Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

It’s always good to get out and shoot. And both Eric and I felt that way when we met for today’s minute:72.

The morning in downtown Long Beach was overcast and chilly with the sun warming us up only when it decided to peek out from behind the clouds. Even though the light was flat, it was good to get out and see what we could produce with what was around us and given the inspiration of the day.

We picked up the top paper in the rack as we always do and flipped to the 7th page where the 2nd word waiting for us was: manager.

Already knowing what manager meant, we still looked it up online to make sure we didn’t miss anything. Manager – a person responsible or in control. Taken literally we could find people at their jobs who are managers, but we knew we had to dig a little deeper and try to capture an image that represents what managing is all about. We brainstormed a bit and figured that there were lots of things around us every day that manage us or control us in one way or another, thus being a manager in its own right – for example, the street lights, street signs, and the lines on the roads all keep us in line when out on the street.

We were on the hunt to find those things effectively doing their job. We shot people moving through intersections, the lights controlling them, gates that contain and control us in one way or another, and lots of other things managing something.

Out of all the photos we took, probably the most interesting image we got was of one telephone pole which was working extra hard at managing all that was going on around it. It stood there above the rooftops routing intersecting wires, serving as the vision for the street below by supporting a streetlight, managing the load of all the electrical by hanging transformers from its top, and clearly the one in charge when it came to this corner of Long Beach.



Starbucks: Pine Ave : Long Beach

Between Eric and myself it’s been hard lately to find days where we can meet up between photo shoots and ongoing design projects, but today we found some time where we could meet up for another minute:72.

We met again at the Starbucks on Pine Ave in Long Beach. We like what the downtown area has to offer – always something going on, and it’s always different.

The day started out hot and I decided to forego the coffee, however Eric still needed the jump start and grabbed a cup. We then grabbed the top paper on the rack, the Wall Street Journal, and thumbed through to the 7th page where the 2nd word was “Attack.”

Attack: to take aggressive action against; an aggressive and violent action against a person or place.

Our first thought: this is going to be tough! How do we photograph “attack”? Do we stage it? Are we going to be lucky enough to find someone attacking someone or something? Probably not, and we didn’t really want to witness such an event and just stand by and photograph it. Not knowing where to take this, it seemed like we were going to go into this somewhat blindly. So with that, we figured we would head in a different direction than we had been in before – to the East…

We captured lots of images – people attacking their day, graffiti on windows, chunks of a building removed that seemingly had been attacked by something. We even came across a stuffed animal that had been tied to a metal post like someone had attacked and tied it up. You find the craziest stuff if you just take the time to look!

We came across an art gallery that was displaying some ink drawings in the window. They all had an explosive look to them – letterforms, explosion clouds, animals, and other organic shapes being blown apart. Could this be our visual for “attack”? As Eric shot the artwork, I noticed that there was a police car across the street and if you looked at one of the explosions at the right angle, it looked as if the car was the one under attack. Eric shot this from different angles and ended up capturing what could also be a commentary on the public’s attitude toward police in our society today:

minute:72 : attack


minute:72 : pull

Starbucks: PCH: Sunset Beach

We came back to where it all began: the Starbucks in Sunset Beach. But the deja vu kicked in when we retrieved our word for the next 72 minutes – in. What? We’ve done that before and loved the image we got from it. We never anticipated that this would happen, so we had to make a new rule right there on the spot – should we get a word we’ve already done, we have to move to the 7th page of the paper’s next section and get the 2nd word on that page. The new word for today – pull.

Eric and I sat and brainstormed about the word. We knew what it was but we knew we would have to see if there was anything to it that we weren’t seeing at first.

Exerting force on something typically by moving them toward the origin of the force. To cancel or withdraw. To damage a muscle by strain.

Well, nothing more than what we thought, so we talked a bit more and decided to take off up Pacific Coast Hwy to see what we could associate with the word pull in a unique way. As we headed north, there were 2 older people waking toward us and the man was pulling a wheeled suitcase. I told Eric he needed to shoot him. After all, we could actually get someone in the act of pulling. Eric sat down on the side of the walk and tried to act nonchalant about capturing the people without them noticing. He was able to get one shot, our second of the day.

We had over an hour and a couple hundred photos to go, so we searched some more. We headed toward the ocean in search of capturing the ocean coming toward and getting pulled back away from the shore. We captured plants getting pulled toward the sun. Signs telling people how to open the door. We pulled a cover to reveal a portion of an old car. Things said pull all around us but we knew we would have to edit things to figure out the best way we could show the word.

When editing, we saw something more in the photo of the pedestrians. Was the man doing the pulling or was he the one being pulled?


Starbucks: Katella & Los Alamitos Blvd.: Los Alamitos

Today the weather was not disappointing: Crisp air and not a cloud in the sky – the makings of another sunny California winter day. Eric arrived at Starbucks first and grabbed a cup of coffee while waiting for me. The moment I got there, we were ready to go. We grabbed the top paper in the rack and turned a few pages. Page 7, 2nd word: owned.

We knew what “owned” meant – it’s pretty simple, really. To possess something. But we looked it up really quick on our iPhones to see if there were any other meanings that we could extract from the word. Owned also means: to acknowledge full responsibility for something: to utterly defeat or humiliate.

We knew instantly we might be able to take this different ways. But just like our first thought, we figured it would be easy to show ownership of something. After all, everything around us is owned by someone. But how do we show something or someone actively owning something else, and in an interesting way? That’s what we were on the lookout for.

We found a lady and her dog and we knew that was an easy way to show owned. We captured it, but knew we wanted more. We came across some graffiti which could be someone’s way to show they own that area. We felt that was just ok. There were also weathered, stamped metal plates in the street proclaiming they belonged to the city’s utility department. We found many things which showed “owned”. But nothing really stood out the way we were looking for.

Switching up and down the streets in the area revealed places of residence as well as small businesses and even a small church. There was a lone statue in front of the church greeting us, but something about it was totally unexpected – someone had stepped over the short iron fence surrounding the statue and placed a shovel against the statue’s outstretched arm. A small act of defaming the statue not quite at the level of graffiti, but whoever did that definitely took over the original intent of the statue and owned it in their own way. I’m sure if it could express itself, it would feel totally humiliated.

We knew we would have something to show for this 72 minutes, but kept going with the 25 minutes we had left. Nothing quite said owned as well as that statue until we rounded a corner on a more industrial block and looked up. There above us were a pair of shoes tied at the laces and hurled onto the power lines leaving them hanging out of reach. I remember hearing different explanations for the hanging shoes, one being that they represent a gang-owned territory, which definitely could support the “owned” idea.

I looked it up on my phone to make sure that’s what it meant while Eric shot the dangling shoes. I found many explanations for what the shoes could mean. But probably the most fitting was that shoes tied together could be a symbol of bullying, where a bully would steal someone’s shoes and toss them somewhere they are unlikely to be retrieved. That, to us, showed “owned” the best so far.

We captured other images of people working, clearly being owned by someone else at that moment. There were other signs of graffiti that we captured along with lots of things that were owned by someone. But at the end of the 72 minutes, we felt that the shoes represented the word “owned” the best.

minute:72 : owned


minute:72 : unveils:04:26:13
10:10 am
Starbucks: Inside Pavilions: Seal Beach

It’s been a while since we got together for minute:72. We both have been traveling for spring break and photo shoots. But here we are back at it again. This time we wanted to meet in nearby Seal Beach. The only Starbucks was one inside a grocery store, so there we met, grabbed a coffee and searched for a paper to get our inspiration word. Then we encountered a slight problem – there was no paper. We asked a clerk if there were papers and she directed us to a CVS pharmacy across the parking lot.

We went to the CVS and found one last newspaper. As we opened it up to get our word, an older gentleman came in right after us also looking for a paper. He seemed disappointed and muttered a few words. When we realized that we had the paper he was looking for, we told him that we would be done with it after we snapped a quick photo of a certain page. As he looked at us puzzled, we had to go ahead and explain our project and how we used it to get an inspiration word so we could do a photo shoot based on it. He waited patiently as we found the page and photographed our word. As we handed the paper over to him he responded, “You guys are making me feel bad. All I’m going to do with this is read it.”

Our word today is: unveils. To reveal. To bring to light. Uncover. We were sure that we could find something that said “unveils” to us near the beach, so we headed there right away.

As we approached the Seal Beach pier, we spied peeling paint of a lamppost unveiling the metal beneath it. The sand also was unveiling things that were hiding beneath it as the wind blew it around. As the ocean washed ashore it unveiled seaweed and left it laying on the wet sand. We shot all of this, but the most interesting occurrence of “unveils” was the ocean rising up into the air as it hit the pilings of the pier. Each time it seemed to raise its arms, reaching into the air from being held down for so long – and with such power. Eric got pretty wet as he shot this unveiling power of the ocean. One image stood out from the rest. This frozen moment says unveils to us.


minute:72  :  police

8:30 am
Starbucks: Magnolia & Atlanta: Huntington Beach

Today we ventured out to a location that we hadn’t ever been to before today – a Starbucks in Huntington Beach off the beaten path. The only things around are a post office, a park, some random stores and the backsides of some neighborhood tracts.

We got our coffees and pulled out the paper I brought from home (still wrapped in the plastic – I didn’t peek at the word for the day although Eric still accused me of it.) Our word was “police”.

Police – as a noun, members of a force that enforces laws – or as a verb, to keep in order by means of police.

There were no police in sight, so we brainstormed on ways that laws were enforced when the police weren’t around. Perhaps we could do something that would bring the police here… nah, we were committed, but didn’t want to be committed. Road signs – they bring order to streets when police aren’t around – a little stretch, but it was all we had, so we took to the street and shot the street signs and other road markings that enforced the rules of the road.

As we were walking around Eric spotted a sign for Sweet O Donuts. Perfect! It could be another avenue to explore – maybe a cop will be in there, or perhaps we could just riff off of the fact that cops love donuts (or so the legend goes.) Sweet O, here we come!

As we entered Sweet O, there was nobody in there except for the woman behind the counter. So we explained that we wanted to shoot some donuts for a project and asked what donuts the police were most fond of. Apparently, she said it didn’t matter, as long as it’s a donut. So we ordered up a couple sprinkled donuts because of the color they provided, as well as a traditional glazed donut. She served them up on a bright green plate with some jagged-edged tissue that just might make the composition more interesting.

So we shot some beautiful images of donuts. From all angles. With coffee. Lit from behind. Shallow depth of field. We covered it all. But it seemed that it needed some sort of human element to bring in the police theme. It was time to introduce a model.

The shoot got more fun as I started to pose as if I were the police in plain clothes sitting down to my daily treat. But as we shot, we found that it needed more story infused into the shot. So what we introduced was a situation where someone was doing something wrong – and from the point of view of someone catching them in the act. We wanted to tell it all within one image, but also introduce a way to show a before and after.

The scene: A donut shop.
Props: Plate of 3 donuts as seen in the camera’s screen on the table.
The Act: Man grabs one of the donuts and takes a bite, only to be caught in the middle of the action. A look of surprise and guilt as he is caught red-handed.