editorial assignemnts

Articles, Tips & Guides, oh my!

Thought I’d post a more comprehensive collection of the guides, articles and travel tips we’ve been engaged to produce for the last eight or ten years. It’s been a ton of fun traveling around the world and experiencing a wide range of countries and cultures. Today, there’s way too much competition for these kinds of gigs and you have to be pretty nifty-thrifty to make them work financially.

Print media continues to undergo a seemingly endless metamorphosis, editorially and financially. Digital only editions and paywalls have become commonplace and so-called, “Native Advertising” is the latest way to blur the line between what a journalist writes and a copywriter hammers out in attempt to lure unsuspecting readers into thinking an advertorial is actually an article. Of course, the travel press has more or less always been a bit conflicted – journalistically speaking, I mean. Curious to see how our daughter Elle will be ingesting editorial content when she is 25, in about ten years time. I have doubts there will be a lot of printed newspapers around by then. Some, sure, but not nearly as many as today. I do, however, envision even more niche magazines than today. That segment seems almost insatiable.

sushi shrimp

Saiko

Don’t remember for whom I shot this, but it was created in the old studio using a 100 mm macro lens by Canon at f29 and 1/40th of a second. I’m using it to illustrate a recent, formidable restaurant experience in Malmö. Not only did the food taste great, the way we were greeted and served made us feel like we were loyal patrons – which is extremely unusual in this town where genuinely, personable service is sometimes an unsuspected bonus but more often a misnomer.

As a long-time enthusiast of Japanese food, at least the seafood and vegetarian dishes, it’s not ever really been possible to eat world-class sushi in Malmö. The kind of food you enjoy at one of Nobu’s restaurants or even at the simplest eatery in Tokyo.

There are plenty of pseudo Japanese takeaway joints here, sure. And over the years, a few of them have admittedly sufficed to satisfy our cravings.

But honestly, from my experience, the vast majority of Malmö’s sushi restaurants don’t really care or have very limited knowledge about what they serve. Therefore, creating a visually and culinarily pleasing experience even remotely close to what we were treated to at Saikō, is literally unattainable. Oh, did I mention the owner won the World Sushi Cup 2013 and was favorably judged by Jiro, the master sushiosopher of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“?


Heart of a Dog

Yesterday, Charlotte and I saw the musician and visual artist, Laurie Andersson’s latest film, “Heart of a Dog”.

In a way this is a tribute to her late dog, Lolabelle. But even if you’re not a dog lover, this is still a relevant film about relationships and how we deal with them when new perspectives arise. If you are a dog lover, you will truly enjoy her film.

“Heart of a Dog” is certainly an art movie without a traditional plot or storyline. Yet you still leave the theater feeling completely content and enthused. Laurie’s amazing voice and her thoughtful narrative, beautiful music and visual abstractions conjure some really interesting and provocative thoughts – ranging from post 911 America to the ultimate question, are dogs actually capable of creating listenable Christmas music?

Perhaps I’m injecting stuff that’s going on in my own life right now, but I made quite a few interesting tie-ins with Laurie Andersson’s thoughts.

Laurie Andersson’s life partner, the late Lou Reed, is present only with a song during the film’s final credits. Which made me wonder if it was either too painful for her to include both of her now passed companion Lolabelle and Lou Reed in the same film or if we can expect yet another tribute in the future.

Leica Q

Leica

Inevitably, I will own a Leica. It’s a process – mostly of identifying the tools that fit your creative needs and abilities and then accepting that everything else is, for lack of a better word, excessive.

It’s a cliché, but less is usually more. That’s no small statement coming from an American.

I’ve never shot with a Leica. Not a single frame. In fact, I don’t think one has ever been in my hands. Not even a consumer camera which the legendary German optics company co-produces with Panasonic.

A few years ago, I visited a Leica showroom in Bangkok and was really impressed by how beautiful the store’s design was. Let’s face it, retail space is usually a less than pleasant experience, regardless of what part of the world you’re at.

The amount of thoughtfulness that had gone into the showroom’s layout, choice of materials and how the cameras were displayed – each carefully placed in a square, wooden shelf and perfectly lit above by a small, aptly positioned, recessed spotlight – was, well, seductive. Just like at an Apple store, there was an irresistible level of visual draw . I just had to walk in and soak up the aesthetic experience.

As strange as it may seem today – as I’ve never used one – sooner or later, I still know I’ll feel extremely liberated when the only camera I bring to an assignment or on a trip is a Leica. And because of that iconic red dot on the camera’s front side, perhaps the client would still feel reasonably relaxed about my ability to reliably deliver the goods.

I can see a Q being my first Leica and the initial step along this inevitable path.

Kockum Fritid

Kockum Fritid

My images from one of last year’s (2015) huge photo projects has just been published. Kockum Fritid – an all-encompassing sports facility not far from where my studio is and near our condo – just launched their new website. I shot roughly 90% of the photos and had an inspiring time while documenting the various workout classes and a whole bunch of other sports activities.

Toughest activity to photograph? The hockey players. Partially because of the insane amount of colors in the arena and partially due to the cold temperature and slippery working conditions in which I had to try and track fast-moving players as they flew by me. I ain’t no hockey photographer, for sure. Still feel that I got a few inspiring images of which will be used both on their web site and as part of a slideshow on digital signage displays at the entrance.

Easiest were certainly the assignments when I’d hired dedicated models. like during shoots in the gym, squash hall, badminton and swimming pool.

Visit the new site here:

Take a look at the entire collection here.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor: Höst

I have no pictures for this post. Why? Because I didn’t take any. And more importantly, this about a review just published on TripAdvisor about our unlucky visit to one of Scandinavia’s more reputable restaurants; Copenhagen’s Höst.

Höst needs to hear our complaint and to take action so that other guests don’t fall into the same pitfall.

I’ve been a relatively regular contributor to TripAdvisor for quite a few years now. I feel the site offers folks a reasonably good opportunity to research and shine some light to whether a hotel, restaurant or tourist attraction is worthy their time and money.

You can’t trust everything on TripAdvisor (or, any other similar forum for that matter) and they certainly have their share of scam artists and contributors trying to game the system.

But if you read enough reviews, you’ll soon find that there are a great deal of honest folks spending time writing reviews that are well-meant – even if there not always well-written.

Here’s my review of Höst.

Dude Hawaii Hanalei Bay

The Original Dude

I met this fella near Turtle Cove northwest of Hanalei Beach on Kauai, Hawaii – a day or two before 2015 came to an end.

After an acid induced epiphany about the meaninglessness of working, he’d left all his earthly possessions in the Bay Area (S.F.) and bought a one-way ticket to Hawaii – carrying nothing more than what fit in a small backpack. He’d been living like a vagabond on the island more or less since arriving, back in 1975. A few shy of 75, he told me that in recent years, a monthly social security check afforded him a rented a room near Hanalei Bay and food from a local general store.

Don’t remember if he introduced himself, but after listening to a more or less coherent synoptic version of his life’s story, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of him. Not that I thought of it at the moment, but in retrospect, the old guy reminded me of a character from the classic Python film, Life of Brian.

Raboffs Silver Surfers California

Silver Surfers

While rigging a black backdrop in the studio today – for a shoot tomorrow – I stumbled onto the latest release from Prince, “HITnRUN Phase 2“, published last year. Maybe his funkiest album since, “Sign o’ the Times”. Really diggin’ it. At his best, Prince is as gifted a lyricist as he is a virtuous guitarist.

Now and then I’ve been working on new entries to my growing gallery of “Silver Surfers” and yesterday, I finally got around to publishing them on santamonicaimages.com – which I’ve admittedly neglected for quite some time.

Freedom Tower, New York City

RE-BUILD, RE-DESIGN, RE-LAUNCH, OH MY!

I’ve had a web presence since 1999 – using first the jlrmedia.com domain and a few years later, www.raboff.com as my digital homestead and showroom for my work. I hand-coded my first site and produced several versions using Flash and Shockwave (authoring tools produced back then by, Macromedia). In 2006, ten years ago, I started blogging using the flexible WordPress platform.

I mention this to you, dear visitor, only in passing as my new website has already been launched – without much fanfare or ado. When completed, this will be – by a long stretch – the most comprehensive version of www.raboff.com so far. As I don’t participate in the social cesspool of Facebook or any other social media, this will continue to be the go-to place to catch up with my latest work, travels and blog posts.

Venice surfer

FILTERING MY KING SIZE ARCHIVE

Slowly going through and choosing which photos to save from over a thousand high resolution images shot during three weeks of traveling. Tedious but satisfying work. It’s a selection process that takes place over a series of days – sometimes weeks.

Basically, I have three criteria to define if a photo survives or is forever cast deep down in the digital abyss.

Firstly, I ask myself if the image emits anything emotionally on an artistic level. Secondly, I think about its historical value – is it a time stamp that represents a significant moment in my life? Lastly, I look at the photo to see if there could be some monetary value, either as a standalone print, part of a collage or as an addition to my micro/macro stock portfolio.

Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned this process so that it usually only takes me a few seconds to filter an image. The shot above? It hit all three of my criteria – sometimes, a blurry subject has just the right focus.