studio news\katie…

No square dancing today, but the goats and the tractor still managed to get in on the action.

It was time to create an outdoor studio at the ranch, and Bob wanted to collaborate with professional ballet dancers.  Hanging two 20×20 foot silks, and pulling in a ton of gear, he set up a ‘seamless’ studio in the corral, adjacent to the studio – a wonderful amount of space for he and the dancers to play.  Despite a slashed finger, the dismantled trampoline and a few extra sunburns, I’d say the day was a great success.

What do YOU think?  Send us a note.

Here’s a teaser…

Ballet dancers in flight



Check out Bob’s instagram feed for some more behind the scenes 1



ASMP shootout by Robert Houser

We had a lot of fun Saturday at the ASMP Norcal shoot out.  I was invited to be one of three photographer to take an empty train station, a handful of models, all the grip and lights you could want, and thanks to Phase One, all the high res bodies and lenses you could want to play with.  I spent much of my time giving examples of shooting with available light, like the two below.

Many thanks to all involved.  Can’t wait to get the Phase files into the studio to play with, but here’s a sampling from my Canon 5d3.  Color, or black and white??

ASMP shootout by Robert Houser

ASMP shootout by Robert Houser

studio news \katie… the printed version arrived at the studio last week – nicely done Bio-Rad 2012 Annual Report.  Bob’s been photographing images for this bay area biotech company for 8 years.  Great to see their growth and success up close.

BioRad annual report photograph

BioRad annual report photograph

BioRad annual report photography

BioRad annual report photograph


A business executive arrives on set. I say hello and reach out my hand. He says three words, and I look at him and say, “I’m guessing you grew up two miles from Revere Beach (outside Boston). Shocked, he looks up, thinks for a moment, and says, “That’s about right, maybe two and a half.” Connection formed. Shooting begins, smooth and personable.

I was doing an editorial assignment for an IT magazine and I had to photograph a young woman (less than 30) who was the head of IT for a university. The piece was about IT security of educational institutions. There are very few women in this type of position and certainly few under age 30, so it was understandable that she didn’t want to appear flippant or cavalier. It was a very serious topic and she wanted to gain the respect of her peers, so when she arrived stone faced with arms tightly crossed in the setting, I got it. Problem was, my editor specifically asked me to photograph her smiling and no crossed arms. After a few frames, her expression wasn’t changing, you could see the concern in her eyes about her appearance. As much as I understood the root of her stiffness, I had to find some way to change things.

I stopped, held the camera to the side and paused for a moment. I then asked, “By any chance are the paintings on the floor downstairs in the IT department yours?” She looked at me as though I had just pulled a rabbit out of a hat, saying, “Well yes, how do you know?” As we scouted on the various floors a 12×12 painting caught my eye. It was four squares of color – earth tones. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, just admired the painting. But standing in front of her, straining to figure out how I was going to break the shell she was wearing, I noticed her bracelet. That was what I was staring at when I paused. “Your bracelet,” I told her. “It has squares of the same four colors as the painting downstairs.” She uncrossed her arms to look at her bracelet. I said nothing while she paused, just raised my camera. When she looked up, she smiled. Ice melted, instantly. We moved on, continuing to shoot.

In that one sentence I had managed to do a number of things – first, I brought her away from where she works, away from IT, away from hackers and viruses. I brought her to her pastime, her hobby – collecting art. Her pleasures, her preferences. At the same time, I acknowledged something about her, her tastes. Let’s remember this is an IT office, not the center of the guys-who-notice-things-about-women world. Especially when that woman is their boss.

An intern who was working with me at the time later asked, “How did you know that?” I didn’t, I responded, I just notice stuff.

Take people out of their norm – make them feel at ease.

I put John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, in a small cube with a phone.

I put John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, in a small cube with a phone.



For the current issue of WebMD, I was asked to do a magazine profile on Kerri Walsh Jennings, three-time, Olympic Gold medal winner in beach volleyball. The piece focuses on her being pregnant with her third child during last summer’s Olympic games. I photographed her on location at her home in Southern California and at the beach where she trains.

Kerri Walsh - 3 time Olympic gold medal winner

Kerri Walsh – 3 time Olympic gold medal winner

Portrait of Kerri Walsh - Beach Volleyball gold medalist - pregnant with her thrid child

Portrait of Kerri Walsh - Beach Volleyball gold medalist - pregnant with her thrid child

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

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