February 28, 2007

Antonio Margarito

I don't know who anybody is. But when someone is introduced to you as the Welterweight Champion of the World, you perk up. That's what happened to me before making this portrait of that very title holder. His name is Antonio Margarito and he's a super-cool and generous guy.

I had the pleasure of shooting him a few times in a few different settings and each time he was as cooperative and flexible as anyone I've ever shot. This particular portrait is a random pick from my collection and just happens to be in the Pictures folder of my laptop.

I pulled my hamstring this evening so I am laid up on my back with my leg elevated. I'm not making the effort to sit at my desk to find more compelling images. Healing is the priority. Good thing all I have to do tomorrow is fly to LA.

And for those of you counting, I think I posted more times than there are days this month. It's a record. I'm on a roll.

Make pictures, heal.

February 27, 2007

Drive By HI

I went digging this afternoon and decided I'd share a few drive-by Hawaiian landscapes.

When I was out there in October, I rented a car and took it for a drive around the island of Oahu. I made these as I drove which I don't recommend...but, you know, I'm a professional. (For the blog, I ended up stacking them on top of each other because I liked the little design or rhythm that occurs when they are like that).

Shooting out car windows is something I seem to do a lot. Maybe because I don't own a car, I become super-aware that my experience of the landscape is being framed by the windshield. I enjoy putting the rear view mirror in the shot or using the angled lines of the car itself as compositional elements. And that's saying nothing of reflections in the mirrors which are tricky.

By no means do I have this space locked down but it is always a fun and challenging place to make strong images. As with most things in photography, luck is a big part of it.

Make pictures.

February 26, 2007

Maria in My New Light

As promised, I made some shots using my new light without me as a model. As fortune would have it, my Coyote Ugly friend Maria needed some shots so she became my guinea pig (even though she was really after more ring light shots).

This image is pretty much just the way the camera recorded it. I ran it through my "special sauce" but did little to no burning or dodging. I love the way the light falls of so quickly and she seems to pop off the background. I am curious to bring it into some different locations including ones with more depth. My apartment has its limitations after all.

Make pictures.

This Time Two Years Ago

Here's one from Cambodia of a glue sniffing kid. I remember this night well. I had been up for what seemed like a week making pictures and on this night I could do no wrong with my camera. Despite being exhausted, the energy that was flowing through my hands was palpable.

It was such a contrast to the depressing scenes of young drug-addicted kids and drunken tourists. I remember two women who wanted to help them but were powerless to intervene. I remember how the night began and ended. I remember being sweaty. I remember fighting off a cold the following days due to lack of sleep. Good memories and photos.

Make pictures.

February 25, 2007

Row 28 Study aka Snaps on a Plane

Here are some from the archives that are apropos in that I am "jonesing" to get on an airplane. I haven't been home this long in months. Thankfully, I'm off to LA on Thursday for an indeterminate amount of time.

The story behind these images is typical me. I was in the plane with three seats to myself when I decided to see if I could make some cool shots without leaving my row. I'm a geek and I'm okay with it.

Upon initial review and editing, I ended up making this composite and hadn't really looked back. This morning, the window shot caught my eye in a random sweep of the folder.

For those of you who fly a lot, it's American Airlines (the ice should be the giveaway).

It's a little study in selective focus using my 50mm ƒ1.4 to it's fullest. I love that lens. I don't know if I've shared the composite before. Apologies if it's a repeat.

Make pictures.

February 24, 2007

Home Kino

I got inspired at Picture Ray yesterday by the guy who runs the studio. So much so that this morning I took my Home Depot gift card, walked up to 23rd Street, bought two florescent work lights and daylight balanced bulbs, took them home, retrofit them with some sparrow plates I had in my closet and voila, I have two new do-it-yourself Kino lights for under a hundred bucks.

I did some tests with myself as the model this evening and I'm really happy with the results. I'd share them but they're embarrassing.

Make pictures and your own lights.

February 23, 2007

Thoughts On Photography

This week's photography link is not photography site but the issues are ones of real importance for us as photographers and image-makers. I've spoken about Susan Sontag's On Photography before and here are two eloquent responses to that work that date from 1980 but are still completely relevant today. Maybe more than ever.

It's all food for thought.

Make pictures and read.

February 22, 2007

2.21.02 2:55

I had just come from a meeting yesterday when I found myself riding down Broadway. My camera was around my neck so when the light that was shining into that urban canyon caught my eye, it was nothing to reach down, lift the camera up and snap three shots. I didn't even slow down. When I got home, the third image pretty closely reflected what I saw.

It's not remarkable, just a little sun-kissed street scene. The sunlight that is illuminating Time Square isn't direct sunlight. It's bouncing off Four Times Square (home of Condé Nast and Skadden Arps) so it's just a little different in it's qualities. It takes on a slightly softer feel, the way a bounce reflector would work. In this case, it's simply one that is a few stories high.

Just thought I'd share one that wasn't a few years old.

Make pictures.

February 21, 2007

Two Things

As promised, here's some more night stuff. Maybe this weekend I'll go shoot some new images like this. It's been a while. Let's see if I've gotten rusty. Has the Streetstudio made me timid? Does spending hours of your day looking for "commercial" images dull your nerve? I guess we'll see. I doubt it.

Unrelated to that, I learned a little lesson in preparedness yesterday. I was out shooting a quick little job for a client. I was on my own time as there is no deadline. I just had my one body and one lens and was taking care of business when I realized I'd been shooting RAW instead of JPEG and my card had filled up. I only had the one card with me. I thought to myself, always take two cards. So here I am telling everyone. No matter how little the job, take an extra card with you. It's so simple. Maybe it'll save you a little time, maybe it'll save the job. In my case, it was a minor hassle but easily avoided.

Take pictures, duh.

February 20, 2007

Hoboken Single

I made this little guy in 2003 as part of my mundane series but never found a match for it. It's been sitting in a "Hoboken" folder all by itself patiently waiting to be seen with a partner image but one never comes. This morning I took pity on it and decided to give it it's debut all by itself. A nice boring shot of the Hoboken PATH station can stand on it's own darn it. And so it does.

I remember making this shot as if it was last night. I'd been at my friend's house for a party and at the end of the night made my way back home via the PATH train. I was challenged to make an interesting shot in the station as a way to kill some time. It was just a little different than the New York subways so my attention was peeked at the fresh environment. I don't get to Jersey much. Anyway, while I was waiting, I bopped around the station looking to make the some boring photos. This is one of them.

I also remember my efforts coming to an end when a transit cop told me I wasn't allowed to shoot in there "'cus it was a terrorist threat." That kind of crap pisses me off but I obliged without challenging the ludicrousness of his assertion. Pick your battles folks.

Make pictures, stay single.

February 19, 2007

Ugly Night?

I suppose that photo is anonymous enough. I only her know her first name anyway.

While we're on the subject of ugly...I thought about pulling up some of my night stuff. I have tons of this sort of thing and very little has been seen. It's my balanced ambient light and flash work that due to the racy subject matter has taken a back seat to more "commercial" images. We'll see how long that lasts. I think it's strong, distinctive and arguably more commercial than people on white backgrounds simply becasue it's edgy. But what do I know? This is an ongoing debate.

Make pictures, don't debate.

February 18, 2007

Prepare for 2008

It's getting to be that time of year when the 2008 calendars are being organized and shot. I haven't gotten a call from Coyote Ugly yet. But I have my fingers crossed that they'll ask me to work for them again. We had such a good time last time it'd be a shame not to try for a repeat performance.

This shot was made in the San Antonio bar using two lights. One behind a white sheet and the other with a beauty dish and grid. Nothing fancy. Just nice and simple. The way I like it. It doesn't hurt to have a magnificently cute and smart Coyote modeling either. She's now the GM of the Ft. Lauderdale store.

Make pictures.

Subdomains Rule

I don't know why I didn't do it sooner but the new URL for this blog is now simply blog.clayenos.com. Nice and simple. Fond as I was of clayenos.blogspot.com (which still works, of course) this new address is much better and easier to tell folks.

It's amazing what kinds of things get done when you have a litte time at home.

Make pictures.

Blurb's New Sizes

Digging around my India pictures I came across this texture. What is it? Is it the work of a child learning his numbers? Is it a score card? Who knows.

Speaking of India and more importantly, you may remember I made a lovely gift book from some of my favorite images a while back using blurb.com. (They were a big hit with my mother who proceeded to order fifteen more copies). As of yesterday, Blurb has three new sizes for their photo books. I am most excited about the six-inch square one.

Make pictures and books.

February 17, 2007

Zack Snyder

I'm so very excited for my friend Zack's film to open nationwide on March 9th. He directed 300 and more than likely you've seen an ad or two promoting it. Just yesterday I saw a few bus shelters urging me to "Prepare for Glory".

Last night in Berlin the film had its world premier and when the credits rolled there was a standing ovation. Yes!

I made this shot of Zack in Argentina because he and his wife Deborah needed shots for some Warner Brothers promotional thing. We scooted outside the hotel, found some reasonable light and a neutral enough background and made some photos. About five minutes ago I messed with it in Photoshop to turn it black and white and uploaded it to flickr. That's that.

Make pictures, go see 300.

February 16, 2007

Boogie Down

As a way for me to find more influences and be inspired, I am going to seek out and share a photography site every week or so. This week it's artcoup.com. Bad Ass. Simple as that.

Make pictures.

Go iStockphoto.com

Look at this. I don't get it one bit but I love that Corbis is bowing to the power of the crowd. iStockphoto must be onto something.

Here's hoping Ed Hidden and Bill Crawford are doing well.

Make pictures.

Strong One

The aspiring musician is a wonderful thing. I love the enthusiasm with which they come to the scene. I genuinely admire and am inspired by that energy. Here's a kid named Kev that I shot a while back but have no idea what has come of him or his career in the music biz.

Good thing he has a degree in chemistry in case things haven't worked out.

A little Google search revealed this but not much more. Incidentally, that's my photoshop fun illustrating the interview. Oh, and it's improperly copyrighted. Whatever.

Either way, this is another good one from the so-called depths of my Xserve RAID. It's quintessential streetstudio except I set up in the front yard of some suburban Orlando mansion. The light was just right and the way this one went black and white is really lovely. Some images convert with such ease. I wonder why.

Make pictures.

February 15, 2007


So I dropped some money into a bit of an experiement in self-promotion. I bought a "titanium portfolio" on portfolios.com. I have no idea if it'll be worth it but the price was right and the sales pitch was personal enough that I caved to their proposition. I still need to write a more professional bio but otherwise it's up and running.

What silly lengths we have to go to just to be noticed.

Make pictures, self-promote.

February 14, 2007

"Making" Changes

It's not smart if you have a well-established brand to change your name but since I toil in relative obscurity there's no harm in me changing the name of my blog to Make Pictures instead of Take Pictures. I did it, it's done.

I've known I should have changed it years ago but I didn't for whatever reason. Then, two days ago, while giving a photo lesson to a friend, she commented on how she likes the way I say "make pictures." Immediately I thought about my blog and how it's title didn't reflect the way I spoke about photography. It relied instead on convention. Most people talk about taking pictures but I, more often than not, say make pictures. Who knows why.

It'll be like a little bit of geeky trivia. People will come to me and say, "I remember when you used to end your blog posts with Take pictures". We'll laugh at how long ago that was and we'll have bonded just a little bit more.

Make pictures baby. From now on. It feels good.

Gym Jones Photos

Nice! I was perusing the Gym Jones site this evening when I noticed that my little slide show is posted in their video section. I made it for them back in November as a token of my appreciation and admiration. I shared one of those photos then but now you can see everything. Check it out.

Some are better than others but it gives a little glimpse into the gritty details of their operation.

For trivia buffs out there, Gym Jones is behind the training of the actors and stuntmen for the upcoming film 300. If you are super curious, go to the site, click on "Making of 300", then "Video Journals" and finally "3: Spartain Training" to see what that's all about.

Make pictures, drink the cool aid.

February 13, 2007

More from Oaxaca

I realized I hadn't shared any more shots from my Oaxaca trip and I had promised to do so. This one is of a farmer in Zaragosa picking ripe "cherries." I made this shot by simply lifting the camera up into the tree and pointing it down. I was fully wide (17mm) and shot without looking. I got a few really nice ones using the same technique.

I had never been in that environment and I certainly had never seen a coffee tree. I just let my intuition be my guide and took note of the best light and most dynamic action. And becasue It's not enough to simply shoot but also to participate. I found a little time to pick some beans as well.

Make pictures.

February 12, 2007

Punta Del Este Portraits

Okay, I finally got all my Punta Del Este portraits edited down and up on my .Mac site. Some of them are a bit rushed and others are cropped poorly but quite honestly I haven't been into post production efforts of late. I am much more interested in shooting.

Sitting on my ass in front of a computer for hours on end isn't what I signed up for when I got into photography. At least in the darkroom you moved around a bit. I suppose that's the price of increased productivity.

Aquí están todas las fotos.

Make pictures.

February 11, 2007

Drive-by Angkor Wat

I thought I'd share a random landscape shot after a few days of portraits. This is one I don't recall ever seeing before. I shot so many photographs during my time in Southeast Asia that I still haven't had the time to look through them all.

This morning I told myself that I'd pick a folder, find a photo and share it. Sure enough, this is the one I picked. It's made from a moving motorcycle rickshaw towards the end of the day as I was leaving the temple complex. I made boatloads of moving vehicle shots during that time most of which are a mess. That's sort of the nature of the beast.

It reminds me of the shot I made of the Taj Mahal earlier this year. You can only get this shot in one place. Blurry? Yes. Unmistakably Angkor Wat? Yes. That's fun. It almost looks like it's shot through a wrinkled paper towel. Especially in he upper right corner. And I love the little glints of orange which are monks in their robes. Good memories.

Make pictures.

Checking on Courtney Crawford

Along the lines of Ronald Martinez, I shot an aspiring women's shoe designer named Courtney Crawford two years ago for his media kit being put together by a friend of mine. It looks like things are going pretty well for him, though I don't really know how that's measured in the shoe business. With fashion week just ending here in New York, one can only hope his desgins continue to be well received.

I shot this in my home using my handy-dandy home-made ring light using my 50mm lens fairly wide open.

Make pictures.

February 10, 2007


I am about to "upgrade" my blogger template. I am reluctant to do so for fear that my customizations will disappear. The annoying thing about most technology is one person's upgrade is another person's pain in the ass. I am that latter person more often than not.

Here goes nothing.

Make pictures. Upgrade.

Retrato Boriqua

This is Ronald Martinez. With any luck you'll be seeing and hearing more of him in the future. He is embarking on his dream to become a famous Latin singer and I was invited to make portraits of him in Puerto Rico.

This shot was made in a random garage that we stumbled into early in our time together. I like the way the red metal that is out of focus in the foreground blends with his shirt color. I am a sucker for slightly obstructed views of the subject. To me, It feels more real. And considering the whole portrait experience is often so contrived, I am drawn to anything that can code an image with a more authentic or casual feel.

I shot with is with my 80-200 at something like ƒ4. I find shooting at 2.8 is problematic for consistent focus so I tend to bump it down a stop, light permitting.

Make pictures.

February 09, 2007

Before the Flood

This is a long lost shot from my shoot of the Coyote Ugly in New Orleans. I went back and forth on this one. Something about the composition bugged me at the time but with some distance I've come to really like it. Perhaps it's the wide open aperture or that X that is formed by her top. I don't know. Of course it doesn't hurt that she has beautiful lips, freckles and hair. That could be it.

Regardless, it's another from the archive. It was shot with one light and maybe a reflector using my 50mm lens. If there is a reflector, I'd have been holding it with one hand and shooting with the other.

Make pictures.

February 08, 2007


In what seems like another pass over and through and within my hard drive's seemingly endless amount of stored photos I've rediscovered a bunch that I really like.

One such photo is this lovely, colorful candid of my friend Crystal. She was in front of her house as twilight approached, sitting in the driver's seat of a vintage car. I believe this is shot with my 85mm but I can't be sure. It's not the 50, that's for sure. Obviously monitors differ but in print it's really vivid.

I am going to share some more old shots over the next few days just because it's a shame they haven't been seen more widely. For whatever reason, I seem to have lots of photos that don't get out much. I lose track of them until days like today and yesterday. And heck, that's why I have this blog; to share.

Bonus: Last night my dreams were extra rich and I credit that to all the images I poked through over the course of the day. Here's hoping tonight provides equal nocturnal pleasures.

Make pictures, share, dream.

70º North

I often say that despite some of the perceived hassles of air travel it "beats the wagon train." Yesterday was one of those times when I wished I could have delayed the return home. With temps hovering nicely below 20ºF in New York City, there was no rush.

I made this picture at sunrise knowing full well that the following morning would be dramatically different. Plus, who doesn't like a nice cliché sunrise shot?

When I did reach home I could see my breath in my bedroom!

If anyone has a gig for me south of Houston, I'm game.

Make pictures, stay warm.

February 06, 2007

May I Help You?

Since 1993, when I first travelled alone in Latin America, I've always marveled at the shelves of their general stores. I think it must have been somewhere in Panama or Costa Rica that I first noticed them but the overall consistency of their layout and selection really became apparent by the time I got to Guatemala. (I hitched from Bogota to Brooklyn).

Yesterday, in one of the Coffee Communities of La Trinidad, I found myself in just such a store. This was certainly the cleanest most organized one I'd ever been in and it served as a fine example of all that distinguishes my hyper-consumer culture and what happens in much of the rest of the world. There is one kind of soap, one kind of cooking oil, one kind of cookie. Perfect. It contrasts so markedly with American choice overload that at first it almost puts you off balance. I sometimes kid my friends that the reason there are so many crazy people in the U.S. is because we have too many choices. The best therapy would for those folks to come on down here.

Sure, the cookies are trans-fat disasters but that's another issue.

It was nice to see such a neat store and know that it served it's purpose for the people. And not to get too into it but this whole store was made possible by Fair Trade practices with the Coffee Cooperative of La Trinidad. They've been pouring their earnings back into their community and good things are happening. It's a real success story for progressives.

Make pictures, trade fairly.

February 05, 2007

Deer Diary

I've been in the hills of Oaxaca for a few days but this image takes the cake for the most ususual.

It's full-frame mundane which is hard to come by.

Nothing says "remote coffee village" quite like a plastic deer head and a light bulb. It good to know that the same gene that has folks putting platic pink flamingos in their lawns in the US is shared by all of us.

I am not in blogging mood today but I thought I'd post this anyway. It's better than nothing.

I'll share a few from the trip later.

Take pictures.

February 03, 2007

You're Killin' Me

He didn't want his picture taken yesterday. This morning I saw him again. This time with his machete. Again he said no. I agreed to not photograph him despite him being great. Chalk up another missed portrait opportunity. Or so I thought.

About a half an hour later the light was just glinting across his face and I had to do it. I came to him again describing the light that was hitting his face. I knew he didn't want me to take his picture but I did it anyway. I feigned being stabbed in the heart at the prospect of not being able to shoot him. While one hand pretended to stab myself, the other snapped the photo. It was part performance, part photography. Like always really.

He knew damn well what I was doing and after all that actually didn't seem to mind me taking his picture. I shot a few more with a little more attentiveness but this one, the first one, is the best. I like the look on his face. It's somewhere between amusement and bewilderment at my theatrics.

It was all done with a smile. His and mine.

Take pictures.

February 01, 2007

Oaxaca Scene

My first "adventure" in Oaxaca was to go to Sam's Club. Crazy. On the way I was struck by this scene and leaned out the car window and snapped it up. It's got a lot going on and everything seems to line up just right. I shot RAW and in the real file the details are almost endless. I share it quickly from a random wireless signal I'm getting.

Take pictures at traffic lights.