Youngblood

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Call him Aaron.
He hails from the Midwest.
A young, ambitious IT professional,
He’s looking for a new kind of headshot.
We meet at Crema on The Alameda.
We talk about work and life.
There’s something different about him.
He’s polite in an old-fashioned way.
He tells me he’s not photogenic,
That he doesn’t like the way he looks in photographs.
Not only is he considerate, he’s likable, too.
Quiet and introspective,
He wants his portrait to have a cool-hip-creative vibe.
I tell him about an overpass with blue circles.
Something I’ve been eyeing for months.
He’s game.
We release the Birds
And fly through downtown San Jose.
As the sun reclines in the west,
The light is paradoxical under the overpass,
Both mottled and consistently even.
We don’t overthink it.
We hang out.
We shoot.

Contact me for corporate and family photography in the Bay Area.

Meta-portrait

creative corporate photography bay area san jose los gatos executive portraits headshotsOriginality isn’t easy.
Case in point.
I’m on a corporate shoot with my client.
We’re having a blast.
Shooting like crazy.
Then this.
I want something different, she says.
You know, something unique.
Well, I like creative challenges, I say.
I pause, I ponder, I hatch a one-of-a-kind idea.
I ask for her mobile phone.
She gives it to me.
And I put it to good use.
Click.
Then I put my camera to good use.
Boom.
A woman,
A woman represented,
And a woman represented is represented again.
The mind would reel if the image weren’t so straightforward.
Right?
Look at it again.
Not bad, not bad at all.
Well, later that night, after I go home,
It takes one minute of sleuthing on the web to discover that my “original” idea has been done countless times before.
Oh, well.
At least I got heart.
And I’m in good company.

Contact me for Bay Area corporate and family photography. 

Nighthawk

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I’m a simple man.
I have few hopes and expectations.
I do my best to resist the temptation of prayer.
I’m resigned to a world that revolves around no one.
Still, I have moments of weakness.
When that happens, I bargain with fate.
I make promises in exchange for special consideration.
I vow to exercise more.
I vow to eat more vegetables,
To think more wholesome thoughts,
To treat people with kindness and respect, always.
All in the fervent hope that one day,
In my next or fourth or fifth life (I’m patient, you see),
I’ll return as a man who stands
In unshaven glory
Before a bar that’s loaded with bourbon.

Contact me for creative Bay Area corporate and candid family photography.

Mya in the City

Not long ago, I had the honor of photographing the staff and executive team at Mya, an SF-based company that helps recruiters optimize their workflow through AI.

Their office is located on Maiden Lane, one of the most picturesque streets in the City. Combine that with the team’s commitment to shooting outdoors, and you have the makings of a great photographic day.

One of my favorite shots is this portrait of a CEO as a young man. The hubbub of City life goes on round him, while he hovers confidently in space. Red accents glow in the background. If I were to retake the photo, I’d drop 2/3 of a stop below ambient and fire an off-camera flash. Pesky shadows under his eyes bother me now.

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This particular shot was a lot of fun to make. Primarily because I enjoyed walking the Lane with this executive. We shot the breeze about science, medicine, and the National Geographic. I had good fun just getting to know him. Best of all, I fired my flash.

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I love this next photo. It took a while to get it just right. But it was worth the effort. Plus, I like things in threes. See the bokeh frame left? See the bindi, nose ring, and earring?

Portrait of an executive in sf vinita

How did I get this harried professional to relax? You know, the usual—we talked about our wives and family life. Trust me, if you’d been there, you would have smiled, too. Oh, one last thing. Check out the crop. You’re looking at 2.39×1, which isn’t your standard 5×7. I’m a big fan of 2.39×1 and 16×9 because they offer a cinematic lens on the environment, of which the subject is a part.

DSC_3033-2

See the soft green tree-clouds in the background? I did then, and I do still. I tell you, threes are the best! Plus, I like the curbsides, faint and disappearing.

Portrait of an executive in sf connie

Ditto. Except in this shot, the light had changed dramatically from the prior one, requiring me to stop down from f/1.8 to f/4.5. Background is too sharp for my liking, but it was a trade-off I was willing to make to get the shot.

Portrait of an executive in SF eric

Happily, the executive team was thrilled with the process and results. One of their senior leaders even chimed in here.

Contact me for creative Bay Area corporate and candid family photography.

 

 

Friday Night Lights

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Meet Scott.
He’s a marketing executive
With clients on the East and West Coasts.
Recently he joined me for a Friday Night Lights session.
No, not football.
A much more wholesome activity:
Candid headshots for Bay Area professionals.
I run the sessions out of my DIY home studio in San Jose.
They’re good fun.
I get to meet new people and practice my discipline.
And people get splendidly priced photos,
For use in trade shows, conferences, or digital and social media.
Oh, sometimes they get a splash of wine, too.
And not the cheap stuff, either.
It’s Friday night, after all.

Contact me for creative corporate and candid family photography in the Bay Area.

1103: Origin Story

Bay Area corporate family photography photographer san joseI didn’t go to grad school to earn an advanced degree for nothing.
There’s an entire philosophy behind 1103 Photography.
1’s and 0’s are a nod to the Silicon Valley
And its fascination with data.
An 0 in the shape of a lens,
Which has great iconographic properties.
Plus, let’s face it—nought is cool.
Just ask mathematician Robert Kaplan.
“If you look at zero, you see nothing;
But look through it and you will see the world.”
A fine sentiment, that.
A 3 because everything excellent and rare comes in 3’s.
And 1103 was my home address as a kid.
1103 Milky Way.
No kidding.
Totally astral.
1103 Photography is a homecoming for me.
Lastly, I’m not a big fan of personality.
I’m allergic to personal branding.
Kevin Neilson photography just sounds silly to me.
1103 Photography, on the other hand, is an all-seeing eye without an ego.
At least that’s my sincere intention.
Fingers crossed.

Contact me for Bay Area corporate or family photography. 

Bay Area Gothic

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September.
It’s three o’clock.
The sun is hot, the sky cloudless.
In the heart of the Silicon Valley, the valley of profit and loss,
Between the green western and yellow eastern foothills,
A rural woman stands amidst the wreckage of streams and orchards.
Nearby, the Guadalupe River is littered with plastic debris
And choked with abandoned grocery carts.
Walnut and almond orchards, peach and apricot trees
— Turned under long ago —
Are buried beneath a concrete layer of commercial activity.
She stoops, lifts, hauls, and sweats profusely.
Her eyes blaze fiercely.
Two diamonds gleam in her ears.

For Bay Area corporate or family photography, contact me.