Graffiti

The Netherlands 2019 - More Bikes (and Maybe a Few Tulips) .

So, I guess I’ve put this off long enough. Not sure why. I mean it shouldn’t be that hard to type up a few paragraphs about my process, or the things I had the chance to do or see, but for some reason I’ve had a hard time getting my thoughts together about this one.

It still boggles my mind, the obsession I have with bikes when traveling abroad. I think it stems from never really learning how to ride one as a child (long story), but at any rate I always joke with friends about how much the things I shoot change depending on where I am.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to return to The Netherlands, this time to lead a group of Photographers on a tour of the Dutch countryside. While I tend to shy away from sharing too much about my day to day job role, I’ll be sharing some of the photos I captured while facilitating the workshop.

So without further ado, please enjoy more of my “famous” photos from countries abroad.

Kampen:

Kampen

Kampen

Kampen

Kampen

Kampen

Kampen

Kampen

Kampen

Kampen


Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam


Everywhere Else (The Dutch Countryside)

Schokland

Schokland

Urk

Urk

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!

Cologne (Köln) Germany - 2018.

May I be a douche and quote myself?

There are already so many photos of pretty things. So sometimes I like to take photos of ugly things.
— Griffin, Blake (UNEXPhotography). 27 Sep 2018, 17:12 UTC. Tweet

I even did a (mostly) accurate MLA formatting quote job for you there. But in all seriousness, I found myself in Germany for Photokina this year following my trend of documenting European graffiti and street art.

I really only had one day to walk around, so the majority of these were from a single session, however I do feel like I got a couple of winners. I’ll be running some prints of these for myself soon because the web just do not do them justice at all. There are so many great textures that just are missed when not looking at everything full sized.

I hope you enjoy taking a look at these as much as I enjoyed taking them. Until next time Köln, Danke!

The Artist's Way - Week 3

Day 14:


In a few hours I get on a plane to fly to Germany for a week. I guess that gives me at least 8-18 hours over the next 7 days to work distraction free on the plane. I’ve already printed off the worksheets for this week and will attempt to freehand them into my notebook (and then re-type them here).


Week 3 Goals:

Morning Pages x7
Artist Date x1
Detective Work Exercise
Complete as many additional Exercises as possible.


Day 15:

My German adventure in a nutshell so far: “Just hopped a train in the wrong direction. Maybe I should have learned some German before trying this.”

My German adventure in a nutshell so far: “Just hopped a train in the wrong direction. Maybe I should have learned some German before trying this.”

Also my knowledge of German culture summed up right here: “KMFDM comes on shuffle…RIGHT ON! Rammstein comes on shuffle…Skip immediately.”

Also my knowledge of German culture summed up right here: “KMFDM comes on shuffle…RIGHT ON! Rammstein comes on shuffle…Skip immediately.”

Today is pretty much my only day to be a dirty rotten tourist. I got in after being awake for 20 hours, an 8 hour plane ride, an hour on a train, and a taxi that ate up half of my walking money and really just wanted to sleep. My one hour nap turned into a three hour nap, and after waking up I really didn’t want to do anything at all. But I forced myself out of the hotel and walked around Cologne all evening.

I’m so happy that I did because I added a few new images to my Patent Pending Self-Guided European Graffiti Walking Tour Image Set. Even though it started off literally heading in the wrong direction.

I’ll get an official blog post up once I return, but for now I’ll share this one:

I was drawn to that “That Guy” sticker, so much so I walked back across the street to grab it.

I was drawn to that “That Guy” sticker, so much so I walked back across the street to grab it.


Day 16:

Many blocked people are actually very powerful and creative personalities who have been made to feel guilty about their own strengths and gifts. Without being acknowledged, they are often used as batteries by their friends and family who feel free to both use their creative energies and disparage them.

When these blocked artists strive to break free of their dysfunctional systems, they are often urged to be sensible when such advice is not appropriate for them. Made to feel guilty for their talents, they often hide their own light under a bushel for fear of hurting others. Instead, they hurt themselves [...]

When you complete the following phrases, you may feel strong emotion as you retrieve memories and misplaced fragments of yourself. Allow yourself to free-associate for a sentence or so with each phrase.
— Julia Cameron - The Artist's Way

Detective Work:

  1. My favorite childhood toy was Starscream probably, the transformer. Or maybe Tank Megatron. But if I’m being honest with myself it probably was the stuffed Shamu.

  2. The best movie I saw as a child was Jurassic Park. Full Stop. Dinosaurs Rule.

  3. If it weren’t too late I probably would have partied more in college.

  4. The amount of money I spend on treating myself to entertainment each month is not near as much as I’d like to be spending.

  5. If I weren’t so stingy with my artist I would buy him so many things. Lights, lenses, probably something medium format.

  6. Taking time out for myself is complicated. I put too many people first before me.

  7. I am afraid that if I start dreaming that I will eventually have to wake up.

  8. My parents think artists are a waste of time.

  9. Learning to trust myself is probably easier than I’m making it out to be.

  10. My favorite way to dress is in a nice expensive suit or a nice shirt, but also with a utilikilt somehow.

This was the stuffed Shamu, with her baby. This damn thing didn’t leave my side until I was almost a teenager.

This was the stuffed Shamu, with her baby. This damn thing didn’t leave my side until I was almost a teenager.


Day 18:
Is there an opposite to jet lag? Jet-future maybe? For whatever reason by body decided to wake up at 5am. But it lead to the following thoughts:

I’m not sure how The Dutch do it. They seem to run on a steady stream of coffee that turns into beer. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m not sure how The Dutch do it. They seem to run on a steady stream of coffee that turns into beer. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Also I have to state for the record that its kinda a sucky truth that I feel like I have to beg my friends to shoot with me (and at least even in some minor way compensate me for my talents).

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I mean like, I’m in a decent place in my life and don’t need any extra funds, but it still feels good when someone doesn’t just take advantage and actively wants to pay you for a service you are providing.


Day 20:
Today was the first day I had to skip morning pages. I forgot that it was Saturday and didn’t set an alarm. Thankfully my body woke me up in time. There was a protest in the city today, and it messed up the trains.

I’m back at the hotel now packing and I hope that I can get everything down small enough to make it back home since I had to bring back some extra equipment. As long as the trains are back to normal tomorrow morning all should be well.


Day 21: 

Flight back home is delayed about 2 hours. Now would be a great time to work on some exercises. I’m a little doped up on anti-nausea medicine, but I may end up doing some. I’ll probably integrate those into the week 3 blog if that’s the case. Unless the plane has a power outlet. 

After the fact note: The flight ended up being delayed a total of 6 hours, and I ended up being awake for 24 straight hours before getting home. This really put a damper on my mood and my pre-work for week 4.


Check In:

  1. How many days did you do your morning pages? If you skipped a day, why did you skip it? 6. One day I woke up extremely late and couldn’t fit it into my schedule.

  2. Did you do your artist date this week? What did you do? How did it feel? Yes. I took a walk through a strange city with my camera and did some shooting of street art, and the remnants of it. I loved it, I always like it when I can walk around and document a new place by myself.

  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it? I did actually, but it wasn’t exactly positive. I was so worried about missing my flight back to Atlanta, and it seemed like I was just on the track to do so. But then the flight was massively delayed.

  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them. I felt that the detective work exercise gave me some insight into my fears as an artist. When I had time to focus on them, it provided some clarity into what may be holding me back.

    I wish I had made more time for some of the other exercises this week. I think there were a few that could have been equally unblocking as the detective work. I did take some time for myself to walk around the photo show. Got to play with some new toys in person that I may end up working into my arsenal.

    It was nice being across from the “Professional’s Stage” at the show, I found myself listening to and watching some interesting talks that could potentially help me grow my skills…even if many of them were in a language that I couldn’t understand.

Top 5ish Photos of 2017 – A Year in Review.

This was a year of many firsts. First trip out of the country, first book cover, first album cover, first fan art, and even first sighting of my photos in "The wild". 

I worked with a TON of new people this year, and each though a connection made from past clients. I've become a name on a great number of tongues this year, and I hope to keep growing. If I had a dollar for every time I said: "But I'm not a _______ photographer" while shooting a particular subject matter this year, I'd be a rich man. 

When the numbers all add up, I averaged a shoot every 8.4 days this year, on top of working a full time day gig. So needless to say, I'm a little bit tired. But to be honest I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

The Netherlands

My year may have started in the US, but my first First of the year comes from my trip abroad. I may have been sent for work, but that didn't stop me from taking the time to give myself a self-guided tour of my accomidations. 

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Talon's Grasp
(Book Cover)

This wasn't just a year of firsts for me. A close friend Zak had his first book published this year. 
He asked me to shoot photos for what would end up being the cover of this book. Zak also allowed me to test out some new equipment (for me anyway) the results of which became his Author photo seen below. 

The photo below was an outtake that didn't end up making the cover, but I still liked it anyway. Talon (Lex) went above and beyond to bring the titular character to life.

Be sure to show some love to Lex and Zak by picking up your own copy of the book on Amazon.


Lust
(An Album Cover)

Regular client and friend Hada Pixie, as well as her partner TG Mondalf invited me to take part in a special event as well. TG being a big fan of my work wanted partner up and shoot a full album's worth of images, a few of which appear below: 

You can pick up your own copy directly from Latex Records

It was through this shoot that I also met with Sakura Stars, a model I hope to do some more with in the near future. A photo of her appears in the bonus section at the end of the blog.


First "Fan Art"
"...but I'm not a Cosplay photographer..."

I'm consistently astounded by Evin from Apologue Media and am so happy to have been introduced to him and his work. Last year I met for the first time a group that would become regular clients in 2017. Solar Phoenix (as she is now known) shot multiple sets ranging from television, to anime, and even branching in the realm of video games. 

Even though I had no idea what the source material was about, it was her Hotline Miami costume that really made an impression on me this year. 


In the Wild

Through various cosplay shoots this year I was brought to the attention of a couple of groups in the Atlanta Burlesque/Nerdlesque community, and have been introduced to many wonderful people with whom I now consider both friends and clients (and even more that are on the docket to create something magical in the years to come). 

The photo below was snapped at the opening show for The FanDOM, Under The Cowl, which I also shot some of the marketing materials for. 

Kali Fornication, Benjamin Unbutton, and Désiré Èvoquer are just a few of the lovely foks from The FanDOM that I have become close with. Please keep your eyes peeled for more exciting work coming from these guys in the upcoming months. 


As a bonus, I'd also like to share some of my favorite images from a Game of Thrones burlesque show that I was invited to work on (and subsequently got me noticed by what would become FanDOM). 

The Game of Thrones: Winter is Stunning event was one that shouldn't have been missed (and if you missed it, that was clearly your fault because I talked about it a lot). 

Shown are just a few selects from my time in Westeros. Solar Wolf, Solar Phoenix, Risky Sour, and Roux La La are shown here in their wonderful costumes, with Désiré Èvoquer appearing above as Joffrey. 


Bonus Photos
(Because I quickly learned my "Top 5 photos of the year" post ended up with 30+ images in it)


A giant thank you as always to everyone who I shot with this year, I tried to make sure I grabbed a couple of photos from every shoot (and if I missed you it wasn't on purpose). And other great thanks to all of you out there whom I interact with on Social Media and in real life. I love your feedback and interactions. Thanks for reading all of the blog posts, and commenting on your favorite images. 

See you all in 2018.

© 2006 – 2019 UNEXPhotography and Blake Griffin.

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