Affirming the Good

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Portraits are an engine of artistic production. In the past, only the powerful were able to afford having an artist make a portrait of them. Today, with cell phones and selfie sticks, there’s a lava flow of portraiture erupting with volcanic intensity. More people have been both photographer and subject than ever before. Portraiture is a force.

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Social media is driven by portraits. A big percentage of the photos that are made every day are of people. From the covers of magazines to the profiles of social media platforms, good photos of people are more in demand than ever before.

We want to help you to look great. We want to show your friends how confident, happy, and interesting you are, these days. We want to show your clients or employers how on top of the game you are. We want to show your love how attractive you are. We want to show the world your beauty, shining from the inside.

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Portraiture is a great way to affirm the good in others. We want to bring out the best in you.

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Dancing Uphill

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I invented a dance. It started with my assistant. Last year, I grew busy enough to require help. I was lucky enough to have a colleague at Sleepless Media, Jennifer Gallagher, introduce me to her daughter. Now, Jackie helps me run my day-to-day operations: editing photos, assisting on shoots, and providing administrative support. Together, we update various social media accounts with fresh and original content that we create.

 

 

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One of my favorite things about doing social media was enhanced when I hired an assistant: it’s a lot of fun. Like all creative work, it is also competitive and difficult. Some people may not take social media seriously, but if you want a business to pay you to provide them with social media marketing, then being as professional as possible is key.

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Part of that means keeping a vital connection to the material. It means renewing and retaining a spirit of joy in the work. When we represent a business, we make the case that they are the best choice in their category. In order to express this claim clearly, we need to have creative flow happening in our work. As an artist/writer/thinker/maker/seller, I have a lot of experience being able to consistently find inspiration and that is partly because of the techniques I’ve developed over time to stay fresh, tuned up, and ready to be creative.

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Social Media Marketing requires a lot of work, including: photography, editing, research, and writing. A good deal of this activity happens in the studio in a typical office space environment. Lots of sitting at a computer doesn’t necessarily lead to creative flow or great ideas. When I was working on my own, I would use skateboarding to keep me feeling creatively awake, but this El Niño season has kept the roads pretty wet, so I wasn’t able to get enough time in to satisfy my desire for balance. This plus having an assistant who is now also spending a lot of time at a computer and the ever-present need to come up with new marketing strategies led me to invent a dance.

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The dance is based on a physical therapy exercise: the lunge. It is a walking lunge in four parts that goes to a four count rhythm. I named it the Time Slap in honor of my friend Shawn Barney Barron, who passed away last May. He called time lapse photography time slap and so the dance is a way to honor, remember, and to heal. Barney was a great break-dancer. He was also a great marketer.

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The dance, as well as being a daily practice that increases creativity, is a marketing technique. We are recording ourselves doing the dance in various places in public with the goal of reaching the Ellen show to perform our dance and to talk about our marketing ideas. Artists who have some facility with multimedia are well equipped to provide social media marketing for small businesses. Social media are channels you can use effectively to reach relevant audiences.

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Solving Interesting Problems

Yesterday (Monday morning) the day after Valentine’s Day, I woke up at 4:45am as has become my habit. Lemon water drank, coffee brewed, I sat down at the laptop and woke it up with a gesture. Immediately, in my Facebook Timeline, I saw a video that drew my attention. It was a clip from an episode of the television show Nature. This one was following a group of Innuit hunters through the process of building an igloo and going beneath the sea ice during the low portion of a King Tide to hunt for mussels. Watching these people attune themselves to the rhythm of natural cycles in a life and death dance with time inspired me. That’s the kind of thing I like to view: different ways of being that leads to imagining the lives of others.

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Just after sunrise this chunky little barrel kegged through. Photographing the inside of waves, the flares and flashes of light, keeps me connected to the ocean and draws me out to the coastline each morning for sunrise.

Then, wanting something to listen to while I edited photos, I went to Timothy Ferris’ podcast and clicked on his interview with Seth Godin. Timothy Ferris is a self-help guru who is interesting and worth the listen. I always learn cool new things from his podcasts, so they are a go-to edifying source of background noise when I’m working. It’s definitely more than just entertainment, as he is constantly asking questions geared to find actionable takeaways in an effort to always provide value to his followers. Ferris does it right. He’s interested and so he’s interesting.

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We visited Chris LaVeque yesterday at El Salchichero to photograph this awesome Udon in a bowl made by Dark Horse Pottery. He’s doing R&D for his upcoming Matambre Restaurant.

He had high praise for Seth Godin and I was ready to like him too, but upon listening I grew more compelled by the minute. Funny and self aware, Godin is a fount of wisdom and useful advice. He’s the kind of guy you’d be lucky to have as a friend. Non-threatening, but entirely badass, he’s a ninja of thoughtfulness. Out of all of the cool things they discussed in this podcast, however, the one that stuck out the most was about parenting. Godin, in answering Ferris’ question about what advice he might have for parents, said: “Busy is a trap. Busy is a myth. If you spend two hours a day without an electronic device, looking your kid in the eye, talking to them, and solving interesting problems, then you will raise a different kid than someone who doesn’t do that.” Such a simple idea, but profoundly true.

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Last night, I took Ollie to Aptos St. BBQ for dessert and to listen to some live music. She’s learning a few songs, hereself, and it was fun to see Billie on stage singing “Natalie” with the Broken Shades. Live music makes the world a sweeter place.

How we spend our time is the most important decision we make on a daily basis. Carving out two hours a day to spend with your kid solving interesting problems is the most important investment you could possibly make as a parent. The intricacies and nuances of parenting are so varied and important, but spending time is the foundation.

The Megaphone and the Whistle: social media marketing

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Social Media Marketing in 2016 is a new world for businesses in Santa Cruz. Things are evolving both regionally and globally to make it possible for some exciting opportunities to emerge here, today. We have incorporated the Internet into our lives through smart phones, tablets and apps more fully than ever before. The Internet is currently our passport to the larger world. How does it look and feel for your business to be a part of this increasingly connected world? What are the consequences of participating in social media marketing or not?

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One of the main changes the Internet has brought to US American culture if not to global culture as a whole, is the transformation of privacy and publicity. A shift in the form of public and private spheres has taken place. What are privacy and publicity in the digital age? Who has them, how much privacy and publicity can be obtained, and at what cost? How has this shift in the accessibility of public/ private spheres changed our culture? How has this transformation affected your ways of living and your views of culture?

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Privacy has never been a quotient that was given equally to all people. Neither is publicity.

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The ability to keep things private or to broadcast them publicly has always depended upon a subject’s ability to hide or disclose things from and to the public at will. This ability, to keep things concealed or to circulate them, is a form of power. Control of self-representation is key to successful social media marketing. This is the power of social media, generally: you get to tell your own story. Other digital services like Yelp often frustrate business owners who feel victimized by the sometimes wildly erratic criticisms users post on these review sites. Being proactive about your social media marketing is the most effective way of building the image of your business the way you want it to be viewed.

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Exposure: this is the number one change the Internet has facilitated in the world. Social Media Marketing gives you the power to control your business’ exposure.

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It is easier to expose things in the digital age, for good or bad. On the one hand you have crowd-sourcing projects giving exposure to the creative ideas of eco-activists and entrepreneurs, and you also have activist groups like the #BlackLivesMatter movement exposing the frequency of police brutality against disempowered people. Whether it is something you want to promote into greater being or something you want to eradicate from the face of the earth, the Internet has become a forum for public debate. Social Media is a megaphone and a whistle.

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Topics that are trending are the ones that matter to people, but people are not always driven by a love of accuracy or adherence to reality. As a result, being right is not the most important thing: being part of the conversation is.

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Why certain things trend is another question and is full of mysterious processes. On the one hand, you have some sort of indication of group consciousness.

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It was another great week for Jackiemacro as well. Continuing her daily posts she’s kicking ass on Instagram and is starting a new series that will be shown as prints at the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery in June 2016.

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El Niñoary

Sunday morning brought hazardous conditions to Santa Cruz with a combination of high tide and large surf. One unfortunate body boarder found himself pushed up against the rocks and he surely would have died if not for the quick actions of some onlookers. They grabbed a life preserver and he managed to get it around himself so they could pull him to safety. It was a grisly reminder of the ocean’s brutal power. JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-40JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-39

This beach is a magnet for swell. After photographing the sunrise I spent some time shooting the sets and watching huge bombs hit the beach. I was a little surprised to see two body boarders paddle out but didn’t think much of it at the time. In the photos below, you can see the young man who was injured just after this set. I hope he is ok and continues to explore the ocean with a little more caution for his experience. JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-38JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-36JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-35JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-34JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-33Since I moved to the West Side of Santa Cruz in August, I’ve been able to do more in depth studies of various spots along this stretch of coastline. On this particular night, I drove out to this spot and waited for ten minutes after the sun had set until this bloom of color happened.  JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-32 My love of BBQ continues to flourish. This is from Mission St. BBQ.JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-31This week we also visited The Shakespeare Society of America with Gary Irving.

Eleven weeks ago Jackie Evans started working with Jake J Thomas Photo as a photo assistant. Here she is being a good sport wearing some of the costumes at The Shakespeare Society of America with Gary Irving. She recently started an Instagram account featuring her macro photography. You can follow her HERE: >> Jackiemacro

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El Niño has been very active lately. Waking up to amazing sunrises when the ocean is alive with swell makes this place something special. JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-29JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-28JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-27JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-24JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-22JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-21JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-18JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-17JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-16

Cremer House continues to deliver excellent high end comfort food. JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-14JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-11JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-8JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-5JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-4JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-3JJT.4.10.web.January.2016-2JJT.4.10.web.January.2016

Last Week Before Solstice 2015

The last week before solstice, December 14-20th was a good one. Winter swell; great food, drink and smoke; and the usual awesome December light combined for some nice images. Here are the top-ten photos from the week.

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Monday morning started out with offshore winds, nice light, and swell.

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Awesome light for photographing this Cali Creamin’ beerski at Mission St. BBQ.

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The mornings were cold but pretty, early in the week.

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Photographed the amazing food at Palacio Los Gatos on Wednesday.

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Got to photograph Big Pete’s garden. He’s producing some fine medical cannabis.

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Preacher Boy was howlin’ on Thursday evening at Aptos St. BBQ, like he usually does.

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The rain brought some sweet photo-ops for the newly released Ginger’s Winter Warmer at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, one of the prettiest beers around.


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Picasso is the truth. The Literary Guillotine is my favorite bookstore.

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Big Jon has a cool sound, like a soundtrack to some post-noir crime flick.

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I liked this photo for all of the diagonals.

Bitchin’ week, hope you like the photes, folks!