Sydney, Austrialia

This post is part of a series covering an international corporate assignment. For a brief introduction to this trip, click here

Manly Beach Ferry Terminal

Manly Beach Ferry Terminal

Sydney – After the heat and intensity of Dubai, Bangalore, Jakarta and Singapore, it was relaxing to be in an English speaking city with a comfortable, temperate environment.

On the East coast of the “Land Down Undah”, this most populous metropolis in Australia surrounds the world’s largest natural harbor.  We stayed the first night in a hotel to the north of the city, close to the Schneider offices. Had the good fortune of the hotel offering tastings of several fine scotches. No shortage of good food and drink on this trip.  After two days of photography, our producer Ann Marie moved us to a downtown hotel so we could spend time exploring the city. I had my most enjoyable day off of the entire journey, taking a 30 min ferry ride, past the famous Opera House, over to Manly Beach.  Some great body surfing in the warm waves, then strolled about a half mile along a beautiful shoreline path to the quieter more tropic like cove of Shelly Beach.  Wonderful spot, though I was literally attacked from above by some hungry, aggressive gulls attempting to steal my lunch.

Michael – Marketing Strategic Intelligence.  Schneider’s offices in Sydney are in a modern building with a large atrium. Lots of glass allowing for plenty of natural light and large open spaces in which to shoot.  Michael didn’t have his own office so we created a workspace for him, but did most of his shots in various common areas.  Both of the subjects I photographed in Sydney pursued martial arts for their hobbies.  Michael is a black belt and instructor in karate.  He was incredibly focused & rather intense as I and the videographer had him go through his routine. One of his punches narrowly missed the front of my lens. We found out after the session that his mother had passed away just two weeks prior. It shows in the intensity his expression.

Keb Mo at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel Providence 5.13.16

Keb Mo at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel Providence

Kelvin Moore has been on my "see live" wish list for several years. I own his '98 2nd Grammy Award winning disk Slow Down, and a few other single songs, but usually have at least a couple in my active play list. I'm not a diehard fan of mainstream electric blues,  but there are certain sub-genres I enjoy and listen to.  Keb Mo is a skilled and seasoned practitioner of acoustic based, earthy, folksy, yet pain-filled, Delta Blues. He's been writing/recording as far back as the early 1970s, having been recruited for sessions  by Jefferson Airplane violinist, Papa John Creach, with whom he co-wrote the song Git Fiddle which appears on the Starship's 1975 Red Otcopus LP.  

The show at Lupo's was very satisfying. The downtown venue is a converted theater, intimate yet room to stand & dance. Keb started off sitting solo on a stool, adding one backing musician each for the next three songs. He came through with a nice mix of material from his vast repertoire.  His voice sounded rich and melancholic as in the recordings and the musicianship from all band members was excellent. I'm there to enjoy the music, so don't write down the songs 'cause I can usually see the set list later on setlistFM.  Unfortunately,  no one contributed a the set list for that night at Lupo's but here's one from a show in Hartford three nights later.  Note that you can single click the arrows next to each song to have a listen, though it's not necessarily from that specific show.

Singapore

Functional, artificial trees at the Gardens by the Bay

Functional, artificial trees at the Gardens by the Bay

This post is part of a series covering an international corporate assignment. For a brief introduction to this trip, click here

Singapore – The world’s only island city-state,  is located at the southernmost tip of continental Asia, directly below Malaysia and just one degree above the equator. I had been there in the early 90’s on a recreational visit and hardly recognized the place. Little is left of the small, funky, far East flavored neighborhoods. Instead there were modern high rises and glitzy hotels.  We had a needed day and half off in between shooting the two subjects and were able to do laundry, get in some R&R and a little sightseeing.  I especially enjoyed the Gardens By The Bay which included a large area of man made, 50 meter tall, functional Super Trees.  Sadly, Singapore had been under a thick cloud of haze for several weeks from some serious burning of forests on the Maylasian Peninsula.  Every day was hazy and gray and it was bad enough to irritate our eyes and ears.

 

Lim Soo Chee - Senior Sales Consultant Engineer – Soo Chee was suffering from allergies and not feeling well the morning I had to photograph her in the Schnieder office.  Of course I had to be sympathetic to her situation, yet still needed to create good usable photographs for the Schneider home office.  Fortunately she was feeling better the next day when we video taped and photographed her leading her yoga class. She, and her students, were very cooperative and the session yielded some wonderful images.

Climbing the ladder . . .

I was recently hired by the Boston Convention and Marketing Center to photograph the Hynes Convention Center. The client and I had scouted several locations from which to get elevated views of the Boylston St facade. We found a couple of buildings on Boylston St that offered decent views, but it would mean shooting through glass.  Another vantage point was offered to me by the good fireman of Ladder Company 15. "We'll just pull the truck out and set up the ladder however you'd like" said the lieutenant.  And that's just what they did when we showed up a few days later.  It was steep, but fairly stable and was indeed a good vantage point. Generated some interest from passerby. The shoot was cut short when they had to answer a call. But I was able to get a good overview of the building. And partially fulfilled the "wanna be a fireman" dream most boys have.

Jakarta, Indonesia

This post is part of a series covering an international corporate assignment. For a brief introduction to this trip, click here

Jakarta -  Of the six cities we visited this was the most disappointing.  Hot & muggy. Grey, smoggy skies. Flat, dull terrain.  Stayed in a mundane hotel with weak food and even weaker air conditioning.  We did have a nice meal out at a restaurant in a nearby upscale mall. The bill for three of us was 1.2 million rupiah.  And I found a good deal on Bolle sunglasses to replace the pair I’d left in a cab in Dubai. Was glad to leave for Singapore.

Eric – Safety Engineer – The Schneider office in Jakarta had a bit more to work with visually. It was the only facility of the six we visited that had a manufacturing area and part of Eric’s job is to video tape various manufacturing processes. It was good to have a non office environment in which to shoot.

Eric’s hobby is stand up comedy. We had to travel from his office to a small hot, smoky coffee shop in a distant suburb of Jakarta where he sometimes performs. Because this wasn’t an actual gig for him, he had recruited a few (very few) friends to sit in as an audience. I had to get creative with angles and placement of people to imply it was a real show. Fairly certain at least some of the jokes he was telling his friends were at my expense as I was moving all around the dingy stage.

Bangalore, India

This post is part of a series covering an international corporate assignment. For a brief introduction to this trip, click here

Bangalore, now officially referred to as Bengaluru, was the most fascinating of the six cities I visited.  The 5 star Oberoi Hotel, which had stout barricades & armed guards in the driveway and large x-ray machines through which we had to put our 12 cases of gear upon every entry, was otherwise a relaxing oasis from the intensity of the streets outside. The car rides to and from the job sites were adventures in sight and sound.  A cacophony of scooters, buses, cars, people, poverty and the occasional sacred cow.  Photo material at every turn.

Nithya – Finance Executive – friendly and photogenic. Her work area was rather sparse, but several colorful colleagues were willing to pose with her in various spots around the office.

Nithya’s hobby is Bharatanatyam - traditional Indian dance.  After the office shoot, we drove several kilometers to a small building in a tight urban neighborhood. We had to schlep up to the 3rd floor of her instructor’s small residence to reach the dance studio.  Although it was hot and rather grimy, the combination of blue plastic and warm bamboo walls, along  with large windows on all sides, made it a wonderful space in which to photograph Nithya dancing.

Dubai & Abu Dhabi

This post is part of a series covering an international corporate assignment. For a brief introduction to this trip, click here

Office building Abu Dhabi

Office building Abu Dhabi

The two most populated cities of United Arab Emirates. Hot. Tons of eye popping, modern architecture, including the world’s tallest building - the Burj Khalifa. In addition to the slick high rises and late model cars, I was intrigued by the number of office workers wearing the traditional combination of head scarf (keffiyeh) and robe (dishdash or taub). Like most cities on this trip, there was frustratingly little time to explore & photograph on my own. Below are some iphone snapshots, mostly captured from car rides to and from the job sites.

 

Fatima - Oil & Gas Strategic Account Manager

Like most of the subjects the Schneider home office selected, she was enthusiastic, energetic and out going. She speaks French, Arabic, English and is learning Chinese. Fatima’s hobby is calligraphy.  Unfortunately, she did not have a specific place where she practices her art. I’d been hoping she would take us to an art studio of some kind, but instead I had to create her hobby photos in the lounge area of a restaurant near her office.  Fortunately, there was some beautiful directional light coming from 2 windows and warm-toned floor and furnishings which I used to help create the soft mood of an art studio.

Away we go

Airbus A380 Double Decker

Airbus A380 Double Decker


With the launch of this recently refreshed web site and persistent encouragement from my web designer Sergio Enciso, I’ve decided to dip my toes into the blogging pond.  These first posts showcase work from an overseas corporate photo assignment I undertook last fall for Schneider Electric.

Overview

It had­ been 23 years since we’d last spoken.  I received a phone call last summer from photographer David Parnes. We had both attended a photo workshop in Rockport, Maine in 1992, lead by Burt Glynn, a founding member of the Sygma photo agency.

David was in the process of booking a “once in a lifetime” corporate assignment for Schnieder Electric:  Twelve cities around the globe, two portrait subjects per city.  Each subject would be still-photographed in their work environment - with and without colleagues - and at a separate location engaged in their personal hobby.  One subject per city would also be video taped. David works regularly with the Brighton-based video production company, Ecast, who had landed the project from Schnieder.  Because the locations were spread out over four hemispheres, Schnieder decided to send out two teams, each consisting of a still shooter, videographer and producer. In the process of looking for a 2nd still shooter, David saw my web site, recalled that we had gotten along well and liked that we have similar shooting styles. After meeting with the clients and two pressure-filled test shoots at Schneider’s local facility, I was asked to join team B – with videographer Griffin Nash and producer Anne Marie Charland

Destinations: Dubai, Bangalore, Jakarta, Singapore, Sydney, Beijing.  

 

 

 

Lord Huron at the House of Blues

Lord Huron - my new favorite band.
Lucky to score a ticket to their sold out show with Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats at the House of Blues Sunday night. Terrific show. Nathaniel Rateliff is a real party boogie band along the lines of St Paul & the Broken Bones or a less sophisticated Trombone Shorty. Seemed like the majority of the crowd was there to see and dance to them. The crowd had thinned a bit by the time Lord Huron came on. But they were awesome! Sonically nuanced and sophisticated, a bit dark and brooding at times, but all around excellent original song writing, vocals and musicianship. The drummer is kick ass.
If you're an indie folk rocker and they come to your area GO SEE THEM while they're still playing smaller venues. Above is a short iphone clip from one of 13 songs they did. Or check out this link to their latest album Strange Trails.