Thursday, January 31, 2013

a treat from the lbj basement

Tonight the LBJ Presidential Library hosted the Tom Johnson Lectureship. Ambassador Andrew Young was the guest of honor. He is perhaps best known for working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement. Young was a key strategist and negotiator in the campaigns in Birmingham and Selma that resulted in the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I took this photo after the program was over, but before dinner began. Mr. Young needed a place to sit down and I pulled him up a chair. I feel the best pictures of the night were while he was resting his feet and talking to the dinner guest. Initially this was in color, but because of the reflection of the red carpet I feel black and white does the photo better. It was truly a great night and I’m glad I was there to photograph it (even though I’m still editing in the basement).

Andrew Young - LBJ Presidential Library - January 31, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

low light special

Frontier Bar - Austin, Texas - January 28, 2013

Friday night out at Frontier Bar, we got to watch Lindsey dance with the West African class she's joined since moving to Austin. This musician performed after they finished and I got a couple snaps. This is the reason why I love my new camera. The light was incredibly low, but I was still able to get good definition in the shadows with no grain all while keeping it in color. I really hated having to make a good color photo black and white just to increase the exposure so you could see what was happening in the image. Not to mention the D800 handles bright reds really well. Can't wait to see how it deals with neons and bright magenta and cyan during SXSW.

Friday, January 25, 2013

photog friday: eli reed

Eli Reed. He is a mentor, a friend, and one heck of a storyteller. What Eli taught me, I take with me every time I put the camera up to my eye.

Outside the Festival - Austin, Texas - January 21, 2013

This was the last photo I took for the MLK Day festival. I was done for the day and we were walking back to our car. Just outside the festival grounds at the University is a residential area. I heard this woman yelling to kids inside the house, while raking leaves in her yard. She seemed strained from the loud music that was blasting half a block away.  Without even really thinking about it, I lifted up the camera and snapped one picture. I think she might have heard it, but I just kept on walking with my sister and the woman kept on with her yard work.

Street photography isn't something I usually do and it sometimes takes me a while even in a controlled environment to get up close. It wasn't until I got home and zoomed in real tight that I realized she's looking right at me. At first I was quite proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and taking pictures just to take pictures, but now I feel very much a coward.

This picture is not representative of Eli Reed's photography at all. I feel that it is the opposite, but I'm posting it because it reminds me of an important lesson that Eli taught me that I forgot on this day. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained!" Courage is not something they can teach you in the classroom, it is something to be inspired by and then found on your own. Eli has travelled all over the world taking pictures, and the most important thing in his "camera bag" is his courage. He has no fear of getting up close. This is something that I admire greatly about him.

Eli Reed is currently the clinical professor of photojournalism at UT. Check out some of his work here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

bluest day of the year

So, I was trolling all the recent videos from The Ellen Show on the internet today, and on the show Ellen did a segment about the most depressing day of the year. According to a study, that was Monday - the third Monday of the new year. Why? One: it's cold. Two, holiday bills are starting to come in, and people have to find the money for all the presents they bought, or didn't buy. Three, they start giving up on their New Year's resolutions. I'm glad to say that none of those apply for me right now. It feels like summer in Texas right now - we should've listened more about that global warning stuff, huh? I paid in full for all the holiday presents I bought, although it did put a large dent in my pocketbook (that I don't have). Lastly, I am still going with my New Year's resolution of posting on my blog everyday - almost - I missed yesterday (due to computer issues, I swear), but I'm not giving up.

Here is what I did on the bluest day of the year - I dragged my sister out of bed and forced her to come with me to the MLK Day festival (we didn't wake up early enough for the parade). I finally got my butt out of the house and took pictures of a big event for myself and it feels really good. Here is one of the munchkin mooching, as always.

Cotton Candy - Austin, Texas - January 21, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013

photog friday: constantine manos

If you guessed Constantine Manos for yesterday's trivia question, you were right!

Constantine Manos. He is best known for his photography book American Color, a collection of color photographs capturing the eccentricities of American life. The thing I love a about these particular photos besides the obvious - color - is the composition and the found in between moments. I can imagine the photographer walking by, snapping the photo, and walking away, the subject never aware that their image remains on Kodachrome celluloid.

Here is a link to some unpublished photos from the American Color collection and a video of the photographer discussing his book.

Folsom Street, San Francisco - September 26, 2010

Folsom Street, San Francisco - September 26, 2010

Thursday, January 17, 2013

american color

In honor of the photographer for tomorrow's Photog Friday, I'm posting a clue today. Can you guess who the photographer is going to be?

I love this photograph. This is one of those photos where I was looking through the take and tagged it, but skimmed it over quickly and never took the time to really appreciate it. Folsom Street Fair is one of those things that is, well, how do you explain it? Kyle says it better than myself -- "a celebration of any alternative lifestyle that isn't 'vanilla.'" This photo is definitely not the greatest or craziest moment of the day; it's a quiet moment. A feeling of bravery washes over me as I look at it, as if the man in the photo is peeking out of the shadows, not afraid to stand in the light that shows us for who we are.

Check out this video if you want more Folsom.

American Color - Folsom Street Fair - September 26, 2010

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

good luck lindsey

Helping Lindsey practice for her upcoming dance audition on Friday. Good luck kiddo!

Lindsey - Austin Community College - January 16, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

to jodi

I've been slowly going through my archives and I am starting to get to photos that have never seen the light of day. In recognition of Jodi Foster's speech at the 2013 Golden Globes, I'm dedicating this post to her - for her bravery, talent, drive, sincerity, grace and dignity. It takes a lot of courage to take a stand for yourself in front of millions of people. I'm glad to say she was a role model for me in the film world as a kid. And for that, my photos of her finally deserve the time they never got in the spotlight. They were taken at the SXSW world premiere of her film "The Beaver" on March 16, 2011. 

Here's to Jodi, may you keep being an inspiration to young filmmakers around the world.

Jodi Foster - Austin, Texas - March 16, 2011

Monday, January 14, 2013

a time and place for everything

A big part of being a photographer is being in the right place at the right time -- and then also being prepared for it. It's like when someone tells you you're lucky -- I've been hearing that a lot since I started my job at the library. Well, luck is a part of it, but I think the bigger part of it is knowing what to do with the luck when it happens. In my case, I didn't just walk in the door and they said here you go, here's this great job. I worked hard to get two degrees in five and a half years, got my ass kicked, and almost had to start all over from scratch. I think this photo is reflective of all of this - my past, present, and future. Yes, it's of a sunset I know, but here is why. This past year I graduated from UT (which is the subject - the Tower), I was hired as the new photographer for the LBJ Presidential Library (which is the location the photo was taken), and the photo was taken with my new Nikon D800 (which is the first piece of quality equipment that I own). But the reason the image even exists on something other than my iPhone is that for whatever reason, I decided to take my personal camera to work today, got off at six, and was almost to my car when I turned around and saw the sunset. It never quite looks like this in Austin -- El Paso maybe, but never here. This moment reminded me of why I should always bring my camera with me. You never know what opportunity will present itself, but when it does, you best be prepared.

[For all those techies out there -- This image is unedited and was taken with a Nikon D800 and manual Nikkor 35mm f/2 lens.]

Sunset - Austin, Texas - 2013

Friday, January 11, 2013

photog friday: man ray

This was Kyle's idea and I like it a lot. Photog Friday starts today. Every Friday, I will post about a photographer that has inspired me, along with a photo of mine that was influenced by their work.

Man Ray. If you ever forget who he is, just remember Man Ray, X-Ray. Some of his early work on light-sensitive paper looks like an x-ray, or "rayograms," as he called them. Literally an American in Paris, he was a significant contributor of the Dada and Surrealist movements in the 1920s moving forward. Here is a link to some of his work.

This is one of the first pictures I ever took. It was shortly after my dad taught me how to use a film camera. I went off experimenting, forcing my sister to model for me. I love the ghostly affect the over exposure gives to her face. It's not quite as Surreal as some of Man Ray's photos, but it does remind me of one of his photograms, where there is a very small latitude for the exposure, accentuating the contrast between white and black, leaving very little room for gray area.

Lindz - El Paso, Texas

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

afterglow & america the beautiful

Traveling around and photographing the American west has been a dream of mine since I first discovered photography. Kevin Russ is living my dream. I just discovered his photography today on Vimeo. He travels around taking pictures with his iPhone and posting them -- a modern Ansel Adams. The pictures are gorgeous and really capture the beauty of the American landscape. He photographs and edits the photos all on his iPhone. Inspired, I discovered "Afterglow," a photo editing app that gives you a lot of control and allows you to post to social media instantly. Digging through my photo archive I found a couple of photos that I took at McKinney Falls State Park that would work for this.

McKinney Falls State Park - 2011

McKinney Falls State Park - 2011

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the pass to the north

This is another late-ish post, but I'm trying to remain dedicated to my goal. I was relaxing on the couch and jumped up as a remembered that I had forgotten to post. Today, my dad drove into town with my little sister, you know, driving the little one back to college. She will always be 13 years old in my mind. While scrambling, it got me thinking about things we've worked on together. This is a very short film that I'm really proud of. For a film class I had about a year ago, we had an exercise to film a short in less then seven shots that involved either a bike or a theft. I chose theft, of course--it's more exciting. I was heading home that weekend to El Paso and wasn't sure how I was going to do this. But, I arrived with my flip video, and with the help of my mom, dad, and sister, we cranked this one out in a couple of hours.

Monday, January 7, 2013

young love

People always ask what love is. What is love? This is one of those questions that doesn't have a definite answer. I'm not one to answer this question either. But I think most of us can agree on what love isn't, and it isn't easy. It can lift you up and it can ground you in the same second. It can be good, bad, and ugly courtesy of Mr. Leone. Why do we always strive to find this thing that no one can define, something that these days we are either falling in or out of? The real question is if it were easier would it then be worth our efforts?

Bertha & Stephen - Somerville, Texas - 2012

Friday, January 4, 2013

for all you birdwatchers out there

For all you birdwatchers out there -- This lovely hawk landed on the ledge outside of Lady Bird's office on the 10th floor this morning. I'd never seen a hawk up close like this before, with only three feet and a pane of glass between us. She was standing on one leg and looked right me before taking off over the Austin skyline. One of our archivists on the 9th floor thinks it might be a Red Tail Hawk. What do you think?

DIG13456-001, LBJ Library photo by Lauren Gerson

DIG13456-008, DIG13456-013, DIG13456-021, LBJ Library photos by Lauren Gerson

DIG13456-024, LBJ Library photo by Lauren Gerson

Thursday, January 3, 2013

mistake photos

I like mistake photos. I like going back through and editing photos when you haven't looked at them since you shot them. This is one of those. I was a little ambitious in my "year in review" blog post for today, but this is related. In October, we were driving on our way to Liberty County and hit a deer, totaling my car, injuring my wrist, and denting my computer. Kyle and my new Nikon where fine -- thank god. (More pictures to come tomorrow.) On our crazy journey back to Austin, we stayed with my dad who happened to be staying at the Hyatt in Houston for work. I feel that this image defines that week. Kind of a blur, but clear enough that you can remember everything.

Hyatt - Houston, Texas - 2012

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

time lapse and other new year's resolutions

One of my New Year's resolutions this year is to get my photography website up and running. It's something that I've been talking about for a really long time. Years actually. So it's about time that I buckle down and start going through my multiple-terabyte hard drive(s) to pick out some images. My other tech-related resolution is to post everyday on this blog. I'm starting a project where I'm going to be talking about photography a lot and I might as well start with my own. All while keeping up with work at the LBJ Presidential Library. Which, by the way, is open again. Go see it. We've been working really hard the last few months before the doors opened again on Dec. 22. This is one of the projects I did. Time lapse is fun but time consuming... Happy New Year and cheers to all those people that follow through with their resolutions.