Ok, here’s what went down…
On June 4th, my bestie married her long-time sweetheart.
It was a teary, sweet, and totally rockin’ occasion.
June 6th, I packed my car and drove into the Willamette National Forest. I camped out at a spot called Delta Campground on the McKenzie River. The site was isolated and the river rushed through it. I broke out my new camera and lenses for the first real shoot since I purchased them from Grib in Seattle. A Nikon D700 and a wide range of fast glass weighted my arms. Although I was weary from the road, one hour East of Eugene, I felt like I installed myself into the middle of a magic mushroom trip. The greens were so bright, I was so alone. The textures were so rich; I feel as if the black and white images from this first day were among the best I have ever photographed. I am yearning to share and curious of your opinions.
On day two, I headed to the backside of Mount Shasta, just about one half hour from Klammath Falls. Although I was not quite in California, I could see the changes in the landscape. Sand had replaced moss and the bark had much more of a bossy texture. The heat felt amazing on my skin, having been holed up in Seattle since last summer. A skateboard was my table and a yoga mat my bed. I fell asleep by a fire just after a friend from Klammath Falls payed me a visit. When I awoke, the temperature had dropped forty degrees to 35f. I felt exhilarated.
In the morning, I struck the site and drove to Grass Valley, not quite sure if I was ready to reenter civilization. I spent the day at Classic Tattoo, hanging out with the dudes who work there. Cory Norris showed me the printed publication to which he had submitted a photo I took of his family. I fell a swell of honor. He is such a kind human being and a very talented, dedicated artist.
Speaking of photos, creating them was my entire mission for this little West Coast Tour of mine. I wanted to chase interesting subjects and remember them in my tiny box, then share the results with all of you. A few friends threw me some duckets along the way, for which I am incredibly grateful, but I was not chasing a dollar, just the experience.
Danny War had me photograph him working on a beautiful sleeve. I am sure you can see those go up on his website soon. Hooray! After work, Dan, Mischa, and I headed to the park in Auburn for a sunset skate session. I photographed them for an up-and-coming calendar project I have going about tattoo artists, called “Belly Boys”. (Yes, of course you can pre-oder.)
From Grass Valley, I bombed to San Luis Obispo, where I met up with my dear old friend, Ray Hughes. He is a guitar maker and let me photograph him making some custom string sticks out of gorgeous wood. I also got a great tour and met up with a few other rad characters while I was there.
Ray and I met a long time ago. I dated his best friend in high school. We hung out a lot, beat-boxing outside McDonalds and walking the Morro Strand. To see Dylan, Trav & Ray now was pretty great. They are in a band called Old hand and I got to watch them rehearse. I think it is amazing to see their music progress into a really kick ass group that I want to see play live all the time. I mean, we aren’t 15 anymore and these dudes have been a trio since they were 12. They were talking about moving to Portland, and Hell Yeah I tried to talk them into it while I was in SLO.
At this point, I was beginning to feel as if I was touring in a band. I drove four hours, did a gig, partied, slept, shat, and drove to the next gig. I awoke way too early on Ray’s couch, made some coffee and hit the bricks to Los Angeles. I met up with a photographer who used to live in SLO, named Isaac Suttell. I absolutely love his work, so to hear he had a new studio was exciting. I boogied on over, made some chili, and we got to shooting. I think the images turned out really beautiful and raw. You can expect to see those photos in my Fedora’s Box project.
I waited for traffic to die a bit and met up in South Pasadena with my awesome friend, Daniel Hernandez. He is coming up with a new design for Fedora’s Box, bless his masterful little heart. We talked until three in the morning and then some more when we woke up. I love reconnecting to inspiring friends like Danny. It seems my whole tour happened this way.
My heart was swelling as I drove up to Santa Clarita to hang out with Reed‘s sister. This was the first time we had spent some time alone and we bonded really hard. We spilled our life stories for hours and I loved her perspective on the world. The kids were there and the dogs were awesome. I got to chat a bit with Sean, her fiance, and that was icing on the cake. They are both really talented, successful artists in the prime of their lives. I absolutely love to surround myself with humans like this. I feel as if I have a sister for the first time in my life. She and I even wear the same size clothes and shoes! I drove away with trash bags of her Seattle-weather wardrobe.
While in Southern California, I had the very distinct pleasure of hanging with and modeling for Coop, his lady, and their sweet dog. I absolutely love the photos. You can find some on Coop’s flickr, Tumblr, and also I will be posting them to Fedora’s Box. Although, I might save them for the relaunch Coop is the shit. All he has in his apartment is art, music, and books. I am the same; I throw all that other stuff out.
The next two days were spent in San Luis Obispo. A very dear old friend of mine, Dylan J Harris is doing a hip-hop collaboration with Ashis Clay called Flowbispo that promotes skateboarding and positivity. I am always surprised at what these guys are pulling out of their hats and spitting out of their mouths.
I spent some time playing with the Quantumplator’s hair and taking portraits of the Harris brothers. I hope to send some prints to their father in the near future. And, if you know Tim, please feel free to order up some prints to send his way. He’d love that.
Today, I am sitting in a Howard Johnson hotel, uploading images and writing about the recent past. As you know, I love to share. It’s ok to give back. I refuse to take donations, but I encourage ordering up a digital download or a fancy print. It makes my heart swell to get that kind of feedback, it pays for gas, and you get to have a gift from my brain to your wall. How rad is that!?
Fedora el Morro