Friday, December 30, 2011

Followup- Ian


















Ian was a precocious 10 year old in 2001. Today he's 6'-3" and 200 pounds trying to land a spot on the Reinhardt University varsity basketball team. I played one on one with Ian every time we went to visit his family in Atlanta. I'd like to think that our competitive games in the driveway fueled his desire to get better at the game. I wasn't shy about blocking his shots when he was two feet shorter than me....and he's not shy about blocking mine now. It's what I get. This year I didn't get a chance to play against him, but we did find some time to get a quick follow up image. What is amazing about this image is that I didn't tell him what I was doing and to show up with a basketball jersey. Instead, he showed up with a jacket that suggests his tastes haven't changed much in 10 years.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Card 2011! Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays












It seems that the "Occupy" movement was the theme for many cards that went out this year. Our card this year went along with that theme as well. Gillian contributed the funky Santa and his sleigh and I pulled an image out from last years Christmas snow storm. From conception to mailing took all of 4 days, so it was a mad dash this year to get the cards out before Christmas. My mother-in-law pointed out that we had in fact misspelled Christmas on one of the signs...my sign... of course. Oh well... corrected on some....not all. Here is hoping that all of you have a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year! Be safe.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nicki - Followup










At 16 years old, Nicki has been a faithful companion for me ever since we moved into the studio on St. Mary's street. Her name Lady Nicola of St. Mary's was her official AKC title. Sadly, Nicki will be moving on tomorrow as her body finally gave out this week. Believe it or not, only two weeks ago she was still chasing a tennis ball and frisbee. Not with the vigor of two years ago, but still excited enough to bark in anticipation when I bounced the ball. I wanted to include her in my followup series, and although she doesn't look well (she wasn't) she stood long enough to get an image out by her favorite fire hydrant. This is another of the series that due to the setting really emphasizes the change in Nicki's appearance in the two years since the first picture was taken. Obviously she will be missed. I imagine over the next few weeks, I will still be cautious about where I stand up, as she was always at my feet. Maybe tomorrow morning she will get that piece of chocolate that she has always wanted.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hanna 2001-2011


















Part of the problem of revisiting photographs that I did 10 years ago or more is scheduling a session with a subject living in another state. I was finally able to get Hanna to Raleigh to recreate a shot I did when she was 12 years old.

As I continue shooting, I realize that there are others doing similar projects and hope that by the time I've completed 20 or more images, that it won't have become passe'. It's fun though and obviously ideas are rarely unique.

I do believe though that photography's most important virtue is it's ability to document the passage of time. After 20 years, most of us don't look at images and assess how good a photograph it is...we look at it as to what things or people looked like. It's why most commercial photographs tend to be shelved once they become dated. It's only when they become "retro" and "cool" do we see them used again.

People change...they age...but often there are undeniable qualities that always stay the same. I hope that these images will show not only the obvious changes which are fascinating, but also the little idiosyncrasies that stay very much the same over time.

Hanna...a rambunctious 12 year old in 2001...much like my own daughter...has now almost graduated from college with 2 degrees. She has traveled and lived in Europe, Africa, and South America...and for a short time in Manhattan. She is about ready to take on the world. Ten years from now, we will be doing this image again I hope. Will she be married...have kids...a thriving career? Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

EZ Riders & The Purple Hayes!

videoAfter a nice conversation with Dave MacMillan of CapStrat about whether or not I have ever or will ever shoot video...the answer being probably not...I find myself engrossed in iMovie for the first time. Definitely fun to play with and reminds me of some of the slide shows I put together with music back in college. This video was produced with the original GoPro (non HD) camera that I attached to my wrist. I borrowed it from a friend on Friday last week and didn't get a chance to do any testing at all before New Bern...the site of the 2011 Bike MS 150. Basically I committed the cardinal sin of shooting with an untested camera. Wait a minute...this was a test... Typical results...first few video's didn't even work...and then it turns out the lens is pointed upward somewhat so although I was shooting straight...I was shooting the sky in many shots. Oh well. Got enough to show some footage to our next year sponsor Nexsen Pruet. My plan was to possibly buy the latest GoPro HD camera...but not sure now. I guess you can't really beat the price.

Yes...I did ride 200 miles this weekend. Thank you to all my sponsors who helped me raise over $2000 with a team total of over $20,000 this year. If you are still interested in sponsoring me...it's not too late. Go to my quicklink: http://www.simong.com/ms

And if you are wondering if I misspelled the word "haze"...it is a reference to original team member Hayes Hyman who went down hard in the last 5 miles and has purple bruises this week.

Monday, August 15, 2011

MS Tour Raffle Photograph














This is the 8th year I've participated in the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour in New Bern, NC sponsored by the Eastern North Carolina Chapter of the National MS Society. For the last 7 of those years I have ridden with Team EZ Riders, a great group of people with varying degrees of ability on the bike... and that's what makes EZ Riders such fun to be a part of.
Last year I raised $2700.00 for the tour. This year I am trying to match that by offering the image shown as a 24"x36" fine art canvas print. A similar copy of this image was recently acquired by the NC Credit Union League. The image was taken on a brisk fall morning in November of 2010 in Fallon Park not far from my home. Any one that sponsors me is entered into the drawing for the photograph...
a $500.00 value!! To sponsor me just click here: http://www.simong.com/ms
Also...the first person to sponsor me on any given day, will receive a free fine art card...worth $5.00. Ooooooo.....Ahhhhhh..... :)
I ride not just because it's fun...but because I see a neighbor on a regular basis that can't do any more than ride a motorized wheel chair. She has MS. Wouldn't it be great to see a cure allow her to get out of that chair!? This is event is the largest fundraiser for MS in North Carolina. Please participate by sponsoring me...or better yet...join our team and ride with us. We'd love to have you on EZ Riders! Thanks again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Brent 1998/Brent 2011




I have enjoyed following up with subjects that I visited many years ago. The 1998 session with Brent seems like it happened yesterday. Like much of my work, I can remember exactly how I shot it...(faces I always remember, yet names I struggle with...even some of those I've known for years. Please forgive me if I seem to have struggled with a name in the past.)
I've known Brent since high school. He was the individual that seemed born to be on stage. As long as I've known him, he has been involved in plays, musicals, singing, playing the guitar. He is incredibly talented. In 1998, Brent responded to an Ad I placed in The Spectator magazine looking for interesting subjects that wanted to be photographed. The photograph on the left I made on polaroid type 55 film and is one of my favorite black and white images to this day. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to add to my recent before/after/then/now project. I even had some Type 55 film that I shot today...saving for a special occasion such as this. I'll add those later once the negatives dry. I have forgotten how long it takes. Patience Simon...patience.


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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Then and Now....Before and After....Young and not so young.


Back in 1988 I was about to open my first commercial studio on Fairview road at Five Points in Raleigh. I was also one of a number of photographers that spent one day photographing the state of North Carolina for a project called "The Big Click", a take off from Eric Smolan's Day in the Life Book Projects. My choice of assignment was to document the life in Five Points. Lately I've been revisiting those images and have been updating them from the same location. It's fascinating to see what changes have occurred and conversely what hasn't changed. In this image, Chuck has been working on my cars since I moved to Five Points in 1987. Back then he managed the Yates 66 gas station for Mr and Mrs Yates who now live in Charlotte. Today he owns the business called Five Points Service. Not much has changed except Chuck no longer sells gas due to the low margins. His hairline as receded as well. He told me that disc brakes now cost over $200.00.

I've photographed the Rialto Theater a number of times. Here my goal was to reproduce the 1988 version as closely as possible. I wish the car wasn't there, but I will probably revisit the image another day. During the 80's the Rialto was often a music venue. I remember walking my corgi Pippa one day while Arlo Guthrie was taking a smoke break on the sidewalk. I didn't stop to chat, although probably could have.

These photographs are part of an ongoing series that updates photographs that I have done in the past. I believe photography is most valuable as a historical record of the world around us. There are photographs that have no artistic esthetic value at all but over time develop a historical value that is far more important. I often tell people that we don't look at the quality of our yearbook pictures after 20 years...we just want to see what we looked like.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

83 Celebration!

With the start of the NCAA sweet sixteen this weekend, I thought I would post this composite image that I just created for a neighbor whose father is a huge NC State fan. I was the student publication photographer shooting for the yearbook and newspaper that day in 1983 when NC State beat Houston to win the National Championship. It was a wild finish. I was young and shot too much film that day so I ran out when before the trophy was presented. However, I got two photographs that not many other people have. Lorenzo Charles' last second dunk to win the game and Valvano running around like a mad man trying to find someone to hug. In the composite, the image of Lorenzo Charles obsures another large photographer that stood got in my way as I was shooting. The next image shows much of the team celebrating, but Valvano is gone from the frame. At the time, you think that this is what is supposed to happen when NC State plays basketball. Little did we know that it would be downhill from there and as we very quickly approach 30 years since that event, we realize how one has to appreciate those moments we have that may never be repeated in our lifetime.
If you would like a copy, please visit this link.

Friday, January 28, 2011

62" Canvas Print of Raleigh Skyline

Well...I've printed this photograph to a 62" canvas frame ready to hang...and it looks fantastic. Currently I'm taking it around to show potential buyers. I'm also making it a fundraiser for Trees Across Raleigh who will get a percentage of the proceeds.

If you have an interest in this very limited edition print for your office, please let me know. I can come out and show you how it will look on your wall.