Think Tank Photo

Monday, September 17, 2018

Photography for Social Change: Telling Untold Stories with Starr Sariego

LETICIA FISHER Spinal Cord Injury, Paraplegic  Photograph by Alexandra vivas
By Starr Sariego
starrsariegophotography.com

In the summer of 2015, I was asked if I would be interested in participating in a photo project. 
Two of the three women at the meeting have disabilities the third was a mother of a young woman with cerebral palsy.  What could I bring to their table? I was a newish photographer and mostly self-taught. I listened as the women, with no funding and only a big, beautiful idea, explained their desire to reprise a photography show done 10 years prior. My answer? Hell, yes.

The birth of the Bold Beauty Project came 10 years earlier as Shelly Baer, its founder, decided to face herself in the mirror. Literally. Shelly was born with rheumatoid arthritis and had endured many surgeries. She admits to not having looked at herself in the mirror for many, many years. She was avoiding what she then assumed to be something to avoid. Her body grew and developed and took shape in a way that caused others to stare at her. She’d had enough and did a TEDx talk.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX1Job6O60E As Baer spoke she invited the audience to have a good… long look. She believed then and still does, in the beauty in disability. The TEDx Talk and The Bold Beauty Project of 2006 were turning points for her.  Shelly asked her other women friends with disabilities to collaborate with photographers and make bold and beautiful images of themselves. The 2006 show was a hit. Fast forward 10 years and Shelly was ready to do it again.
EMMA REYES Spinal Cord Injury & Arm Amputee  photograph by Maggie Steber 
Never having done this type of project before, I launched in headfirst excitedly… and naively. I started by looking for and recruiting local Miami photographers. My resources were a few kindly souls that gave me their time and names and contacts to call. They include Leica specialist, Peter Dooling https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-dooling-9a398524/, ever a great resource, Milcho and University of Miami faculty member John Van Beekum https://www.jvanbeekum.com

The calls began and almost every photographer I spoke to fell in love with the idea of collaborating with a woman and making an image that would upend society’s stereotypes of women with disabilities.  The women were able to show themselves, through makeup, location, clothing and in some cases no clothing, as what they wanted others to see in them. Bold, sexy, beautiful, brave, smart, adventurous… All photographers generously donated their time and talent to make the images. 

Other work included creating a guide for the photographers as well as a licensing agreement for the group. 25 photographers needed locations, make-up artists and stylists. Their busy schedules needed coordinating with the subjects and the post photo shoot follow up was also work intensive, gathering documentation, collecting images and finding a printer/framer. Finally, a friend and I hung the show at the Bakehouse Art Complex for a November 2016 opening that drew close to 500 people. http://www.boldbeautyproject.com/past-shows/miami-fl-2016/

The takeaways: the connections made were all very meaningful and at times profound. The woman being photographed, the photographer and finally the viewer were all impacted. The women's’ images were accompanied by narratives they had written. Viewing the show took time to take in. Attendees saw the image, read their words and a new understanding was made. Some were moved to tears.

For me, a new passion was born. I am committed using photography as a tool for community engagement in understanding unseen populations within our culture, specifically women. I’m currently working on The Compassion Project https://spark.adobe.com/page/AnNjZnc8Rsf1O/ featuring formerly incarcerated women. These women, once having served their sentences, deserve a restoration of their rights, a safe place to live and employment. Again, the idea is to use portraiture and narratives along with an art film to change perceptions. An installation piece will allow for viewers to sit and listen to a woman tell her story of incarceration and what led up to it. 

Starr Sariego
starrsariegophotography.com
CYNTHIA FLEISCHMANN Amputee. photograph by Starr Sariego

Leica Lounge with Starr Sariego | Thurs, Sep 20, 2018 | 7pm - 8:30pm

Free Event

Join us in the Leica Lounge on Thursday, September 20, 2018 with photographer Starr Sariego. Starr will give a presentation entitled Photography for Social Change: Telling Untold Stories. She will use The Bold Beauty Project as one example.                   372 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134
The Leica Lounge is a lecture series hosted by Leica Store Miami which features presentations by local photographers, editors, gallerists and educators. Held monthly, these free events are designed to create and inspire the local photography community through sharing images and exchanging ideas.
The Leica Lounge is kindly sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery. Participants will be able to sample some of their amazing craft beers during the event. Brooklyn Brewery is one of the largest craft breweries in the United States, producing a portfolio of traditional and experimental beers sure to impress any beer drinker.

About Starr:I started taking photos 10 years ago as part of my location business for the photo industry. Leaping into the next phase of my life has given me the time and focus to pursue photography on a more personal and fulfilling level.

Photography gives me the opportunity to capture a moment in time.  Emotions, connections and relationships are a vital part of what I see and who I am. For me, photography is the coupling of creative thought, intuition and action.
"When you photograph a face... you photograph the soul behind it." - Jean Luc Godard
You can see more of Starr's work here.







Tuesday, July 24, 2018

PEAK DESIGN: Introducing the Travel Line on Kick Starter

Before we were bag-makers, or photographers, or crowdfunders, we were travelers. Our Travel Line is a set of travel bags and tools designed to meet a simple directive: no 2 trips are the same, and the best luggage can adapt to them all.

These products are the culmination of 5 years of bag construction and material research, extensive prototyping and testing, carefully honed designed philosophies, and many lifetimes of dirtbagging around the world. Enjoy 'em, and thank you for your support.


Monday, June 11, 2018

Traveling by rail across Cuba with Think Tank Photo and Peak Design gear

By Terence R Waldron
HeadShots&FootPrints
TRW@TRW1.com

As a “semi-pro” photographer (I still have my Clark Kent job…) my desire to travel to exotic places is demanding especially with the need to carry a lot of gear. I have graduated from large, stuff anything in it, backpacks to something more practical. I now carry the Think Tank Retrospective 7 camera bag every day wherever I go. Sometimes I even place my camera in the bag, it's very roomy and useful.

Don’t get me wrong… carrying around a 30-pound bag of gear and supplies is difficult and makes you wonder, do we really need every one of those things in the backpack? The Retrospective 7 taught me the answer is no. 


The Peak Design camera strap system, Slide and Cuff allows me the freedom to be quicker on the draw. I have found that you can travel over 1000 miles, shoot over 10,000 photos and still have a shoulder left at the end of the day.

On a recent trip to Cuba, I hooked up with a group of 21 train aficionados. I caught up with them in Cienfuegos and completed the long grueling journey in Santiago de Cuba. We also did trips to Guantanamo, Las Tunas, Holguin, Moron, Remedios, Santa Clara, Trinidad and I’m sure a few other towns. Fortunately, cameras have geo-tagging nowadays. I also used GPS tracks app on my iPhone to follow my trails.


We made our way along the beautiful Cuban countryside and spotted some incredibly unique old steam locomotives, tenders, rail cars and mid-century diesel engines. Many date back from the turn of the century to the 1950's. It is said that Cuba has one of the largest collections of steam trains, operable and non-working, in the world. 

Traveling through the Caribbean's largest island I knew every moment I saw I should capture in a photograph. Who knows if any of us would ever get back that way again.

I took two DSLR bodies, a Canon EOS 6D and the Canon EOS 80D with two lenses, the Canon EF 24‑70mm f/2.8L II USM and the Canon EF 100-300mm f4.5-5.6 USMtwo chargers, a few cables, journal and assorted travel guides and magazines. I also carried one or two bottles of water each day, and my daily medicine…(we are an aging population) 

When I was not using the Retrospective 7 as a full-fledged gearbox, it also made an excellent pillow and catch-all for the day’s activities. I must admit, up until the night before the Cuba trip, I was seriously considering taking a hard case without wheels, what was I thinking? I was packing my case, and looking over at my camera bag, I realized, that due to my previous experience, the Retrospective 7 would easily hold my DSLR camera body, and two lenses, as well as other items I needed to have in my carry-on. The second camera body I just wrapped in my suitcase, without a lens attached. It arrived safely... besides, it’s a crop sensor camera… I wouldn’t be heartbroken. 


As it turns out, I used the Retro 7 every day of my 12-day journey and I was never happier traveling with my gear. The trip was the most taxing thing I have ever done, traveling constantly, and juggling two cameras but, having to carry around my smaller “messenger” type bag, instead of a backpack was very liberating. 

It was my first real-world experience using the Peak Design interchangeable straps. I really loved the freedom of movement and adjustability of the Slide, and the versatility of the Cuff. I was always able to quickly adapt to the shooting environment, as I was getting off at the next stop. I must add, that having the Cuff or Slide attached to my camera and my hand, afforded me a level of comfort while leaning out the train windows and doors, that’s freaky! I’m glad my mom wasn’t there to see those “moments”! 


Another great aspect was the comfort of the Sling, even with the 70-300 dangling from my neck as I leaned over rails, viaducts, waterways. I would have to say that both of these products are well-designed, built & useful. 

The other great thing about the Retro 7 is that it never gets noticed as a camera bag. If you are into street photography you can quickly open the flap, grab your perfectly positioned camera, raise and shoot.

Here are a few of my images… the memories are incredible 
I have a thousand more… Just ask!






















Friday, June 8, 2018

Tomorrow Night - Celebrate Leica Store Miami's 5th Anniversary

Help Us Celebrate 5 Years


5 Year Anniversary Celebration
+ Gallery Opening: Richard Sexton's Enigmatic Stream


Tomorrow! June 9th, 2018   |   7:30 - 9:00 PM   |   RSVP

When we opened Leica Store Miami five years ago, our goal was to be more than just a camera store. We wanted to be a resource and destination for photographers, both locally and abroad. And with the continued support of our incredible customers, Leica Store Miami has made a sizeable impact in the Leica world as well as in our local South Florida community.

Please join us to celebrate this important milestone tomorrow, June 9th at 7:30 PM for our five year anniversary party! Bring a friend and enjoy door prizes, hors d'oeuvres, craft beer by Brooklyn Brewery, and a Leica-inspired bubbly.
We'll also be kicking off the opening of our new gallery show, Richard Sexton's Enigmatic Stream: Industrial Landscapes of the Lower Mississippi River. Richard will give a brief artist talk and sign copies of his new book.
To learn more about this event, click here.
As always, our events are kindly sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery. Stop by, bring a friend, and try out Brooklyn's latest brews.
Images from Richard Sexton's exhibition, Enigmatic Stream.