Trey Hill Photographs

the world is exploding

Posted in personal by Trey on September 9, 2009

toward the end of last month i was in Houston (or Boyd or Princeton or Dallas or in the office in my house in the suburbs just north of Dallas) with a to-do list too long to actually get all things done when it occurred to me that i hadn’t blogged in a month.

i have excuses. we all have excuses. but i came across something today that stopped me in my tracks and forced my hand.

sometimes we’re left without an excuse.

for what it’s worth, i believe that that Maria Kalman was right about the 19th century:

MKJULY_10b

and the thing is – it was exploding with inventiveness and they hadn’t even gotten to the automobile or the airplane or open heart surgery or cloned sheep or broadcast or video or the internet or twitter or video on twitter. i sincerely believe that the world is – today as in 1838 – exploding with inventiveness.

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the Kizer Soze principle

Posted in commercial, craft, photography by Trey on July 30, 2009

My love affair with screenwriting began in the balcony of an old Singapore movie house when I was in the seventh grade. The romance took me to film school, where I ate, drank & breathed everything film and one of the things I learned there was the importance of a good set up – a strong first act. It’s so important that there are whole seminars on the how to craft the first ten pages of a screenplay.

In one of my screenwriting classes, we looked at the set up in The Usual Suspects. Do you remember it? The mealy mouthed cripple, Verbal Kint, in the detective’s office, says of Keyser Soze, “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

That line haunts you the rest of the film. That is a great set up. And the genius of the line is it takes a complicated theme and puts it into incredibly simple terms.

This same idea can be used, to great effect, in photography as well.

NeedHim2

This is a subject I’ve been thinking about quite a bit lately and I’m not sure where I first encountered it in practice (the only place I can think to point to is Dan Winters, who does it infinitely better than anyone), but simplicity – simple light, simple composition, simple posture – is the best way I’ve found to expose for honest emotion.

I recently did portraits for Need Him, a non-profit whose mission is to give people a chance to hear the story of God’s love for mankind as it was personified in Jesus. They wanted their story to be told with authenticity, so early on, the decision was made to cast ordinary people instead of models.

However, people are a complicated tangle of story lines and emotions and most put up high walls that hide the honest, authentic emotion from strangers. Putting a camera in their face or being placed under a bunch of lights while being told what to do only adds to their discomfort.

So, as excited as I was about the opportunity to explore some of the complexity that real people bring with them, I knew that in order to create an environment where that could happen, I would need a simple set up.

NeedHim1

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polaroid breakfast

Posted in i am second, outtakes, photography, random by Trey on July 29, 2009

We kicked off the first of 6 I Am Second shoots that I have booked between now & the end of August. I have been working with most of these peeps for a little over a year. Inevitably, polaroid time turns a little goofy – see also my friend Lan’s attempt to make me laugh during an I Am Second shoot last year.

All to say, we have a good time.

While we were waiting for our first subject yesterday morning, we ate breakfast, made a few images & laughed.

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St. John Baptist Church

Posted in documentary, personal, photography by Trey on July 20, 2009

The story, as I understand it, goes something like this:

The city was threatening to condemn an historic old church just south of downtown Carrollton. The ninety something year old building required tens of thousands of dollars in repairs to bring it up to code and to make matters worse, the church was strapped for cash. Believing that The Church was an idea bigger than a building, they began making phone calls to other area churches to see if anyone would lend a hand in saving one of the oldest African American congregations in the DFW area.

The Church answered the call.

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This past Saturday, the faithful of St. John (and the hundreds of volunteers who helped save it) received a tremendous piece of encouragement for all the sweat & prayers they offered in the name of helping a neighbor in need. The city of Carrollton honored them with an historical marker. It may not sound like much, but it was clear to me as I stood among those gathered for the early morning ceremony that the gesture was one of the highest moments in the congregations 117 year history. It was an incredible honor to be there to witness a quiet piece of history unfold and celebrate with The Church a triumph of unity.

SJBC4

You can read the full story of the history of St. John at their newly launched website and see more images after the jump.

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new ROCC images

Posted in commercial, documentary, Royal Oaks Renovation by Trey on June 18, 2009

here’s some new work from the country club renovation project:

ROCC_2

we’re about at the halfway mark; i’m 6 months in and it’s amazing to me that i can see anything new or find new ways to see the things i’ve seen a hundred times. this job has been an incredible exercise in learning to look harder. i’m rather happy with my latest effort on that project.

one year later

Posted in campaign, celebrity, commercial, i am second, outtakes, photography, tear sheets by Trey on June 5, 2009

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts – to make artistic designs… and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

-Exodus 31:1-5

tomorrow marks one year of my involvement with I Am Second and the first person i shot for the campaign was Jason Castro. i remember being pretty nervous.

i had pitched the idea of shooting production stills to use as additional content on iamsecond.com, but the folks at E3 knew they would need studio portraits for the print & outdoor efforts, so they asked me to try my hand at those as well. at the time, studio photography wasn’t something that i had a ton of experience with – which was the root cause of 97% of my nervousness.

here’s that first image:

CastroAnniversary

more after the jump

Lens

Posted in inspiration, photography by Trey on June 4, 2009

My RSS feeds are many & varied… but one of my favorites is a new visual journalism blog that the New York Times runs called LENS. It’s special for many reasons, like big images in a simple, unobtrusive design, a straightforward navigational structure that doesn’t feel tired or boring and quality, original content like images from the Archives, they publish timely and striking photojournalism every day, showcase photographers, talk shop and on and on. But, more than anything else, I think LENS is special because of the access it gives a viewer into the story behind the story.

Take, for example, the story that came up Tuesday – Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen, which digs into the iconic image from the 1989 protest on Tiananmen Square in China. It happend on June 5th, 1989 – I was eleven years old, but the image was seared into my brain. It may be the single most memorable image of my generation – and there are four versions. Who knew, right?

Picture 2

photo by Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos

LENS takes you behind the scenes of one of recent histories most famous photographs and relates the story in the voice of the four men who shot the image – four photographers, four perspectives, four separate creative choices and four striking images. That’s why it’s one of my first stops every morning.

EDIT** Apparently the feature that ran Tuesday on LENS brought out a new, never before seen image of Tank Man shot by Terril Jones at street level. Jones’ story shows that timing is everying in journalism and is a great example of how a single image can define a story and the result that has on other images.

2009 PDN annual

Posted in inspiration, photography by Trey on June 3, 2009

“There will be an emergence of “social thinking” and I think that this would be a great start in the right direction. Photography will play a very big part — as it has done so powerfully in the past — in the presentation of truth and the transformation of social and historical consciousness.

My intention as a photographer is to be a participant in this process.”

– Jeff Riedel

the new PDN photo annual is out. and it’s available online. and it’s superb.

photobyDanWinters

photo by Dan Winters

the best photographs of the last year, from every imaginable discipline – advertising, editorial, photojournalism, sports, corporate and student work – as well as top portfolio sites, all in one place. it’s an inspirational goldmine. i found myself completely sucked in by the images in the editorial section – especially the work of Dan Winters, who I freaking love. I’m not sure there is a better editorial portrait photographer working today.

more after the jump

heroes

Posted in personal, photography by Trey on June 3, 2009

IBCcmh

David Hume | children’s ministry volunteer at Irving Bible Church


I recently shot a series of conceptual portraits for Irving Bible Church. They are in constant need of volunteers to help out with their kids programs and we came up with this idea of everyday heroes. I think the push to recruit new volunteers begins next month and I’m excited to see what they end up doing from a copy and layout perspective. You can see the whole series here.

more after the jump

construction

Posted in commercial, personal, photography, story by Trey on May 29, 2009

i’ve learned one very valuable lesson while documenting the renovation of Royal Oaks Country Club, construction is messy. very, very messy.

ROCC_summer

workers put the finishing touches on the pool area at Royal Oaks, which opened memorial day weekend.

as i mentioned when i last wrote, which seems like eons ago, i’ve been hard at work finalizing the redesign of my website in-between various shooting assignments. i’m happy to report that my good friend and Dallas most talented interactive marketer has begun the blah, blah that is required to turn photoshop files into web wonderment. and i’m really excited. but i also know that the road ahead will be messy, full of unexpected disasters creative challenges and will probably take me right up to the wire (i have a loose & self imposed late summer, like, late August, early September) goal.

fingers crossed.

i should be blogging more. i have a ton of new work to show, recently launched two personal projects and have written an article for COLLIDE that should be going to print soon. so check back soon & often.

My Book

Posted in celebrity, commercial, photography, portfolio by Trey on April 30, 2009

I’ve been hard at work finishing up all my promotional materials, including doing all the initial design work on the redesign of my new website – which I hope is getting close. It’s been a great experience to dream about where I want to go as a photographer and think, in practical terms, about the best way to get there.

One of the items I’ve really put a ton of time and energy behind is my book. I don’t feel like my current portfolio really does a good enough job of showcasing my storytelling abilities. And since that is where I see myself heading, I really wanted a tangible something to put in people’s hands (or inboxes) that showed that side of my work.

book1

When it came to layout & the purpose behind the piece, I set a few pretty straightforward goals for myself:

Let the images do all the work. No sense trying to be a visual communicator if you can’t say what needs to be said without words. Turns out this is hard for a person who spent the first two-thirds of his life dreaming about being a writer.

Include a few story lines. If you’re going to say “I’m a storyteller” you have to have a few stories to tell. So, this goal was as much about mining my work for the strongest examples of story as it was about not overdoing it.

Make story-like connections between unrelated things. This is one of those ideas that I’ve been obsessed with for quite a long time. I like finding commonality in seemingly unrelated scenes. It’s really fun to put a couple of images together and see what happens.

You can download my book by clicking on one of the follow links: choose the large version if you want something big, but if you’re on a slow internet connection or want to email it to someone, choose the small version.

There are a few spreads from the book after the jump.

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not suited to round holes

Posted in personal, photography, scape by Trey on March 26, 2009

i’m excited to announce that i’ve uploaded several new images into my personal collection & am having a small sale to celebrate. from now until next Tuesday (March 31st) anyone who purchases a square print (one of the three below) will receive a free print.

squaresale

here’s how it works:

1. purchase a square print – 5×5, 8×8, 10×10 or 20×20

2. at checkout, put a note in the comments with the name of the image you would like

3. the size of your free print will be related to the size of the print you purchase (if you’d prefer a smaller size, please note the size you’d like along with the name)

5×5 (4×6)

8×8 (6×9 or smaller)

10×10 (8×12 or smaller)

20×20 (16×24 or smaller)

like i said, there are several new images in the store, so even if one of the three above doesn’t tickle your fancy there might be something new that does. take a minute and check-a-check-a-check it out yo.

Monarch Air

Posted in commercial by Trey on March 24, 2009

the weather wasn’t great – it was overcast and rainy with pretty strong winds. two things that don’t typically go well with those conditions are flying and photography. but, as my five year old has taught me, you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.

two hours in and we hadn’t fired a single shot; the rain was getting close and our schedule was being held up by something beyond our control in the hanger we were supposed to shoot in.

instead of panicking, i found something to inspire me; an offhanded comment by my client was just enough.

our first shot was supposed to be something that wouldn’t have turned out as good as the third image below – which ended up being our first shot of the day. that’s the beauty of the unexpected, it forces you to stretch beyond your plans and get out of your comfort zone.

monarch1

three images i submitted as potential covers.

typically i shoot more lifestyle stuff, like the first image (above). my sensibilities tend to drive me toward compositions that don’t feel produced, which isn’t to say i don’t have to work at getting them. i think it’s a texture thing, more than anything else for me. i want the image to feel a little less polished. because we were dealing with gray skies and flat light, i knew we would have to amp up the production required, but my assistant & i worked to make sure that everything felt motivated by something real.

i think we achieved that goal & last i heard it was the front runner for the cover of an article about Monarch Air, my client.

there are a few more images after the jump.

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Gary Kyle

Posted in musicians, photography by Trey on March 20, 2009

yesterday was a pretty spectacular day of shooting. i spent about four hours with an incredibly talented musician; he’s a Texas singer\songwriter type. if you haven’t had a chance to see or hear Gary Kyle, then take a few minutes to check him out. he has a classic Texas country sound and moves seamlessly between kick-a road house rock & stripped down ballads.

i promise, he’s really, really good.

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we rolled very light – it was just him, that beautiful old Epiphone and myself. i brought a couple of light stands, a 5-in-1 reflector and an SB800; Zack Arias would have been proud.

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square root day

Posted in personal, photography by Trey on March 3, 2009

that’s right people… today is March 3rd, 2009, which means the calendar is paying tribute to a tremendous number and U2 is releasing an album in my honor… well, maybe that last part is a bit of coincidence.

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in honor of what is essentially a bright and wonderous flash on our calendar, i’m announcing something new – and having a sale! i would like to wish you all a very, incredibly happy square root (of nine) day. so, get on your boots and celebrate with me.

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