Starbucks: 7th & Park: Long Beach

Once again we meet at Starbucks to exercise our creativity. It’s a typical June morning in Long Beach. The sun is starting to peek out from behind the clouds and it’s starting to look like it’s going to be a nice day. We grab a coffee and the top paper in the rack and get our word. The second word on the seventh page today is “spar”.

spar: to make the motions of attack as in boxing, especially as a part of training. to box, especially with light blows. a dispute.

This is going to be interesting – so unexpected. We brainstormed to see if we could take this in another direction or if we could reinterpret the word spar using what we had around us. We noticed the way cars in the street seemed to attack each other from different directions but never colliding – another possible take on “spar”. Some of the angles and compositions were interesting, but it seemed too much of a stretch to us. We had to figure out another approach that just worked at first glance for this word.

I remembered that there was a small boxing gym, DG Boxing,  up the street from where we were, so I checked my GPS and found it was only a little more than a mile. We’ve walked that far on past shoots, so we figured we’d call and see if they’d let us shoot there. We tried to call but there was no answer. We hope they’re open, because that’s probably going to be our best bet for this shoot, and if they’re not maybe we’ll find something along the way that might work.

As we walked, we kept brainstorming and looking for another option that represented spar. But it wasn’t looking too good. We got closer to DG Boxing and had already eaten up  about a half hour of our 72 minutes. Fingers crossed, we turned the corner into the small center in which it was located. They’re open! We knew there was hope. We went in and looked around, but there was only one person working out. We couldn’t have a spar with only 1 person. So we talked to DG himself and told him what we were up to and he said that he had another guy who just went out for a run and would be back in 5-10 minutes. It was going to have to work. About 30 minutes for a photo shoot… no problem. We work best under pressure any way.

The second sparring partner returned and got all geared up. Let the sparring begin! We had never shot boxers before so we had to figure out the best angles given the tight quarters. We got right in the ring and followed the boxers around as they sparred. Even shot them from outside the ropes from multiple angles. Feeling really comfortable with our boxers, Eric got brave and had them punch into the camera. Because of the intensity of their workout, one of the boxers even got a little too close and punched Eric in the lens. Who says he’s not dedicated to his craft.

We shot right up until the final bell, going many rounds with the boxers. And even got some great stills that captured the fatigue that comes with their workout. But after all was said and done, one photo captured the word spar to us. It was only a split second, but it captured this training the best. The moment of impact:

spar: minute:72


in : minute:7206:07:13
08:55 am
Starbucks: 5th & Long Beach Blvd: Downtown Long Beach

Eric and I decided to meet in a totally different location today. Away from the beach,  away from the suburban homes and right in the middle of downtown Long Beach. We headed to the Starbucks at 5th and Long Beach Blvd. near the speeding blueline train and across from a shopping area where a street fair was happening. We knew right away that this was going to offer us something different from all our other shoots.

We felt pretty charged to be in a new place and eager to get the 72 minutes started so we headed into the Starbucks and went straight to the newspaper stand. We decided to forego the caffeine and not stand in the long line of people waiting for their morning pick-me-up. The excitement we felt was going to be our fuel this morning. Our word today is “in”.

in: a word that we use many times every day without even thinking about it. I know I probably even see it more than I’d like when my iPhone suggests it every single time I try and type the word “on” with my stubby fingers. But when you stop and think about it, it’s typically used with other words and is used to indicate inclusion.

Eric and I looked for things that were included within something else. We immediately saw so many things – pipes in a wall, sign posts in the sidewalk, a bottlecap embedded in the street from when the asphalt was originally poured, words scrawled in the concrete from when it was fresh. All these things said “in” to us in one way or another. But we knew that there had to be more.

We headed toward the action of the street fair, saw a few things that caught our attention, but felt right away that it just wasn’t right. We moved beyond the active street and on toward the next few blocks with apartments and more urban housing to see what else caught or eyes. After walking about a block we were met by a local asking us why we were shooting some of the housing. He expressed how he was paranoid about the authorities staking out the local properties and he felt reassured when we told him about our project. He wished us well and let us continue our shoot.

We shot plenty of photos looking in all directions. From billboards in the sky above our heads to discarded objects in the dirt below – from advertising containing the letters “i” and “n” to looking in on things behind windows. Of all the images we captured, there was one that stood out more than the rest. We came across one barred window on a stark white wall. But what said “in” to us the most about this was a vine crawling across the wall seeming as if its only mission was to get in that locked up window. As the window tried its best to keep everything out, the vine squeezed behind the metal bars searching every inch of the window desperate to get in. While all the other images that we captured showed the result of “in”, this was the only one that showed “in” in action.


09:30 am
Starbucks: Main St.: Huntington Beach

Eric and I decided to hit the same Starbucks in Huntington Beach as last time. But to switch it up from the crowded lunch hour, we figured we’d try a morning to see if it would offer a different experience. And that it did. The morning started out overcast and dreary instead of the sun blasting down. Here is Southern California, we call it June gloom. And the scene was pretty void of people, except for those crowded inside the Starbucks.

We received our inspiration for the day’s shoot: members. A distinct part of a whole. An individual belonging to a group. A limb of a body. We knew instantly that we were going to have to think outside the box on this one. Although we were familiar with what members were, we knew that it needed more than a literal representation.

We set out on a different path than last time. Instead of hitting the main street, we went through the back alleys and side streets to see what new things we would encounter. We didn’t come across many people, but instead passed repair shops, random beach houses, storefronts in both exquisite and run-down condition, and plenty of interesting reflections and textures.

However, none of these things said “members” until we saw a lineup of trashcans in an alley. As one of our minute:72 fans put it on our Facebook page, they looked like a little group of members huddled behind a fence. This was exactly what we thought when we first saw them and it sent us in search of other subjects that could be looked at as a group of members. We captured many images, but only 4 made the short list of potential winners.

To help us decide, we figured that we’d enlist the members of the minute:72 Facebook and Twitter communities to give their feedback on their favorite “members” photo. The results are currently coming in and voting wraps up soon. It looks like we will have a winner.


We do have a winner – and there’s no question. One photo won with the second place photo far behind. The members have chosen their favorite representation of the word “members”. Thanks for your participation over the past week. We had fun watching the votes come in and we enjoyed all of your feedback. Here is our newest member to our minute:72 project:

members: minute:72