at-the-time's best friend's boyfriend-at-the-time Victor Cruz helped connect me with a job doing community outreach for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's HVTU, which I continued to work for part-time in 2011. From left are myself, Victor, Jacob, Ro, Neil, Kim, Chris and James. And then a seagull with a mouthful.

RE: Feb. 6th, 2011

I remember being hungover from the night before at Pony and heading to Dick's Drive-In for a burger and fries before jumping around to bars to photograph fans watching the Super Bowl. This employee was just awful and so I guess I retaliated by taking this photo of her. Near the end of the afternoon, after making the rounds to Madison Pub, R Place and Purr, stopped inside The Cuff for the first time. On the way out, met a guy named Blue Bear and got a quick photo of his new tattoo. Had no idea we'd become good friends within the next year.

RE: Feb. 5th, 2011

Walking home from class I stumbled upon an Egyptian Revolution rally at Westlake Plaza. President Hosni Mubarak resigned six days later after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. Liked the shots I was getting and later in the month would encounter another Arab Spring protest at Westlake.

In the evening I hit up Sylvia O'Stayformore's annual Goth-themed Bacon Strip at Re-bar Seattle. Not the most flattering shot of Wendy Ashford in the bottom pic, but my shots weren't that impressive that night and I like it for Wendy's goofy energy and Peter Farrar's look.

RE: Feb. 4th, 2011

Hit up Pony to photograph Beefcake, put on by Jack Caton (pictured) and Freddy Molitch. Got drunk on whiskey! Great time, even though one dude was a spitter. Pole dancing was Elijah, and donating their dollars and eyes in the fifth shot are Adé A Cônnére and Dustin Curtis.