THAT ONE TIME WE WENT TO PRISON

A long narrow hallway lined with tiny barred cells enclosing angry men flinging obscenities is what we expected to find at a maximum security male prison. The entertainment industry depicts the American correctional system as a scary place. So, when we were given the opportunity to enter Oregon State Penitentiary we were filled with excitement and a bit of concern.

As you might have guessed, entering a prison is no easy task. There are several obstacles to navigate in order to be approved for entry. First off, background check for all members of the entire crew. Second, a thoroughly vetted equipment list. This list was scrutinized and whittled down three times. Each list included visuals of what was included. A location like this is only possible with the use of battery powered lights. Without them, it would be difficult to get down to three bags. 

The third obstacle was squeezing two portrait subjects into a tight schedule during the facility lockdown. We reviewed the Tour Guidelines for visitors which informed us of their hostage policy that states there are inherent risks in visiting a correctional facility. After several weeks of back and forth with Oregon State Penitentiary, everything was set and ready to go.

Oregon State Penitentiary is nestled in the sleepy town of Salem. Driving through the town you wouldn’t expect a maximum security prison would live just up the road. If there was a maximum security prison, you wouldn’t expect it to be lined with large, lush trees and meticulously maintained landscaping. The stark difference from the picturesque greenery and the castle-like exterior of the prison is striking. We stood on the steps of the Oregon State Penitentiary with nothing but our gear, our IDs and just a little bit of nerves.

Once inside we went through a series security checkpoints. Every step of the process was efficient. The staff was friendly and helpful through it all. We quickly moved to our first location and set up to shoot in cell block D. Once we were in the heart of the facility, it was evident how calm and quiet space it was. Unlike our chaotic expectations, we felt comfortable in the space. Of course, there was a bit of excitement buzzing around, we were a photo crew, something completely out of the ordinary. Even with our unusual presence the men lounged in their brightly colored cells patiently waiting for the lockdown to end.

Our first subject was Megan Lowe, a Corporal Correction Officer at OSP. She began her career at the Oregon State Correctional Institution (OSCI) in 2014. She was inspired by her father to follow a career in correction. Megan’s petite frame was weighed down by the required gear but her presence was enormous. Watching her walk down the block you saw her confident control in the space. She was one of the reasons we felt so safe there. She provides the order needed for peace.

We spent a few short but fulfilling moments with Megan. She allowed us to collaborate in her domain and we could not have asked for a smoother experience. Wrapping up in the housing block it was time to pack up and move on to our next location to meet Patrice, another staff member of OSP.  She is also doing amazing things but that is another story for another time.

To Be Continued…


Captured52 + Chris Crisman

crisman wild horses

We’re excited to announce a new collaboration with Captured52, an amazing resource for large format, fine art photography. Starting this Saturday, 2/13 our award winning Wild Horses photo will be available as an open edition 40×60” print. We’re honored to be part of an elite group of image makers that include Sandro Miller, David Burnett, Simon Vahala, Adam Senatori, and Alex Buisse.

Captured52 releases for sale one photograph per week, all printed and framed in stunning large format. Our image will be printed in the USA by a master printer on heavyweight matte Hahnemühle paper, embossed with the Captured52 seal, date-stamped and custom framed in solid wood, museum shadowbox frame. Our Wild Horses image will be available for $1,952.00 including shipping and a large format journal at the end of 2016 featuring images and text from every participating photographer.

Questions, comments? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto. Also make sure to keep up with @Captured52 on Instagram and Captured 52 on Facebook. The sale starts this Saturday 2/13 and will only be available for one week so act fast!

 

Wired UK: Server in the Clouds

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

Drones are here. Whether it’s as simple as capturing footage from a GoPro, surveying land, top secret military operations or even drone beer delivery (my personal favorite) – these flying robots are in our skies and not going away anytime soon.

As with any developing industry on the edge of modern technology, the team at Wired UK are on it. Earlier this year we received a call from across the pond to fly out to San Fransisco and photograph two companies at the forefront of the aerial robotics industry: Airware and 3D Robotics.

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

First up was Airware, a drone company aiming to take the already airbone industry into the cloud. Terrible tech puns aside, the Airware team creates hardware and software that is trying to create a standardized operating system for the world of commercial drone operations – no small task.

Jonathan Downey, the founder and CEO, as well as the rest of his team were generous with their time and access – helping us to illustrate both the tech and the people behind scenes who are bringing this idea to life.

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

Our second shoot took us to the Oakland based HQ of 3D Robotics, a consumer robotics startup helmed by former Wired Editor in Chief, Chris Anderson. They just released their first offering, the 3DR Solo Drone – a very user friendly and easily piloted GoPro wielding UAV capable of 3D scanning. Not too shabby.

Spending a day with their pilots and watching the R&D team work was inspiring to see where the consumer side of the drone world is headed.

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

And of course the shoot wouldn’t be complete without a few wonderful light tests from Jared and myself. After all these years we’ve gotten really good at standing next to windows and on rooftops.

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

chris crisman wired uk drones airware Jonathan Downey 3D Robotic

We were pretty busy on set wrangling all of these flying robots but we managed to grab a few quick BTS shots. If you look closely enough at the shot of Chris Anderson you can spot the 3DR Solo flying dangerously close to the industrial tanks in the background. No crashes though – the shoot was a success!

Questions? Comments? Let us know at @crismanphoto on Instagram and /crismanphoto on Facebook.

New Personal Work: Neon Boy & The Golfer

Hi everyone! Jared here. You may remember me from past blog posts such as Assistant Interview: Jared Castaldi  and pretty much any other post where I’m standing in testing light for Chris or acting a fool. I’ve been working with Chris off and on over the years as an assistant, digital tech, second shooter, etc. You name it. But most recently I’ve been handed the task of telling the story of how we came to make two of Chris’ recent portfolio pictures: Neon Boy and Golfer.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

Back in January of this year, Chris, Robert, Zack (our in house digital artist), and myself packed up and headed out west to Las Vegas. Chris had ideas for three pictures. Unfortunately due to weather issues, one of our pictures never came to be. I won’t mention what that picture was because it’s still in the works for later this summer. So you’ll just have to wait!

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitWhen we end up in Vegas, we usually end up at Tacos El Gordo. They are amazing. Go there and get the adobada tacos.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait   And when you’re in Vegas, you usually end up at a Casino. We like the Cosmopolitan but we didn’t stay there this time (but we stayed in sight of it!). They have secret pizza. We like pizza.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitHere you can see I’m taking a selfie of myself and the back of Robert’s head while riding an escalator in the Belaggio.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitIt was the Chinese New Year while we were in Vegas. The Bellagio had a huge display in their lobby for it. The goats were robots and they moved around and made noises. Reminded me of the Chuck E. Cheese band. Pretty cool stuff.

So once we got settled our first stop was the Neon Graveyard. The Neon Graveyard is a park like space that is home to a bunch of old vintage signs from long long ago when Sinatra roamed the streets of Vegas. It’s an amazing place. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from there:

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

As you can see from the final Neon Boy picture up top, we pieced together a variety of the signs and transformed day into night. When we got back home, we shot our hero and a few other pieces in studio. I’m no retoucher but I’m sure Zack had a great time putting the whole thing together…

After we got what we needed for the Neon Boy picture, we headed out to Mesquite, NV. This is where mother nature screwed us out of our portfolio picture. Mesquite is a little town a few hours northeast of Vegas. It’s basically the middle of nowhere. I don’t recommend going there. We stayed at the Virgin River Hotel and Casino. I don’t recommend going there either unless you like second hand smoke and becoming extremely ill….. Let’s not mention Mesquite ever again. Let’s move on.

After our defeat in Mesquite, we headed to back to Las Vegas for our last shot, which details a day on the links with a storied golfer. We needed to get plates at a golf course for this shot and the fine people at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort were kind enough to give us free reign of their beautiful course.

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitCheck out that form! I’m actually an OK golfer. I shot an 84 last weekend. How ’bout that?

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitPresident and Vice President of Best Hair in the business right here. I hope they don’t crash their cart. Who will lead us then?!

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

chris crisman neon boy golfer portraitAnd again, our golfer in studio back in Philly.

Then things got weird. We stopped in El Dorado Canyon which is even more in the middle of nowhere than Mesquite. It’s the site of the oldest and richest gold mine in Nevada. There were also a bunch of murders and Indian raids here back in the day. We didn’t know what to expect…. Now it’s basically just a few houses and barns filled with all kinds of stuff/junk. I think you can pay them a small donation and they’ll let you walk around with a camera and take pictures.. so we did that. Here are some pictures. You can decide yourself…

chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait chris crisman neon boy golfer portrait

So this was our last stop on our trip. Our trip home was not fun though. We were sitting in our hotel room at around 8pm the night before our flights home. A huge blizzard was supposed to hit Philly a few hours before we landed and the airlines were starting to cancel flights. We got on the phones and booked red eye flights home to land before the storm. Unfortunately the rest of the west coast had the same idea and the four of us couldn’t fly on the same flights. Chris and I had to fly to Phoenix then home which went smootly but uncomfortably. Robert and Zack had to fly to Phoenix then to Orlando then home to Philly.

Their trip ended up being a real life version of the movie Trains, Planes, and Automobiles. It was not a good time for them. 🙁

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2014 in Review – Our Best Work

chris crisman best photos 2014

We can’t believe that it’s already time to close the books on 2014. Forgive the cheesy expression, but it literally felt like only yesterday that we were gearing up for the year and jumping into our first shoots in January. In keeping with tradition from last year, we felt it was necessary to pause and take a look back through the images we’ve created this year. It’s been a tough edit – we tried to pick our top 10, but couldn’t stop there and landed at 13. We’ve made some many photos that we’re happy with and have to leave out a few that we’re not able to share quite yet. That being said, we wanted to share our favorites thus far, the best of the best.

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

chris crisman best photos 2014

No collection of images would be fit to show without a proper thank to you everyone involved in the process – including our wonderful clients from all over the globe, the extremely dedicated and talented crew who have helped produce these shoots, and of course our subjects themselves. Thank you, we couldn’t have done this without you.

Did we miss anything? Any of your favorites not included? Let us know your thoughts below or @crismanphoto and/crismanphoto!

From the Archive: Fall Camping

chris crisman fall lifestly photos

It’s that time of year again. There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are changing, and daylight starts to become scarce. With thanksgiving right around the corner, and autumn in full swing, we couldn’t help but take a look back in the archives to a lifestyle shoot from fall 2012.

chris crisman lifestyle photography fall lifestyle

chris crisman lifestyle photography fall lifestyle

chris crisman lifestyle photography fall lifestyle

Our team spent the day with a handful of great talent – capturing a fall camping trip and all of the fun that went along  with it. We were lucky to have the perfect autumn backdrop and beautiful models to work with.

chris crisman lifestyle photography fall lifestyle

chris crisman lifestyle photography fall lifestyle

chris crisman lifestyle photography fall lifestyle

chris crisman lifestyle photography fall lifestyle

We owe a big thank you to the talented models and awesome crew we had on-board for this shoot, this wouldn’t have been possible without your help!

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!

Henrik Lundqvist Portraits

chris crisman henrik lundqvist photo portrait

Thanks to our editors at the New York Observer, we recently made the trip up to New York City to photograph all star NY Rangers goalie, Henrik Lundqvist. Not only a world class athlete but also an immaculately dressed and adventurous photo subject, our 20 minutes on an NYC rooftop with King Henrik flew by as we shot a handful of awesome images.

chris crisman henrik lundqvist photo portrait

chris crisman henrik lundqvist photo portrait

Knowing that we didn’t have any time to waste, we arrived early and pre-lit four different setups for Mr. Lundqvist. When your subject is used to the fast-paced action of NHL hockey, you better not have them waiting around on set.

chris crisman henrik lundqvist photo portrait

chris crisman henrik lundqvist photo portrait

Of course, as soon as he saw the opportunity, the daredevil goalie hopped on this conveniently placed ladder for a few more action shots.

chris crisman henrik lundqvist photo portrait

After we had wrapped up all the shots on the rooftop, there was just one more task at hand.  Chris and King Henrik hopped into his Bentley and they tore around midtown Manhattan – all in the name of making great photos.

Questions? Comments? Let us know below or @crismanphoto and /crismanphoto!