On my calendar for July 21, 2017, at 7 a.m. it reads, "street photography | location: downtown chicago."

If I don't book my time, I will not do something.

Lately, I've been charging myself with eschewing social media, the news, and general distractions to concentrate on me, my art and creativity.

I'm trying to build new habits and give up on ones that are mentally or even physically distracting from productivity.

Just like working out, there are times when even if it's in my schedule, I'll almost do anything to trick myself from going. But I was determined. And I went.

Armed with a Panasonic GH5 and a Hasselblad H5D-40, I set out. I drove down, left the Hasselblad in the car and just shot the GH5. I did both video and stills.

When I got back to the car, I thought, "Fuck it. I'll end today. I got some good stuff. I'm headed home."

I text Tina to tell her I was on my way. Then I looked up and saw an image that I needed to take. I reached for the door handle, stepped back out, opened the back door where my cameras were, and pulled out the Hasselblad.

I took this image:

 

I text Tina afterward and said, "Nix that. I'm headed out with the Hassy."

So off I went.

I took photos for another hour. I met some people.

Like a woman who saw me and yelled out: "Hey, Camera Man!"

She was sitting outside at a Dunkin Donuts across from Columbia college. "What camera is that?"

I told her.

"Wow! What are you a fashion photographer?"

"I'm mainly portraits and interiors."

"You gotta come talk to my class. I teach across the street." She pointed at Columbia.

"Cool!"

We exchanged info.

Here's her image. She called herself "The Pope."

 

After that I took a portrait of a guy. He asked for $10 to photograph him.

We did a short seven or eight frame session.

I said, "What's your name?"

"<unintellible multi syllable word>" he responded.

"What?"

"<unintellible multi syllable word>" he repeated.

"I'm not sure what you're saying," I said.

"Well, my friends call me: T to the M to the ACK."

"T-mack?"

"Yes!" He pointed my way.

"T-mack it is!"

Here's his portrait:

 

I also took more shots that I loved.

You can view those below. Enjoy.

 

 

rising from a creative slump

For about a year and a half, maybe longer, I've been in a creative slump. My goal lately has been to yank myself out using the tuft on my neck that you pick puppies and kittens up by when they're getting into something they shouldn't.

Creative slumps suck.

As an artist, it's easy to point at all the extraneous factors that are at fault. Certainly there are external factors that come into play. For example: doctor's appointments, an accident, or any other life moment that may distract from productivity.

I've seen other artists -- people in general -- complain about the current political climate and blame that for certain levels of anxiety and lack of productivity. I share that sentiment completely.

It may be too early to shout out to the world about getting out of this slump, but I'm putting myself on the path. And with hard work and perseverance, I hope to stay there.

I've been seeing a therapist lately, and we've been exploring my fears, insecurities and how they pertain to self-expression.

Like other artists, I allow fear to prevent me from creating something, for fear it's going to turn out shitty. Not creating anything defeats the purpose of the creative.

I recently completed this self portrait.

 

It is a motion portrait, btw, so look for movement.  It's one of many things I hope to do to stay on the path. I'm not saying it's the BEST image in the world. But it's an image. It's an executed idea. I had the vision. I made a version of it. I'm sharing it with the world. I'm moving on. 

In a way, it's a metaphor for how I want to grow out of this place of fear and become bigger in the eyes of my audience. Whoever that might be.

I designed the visual with a couple different people in mind as the subject. One girl didn't respond at all to my request. Another one told me she wasn't the one for the job. At least she responded.

The image is a compilation of eight images composited into one. I'm working on a behind the scenes video now to show how I put it together.

Enjoy.

Source: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/dealZone...

Kevin Garrett is a helluva talent!

I had the opportunity to photograph singer/songwriter Kevin Garrett last Thursday at JBTV Music Television. I have to say I was pretty damn impressed by his work and talent. 

He's traveling with a band right now, but often he seems to perform solo. 

Wiki writes this about him: 

Kevin Garrett is an American musician from PittsburghPennsylvania based out of BrooklynNew York.
Kevin Garrett was born on March 25, 1991, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His debut EP, Mellow Drama, was released on April 7, 2015. Garrett co-wrote and co-produced "Pray You Catch Me", the lead track on Beyoncé's album, Lemonade.[7]

The show at JBTV was at noon, and while they were in the green room before their performance, he and his band were chowing on some salads they ordered in. He stuck his head out the green room and asked, "Portillo's is a big Chicago mainstay, right?" 

"Yeah," I said. "They're huge. Everyone loves that place ..." I paused and looked in to see no one had a burger, polish or fries and said, "Wait, none of you got a polish and fries?" 

"No," he said. 

We both laughed. 

Below is the photo I took of him. Facebook hated the treatment I did so I had to do another edit. Facebook pixelated the hell out of the red. To see the other version I did, check my Facebook feed. 

Check out some of his work on youtube

Enjoy. 

Arkells rock and SO do you!

Last Monday, I photographed a portrait and part of the performance with the band Arkells at JBTV Music Studio

From Wiki

Arkells are a Canadian rock band, formed in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2006, they signed with Dine Alone Records,[1] and have since signed with Universal Records Canada.[2] They have released four albums, two EPs and a number of singles that have charted in Canada. The band has won multiple Juno Awards, including one for their album High Noon in 2015.

As I photographed their sound check, I could tell these guys were super cool, very talented and definitely entertaining on stage. They were cool to meet in our quick photo session backstage and were complimentary of my camera gear. 

They did not disappoint the crowd that showed up on their lunch breaks to catch the intimate show. 

If you happened to miss them, check out anything you can find online and grab tickets next time they pass through Chicago or your town! 

Shooting with stylist Rosie Mae

A couple of months ago, my brother-in-law Michael Serafini told Tina and I about a local fashion designer named Rosie Mae who he met at his record store Gramaphone Records

We connected and Tina opened a discussion about a photo shoot featuring some of her designs and styling. We ended up scheduling a quick shoot the last week in June. 

And while I'm not a huge fan of photographing outside at high noon, that was what we agreed to. I'm not afraid of shooting at any time if it's approached well. We ended up shooting with a Einstein and a Photek soft lighter for most of these shots, and I couldn't be happier -- given all the factors around the shoot. 

I mixed use of a Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm f1.4 at around f2 to f2.5 using a variable ND filter and a Hasselblad H5D-40 shooting around f4-f6.8 at 1/800th of a second. 

Our location was the bird sanctuary at Montrose Harbor. It was chosen because it's easy to get to and we didn't have a lot of time to spend running around trying to find locations. It was a Saturday and very crowded. But we make it all work. 

Our team was:

HMUA:
La'Yanna Kai

Models:
Gabija Guzauskaite
Binette Diallo

Wardrobe Stylist:
Rosie Mae

Photo Assistants: 
Adam Clayton
Luis Marin

Producer: 
Tina Serafini

Photographer:
Me.  

Enjoy these photos! 

Follow along with our weekly vLogs

For years, I've intermittently vLogged our experiences. I stopped all together when we re-branded our company with a new identity and name. I'm talking about Wittefini, in case you didn't know.

I'm late to vLogging with regularity game, but I decided that I'm going to at least vLog once a week for as long as I can and as often as I can.

Right now I'm still in an experimental phase. The videos are down and dirty, and I'm taking time away from any downtime I have to produce and edit them. But once I set my mind to something ... I give it my damnedest.

Below is vLog #009. Probably my favorite so far.

Go to my YouTube page to view past episodes or to subscribe if you'd like to follow along. I'm hoping to also start mixing in other personal projects as well as pro work.

Enjoy.





One of my favorite portraits of all time: Phantogram

After yet another hacker attack on my jeremywitteveen.com site, I'm having to rebuild it yet again. 

Below you'll find a photo of the band Phantogram that I took last year. It's one of my favorites of all time. Go here to review more photos I've taken of musicians. 

DreamHost is quite possibly the most insecure host of all time. 

This is the third time I've rebuilt Jeremy Witteveen.com and it's the fifth website I've rebuilt because of compromised security issues with DreamHost.