Imagine - Ken

Ken is 32 years old. He is a sales manager who dreams of writing books, starting his family (he IS getting married in a little over a week), and getting a masters degree. He fears being stagnant, standing still in life. He is afraid of his life not having any meaning. The good old Calvin and Hobbes make him smile as does his dog Kumba. Sad points in movies make him cry, and horrors such as the actions of ISIS and news from war torn countries bring sadness to his heart.

Work is really busy for Ken right now, and so when he’s not working, or getting ready to get married, he likes creating spaces in his house. He also likes to read and watch a sitcom here and there. He enjoys hiking in the woods to contemplate life, and he writes for which he wishes he had more time. 

Imagine, you were offered a book deal to publish your first book, a fantasy novel you've been working on for years.

Imagine, you were offered a book deal to publish your first book, a fantasy novel you've been working on for years.

Imagine, you are at a meeting with a publisher pitching him your book on the inner workings of the porn industry - a book you really believe is needed. And yet again for the fifth time, you get rejected.

Imagine, you are at a meeting with a publisher pitching him your book on the inner workings of the porn industry - a book you really believe is needed. And yet again for the fifth time, you get rejected.

Imagine, you're a kid waiting for the Sunday paper to read the Calvin and Hobbes.

Imagine, you're a kid waiting for the Sunday paper to read the Calvin and Hobbes.

Imagine, you're reading the newspaper and come upon an article about another beheading of Christians by ISIS.

Imagine, you're reading the newspaper and come upon an article about another beheading of Christians by ISIS.

Imagine is a project inspired by Howard Schatz’s In Character series of portraits where he asked his subjects - actors - and he suggested to them situations and characters, and captured their portrayal of those situations.

In Imagine, we ask people - friends and otherwise - what they dream to be and see in life, and what they fear. We ask what makes them laugh, and what makes them cry, what brings up emotions and feelings in them. We then ask them to imagine that those dreams and feared moments have materialized.

Favorite Photographers

I like the following photographers for different reasons. Some I like because I like their work. Some for who they are as a person. Some for their availability and generosity to the photography community. Some for any combination of the above.

Antonin Kratochvil

Antonin Kratochvil is probably the favorite photographer of mine who’s influenced my work, and the way I approach it the most.
He is one of the founding members of VII, one of the world’s most distinguished documentary photography agencies.  He's an award winning photographer who's covered conflicts as well as worked on commercial campaigns.
I’ve liked Antonin Kratochvil and his work for as long as I can remember being interested in photography. His raw images, the way he constructs and deconstructs them, his composition … to me they are unlike any other. Some images, it seems there is not one thing in focus. Very unique!
I met Antonin at a workshop he taught in Brooklyn in 2007, and had a chance to see who he was like in person. His no-BS persona, say-it-as-it-is attitude was to me just as appealing as his work.

Here are some of my favorite images of his. 

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Photo ©Antonin Kratochvil

Eugene Richards

Eugene Richards is a photographer, writer, filmmaker.
For decades, he’s worked on documenting the American family, his first wife’s battle with cancer, social issues drug addiction, poverty, racial tensions.
I love his intimate, personal, up-close images. A lot of times, looking at his photographs I’m thinking to myself, “Man, that took balls to be so close and photograph!" 

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Photo ©Eugene Richards

Jeremy Cowart

Jeremy Coward has a pretty cool story how he became a photographer, and how he got to where he is. He got rejected, he was told he had no talent. Now he is one of the most influential photographers in America.
He also founded Help Portrait, an organization making portraits of people in local communities who otherwise may never have their pictures taken. He is also a founder of See University, an online platform where he teaches what he’s learned throughout his career. 

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Photo ©Jeremy Cowart

Joe McNally

Joe McNally is seen as one of the most versatile photographers today. He’s worked for clients such as National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Newsweek, Fortune, New York, The New York Times Sunday Magazine.
Shortly after 9/11, Joe made Faces of Ground Zero – Portraits of the Heroes of September 11th, a collection of 246 large portraits shot in the Moby c Studio near Ground Zero. A book made of these images helped raise over $2 million for the 9/11-relief effort.
To me, Joe McNally is a master painter painting with light who is able to transform any scene in front of him into a beautiful image. And he shares his craft and skill with other on his blog. His blog is a big source of inspiration and knowledge for me.

Photo ©Joe McNally

Photo ©Joe McNally

Photo ©Joe McNally

Photo ©Joe McNally

Photo ©Joe McNally

Photo ©Joe McNally

Martin Schoeller

Marting Schoeller is portrait photographer know primarily for his hyper-detailed close-ups, big head portraits styled and made all in a similar way. 
I love people, I like being with people, getting to know them, and to me that means being close to them. I also believe that the closer you are the better the images.

Photo ©Martin Schoeller

Photo ©Martin Schoeller

Photo ©Martin Schoeller

Photo ©Martin Schoeller

Photo ©Martin Schoeller

Photo ©Martin Schoeller

Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon was a fashion and portrait photographer who created work for numerous magazines as well as worked on commercial campaigns. He also created portraits of celebrities, politicians as well as ordinary people.
I fell in love with his work when I stumbled upon his In The American West, a book featuring portraits of drifters, miners, cowboys, housewives and others made in state fair rodeos, carnivals, coal mines, oil fields, slaughter houses and prisons throughout the western US. I love the simplicity yet depth of the way the portraits were made, the vulnerability of the subjects portrayed. According to some, In The Americas West is the best body of work Avedon created.

Photo ©Richard Avedon

Photo ©Richard Avedon

Photo ©Richard Avedon

Photo ©Richard Avedon

Photo ©Richard Avedon

Photo ©Richard Avedon

Loving Our Neighbor

When we started COMMIT PHOTO we had a vision that it would be known for reasons well beyond photography, beyond the images we make. Our vision is to be known for our presence in our community, how we love, how we serve those around us.

One of the ways we aim to do that is by supporting organizations that physically work in our world to make it a better place. COMMIT PHOTO currently supports the work of The Columbus Dream Center and Asia's Hope. For a few years, my wife Kelli and I have been involved with The Better Way, which is now The Columbus Dream Center (TCDC). The Columbus Dream Center is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to providing hope to low-income, homeless and under-served individuals and families in Columbus, Ohio. Around the world there are millions of people enslaved in various forms of modern day slavery. That lead John McCollum to start Asia's Hope, a multi-denominational, grassroots movement working in Cambodia, Thailand and India to provide quality long-term care for orphaned children at high risk of sexual and economic exploitation.

Among other ways, we will support TCDC and Asia's Hope by sales of prints out of which a significant portion of the proceeds will go towards these organizations. Here are the images currently available for purchase. Thank you for considering buying one of the prints, and ultimately helping us help others.

Imagine - Joe

Joe is 38 years old customer service manager who's always dreamed about being a stand-up comedian. He loves taking in comedy shows and Cirque du Soleil. He enjoys music, movies, and the arts, and he likes to mentor the youth.

He is very much a family man, and family is who he gives most of his time to when he is not working. And family is also where most of his joys but also fears and worries come from.

His dad has been through a few serious health episodes, and so Joe is trying to spend a lot of time with him right now helping him enjoy life while he still can. One-on-one talks with his kids bring him unspeakable joy and are a source of laughs.

As he is getting older he is realizing that it is inevitable that the elderly members of his family will be passing on, and he will lose those who have been a source of wisdom and support for him and his own family. One of the hardest and saddest times Joe's been through was the recent loss of his grandfather, the last surviving grandparent.

Imagine, that you’ve been doing stand-up comedy for a few months, mostly in small bars and clubs in Columbus, and you just got invited to perform at The Second City in Chicago, the benchmark for improv. 

Imagine, that you’ve been doing stand-up comedy for a few months, mostly in small bars and clubs in Columbus, and you just got invited to perform at The Second City in Chicago, the benchmark for improv. 

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Imagine, you’re on stage at The Second City, you’re doing your routine, you’re trying your hardest… but nobody is laughing…

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	mso-fareast-language:JA;}   Imagine, you’re done with your routine, you’re standing on the stage. People LOVED your material, and are going absolutely crazy.

Imagine, you’re done with your routine, you’re standing on the stage. People LOVED your material, and are going absolutely crazy.

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	mso-fareast-language:JA;}   Imagine, you just realized you’re getting older, people around you are getting older, and that soon time will come that you won’t have anymore those who have been here for you, who have been your support system.

Imagine, you just realized you’re getting older, people around you are getting older, and that soon time will come that you won’t have anymore those who have been here for you, who have been your support system.

Imagine, you’re watching your daughter play-wrestle with her older brother, and she’s kicking his butt.

Imagine, you’re watching your daughter play-wrestle with her older brother, and she’s kicking his butt.

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	mso-fareast-language:JA;}   Imagine, you’re sitting across the table from your daughter after you got home from work… and she’s telling you, dead-serious expression on her face, about how she wants to be a plumber.

Imagine, you’re sitting across the table from your daughter after you got home from work… and she’s telling you, dead-serious expression on her face, about how she wants to be a plumber.

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	mso-fareast-language:JA;}   Imagine, you’re sitting in your favorite chair at home, thinking about, remembering your grandparents. 

Imagine, you’re sitting in your favorite chair at home, thinking about, remembering your grandparents. 

Imagine is a project inspired by Howard Schatz’s In Character series of portraits where he asked his subjects - actors - and he suggested to them situations and characters, and captured their portrayal of those situations.

In Imagine, we ask people - friends and otherwise - what they dream to be and see in life, and what they fear. We ask what makes them laugh, and what makes them cry, what brings up emotions and feelings in them. We then ask them to imagine that those dreams and feared moments have materialized.

The Process - Inspiration by Jeff Konczal

Photographer Jeff Konczal

Photographer Jeff Konczal

My friend, photographer Jeff Konczal shares what is behind one of his recent photographs. One of Jeff's jobs is making portraits of leaders in the community - CEOs, public figures, etc. - and recently he photographed Chrissie Brodigan.

Here's Jeff:

I wanted to write about where I find inspiration for portraits. 

Once I know the name of the person I am scheduled to photograph, I begin with a Google search to find out a bit about who they are and what they do.  I can usually find some detail from that simple Google search that I can begin building a loose idea of what I might try to achieve from a portrait.  

For the portrait of Chrissie Brodigan, a researcher who has worked with Github, Mozilla, and Meetup, I looked around her blog and quickly realized she works with data. My initial thought was to try to convey something about how she works with data in a visual way. For the portrait, I used a sparkly foam board and set my flashes to bounce off it. The results were different. Random colors of light shot back at her face or onto the wall, and other times it was just white light reflected back. During the portrait session, Chrissie mentioned that the sparkle board I was using had the same sparkle pattern as a sticker she had on her laptop, and that she loved sparkles (I don't know if she said she loved sparkles, but she seemed pretty excited). It was a little bit of luck that the same pattern I was using to reflect my light was also a sticker she has on her laptop, but that made me feel that I had found some thread of who she is, outside of the whole (different points of light = data) thing.

This is where I found my inspiration for this portrait. Other times, it can come from a completely different direction, but I still always start with a bit of Google research.

Chrissie Brodigan (©Jeff Konczal)

Chrissie Brodigan (©Jeff Konczal)

Chrissie Brodigan (©Jeff Konczal)

Chrissie Brodigan (©Jeff Konczal)