Nov 292011
 

November went by far too fast for my tastes. There we were, celebrating Halloween, and seemingly in the blink of an eye Thanksgiving has come and gone and we’re staring down the barrel at the end of 2011. How’d that happen?

It’s been a year since I had my photo show, which affords me a chance to look back and contemplate the state of my photographic life. I had no lofty goals in mind for this passion of mine; just a chance to share the bits of this world that I happen to come upon through my lens. It’s been a rewarding and often humbling experience.

Recently I became enamored of the photographic community over on Google+, which at the moment seems to make up the bulk of the stimuli I’m experiencing over there. Casually participating in conversations with newbies and pros alike, it’s been a revelation to me to at last feel like I’ve found my peers. (Nothing personal to you, Flickr community; I still love you too)

In working to reshape the ways in which I share my work, and frankly, to make it more accessible to those who might actually want an image of mine hanging on their wall, I am pleased to announce that I have restructured my pricing for all my print work and have adjusted my online store accordingly. I enjoyed a small boon of sales last year surrounding my show, and while my main focus has not been on selling my work, I can’t deny the deep satisfaction in knowing someone who likes my work enough to want to invest in it. And so it goes.

If you’re at all inclined, head on over to my store to see what’s offered. There are the usual prints, along with gallery wraps, floating prints for the wall, and desk stands. (Those floating pieces are so cool…I’m thinking I may want one for myself soon!) I’ve expanded the galleries a bit, adding shots I had previously kept private, and moving things around so that they reflect the galleries I keep around the Web on Facebook, Flickr and Google+. Please feel free to leave a comment on a shot or a gallery if something strikes your fancy. I’d love to hear from you!

I’ve been allowing my DJ life to simmer on the back burner a bit in the last couple of months, after my flurry of activity at the end of the summer. I worked hard on synchronizing my photographic expression, but now it’s time to return to a sense of balance, and I have a few delicious gigs coming up that are worth mentioning. At the moment, they are:

– Dec. 10-11 – Moontribe Full Moon Gathering (invitation-only; location private)

– Dec. 21 – Opening set for Luminous Movement (hosted by J Brave of the Luminaries) (Zanzibar in Santa Monica; see here for details)

– Dec. 31 – 2012 Awakening New Year’s Eve (Hummingbird Ranch in Simi Valley; see here for details)

That’s all the news I have for now – thanks for reading!

Nov 142011
 

When it comes to my DJ mixes, I’ve always maintained a Creative Commons license. It’s made sense to me, as my only objective is to spread the beautiful music I find as much as possible. The music heals me and so I hope it does the same for others who listen. I make no money from the mixes, as they are for promotional purposes only, and the artists whose music I play seem to be happy with the extra promotion they receive. A win-win situation, in my book.

When it comes to my photography, for the longest time I adopted a different attitude. A walled garden. Exclusivity. All Rights Reserved. I’ve had an epiphany about this, and have changed my copyright accordingly. From now on, all my photos will be shared publicly with a Creative Commons license, whether it’s on Flickr, Zenfolio, Facebook, Google+ or wherever. It’s incredibly liberating to have made this change, but I want to explain myself further.

In the years I’ve been online (first time was 1990, in the CompuServe days), community has always excited me. I can remember in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, when all long distance phone service was knocked out for days, I was most interested in getting word to my out-of-town family and friends that I was OK, that I had survived.

View of my office and into kitchen showing the 1994 post-quake chaos

Since only local calls were allowed, I dialed into CompuServe and into a message board where I had found a sense of community, and asked if anyone would be willing to call my people local to their area to pass along a message. Instantly I had volunteers from Central California, the UK and New York who managed to call everyone on my list and put my loved ones’ fears to rest about my status. I was so grateful and cultivated a deep appreciation for how integrated an online community can be to one’s personal life. I’ve never stopped participating in online communities, and over the years have even become an administrator or moderator for several of them, and now offer services to my tech clients to help them manage their presence on many of the most popular social networks.

Fast-forward to the present. I’ve managed to find my music community online, in places like SoundCloud, Facebook and Last.fm, but had barely established a presence on Flickr, faithfully uploading images on a regular basis but not really reaching out beyond it. Along came Google+ which has a healthy presence of photographers, pro and amateur alike. I rediscovered one of my favorite travel photographers, Trey Ratcliff, whose work has graced my desktop many a time. I’ve already made myself familiar with his various tutorials on his blog, and happily shared many of his shots through Facebook with friends who are now also instant fans; but it was an article he wrote about watermarks (and his refusal to use them) along with a talk he gave at Google about Artists on the Internet that really inspired and motivated me to make the change away from All Rights Reserved. I resonate deeply with this philosophy.

Why do I take photos and decide to share them online? When I really examined this (prompted by the interview I had with Allison Outschoorn of The Writing Grove, who skillfully crafted my photographer’s bio), I found that my primary intention is to remind people of the beauty that exists in our world. So often we’re bombarded by images of what’s wrong, what’s horrifying, what’s evil. It makes for sensational headlines in traditional media outlets (which I’m happy to say are rarely ever in my sphere of reading or watching), but it can leave one with a sense that we’re going down the drain without much redeeming qualities left. My opinion is that it’s simply not true. While it is important, of course, to be aware of important geopolitical shifts and events taking place on the planet (uprisings, natural disasters, crimes against humanity), it is equally important to savor all that is good in our world, whether it be majestic natural beauty, or stories of how people help people in times of need, or particular human achievements. It’s essential to my personal well-being to maintain the balance, and so I often choose to take photos that somehow illustrate this, from the sublime to the silly.

This is also a guiding philosophy for me in why I choose to play the music that I do as a DJ. Music can be such a healing force in one’s life, and in some cases can even act as a catalyst for change, whether it’s on a personal or global level.

As such, feedback from my communities and the world at large is a vital adjunct to my decision to be “out there” on the Internet with my pursuits. With this in mind, it makes far more sense to me to open up the sharing possibilities that come with a Creative Commons license, while still protecting myself from attempts to profit from my work without appropriate compensation. My work is still available in print in limited edition series, for those who wish for exclusivity; however if someone simply wants to use my work as wallpaper, or in a relevant blog post for personal use, or what have you, that someone is free to do so now without additional consideration.

It feels fantastic to be free!

Nov 042011
 

Stream or download WAV above, or download MP3 here.

Last month I had the honor of playing a set for Ben Annand and the Tropical crew as they celebrated their 13th anniversary at a delicious yoga retreat center just outside the Cleveland National Forest. I’ve been enjoying the warm, housey vibes of Tropical events for 5 years running now, really lovely people and smiles all around. My set opened the day on Saturday of the weekend while people enjoyed the warm weather and the poolside. Some golden chilled oldies from the mid-90s heyday of downtempo, along with some newer trip hoppy vibes.

Tracklist:

1. Tha Fruitbat – Hearing Colors, Seeing Sounds
2. Luis Vaquero – Open Your Eyes
3. Barry Styles – You Don’t Understand
4. Shanti Roots – Holy Smoke
5. Tosca – Boss on the Boat
6. The Funky Lowlives – Inside (R Dorfmeister vs Uptight Dub)
7. DJ Food – Gold in My Pocket
8. Up, Bustle & Out – The Hand of Contraband
9. Spy From Cairo – Coming Home
10. Canedrive – Cut n Run
11. Sunday Sessions – Look Back in Wonder
12. Suhov – Take 9
13. Mastalsky – Happy (Uptight Anti-Stress Workout)
14. Soul Keita – Dusties n 808s
15. Uptight – Get Uptight Man
16. Alexkid – Day 3
17. Naked Funk – Billy
18. dZihan & Kamien – Nargileh
19. Rae & Christian – Trailing in the Wake
20. Alex Cortiz – Back on Track
21. Tosca – Orozco
22. DJ Food – Freedom (Fila Brazilia Mix)
23. Hardfloor – Dubdope
24. Sounds From the Ground – Clover
25. Tranquility Bass – Mya Yadana
26. Electroslide – I’m a Cadillac