Summer Sendoff: Musikfest 2016!

With summer's end comes one of my favorite bittersweet events - I love it as it's always a wonderful time full of fabulous food, great music, and unforgettable atmosphere, but with it comes a gentle sadness because it means fall is right around the corner, the last hurrah for warmer weather.

 I could only be referring to Musikfest, a 10-day festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania that never fails to bring a wealth of free musical performances to the Lehigh Valley, and in my 27 years of enjoying life, I have yet to miss a single one (which is a record I fully intend to maintain as long as I can). There is always a plethora of unique and delicious food, not to mention some of the coolest cultural creations around (such as the stilt-walking street performer group Saurus, who dresses up like giant dinosaurs and gently terrorize festival-goers!). And of course we can't forget the amazing artisanal community that comes to sell their wares at the fest, from handmade soaps and looseleaf teas to homemade salsas and bonsai trees - you never know what cool gifts or souvenirs you might find!

This year I had the unique pleasure of working as a photographer for the festival, a goal I'd been working towards for several years, and an opportunity I was excited to finally take hold of. Not only did I get to photograph one of my favorite bands from the years of teenager-dom ( shoutout to Chevelle for being just as great live as they are in studio!), but I also was granted backstage access to shoot some of the festival's musical regulars like Scythian and March Fourth (who happen to be two of my personal favorites). 

These are some of my favorites that I think best encompass the vibe of this fabulous summer festival, & hope to see you there next year - I'm already counting down the days! 

Fashion editorial: Gwen Albers

2 or so years ago, I met the lovely actress/model Gwen Albers at an Indieworks screening (if you love short films, it's the perfect place, trust me - and there's one happening tonight!) and she has come to be one of my favorite kindred spirits in the city. She so thoroughly impressed me when I saw her fantastic performance in a short film there that I immediately sought her out after, and the rest is history. Fast forward to now, and I'm excited to share some photos from our first official collaboration (hopefully one of many to come!), which I'm happy to say is also some of my favorite new work!

We spent the day working our way through Brooklyn, taking advantage of its fantastic street art, beautiful parks, and impressive architecture - a perfect hyper-saturated representation of New York City's creative culture. We roamed from the Williamsburg Bridge to Dumbo to Red Hook and everywhere in between, and had the most gorgeous sunset glow to work with during the golden hour (a photographer's dream!). Gwen was a natural in front of the camera, and her beautiful spirit inside and out definitely came through, which was wonderful to work with. Add in the beautiful clothing and pieces provided by Dutchess clothing, and I couldn't have asked for a better shoot that day, or better weather. Here are some of my favorites, and can't wait to shoot with Miss Gwen again!

Marvel's Daredevil!

I'm so happy and proud to share with you all one of my most exciting jobs yet; working with Marvel & Netflix to promote the worldwide premiere of Daredevil! I was asked to document the installation of street art going up in Hell's Kitchen in NYC, and it was easily one of the most interesting jobs I've ever had. I've always wondered how the process worked for putting these large graphic elements on the sides of buildings, and loved getting so see how in a matter of minutes, a blank space turned into a giant work of art. It was so much fun to be a part of this project, as the same thing was happening simultaneously in 12 other cities, including London, Berlin, and Mexico City, and I couldn't wait to see what the other pieces of art looked like. I also was thrilled to be working for Marvel and Netflix, clients I only dreamed of having previously, and now having seen the show, I'm so proud I got to be a part of it, even if only in some small way. Here's to getting more jobs like this in the future!

Musikfest 2014!

There's nothing quite like Musikfest, one of the largest music festivals in the United States, which is easily the one of the best cultural aspects my hometown has to offer. A huge 10-day endeavor, with over 1 million visitors every year, it easily is one of the most inspiring events I've ever encountered, and always becomes a source of inspiration. Not only does it boast some of the best musical performances to be found, but it also pays beautiful tribute to this historic town with its commitment to protecting the Bethlehem Steel, as well as highlighting it as a backdrop for some of the largest stages. The food and craft vendors are just as fabulous as the music, there's never a shortage of amazing buskers, and this year's festival was no exception. As we've hit that mid-winter peak, full of cold and dreary days, I thought this would be an appropriate post for a wintry day and bring a little summer back into this snowy season. 

Carry That Weight; A Rally For Women Everywhere

On Wednesday, I made sure to get out and photograph a rally being held at Columbia University, as well as many other college campuses around the country, protesting for an end to sexual and domestic assault at universities. The protest and movement were inspired by Emma Sulkowicz, a senior at Columbia University who, as a performance art piece, has decided to carry her dorm room mattress with her until her rapist is expelled from the school, as a symbol of the weight she always carries with her after the assault that occurred in her dorm room. What started out as an individual protest quickly grew into a motivated movement as fellow students began to help carry Emma's mattress with her, and has continued to grow from there. 

I decided to approach the post production for this project in a way very different from my typical method, as I felt the color tones needed to emphasize the vibrant red that the rally seemed to adopt, while recognizing the communal emotions felt by all who attended. I thought muted colors emphasized not only the reality of what the day was like, but also the feelings many throughout the crowd expressed while protesting the collegiate system's lack of appropriate handling of sexual assault cases. It was inspiring to see so many students, both women and men, coming out on such a dreary day to support the need for change in how colleges treat the sexual violence that occurs on their campuses, and I hope that inspiration comes through with these images.

People's Climate March!

Yesterday marked a momentous occasion; over 400,000 people marched collectively to raise awareness about climate change in NYC. Not only was I proud to be part of such an important and large movement, but I tried to capture the feel of the march as best I could with my camera. From protesting fracking, to shifting to solar energy, to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, many positive words were promoted at this rally, and I hope it inspires some genuine and much-needed change from the steps of wall street to the doorsteps of our own homes. Our planet needs protecting, and this was a tremendous event that spoke mountains of truth.

Lost Landmarks: 5 Pointz

5 Pointz, Panorama, © February 2013. Click to see full image.

This infamous graffiti-covered factory building was one of the most inspiring discoveries I made when I first became acquainted with New York City. I couldn't wait to go explore it with my camera to capture the best parts of it (even if it wasn't quite following their rules). 

A year later, and I'm very glad I didn't completely respect their wishes. On Nov. 19th, the multitude of talented works of art were whitewashed to make room for a condo complex, despite public protest. In memory of the beautiful endeavors of those artists' works, here's some of the photographs I took last year.

I wish I could supply credit to the various graffiti artists who made these, but at least we can all appreciate their efforts.