In 1986 I was at the steam plant just before they shut down the last boiler and, along with a group of five or six of us- me, several dejected steamfitters, and Steve Blewett (of WWP), we each, in turn, pulled the lanyard on a huge steam whistle, charged by that last boiler, as the dying bellow of that huge old machine just before they shut off the (by then gas) fire on the last boiler for good. It was great- the sound was so deep, loud and rich as to take your breath away and it bellowed and echoed all over town for twenty seconds after sounding the whistle. I am sure that everyone within a mile, at least, inside or out, heard the seven or eight times we fired that whistle and wondered what the heck was going on. At one time in Spokane's history that whistle was blew every day at noon and sent all of downtown on their lunch breaks. When I say "whistle"- this thing was three feet long and took two people to carry safely. It was beautiful- heavy brass and built like old stuff was- to last forever. It may be around there still. The steamfitters at the plant ran a steam line way across the room and out the window on the train deck, installed a 90º elbow, screwed on the whistle and valve, and gave it steam pressure. We had to stand on a ladder to reach the lanyard on the valve and it took all you had to pull it, unsteady as the ladder was. It wouldn't sound until we were almost hanging from the rope, forcefully letting off a huge cloud of steam with the raucous sound. I couldn't believe how it resonated and echoed off of various downtown buildings. And such a hearty organic sound. Like the old steamship whistles- real bass and very loud. A good memory except that I went in for hernia surgery at 8:00 am the very next morning! I was very happy to have this photo project to distract my thoughts that day. To learn more about the Steam Plant visit: http://www.steamplantspokane.com/history
When Avista wanted to increase awareness of the benefits of natural gas, helveticka and J. Craig Sweat Photography stepped up to the plate to produce a new print ad. We scouted locations, ending up choosing my friends Pat and Janet Smith's kitchen, then considered various "lifestyle" scenarios and looked for fitting talent. As the idea became more refined we assembled food and props for a summer "dinner party" and finally went to shoot. Several hours later, we had our shot, with outside light variations through sunset. For a large-set shoot it went well and we got good advantage of the fine summer evening. It was a fun session and we did no damage to my friend's home, happily.
CK Anderson of "helveticka" asked us if we would help his agency produce a series of photographs of T-shirt designs from the "Helveticahaus" site for a design competition. Helveticahaus is a non-profit organization and website set up by CK to celebrate the widely used (and his favorite) "helvetica" type font, good typography in general and as a way of using this connection to do a bit of e-commerce and fund scholarships for future talent. It was a beautiful evening (and smokeless) and it all went smoothly for five set-ups in the up-and-coming creative neighborhood around helveticka's new building. All just behind the old Armory building (Wild Walls).
Avista Utilities has taken a financial interest in the Palouse wind farm that you will see as you drive from Spokane, Washington to Pullman, Washington. While they do not own the wind farm, they have a deal wherein they will buy all of the power generated by the turbines for thirty years. The Palouse has been one of my favorite subjects for many years and this addition has caught my eye more than once. I made a few images of the site at a good time of day on my own one day and eventually was asked to show them to one of Avista's marketing people for a specific ad. As we discussed the use of my image it became apparent that they had little or no great photography of this site, even with its sweeping and extraordinary location. We arranged that J. Craig Sweat Photography, Inc. would go there at the right time, on the right day, and cover it for them in as many ways as possible. J. Craig Sweat Photography, Inc. delivered a gallery of 284 images and they made a number of selections right away.
Here are some images of the Spokane International Airport Fire Station, courtesy of US taxpayers and Integrus Architecture. J. Craig Sweat Photography, Inc. was asked by Integrus Architecture to photograph the structure; both interior and exterior. Be glad these folks are here for us. Nice people, great building. The facility has a workout room where the Fire Fighters can maintain a healthy fitness level. The main bay of the building houses three serious fire trucks, two that are each capable of holding 30,000 gallons of water as well as a fire deterrent foam. The new building was moved to near the center runway to help with speed of deployment and allow greater access to the whole airport. A first class facility that we all hope is never needed for its greatest purpose.
Bouten Construction is a well known and respected name in Spokane. You cannot look at a view of our city without setting your eyes on Bouten projects. A high level of craft and a quality finish are what they are known for and they haven't been afraid to take on some of Spokane's largest building projects. Very nice, very sharp people was the impression I was left with after the entire office staff came through our studio, one at a time, giving us a chance to converse and get to know them just a little. These are people who really live their work. They know what they're doing and approach a project with a healthy and productive attitude. We worked with helveticka to create images that really spoke to the brand of Bouten. Read helveticka's blog here: www.helveticka.com/news/
These last few months we had the honor of working with design agency "helveticka" on a new and separate venture they have started. The idea; to create a Scholarship fund for area design students based on the culture around the font "Helvetica". CK and Linda like the font well enough to have named their design business after it, almost. The font is timeless in its simplicity and grace but feels modern. The new site and scholarship fund are under the name Helveticahaus. Below are some of the images we produced for the site as well as one behind-the-scenes shot of one of the sets. CK's is a great idea which should grow with a thousand heartfelt "thank you"s.
Inga Hansen, Exec. Editor of MedEsthetics (and other) magazines saw our website and, according to her, "really hoped we could do this project". She and I went over the job, settled on a budget, then we made our arrangements with Spokane Dermatology Clinic. Jayce Charlesworth helped us greatly from inside the practice and we took the better part of our day there, shooting in a dozen different areas. It is an impressive, brand new, except for the basic structure, building and houses Dr. Werschler's research company as well- a growing and sizable operation itself. The work was published as a three-page story and the magazine cover art in this month's issue, and online, of course. The good Dr. Werschler was a pleasure to work with.
Sheila, daughter of Michelina Tyrie, called and asked if we could make some images of her mom for the Steinway Piano Company. You can see the story, as published, at this link: http://www.steinway.com/news/articles/constant-companion-michelina-tyrie-counts-more-than-five-decades-with-her-steinway-piano/
Michelina opened her comfortable home to us so we could photograph her and the Steinway piano she bought in 1961, at age 26, from the Chicago showroom. It is a 1923 Mahogany Louis XV Model A. She fell in love with this beautiful instrument partly because it was alone in a room of black pianos. It really is an exquisite piece of furniture, ignoring completely the superb sound it produces with Michelina's subtle touch. She is a fine musician and plays regularly, professionally in addition she also offers classes. Her daughter Sheila clearly loves and admires her mom and the Steinway folks think she's someone special too. It was a fun couple of hours, with us the beneficiaries of some beautiful music.
Integrus Seattle and Spokane Portraits as well as Candids. Integrus Architecture, for whom we occasionally photograph finished building projects, asked us to show their staffs and culture through images of their principals as well as working candid images of everyone during a normal workday. Given the qualities of the location and the intensity of their work, taking an unobtrusive "fly on the wall" approach to these candids offered a wealth of opportunities. It was great fun as I stated several times "I'm not here" to avoid affecting the meetings and allow them to focus on their work. The reality of this method shows in the images and is a truer reflection of the intensity and collaboration required of their high-stakes trade. The video was produced by Spokane's ILF media (and not us). We have included a link to it to give a little more depth here. This project (and the video) was partly motivated by Integrus's 70th anniversary in business.
CK Anderson, principal of "helveticka" design agency in Spokane took it upon himself to recognize the considerable legacy of architectural modernism that Spokane enjoys. He did so publicly and powerfully with this full-blown exhibit at the MAC. Direct connections to Walter Gropius (founder of the Bauhaus school) and, by extension, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright exist in our Spokane architectural community and many examples of superb modern building are here to be discovered. The exhibit was titled Mid-Century Modern and was a very thorough treatment of this design movement in our fair city. We documented the installation and contributed a few of the many images presented.
This really is a noble history and the legacies of the talented players still exist in several current Spokane firms, including ALSC Architects, Integrus Architecture, and NAC. All firms of extraordinary talent and all clients to us here at JCSP. (We did not author the attached video productions; they are included to more completely tell the story)
For many years we have worked with helveticka (formerly Anderson Mraz Design) on many client projects as well as directly with CK Anderson on their own public presentation, including samples like this. The tactile aspect of good print media is best represented by showing the real publication as an object of beauty. The use of consistent backgrounds and fairly organic lighting has been successful in showing projects on their web site and their other project presentations. This simple, modern approach suits the helveticka aesthetic and feel, giving credence to their range of skills and the level of design at which they execute. Complexity is the trend in our culture, simplicity is harder (and better). CK (and his retired partner John Mraz) have built a top-tier design firm in a relatively small market. We wish CK and his crew more success and will continue to bring our best game to our collaborative projects. The sample in this image was photographed (cover and content) by Jim VanGundy, another friend and great Spokane photographer. You can view the image in use here: helveticka: NOVAGOLD
Two projects: The Avista 2013 Annual Report and Avista's 125th Anniversary book. First, we spent many hours poring through our archives to find a large number of images done through 25+ years of our working with Avista Corp. on every kind of project. With Spokane design firm Klündt Hosmer at the design helm and Jessie Wuerst as our client, we supplied many legacy images for print advertising, large display panels, and web use. A beautiful book was eventually published with many of the same images. 125 years is a great run for any company and Avista deserves great credit for nurturing deep roots in its civic involvement in our area, and for keeping the lights on.
You can view the video filmed by mojolab and put together by helveticka below.
Damon Orthodontics connected with J. Craig Sweat Photography a while back to update their staff photography and refresh their website. We worked at their well-appointed offices with the idea of keeping each person in their regular work context to better represent the patient expectation and to keep the staffers comfortable for their session. We did some lighting of each individual, given the awful light quality of overhead office lighting, and used some of the ambient and the window light. This required paying close attention to matching the color of our lights to the rest to avoid real problems with color-divergent sources. This was a full day of production, working fast, including the group image which was fully lighted. Dr. Damon has a great crew and they were very hospitable to us. They
I spent last weekend with some friends at a family cabin on the river outlet of Lake Pend Oreille. It was late at night, perfectly still and very clear, the sky rife with stars. Orangy lights from LaClede, a few miles away, are touching the thin cloud cover with Sandpoint's lights off in the distance. With a big bonfire burning down, it was a sublime evening.
Craig's old friend John Mraz worked for months, with the kind of attention only John can muster, to design and build this dining table for his daughter's family. He used parts from an out-of-service rod weeder that was at the Mraz family farm near Colton, Washington. It's really well done and real heavy and will likely outlast all of us. John and his brother sat in for this shot for fun. I want John for father in law.
As a Photographer in Spokane, Washington it's nice to get into some bigger hard-labor work now and again. HydraFab is a successful machine and fabrication shop in Spokane with a huge shop and plenty of work. These nicely finished stainless steel items are made to hold a bunch of cooling tubes for industrial purposes. These folks know their way around metal fabrication, the finish is beautiful. The challenge here is the location- it is a shop and though it is well maintained and clean it's not spotless, and then the scale of the projects. This item was roughly 12 ft. tall and 20 ft. in length. Big lighting and a big set are unavoidable. The HydraFab crew is great to work with- they appreciate what we're trying to do and they are confident and capable in their own work. Another Spokane success story that is low-key, but a good part of Spokane's industry.
A simple project but not unusual in the life of the commercial photographer. To photograph these nicely-built trade show displays, we brought in very light portable lighting. The light in most halls is not good for photography, so I wanted to add just a title to make our subjects "pop". This is documentation and thus strait forward as production goes. helveticka (formerly Anderson-Mraz Design) designed the graphics for these portable displays. Revett Minerals was helveticka's client. We executed before the show opened for obvious reasons.
Scott Sloan of Market Vision invited us to go to Portland and set up for a day at the Englander Mattress factory showroom to photograph a brand new line of mattresses. About 30 mattresses later and another session for mood and detail images, we flew back to dear old Spokane. Not a bad way to spend the day. We rented lighting gear in Portland at Pro Photo Supply and produced the work at the factory showroom.
In the interest of producing "working" images of the professional staff at NAC Architecture, we made a trip over to the Seattle area when a full-staff NAC meeting was scheduled to photograph as many of their people as possible, in action. Staff embers from their four city offices converged on the Cedarbrook event center (a superb setting) near SeaTac Airport. We wanted to focus on individuals, but as they collaborated and worked through their agenda, and with candid photographic approach. It was kind of a "fly on the wall" approach, with the idea that we asked them, as a group, to ignore us and work as if we were not there. This approach was actually pretty effective and many useful images were produced in a fairly short day, all while not impeding their group purpose. I actually believe we photographed everyone present, at least to some extent.