Rivers - 2018.

If you don’t know Rivers Langley yet, you should.

Rivers is a stand up comedian from Auburn, Alabama currently based in Los Angeles. I was introduced to him through his podcast The Goods from the Woods, which he shares with two other smart and hilarious individuals (as well as a rotating cast of equally funny guests).

After being hooked by the southern-fried podcast, I quickly followed Rivers on Twitter where we occasionally would tweet back and forth with each other. We met in late 2017 while he was home visiting Alabama, and I am happy to consider him as a friend.

This year, he announced that he would be having his usual holiday show, and I knew I had to act while I had the chance. In exchange for the hours of entertainment he has facilitated for me over the last few years, I wanted to shoot some portraits in return.

Rivers and I both loved the backdrop of posters created by the Standard Deluxe team, so we set up and quickly had to rattle off a few shots. I think this backdrop, while a little busy for standard head-shots, creates a unique look for a very unique person.

I’m super stoked to share these photos as my last set of 2018:

Be sure to check out Rivers in the video below, and make sure you follow both him and The Goods’ social media accounts for some great comedy.

And of course, be sure to share the attitude of gratitude, because if you don’t then fuck you.


Big thanks to Scott over at Standard Deluxe for allowing us to shoot in his home/place of business. It was super awesome seeing all of the artwork, and I am stupid-jealous of your library. Can’t wait to be back in Waverly for the next adventure.


Happy new years everyone, see you all in 2019 with more great photos and exciting stories.
-B

Top Photos of 2018 - An UNEXPhotography year in review!

So here we are, it’s that time again. Another year has almost come and passed. 2017 was a HUGE year of firsts for me (I mean, you can see that here if you like, just make sure you come back), and even if 2018 wasn’t as huge, I still accomplished several new things.

Unlike last year, I only averaged a shoot every 1.85 weeks this year, but I still was able to create some quality work and capture some quality times from my friends and clients.


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The year started almost immediately, I was at a company meeting for my day job and was challenged with a team of my peers to make a series of images. I’m not sure if I ever actually shared this with anyone since most of my work is portraits and not abstract works, but I still liked how this one turned out.


I was hired to shoot some photos for one of my cosplay clients, and after wrapping I just wasn’t done yet. I had built a very simple and basic lighting setup against a blank wall and asked Kat to step in for a few shots after she finished with a shoot of her own.

I still love how these turned out, and I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve ripped myself off with a similar lighting plan on several shoots after this one.

It also just occurred to me that I never posted any of the final images from the shoot I was hired for. Unless one or two made it to Instagram.

The final images that were delivered to the client were drastically different than this one, mostly because their vision was something very specific (even if it wasn’t really my cup of tea in the end). But I’m still very thankful that I was allowed to experiment on some final images after we shot what was needed.


A short time later I had the chance to shoot New York Burlesque Royalty Nina La Voix while on a business trip. I was happy that she took the time to respond, and actually took a chance to meet up with me in my hotel room for a shoot. We captured a couple of different set-ups that day, but I still love how this image came out.


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Zachary reached out to me again to document some photos for what would become the second of his Talon’s Grasp series. We shot this book cover almost exactly one year to the day that we shot his last cover in 2017.

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And of course it wouldn’t be a shoot that involves Zak without some out of context snaps that actually end up looking pretty good.


Where would I be without Dom inviting me to shoot concerts that he books when they come through town. I didn’t get to be at as many as I would have liked to this year, but I still love the photo of JD from Grendel as well as the below photos of Ghostfeeder’s guitar player (I never did catch his name) and Peter Turns Pirate frontman Neil.

I need to partner with Dom and make sure I can schedule my time around more of his shows. They are always a good time.


Around this same time I was given the chance to work with Tru Facade and take some of her first burlesque performer photos. She has grown so much over this last year, and I am so happy that I was able to be there at the literal beginning.


In a first in a LONG time I was invited to be a part of a few different art shows. Kate AKA Artetak did a great job at stoking my ego by actually wanting me to be a part of some of the great shows she has held this year.

But of course where would I be without my subjects. Big shout out to Roux for playing ghost in my entry to the “Occult” themed show, and Kali Fornication for being willing to be tied up by a bunch of random cables for my “Sci-Fi” entry.


Put on your best “monster truck voice” because, Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. I met Sunday when she came along for a birthday brunch of mine this year, and knew that at some point we had to work together. Sunday has a great look, and I’m so happy of the work we made together. Can’t wait to shoot more.


I’d be completely lost if I didn’t mention my local Atlanta burlesque family, I didn’t do as much work for them this year as I would have liked to, but that doesn’t mean that 2019 won’t be different. I’m working on a few special things…so stay tuned.


I spent a week in Germany this year for Photokina. This is the second time I’ve been out of the country, but I am already seeing a trend. When in a place where I don’t speak the language I seem to let street art speak to me on behalf of the people who live there.

Sometime I’d love to spend a period of time in Europe just walking around taking photos of stickers and spray paint. Maybe the occasional bicycle as well.


I had one of my blog posts picked up by two international photography blogs (so you don’t have to). I’m still riding the waves of this since it hit me basically out of nowhere. I’m so entirely thankful that two publications thought so highly of me, and I hope that I can leverage some of the contacts I made during this process to get the opportunity to try and review more products next year.

Also (and I’m sure I’ll be posting about it later) keep your ears open to hear my goofy voice on a podcast in early January.


For Halloween I partnered with Courtney from Courtney Walters Makeup to turn her partner Taylor into a spooky skeleton. I loved this shoot, it was so simple yet so expressive. And of course I love how excited people get when I turn their living room into a makeshift studio.

Courtney and I will be collaborating on a few different projects in 2019, so please stay tuned for that.


Keep your eyes peeled for a stand-alone blog post of this gentleman right here. LA Comedian and Podcast host Rivers Langley.

We squeaked in this shoot on the friday before Christmas and I was able to finalize everything while I had some downtime at home. I should be getting that post up pretty soon, so I’ll save my comments for then.


And of course, where would I be without my friends who love the work I do so much that they ask me to be a key part of their special moments:

Jessica and Thomas

Erin and Preston

Jesse and Rachel


I want to make sure that I give a big Thank You to everyone I have worked with or have talked about working with this year. And also a huge thank you to all of you who follow this blog (or at the very least catch updates as they come through your social media feeds).

I don’t want to put the cart before the horse but I’d like to say that big things are coming in 2019 one way or another, and as always I’d love to see you all there for the ride.

From me to all of you and yours, Happy Holidays and a beautiful new year!

The Artist's Way - Week 12

Blake’s Notes 12/5/2018:
I’m getting this post out a little later than usual, it’s already been a busy week for me on a lot of different directions so I apologize. This week (last week) was a super busy one, that had a lot of rough points. A lot of what you are about to read all was written Saturday afternoon while I was in my car waiting for rain to stop so I could go on my pseudo artist date.

Needless to say I didn’t really have enough time, energy, or frankly anything positive to say so what is below is literally the bare minimum without any commentary.

I have one more major update coming from my TAW experience, and expect that in the next week or so.


Week 12 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
Complete as many additional tasks as possible.


Tasks:

  1. Write down any resistance, angers, and fears you have about going on from here. We all have them.

    I’m afraid that for all of the forward momentum I have made that I will backpedal. I’m afraid that I don’t know the next steps and how to execute them. I’m afraid that I will be enticed to stay in my current position by money or other perks, instead of taking the steps to work for myself. I’m angry with myself that it has taken this long for me to find value in myself. But yet I have resistance to change, I don’t want to let anyone down.

  2. Take a look at your current areas of procrastination. What are the payoffs in your waiting? Locate the hidden fears.

    The biggest part of my procrastination involves my current debts. I need to take more of an inventory, and see where I can trim down. The more I can lock those down the better. The payoff would be a moderate amount of stability. Any additional help I can get would be better.

  3. Mend any mending.

  4. Repot any pinched and languishing plants.

  5. Now, check how: Honestly, what would you most like to create? Open-minded, what oddball paths would you dare to try? Willing, what appearances are you willing to shed to pursue your dream.

    There are several projects in the works, I just need to find a way to finance them or move forward. Even though it’s been done before I keep thinking of my “Friends IRL” project, and another somehow involving small town strip clubs. I’ve been joking about doing acid in the desert, and although I don’t want to go that far (probably) I’d still like to take some time for me and go exploring the world.

  6. Re-read this book. Share it with a friend. Remember that the miracle is one artist sharing with another. Trust Yourself.

    Consider it done. Kristin, you are up next. Also you are the only person I know who has consistently kept up with these posts. Consider this me calling you out...hope you can get something out of this  


Check-In:

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Have you accepted them yet as permanent spiritual practice? How was the experience for you?

Without really thinking about it I skipped a day this week. I don’t have any excuse for it, I looked over at my notebook when I woke up, but instead went back to sleep.  

I’m not sure if it’s just this week, but I feel like I am just writing the same things over and over without getting the “answers” I’m looking for. If such an answer does exist somewhere.  

I would like to experiment with different ways to write my morning pages. Maybe type them, maybe keep them on my phone (I did spend $10 on an app I’m not using since I returned the IPad a few weeks back). 

Did you do your artist date this week? Will you allow yourself these on a permanent basis as well? What did you do? How did it feel?

 It’s Saturday when I’m typing this out from my phone, I’m sitting outside of a local Barnes and Noble about to head inside. I don’t know if I can count this as a date...but it’s as good of a date as any I guess (and unless I actually decide to buy something it shouldn’t cost me anything).

 I’d love to keep taking myself on dates, but of all of the various parts of this process this is the part I have had the most problems with  . I can’t ever think of anything free or low cost that I’d enjoy doing. And then of course there is time. It just seems so limited.  

Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

Not really any that I noticed

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

Expect a better put together post-script coming soon. Over all I think this week certainly was a week, but each day is a step in the right direction.

The Artist's Way - Week 11

Day 70:

It always seems to be Sunday when I miss my morning pages. This morning I got an email that invited me to be part of a Podcast. Which of course I needed to respond to ASAP, before heading off for an Engagement shoot and a special event for one of my roommates. Its about 8:00pm now and I’m just getting around to my TAW work for the week. I realized I missed some of my tasks as well, so I will finish those this week like I did for last week:

The Awful Truth:
Answer the following questions:

  1. Tell the truth. What habit do you have that gets in the way of your creativity Coming from last week I really do think that my workaholism is a bad habit that gets in the way of my creativity. I spend so much time worrying about paying the bills with a “real” job that I overexert myself mentally and emotionally, and then when its time to create I am out of energy and tired most of the time.

  2. Tell the truth. What do you think might be a problem? It is. The other part has a lot to do with fear. Fear of failing, fear of appearing stupid, fear of needing to ask for help.

  3. What do you plan to do about the habit or problem? See last week. I think setting clear boundaries with myself and my job will be a huge part of correcting my workaholism.

    As for the fear. I think that is something I will need to conquer myself and will need some additional planning

  4. What is your payoff in holding on to this block? (If you can’t figure out your payoff, ask a trusted friend). I can’t really say there is a payoff. I mean, unless you count a rough case of financial stability over an artistic life that could have its ups and downs.


    Blake’s Notes:

    I’m going to pass by the other questions in this exercise. Since I am doing a lot of this work publically, I’d rather not have people be irritated with my thoughts “on them”.


Week 11 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
Complete as many additional tasks as possible.


A few quotes stuck out at me from the reading this week:

As an artist, I do not need to be rich but I do need to be richly supported. I cannot allow my emotional and intellectual life to stagnate or the work will show it. My life will show it. My temperment will show it. If I dont create I get crabby.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
As an artist I can literally die of boredom. I kill myself when I fail to nurture my artist child because I am acting like somebody else’s idea of an adult. The more I nurture my artist child the more adult I am able to appear. Spoiling my artist means it will let me type that business letter. Ignoring my artist means a grinding depression
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect. If I allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other people’s urges for me to be more normal and more nice, I sell myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance or behavior, but I will hate myself. Hating myself I will lash out at myself and others.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. There is a real rage that surfaces when we are interfered with [...] we will react as if we are flghting for our lives– We are.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way
If you are happier writing than not writing, painting than not painting, singing than not singing, acting than not acting, directing than not directing, for god’s sake let yourself do it. To kill your dreams because they are irresponsibe is to be irresponsivle to yourself. Credibility lies with you and [the universe] not with a vote of your friends and aquaintences.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

Tasks:

  • Tape yourself in your own voice reading The Basic Principles. Use this tape for meditation

  • Inventory for yourself the ways you have changed since beginning your recovery.

    I am finding more time (or moreso working on finding the time) for my creative self.
    I am realizing that people do care about what I think, and value my opinions.
    I am working towards a better future for my creative self.
    I am realizing that living a creative life is possible.
    I have allowed myself to invest in my future, instead of letting the idea of spending money cripple me.


  • List 5 ways you will change as you continue

    I will continue to nurture my artist child through education and doing.
    I will give myself more time to focus on creativity.
    I will put more focus on my work, and less on what people think of my work.
    I will believe in myself.
    I will allow myself to take the steps to move forward with my career as an artist.


  • List 5 ways you plan to nurture yourself in the next six months: Courses you will take, supplies you will allow yourself, artist’s dates, and vacations just for you.

    I will restart and also finish Zak Arias’ DEDPXL “Get to work” guide.
    I will purchase another Creative Live guide (I just need to decide which one or ones). Maybe I’ll even break down and get that Clay Cook tutorial from F-Stoppers, even if it is a little on the expensive side.
    I will do more research, and maybe purchase some more light modifiers (Once I realize which ones I really would use regularly).
    I’d really like a couple of good C-Stands with grip arms, but I don’t have a place to store them at the moment.
    I will do my best to plan a real vacation away from my day to day life. If only for a weekend, or even a day.
    I will make time for artist dates, and actually follow through with them.

  • Take out a piece of paper and plan one week’s nurturing for yourself. This means one concrete, loving action every single day for one week. Please binge

    Monday: A trip to Comedy and Beer night at the brewery.
    Tuesday: Stop off for a movie instead of sitting in traffic.
    Wednesday: A nice dinner, at a nice restaurant, without worrying about the cost.
    Thursday: Karaoke night in Kennesaw.
    Friday: Board games with friends.
    Saturday: An evening at the Korean spa. Maybe with friends, maybe alone.
    Sunday: An afternoon nap, without worrying about sleeping through the night.


Day 76:

It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I’m writing this after having driven home from seeing Family. I really wish I could have stayed a while longer, I probably could have, but also I needed to get back home in order to have some time to catch up before heading back to work next week.

I always hate when I have to leave early. I know that it’s heartbreaking to my family. But at the same time I think they realize that it’s a four hour drive from my house to theirs, and that I have my own life that needs to be lived.

During the drive I listened to another “self help” audiobook:

“Unfuck Yourself” - Gary John Bishop

“Unfuck Yourself” - Gary John Bishop

If The Artist’s Way is about nurturing the voice within, this book is about telling that voice to shut the hell up and get on with it. The book breaks down into a couple of “basic” principles:

  1. I AM WILLING

  2. I AM WIRED TO WIN

  3. I GOT THIS

  4. I EMBRACE THE UNCERTAINTY

  5. I AM NOT MY THOUGHTS; I AM WHAT I DO

  6. I AM RELENTLESS

  7. I EXPECT NOTHING & ACCEPT EVERYTHING.

I won’t go into much more detail than that, as I really think that this is worth a read. But I will say that it certainly gave me some ideas on how to…well…Unfuck myself. I hope that when times get tough (and they will) that I remember what this book has to teach.


Check-In:

How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you? Have you recommended morning pages to anyone yet? Why? 4. I missed Sunday (see last week’s answer to this question since I finished my check in on the same day I started this post), and I got up a little too late on “Black Friday” to write before I needed to grab a shower and head out to see my grandparents. I also missed on Saturday before heading home. I chose to prioritise sleep and a little extra family time before hitting the road.

While I can’t say I have recommended morning pages per se, I have recommended that many people take on a 12 week Artist’s Way journey themselves.

Did you do your artist date this week? Have you considered scheduling an entire artist’s day? What did you do? How did it feel? Another week down without a date. Unless I find something for myself to do tomorrow. I wish I was in a position to schedule an entire artist’s day.

Perhaps I should allow myself to take a personal day from work and just spend the day working on me. I’ll see what I can do, and hopefully the upcoming holidays won’t step on my plans too much.

Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them. I spent some time talking with my mother during Thanksgiving proper. We both are going through our own sets of challenges at the moment. But she made it clear that she knew what I was going through, even if she doesn’t have a way to help me at the moment.

As she was driving off to take my younger brothers home, she told me she was proud of me. And while I’m certain it wasn’t the first time she has said that…it did stick out in my memory. I just hope to keep it that way.

Jesse and Rachel - 2018.

Jesse is a face that isn’t any stranger to the blog. You may better recognize him as the brain and body behind Solar Wolf Cosplay, and because of the several costumes he has had me document for him over the last two years.

Jesse and his soon to be wife Rachel approached me for some engagement photos that best captured them in some of their favorite places in Atlanta, The DragonCon hotel trinity.

It was strange being able to walk around without bumping into folks, and it was much more quiet than I ever expected downtown could be, but overall I think I captured them both well as a couple.


And of course, what’s else says “fun engagement shoot” without a few outtakes :P

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