Monday, May 31, 2010

Dominic Musulman November 13, 1952 to May 31, 2010

56 years. I'd known Nick for 56 years. 56 years, 10 days, to be more precise. We met on my first birthday, which would have been May 21, 1954. I've known him longer than I've known anyone else, and longer than even his brothers and sisters. And, this morning, he died. At his desk, at work, but alone on a holiday. He'd come in to meet with a client, and only expected to be at work for a little time.
It's impossible to explain the impact Nick had on my life. He was "Uncle Nick" to my daughter, friend and confidant to my wife. He was the big brother I never had, as an only child. I often reminded him that he was older than I, by a rollicking six months. He got me through some of the toughest times I had in college, introduced me to a lot of obscure music, and, through conversations late at night and early in the morning, helped form my thoughts. Without him, I don't know who I'd be.
Too, we helped him through some, but not nearly all, of the tough times in his life. I talked him into coming back to California after a stint on the East Coast. He slept on our couch, babysat our daughter, changed her diapers in the wee hours of the morning, so we could get some much needed sleep.
Nick had the ability to make all around him comfortable, feeling like they'd known him for years. I have a photo of him and another friend, Jay Wiestling, sitting on recliners on the tailgate of a moving truck, beers in hand, laughing at some long forgotten joke. He and Jay had just met, but got along as if they'd grown up together. Nick was like that. All of my closest friends who met him remember him vividly, and all have at least one story to tell about being around him.
He hated to disappoint. If anything, I think this led to him disappearing from time to time. He would commit to being someplace, or promise to call, or some such thing. When he was prevented from doing so, he'd drop from sight, only to reappear sometime later. Sometimes in an entirely different place. He "had the bear in him," as my wife says. The need to wander, to explore, to not repeat an experience. I sometimes think he was born in the wrong era. He needed to be in a time where men lived closer to the earth, when having a "job" wasn't necessary to earn a living. He'd have been an itinerate handyman, or wandering peddlar or something that would bring him into contact with a wide variety of people and experiences. Staying in one place was foreign to him for many years.
Recently, he'd married, for the second time, and had his first child, a daughter he called his "little miracle." He seemed to have found the place and time in which he wanted to be. We just wish he'd stayed a little longer...
He will be missed. This gives Memorial day a whole new meaning to me and mine.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

It's Tough Being Me, Part II

At least that's what a friend of mine said, while he was picking up the disc of shots I did of his black Ducati. That was because, right then, he saw all three of the above models came out from getting their hair and makeup done so we could work with them at Cruisin' Grand in Escondido. Heather and I thought it would be fun to have four models out on the loose with a bunch of classic American Hot Rods, Muscle Cars and other classics. One of the girls we had originally enlisted, Erica, fell and broke her leg two days before the adventure, so we soldiered on with the three ladies you see in the photo, from left to right, Melissa, Nicole and Alyssa. The car is a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biaritz Convertible, an awesome piece of American luxury, owned by our friends, Dan and Eileen. By the way, Erica was seriously bummed, but not seriously hurt. We're going to do another one of these Cruisin' Grand shoots when she's better.

Here's Nicole and Melissa, strolling down Grand Avenue from Studio 158, where the stylists did a great job of getting our three girls ready!

Melissa with a 1956 Chevrolet 210. We just had to photograph her with this car, her tube top and the car matched so well! By the way, my Dad had one exactly like this, back then, even the same color.

Nicole with her dream car, a red 1967 Mustang. I met Nicole last year at Fashion Week Escondido, where she was a runway model. This is the first time I've had an opportunity to work with her one on one, and you can bet it won't be the last! She was great!

Here's Alyssa and Nicole with a street mime. I just couldn't resist...and neither could they!

Alyssa with a '56 Chevy BelAir Convertible. Her Fables by Barrie Romper was the perfect match for the red and white classic!

They've got legs! Melissa and Alyssa, looking like an ad for tires in a '50s Hot Rod magazine!

No, she's not in trouble... she's just posing with a '30s California Highway Patrol car. Cool, huh?

Back at the Cadillac, Nicole in the driver's seat!

And Alyssa out front of the Caddy as the sun goes down.
It was a really great day, and I got to work with three incredible, and beautiful, models. Melissa, I've worked with a lot, and we really connect. Nicole, I'd met before, but, like I said, it's the first time we've really worked together. She's bright, open and fun, and we'll be shooting again in the near future. Alyssa worked mostly with Heather this day, but I really enjoyed the time we spent working with each other, and we're all planning another shoot, maybe more fashion/pinup oriented, next time.
Like my friend said, "It's tough being me!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Shoot with Another Old Friend

A while back, I had another great shoot with an old friend, Brooke. Her last name is the same as mine, Middleton, thus we sometimes refer to each other as "cuz!" She's a fun one to work with, and up for just about anything. We once did a shoot in a salt encrusted abandoned trailer out at the Salton Sea. We got some memorable images from that day, I promise.

She can get truly dramatic, if needed. She really got into working with this guitar, too.

A girl like this, pinup becomes inevitable. And green with red hair is just as de rigeur.

Everbody loves this pose, both models and photographers. Everybody wants to either do it or photograph it!
I also, later, did a shoot with Brooke and her adorable son, Dallas. I'll have images from that up in a week or so, so stay tuned!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's Tough Being Me, Part 1

Sometimes, you meet a new model and make an immediate connection. Melissa is one of those models. She's quite young, at least relative to me, but she has an old soul. She combines impulsiveness with thoughtfulness. She's open to expanding her horizons. That she's beautiful is icing on the cake, as it were.

So, now she and I collaborate on projects, and have a lot of fun doing it. She's into old cars and ink, which make a great combination. You'll be seeing more of her, here and elsewhere, in the future. We've submitted images to a couple of magazines, we'll see where we go from there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Good Shoot with a Good Friend...

After the self flagellation of the last post, I took some time to look around, and realize that I'm a pretty lucky MF. Photography is one thing I'm passionate about, and it's my job. To me, that's like getting to play football, and have someone pay you to do so. It's what I did when I worked the jobs I hated, in order to stay sane. So, now I do it to help pay the bills. Not bad. And then there's the beautiful girls I get to work with, from time to time. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, I gotta say. I recently did a shoot with an old friend of mine, Jamie. We had a lot of fun, caught up on some things, and produced some excellent imagery. I've really gotten into pinup style editing over the last 7 or 8 months. We did a seminar with another photographer named Robert Alvarado, who developed a technique that makes a straightforward photograph look like a pinup from the '30s or '40s. Lotsa fun! So, I did some photos of her that came out like the images above.
Jamie and I have shot a lot over the years, probably nine or ten shoots, all told, starting in 2002. She's fun, adventurous and creative. I really like working with her, she gets it.
Her blog:
Take a look...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Lesson in Humility

Y'know, sometimes, you wander down life's little paths, thinking you're a good person, and most of what you do for other people, you do for them, not for your own gratification. Then something slaps you upside the head and tells you different. I mean, you give your support to people, telling them you don't want anything in return, but then, you realize that deep down, there is a little payback expected, or not even that, but you're not being completely altruistic. It takes you a bit to reset your expectations of yourself, and to deal with what you've done to others. Part of the problem with that is that things you've done that really were selfless, or things you were going to do, are now suspect. It takes a lot of shoveling to dig out of that hole...