San Francisco Lifestyle Photographer

Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic Gold Metalist and Literacy Champion, Diablo Magazine

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Okay, this was fun.  Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic gold medalist in figure skating (1992), dazzled audiences for Stars on Ice, won the Mirrorball trophy on Dancing with the Stars and founder of the Always Dream Foundation - dedicated to promoting childhood literacy.  The latter was the occasion for which this session arose.  Each December, Diablo Magazine features a number of local heroes (of the East Bay) who have changed the community in all manner of special ways.  Yamaguchi's foundation provides reading tools to kids at a young age and gets families engaged in reading at home.  Yamaguchi is also an author of several children's books, including the New York Times best-seller: Dream Big, Little Pig.  See below a few additional Threads of Hope recipients who were also honored in the feature.  / Creative Director:  David Bergeron  /  Story by:  Pete Crooks

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Lee Stimmel is the founder of the Blue Water Foundation, providing hope to teenagers who are currently incarcerated in various youth detention centers in the Bay Area - by teaching them to sail.  "These kids are so misjudged by all of us, including me," says Stimmel.  "Once they're in an environment where they're not in constant danger, they become children again."  Stimmel started the foundation with the goal of sharing the joys of sailing with at-risk youths and providing them with an "alternative to drugs, alcohol, and gangs."  "For many of them, this is the one positive thing they have in their lives.  They just melt when you praise them because no one tells them they're good at anything - ever.  And they are.  These are really good sailors."  There.  Lee Stimmel, another deserving Threads of Hope award recipient.  / Creative Director:  David Bergeron  /  Story by:  Casey Cantrell

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Ruth McCahan, founder of Lamorinda Village.  Perhaps you've heard of the idea of a "Village" as it relates to senior living.  It's not a "place", but an idea - and now there's a growing national network of nonprofit organizations aiming to help older adults age at in their own homes by providing the assistance they need to do so.  The Lamorinda Village is the community of elderly folks that McCahan is enabling to stay in their homes as long as possible.  Efforts / services include volunteers providing Village members with essential services like shopping, transportation, and home maintenance.  For more specialized tasks, the Village has a list of "preferred providers" - experienced professionals who have been thoroughly vetted.  Way to go Ruth!  Thanks for letting us litter your backyard with C-Stands and gaffers tape (which I think I left hanging on the branch of one of your maple trees. . . ). / Creative Director:  David Bergeron  /  Story by:  Morgan Mitchell

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

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

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

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