Last year I was in New York City during Hurricane Sandy. I braved the storm and took some shots below 39th Street on Madison and Park Avenue South. All the power was out except for those that had generators. I was almost knocked over a couple of times during the big gusts of wind. The sound it made as it whipped around the empty streets was harrowing. This image was selected by the judges for this year's APA SF Something Personal exhibition. I'm glad to see some of my personal experiences be shared with others.
I was directed today to National Geographic's website that sells folk art from around the world. Last year they asked if they could use my photography to help set up a page to help sell Ehadji Koumama's Tuareg silver jewelry. I liked how they took the words and images from my video to incorporate it into a simple three page slide show. Please on the link and see the nice job they did.
I first met Jesus back in 2004 for an HIV AIDS medication advertising campaign. Since then we have done a number of photo shoots together and have kept in touch through the years. He recently became very ill and was hospitalized for fourteen days. When he was discharged he contacted a number of people whom he wanted to spend some time with. I felt very honored to be on that list. I finally got to meet his mother who flew up from Mexico to be with her son during his time in the hospital. Jesus is one of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever met. He is a thirty plus year survivor with HIV and has learn to live life as it is a gift and should always be cherished.
Fresh out of the oven. Having fun with some of my favorite friends, Sarah and Tiana.
I chanced upon one of my favorite doors the other day while scouting locations. It's like an old friend who doesn't change much over the years.
I work on many commercial assignments where I am not allowed to exhibit my photography. So last weekend the beautiful Sarah, Veronica Sjoen, Kathy Kato, Jody Frost and I all collaborated to produce some really fun photos together. We basically let off some creative steam. There will be more photos to come, but I wanted to post these two right away.
Photographers Christian Peacock and Jody Frost combined their vision of
a transformative life experience to create a beautiful and inspirational
story about the nature of serious illness and healing through the
collaborative spirit. Two artist with distinctive personal visions
combine to create a third voice. This voice illustrates a story of
life's challenges and the result of coming through the other side. Using
a multi media presentation they will show how creativity and spirit
emerges and can help in the healing process.
Please come hear their inspirational and life affirming story on one woman’s journey through serious illness. Witness what connects us all as patients, caregivers and family.
Tuesday, May 7th. 2013
George Mark Children’s House
2121 George Mark Lane
San Leandro CA. 94578
Click here for Directions
While working on the current UCSF Medical Center ad campaign, I got an early morning call from Dr. Peter Carroll’s office. They asked if I would be interested in photographing an actual live surgery that day. The surgery was going to be performed with the latest in robotic technology “The da Vinci” surgical system.
This would be my first experience to be present during a live surgery. I got all the proper training, such as how to faint and not to step onto the blue circle on the floor of the OR. It was great to witness the teamwork and efficiency of the surgical team. I always remember the expression of “The Healing Touch” “small soft surgical hands”, but with the use of this robot, the surgeon is actually off in the corner of the room performing the very important procedure. The surgeon never touches the patient, yet it is still very evident of his skill and intellect as to how he performs the surgery.
I came across a selenium toned print of my daughter Natalie, this was shot in her kindergarten classroom. Lit with an Elinchrom Octa bank, hand held Hasselblad and hand printed with love and care. This sucker is going to last forever.
Last Thursday evening my friend Jody Frost and I presented “The Collaborative Spirit” at the Apple Store San Francisco. Together we talked about the invention of the creative muse “Isabella” and the transformative nature of serious illness. The well-attended event was the first of the year at the newly design Apple Store in downtown San Francisco. The audience of this well attended event where able to hear how two different creative voices can come together to express a new vision without any predetermined agenda. How Italy, illness, friendship and trust help ferment the muse.
It was an honor to have Jody by my side as she expressed herself in an elegant manner on such a personal subject as her fight with cancer and the changes that happen because of it. I also want to thank Jennifer Fox for capturing the event with her untiring eye for the moment. Also all our friends and family who came out to give us support.
A new posting by me to see if this works.
Metastatic nearoblastoma, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, acute myelogenous leukemia, twin to twin transfusion syndrome, lymphocytic leukemia, pulmonary hypertension, scoliosis, these are very big words associated with these very small children. Words a parent should never have to hear.
Another difficult set of words to hear is:
“You must get to the hospital right away.”
These are all words that entered the lives of these families who needed pioneering care for kids at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. The Hive Advertising of San Francisco called upon me to photograph a number of children and their families for this heartfelt marketing campaign. All these children are miraculous survivors because of some very amazing medical treatments and care from the people at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Meeting these children, one would not expect they have hada life with so much hardship at such an early age, but that is what makes these photos so special to me -- they look like typical ordinary children.
I guess that is what they wanted from me, simple, honest photos that get to the heart of the matter.
Here is a letter I wrote to the George Mark Children's House.
Dear George Mark Children's House,
The opportunity you offer these young people is a blessing and a gift to live life experiences that other children may have. I had a gut feeling something special would occur that night, because I see with my soul and capture with my heart. The uninitiated may not understand the full meaning of these photographs, but the parents and children themselves understand that they live in a different world – a world with limits and physical boundaries, but not a world without love and compassion.
Kevin helped me app some of the Instagram photos. Who else would know how the final look would be on a shot but the man who wrote the code. The most important thing I came away with from this shoot was hearing Kevin say that Instagram was designed to be a social networking tool and that the photography aspect came afterwards and all the filters are a byproduct of something he love to do. He loves that old fashion retro look that one can get from toy cameras. He basically designed something he liked and everybody followed suit.
check, double check
Here is a color photo that Connie took of me at the opening.
SFMOMA Artist Gallery selected eight of my photographs for consignment. They represent northern California artist. One can rent the art with the intent to purchase. Please drop by their gallery at Fort Mason in San Francisco to view some wonderful art.
This series of photography represents my black & white city scape work. It mostly consist of architectural elements with strong line and form.
Date May 9th.
Apple Store, San Francisco
One Stockton Street
San Francisco, CA. 94108
Upstairs - This is a free event. Seating is first come first serve.
Mark approaches his art/photography with the same “Beginners Mind” that he applies to chaplaincy studies, infant bereavement photography, cycling and marriage to his wife, Susan. The gift of a plastic Thunderbird camera at age 7 led him to study art at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in his hometown of Houston, TX., and later earn a B.F.A. at the K. C. Art Institute. His creative inspiration comes from a love of illustration, music, Bizarro comics and artists Duane Michaels, Robert and Shauna Parke-Harrison, Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko.
Mark attends seminary at The Chaplaincy Institute for Arts and Interfaith Ministries and will be ordained in March of 2013. In June he begins as a spiritual care intern at Kaiser Hospital and a 1-yr. residency in Sept. He is an active cyclist, Area Coordinator/photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Pathways Hospice volunteer, has served as the SF APA Success Team Coach, Sec. of Graphic Artists Guild and photographer for The Forgotten International.
To view Mark's photography please visit http://www.estesphoto.com/
This story about "Intimacy and the iPhone" was posted yesterday on the iPhoneography blog iPhoneogenic. Thank you Edi Caves for giving me the opportunity to share Jody Frost's story.
Below is the transcript of it.
Intimacy and the iPhone
Photographs have always been a marker in time for me. I remember taking my first photo when I was five years old sitting on my father’s shoulders in Yosemite. Capturing what’s in front of me and recording my life with a camera is in my DNA. People who are close to me become a life long subject. Looking at these photos take me back to places in my memories of the moment. Using the iPhone to capture markers in time has become more convenient. The iPhone is always in my pocket. It’s unobtrusive. It’s ubiquitous. Because of that I can sometimes become more intimate with my subject. This small device is so accepted in our culture that most pretences fall by the wayside. People tend to be more themselves when the iPhone comes out of my pocket.
This brings me to my very dear friend Jody Frost. We became friends because of our mutual love for art, photography and images captured with the iPhone. Jody is very use to being in front of the camera. Being a beautiful woman she had been photographed all her life. With those experiences comes a certain preset list of expressions, poses, and self-awareness. The more I got to know her, the more I was able to capture authentic photos of her being. Soon an intimacy would come. A time of trusts and total acceptance. A photo capture at that time becomes an authentic moment. We were able to capture these genuine photos before she was diagnosed with cancer. With the onset of her fight we never discussed if I should document her journey. It just happens, because she is a part of my life and I take photographs. It’s just acceptance among friends.
Most of the photos are shot with a DSLR because of the fantastic technical capabilities of the Nikon d3s. This is important to know as how I roll. I love a good crafted piece of art. Be it photographs, painting. Architecture or music, I appreciate the skilled hand of the artist. I love results of a thoughtful and practiced hand. From this comes beauty. This goes for people as well. Jody represents beauty in its purest form. Her beauty goes way deeper than skin deep. It goes down to an understanding of life and appreciation of what is around her. Of course she has her demons and fears. This is what makes her human. What make our photos together so compelling is her trust in herself and in me. Because of that trust there can be an intimacy with the moment and captured with the camera.
While Jody was in the hospital coping with the heinous side effects of chemo and radiation I would shoot a few images from time to time with my iPhone. This was very challenging for me because I am in the trenches with her as well as trying to document her journey. It’s a hard place to straddle, emotionally and technically, but it’s also the most precious of places as for intimacy of the moment. Using the iPhone to capture the marker in time was the perfect tool at that moment.
As for post-production on these types of photos I take, I tend to do minimal processing of the image. That is because these photos I shoot with my eye and heart are the evidence of how I felt at that moment of capture. Sometimes these photos may not be pretty, but there are always truthful to how I see things.
This single photo of Jody was shot during one of her most trying of times with pain. She tries to cope with meditation and relaxation, along with some very powerful pain medications pumped into her body. What moves me the most about this photo is that there is still evidence of an inner strength and magnificence in her soul, even in the midst of so much abuse on her body, there is grace and beauty.
Even for a photographer who specializes in photographing “real people,” Christian Peacock was given a very unusual assignment: find the “Hard-to Reach”
The client, The U.S, Census Bureau, was determined to reach out to groups that have been under-represented in past census counts. This could result in a disproportionate loss of Federal funding.
DraftFCB, the advertising agency of record, was responsible for the broad base awareness campaign and assigned IW Group of Los Angeles the Asian language advertising segment. Christian Peacock Photography was awarded the job of creating the photography because of his expertise photographing “real people talent” that had been central to campaigns for Lilly, Genentech and PG&E.
As a Pacific Rim nation there are many diverse Asian populations. The campaign focused on twelve different groups: Asian Indian, Bengladeshi, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Hmong, Lao, Pakistani, Thai and Vietnamese.
Over 2,300 people auditioned for 360 roles. It tool several months traveling throughout So. California for Peacock and his crew to find a cast of photogenic people that would represent a cross-section of society – infants, grandparents, young lovers, blue collar workers, and business professionals.
Traditional methods for casting do not work when your talent can’t read English nor use a computer. Emails were replaced by outreach to religious organizations, cultural event planners, and community centers. To reach the Hmong and Lao the casting net was thrown out as far as Fresno California where these cultures had immigrated when fleeing their homelands back in the 1970’s.
Christian recalls how some groups were not as responsive as others. “We were not getting the numbers needed for the Pakistani population until Cathy Eng, the casting agent, found out about a Pakistani pop concert. We set up at the concert and did the casting call right there.”
Finding the people is stage one. The next step is directing this diverse cast and getting the shots. Christian Peacock and his producer Connie Conway know how to run a smooth shoot even when twelve different languages are being spoken. The stringent requirements of government approved layouts also had to be accounted for to the degree that one day the creative director, John Lee Wong, was in Washington DC presenting final ads to a Congressional sub-committee rather than on set.
This was a large-scale production and almost the entire 360 member cast had never been at commercial shoot. The goal is to make everybody feel comfortable and relaxed.
Christian needed them to trust him and not get distracted by the crew of assistants, stylists, translators, pet handlers, digital techs, producers, site reps, police and fire marshals. On the census shoots there was always additional family members accompanying the selected talent making for a family reunion mood in the backstage area.
IW Group had created a multi-tiered campaign with the message that completing the census form was a way to help their communities. It was Christian Peacock’s job to take this message and put it into photographic form by having his cast convey pride in participation in the census.
A long shot list was repeated twelve times, switching out for each language group. One layout called for twenty people in one shot. They would be standing by a mailbox proudly holding up a census envelop while Christian made sure that everyone’s face could be seen clearly. There were babies, dogs, children and seniors. Christian juggled all these components and had all twenty people cheering toward the camera.
Getting the talent involved is one reason why Christian is successful with real people.
He encourages curiosity about the process whether it’s a technical question or a young girl’s fascination with the make-up stylist.
When discussing the project Peacock says “I am moved by the basic humanity that gets expressed without language. I saw strangers become family in front of my camera.” The final photos were used all across the USA in Asian communities. For the first time many of these people will feel a part of their new homeland. The census has been done, now is the time for tabulations. These diverse groups will be recognized and weaved into the American fabric.