Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2 Days And Counting

I always know that Christmas is around the corner when I get the call from my pals John and Nick at Cotton and Crown. Time to shoot their annual Christmas poster. Always a pleasure, guys.

With each year comes a new concept. This year's concept included a Porta John and Santa Claus. While on set I also shoot an out-take video. This one had us (and the school kids gathered outside ImaginOn) laughing. Check out the un-edited video below and the Cotton & Crown version HERE.

video

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

United Way of Greenville


A campaign for the United Way of Greenville County fundraising effort recently launched in my home state of South Carolina. I am proud to have been brought in by Erwin-Penland to shoot the photography-driven posters and outdoor ads.

It has always been one of my policies to work with agencies and groups that do good things for people who are less fortunate. Giving back to the community is so important. With winter and the holiday season coming, we’ll all be asked to give. Maybe in the form of money or even a canned good. There are people out there that will need our help. Give a little or a lot, but just give.

As always, thanks for taking a look at my BLOG.

Monday, October 26, 2009

An Amazing Collaberative


After years of considering the benefits of a collaborative effort using my photography and the skills of a retouch artist, it's finally happening. I've been on this search now for quite a while. At times I thought that I had found the right team or the right person, only to fall short somehow. Maybe it was personality or maybe it just wasn't the right time. Now, I feel strongly that the time has come.

It's always been my goal to show the viewer something special, something they can’t see with their own eyes. Still, it has also been very important to me to maintain my aesthetic. Trends like the lens baby, cross processing, de-saturation, over sharpening, or those lovely fake film edges are okay, but should never carry the entire weight of a final image. Some say a trend is here today and gone tomorrow. Riding the wave of a trend might be nice, but to me it seems an unrealistic path. Keeping imagery classic has always been important to me. An image should last longer than the trend it was built on.

Part of what I like about the collaboration I'm fostering these days is attitude. The attitude it takes to see a project through. It's not only what I bring to the table; it's also what the re-toucher brings to the table. How can we both bring out of an image ALL that it has to say? Well, we have to listen. This is a relationship that has been built on listening. It's really like no other I know. I'm grateful. And this is how the story goes:

About a month ago I was called by an art director at an agency in Peoria, Illinois. He was in a pinch. Because of a NASCAR rain out, his photographer was suddenly and unexpectedly unavailable for a shoot that day. Tight deadlines meant the art director and client needed to shoot NOW, rather than wait for the photographer to be available. The MCP team went into action. My producer and I were able to postpone a shoot on my schedule, hire additional assistants, and get the truck packed. In less than an hour, we were on our way to Welcome, NC.

The assignment: shoot stills for an upcoming CAT sponsored contest while a video crew secured footage for web spots.

While loading in equipment and preparing to pull angles and light, I began a conversation with the digital assistant, Jason Dulin. We both thought that the standard NASCAR shot, driver and car on a cyc wall, had been DONE and DONE and DONE. As we talked more about what we could do with the time we were given (about 4 hours total), the collaboration was born and the decision was made to try something else. We're not the first to attempt a departure from the norm and we won't be the last, but for now we're very satisfied that we're on to something. We hope to do more work together in the future and we are dedicated to bringing something special to the table.

Thanks so much for visiting the BLOG today. Jason and I hope you like what you see.

To see more video and stills from the CAT Shoot please visit http://www.cat.com/daytona/home

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blogging

It seems often that I start my BLOG entries this way:

It’s been a while.

I’ve been told by the pro BLOGGERS out there that weekly entries are a must. I was reminded just recently when my wife and I found the rare free moment without kids to actually see a movie, Julie and Julia. It is, essentially, a movie about BLOGGING.

The movie was fantastic. A great story. I have to admit, though, that it left me feeling a bit, well, unworthy of my BLOG. I haven’t been honoring my duty as a BLOGGER. And, the worst of it is that I have so much to say. And as we all know, that’s what BLOGGING is all about.

So, as a BLOGGER I will try to do more. Hell, who knows, one day Hollywood might call and want to make a movie of my life. Doubtful, but possible.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Please Stand In



I remember fondly the days when I was assisting. The photographer would always, ALWAYS, ask me to stand in. It was just part of the job. I guess I didn't mind it too much. It's one of the reasons I have such a great record of the couple of years that I assisted. My favorite memory and image from those days documents my incredibly changing display of facial hair. In this case, in the form of a mustache. What can I say, Magnum PI was popular back in those days.

Enough about that and don't even ask because those images are safely put away in a bank vault far away.

The tables have turned and now I'm the guy asking the assistants to please stand in. Usually they are receptive and even happy about it. Today's lucky stand in was Lucas Rosin. Great guy and I have to say, photographs nicely.

Thanks Lucas for taking one for the team. Or should I say, thanks for letting me take one of the team.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

From the Art Director's eyes.






To keep the theme going I thought I’d post another series of images from backstage. A VIP view into the world of a location shoot and best of all, it's from the perspective of the Art Director.
A ton of work went into planning this long week of photography at 7 different locations. It all started from the first call. Tim Bogert of Bolt Creative, a friend of nearly 15 years, called with a request for a quote. One of his clients was ready to push a series of products into the world of retail. It meant new packaging and point of sale for over 25 products. Thankfully he thought of us.

After working through product scenarios, uses, target consumers, schedules, and locations that really made sense, we were ready to go. After a month of planning, we set out for one week of shooting. Collectively, we all agreed that being REAL was the way to go. Only on a few shots did we choose to bring in hired talent. The rest of the shoot, we cast the real guy that uses these tools. Man, did it really work out well.

From a fiberglass-filled boat shop to a spotless race shop and an ant-infested farm to a dusty auto body shop (to name a few), we moved with great precision. Thanks again to Rosemary, everything was timed and the shoot moved like clockwork. And at the end of the week, we all felt two things, exhaustion and an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Check out some of the images captured by Tim. Thanks, pal, for the great coverage and the incredible project.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Back Stage





This might be one of the first times I've ever posted images from behind the scenes. A couple of weeks ago, several days of production came together for a great shoot. Thanks to my amazing producer, Rosemary, the shoot went off without a hitch. There were many items to juggle, but for Rosemary it was just another day in the park. After a talent scout, dog search, location search, wardrobe shop, etc, the time finally came to put it on film. Okay, no film; but you get the idea.

With well-coordinated production and a talented art direction team, we were able to produce a really killer photo for an upcoming ad series. Thanks to everyone for your time and professionalism. Great shoot.

Have a look at a few images shot by Dustin, MCP's trusty intern.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

You can call me Moose.


My first question to the wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers was, “So, is it okay to call you Moose?” His response, “Sure, my friends call me Moose.”

I have photographed many celebrities and star athletes in my long and lustrous career, but meeting and photographing Muhsin Muhammad was pretty special.

Along with other good deeds, Moose gives his name and energy to an event that benefits his foundation M2 for Kids. What an incredible guy. I think what separates us all as humans is our capacity to give.

The shoot went incredibly well. Moose and his co-star, William Snellgrove, were great sports. As you can see, authentic dodgeball attire was instrumental in pulling this all together. With no complaints at all, Moose and William donned the shorts, goofy socks, tanks, and sweat bands. Very funny!

Have a look at a few outtakes, the team at Little Red Bird, and one of the finished posters. Please go to M2 for Kids and give. Better yet, come try your luck at the 1st Annual Dodgeball Tournament in February. (Previously scheduled for Sunday, June 21.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sharan

Sharan told me that her father was the reason her name was spelled with two a's. She told me that her father did it so she would learn to stand up for herself and not take crap from anyone. As a father, I think that's a pretty good idea. We,as fathers, want our daughters to be strong. Tough even. We want them to succeed and be beautiful people.I met Sharan at The Light Factory Shoot Out. We were both volunteering. At first sight I thought to myself, I have to photograph this girl. She's different. Just the way she carried herself caught my eye. SO, thankfully she accepted my offer and here are some of the images.

I shot nearly 300 exposures. It was tough to narrow it down and select these but I did it with much thought. Also, I rarely release images straight out of the camera, but these have not yet been touched. I think I like them this way. Just Sharan. No retouching.

Thanks Sharan. Brilliant job.

-- Mike

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

When the band comes over.



My wife and I have been supporting local music for as long as we can remember. As a matter of fact, it's how we met. One of our favorite local bands is Moonshine Racers. They are really one of the best bluegrass bands around. So when I got the call from Matt, one of the members, asking me to do a new PR shot, I jumped at the chance. Little did I know that the shoot would turn into an event (nice way of saying party).

As I sat up lights and a background in my home studio, the beer and music began to flow. The tunes just kept coming. My daughters danced. My wife chimed in on vocals. And I watched with camera in hand trying to capture it all. What a GREAT night.

These are just a couple of my favorite images. Check out the real band in a dive near you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My First, Lucy



This little child changed everything. Thank goodness. My wife and I now have two, Lucy and Ella. When I moved the studio to its new location, our house, it gave me the most wonderful gift of all. At any point I can stop what I'm doing and capture the three greatest gifts of all, my lovely wife and two incredible daughters.

I know, sounds sappy but it's true.

This past Friday I was photographing a friend for his portfolio cover as Lucy watched from behind me. She just sat there patiently and watched. She's almost 3 (August 18th). When my pal, Jeff, and I got an image that we were happy with we both said, got it. Lucy said, my turn. So, this is Lucy's shot. She's such a fantastic subject.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Katherine



I can't believe it's been so long since my last visit to this BLOG. Time seems to have a way of escaping. Along with a few projects for clients this month I was finally able to do a little testing. When I met Katherine, I knew I wanted to photograph her. Katherine is a wonderfully natural girl that did an incredible job in front of the camera. Hair and Make Up provided by none other than Elizabeth Tolley. Great job to you both. Love the work we did together.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Farmers


Well, I've been talking about this shoot for over a week now. It's about time I post a few outtakes. These have been altered a bit by the art director, Chris Just. Chris and I met when he was working with The Buntin Group in Nashville, TN. He's now at Erwin Penland in Greenville. We're still working together and I'm loving it. (think he's loving it too)

This trip took us almost 3000 miles. Out to Eastern North Carolina and then back to Boone, NC. Over to Tennessee and down to Georgia. We finished down deep in South Carolina and then back to Tryon, North Carolina. Incredible. Great farmers and great photos. Can't wait to see the final posters hanging in BiLo.

Thanks for following.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2700 Miles


Today I asked Mike how many total miles he has traveled for the farmer shoot. 2700 miles. I told him he could be in San Francisco by now. I suppose that slow and steady is the best way to travel from farm to farm, sleepy town to sleepy town. Mike wraps up today with his last farm shoot and will have plenty of images and stories to blog in the next few days. For now, here's two from yesterday's journey.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Update From the Road

While Mike is out shooting, I (Rosemary) have the pleasure of updating the blog with his latest images and shenanigans. Mike's on a multi-day shoot capturing farmers and their produce. The gig is taking him to NC, TN, GA, and SC (I think in that order, but it's tough to keep up). This project tickles his fancy and mine too. It's refreshing to remember that some of our food does in fact come from our own state or just a state away, rather than always being flown in from another country or even continent.

Mike will give a full report or two once he returns. For now, I'll share the quick mid-trip recap he gave me today: "Hundreds of miles. Good food. Good music. Bad weather, but the locals don't seem to mind it. Think my accent is getting twangy."

Seems pretty accurate. Except the accent. Mike is, afterall, from Rock Hill so his accent probably isn't getting any twangier.

On to the images. Here's a few of my favorites that Mike sent today.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

ADRIAN CRUTCHFIELD: Private Party


I shot Adrian Crutchfield for the first time about 8 years ago for the Arts and Science Council, Charlotte, NC. He was a young and rising talent on the scene. Not to mention, he was in High School. Since then, he went on to college somewhere down in Florida, oh yeah, Florida State and majored in music. Adrian completed the program with flying colors and is still making great music.

Adrian came to me a few months ago and said, "hey man, you're my photographer and I need an album cover." That's all I needed to hear.

Here it is. Please check it out.

I wonder, if I'm his photographer, is he my horn player? Hope so, the guy rocks.

Best to you, Adrian. Keep rolling brother.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Benji Hughes Esquire Magazine


Early this morning I got an e-mail from a photographer here in Charlotte. A guy I know, but not well. He sent me a link to one of my photos that had been published in Esquire Magazine. The message said, "great work, wish they would have given you a credit line."

Hey, it happens. Fortunately the magazine was kind enough to do two other important things: pay me and post a by line to the on line version. I'm happy with that credit.

Anyway, Benji is a friend and I love this image of him. Actually I would have picked a different one but he insisted, "the chicks will understand, they'll get it." Okay with me.

So, thanks to Benji for letting me photograph him and thanks to Esquire for using the image. I love, LOVE, seeing my work in magazines. Next time I want the cover.

http://www.esquire.com/features/music/benji-hughes-review-0409?click=main_sr

Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Girls.


The family! Really, this is one of the best parts of having a studio at home. Since I moved from the big ole cavern I've begun to feel very refreshed. My eye for imagery has been given a new view on life. As the world crashes in around us and doom hangs overhead let's all remember the important things in life.

Our family, our friends, the good people in our lives. Let's all be thankful. Let's all have one really nice thought. Hell, maybe that's even enough to bring us out of this bleak economic time.

Peace and love.

Mike

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Great Shoot With Wray Ward


I’m so excited to make this post to the BLOG. Wray Ward and Glen Raven have been friends and clients for a very long time. Jennifer Appleby, president of the agency now, designed my first logo package. It’s in my prior post. I’ve known these guys and respected them for years.

This ad series sets a benchmark for me. Thinking back it could really be the 10th or 11th year I’ve worked with GR and Sunbrella. But this set of ads is different. It’s a departure from the ordinary lifestyle image of models enjoying shade on patio furniture under awnings.

These ads and the concept, taking furniture and adding a very human nature (movement) to them, is brilliant and fun. The challenge was to think in a different dimension. Hundreds of images had to be captured. Angles had to match. Light had to match. The puzzle was intricate. I love the result.

Thanks to Wray Ward's John Robert, Brandon Scharr, Belle Rape, and Karen Smith AND Mind’s Eye (Atlanta). Great time and great work.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Been A While


Father, forgive me, it's been a few weeks since my last BLOG entry. What can I say? I've been busy working on killer projects with killer designers. Happy to say it all went well. I'll be posting soon once pdf's start hitting the inbox.

In the mean time I'd like to say:

I'm so thankful in these times to have such great friends and clients. For me, they are one in the same. Long ago, 06-21-1994, I wrote my mantra. I've done my best to stick with it. What else do we have?

Thanks Pals.

Mike

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The King And Queen visit MCP




The joke goes like this: two really funny guys (and clients to boot) call and want to be photographed in costume. My interest is brewing and then they say...One in an Elvis suit and one as the Queen of England...HOW COULD I SAY NO? For Cotton And Crown's Annual Christmas Card they came up with a fantastic idea to play Elvis and The Queen. It got a bit rowdy, but in the end we had a ton of fun and produced some really killer images. Thanks guys. AND, especially thanks for making my neighbors wonder even more.

Here's the final result:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Macro World






































































This past weekend I decided to pull out a lens that I haven't used in ages. Really one of my favorite lenses and a gift from a great friend...a Nikon 60 mm MACRO one to one. Awesome glass. It was a gorgeous day and the kids were sleeping soundly so I had plenty of time to just shoot. It's amazing what you just don't see with the naked eye. Hope you enjoy my backyard as much as I do.