Quick Detour leads to Awesomeness!

It was several months ago when I was driving home from Cleveland that I passed an old Antique store when these beauties caught my eye. I quickly turned my car around & had to see for myself. I jumped out of the Honda & noticed two green velvet chairs sitting on the front porch. They reminded me of some old nailhead upholstered chairs with sloping arms I’d seen before & only recently replicated by Restoration Hardware… which cost between $500-2400/each. I could already imagine myself sitting in one of these on a front porch wearing a white t-shirt & blue jeans, & smoking a pipe… ah… the good ole’ days (too bad I don’t smoke!).

There was only one problem (okay… actually several problems) that I could see, the frame of one of the chairs was completely broken resulting in the springs causing some major warpage (is that a word? It is now… booyah!). I would need to remove the material to see if/how it could be fixed. And speaking of the material, it was so weathered it was dry rotting & would need replaced. And, maybe I overlooked a few details, 1: I don’t know how to fix the frame of the chair, 2: I don’t know how to reupholster a chair, & 3: How would I get these chairs home. Oh… but the potential these bad boys had!!

Next thing I know I was walking into the store & met a fella behind the counter. “How much do you want for those green upholstered chairs out front?”

“I’ll give them both to you for $4.”

“Do you take a check?” Cha-ching!!! Majah’ score!

So… I managed to squeeze both of the chairs in the car & off we went.

When I arrived home, Joy was quite pleased (in complete contrast to my other chair story). Thankfully, she didn’t bring up the minor detail that I didn’t know how to fix the chairs.

I took the chairs up to my studio & warned “Don’t sit!” to everyone who even hinted as though they were about to sit in one the chairs. Then, I did what every good son-in-law does, I called my Father-in-law & said, “looks like we’ve got a new project on hand” (notice how I said “we’ve”).

After a few months of telling the story of my new chairs I actually decided to do something. My father-in-law & I went to a fabric store & landed a killer deal on some really nice greenish-khaki material. We came back to the house, began dismantling the chairs, & got to work. We completed about 50% of the chair before their having to drive back to AL. He said he would take the chairs & if he had time, do some more work on them. To my surprise, when they came up this weekend, he brought one of the completed chairs. Ladies & gentlemen, Glory & Hallelujah. We’ll name this one Hallelujah!! Thank you Jamie Baldwin!

The finished chair in all her glory!

One of the chairs after stripping the material (two pics below taken with phone):

The beginning of the reupholstering:

And one for the road!

Total cost for the renovation of 2 chairs = about $80 & some sweat (with plenty of material left over for at least another chair & several pillow. I’m not sure but I may have missed my calling. Next project: Reupholster a chair without my father-in-law doing most of the work. Watch out America!!

Israel: A Photographic Journey

Many of my readers are somewhat familiar with my story (more of that to come in a future post). Before starting my photography business, I was a pastor. And though my vocation has changed, I still view my work as a ministry & an opportunity to glorify God. God literally transformed my life before my senior year of high-school & through the power of the gospel, I became a Christian. The next few years I spent reading everything I could to help me better understand the God of the Bible. And, throughout college, grad-school, & post-grad-school I served in various roles within churches (sometimes at the same time): worship leader, college pastor, associate pastor, & discipleship pastor (whew… I’m tired already!). I will not go into great detail at the moment, but in 2007 I was asked to travel to Israel for various reasons. This initial trip birthed in me a sincere love for the land of Israel & I wanted to use my camera to help bring Israel to my friends & family. In May, 2008, after returning from a recent trip to Israel, I was privileged to publish a coffee table book, “Israel: A Photographic Journey.”

Here’s the description from the book from blurb.com:

“Israel: a photographic journey is a collection of photographs taken from several trips to the ancient land of Israel. Many of the pictures have a biblical theme, yet others are more modern and descriptive of the land today. If you have never seen how beautiful the land of Israel is or have always wanted to visit, yet haven’t gathered the funds, consider Israel: a photographic journey. It will illuminate your perspective on that tiny stretch of land that has the entire world’s attention.”

You can purchase the book or preview the book in its entirety by visiting my bookstore. A portion of the proceeds are reinvested into an account that provides support for those who are seeking to do university campus ministry & foreign missions/aids work. So far, we’ve been able to provide full financial support for 3 students doing short-term work abroad.

Below are some excerpts from the book (in book preview mode at blurb.com):

The Jordan Valley & the Sea of Galilee as seen in this panorama.

Boats on the Sea of Galilee.

If you’re looking for a coffee table book rich in historical/spiritual meaning, check out Israel: A Photographic Journey. Buy a book = help support good things. In case you missed the link, it is: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/245716

Fine Art Collection | Landscapes & Nature

Whoa… it has felt like a frozen tundra here in East TN. Can I get a witness? Although we only managed a meager 1/4 inch of snow, I’ve been strategically avoiding outside, thus rescheduling photo shoots more often than not. I figure family shoots where everyone is bundled up like Randy Parker (Ralphie’s little brother from the movie “The Christmas Story”) isn’t the look we’re going for.

So… I thought it would be an ideal time for me to introduce & showcase some of my Fine Art photography. I’ve had tons (not literally tons, but alot!) of inquiries about whether my work was for sale & up until this point, I’ve often avoided the question. I’m not sure I can explain it, but I develop such a connection with certain images that it’s hard to put a price on them.

But, it is one of my personal & business goals to make these prints available to the public. Besides my dream of working for National Geographic, I’ve always wanted to outfit a hotel, restaurant, hospital, or the like with nature, landscape or regional photos that inspire employees & those who visit. But, I also want to make these prints available to people like you who are looking to provide a fresh look to a room in your home or simply want to make an investment in fine art.

When I first started doing photography, I cut my teeth (so to speak) shooting landscape & travel photos. It is still what many are first drawn to in my work. The lessons I learned during this foundational time forever influences all my photography, including weddings & portrait shoots. When composing an image, I am constantly looking for patterns in nature & how people interact with these types of settings. Some of my favorite photos portray the subjects as being a part of a larger picture. Because really, aren’t we all a part of a larger picture!?

This post features a few of my most popular “fine art” photos. I hope to have a site dedicated to these images soon, but in the meantime, if you are interested in purchasing a print, shoot me an email. I will respond & provide you with a pricing list. Or, if you fall into the category of someone who is buying several prints for a business (or home) or would like to hire me specifically for a project, I’d love to sit down for a brief consultation.

Hey… while you’re at it, let me know which pics are your favorite(s). I’ll number the images & provide the location above the photo… leave a comment below indicating your favorite(s). Thanks!

1. City Park Trees in Fall | Athens, TN

2. Bald River Falls | Tellico Plains, TN

3. Buck Bald | Coker Creek, TN

4. Cades Cove | Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN

5. City Park | Athens, TN

6. Mobile Bay | Fairhope, AL

7. Frozen Pier | Riceville, TN

8. Mobile Causeway | Mobile, AL

9. Gulf of Mexico | Destin, FL

10. Orange Grove | Petah Tikvah, Israel

11. Alabama Swamp | Tallassee, AL

12. Starr Mountain | Madisonville, TN

13. Sunset Park | Athens, TN

14. Tree of the Valley | Delano, TN

In the near future I will be sure to highlight some of my travel photography… stay tuned.

Camp Living Stones | “Lonely Chair, Needs Friends”

On occasions I accept invitations to do commercial photography shoots. Sometimes this means shooting a product for a magazine or website while at other times it may be shooting a location for brochures, flyers, etc. I love the challenge of these types of shoots. As they say, photography is rooted in problem solving.

A few weeks ago I did a commercial shoot for my good friends at Camp Living Stones. I’m a bit partial to the folks at CLS & have the privilege of serving as a board member. When I spoke with directors, Jon Smeltzer & Matt Cushing, they mentioned the desire for me to develop a ‘fund-raiser’ brochure to send out featuring an update on the construction of the new chapel as well as raise awareness of some items camp needs. One of the main needs was the funds to purchase chairs for the chapel. As we talked further, Matt said they would have one chair available to feature in the brochure. Then… I had my Aha! moment.

What I wanted to do was create an ad that was humorous & captured readers’ attention while highlighting the goals of the campaign. As some of you know, in addition to photography I also serve as the creative lead for The Visible Group, a marketing & design firm. So… I was super excited that the project would involve photography but also designing the brochure & writing copy that would catch the reader’s attention. We have had incredible feedback from the campaign brochure. I think you’ll like it. It is a tri-fold brochure & this is what you see when you open it.

My favorite picture is the one in the middle where Jon has his hand on Matt’s back as if to say, “Maybe you’ll have a chair one day too!!!”


Additionally, I wanted to provide CLS with some images from around the campus. I was privileged earlier this year to design the new “Welcome to Camp Living Stones” sign. It turned out great & is a wonderful first impression for visitors. I love how they framed it out.

A view of the chapel’s exterior. One thing that is amazing about CLS is that all the buildings were built by the campers under the instruction of the camp staff. The CLS team is amazing!

The man, the myth, the legend himself, Jon Smeltzer. Jon has become a good friend & is a very godly example to all of us. His family is so much fun & we enjoy hanging out as often as possible. You should see the cabin he built for his family… seriously amazing!

Ladies & Gentlemen, The Matthew Cushing & his infamous sidekick, Wrangler. Like all dynamic duos, Bonnie & Clyde, Sonnie & Cher, Turner & Hooch, Kris & Kross, Millie & Vanilli (you get the point), these two won’t ever let you down… constant adventure!

How cool was it that this rainbow appeared when I was shooting! I thought it would look great to frame the shot as though to lead into the cross.

If you are interested in taking a group to a Christian adventure camp, may I suggest to you my friends at Camp Living Stones. You should really check them out! And, if you’re looking for a company who can take care of your design needs, me & the crew at The Visible Group are certainly able to help.

The Fraziers | Jennifer & Jessica

Cheers to 2010! The Fraziers drove down from Knoxville on Tuesday for what turned out to be a lively shoot around town. We had a great time despite the ccccoooollllddd weather. I think the chill led me to be slightly hyper; I climbed on top of all sorts of stuff to get the perfect shot… window ledges, air conditioning units, retaining walls, etc. Jennifer & Jessica were such troopers; they rocked it out!

Meet Jessica. She is a student at Powell & is wonderful with kids. I already told her that we may have to hire her before long to watch the boys. She was so easy to shoot… a natural!

Jennifer was a pleasure to get to know. She is a former nurse who now works in pharmaceuticals. She is one of those people that upon meeting you feel like you’ve known her all your life… what a wonderful characteristic!

Now those are some killer kicks!

Likely my favorite photo of the day.

Look at these ladies!!!

Love this set!

That’s a wrap folks. Thanks Jennifer & Jessica! Hope you enjoy looking at these images as much as I do… it’s going to be a great year!