photography

Boat on the Ross Barnett Reservoir

This past Sunday I went out with my camera for the first time in around 9 months. You see, I’ve kinda hit a point with my photography where it feels like I just can’t advance.

Boat on the Ross Barnett Reservoir

Boat on the Ross Barnett Reservoir

Maybe to go forward I am going to have to go backwards.

Boat on the Ross Barnett Reservoir
Ridgeland, Mississippi

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GO KILL IT.

A few months back I ran into an old friend.

The wife and I had been at the bookstore and this old friend walked up smiling and chatting just like we had seen each other a few days before instead the year or more it had been. He’s one of those people who always seemed gung-ho and raring to go, had a plan and was always advancing on his goal.

“Whatcha’ doing up here?” I asked.

“Picking up this magazine,” he held it up and opened it to a page toward the center. “They did an article on me and my company and I just needed to pick up a copy.” We talked for a few minutes about the article, checked out the images that were accompanying it, and he pointed out some interesting stuff about it. Then we moved on to some of the photos I had seen on his Facebook account, him with famous people, and how impressed I was.

“Well,” I said, “Looks like a must read, let me grab a copy too.”

“Cool, let me know what you think.” Then he asked, with absolutely no trace of arrogance, damnation, or a holy-than-thou attitude, with honest curiosity “How’s the photography going? You still writing?”

I hesitated for a moment. I had some good things happen with my photography as of late; a nice series of gigs with a music promoter shooting shows and a few other unrelated gigs with local musicians. I even had been collaborating with a local artist on a graphic novel. Despite the fact that I had completed the script and the artist never bothered to do any of the art for various real world reasons (is that still collaboration?) I was damn proud of the work. But, I felt, it was nothing compared to the accomplishments he had made since we had really seen each other. I told him about it, and I swear I could see just a hair of disappointment, which he quickly covered up with a flashy smile. We agreed to get together later that night at a skate park and hang out.

For the next few weeks, I watched him online through his social media accounts. He was travelling to various shows related to his business, posting pictures of himself and the people he met, showing the masses his latest work that was in the pipe, and all the time having that confident smile on his face. I admit, I was jealous; not because of what he had and was experiencing, but because I had not pulled the trigger myself to take the steps I needed to advance my own passions.

I sent him a text a few weeks ago, asking if I could get a little time to come out to his shop and photograph him and some of his latest projects. The message back was positive and inviting, and I ended up spending 6 hours in the middle of the night photographing him at work and his products. We asked questions of each other and closed the gap of time a little more. Then he brought up my own works.

“I’m just having a time getting it going.” I said. I knew it was an excuse. “I work my real world job and try and squeeze in writing time when I can, try and get out and take some photos when the obligations allow. It’s tough. An 8 plus hour day and then my family, which I love, it’s hard to make time.” He looked at me, and I knew he didn’t buy it.

“I haven’t work for anyone but myself in sixteen years.” He looked at me for a moment. “Man, you just got to get it out there! Even if you don’t feel it’s your best, get it out there, sell it, and replace it when you got something better to show!” We talked about it a little more, and I honestly felt deflated.

Now, I didn’t feel deflated because of anything he said, it was because of what I had said. His words were inspiring. Mine, on the other hand… I was using my family and the real world job as an excuse. I knew this. But this guy, without actually using the words, called me out on it. You see, while he has not been married quite as long as I have, he has more kids than me, and is younger than me.

Yea, talk about a kick to the pants.

I got home and was going over some of the photos with my wife. She was amazed, but after a little bit, sensed something was wrong. So I told her. I told her about what I had said to my friend, his reply, and how right he was.

She looked at me with that look that was known to send student into cold sweats. The, quietly, she said, “Oh, so you’ll listen to him.” then she swatted the back of my head as she got up to get a drink.

Damn, I love her.

I’ve got people in my circle of friends who are the types to go out, kill it, and bring it back to the cave. I also have the kind that waits around for the zookeeper to throw their prepared meal into the cage. I’ve decided that I want to be one of the ones who are killing it.

Wish me luck.

Stacy

Mr. Sipp, The Mississippi Blues Child: July 4th, 2014

 

Mr Sipp performing at the Bottleneck Blues Bar in Vicksburg, Mississippi. 07/04/14

 

A few weeks ago, on the 4th of July, I was asked to photograph the latest of the Vicksburg Blues Society’s Heritage Music Series. Above you can see one of those images…  Mr. Sipp, the Mississippi Blues Child, performing at the Bottleneck Blues Bar inside the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Mr. Sipp, aka Castro Coleman, is a blues musician born in McComb, Mississippi. His electric and fun show has been hailed a one of the best on the music scene and he is the winner of the 2014 International Blues Challenge.  Find out more and listen to some of his music on his website: http://www.mrsippthemississippiblueschild.com

Thanks to Shirley Waring and the Vicksburg Blues Society for the opportunity to photograph this great performer.

The London Branch Trio, June 29th, 2014

London Branch Trio, June 29, 2014 group shot   Shirley Waring of the Vicksburg Heritage League asked me to shoot the Milt Hinton Memorial Jazz Concert this past Sunday and I had a blast. Dr. London Branch on bass, Chris Parker on piano, guest drummer Chad Anderson and guest vocalist Kelley Hunter. Wonderful evening with some spectacular musicians. A select few images can be located on my Flickr account. Happy 4th if July and God Bless! Stacy

National Go Skateboard Day

Young Skater in the Bowl

I honestly did not know it was National Go Skateboard Day this past June 21st.

To me, it was me and the wife’s eleventh anniversary. Eleven years that she has put  up with me, I am married to a beautiful saint.

Young Skater Before

Anyway, we had been up at a local bookstore when we ran into an old friend of mine that I see on average about once every few years, in the same books store.  We caught up a bit, and he invited me to come out to his place and check out his shop where he sculpts, and I told him to text me. A little while later, I get the text and the wife okays me to meet him up at  the local skate park.

Young Skater in the Bowl 2

The park was packed, as you may expect on National Go Skateboard Day, and one of the last bands was playing so we could barely hear each other talk. I had my kit with me, including my lens that decides not to focus at odd times. Tonight was one of those, I figured that the images were all going to be a wash, but after a while inpost the next morning, I salvaged three of the skater Cameron Caloss. Maybe I can salvage more later in the week.

Hope y’all like ’em.

Be safe and God Bless,

Stacy

Grindstone Ford and the Natchez Trace, with 120 film

I learned photography on a film camera.

Creek Off the Natchez Trace

Believe it or not, that is something that a lot of photographers I’ve met in the last few years cannot say. I think I covered this before, but my first camera was a little Kodak 110 that was shaped like a block of wood. It had just three settings: portrait, landscape, and group. That little camera was in my back pocket for years before I moved up to a different one. But after I shot on my first Pentax K1000 I knew I was hooked.

Owen's Creek

I’ve gone through a good many SLR and DSLR cameras through the years. I even have a couple of TLR that I love dearly. I have a small collection of cameras, all but one functioning, and a nice set of lenses I can use with each of them.

But lately, I’ve been neglecting my film cameras, actually, photography in general.

The Path at Grindstone Ford

So while I was going through my computer files I found these images. At first glance they look very much like Instagram or Hipstamatic shots, square, grainy, a little yellowish. But they aren’t. I ttok these a little while back with a Kodak Hawkeye Brownie 120 film camera. It’s just about as basic as you can get. When I scanned them, I scanned them big and applied absolutely no filters to them. I have more shots like these, including some done with a little Holga and a Yashica A camera. I’ll upload them at some point also.

Road to Grindstone Ford

I am starting to hear the call of film. Think I’ll hang up the DSLR for a while and go back to basics.

Sara B in 1854

 These images were taken with a Kodak Hawkeye Brownie from the early 1950s. I gave the old camera a good deal of tender loving care and loaded with 120 film, the brand escapes me now. These were taken at the Grindstone Ford historic site off of the Natchez Trace in Mississippi.

I think this asthetic is what I need to go back to. The basics: no batteries or memory cards, just me, the camera, some film, and the road.

Be safe and God bless.

Stacy