Redwoods

Zeiss and I have been on the road for seven months now, we've been through 35 states and if we'd kept going in a straight line we'd have more than circled the earth at the equator. All that mileage and time takes its toll on the mind and the body. Despite the cheery social media posts and brave face put on, I've slowly been getting exhausted, burnt out and mentally and physically unhealthy. My life is a vacation, but living your passion and dream needs to be balanced with caring for yourself.  

After back to back shows in California I took a few days off with my friend Kendall, she's an incredibly positive and thoughtful person who also happens to be a naturopathic doctor. Over those days I talked with her and other friends about where I was at and how I'd been feeling. They all encouraged me to take time off, to work on me, to relax and regroup. 

I cancelled a bunch of tintype shoots for three weeks and pointed the nose of my van up the California coast, heading for my friends at Starvation Alley Farms but with no timeline or schedule. I hung out on beaches, took Zeiss on a bunch of long walks, talked with surfers and generally did nothing for four days. It felt good, slightly lazy but also needed. 

I've wanted to go to the Redwoods since I was a kid and a picture book we had showed someone driving a car through a tree. So I finally went. It's difficult to describe the place and, as with many incredible locations, nearly impossible to photograph. I had planned to take tintypes of the forest or large format film at least but once I got there I was overwhelmed with the scale of the place and just wanted to be, not to try to capture. 

Zeiss and I spent four hours just being in the woods, among these massive silent beings, the smell of the earth filling our lungs and cleansing my mind. I did bring out a camera for a bit but instead of trying the impossible of imaging everything I focused on the micro, the small things, what I could manage. Here's the bark of a 2000 year old tree, and one feisty creepy crawly. 

I hope to see you all back on the road soon but first I've got some cranberry farming to do. 



Raleigh Denim

Those of you who know me will be the first to attest to my complete ignorance of fashion and may have noted that I've been wearing the same pair of pants for about a year. Those pants (pictured below) have kept my modesty in check while photographing dogs, grandmothers, loggers, brewers and rock-and-roll musicians. After all that they've began to look rather unsanitary and several of you questioned the safety wearing them so I began to look for a replacement pair.

My search brought me to Raleigh Denim, one of the smallest jean manufactures in the country but a brand which I'd seen worn by musicians, friends and on the shelves of American made stores as I criss-crossed the country on my tintype tour. I called the shop in Raleigh and was surprised to have the phone handed straight to the co- founder/owner, Sarah, who talked with me for a few minutes, listened to the studio details and agreed to host the tintype studio in the NYC showroom as well as the workshop in Raleigh. 

The one impression I came away with from my time at both shops is that, while being a business and a ton of hard work, Raleigh Denim as a company and each pair of jeans they produce is a work of love, dedication to perfection and the embodiment of the founders vision. We were able to watch the jeans go from rolls of fabric, through a dozen pairs of skilled hands and into their final form as a wearable, very functional work of art. A few of the photos of the process are below. 

Huge thank you to Victor, Sarah and your entire crew for making us feel so welcome, taking the time to host the studio and to everyone in NC and NYC for coming out to have their tintypes made. We're back on the road again, but this time wearing a pair of jeans which won't wrinkle your nose and a custom raw denim leash which will make jean aficionados and their four legged friends blue with envy. 

www.raleighworkshop.com

Victor and Sarah

Victor and Sarah

New jeans for me and a leash for Zeiss.

New jeans for me and a leash for Zeiss.

The old Jeans (RIP)

The old Jeans (RIP)

Mary

Mary

Caitlin

Caitlin

raleighdenim044.jpg
raleighdenim999.jpg

Newport Wrap Up

As the late Abraham Lincoln once said "If I'm not on social media, tis 'cause I am doing good things". Something that was certainly true for me this weekend at the Newport Folk Fest.  Three incredible days of music, friendship, hard work, laughter and a huge collection of tintypes that I'm extremely proud of.  

I really can't thank the people who made this happen enough, my assistants Laura and Allison for putting up with me. Jessica and your fantastic Squarespace crew for all your tireless work on pulling this together and Squarespace itself for giving me the studio of my dreams and the weekend of a lifetime. And of course the Newport Folk Fest, I've been to a lot of shows but this one completely set the bar for what a festival should be, a temporary community of love and fellowship. 

Musicians, I love ya'll. Thank you for taking the time to come into my studio and sharing your stories of the road. As someone who's spent the past six months out there with you I feel perhaps you understand the same joys and fears that I do hurtling around this great land in your cars, busses, vans and airplanes (for you big time bastards). It's good to know I'm not alone. 

Here are just a few of my favorite images from the weekend. A full gallery goes up tonight. 

Willie Watson

Willie Watson

Newlywed couple who came to my studio, who can say no to a Randyman Savage shirt? 

Newlywed couple who came to my studio, who can say no to a Randyman Savage shirt? 

Lucius Tetris

Lucius Tetris


Newport Folk Fest

Three months ago, while tin typing at Willie Nelsons ranch in Luck Texas I bumped into Jay Sweet, one of the individuals behind the Newport Folk Festival. He twisted my arm into taking his portrait and asked if I might be interested in bringing my studio to Newport. 

Three months later here I am, with an incredible studio put together by Squarespace, nestled in an ancient fort, surrounded by a fantastic group of creatives who are going to help make this a weekend of memory. 

Day one is today, I'm slightly nervous but confident that my gear is working, my crew is solid and the music is going to carry us all to sunday. Stay tuned! 

The Squarespace studio inside Fort Adams. 

The Squarespace studio inside Fort Adams. 

Prefest setup day and Andrew of Hoizer graced our half set up studio. 

Prefest setup day and Andrew of Hoizer graced our half set up studio. 


The Flag

I woke up on a new couch for the 14th day in a row, but this was a good couch to be in. Not that the other couches have been bad, but this was Kenan's couch*. And Kenan is my childhood friend, a great baker of cakes, and a great maker of thermoses full of drinks. Drinks of the adult nature. We'd spent the previous afternoon swimming in a magnificent pond somewhere in central Massachusetts and we now both had raging hangovers. 

Over a breakfast of lox and tea we discussed what we should do that day. Kenan's plan was to swim and bake a cake. My plan was to find an American Flag. 

These two goals are not mutually exclusive so I began at the door step of all bad acquisitions, Craigslist. 

Typing "American Flag" into the search bar led to a dozen results. There was an "American Flag Kit" for 12$ which consisted of a flag and a pole. A post for a pair of cowboy boots decorated with the flag, and then... the post I didn't know I was looking for (but secretly was): "30x20 FOOT AMERICAN FLAG - $100"

Who has a thirty foot american flag, and who sells such a thing? And who buys it? 

Tom sells it, I buy it. 

30 minutes later and after a brief encounter with a llama lady we arrived at toms, handed five notes over and collected a magnificent, 30 FOOT AMERICAN FLAG in a garment bag. 

FUCK YES. 

I had no idea what I was going to do with this critter but I knew it was going to be good. 

Two days later I found myself in Providence Rhode Island dangling over a three story building hanging the flag and wishing it wouldn't be so windy. 

The good news is that the flag fits in my cargo box and it'll be joining me on the rest of the tour. DO you have a 30' tall building that needs flagged? Email me. 

photo 1.JPG

*Technically it's Bronwyn's couch but I assume she wants nothing to do with Kenan or I after we invaded her house and brought the worlds biggest American flag along for the ride. 

 

Philadelphia

A couple of months ago I got a phone call out of the blue from a fellow named Matt who lives in Philly. He said he'd been following me on instagram, that I'd photographed some of the bands he used to tour with and asked if I'd consider coming to Philly to set up for a day. But of course! 

So last week I ended up at the True Hand Society tattoo shop in Fishtown and spent the day tin typing a bunch of Matts friends, their families and their dogs. 

Here are a few of my favorites. Big thank you to Matt and Mike for having me, can't wait to come back!

Mike and Josie of True Hand Society Tattoo 

Mike and Josie of True Hand Society Tattoo 

Matt and his gorgeous family. 

Matt and his gorgeous family. 


Back to my roots

Ever have one of those moments when you feel like you've stepped back in time 20 years and are once again an 8 year old, not a care in the world, just living the day as days were meant to be lived? 

Me too. Today. 

I spent yesterday in Manhattan busting out a music video on a tight deadline, shuffling subways and busses, watching my fellow glassy eyed new york transplants speed walking through their day. Then a four hour commute on small freeways filled with angry minivan drivers intent on perfecting their fourth of july weekend.

And then I arrived in Worcester, and into the home of Bronwyn and Kenan and after a short car ride in a spanking new Subaru, to the shore of a tiny sparkling green pond in the middle of Massachusetts. I'd never seen this pond before but it was the same one as the eight year old Giles swam in, the same crystal clear green tinted water, the same overhanging pine trees on the edge, the same crumbly pebble beach, the same buoys, the same friends. 

It's good to be alive, it's good to be living, and it's fucking great to be with friends. Happy America day ya'll. May your path take you to your friends, pines and ponds. 

Sorry, I don't have pictures for this one, I was enjoying the moment. 

The Garage

I'm a bit behind with the blog due to a rather hectic schedule but my stop through Winston is definitely worth a post... Or ten. 

I initially met Tucker at his bar in Winston when touring through with my friends Black Taxi a few weeks ago. The Garage is a memorable venue, galvanized steel, tour poster lined hallways, the smell of musicians sweat and southern hospitality. I chatted about photography with Tucker for a few seconds while setting up for the Black Taxi show and at some point mentioned my friends All Them Witches, a band I've worked with in Nashville. Turns out Tucker may be their biggest fan and had just hosted them a few weeks before and shot an incredible music video at The Garage. He'd seen the tintypes I made of ATW and asked if I could make one of him. I didn't have any gear with me but I promised I'd stop back through when I did. A few days later a day opened in my schedule and I sent Tucker an email asking if he'd like to host a night of tin typing at the place, acknowledged that it was super short notice and that I didn't want him to go out of his way to set anything up. The answer was an emphatic "fuck yes" and "lemme get right on this... it's going to be epic". 

A week later I found myself in Winston, back at the Garage with all my studio gear setting up on stage. At six pm it was just Tucker, Ian, Zeiss and myself, at seven, when doors opened, the venue was filled with 100 people, most of whom came to have their portrait made and were incredibly excited about my work. I've never wanted to be a rock star but for an evening, performing on stage in front of a crowd, I sure as hell felt like it. 

We managed to make 40 tintype portraits that I'm truly proud of and I came away from winston with at least that many great new friends who I can't wait to see again some day. 

Massive thank you to Tucker, his gorgeous lady Cayce, Ian, Lauren and everyone else in Cameltown who came out to support me and my adventure. I love ya'll. 

Just a few images from the evening... 

Tucker & Cayce

Tucker & Cayce

Ian

Ian

My lovely assistant for the night, Lauren

My lovely assistant for the night, Lauren

Anna

Anna

Good Sir Creepsalot

Good Sir Creepsalot

The scene

The scene


Old North

I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how small and interconnected the world is and this weekends adventure was no exception. A couple of months ago I was tintyping in a coffee shop in Columbus Ohio and a fellow with 1900's style jeans and a miners shirt walked in. We started talking and it turned out that he was Cory Piehowicz, a photographer who goes by @banditphotographer on instagram and the same chap that a friend of mine Oregon insisted I get in touch with when I was in Ohio. I told Cory I was looking for other places to shoot and he put me in touch with Jack and Wren, owners of a lovely little clothing shop in Asheville North Carolina. We spoke on the phone and email a few times and they invited me down for a weekend of tintyping in their shop. 

We spent the weekend shooting portraits at Old North, people young and old, dogs and a cat all came in and helped me create a lovely little cross section of the population of this wonderful little town in the Smokies. A few of my favorites are below.

Thank you Old North, Jack, Wren and Kaile for assisting me for two days, and Asheville for being such a wonderful host. I can't wait to visit again.  

Jack, co-owner of Old North

Jack, co-owner of Old North

Kailie 

Kailie 

oldnorth017.jpg
oldnorth018.jpg

Ada and the Farm

One thing I really love about my current travels is the opportunity to catch up with friends in all corners of the country and see what they're doing with their wonderful lives. Last month I stopped through Nashville and had dinner with my good friend Hadassah who told me about her little sister Ada's treehouse in the boonies of North Carolina.

Generally when I hear tree house I think back to my childhood, growing up with Hadassah and Ada and to the completely ramshackle plywood/rustynails/ducttape/prayers contraptions which we classified as treehouses and were lucky to escape with our lives. So when she mentioned Ada's treehouse I had something similar in my minds eye. Then she pulled out her phone and started going through photos of the tree house. A better name for this wonder would be a House in a tree with an emphasis on House. It looked incredible. 20' off the ground, suspended by multiple trees and supports with funky angles, tons of windows, cupolas, crazy stairs and gorgeous mud work inside. 

I was dying to see this thing with my own eyes and to catch up with the lady behind it so today during my drive to Asheville I stopped by for six hours and got the full tour. What an incredible structure, way better than the pictures I'd seen or the pictures I was able to take. I photographed Ada and some of the friends who are her neighbors and fellow adventurous souls, many of whom have also built their own homes and are living off the land. 

Big thank you to Ada for having me for the day, and helping me cross skinny dipping with eight hippies, four dogs and one pretty awesome horse off my bucket list. I can't wait to visit again. 

Ada and the neighbors in her Treehouse.

Ada and the neighbors in her Treehouse.

Ada and Kari in front of their home.

Ada and Kari in front of their home.

The living room.

The living room.

Zeiss got his first horse riding lesson, and hated all five seconds of it. 

Zeiss got his first horse riding lesson, and hated all five seconds of it. 

He's better at napping under the tintype wagon. 

He's better at napping under the tintype wagon. 

Stevie, british backwoods pioneer. 

Stevie, british backwoods pioneer. 


Black Taxi

A few months ago, while shooting the SXSW festival, my path crossed with Black Taxi, a massively talented and rabidly entertaining band hailing from Brooklyn. Drinks were had, a round of putt-putt was played and, once the dust had settled there was some mention of my doing some photo work for them. And possibly doing that photo work on tour. 

I've always been a fan of the movie Almost Famous so when they asked me if I'd meet up with them, climb aboard Tony Vanza and cruise down the east coast for a week, I was thrilled. 

I'm on day two now, which means hangover one and a folder full of images of last nights show to edit. A few of my favorites are below, more to come in the next five days. 

Follow along at @blacktaxiband and @gilesclement

And check out their tour schedule, if you're anywhere close to their route definitely come out and listen, difficult as it may be to believe, they're even better live. 

Black Taxi Tour 

4.jpg
2.jpg
5.jpg

Kate and the Cinnamon Rolls

It probably comes as old news to most of you that I'm a bit of an instagrammer. What I started using sporatically a few years ago (mostly to post pictures of Zeiss) slowly evolved into an incredible networking tool and a way that I've connected with literally hundreds of other creative people across the country and around the world. 

Last week a photo of a gorgeous loaf of bread popped up in my feed and it belonged to Kate Lewis, a food photographer and incredible baker in Ohio. I somewhat cheekily commented that I'd trade a loaf for a tintype portrait if she had time and she commented YES! about four seconds later. I emailed with her and set up a time for the next day. On the morning of she emailed to say we'd have to bump the appointment back an hour since her GPS was saying three hours... THREE HOURS? Where was she coming from? I assumed that she was in Columbus but instead her home base was way north in Youngstown. Oh boy, now the pressure was on, not only was she bringing me what looked like be best baked good on the planet, she was also driving half a day to do so. Let's not eff this one up Giles. 

A few hours later she showed up, apologized for not bringing bread (it takes 20 hours to rise) but instead brought me a plate of ridiculously delicious chocolate/cinammon rolls and a bag of home made treats for Zeiss. Incredible!

We spent a couple of hours together, talking about our photo careers, our dogs, our travels and made a few tintypes in the process. The one below was our favorite and, although I really like the image, and it will DEFINITELY last longer than the rolls, I still feel like I got the better end of the deal. 

To see some of Kate's work visit kk-lewis.com

Thank you Kate! 

kate1.jpg

Hart & Honey

On Saturday I got to photograph Lily and her adorable daughter Ruth at my temporary studio in Columbus. I couldn't take a bad picture of these two if I was shooting with a holga. She told me a bit about her project with her business partner Ashley who then asked if they could come in on Monday to do some more photos of the two of them and a few of their friends. I didn't need any nudging but she offered to bring gin. I happen to love gin and how the photos of the Hart/Honey family came out as well. 

Check out the very talented photographer/graphic designer duo here: Hart & Honey

Sunday with Alia

My bff Abigail emailed me a few weeks ago saying that her friend Alia shared my appreciation for the ridiculous and might be interested in collaborating on photographs. She also said I could borrow an empty six bedroom turn of the century house for a week. 

So on Sunday, armed with two large baskets of costumes, one cup of coffee and a six pack of cider we set to work. Six hilarious hours later these are a few of the photographs and tintypes we managed to wrangle. 

Thanks Abigail, there's a bottle of whisky waiting for you when you get home. 

alia1.jpg


Shaky Knees Friday & Saturday Update

Just a super quick update on the Shaky Knees fest. Friday and Saturday were a blast, so many awesome musicians coming through the tintype studo backstage. The weather has been interesting with the high humidity and heat making the chemistry a bit wonky but after some tweaks, dashes of this and that and a bit of good solid cussing things got sorted and we're making some incredible images. 

Big thank you to my wonderful fellow crew at the Squarespace booth, Jessica, Myron, Ryan, Mia & Kelsey. You guys are the true rock stars :)

Here are just a few... 

 

Natalie of Wild Belle

Natalie of Wild Belle

Jeff and Dave of Dropkick Murphys

Jeff and Dave of Dropkick Murphys

Lord Huron

Lord Huron

Shaky Knees

I'm stoked to be invited to setup my tintype booth at the Shaky Knees Fest this weekend. Seriously awesome lineup and I'll get to tintype most of them! Big thank you to Squarespace for making this possible. (And for the awesome website). Stay tuned for the pics.

Transient