Mobil Oil asked us to photograph a visit to Spokane by baseball player Steve Garvey. We photographed a reception for him at "North 40" store and at the Indians Baseball field before and during a game. He is a very nice, patient, and considerate guy. Avista Stadium is also one of Spokane's under-appreciated gems. What a great little ball park. It seems really well managed as well. He signed hundreds of baseballs, mitts, brochures, bats and anything people brought.
GGP (General Growth Properties, Inc.) arranged with J. Craig Sweat Photography to do before and after architectural photography of their NorthTown property as they go about a major renovation update, particularly to the North quadrant of the shopping center. I've always liked NorthTown because I grew up across Franklin Park from there and, as kids, we used to walk over there and have all sorts of adventures. (Karmelcorn!). It is surely the oldest shopping center in Spokane and was already going strong in the 1960's, when we lived nearby.
Below are some before and after images of the completed project.
A while ago, we (my wife Ann and I) came back from three weeks in France. It was a "work" trip as we did projects on a house in France to make it vacation-rental ready. It's a long story; the short version being that I inherited this place from my French uncle Pierre and we would like to keep it in the family if possible. We will rent it out to people looking for a small home to stay in on vacation in France. It isn't fancy but it's real nice- clean and complete. It's rural, on a big lot, surrounded by a laurel hedge so it is very private. Three bedrooms and two baths, radiant floor heat, a very sunny and pleasant main room, modern kitchen. The house was built in 2001 so it is modern and not drafty and has amenities like radiant floor heat. With a listing on VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) or "Gite.com" we hope to cover the cost of running and keeping up the house. Still working on that website submission material. We really hope we can make this work because Ann and I love the house and the location and can't get over there enough while we are still busy working. Its one of those places that is so quiet at night it almost hurts and you can see the Milky Way like you could reach out and touch it. It is the most relaxing place I've visited in years and the local activities are great- kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, lots of ancient ruins and functional castles very near, great small rural villages, Saturday markets in the village square. This area is known for excellent food and we can confirm that. Here are a few photos of the home, inside and out, and the area:
Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI, no less) began a conversation with us at the end of 2015 about a photographic approach to a campaign to express their mission and improve their visibility. With the concept from art director Kolea Kent, we decided on a series of portraits, each with a short testimonial comment. Our subjects were their clients and some client-contact staffers. Photography was scheduled for a day in Yakima and a day, in studio, here in Spokane. Kolea and I refined the style and approach before production with some testing and experimentation, then produced over 40 individual portraits (well, there are also a few two and three - people variations). In addition to using these images for their 2016 Annual Report cover and other print applications, seventeen of these were prepared for a gallery show which travelled with the PPGWNI team to three community gatherings (and fund raisers). We had R&R Color Lab make large prints on aluminum, for it's look, durability, and simplicity. These prints were then hung with a bit of hardware I invented and built for the gallery exhibits, with fabrication help from friend John Mraz. Simple, straightforward, and direct as a presentation. The last of these gatherings was held at my studio and was, by all accounts, very successful- like the other two events. It was great fun as well. The prints and hardware will now go to PPGWNI for use in their clinics and offices. We were all happy to get this much mileage out of our efforts.
NAC architecture brought us in to shoot the new "Clearwater Clinic" in Orofino, Idaho which they designed and helped concieve. Pat Watkins, their facility manager, was super helpful all day as we executed both exteriors and interiors for a long full day. The assistant I hired said that it was the "longest day he had worked in his life". He's young- he'll have more chances to beat it. He was good help right through the end, then for the three hour drive back. Once we arrived back at the studio we added grass, bark, and cleaned up the images for their final stage, as you can see using the image sliders. It's a beautiful building which is as much a community center as a clinic judging from the traffic and activities all day long.
Grant County Public Utility District called us to refresh their facility photography and document the fisheries research and activity in which they are engaged. We took two separate days to make the most of weather and river flows. They own and operate Wanapum Dam and Priest Rapids Dam on the Columbia River as well as numerous recreational facilities along their stretch of the river. I have a personal liking for these dams (as well as other large-scale human technologies), my dad having been an engineer. Our family vacations often involved dam visits when I was very young. That was a time when anyone could stroll into the control room and have access to almost anywhere inside the dam. In hindsight these dams have their problems but they are what is largely responsible for the prosperity and quality of life in our modern civilization. The fishery problems are being addressed with great priority and effort right now given the importance of fish navigation in the circle of life and to the native cultures of the area. You would be surprised that with the modern turbine blades the survival rate difference is only about 1% between the turbines vs the spill way. Our first day was in the generator bay at Priest Rapids for a "heavy lift". Our second day began at 5:30 a.m., with fierce winds, which should have been no surprise (it is the "gorge"), It was a very cool, (as in freezing cold!) hour or so just downstream from Priest Rapids Dam. Extreme and gusty winds did not get the best of our camera supports- the tripods held steady (with extra weight) and we got our shots. A tough and long, but fun, day.
You can download the annual Report here and view some images we captured for them here: www.grantpud.org
Bouten Construction hired us to update their library of "process" and construction images. They use these images in proposals as well as in their broad marketing efforts. We were in Yakima on another job and stayed overnight there so we could be in the Tri-Cities, at the project, at 6:30 am the next morning. These guys start early and move fast. The parking garage is a substantial structure- five stories of heavy concrete. It was a routine day: re-bar install (getting ready for a large cement pour), form setting and removal, concrete finishing, crane work, and a dozen other tasks that are impressive in both scale and skill.
Eric Thun, owner and inventor at Springtools asked us to photograph a few new tools and tool sets for advertising and promotional purposes. It helps that they are nice quality products. We brought them into the studio, talked over the art direction and he left us to our task with the help of his marketing and sales guy, Marty Parole. These spring tools are a great idea, in all of their variations, and Eric has had great success with them in national markets. I began working with this product many years ago with the previous owners of the company. I like it when a company stays with us as their photographer even through a change of ownership and management.
Wine has become big business in Washington thanks to good soils and a good latitude for the growing of grapes. Along with the "biggies" (Chateau St. Michel and so on) there are a few small, but very good, local wineries toiling to make the best wines on a small scale. My friend Kirk Phillips, with business partner John Morrow, run V du V winery here in Spokane. Kirk grew up around Lind Washington where his dad was a farmer. Turns out this area is especially good for the growing of grapes. Kirk started making wine on a hobby level in 1983, turned it into a business in 2003 as V du V winery. His knowledge and interest both increased through the years and now they make about a thousand cases per year. The grapes they use are still mostly from the Lind, Washington area including merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, grenache. They make some nice wines and Kirk and John love the process and still do it all themselves. First Fridays they are always open, with music and great fun (and for direct sales) at South 10 Scott. Right next to the Clear Channel bunker on Sprague.
You can view their website here: www.vduvwines.com
This last weekend, Friday through Sunday morning, about eighty Spokane area creatives went to Camp Fire's Camp Sweyolaken on Coeur d'Alene Lake for ... well - for FUN. The second year of the Collective Campout, we did team projects, a range of hands-on seminars, and heard from Von Glitschka, a great designer illustrator from the Salem, Oregon area. The weather was great, food was good and the people were the best. It's amazing how great these spontaneous and quick projects came out with this mass of visually strong people, all in one place.
Mollie Mraz, daughter of a long and dear friend, John Mraz (and her mom Marilyn) helped us with some computer decisions and mentioned her Marbled Bengal cat in conversation. Allergy-free apparently. She showed me a few images of her young cat and I asked her to bring herby for a photo session. The cat, Zelda, has such an exotic look and a tail about a yard long. While cats and strobes and studios don't always mix well, we stayed at it until she got a little familiar and you can see the result. Well worth it for us and for Mollie.
Nurse.com magazine, a large-circulation web and print magazine assigned us to photograph Associate Professor (and PHD) Martin Schiavenato to introduce a story about a technology he is developing to assess pain in newborns and infants. Before they are able to express discomfort. The WSU staff cooperated beautifully with us and we were able to execute in two locations. Martin is an RN and has worked with premature babies a great deal. This, and a genuine compassion for his small charges led him to this effort. An interesting fellow doing noble work. Read the full story below:
We photographed a new bike rack design invented and developed by my good friend Neil Johnson. SCS Racks is his company's name and he has really thought this through. It is a great, simple, easy to use, and very secure design with a beautiful finish and look. He even has a new lock design that will conform to certain car brand key patterns. Then you can use your car key in the rack lock to access your bicycle. A real entrepreneur, Neil has been a realtor for many years.
You can view the website and other images here: http://www.scsrack.com/
The Mendoza College of Business contacted us based on our website to photograph an alum for their very high-quality Alumnae Magazine. Mendoza is a subsidiary of Notre Dame University and Ms. Katherine Merck was being featured owing to her election as the 2016 Rodeo Queen. Katherine has had a love of horses, riding and the Western lifestyle since she was eleven and signed up for a week-long YMCA horse camp (regular camp was full). She was smitten and did all she could to learn horsemanship and "reining"- the very precise control of a horse. After earning degrees in finance and medieval studies, then beginning law school at Gonzaga, she researched the Rodeo Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and many other sources to win an escalation of competitions, finally arriving at Miss Rodeo America 2016. She was obliged to take a year off of law school to accommodate the 340 days of traveling required. Quoting Katherine: "The effect you can have on people with kindness is amazing". Even for our brief contact, she lives in this spirit. For us, apart from Katherine's uncommon warmth, I was reminded of how much patience it takes to work with animals.
You can read the article here: http://bizmagazine.nd.edu/issues/2016/spring-2016/irish-cowgirl/
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/