This is the brief eulogy I gave today at my father-in-law’s service.
I thought of Mr. Boka – even though I knew him for nearly 20 years, I rarely called him or Lazslo – this past Monday, which was Labor Day.
I thought of him because he was a man in constant motion, always working on something.
He might have been repairing and restoring a set of speakers that he found, fixing a weed whacker (probably mine) or some electronic device in his shed or figuring out a way to get his beloved Solara to run better.
This, though, was what he considered retirement – after putting in all those years doing some truly hard work as a welder for ConocoPhillips, he wasn’t about to stop flat out getting things done.
Around my house, there is always some little project I should be doing, but don’t know where to start. He always wanted to do them for me. But, over the years,we came to an agreement: He wouldn’t do it for me, but he could HELP me fix it.
Better yet, he could TEACH me what to do.
Thanks to him, I can now put in and hook up a ceiling fan in a bedroom or an exhaust fan in the bathroom, or clean out a pea trap under sink.
One of our proudest moments together was us both admiring a new set of square-head screwdrivers I had bought to finish a project.
He liked how I was building up my tool box.
When people say a guy is “blue collar guy” or “salt of the earth” they mean that as a compliment. At least they should.
Les Boka was both of those.
Now, whenever I hear a heavy guitar-driven rock song, or see a cool muscle car, or watch John Wick, I’m going to think of Mr. Boka.
A man I was proud to call not only my father-in-law, but my friend and teacher.
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2019
Just about a year ago, I was on a photo project swing of Belgium, Germany and Italy with photographer Gary S. Chapman.
This was what we call a “corporate stock” shoot – recreating images that we would normally search for in Getty or Shutterstock but with the people of my company.
Sometimes, easier said than done. Especially when we were told to get shots that represent “partnership” or “partnering” in our settings. It’s a weird theme – we all know what it is…but how do you show that visually. Go to Shutterstock, or even Google images, put in “partnership” and you’ll get a lot of pics of people shaking hands. All well and good, but what are other ways we can show this?
Here’s one – the people collaborating, talking, working together around a table. The funny thing about this shot is that was unplanned. While moving from one part of the building (a research area, which is why Gary has his white smock on) to another, we came across this small group at these high table in a common area, near the coffee corner.
I lived the natural look of it all, plus the beautiful window light we were getting. I stopped our small entourage and asked the group if we could do some shots (actually, I don’t remember if I asked them, or my colleague from Belgium asked them in either Dutch or Flemmish). Anyway, they agreed. We just needed two things: a) sign a photo consent form and b) continue on with their meeting like we were there.
They did, and Gary got to work. Here’s one way we are using this photo now as a banner image on our company website:
We probably spent about 15 minutes at this scene shooting, shooting stills and some b-roll video. Natural light and a monopod, that’s all. Easy peasy.
.And, in case you are wondering, Gary is shooting a Sony Alpha a7R II. I was shooting my Fuji X100T.
© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2017
Noir Stills – Following and Being Followed
Once again, the wonder of the Internet comes through.
A few weeks ago I was tooling around. Not sure if it was Twitter or Tumblr or something like that.
But I came across these INCREDIBLE noir images. Stopped me in my tracks. Made me stop scrolling, as the kids say (and that’s now the goal of web content creation – make someone stop scrolling and SEE what you put out there.)
Well the images of Dan Bannino made me stop. I look at a lot of images, images that are supposed to be “noir,” images that think they are noir. But they really aren’t. Something the photographer slaps a fedora on a guy’s head, make it black & white and call it noir. Sometimes it’s in color (that’s fine) but it’s garishly lit and looks more like a commercial shoot for a piece of candy. Or then they go all Dan Winters effect and think that does it to make an image look “noir”.
Dan Bannino doesn’t go either of those routs and it’s a good thing. There is something about Dan’s noir images that made me stop and look, really look.
Noir Stills – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide
Dan’s noir photos are meticuliously planned yet also have the appearance of happenstance. Like you just walked in on something. Some settings ( a gas station – a favorite of myself) didn’t surprise me. Others (a Burger King) did.
Dan, a young man who now lives about an hour outside of Turin, Italy, where he was born, makes it all work, and incredibly so. Then I delved deeper into his portfolio and really liked what I found from his other portfolios as well A little web research turned up a Huffington Post profile of him and his shelter dogs project. And this piece on his Still Diets project.
Dan Bannino – Self Portrait
Dan has incredible vision and production skills. His image and workflow intrigued me. Thanks to the Internet (and Dan being a super nice guy), I was able to reach out to him and start a conversation. Then I thought “Hey, I should do a Sunday Focus on him! I haven’t done them in awhile….”
Wow, has it really been five years since the last one???? Sheesh.
In any case, I emailed Dan about my plan to do this feature, and he graciously said he’d answer some questions for me (and for you, dear readers) about his work and and his focus.
And so…on to the Sunday Focus With Dan Bannino….
JSP Q: Canon, Nikon or Other?
DB: First camera I was shooting with was a Canon, then I moved to Nikon. I’m a happy 5D Mark III owner, but last year Nikon Europe reached me out for a collaboration and from that project I became Nikon Ambassador.
JSP Q: Camera eye? (i.e which eye do you use to look through the viewfinder with)
DB: Right eye, but sometimes I prefer using the live viewer to work better on the composition.
Noir Stills: Dining With Murder
JSP Q: Do you come from a photographic background?
DB: I never attended any photography’s school or courses, other photographers and great
masters of photography are my everyday inspiration, alongside with painters especially
Old Masters as Caravaggio.
JSP Q: Is photography your career? If not, what is?
DB: Photography is my calling. Three years ago I moved to London for pursuing my intention of becoming a full time photographer. After working as a product photographer, shooting objects everyday, I decided to quit and move back in Italy, to concentrate on personal projects. Today, I am working 24/7 as a photographer, yet still trying to making my way among all those talented photographers, regularly working on editorial assignments and etc.
JSP Q: What do you consider is your photographic path?
DB: I started moving professionally into photography shooting only objects creating still life (see that link to Dan’s Still Diets set) especially with food, but I quickly felt
the urge of exploring other subjects, from dogs to actual people. I always like to
experiment and challenge myself, pushing my photography to the next level, but trying to
keep a certain consistence with colors and moods.
JSP Q: How do feel you were able to develop your own brand of photographic storytelling?
DB: Behind great pictures there are always great ideas. Similarly, behind every shoot there
are days, weeks, and even months of research. Everyday life, books, movies and online
news always give me huge inspiration for telling a story. I also find inspiration from books,music, movies and of course I like to spend a bunch of time visiting exhibitions since I’m a huge art lover. Inspiration for the next photo can be just around the corner.
JSP Q: Tell me about the production that goes into your Noir Stills series.
DB: I always start a new series with the aim of telling a story. Noir Stills is a work inspired by 1940s-60s great noir movies’ directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed and Billy Wilder). I’ve developed these shootings with the purpose of making the public an eyewitness to my
narrative, I didn’t want to define viewers’ thoughts with a plot or a story line, but at the
contrary I wanted to leave them freedom to create their own ideas, without influencing
the feelings an image could give.
JSP Q: So you are your a big film noir fan? Which are your favorites?
DB: I am, totally. As said I am an avid crime stories reader and I old movies full
of beautiful details, amazing actors and so many inspiring visions.
My fav..I think I would say Rear Window, The Third Man and The Apartment –
even if it’s not noir genre- for pictures (I think it actually won an Oscar for
that. Ed note: It did win Best Picture in 1961.)
Niche of Wonders – Alice Cooper
Niche of Wonders – Nixxi Sixx
JPS Q: What’s next for Dan Bannino?
DB: At the moment I’m working on promoting my latest series, probably the most boring part, but at the same time the more delicate and fundamental nowadays. And of course, I’m brainstorming for the next project!
Niche of Wonders – Frank Sinatra
Many thanks to Dan for taking some time to answer some questions for JSP. Please check out more of his work on Instagram and Tumblr. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Also, watch this video about Dan and shelter dogs project.
If you have any questions for Dan, please leave them in comments.
All images in this post are copyright Dan Bannino and cannot be used without permission.
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016
“I can usually tell how bad my day is gonna be by the sound of the storm. From the way the rain pounded the pavement, it sounded like things weren’t about to go my way anytime soon….”
The thing about writers…they write. Sometimes they set word count limits for themselves – they have to hit a certain amount a day before they can get up. Fueled (sometimes) by copious amounts of coffees and (always) creativity all up in their heads, they just…have…to…write.
(Kinda sounds like some photographers I know.)
Little White Bird is a new ebook from Bard Constantine, the fantastically creative writer with whom I’ve been collaborating with, off and on, for four years now (has it really been four years??? Well, almost.)
Bard’s main character, Mick Trubble, is as if Philip Marlowe lived in the Blade Runner setting. Except BR took place in dystopian Los Angeles, and Mick hovers, literally, around fictional New Haven. (No, not New Haven, Connecticut).
Little White Bird is Bard’s dystopian take on the Peter Pan story. Originally developed for an anthology that never happened, Bard dusted off his entry and decided to publish. Read more about how Little White Bird developed here.
I’m halfway through the story now and I gotta say…it’s pretty darn cool.
The other thing that’s pretty cool is….I’m On The Cover!
Thanks to the fantastic work of both Bard and graphic designer Stefan Prohaczka, my mug, as the “face” – literally – of Mick Trubble, graces the cover of Little White Bird.
I’m still always stunned and honored to see how these two gents can take my humble noir images and elevate them to the super cool realm.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been very fortunate to be associated with many writing projects, and to get to know many writers in the process. These are the Clive Cusslers or Tom Clancy-type writers. You know, the ones that get a big advance and then spend a goodly amount of time researching their next book or locked away in their “writing nook.”
No, these cats are finding time to write in between hammering out their day jobs (or two), making dinner, giving he kids baths, wondering if they are good enough to keep doing this, packing it in, upacking it out and letting the words bleed from their fingers.
JK Rowling was like this. She taught at night and wrote during the day. She famously went from living on state’s benefits to being a millionaire author is just five year.
To that end, be it a big novel or an ebook, authors depend on us. They depend on reviews, especially on Amazon. This leads to Amazon bumping up their work in various ways, and hopefully getting the writers more exposure.
I want to see Bard get this exposure. So I’m going to help get the word out about this new story any way I can. I hope you do too.
Head over to Amazon, download this book (geez, it’s only .99 cents, waaaay less than a crappy cup of coffee in a white cup with a green logo) for a good weekend read. Then leave a review, even a short “I Liked It!” review. Every little bit helps!
Go take a walk on the dystopian side…just make sure your Mean Ol’ Broad is well-oiled and don’t forget your Bogart.
(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016