Category Archives: photography

On A Roll: Chinatown, Los Angeles

I had half a roll of Kodak Gold 200 left over from another shoot, so out I went on my lunch break with a Canon A-1 and 50mm f1.4 lens.

Thirteen frames left on the roll means thirteen shots. Here we go.

Oh, and autofocus is for tourists. 😉

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Michael Bialecki: Documenting the Changes in Myanmar

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To me, photography is about making connections. Connections to people. Connections to places. Connections to things.

This is why I love film—because it’s as much a connection to the process as it is the subject. Michael Bialecki, an American photographer, feels the same way when he says:

“I shoot differently when I am shooting film than when I am borrowing one my friend’s digital Leica cameras. It is hard to explain, but I guess I would say that I think different when I am shooting film. It slows me down and I am more aware of what I am doing.”

Check out “Documenting the Changes in Myanmar” over at the Leica Camera Blog for photos (shot on film) just as intoxicating as the one above.

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Visiting: The Academy

Long Beach is a working class town. Always has been, always will be. But there’s a shop lurking around on 1st Street that brings a refined element to Long Beach. The Academy.

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You’ll immediately feel comfortable with its environs–unfinished wood displays, taxidermy, bikes, and grease abound. But you’re distracted by all the mise en scene–enchanting though they may be–and what you should really pay attention to are the clothes because they’re refinements of menswear staples.

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Let’s start with shirting, which is comprised mostly of Turkish chambray. Though chambray is known as a blue collar fabric, the Academy’s take on it is decidedly modern with its slender collar, lack of pocket, and slim fit. What you will find instead, if you look closely, are hidden buttons for the collar and French seams along the side hem. Sure, they’re subtle but what I like most about clothes in general and the Academy in particular are the nuances that you’ll only notice over time.

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Sam, the proprietor of the Academy, also takes pride in his denim which is sourced from the vaunted Cone Mills and then constructed in Los Angeles. Now, let’s be fair, there are a lot of high-end makers that source from Cone Mills or a Japanese textile mill and then build them in Los Angeles. In fact, if you own a pair of high-end denim, chances are they’re built in Los Angeles. But what sets the Academy apart is that they allow you to “build your own denim.” What does that mean? It means no rivets at all, copper rivets, blue enameled rivets, or rivets on the back pocket. (Ever wonder why rivets on the back pocket are so rare? Back in the day, cowboys used to complain about the copper edges scraping their leather saddles, so out they went.) It’s a simple touch but one that goes a long way in making the clothes more unique.

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Let’s talk about Sam a little bit, though. He studied product design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and explains his attention to the minutia. At the Academy all design is done in-house, including the design of the simple deerskin wallet below made of one continuous piece of leather.

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At first you’ll say about the wallet that anyone could have made that but simplicity is deceptively difficult to achieve. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, “a designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

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The Academy’s got some other things coming out of the pipeline, too. I’d stay tuned if I were you.

Visiting: Steelhead Fine Goods

My friend Allan is the owner of Steelhead Fine Goods, a quality, bespoke leathergoods company based in Santa Barbara, California. So it’s fitting that he’s named his company after the ocean-going form of rainbow trout. Steelhead.


Once upon a time, you could name any river or stream in Southern California, and these beautiful fish were probably known to swim up it from the Pacific Ocean and spawn in their place of birth. But the damming of rivers, pollution, and over-fishing have left the steelhead a rare sight in the past few decades.

Steelhead Fine Goods, like its namesake, is rare breed. 

I had the chance to visit his shop recently during Allan’s downtime, chat, and take some photos. Check out the photos here:



Just like conservationists are wont to bring back the magnificent steelhead, Allan is looking to breathe new life into a once dying craft. 


I’m not going to lie, I was taken by the smell of leather and the prospect of some nice leatherware. So after leaving his shop, I placed an order for a leather belt. I mean, it’s good to support independent craftspeople, right? Oh, and you can check out more of Allan’s work on his Tumblr

Throwing a Beefsteak


I don’t know how the beefsteak banquet fell out of fashion but it sure as hell needs to make a comeback. After all, how could a menu of steak and beer be wrong? So, on a not-so-warm Saturday evening a handful of friends gathered to make an honest attempt to bring it back.


An early 1900s beefsteak. Note the simple menu.
For those of you who aren’t aware of what a beefsteak entails, I suggest reading “All You Can Hold for Five Bucks,” an (amazingly sexist) article from a 1939 issue of The New Yorker. Quite simply, the beefsteak is, “slices of ripened steaks, double lamb chops, kidneys, and beer by the pitcher […] Knives, forks, napkins, and tablecloths never had been permitted.

Oh, and one other rule: no women.

I’m not going to lie, though, at the onset of this event, I’d been thinking about throwing sides in, maybe even a salad or other chlorophyll-based sustenance. But a cooler head prevailed and a friend convinced us to throw a genuine beefsteak. Thank you, Scott.


Then as osso buco and round tip hit the red oak wood fire with its aroma and smoke wafting into our faces, we drank beer from mason jars and discussed welding, woodworking, and various other things that we thought would make us appear manly.

The night’s success could be seen on our aprons, wiping steak juices from off our fingers, catching beer spills, and, in my case, wiping blood from a cut tongue on whatever white section of poly-cotton we could find. This is definitely something we’ll be doing again. Just maybe with a sober photographer on hand…

Omoir Photography

photo: Cristina Gutierrez of Omoir Photography

There are no two ways around it, Cristina, of Omoir Photography pumps out some great stuff.

Some people (nowadays, and more often than not) wield a Canon DSLR with an L lens like they’re some kind of professional but they seldom have the requisite skill or creativity to pull it off. Cristina does.

Over the approximately two years I’ve known her she’s won some awards for her work, “abduction” and has produced some shots that truly make me jealous. In fact, there has been more than one occasion where I’ve stopped in my tracks to think, “Where the hell did she get this idea? And why didn’t I think of this?”

I personally like her darker stuff but I’ve also seen some great portraits coming from her direction.

Check her out. Keep her in mind.