Recipe Shoot - Newark Academy Students

Photographing a Recipe


Using Adobe Spark in conjunction with your blogs we will be photographing a recipe of your choosing.  As an example I have used a cheesecake recipe:

Cheesecake Factory

A) Pick a recipe.
B) Design a Spark Page for the recipe, log into Spark with your NA email credentials.
C) Plan your shots.  You will need an opener which should be the finished recipe. An ingredients shot. process shots.
D) Shoot. And shoot some more.

Student examples:

Sunny Side Up by Annika Inampudi

Tacos by Ben Tolpa

Cookies by Roshan Idnani

June Term

I have spent the last year teaching photography and digital art at Newark Academy in Livingston, NJ. A private school grades 6-12, it has been a very rewarding and all encompassing endeavor.  June Term marks the last two weeks of classes where high school students pick one class and have it all day for the final two weeks.

I am doing Digital Photography on Location and will be taking my 12 students to 5 different locations for practice and inspiration.  As a bit of a perfectionist, I have spent this past weekend going to a couple of these locations to do some research.  I visited historic Millbrook Village in the Delaware Water Gap and areas of the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

Donkey's Corner Trail, Delaware Water Gap

Millbrook Village in the Delaware Water Gap 

South St Seaport area

Let the Sunshine In

It’s that time of year and spring is almost here! Click the link and enjoy Aquarius (Let the Sunshine In) by the 5th DimensionMusic has always been a part of my creative process. I often tell my assistants that the only reason I started my own business was to control the music. In reality, it’s creative collaboration that is really music to my ears! 


I have spent the better part of two decades photographing cosmetics in one form or another, my big break in this area was working for Clarins and InStyle early in my career.  That led to much more work from the likes of SephoraL’Oreal & recently my first job for Clinique.  I love the shapes, the packaging and the colors. They didn’t tell us in art school how creative commercial photography could be.

InStyle Magazine 2008, Allyson Torrisi photo editor - Sephora Catalog 2000,

Fun fact:  Aquarius (Let the Sunshine In) by the 5th Dimension is listed as #66 on Billboard's "Greatest Songs of All Time” -Wikipedia.

Sabbatical, it's why they Hiatus

Sugar the chicken, moment's before it tried to peck my daughter in the face.  From my ongoing series "Iowa"


- a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel, traditionally every seventh year.

Paid?  Am I right? One can dream.  Best go with Hiatus - A period of time with something (such as an activity or program) is stopped. 

I started this blog in October of 2008, moments before the economy tried to "correct" itself. It has been a wonderful place to show work, talk about issues in the industry.  473 posts later, the blog went on hiatus in November of 2015.

I wasn't sure if I would start "blogging" again as it began to feel like work to come up with something that I wasn't sure anyone was reading.  For a self-congratulatory photo blog I do get a fair bit of traffic, but does it help my career at all?  Should my time be spent doing something else?  The answer you may ask? What wisdom can I impart on my fellow Gen Xer's, the hordes of Milenials and the unfortunate, non-creatively named Generation Z kids?  The answer?  

There isn't one. 

June Kiddie Pool, from on going series "Iowa"

The point, if there is one to this post, is that being a creative professional outside the corporate paradigm has plenty of challenges. Not least of which is the abundance of cheap technology and lots and lots of photographers. My advice, for what it's worth, is to do whatever it takes to remain connected to your work.  In an age obsessed with new, young and social, it is more important than ever to focus on what make your work yours.  Nobody cares that much unless it can directly help them, so make it matter to yourself first.  Does your work speak to you?  If it doesn't, then it won't matter to anyone else either. Selling your work to those who buy photography services is an all together different subject and post. However, you have to have something sell first.

I wouldn't suggest being completely self absorbed either.  For me, being busy is when the ideas come.  I can be busy taking my family to Iowa for vacation for instance, or I can be busy shooting for a client.  My kryptonite is inactivity. So, time to get busy.

With apologies to the photographer who did the original photo, I convinced the kid to reenact the picture.  I couldn't be happier with the result, they really got into it... a new series perhaps?

Real Success

The growth in the photography industry seems to me to reside with those who sell services to photographers, i.e. list services, sourcebooks, consultants, equipment dealers, etc. Don't get me wrong, they're important and I use them all, but the only real success I have had in this business has come from a handful (yes, handful) of extraordinary business relationships. I have always wanted to give those on this short list a trophy or a puppy, or some other token of appreciation because it out of these relationships that most of my other work has been made possible. For example, if you want an electrician what do you do? While some of us will Google "electrician" and our zip code, likely more of us will go and ask a friend "who do you use?" I am nothing but an overeducated, specialized electrician.  

Google Plus, for what it's worth, set it up correctly. We all have various circles from which a 2nd tier of relationships form.  I have circles of clients, vendors, friends and colleagues. Interesting things happen in the intersections, through referrals and recommendations.

I'll give you an example: I live in a funky little town outside of NYC that is home to a lot of creative people (I have always called it Brooklyn West). It consistently amazes me that so many of the people I meet here are in artistic fields. A few years ago I was introduced to an illustrator who often worked with a photographer friend of mine, Jim Bastardo. We ran into each other here and there and one day our friend couldn't help him with a shoot due to a scheduling conflict so he asked me instead. I can only hope Felix Sockwell is as happy with the photo I took of him for his promotional material as I am of the new logo he designed for me. I love it. I have since had occasion to work with him on other jobs, and we've gone out to sit and chat over coffee, discussing all sorts of things from the business to all of the daughters we have (he has 3, I have 2). The main point is this: Felix and I have gone from being colleagues and neighbors to good friends who sometimes work together. And that to me is success.

Mr Felix Sockwell, check him out!

Vertical logo for my splash page

Horizontal version for my site and other parts of my identity
Felix is constantly drawing in his sketch book, he emailed me this the other day...