Just a post

“Aw Hell Naw!”

Last Friday I got a text message from a source saying that there was going to be a surprise rally held in the Tacony section of Philadelphia. OK, not a big deal, In Philadelphia rallies are almost a daily occurrence. So I wrote back, “And?”

“And it’s being held by the Klu Klux Klan.” Ok that got my attention!

It seems that there was some type of issue with a KKK member trying to get into the neighborhood watch program and he was rejected. This person thought it was strictly because he was a Klan member, which I couldn’t confirm, and he told his Klan friends. They decided that this warranted a little, un-promoted, not announced, little rally on the Tacony library steps.

What they didn’t quite understand is this particular neighborhood is very in touch and the word got out. Quickly. Tacony is one of the “live and let live” area’s of the city and they are proud of the fact that there is little or no racial issues in that area. “Sure we have issues,” one neighbor told me, “but there just issues. We work through them.”

When I arrived at the library there were a few people in the area and a few young men were about to go into the corner store. When they saw us arrive with our press badges and such they asked, “What’s going on?”

When we told him about the rally his reply was, “In Tacony? Aw hell naw!”

The young man know as “Twin” promptly got on his cell phone and shortly there were quite a few neighbors there to counter any numbers the KKK were sending. You see the KKK was importing people from surrounding states to boost their numbers. They had people from New York, Maryland and Virginia but we think when their scout reported back that some decided against coming as they didn’t have a whole lot of people at the rally once it actually got started.

This neighborhood grouped together within minutes and stood together to push a known racist group out of their area. They refused to stand idly by and let them have their say without saying something back; and they certainly gave it back with gusto. This is the type of Philadelphia I am proud of.

Yo Tacony, thanks for making me proud!

 

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Motivation

What motivates us to do the things we do? Of course I can’t speak to what motivates you but I can think and write about what motivates me. I should have an idea at least!

As a photographer many things motivate me. I love the challenge of capturing images, especially capturing images that I have never tried to capture before. I very much enjoy that I know I will never know all that there is to know about the art. Photography is so vast that I just don’t have enough time to learn it all. Anyone that tells you that they do know it all doesn’t know how vast it truly is. But is this what actually motivates me to keep getting up in the morning?

There is a passion that I have for photography that I can’t explain. I know that the instant gratification of digital certainly helps keep me interested in trying a particular shot until I get it where I want it. That doesn’t explain what hooked me back in the 70s when I was thrust into a darkroom. I still remember the feeling I got when I watched that image appear on the paper.

That feeling is what motivates me. It is what makes me want to create every day and every day I do my best to create something. Some days it may not be an image, it may be an idea, it may even be helping someone else create something, but each and every day I need to create. At times I am not sure if it is motivation or obsession. I think my wife would say it’s probably both.

I hope that you are doing what you are motivated to do. Perhaps what you do for a living isn’t your passion, but hopefully you have the opportunity to feed that part of yourself. For a long time I worked at doing things I was very good at doing but I wasn’t motivated to do. Being the perfectionist that I am this left little or no time to do what I really wanted… no needed to do.

 

One day my sister was looking at an image I created and she said, “And you don’t do this for a living, why?” She was the first to say it but over the next few years she wasn’t the only one. Eventually I had to sit down and think, what was I afraid of? My father used to say I was afraid of success, my high school guidance counselor said I was afraid to fail, but when I thought of photography I wasn’t afraid of anything. I have to say here that this can be a bad thing but that is another story for another time. Suffice to say pay attention to what you are doing when trying to get the shot.

So if photography let me forget any fears I may (or may not) have, what was I waiting for? That is the day that Michael Albany Photography was born.

I specialize in shooting architecture and people. These two types of photography are far from each other. Where one is like herding cats, the other is like waiting for the sun to rise. Sometimes that is exactly what you need to do too, wait for the sun. The vast differences between them is what attracts me to both. They both feed different parts of me.

I see beauty in different places. I see it in the structure and lines in a building. I see it in the curves and subtle shadows of the human form. I see the life that once was in old abandoned buildings, and I see the life that has yet to come in a young face.

How can I not be motivated by that?

 

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Where does the time go?

So here it is the end of April and I am just starting my blog entry for January. Not too far behind, nah. Where does all the time go?

I hope you are wondering what I have been up to, what I have been shooting, what amazing projects have I begun (and finished at this point), what spectacular images have I created? I can say that some great images have come out of the last few months; I have photographed some wonderfully amazing people, some events that were exciting and fun, and so much more. It has been a very busy year so far!

In my last post I was celebrating my wonderful wife and our time together. She thinks it’s corny but hey, I kinda like her so call me corny. It turns out that so many people liked the images I took of her to say “Happy Anniversary Baby!” that I was asked time and time again to do something similar for friends and clients. Who am I to say no? Of course I would shoot these people and help bring out their wonderful personalities!

In fact there were so many requests to create this type of imagery for people I have had to start an entirely new website just for the boudoir images. You can see a few below, to see even more head out to BoudoirPhilly.com and see a lot more!

Photographing beautiful women isn’t all I have been doing (not that I am complaining at all). There have been events like the Mt. Airy Art Garage’s opening to celebrate their quilt show. Needless to say the quilts were stunning!

I have been to Manhattan to shoot a fantastic singer Randy Herman. We shot his new album cover throughout the snowstorm in January. Lucky for us Grand Central is a great place to create images that show him “Moving Through Time”. You can learn all about Randy on his website, therandyherman.com and check out the new album (as well as the cover art of course), I think you will love it!

While I was in NY I had the opportunity to spend time with one of my favorite people in the world, Beate Chelette. I can tell you right now, she is one of the smartest people I know. You should check out her book, “Happy Woman, Happy World”; it’s not just for women. I have it in both hard copy and the ebook. I never want to miss a word of it!

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book cover

StanSmith-001When I got back from NY I continued working with one of my favorite clients, Stan Smith, a Philly guy that is constantly helping the local neighborhoods to grow and flourish. This is the kind of guy who everyone should try to grow up to be. He not only refurbishes aging properties, but keeps them affordable for local businesses so that they contribute to the growth and well-being of the community, and that is before he even starts doing his work for the neighborhood and all the nonprofits he is involved in! Check him out at StanSmith.me, I think you will be impressed, I am.

Then there are the architectural shoots, the marches to help victims of sexual violence, business events in downtown Philadelphia, and so much more. Now that I write all this I see where the time has gone. It has gone into doing a lot of great work for a lot of great people!

This is just the beginning of 2014! More to come and I promise I won’t wait 4 months to post again.

 

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Happy Anniversary Baby!

You have probably heard the old saying “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” All it means is that when you do something for a living you tend to do it for others more than yourself or your family. Photography is no different. Contrary to what many photographers’ spouses say, we do not have a camera glued to our eye 24/7.

My wife is my favorite model; no ifs ands or buts about it. Unfortunately though I rarely photograph her. Either she is wiped out from a long day at the office or I am so far into working for clients that we just don’t get to it as much as we might like. I do try to shoot her at least once a year and although she did model for me once this year back in February, those images still haven’t made it to the blog!

For a while I have been contemplating a shoot with her, how I wanted to shoot it, what lighting to use, etc. Then last week a coworker of my wife’s mentioned that I am crazy for not shooting her more often (thank you George). He was right though and when Amy (my wife) mentioned it to me I said, “well how about Sunday we shoot then?” The date was set, time to shoot!

Christmas Eve is a special day for Amy and I. Not only is it the day that we usually celebrate the Christmas holiday with her family, it is also our wedding anniversary. For this shoot I wanted to do something special, I wanted to make sure that I did my best. These images are our gifts to each other. Her by modeling and me by doing my best for my best model.

 

The gift of these images is one of the best gifts my wife could give me.

Although I think these images show how beautiful my wife is, I think it barely scratches the surface of how wonderful and beautiful she actually is. I am one lucky S.O.B.

Happy Holidays!

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You’ve created your Masterpiece! Now what?

I will be teaching a class at the Mt. Airy Art Garage this February 8th from 1 – 5pm on what to do once you have created that perfect work of art. It’s time to get it out to the world, but how?  This is going to be a ton of information all in one afternoon so bring your notebooks!

Topics covered will include:

  • Showing your art electronically
  • The importance of quality presentation of the art (such as quality photos of the art)
  • Websites, free, cheep, easy and advanced
  • Networking, where and with whom
  • Organizational alignments with community organizations like, oh the Mt. Art Garage for example?

Click the image below to sign up!

So you’re going to be there right?

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Class Flyer

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Just Because…

Even More NY Adventures!

As I mentioned in my last article “OMG What a Month” I was also in NY last month working on a calendar project for a non-profit. I said I would write about it when the calendar came out. Well, it’s out and you can order your copy here; The Calendar Project!

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Hollywood Stars!

There were a number of us involved in the project, 3 photographers, two art directors, many assistants and 20 or so models. It was a large project and we all think it came out really well. I wasn’t the only photographer on the project but as it turned out I did end up getting 6 images into the calendar, only two of which are posted here. In addition to having my images in the final calendar I also did the editing for all the images and I hope I did well by all the photographers.

This was a huge project for the small amount of time it took to go from concept to an actually printed piece. The efforts of the crew and everyone involved is what made it happen. Everyone volunteered for this and no one is getting paid in any way which makes it even more amazing. Even scheduling was a huge task due to everyone having their regular schedules to deal with and everyone made amazing sacrifices to pull it all together. As the only full time professional involved I think I had it easiest as my schedule is made up of this kind of thing all the time.

Poker

Poker

Everyone is hoping to get all the calendars sold by December 1st and they are about 50% sold now. This is a very limited printing and if you want a copy, you better hurry! You don’t want to miss this pinup inspired calendar. All the images are different but all have a retro feel. Some of the images are titled;

The Greaser
Singing in the Rain
Champagne Toast
The Rosie Riveters

Again, to get yours go to The Calendar Project and order now before they are gone!

 

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OMG What a Month!

First let me apologize for not writing sooner. It has been whirlwind of a month! Two trips to New York and a complete computer system switch all in about 3 weeks!

Yes you read that right, a complete computer switch. The terminal PC guy has switched to the dark (well, white and silver actually) side; I am 100% Apple and the Windows machines have been retired. Before you ask, no I am not switching from Nikon! I’m not that crazy. The computer switch was fairly easy, not seamless and not as smooth as I had hoped, but so far it is working out well and all my devices actually communicate with each other. Weird huh?

Something tells me that you are not reading this to know about my computer woes however. Perhaps it has something to do with images? You know that photography thing. Well that part of my life has been busy too! Very busy in fact.

I have been working with a couple of non-profit organizations on a calendar project and 6 images of mine will be in the calendar! More details on that in the next post that should come out about the same time as the calendar itself. Because of that project though, I got a second great project.

The Art Director of The Calendar Project happens to work for two amazing musicians and they needed images for their new albums that are coming out soon. I have no idea who they could get to shoot that. Oh wait, I could do that! Last Friday not only did we shoot, we did a fantastic shoot!

Josh Nelson and Neshama (pronounced NEH SHAH MAH) Carlebach are two talented artists that do “New. Jewish. Rock.” as Josh puts it. I have to be honest, if I hadn’t met Josh and Neshama I wouldn’t know about this type of music, I can say however that it is fantastic and you all should take a listen. These two take the music to a new level and they are raising the bar for everyone, not just Jewish Rock artists but all musicians. You can check out Neshama and Josh’s work on their sites www.neshamacarlebach.com and www.joshnelsonproject.com but keep in mind the new stuff isn’t out yet!

I am so excited about the images that we created that I am giving you sneak peaks. These aren’t the final images, these are just the beginnings and the final edited images will be on the new CDs they are releasing soon.

Josh was right when he asked, “Doesn’t it feel good to just let go and be creative?” Yes Josh it certainly does, and this is the next shot we got of him right after he said it.

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Josh Nelson

However, my favorite shots of the day came shortly before that when Neshama and I were working on a concept I had that, for me, just screams “vocals!” In this image you can see Neshama’s passion for her music. The music on her upcoming CD is actually her father’s music and perhaps that is why it means so much to her. It certainly came through in this image.

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Neshama Carlebach

We had a great day shooting and even when the day was ending, the creativity wasn’t. We had to step outside and get another set that included the light from the sun setting over New York.

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Josh and Neshema – The Streets of Brooklyn

We even went back in and did a few more after this one. The shoot was much like their music. No matter how good it is, you just never want it to end.

 

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