Posts in Category: Other

Best Cake Ever

This is how a one year old should really celebrate, getting to discover and enjoy cake for the first time in all it’s glory. Perhaps we should be so free to enjoy cake this way too.


South Africa: Favorite Photos

South Africa is definitely a beautiful country with all seasons to experience, from hot summers to cold winters. I was able to feel it all in one trip, the hot sun beating down on us in the village, to the cold winter frost on top of the mountains in Drakensberg. The most unforgettable sight was the stars and Milky Way galaxy at night. The night sky was so bright it felt unreal.

The prints are up for sale and all profits will go to Zimele.


Airline passengers are stupid

This has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves, and bothers me every time I travel. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this is more efficient.

New Workstation

After four years on the same system, it was finally time to upgrade. Editing photos and video is fun again!

Antec P182 Tower
OCZ GameXStream 700W PSU
Intel Core i7-3930K
ASUS Sabertooth X79
CORSAIR H60 Liquid CPU Cooler
MSI N560GTX-Ti GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2GB
CORSAIR Vengeance 32GB DDR3
OCZ Agility 3 120GB SSD
(2) Dell UltraSharp U2412M

View the rest of the photos on my Facebook

Zimele, the story through my lens

Dear ladies and germs, this will be my very first international volunteer trip! I am heading to South Africa to tell the story the women and children of Kwazulu Natal. The core purpose of Zimele is to teach them skills that will help self sustain their community, instead of relying on outsiders to fund and provide for them. As one woman said, “I’d rather you teach me to fish, than to give me fish.” Just as critical is allowing the women to build confidence and respect.

My first goal is to teach the community how to use their computers for education and business, as well as teaching them basic photography skills with the digital cameras that have been donated to them. They will be tasked with telling their own story with the cameras. This is a significant step in empowering women.

My second goal is to tell my own story through my photography. I am most excited to share the beauty and hardships of life in poverty of South Africa. You will not see endless sad photos from me, instead, I will tell stories of success, joy, and a bright future for this community.

Along with your monetary support, you will be providing me with encouragement to know what you support what I do. I am providing the funds for my own trip. 100% of your donations go straight to Zimele.

About Zimele
Zimele Facebook

I will set a deadline for the fundraiser to be May 12th, the date I fly out to South Africa!

Show some love! El Bob thanks you for every donation made!

Donate Now

Update!

Facebook deleted my fan page, so I’ve created a new one here. I also added a tumblr here. Be sure to follow both!

Drive

 

 

We all have certain movies we fantasize about playing the same role as the hero, for guys it would be a wide variety in an action movie from special forces to martial artists to professional drivers. The hero usually has an amazing ability to never die, can kill anyone with their bare fists, and of course, drive any car and perform stunts without beading a drop of sweat. While you watch the movie, some of the times you really want to believe you can do those things too, and the majority of the times you realize how ridiculous and blown out Hollywood makes it all. Then there’s Drive.

Drive might be the complete opposite of over blown Hollywood stunts, CGI, and sexy heroes. The nameless Driver in the movie is anything but charming. Awkward introverted personality with a deep dark secret. The movie is mostly slow paced with chunks of action scenes that kicks your heart rate into 0-60 in a split second. What I love about the movie is how it romanticizes pure driving. You typically associate cars with guns and women in movies – and yes, Drive has guns and girls too – but it really emphasizes on just the drive.

You watch the Driver cruise down the city streets alone, slow, with just radio chatter – not unrealistic for an evening drive. The simple visual stimulus of street lamps and street lines zooming past your windshield is enough for me to escape the world. This is probably how the Driver escapes his world.

When he meets the girl, his idea of a date is to ask her out for a drive. Inside the car, he is able to share his world with her by transforming what average people consider a hassle of driving, into an adventure, all without a single word being spoken. She is charmed by this. Here is a guy sharing his best moment with someone special and she is intuitive enough to understand and appreciate every moment of it. They proceed to go on dates, each time sharing a moment inside the car.

This movie best portrays my love of pure driving. Not necessarily being a gear head, nor a professional driver, but enjoying the road on a set of four wheels, and what better way to enjoy it than with someone else in the passenger seat? Unfortunately it is not a popular romantic idea, just like this movie isn’t a popular Hollywood action flick. I think it’s hard to convince a woman that all you want to do is to take her out on the road and just enjoy the drive, but for the right woman that says yes, I have found my bliss. I hope you can watch this movie too and feel what I feel.

My iPhone Todo List

While there are plenty of task apps out there for the iPhone, it’s not much of a reminder if you don’t remember to run the app on a regular basis to read what you need to do. The most effective method for me is to put it directly on the lock screen of the phone. How many times do you check your phone throughout the day and have to unlock the device? You will constantly see your list without having to run an app.

I take down the notes in Notes, save a screen shot, go to Photos and set the new screen as the wallpaper, and resize to fill screen.

How To Be Alone

This is a rare video that speaks directly to me, so I will share it with the rest of the world.

A video by fiilmaker, Andrea Dorfman, and poet/singer/songwriter, Tanya Davis.

HOW TO BE ALONE by Tanya Davis

If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you’ve not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren’t okay with it, then just wait. You’ll find it’s fine to be alone once you’re embracing it.

We could start with the acceptable places, the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library. Where you can stall and read the paper, where you can get your caffeine fix and sit and stay there. Where you can browse the stacks and smell the books. You’re not supposed to talk much anyway so it’s safe there.

There’s also the gym. If you’re shy you could hang out with yourself in mirrors, you could put headphones in (guitar stroke).

And there’s public transportation, because we all gotta go places.

And there’s prayer and meditation. No one will think less if you’re hanging with your breath seeking peace and salvation.

Start simple. Things you may have previously (electric guitar plucking) based on your avoid being alone principals.

The lunch counter. Where you will be surrounded by chow-downers. Employees who only have an hour and their spouses work across town and so they — like you — will be alone.

Resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone.

When you are comfortable with eat lunch and run, take yourself out for dinner. A restaurant with linen and silverware. You’re no less intriguing a person when you’re eating solo dessert to cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger. In fact some people at full tables will wish they were where you were.

Go to the movies. Where it is dark and soothing. Alone in your seat amidst a fleeting community.
And then, take yourself out dancing to a club where no one knows you. Stand on the outside of the floor till the lights convince you more and more and the music shows you. Dance like no one’s watching…because, they’re probably not. And, if they are, assume it is with best of human intentions. The way bodies move genuinely to beats is, after all, gorgeous and affecting. Dance until you’re sweating, and beads of perspiration remind you of life’s best things, down your back like a brook of blessings.

Go to the woods alone, and the trees and squirrels will watch for you.
Go to an unfamiliar city, roam the streets, there’re always statues to talk to and benches made for sitting give strangers a shared existence if only for a minute and these moments can be so uplifting and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches might’ve never happened had you not been there by yourself

Society is afraid of alonedom, like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements, like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them. but lonely is a freedom that breaths easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.

You could stand, swathed by groups and mobs or hold hands with your partner, look both further and farther for the endless quest for company. But no one’s in your head and by the time you translate your thoughts, some essence of them may be lost or perhaps it is just kept.

Perhaps in the interest of loving oneself, perhaps all those sappy slogans from preschool over to high school’s groaning were tokens for holding the lonely at bay. Cuz if you’re happy in your head than solitude is blessed and alone is okay.

It’s okay if no one believes like you. All experience is unique, no one has the same synapses, can’t think like you, for this be releived, keeps things interesting lifes magic things in reach.

And it doesn’t mean you’re not connected, that communitie’s not present, just take the perspective you get from being one person in one head and feel the effects of it. take silence and respect it. if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it. if your family doesn’t get you, or religious sect is not meant for you, don’t obsess about it.

you could be in an instant surrounded if you needed it
If your heart is bleeding make the best of it
There is heat in freezing, be a testament.

El Bob in your cubicle

Man behind the camera

A part of me likes to stay mysterious while the other part is an open book. For the most part, I’ve created an “online personality” for the purpose of marketing my work. To present the work I do, I believe you need plenty of confidence and deliberateness. Just like wild predators, the viewers and critics can smell fear and self doubt, but at the same time they are attracted to someone who knows what they are doing. As an artist, I have to tell it how it should be rather than asking how you think I should make it. I have never been the type to look for a community of artists to share work with, instead, I only care about my own creations and interests while sharing it with the public. I don’t like to kiss ass with my clients, I don’t like giving disclaimers to justify a sub-par piece of work, I don’t like selling Photoshop Actions for an arm and leg, I just let my work do the talking.

There is an apparent disadvantage of creating an online personality – people will believe it and take you for what you present. This comes with many false assumptions about who I am. For the most part, I don’t care what people outside of my immediate circle thought of me, in fact, my goal was to create awe, envy and maybe even jealousy. I wish I could say my personal life was strictly separated from my work, but that is impossible and the lines are crossing more and more, as most of my acquaintances and so-called friends are people whom I’ve met through my work.

Long story short, while I still intend to keep the cocky, snobby, jerkish personality online, I meet many people in person who find it a relief to know that I am quite the opposite. While they realize I am a nice guy immediately, I still have to answer the same questions over and over – which brings me to the purpose of this entry. These are a few quick facts about the man behind the camera.

Personal Facts

I am a very shy and introverted person without a camera, and sometimes still shy with a camera.
I don’t talk to strangers or random girls, ever. They need to come up to me first.
I hate trivial conversations.
I don’t drink alcohol, and I have never done drugs.
I hate parties.
I have been single 98.148% of my life.
I am a hopeless romantic.
I do not sleep with models.
I kissed two girls in my entire life.
I always enjoy a good wedding.
I eat to live, not live to eat.
I have been told I am very gentle.
Some people call me Deadpan Tony, Tony Balogna, Turtle, ynot, T.
I have a very deadpan personality.
I have a dysfunctional family.
I will shoot my own destination wedding, with little to no guests.
I hate hearing all my female friends wanting me to be their wedding photographer if they ever find a man and get married. I hope you never find that person.
I have dry humor.
I love hotels.
I spend money like water.
I love driving more than photography.
I drive 25,000 miles a year.
I love really loud music to the point I can’t hear myself think.
I am always online.
I suck at math.
I have number dyslexia and terrible short term memory.

Professional Facts

I am a visual artist, majored in graphic design, graduated BFA from Mason Gross (Rutgers).
I can draw and paint, but I suck at sculpture.
I have been using Adobe Photoshop since 3.0 in 1994.
I started photography with 35mm film on my brother’s Canon Rebel.
Most of my models are not aspiring or professional models, they probably work in your office.
My modeling work is strictly a hobby and not a job, besides, aspiring models do not have money.
I search for models online, either through MySpace or Model Mayhem.
My most expensive hotels range from $600 – $800 per night.
I prefer shooting indoors with controlled lighting and privacy. If I had to shoot outdoors, I prefer a secluded beach on an exotic island.
I prefer working with 27-31 year old subjects.
I rarely use makeup artists.
I have been to 113 weddings since 2005.
I’m a PC.
I program in PHP and MySQL.
I work 9-5 in an office.
I hate Nikon skin tones.
I only shoot in JPEG.
I don’t use color profiles.
I don’t join forums and talk about photography. I take photos. Don’t be the second type of photographer.
I don’t buy new camera bodies just because it’s new. That makes you a measurebator.

Closing

I have recently been more motivated to get out and talk to people and let them discover who I am. I am an open book for anyone that genuinely wants to know more about me. I dare you to ask the personal questions, I urge you to express your feelings, I challenge you to intrigue me.

Addendum

I’ve been waiting forever to share this image. Here is a quote to be paired with the photograph.

I never cared to be known as the pretty girl. In fact, I’d rather be known as the lab geek or girl who can scarf down more In-N-Out burgers than all her boys. Just because I have modeled doesn’t mean I care to be known as a model. To me that title implies watching what you eat and I love food too much for that. I made sure Tony knew before we started working together a year and a half ago that I don’t fit the typical model mold. So let me attempt to rewrite that definition so that it is tailored to each individual. Me: I am strong “ physically, mentally, emotionally“ and I can rule the world in sweat pants and sneakers. Put me in front of or behind the camera and I’ll be equally satisfied. Put yourself in front of Tony’s camera and he’ll show you beauty is about how you feel.

Nicole

What’s your backup?

This is my storage. 7.5 terabytes on RAID 5. I have 2 more terabytes upstairs. Nowadays, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next guy has more or twice the amount I have. These are two Thecus N5200 NAS on a gigabit connection. It’s fast. I strongly recommend anyone who doesn’t have external storage backups for your important documents and photos to invest in one. They can be bought for even under $100 for the basic models, which is nothing compared to the cost of data recovery services when you lose years of your personal photos from your desktop or laptop, which is a matter of time, not if. You can start by checking out Seagate FreeAgent which I recommended to a computer illiterate co-worker of mine, and she loved how easy it was with the included software. I use Vice Versa Pro to schedule automatic synchronization and backup of all photos from my desktop on a nightly basis. Even with this reliable storage, I don’t feel 100% at ease. I plan on buying more external drives, backing up everything, and storing them in a safe.

Please share any methods you have on backing up your most important documents.

If I got a nickel for everytime…

I was listening to a famous female artist the other day, and thought how extremely talented she is, but wondered what did she do to herself after all these years, like all the other young rebellious artists that have been bombarded by the media. There seems to be a trend of a rising young star who starts out clean and wholesome, then after a few years of constant media barrages, they become the “bad boy/girl,” which not surprisingly, receives even more attention than being proper. This is obviously common knowledge and in the news every day, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you know how the story goes.

While the thought ran through my head, it dawned upon me how I, as an artist, am not immune to such social demands either. I am not famous by any means, just well known around my small community – and while I refer to myself, I am really talking about my work that represents me. My personal life has always stayed private and does not reflect the work I present to the public.

I place myself in the middle of what I think is a “true artist” and a commercial artist. I don’t starve nor do I only produce deep and profound work that comes from my inner soul, and I also am not a slave to what the people want and producing happy, pretty, profitable work. I only create work that stirs up my emotions, imagination, fantasies, and sometimes just plain ol’ eye candy, while keeping a discernible distinction of what’s proper for the public and what’s not. To put it more technically, I only share about 1% of my work with the public, and the rest are for my eyes only (and the subject of course).

As a new artist, the easiest and fastest way to gain an audience and approval is to produce work for the masses. If you sing, that means writing a catchy melody, if you create visual images, that means creating something pretty, in most cases. I have been in the same position in my early stages of my people-photography career. When working with models, I cater to what they want. I learn many new skills in the process. I create more pretty images. I make people happy and want me even more, thus making me happy as well. So where am I now?

While I still believe I am in my early stages of photography, I feel like I’ve paid my dues in catering to people, and I have more audiences than I could ever count. With all the compliments and critiques I’ve been receiving about my work, the most overused description is “classy.”

“Your work is so classy!”

“I love how it’s so sexy yet classy.”

“I want classy photos too.”

I almost feel the pain of the other young artists who are probably bombarded by society’s imposed image of them being a wholesome individual who has a lot more potential to create more happy products to please the rest of them. I do appreciate the compliments, I really do. If I can push some limits and still have people label my work as “classy,” that means I am still accumulating fans, after all, numbers count!

My issue now lies within my lack of responsibility to cater to what people want. Just like the already rich and famous artists, they no longer need the money or approval of everyone, they have proven their skills once before, and now their rebellious side comes out.

What is my rebellious side? I am honestly sick of hearing about my work being classy. I know what my work is, I know how to present it, and I know how people respond to it. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear that word is “shut the hell up, you have no idea.” That is correct, you have no idea. Remember that 1%? You only see the top of the glacier when it comes to my work.

We all have our privacy and level of comfort when it comes to the topic of sex, from the simple distinction between male and female, to the visual stimulation of a body, to our own preference on how to please our sexual desires. This isn’t some underground culture that most people can only talk about, such as S&M. Everyone and their mom (yes, your mom too) has had sex, has an opinion on what’s sexy, and knows what stimulates their mind.

My interests is not to reveal the privacy of an individual, but to express the raw emotions and desires of people. I’ve captured everything from the simple beauty of a naked body, to the raunchy pornographic poses that most of you probably do in your own privacy in front of a partner, possibly in front of a cheap camera too! Too many people are caught up with definitions and classifications of work. “It’s okay to be nude as long as you look classy.” That’s a lame excuse to be nude. To me, classy has become boring and has many limitations.

Now that I’ve given a rough idea of the scope of work I produce, you might understand why someone that wants me to create sexy photos for them, yet limit me to a classification of staying classy, that I would turn them down upon hearing that magic word. Go find someone else just starting to create classy and safe images. My goal now is to breach the limits and boundaries of what an individual can allow to be captured on film, and while most of it will still stay private, I will continue to give my audience a glimpse of it.

Next time you’d like to give me a compliment on my photos, please choose something more descriptive and more creative than “classy.” I would really appreciate it.

I leave you with some encouragement:

update: I also forgot to mention the other word I hate. “Tasteful.”

New hosting

I’ve just switched over from my previous web host ipower.com to mediatemple.com. Apparently they run on a new “grid-service” technology which should almost eliminate slow servers or even down time.  So far so good…

Follow me everywhere

I’ve decided to occupy more of my data usage time on my iPhone for twitter.com. Now you can follow my every move.

Best referral, ever.

My work has always been heavily based on referrals and word of mouth, usually through conversations, blogs, or wedding forums. So far, all of these referrals have been “personal” and nothing official or impressive… well at least not as impressive as being recommended by a personal concierge for a American Express Centurion card member. That was how my last intime client found me. She was looking for a boudoir photographer and called her Amex concierge service, and somehow my name came up. Needless to say, her apartment was an incredibly well designed and remodeled place, perfect for our photoshoot. Sorry, the photos stay private!

a new begining

I will no longer be blogging on xanga as I had for many years. This will be a more comprehensive collection of my work from models to weddings to personal thoughts. I admit I will miss the e-props, but I wouldn’t have made it this far if it weren’t for all my viewers and fans!