I just turned 24 and according to my “plan,” set by 14-year-old Patrick, I’m pretty far behind on some looming deadlines. But I’ve spent the last decade always skating by on the last second, so I’m used to it by now. Here is a few assignments from last month of work.
Shane Olivea, former NFL lineman, is preparing to get back into the game and training in Phoenix. Newsday called me up and wanted some portraits. To be quite honest I was nervous about the limited time and access, especially being my first non-wedding freelance gig in awhile. Nevertheless, I shot it and the big guy was ridiculously nice and easy going.
I also shot my first Ironman competition. These people are ridiculously insane. I was just exhausted from watching them do all that stuff all day.
I came back to my yearly season of basketball portraits. Not a great set to start out with, but I’m glad to be back shooting my favorite sport (to play/watch or shoot) and have a few ideas I’m hoping to bring to the table for some high school teams later on this season.
I visited a lady who fosters boxers and reminded me how much I missed owning a dog. I grew up with a boxer when I was young and they are extremely smart, funny dogs. I’m looking into picking myself up a friend maybe after a bit. If I do, I apologize now for what my instagram feed will become.
And a return to high school football playoffs. So much excitement and fun. This year I got to shoot some important games (the big timers had College Football to worry about, suckers) and enjoyed every bit.
Anyway, nothing crazy in this blog post. Just trying to push out something with a little bit of consistency. Fourteen-year-old Patrick can shove it, I’m going at my own pace. A pace that might even put out an end of the year blog post for the first time in like three years.
Thanks for looking my friends.
I find it very fitting that the team with the Budweiser sponsor won the race in Phoenix. Especially since my first trough urinal experience at NASCAR occurred with a man taking a big drink of Keystone while peeing elbow to elbow with me. Ew. Keystone.
When you see photographers like Christian Peterson or Mark J. Rebilas at the races, you know there are going to be great images coming out from it. So I try and get competitive, try to think of new angles. But with cars rolling around a track, there seem to only be a number of areas to get stuff from. I’m still learning the areas and the shooting, but it’s getting a bit more fun each time. Kinda looking forward to the next race in March.
Also in a bit of shameless self-promotion, I got a Q and A with the NPPA blog- http://blogs.nppa.org/visualstudent/2013/11/24/emerging-talent-patrick-breen/
Extremely honored to be on the blog, and thankful for everyone’s responses. It means a lot. I probably don’t say it enough, but I’m extremely grateful for everyone who has helped get me here. Sometimes I get so caught up in wanting to improve and change everything in my portfolio and life that I forget to take a breath and look around and appreciate what I’ve got.
I have amazing friends, an awesome boss, a beautiful girl, a talented staff of co-workers constantly pushing me further. I have a job that pays me to shoot. I’ve got a roof over my head and a netflix account with a darn-near perfect queue. If someone had told me everything I would have done and everyone I would’ve met over this crazy journey to 24 years I would’ve thought they were lying.
So I apologize for the constant worrying, complaining and self-deprecating.
I’m lucky. Oh so lucky, and I do appreciate everyone. Thanks for looking friends.
In between Eddie Adams Workshop, CPOY, POYi, NPPA and any other acronyms I’m missing, I always experience an increase in self-loathing. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. So today, I’m writing myself a reminder to read over when the inevitable disappointment of something happens.
So future Patrick, listen up.
Any of those awards or accolades would have been great. They would’ve helped fill a resume, or impress an employer. But they aren’t the end all, be all. They aren’t why you started and they shouldn’t be why you continue to shoot. Remember everytime you got that shooting high? That moment where you were so excited to be doing what you’re doing. The memories. Whether it be a photo you loved or a subject hugging you while crying. Remember those.
Take time to think about walking into Betty’s bedroom to see the cut-out newspaper picture you took of her and her fiancee in the parking lot on the street. Her telling you that’s the only photo they have together. Remember all that.
Wanting to get better is always a good thing. But this type of stuff isn’t. Because in the end, awards won’t keep you warm at night. They won’t laugh with you while watching a movie or join you for a beer after a long work week. They won’t provide any comfort when you’re old, alone and grey, sitting in a beat-up cloth recliner. They’ll sit on a wall or on a resume long gone while you pull back those memories of the people you met and the things you experienced.
So be happy. You are being paid to shoot. To meet people. To experience life. How can it get better than that? How many of the things you did this past year would have happened if you weren’t a photographer? Life is great. Somebody likes your stuff enough to let you do that for living. In your wildest dreams just four short college years ago, you never thought that would happen.
So cheer up, dude. Tomorrow’s a new day with a new shoot and a new everything. Go make some kickass frames you can be proud of and experience some crazy things you’ll remember when you’re old and grey.
(the much wiser) present day Patrick
My last post took a long time and I felt like I spent forever trying to find the right words. Today’s post will pretty much just be photos.
^My crappy attempt at layers for the week. Need to keep working on it.
Rattlers, swimming features, fires, Jeopardy contestants, volleyball and so much more. It’s been a busy month.
One of the coolest things down here are the dust storms. Giant walls of dust kick up and create a brown wall that frightens the native Arizonans because they apparently haven’t experienced real weather.
I’m really excited for high school football to start back up. There is something I just love about it. During the first part of the season we will get nice light right up till the start of games, but by the end it will all take place in the dark. Shooting-wise it bites, but being from Nebraska I can appreciate not having frozen fingers covered in snow when shooting games in early November.
The last shot is another Rattlers entrance photo. I try something new every time for this. I have one in my portfolio, but I keep coming back to this one. There is something about it I really like. It’s one of the photos that I love for no apparent reason, but won’t put it in my ‘folio.
Thanks for looking again friends.
It’s easy to get down in this industry. It’s easy to see everything wrong. In between layoffs and cut-backs I sometimes lose sight of what matters.
One of the most talented and driven people I know was laid off from her job. She has some amazing words on the experience on her blog. Maddie McGarvey writes of the important things and why we do what we do. But even with that being said, its still a scary-crazy world for a photojournalist.
It’s a weird life because you are always balancing a constant competitiveness with a group of people who do care and love the photo community. You compete (and often lose) while at the same time support and love those you work with and challenge. I couldn’t believe it when I heard she was let go. Always one of the best in college, she came to a newspaper and was continuing her awesome work. (A lot of my free time is spent looking through other photographers’ blogs and sites. Check out the list on the right-hand side if you are ever in need of some inspiration. I basically stalk everyone.)
Over 200 were laid off company-wide. It made me realize how nothing is forever. Nothing is permanent. I think initially I panicked. I was new here too. I thought about the fact that I haven’t updated my site, blog, resume in so long. I thought about not having any contacts outside The Republic. I wondered what I would do. Where I would go.
But the common thread I see in my thoughts was all about how “I” was. As if this world was making its slow revolutions around me. I went back to her blog. I probably accounted for a few hits every day that week. I kept reading the words. “This job, in my short time, has led me to some incredible people who have absolutely changed my life for the better.”
It reminded me that even if this was temporary, even if it ended, not all would be over. I think back on the homes I’ve been let into. The stories I’ve heard and been allowed to tell. The openness and kindness of everyone I’ve met.
It’s easy to go through tough weeks like that one less than a month ago and lose hope. It’s another story on a laundry list of sad ones that have been haunting photojournalism for awhile now. But what’s important is the stories we tell. It’s what makes the long nights, the low pay, the little acknowledgement and bleak future worth it.
I’m currently working on a story about a couple in love that happen to be homeless. It is these type of stories I love to hear and love to tell. It makes all the press conferences and building mugs worth it. Betty and Chris (second picture down) have been on and off the streets for about three years. They are currently engaged and used to spend the extremely hot summer nights sleeping on the concrete parking lot outside the shelter.
But recently she qualified for a program that provided her housing. It provides housing after a homeless person takes a test that measures their heart and how much longer they could make it on the streets. It’s tough because she can’t spend nights with Chris anymore, who still sleeps in the same lot after not qualifying for the housing. The two have a hard time dealing with it, but Chris knows it’s better for her to get out of the heat and off the streets.
Originally this assignment was just one shoot. But Betty and Chris have let me into their lives and I’m happy they have. So I’ll be following this for a while in my free time. Working on something that I like. A story I want to be told.
It’s not about the awards or raises. Not about the next big step. My job, even if it’s only temporary, is in its simplest form to meet people. Every day. And in the end, that’s really the coolest thing.
And as always friends, I can’t say it enough- thanks for looking.
It might be so hot here in Phoenix that my brain has turned into mush. Its been a busy few weeks recently with the kick-off of the “it’s hot” feature hunt extravaganza, the closing of a project and a big push for more and more video. Working at a newspaper has some really highs but also has its own problems. During the summer season, the Republic adds two Pulliam photo interns to help carry the extra summer workload. (This year it is Aaron Lavinsky and Stacie Scott.) I was in their shoes just a year ago.
During the summer there seems to be a switch where Arizona becomes almost unbearable- 115 degrees and such. During the hottest days, we get the most requests to find features that show how hot it is. The problem develops when you’ve shot a pool or splash pad all summer, how do you make something original. On top of this, we are often in the middle of a busy day of scheduled shoots.
When I first started these feature hunts I used to just drive around aimlessly looking for umbrellas or pools. Now I’ve got a list. I learned from some of the other staffers early on that I needed to make a list of places that are visual. That have a chance for hot features or dust storms. I use it every time now.
For instance, on one day I had a dreamer portrait^ followed by a shopping center shoot and then closing the day with a Rattlers game. Already a full-day, but the weather was going to reach 100 degrees. I knew of a pool inbetween the three assignments and thought I could make a few quick-easy features.
I’ve been focusing more recently on making a layered picture at every assignment I’m at. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses visually and one of the things I love most about some of my favorite photographs. I used to love clean and simple, but the more time I spend shooting the more complex I want my images to be. Not that I don’t want them clean, but I want my eye to wander around the frame. The shot above is a one that I like but I read it quickly and then I’m done. The shot below, while not perfect, is closer to the style of images that I’m trying to achieve. Finding a scene, sitting on it and waiting for the moments to happen in-between my composition.
This post has been all over the place with no rhyme or reason, but I’m going to end it with a picture of Sy Perlis. He is the new world record holder in the bench press at 187.2 lbs for his age division. He’s 91. Not only is he super strong, but he was kind enough to let me hang around with him while he attempted (super successfully might I add) to break the previous record at 135 lbs. Thanks for putting up with me Sy, and congrats on the record.
Once again, thanks for looking.
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.