After wrapping up my time as Global Lead of Photography for PayPal this year, I knew that I wanted to go out and get out of town for a few weeks to enjoy a bit of freedom and get inspired to take on commercial photography again. My buddy, Lucas, had some time off so we planned on hitting the streets of Paris to explore and enjoy one of the most relaxed but also inspiring cities. Personally I wanted to unwind and think about my goals and career so I decided to take a medium format film Hasselblad, 20 rolls of film, and a plan to photograph the quiet times I found among the city without lugging a digital around. From the obvious choice of the night lights of the Eiffel Tower, we also made it a point to just wander around with no ideas where to go and that's where I really found my stride and couldn't stop shooting. I've been venturing into more medium format film in my spare time and it's making its way into my workflow. I can't be more excited to shoot more and more of this medium in the future. Enjoy some of my favorite images.
I am blessed to have had the opportunity to become great friends with an incredible singer and musician, Rebecca Peters, over the last three years. We met at an open mic night in Sacramento and from then on, our friendship grew over five shoots together and blossomed even further when we both moved to the crazy city of Los Angeles.
Music has always been close to my heart; one of my favorite passions as a photographer is to give an artist's voice a visual representation in the most interesting way possible. Therefore, Los Angeles is a busy, fast paced, and slightly terrifying city initially, as everyone seems to be running around at the rate of a million miles an hour and networking for the sake of networking. It can be rough, roller coaster of emotions for anyone who chooses to start a career in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Rebecca and I, one day, were both sharing our experiences regarding how lonely such a busy city can feel when you are new in town and still attempting to get your feet wet in the industry. So, on a whim, I came up with a crazy idea to take Rebecca to the middle of nowhere and represent her small frame and her music within such an intimidatingly large landscape. We ultimately decided on the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley about seven hours outside of Hollywood.
We trekked with two cars (mine with a persistent 'check engine' light on the entire journey), an assistant, and a single stylist out into the abyss with the goal of finding the perfect canvas. Thankfully, we all made it to our destination without any car trouble and proceeded to capture one of my most favorite images to date. I knew instantly that once this shot was in my camera, this image was greater than I originally expected and gives rise to one of the best feelings - having a vision, creating something from that vision, and watching the results. After seven treacherous hours of driving back home to Hollywood, we were all exhausted but it was well worth it since we knew we had the ideal shot.
Rebecca is also an avid social media goer and I had to share our ceremonial "on set selfie."
Picture this...fast moving taxis whizzing by right and left, savory street food on every corner, astonishingly tall skyscrapers all around pulled me into a three-week long journey in Shanghai. One of my dearest friends now works via contract and resides in China, so I jumped at the opportunity to visit and explore this beautiful city. Through the eye of a lens, I embarked on daily photo shoots that allowed me to experience the lives and culture of such wonderful people. I must admit I was a complete outsider, traveling into the unknown, unfamiliar with the language and customs; here, I felt welcomed through the continuous approach of natives who inquired about my varying tattoos or marveled at my unwavering height. It was truly an experience I will never forget and the new sights and sounds I constantly was exposed to meant a camera never left my hands.
One of my lifelong friends, Alex Angell, had the amazing opportunity work and live over in Shanghai, China for over a year. I needed some time away from LA to travel and his free place to stay was the perfect place to go for a few weeks. While I was there I wanted to convey the crazy fast paced movement of a city filled with over 24 million people combined with mens fashion. We enjoyed one too many glasses of whiskey and shot the day away.
I've known Benjamin, the owner of Benjamin's Shoes, for a few years now through the artist community of Sacramento. After moving to LA last year we finally found some time to get to shoot a campaign for his brand in and around our hometown of Sacramento shooting in some of our favorite locations around time. It's a great feeling to have created work for a hometown friend. Check them out!
Here's a BTS shot of the last shot. Follow along for more on Instagram @theadamdillon