Mitch Gets Stuck on Band-Aids

Parents use Band-Aids to help heal their kid's boo-boos.  Kids use Band-Aids for boo-boos, but also for fun.  This idea that Band-Aids can be fun has only been amplified one hundred-fold since the brand partnered with kid's movie characters like Star Wars, Frozen, The Muppets, etc.  As a personal photographic exploration into the world of Band-Aids, the story I wanted to tell was this fun and creative relationship children have with the product.  It's the kid's perspective on the brand, as opposed to the parent's POV.  Very special thanks to the kiddos and your folks for the time and energy - and your houses . . .

Some trivia!!!  Band-Aids were invented by Earle Dickson, who was a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson back in 1920.  He improvised a crude version of a Band-Aid for his wife who had just cut herself accidentally while preparing dinner:  a piece of adhesive tape, a small square-shaped piece of cotton, and a layer of crinoline on top.  Why didn't I think of that?

 Felix and mom.

Felix and mom.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Pets & Their People

Do people own their pets or is it the other way around?  As a new dog owner, I was inspired to explore the intimate connections people have with their pets.  I discovered that it's a two way street.  People love their pets because the pets love their people.  Animals inform humans how to live fully and properly - filled with exercise, nature, humor, affection, and above all, spontaneity.  By extension, you could say the pets in my series dictated my photographic approach.

  Frankie

Frankie

I was having a coffee inside a joint called Sweet Bar (Oakland) while my car was undergoing a smog check (it passed).  Brainstorming ideas and subjects for this project, I paused and looked out the window in thought - and I saw this guy with his pooches.  Really?  Really?  Right in front of me.  I introduced myself and we agreed to meet a week later to collaborate.  Frankie, thanks.

  Roxy and Mark's right hand.

Roxy and Mark's right hand.

Our friends Caren and Mark babysit dogs.  This is one of them.  Her name is Roxy.  She's barky at first.  Then she's sweet.  Then she's a little tired of you.  Styled by Danny O'Neill.

  John, the benevolent dog walker.

John, the benevolent dog walker.

John and Stacey (not pictured) are professional dog walkers / whisperers / caregivers.  They have patience and doggie wisdom.  This is a full-time gig - with their hearts and their time.  Styled by Danny O'Neill.

  Stephanie and Stinky.

Stephanie and Stinky.

Steph and Stinky are dedicated companions - joined at the hip - or at least by fashion.  Steph is a dog trainer.  Stinky is trained.  

  River and Dorian (in that order).

River and Dorian (in that order).

Fort Funston in San Francisco is dog heaven.  So it's people heaven, too - if dogs are your idea of heaven.

  Caleb and a fraction of his Geckos.

Caleb and a fraction of his Geckos.

At 14, Caleb has become somewhat of a Gecko expert.  He has about 50 of them in his room.  He breeds them (often selling them to pet stores), cares for them when they're ill, and can identify numerous physical deformities and afflictions of their brains.  This has been his passion since he was 5.

  Grim (with the 4 legs) and Julian (with the 2 socks).

Grim (with the 4 legs) and Julian (with the 2 socks).

Julian is a dear friend of mine whose passion in life (one of many) is advocating for homeless Bulldogs, active with number of rescues & shelters in the Napa and Sonoma areas - and beyond.  Grim is one of the two Bully rescues she cares for with her husband Craig.  Stylist Danny O'Neill worked with me on the shoot.  In his mind, Bulldogs didn't have the best of reputations.  At the end of the day he was delighted he was wrong.  They're sweethearts - and very muscular. 

  Chris, her cat, her cat's fur, couch, and pillow.  So, mixed media.

Chris, her cat, her cat's fur, couch, and pillow.  So, mixed media.

Chris is a recent cancer survivor whose several pets served as a shining light of hope.  Soon after this was taken she traveled to Europe with a friend for a month.  Kicked that.  Styled by Danny O'Neill, this is one of my personal favorites.  Danny's approach is rooted in story - not just style. 

  Tyler and his bird.

Tyler and his bird.

While small and petite, Tyler and his mom treat this Love Bird like a human member of the family, handling him with confidence, unphazed when he flies up to the ceiling fan to take a break from a photo shoot, and articulately scold him when he eats the boy's homework.

  Cozy companions.  Margie and Cody know about the pleasures of fuzzyness.

Cozy companions.  Margie and Cody know about the pleasures of fuzzyness.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Opera composer, Jake Heggie > UCLA Magazine

I was commissioned by Design Director, Charlie Hess, to photograph opera composer, Jake Heggie, at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco.  Charlie's directive was simple:  "Choose a location that contextualizes what he does".  I love that.

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Jake Heggie was working at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco as a PR writer when, in one moment, his professional life changed forever.  The general director of the opera tapped him to compose a score for a libretto (the text of an opera) by playwright Terrence McNally.  That opera was the wildly successful Dead Man Walking.  He's currently working on the music for a new production of It's a Wonderful Life.

Jake was game for pretty much anything photographically.  He told me after checking out my website that he had total trust in me.  Always handy - that vote of confidence from your subject!  For this particular shot (above) he's actually listening to an original guitar composition of my own.  (Yes, I write and perform music.)  A second after this shot was taken he opened his eyes and said, "This is good".  Ha!

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Pencil and paper.  Yes, there are still those of us from the old school.  Littered (in a good way) with notes, notating music by hand affords Heggie the freedom to be more spontaneous.  This is the lobby of the opera house, where a few thousand people walk up those steps to hear his music in the hall on a given night. 

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Harking back to the days working behind the scenes.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Elementary School Photo "Booth"

Each year I volunteer to shoot at my son's elementary school for one of the fundraisers.  The kids love it, I get to test some new lighting out, we make some $ for the school, and I get a good cardio out of it.  These kids have serious energy.  Here are a few.  (These dudes are all brothers.)

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Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website at http://www.mitchtobias.com

Cub Scouts > Pinewood Derby (Personal work)

My son is a Cub Scout.  And he likes building stuff - especially a Pinewood Derby car.  The Pinewood Derby has been an exciting and classic tradition for generations across America.  It's the Cub Scout's biggest event each year.  The kids build these primitive racing machines (with a little help from their parents and Cub Masters) from scratch:  Designing, cutting, installing wheels / axles, and painting / decorating.  Then over the course of one long evening the racing competition takes place.  Digital timers measure finishing times up to the 1/100 of a second.  There ends up being one victor out of the 150 cars, but other awards are given, too - like for the most unique design - which went to my dude.

Scrappy, Black & White, grainy, reportage-y, no stikin' tripod!

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Coolsculpting > Agency: Evoke Health

Here's a recent ad I shot for Coolsculpting.  If you read People Magazine, you probably saw it.  Coolsculpting is a state of the art non-invasive fat-freezing/reduction procedure.  It's an innovative way to contour the body by freezing unwanted fat away without surgery.

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Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Diablo Magazine > Threads of Hope

Each holiday season, Diablo Magazine (Walnut Creek, California) recognizes a few East Bay residents who gave selflessly. These do-gooders are honored for changing the community for the better—whether it’s collecting clothes for the needy, feeding the hungry, or volunteering tirelessly.  (The article, "Threads of Hope", was written/edited by Peter Crooks, who will be heavily paraphrased and hacked up in this post.  Love ya, Pete!)  I was honored to be asked by Art Director, Roger Gurbani to shoot this.

  Carol Weyland Conner:  White Pony Express

Carol Weyland Conner:  White Pony Express

Conner's "White Pony Express" distributes food to the needy that supermarkets would otherwise be throwing away.  To distribute the food, White Pony Express has created an impressive and intricately organized system. Goods are separated by each shelter’s needs. Some facilities don’t have a kitchen, so they prefer premade sandwiches and food that doesn’t require on-site prep. Other locations need fresh produce and dairy products, so White Pony Express makes sure those items are delivered in refrigerated trucks.  Conner is a former psychologist and leader of Sufism Reoriented, a spiritual order headquartered in Walnut Creek. She created White Pony Express in 2013, as her city was planning its centennial anniversary for the following year.  ::::  Carol's calm, quiet demeanor on set was such a contrast to her ambitiously aggressive mission.

  David Smith:  Rossmoor Fund

David Smith:  Rossmoor Fund

After moving into Walnut Creek’s Rossmoor retirement community, Smith was dismayed to learn that some of the residents occasionally found themselves in dire financial straits. So five years ago, he launched the Rossmoor Fund to help his neighbors deal with unexpected emergencies. The fund also provides legal seminars to help seniors with a range of issues, including learning about elder abuse.  ::::  David was ever so humble - shrugging off all his accomplishments, including rounding up support and opening up the first library in San Ramon.  I was flattered to learn later that this was the best shot of himself he'd ever seen.  :-)

  Elaine Taylor:  The Taylor Family Foundation (Recipient of "The Visionary Award")

Elaine Taylor:  The Taylor Family Foundation (Recipient of "The Visionary Award")

Thousands of families have benefited from the efforts of The Taylor Family Foundation, which Taylor and her late husband, Barry, cofounded to help families affected by pediatric AIDS. Beginning with a Day in the Park fundraiser held in their Lafayette backyard in 1990, the foundation has raised more money and helped more kids each year. In 2001, the foundation helped implement the creation of Camp Arroyo, a state-of-the-art facility in Livermore that offers free summer camp programs to children with a wide range of serious illnesses and disabilities.  She even has a sleep-away Celiac Camp program - catering to the kid's sensitive dietary needs.  ::::  As with the other award recipients, Elaine was only interested in the attention the award brought to her programs, not so much herself.  But she was a delight to behold.  Kind, kind, soul.

Visit the official Mitch Tobias Photographer website:  http://www.mitchtobias.com

Allstate > Winter library shoot in Colorado

On production in Brekenridge, Colorado for Allstate.  Stupendous agency (T3, Austin) and mountain-manly crew.  The images will most likely surface next winter.  :-)  But here are some snaps.

 Can't see anything with those damn trees in the way.

Can't see anything with those damn trees in the way.

 Prop stylist, Evan Madden (far left) adding snow to car.  Evan's represented by  Artist Untied .

Prop stylist, Evan Madden (far left) adding snow to car.  Evan's represented by Artist Untied.

 Beloved, enthusiastic crew.

Beloved, enthusiastic crew.

 Me (left) and producer, Dagdag.  7-11 stop to purchase cans of oxygen for altitude sickness.

Me (left) and producer, Dagdag.  7-11 stop to purchase cans of oxygen for altitude sickness.

 Miracles of nature.

Miracles of nature.

 Production coordinator Kim-bones shopping for more stickers.

Production coordinator Kim-bones shopping for more stickers.

 Digi-tech, Jon Rose warming his nose.

Digi-tech, Jon Rose warming his nose.

 Day off to ski.

Day off to ski.

Visit the official website at http://www.mitchtobias.com