Yes, she is wearing something – behind the guitar.
My recent studio shoot was selected as OneEyeland’s picture of the day for today.  Check it out:

I spent last Saturday up in Davis photographing for the Special Olympics of Northern California.  This is the second year I’ve shot the summer games – the whole experience is so rewarding – if you have never been involved with the Special Olympics, you owe it to yourself to check them out.  I owe my involvement to a guy named Michael Pritchard, a speaker who travels to schools around the country teaching kids about values and service learning.

I’ve been bringing my kids to the Summer Games and this year my son even donned a camera and photographed the races.  It’s amazing how positive the athletes are – no matter how they do in their events.  I congratulated one man as he got out of the pool and he rushed over still dripping to give me a big wet hug.  So often I’ll ask one of the athletes if I can photograph them and they will immediately turn to the person next to them and have them be in the picture with them.

I’ve shot video for The Dailey Method before – the What Is?
video on their home page has been viewed over 50,000 times.  So, when this exercise method with over 40 studios around the US, asked me to shoot a viral video on location in Chicago and San Francisco this spring, I jumped at it.
The goal: to increase TDM’s social media presence.

The production was quick and lean, just an assistant doing lighting and sound while I shot and directed.  We started by asking regulars at their studios, “What does it mean to you to Do It Dailey?”  We riffed from there.  We have hours of footage for additional pieces – this is the first:


Last month we shot a video in Chicago and San Francisco for the exercise studio, The Dailey Method.  The video was posted yesterday and got 3000 views in the first 24 hours.

We shot hours of footage in the two studios and plan to edit more but we had to do the first one using the footage from this one woman – she was great to work with.

“Dad, can I get a snake?”
2 birthdays, one christmas, “…can I please get a snake?”  I finally agreed, but we had a bit of research to do.

Snakes can get huge.  You go into your typical reptile store and it’s filled with small 18 inch young snakes.  You ask a few questions and soon learn that only a handful stop growing at a mere 10 feet.  I wanted to support him on his desire to get a snake, but I didn’t want to be building new enclosures every few years until we had something the size of a twin bed.  Not to mention my own feelings of having a ten foot snake living in the house – just a bit creepy.

So that narrows the options to things like garter snakes – really cheap, less than $20, they stay small – 3-5 feet.  “So my son wants to hold the snake regularly, is this a good snake to hold?”

“Well – they musk on you when you hold them.  It smells kind of like a skunk.”

Yea, that’s what I’m looking for to have in the house.  And, then there’s this part – you have to feed them live goldfish – 5-6 fish per week.  And, the goldfish can only live for about a week, so you have to trek to the reptile store and buy these for a few dollars every – single – week.  Yea, no.

Ten year old boy with Arizona Mountain King Snake

So then we get to the other snakes that stay small – king snakes, and milk snakes, ball pythons, rosy boas, and rat snakes.  Some of these we crossed off the list right away due to aggressive behavior / biting tendencies.  Then came the food issue.  Most of these snakes eat mice – live mice.  There’s a whole set of terms for them – the smallest are pinkies – defenseless infant mice that haven’t even opened their eyes.  Next come fuzzies, and up from there.  Of course the biggest snakes will eat full grown rats.  Problem is, most snakes will only eat live mice.  I hadn’t planned on going to the reptile store weekly to buy a live mouse in a bag, only to bring it home to it’s death.  Nor did we want to be keeping yet another pet – or pets – raising mice in a cage next to the snake.

Frozen – that’s what we were looking for.  You can buy any size mouse from the reptile store frozen, you just have to have a snake that’s willing to eat a lifeless, reheated meaty treat that doesn’t try to run away.  Frozen mice are actually quite cheap – you can get 100 online for $16.  With the snake eating one per week, that’s pretty economical, although, who wants 100 dead mice in the freezer next to the lasagna?  We opted to buy them 10 at a time.

So what’s the dream snake: stays small, docile, doesn’t stink and likes reheated mouse popsicles – Arizona Mountain King snake.  She’s quite pretty isn’t she?  She’s a year old and about 19 inches.  She’ll grow to about 3 feet max – probably more like 2 1/2 feet (the males stay even smaller).  She eats once a week and it’s not terrible if she misses a meal.  My son and I built her enclosure, and it won’t ever change.  You do need to keep a heat bulb on in her home.  As a green energy geek that part didn’t thrill me, but at least the juice comes from the solar panels.  We built an all wood enclosure which is more insulating and put the heat bulb on a dimmer so we can get the temperature just right while using the least amount of electricity possible.

How did we find her?  Turns out most are hatched and available mid to late summer, but we found Zona online – we bought her at a year old.  She took the red-eye – for a mere $35.  Kind of weird to have a snake shipped, but my son was happy to give her a better home than where she was, at a reptile store.  So far so good.

Ten year old boy holding an Arizona Mountain King Snake

Project Overview:

This personal project originated from a shoot I did of a woman who was about to undergo a bone marrow transplant.  I had photographed her years earlier when she had just found out she had cancer, before any treatment.  I offered to photograph her during the process, but she declined.  Years later, during another round of chemotherapy, she contacted me asking if I would photograph her.  Having gone through it before, she realized that there would be some value to chronicling the experience, for herself.  The hour+ that we spent together was a wonderful experience for both of us.

I’ve tried to describe the reason why I want to photograph more chemotherapy patients and the closest I can come is that there is something about the face, the expression that is more apparent.  I’ve been a commercial portrait photographer for 20 years, and I was moved by the clarity of the moment.  Clearly there is a literal aspect to it, without the hair that we have to embellish, create, or hide behind, our face is left more present, in a way.  However, that aside, there is a personal quality to the experience – the result of many things – one most likely being the personal reflection going on during the treatment period.  In the beginning I wanted to call this C Faces – not only for the C, but more for the fact that there is a quality to seeing the face that you don’t normally get.

Sessions take approximately 90 minutes and can take place either at the subject’s home or at my location in the SF East Bay.  If you know someone who would be interested in being photographed for this project, please forward this link or send them my email address –  I will give files from the shoots to the subjects for their personal use.



Young woman, pensive about her challenges with cancerrobert houser photography ad in select magazine

Primal Roots Winemaker Brandy Andes
hair and makeup stylist Meaganne McCandess
which is your favorite?
not sure about the last one…

Portrait of Brandy Andes - Winemaker for Primal Roots WinesPortrait of Brandy Andes - Winemaker for Primal Roots WinesPortrait of Brandy Andes - Winemaker for Primal Roots WinesPortrait of Brandy Andes - Winemaker for Primal Roots WinesPortrait of Brandy Andes - Winemaker for Primal Roots WinesPortrait of Brandy Andes - Winemaker for Primal Roots WinesRobert Houser test shot

recent cover shoot for CFO magazine
for a story was on CFOs examining ROI of social media
art director – Robert Lesser

CFO magazine editorial photography cover

San Francisco based editorial photographer Robert Houser photographs CFO magazine cover on Social Media