Archive 200 Best...

I'm the advertising world, everyone wants to make good work, get it noticed and maybe win some awards. The same is true for most any creative field and speaking from experience, especially photography. As a creative we all need that someone telling us we're good every once in a while, cause honestly just being hired to shoot a campaign or feature doesn't always yield that same fuzzy feeling. 

I'm so proud and incredibly honored to be one of 200 (out of 8400 worldwide submissions) to be chosen to be included in Archive's 200 Best Ad Photographers annual. Early on in my career I set goals and this is right up there with one of the top awards I set sights on.  

Thank you to everyone who has hired me so far. It's always a special moment when you get a nod like this and it's in a large part owed to you. 

 



Our Road To Deva

Fertility treatment.  It's one of those things that you know people go through, but hardly hear about the intimate details of the journey.  Maybe a friend mentions, "Oh yeah, we did IVF."  Everyone nods, eyeing each other knowingly.  But this statement is immediately followed by "...and now we have Jackson and Olivia," and then chatter about breast feeding and cloth diapering.  I never had someone share with me about the countless doctor visits, blood tests, external AND internal ultrasounds of your wife's reproductive organs.  No one I knew was chattering about masterbating to shitty porno mags into tiny cups (I do spare you those visuals, however), and months of sticking your partner with 18 gauge needles in her ass.  Because fertility treatment is commonly a blip in the conversation on the way to baby talk, actually experiencing fertility treatment can feel lonely and taboo.  

In a nutshell, we experienced "unexplained infertility," which means that there was no identifiable medical reason for why we couldn't get pregnant.  Nothing was missing, out of place, or deficient.  At first, this diagnosis sounded promising ("Yay, there's nothing wrong with us!").  Eventually, it drove us absolutely crazy.  We are super healthy adults in our early 30s.  Why couldn't we just snap our fingers and get this baby show on the road?   It seemed like our friends were looking sideways at each other and getting knocked up.  Our Facebook feeds were littered with ultrasound pics and delivery room photos.  Unexplained infertility literally meant we had no explanation.  Not for our friends and family, not for ourselves.  Our struggle was an unanswered "why?". 

My way of coping with and making sense of our "why" was, as it always is, through photographs.

This is my visual diary of our fertility treatment experience.  My hope is that these photos will help continue to demystify the process of infertility treatment and bolster support for other families who are fighting to grow.  

I'll be sharing a bunch of new images along with a few words over on my Instagram account throughout the coming weeks. 

East Coast Surfing - Philly Mag. Style

Finally, finally, finally!! There's nothing more difficult than keeping images a secret and free from posting to Instagram for any period of time, let alone for a whole year! 12 months! That's the amount of time I had to sit on images captured last year for a Philly Mag story on the surfing community in and around Philadelphia. 

I was asked to shoot the surf culture of the New Jersey shore and it's relationship to Phila. Many may not even know there's a strong community of dedicated individuals willing to drop everything and drive a couple hours just for some time in the surf, but Philly is loaded with them. I've been fortunate enough to have met a bunch of these diehards while shooting my Urban Surfers project last year and decided to feature them in this 10 page feature in this July's issue. 

Special thanks to Michael, Jamie and the rest of the fine folks who helped make this project happen. It's always exciting to see an image or two make it to print, it's something more when you get 10 uninterrupted pages to spread out on. 

 

 

Way Out West.

A few weeks ago myself along with six of my friends made our way out West to the Ansel Adams Wilderness in Sierra Nevada of California. I'm a city boy through and through,  but when it comes to death marching with 50+ lb. of backpack and not showering for 6 days, outback-Chris takes over. The hiking on this trip was the most difficult I've ever done, it was also the most beautiful.  

Knowing I'd be carrying my weight in food and water (ahem, Whiskey) I had to keep my photo gear options to a minimum. The only camera I took was a 5Diii, 5 batteries and memory cards. 

Hit up the comments section with questions or comments. Thanks for looking! 

 



Portlandia-ing!

I'm embarrassed to say it took me until just a month ago to finally make it out to Portland, Oregon but just one trip was all it took to fall in love. Sure you see friend's Instagram pics and sure we've all seen the show, but it took actually being there to finally catch the buzz in person. 

My wife and I set out to see the city, dip our toes in the chilly Pacific and gaze upon massive peaks while hiking some of the best landscapes I've ever seen.  It's no wonder why people in search of friendly faces, year round outdoor adventures, and great coffee move to Portland. 

Thanks to our friends; Jim Golden, Adam Garcia for the spot on recommendations and good times.  

Here are a few shots from our trip:

 


Friends Who Inspire - Carrie Collins

I've been behind on getting more of these "Friends..." videos shot and edited but allow me to introduce to you, Carrie Collins! She's smart, funny, inspiring, focused, and all around super talented. 

Never look past an opportunity to knock on a neighbors door and introduce yourself, you just might make a new friend.  

Week Full of Firsts.

Back in March I met with Philly agency, Masterminds to share new lifestyle work, and three months later we were shooting for Mississippi Gulf Tourism. 

Below are some ads the agency ran, some outtakes and behind the scenes (Thanks Jen for the BTS pics) that I really like. 

(Thanks Jen, Joey, Jim and Rocco) 

Friends Who Inspire - Drew Leshko

The story goes like this: we met for the first time in a parking lot at 5am, drove two hours together and crabbed all day in the scorching August heat two years ago. The rest is history. 

Drew's an amazing sculptor who takes inspiration from degrading building facades and replicates them down to the most minute detail. He's also my go-to for finding new up and coming artists since he has an eye for picking out talent. 

Drew's work is currently on display at Paradigm Gallery in Philly. 

Runners Like The Wind

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to shoot the Unionville Girls High School cross country team for Running Times magazine. I was all excited to be shooting outside all day, running around (untethered) and just capturing what I saw - that was until about hour two when all that running caught up to me. These girls don't quit. 

Below are a few images from that shoot.

 

 


Friends Who Inspire (video) - Rick Malwitz

As promised I'm rolling out the videos I shot of friends who help keep the creative fire burning inside me - and today it's Rick Malwitz's turn. 

I spoke about Rick in a post I did about him a few weeks ago but get to know him better through this very intimate chat we had in his basement surfboard shaping studio.  

Thanks Rick! Oh, can't wait to own one of your boards one day! 



Friends Who Inspire Video - Keith Greiman

A couple months ago I started a personal project on friends who make amazing shit and inspire me in my own work. The first person I blogged about was Keith Greiman and I shared intimate moments of him and his family inside their East Kensington home. Today I'm finally ready to share the video I shot that day interviewing Keith in his home studio. 

The concept for the video was simple - shoot everyone in their live/work space, ask a few questions and see where it goes. You'll hear a little of my voice in the background but two of the questions I asked near the end of the interview were: how did we meet, and do they like me. It's pretty obvious that I'm super excited how they turned out! 

Thanks so much Zac Rubino and Expressway Productions

The Back Bay Salty Dogs

I think it's pretty safe to say that as a photographer, being let loose to shoot a project as you see it is the dream job - period.  And recently a friend of mine, Alex Peltz, hired me to do just that.  Alex, who runs his graphic design/branding business out of his home in the East Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, recently hired me to shoot a project for his client,  Heritage Shellfish Cooperative. The objective was simple, document the day-in-the-life of the New Jersey Bay area clammer.  Projects like these are always a blast. Not only cause I got to shoot whatever I wanted, but I got to spend the entire hour day eating clams on the half shell right from the bay!

Below are a few images snapped during the average day of a New Jersey clammer. 

Friends Who Inspire - Rick Malwitz

By now you may notice a trend forming, that surfing and surfers have become a big inspiration for me. I may be absolutely terrible at the sport but the culture, the people and style grabbed me from the beginning and hasn't let go. I'm very thankful for those friends who insisted I try it and get my ass in the water. 

Following up with my latest 'friends that inspire' is surfer super dad, Rick Malwitz. I was fortunate to meet Rick through a few local and no longer local surfers. Turns out Rick hates sleep. On top of being a full time art director/graphic designer and dad, Rick shapes surf boards, roasts coffee, and builds just about anything with this hands. For the last few years shaping has almost become another full time job. His boards can be found in surf shops in Asbury Park, and the Patagonia store in NYC.

In coming weeks I'll be sharing a video I shot of all these friends shot so far. 

 

New Advertising Campaign - Behind The Scenes

We recently had the pleasure of working with new clients on an advertising campaign for a notable East Coast bank.  The days of the shoot were 72 and sunny and loaded with puppies.  It's easy to sound #sorry-but-not-sorry, but we're pretty stoked to share some behind the scenes video from the two days on set. 

Special thanks to Expressway Productions, Shophouse, and the rest of the crew. I especially want to thank Rocco Avallone for the video edit.  We've been pretty busy lately and over the next few weeks I'll be sharing a ton of new stills along with motion assignments. 

 

Friends Who Inspire - Shawn Hileman

Next up on my list of friends who I find incredibly creative and just fun to be around great people, is Shawn Hileman. I first met Shawn nearly four years ago through some internet stalking. At the time I was seeing friend's posts on Facebook (do we in our 30's still use this?!) about this kid who was designing cool show posters and I never heard of him.  Ironically, around this time, I was growing out of my current website and branding and Shawn's work was a perfect fit. The rest is history. 

Not only is Shawn a great designer but he's also an amazing screen printer, artist, socialite, art gallery owner, and friend. So glad I tracked him down and reached out four years ago. 

Friends Who Inspire - Keith Greiman

The man eats candy and doughnuts for dinner and somehow doesn't look it. Keith Greiman is my: neighbor,  hip-hop show +1, bartender, baby-daddy, lead singer in a band that may or may not be retired, and friend. 

I met Keith over four years ago and If I'm telling the absolute truth, we met in a bar. It probably took a few times of us making small talk, but I would have to imagine he asked for my number first. Keith tends bar at Memphis Tap (which is the closest, best bar/rest in my immediate area) and home of the best hot-dog cart in Philly. He's also an amazing painter/illustrator who's work has been shown in galleries all over Philly (I would also say other cities but I never got to that question).  Keith's band, Prowler threw a retiring show at Johnny Brenda's a little over a year ago then immediately accepted a gig for a month later. I believe he does it for the attention, and he agrees. 

Keith and his lovely wife, Rita (also an artist) just had a baby who recently took up residence in Keith's studio. He's adjusting. 

 

 

 

 

Friends Wo Inspire - Ben McBrien

Over the years I've made friends with a ton of creative folks from a wide array of disciplines. And that's why a couple weeks ago I decided to turn the spotlight away from my work and share my blog with these individuals. Each Monday I'll be highlighting a new friend's work and some words on how we became friends. 

First up, Ben McBrien (aka Farmhaus.) Ben's a woodworker and is know to make furniture that will have you considering selling off a kidney. He's big on up-cycling wood that would ultimately take up landfill space and turing it into family heirlooms. 

I first met Ben over a year ago while on the lookout for surfers for my Urban Surfers project (he's a former pro surfer). A friend of ours, Keith Greiman (who I will be highlighting on here soon) introduced us and we instantly hit it off.  If you live in Philly and follow a few local art galleries on Instagram (like Art IN The Age and Art Star ) you than you've probably seen his work. 

Check out a shots I got of Ben working in his East Kensington studio. 

 

For The Love of Dog.

Man’s best friend. That’s how the saying goes. And for lots of people, smooching with their Great Dane or Dachshund is just another way of expressing that love. To them, a kiss is a carefree way to share affection with the canine who loves them unconditionally.

 

But to other, um, non-dog-owners, this might look like “Man’s best friend…with benefits”. They believe one’s Toy Poodle should not be their play thing. “Do you know where that mouth has been?” they silently ponder. While the human/dog chemistry is lost on this crowd, the smooching owners are actually changing their own biochemistry…for the better! Their oxytocin levels are rising; their blood pressure is slowing, all while their sense of well being crescendos. So, kiss away my friends. 

http://www.featureshoot.com/2014/04/chris-sembrot/#!EA1R1 

Oh To Be a 17 Year Old, Internationally Known DJ again...

A couple weeks ago I was hired by Billboard Magazine to shoot DJ Martin Garrix. I could say the 17 year old is an up-and-coming super star of EDM, but with his already 400K+ followers on Twitter, I'd say the kid has arrived. 

I was asked to photograph him before his Atlantic City performance at Revel's, HQ nightclub. Not snow nor a missed flight would keep Martin grounded in Miami. His team chartered a private flight and they arrived just an hour late for prep. Not bad for someone who played for four straight nights in four different cities. And judging by his Instagram account, sleep hasn't been very popular on his tour. 

Below are a few images from that night!