I’ve been wanting to put this cover up since the beginning of November but life has gotten in the way.  Not the good life mind you but life.  It can really just come out of nowhere and really put you on a different path.

But back to the cover…

I don’t like to sing too many praises to myself at times but I must admit I am very impressed with my ikebana, or Japanese flower arrangement,  photo appearing on the cover of Halekulani Living, the resort’s in-house magazine.  One of the editors I work with seems to never give me the easy jobs.  She never hires me to snap photos of bikini girls or beautiful celebrities as she’s always throwing the hardest and most difficult subjects on my plate.  The jobs are usually obscure, never obvious or easy to capture.  Either she wants me to fail or she knows I can pull something out of nothing, as they say, and come up with something bordering on the fantastic.

If you could only imagine how this picture was taken and the little photoshop it took to make it sparkle, you’d be surprised.  Well, more than surprised.  I won’t say much more other than “damn, that’s a good shot!”


Walk all over me!

Walk all over me!

A few weeks ago, an email appeared in my inbox with the opening lines…

“Hello Marco,

I came across your website whilst I was looking for images of the sea.”

Ah…how much more romantic could that be?  …looking for images of the sea. I started to hum an old Cure song and was whist away to years gone by where the sand and sea were more than a sunburn.  Not that killing arabs would be much fun but it was the lyrics that took me back to my youth.  All from a woman asking me if I had images of the sea.

Being my usual suspicious self, I came close to ignoring the email as I hate doing free stock research but her request was too specific.  They were looking for shots of the ocean so they could use as a composite for a larger project they were working on.

Michelle from Printed Space Ltd, a company based in England, further explained they wanted blue water ocean shots as they were designing an ocean- theme print to be placed on a floor of a private home somewhere in Great Brittan.  How intriguing.  To hear the pitter-patter of a young lad on my silent image of the ocean.  To see a dirty soccer jersey (ooops football kit) in one corner and a PS3 in the other, oh the dream.

Michelle and her design team had most of the other elements which make up the ocean but didn’t have, I would say, the sandwich to hold all the stuff inside.  The comp they sent seems to show my ocean shot holding the sharks, reef, and snorkelers all together.  Its a very impressive design and I’m excited to have contributed my work to the design.  Now only to put my feet down on the actual floor plan…now that’s the challenge.

To be honest, I’d never would have thought to have a floor plan as such.  I could only imagine stumbling home one evening only to find myself drowning in something other than my own sorrow.  I clearly would never wake up or if I did, might I have the need to rename myself Jonah?

The image they liked was from my helicopter series over the Big island a few months ago.

My image was a complete outtake…but you never know when one’s outtake is someone else spot on image. No?

“Hey kid!  Wipe your dirty feet!”

Mix Magazine

Mix Magazine

Ah…its so nice to see your name in all caps when it has Photography By preceding it…I’m not being arrogant but I swell with pride after seeing my work published in a travel piece.  Its not some of my better work but its work…made from nothing.  Well, not exactly but it was made from experience and knowing how to push when nothing is easily seen.

I got commissioned a few months ago by the Oregonian’s Mix Magazine to shoot a travel piece on the best places to dine on Oahu.  I shot (and ate) everything from locally made Ono Pops (Mexican style paletas) to fresh opelu (mackerel) at He’eia Kea Pier General Store & Deli.  Its not all about eating mind you as I have to spend an inordinate amount of time setting up a plate (well…thats mostly the Chef’s call) but having to direct a chef to create a food masterpiece on the fly, sometimes surrounded by styrofoam, in bad lighting, and customers all around.  Its can be pretty tough.

The food shots are very editorial as they are all natural light with fill bumped in from a white bounce or even white table cloths if a proper bounce isn’t around.  But mostly the reason I can somewhat capture food well is from all the years of assisting NYC food photographers back in the day.  Mostly the training was shooting in studios with top food stylists, fake ingredients, big lights, and sometimes big ovens.  You know…the mash potato ice cream or the cooked-with-a-blowtorch-steak.  I remember working on a Pizza Hut job where we shot dozens of pies pulled out of an industrial oven in the City’s West Side.  Yong Yoo, the then photo assistant extroadinare, and I had screaming fight because the neurotic photographer made us load what seem to be his entire studio into a cube truck, unload on location, and reload the truck in the pouring rain.  At the end of the day, we fought about how to roll some immensely large and heavy studio camera stand that was taller than the cube truck up a ramp as the rain poured all around.  Ah how I miss those days yet would never go back.

There is something very important about being a padawan (apprentice) in the big cities.  I never could have been successful here, especially here in Hawaii without some type of grueling informal training I had in those dreary New York years.  Every conceivable subject that can be photographed I probably helped put a studio light on it, or at least rolled a studio stand close to it.  Everything from Revlon lipstick, to beer bottles, to celebs and rock stars to rain sets, to shooting in the bloody rain.

(How on earth I go from chatting about Mix Mag to get on this subject…I will never know.  Stream of … uhhh…what were we chatting about?)

So in the above picture, the author dances around a rigged rain set with a Fender Strat guitar.  My memory dims on what job we were working on other than it had a Korean model in tight shiny pants that fit her very well.  I remembered I had this piece of chrome somewhere and fumbled through a bunch of old film files finding it next to a bunch of negatives of Trisha, a model who’s sister I knew from Texas.  Funny how I didn’t remember those pictures and funny how I forgot about this chrome.  Not wanting to start up a proper film scanner, I masking taped the chrome to my Mac, opened up a white doc in photoshop and made a few exposure on a make shift light table.  Not the sharpest but a good illustration, nonetheless.  The chrome was lifted from the studio where we worked that week but I just couldn’t resist?  The chrome came from the initial test rolls so no one would have missed it.  Besides, its me dancing in the purple rain!

Back into the Mix.  All those years of New York drudgery made me into the so called photographer I am.  Its not the greatest career but its a great living here in Hawaii.  I get a job like this Mix Mag job and use all my skills from my shooting years all the while reaching back to those “wet behind the ears” days when I held someones camera.

Literally, I was probably wet.  It always seemed like I was…

36 Hours in Honolulu

36 Hours in Honolulu

…0r as I’ve said before, Honoruru

After several weeks of anticipation, the New York Times (find it here) published my travel piece, written by Jocyln Fujii, on 36 Hours in Honolulu.  The piece loads of locations for me to cover but I got to choose the more scenic and most exciting places to photograph.

Of course Masaharu Morimoto, (yes, the Iron Chef…you might remember him from my posting here) made for the most exciting images as his relationship with me allows him to tako…uh…i mean octopus…uh…ham it up (yeah, that’s it) for the camera.  Its always great to photograph someone when they do all the work for you.

I shot all over the East Oahu and Waikiki and had a darn fun time doing it.  As I’ve been told, its not work when you love what you do.

I was sad some of my hotel work from the Edition Waikiki wasn’t used but alas, you can’t publish it all.

The three floaters just lined up perfectly for this shot. I mean who wouldn’t want to swim around in a pool in Honolulu?  Or at least see it on print…