How Bullies Affected Me

At lunch today, my son mentioned not being the popular one at school. I told him I never want to be the popular one because it was the popular kids that bullied me or beat me up.

Afterward, I mentally dug through my head to realize that those times helped turn me into who I am today. I love being the underdog. I love going my own path. I love breaking the rules. I love standing out. I love saying fuck you to authority. It’s why I listen to the loud, crazy, unpopular music I do and why my photo-style of being VIBRANT yet dark isn’t popular. It’s me. It’s who I am. Fuck the trends.⁠

So thank you to the kids in middle school and high school that put me into a corner to punch my stomach. Thank you to the football jock who slapped my face with a handful of icy hot and left my face with a hand print for the entire day. Thank you to the bullies who convinced teachers I started shit and got me in trouble. Thank you to the kids that stole my money and forced me to give them the answers to homework. Thank you to the jock who tried to touch my penis without permission.⁠

These “popular” people helped make me who I am today. They helped me to become a compassionate person. I don’t search for popularity. I search for reason, purpose, and self-expression.

Liquor City

This is a quick story about Waco, liquor, people, loneliness, happiness, local businesses, and nostalgia.

We leave Waco and move back to our hometown of San Antonio in just a few days. We’ve been living in Waco for 2 years now, so I’m excited to go back to the city I call home.

Since I knew we’ve be moving back someday, I didn’t want to make friends.

It didn’t make sense to me to invest in creating friendships in Waco. It was already difficult because I was on and off the road a lot for work or visiting family and/or Ethan. That doesn’t mean I didn’t try to though. I tried apps and websites. I even met up with someone from an app who also was temporarily living in Waco. I thought our hangout went well, but then I got ghosted. People are weird. It’s also strange and awkward trying to make friends when you’re 35 years old and living in 2019.

One thing I’m known for is my love of beer and whiskey. And just down the road from our Waco apartment is a local store called Liquor City. Throughout the years I’ve bought a lot of PBR, Lone Star, and various whiskey from this man and his wife. All the whiskey bottles we used at our wedding for flowers came from this place.

I’ve shared a few conversations with him through the years. He’s told me stories about when he lived in India and overall how important family and hard work is to him. I told him our story and he told me that even in bad or difficult times that it will all be worth it. For family, you have to do what you gotta do and make it work.

So I didn’t make any friends in Waco, but for these reasons, I made it a point to photograph him and his wife yesterday. I appreciate kind and hard working people with a small business. I plan on mailing him prints.

Snapshots From A TPR Event

These days when I’m in San Antonio, I never really know how to feel about how to spend my free time. I was in San Antonio a few days ago and wanted to take a nap after my shoot. As I laid down, I got a text from my best friend Mikey saying I should hang out with him at an event he was performing at. And because he’s my best friend, I put my boots on and met up with him. I’m glad I did.

He was performing for a Texas Public Radio event and the event was great to be at. They had different speakers tell a story about their lives for 7 minutes each. I cried for about half of them. In between talks, Mikey performed his Michael J & The Foxes stuff.

These are some of my snapshots from the night.

My Happiness and My Fear Of Buzzwords

I’m gonna be honest. Today, I deleted some of what I was planning to post because I began questioning how I’m being perceived online.

There’s a lot of buzzwords going around these days. A lot of them bother me. It makes me think about being younger when kids would call names. Skater because of how I dressed even though I didn’t skate. Emo cause of some of the music I listened and still listen to even though I don’t understand why being emotional is a bad thing. Nerd because I wore/wear glasses. These are all generalizations based on perceived looks.

And the buzzwords I’m concerned about these days with regards to myself are personal brand and influencer.

I have no problem sharing how I feel online. I do it because I feel most people don’t do it. However, I feel that since I’m a wedding photographer I feel like I should not share so much of my personal life online regarding my wife and my stepson. I don’t want people to think I’m doing it for “branding”. And now that I’m trying to go into the world of sharing educational stuff for photographers, I’m afraid of someone calling me an influencer sometime in the future. In fact, I got my first email last week from some company saying they wanted to help me become a better influencer on Instagram after they saw my Instagram profile. I deleted the email and didn’t respond.

These are just my current thoughts I wanted to add to this post because I’ve been thinking a lot about my emotions. They’ve been through the roof the past month since I’ve been stuck in Waco with a slow wedding season.

Last week, I arrived in San Antonio to stay for a few days. And it’s almost certain that every time I visit San Antonio, I go visit my best friend at his bar. After feeling like I was beginning to lose my mind, it was nice to be there.

I was thinking about how funny it is that I used to hate San Antonio when I was young. The problem was though, that I was inviting infectious people into my life. I was going through a lot of trying to find myself. And you can’t find people to accept you for who you are if you don’t even know yourself.

While I was at the bar with my best friend, I realized how much I enjoy documenting things or people I love. I no longer can imagine living anywhere else other than San Antonio. I can’t wait to move back. A lot of what and who I love is in San Antonio, but I know that at some point I’m going to have to move past that. We all get old and things are unpredictable in life. I can’t rely on it all.

These are a few snapshots from that night. They aren’t amazing pieces of art, but they document how happy I felt visiting after being away for a month.

Today I Turn 35 Years Old

If I were to travel back in time and tell my younger teenage self that I’d live to be this old, my younger self would laugh and tell myself to fuck off. Lol. When I was young, I struggled with fitting in and finding my place in this world. I used to think about suicide when I was young, which is why these days it trips me out that I’ve made it this far in life.

I’m no longer suicidal. Those feelings stopped in my teenage years when I started playing in a band. As always, I never really know where I’m going when I’m typing out personal stuff. I just let my thoughts flow and don’t judge them.

But if I had to sum things up, it would be that I never imagined I’d make it to be 35, married with a stepson, still pursuing something creative, and not working for “the man”. I’m living a great life and I’m so grateful for all the things that happened in my life from when I was a child up until today. It’s shaped me to be who I am and to be honest, I’m proud of myself. Is that weird?

But if I had to be even more honest, it would be that even though I’m now 35, I still don’t have life figured out. I feel that no one ever really figures it out. You just figure out the small things along the way and correct course along the way. The important thing is to live your best life, be grateful, do great things, and remember that it’s okay to not have everything figured out.

How I Got Into Photography (The Short Version)

How I Got Into Photography

I’ve begun to start to talk more about my start of becoming a photographer lately because I’m no longer ashamed of myself. I’m also finding that people find my story intriguing.

A really long story cut short, I wanted to be a rockstar.

In my early 20’s, I had a band that toured and got offered a contract by a label. We turned it down and broke up circa 2005. I then felt lost in life for a few years and went through a deep depression.

Throughout my depression of trying to find myself, a friend recommended I pick up a camera. After I shot my first roll of film I became obsessed, because it was another form of creating something. I also felt I was good at something else other than making music. I would go out to a dive bar and photograph bands to connect with the music lifestyle I left behind while still expressing myself through creating photographs.

This photo is from 2011 and a part of that journey. This is how I literally learned how to use a camera. In these environments. Every dial, switch, camera technique, flash technique, etc, I all learned here. This is my roots.

Even In My Dark Times, I Still Find Light

I got into photography by accident in 2010. And I’m glad it happened. I feel it saved my life.

After I picked up a camera I became obsessed. I’m someone who likes learning new things. But most importantly, I’m someone who enjoys creating for the hell of it. It’s all I’m good at.

Photography pulled me out of a really bad depression.

That’s a story for another time. But the point I wanted to make in this post is that photography deep down still keeps me out of depression.

It numbs me in a good way. It forces me to think about moments. I feel things much deeper when I’m in the moment and taking a picture. And ultimately, that’s why I take pictures. It’s because in the moment, I’m feeling something and I want to document it and keep it to remember.

About 90% of the time, the photos I take are because I want to remember good things. For me, it’s this ongoing reminder of what to live for.

So when I find myself not taking as many pictures, I know something is wrong.

This has been something I’ve never really talked about publicly. This is also something that I feel people who are close to me also don’t understand.

I haven’t been picking up the camera lately.

However, I have noticed that when I’m out and about, the times where I do pick up the camera and take pictures is when I’m with my best friend and typically at his place of business, Ventura SATX. And this makes a whole lot of sense since it’s mygetawayy when I’m in San Antonio. Mikey is my best friend and even in my dark times, I still find light to photograph and want to remember. And his girl, Dani, is pretty awesome as well.

My New Years Eve On 2018

This year, we ventured off of our normal traditions. Life has been weird this year for me. Lots of new transitions and things to go through. I had a really busy wedding season this past fall and I was in literal constant work-mode and travel-mode.

We didn’t have our little one this year. We also never really get drunk on new years eve since we have to drive. And I also wanted to be closer to my dad and also give him the peace of mind that we were going to be safe by just walking to my best friend’s bar from his place.

Oh yeah, I guess I should’ve mentioned that when we’re in San Antonio, we stay with my dad. So we were able to get drunk (me more so than Amanda Lol) and walk back to my dads. We stayed safe and had fun. We’ll see what next year holds since we’ll have our little next time.

I made short quick cut video throughout the night that you can check out below. Along with some photos taken that night. Some with my Fuji X Pro 2, some with my iPhone X, and one with my wife’s iPhone 8.

The video was made with Spark camera. The Fuji photos were edited in Lightroom Classic CC with my own presets, and the iPhone photos were edited on Lightroom Mobile with my own presets.

Daydreaming About The Possibilities Keeps Me Happy

A few days ago we fell asleep with the window open. I woke up feeling cold and a little congested. I had felt like I might be getting sick. By the evening yesterday, I was beginning to feel better. This morning though, I woke up feeling sick. Maybe it was a bad idea to have that beer during my meeting with a new couple last night. I was just having a lot of fun talking with them.

Anyhow, this weekend we get Ethan. We were supposed to meet halfway in Austin to pick him up, but he too sounded like he was getting sick. Plus, we recently found out he’s allergic to cats and we didn’t want to make things worse for him with Nermal. I’ve also been in and out of bed all day and didn’t feel up to being in a car for a long drive.

So, Amanda is staying the weekend with Ethan in San Antonio and I’m here in Waco sick in bed. I won’t lie. I’m sad I won’t see Ethan this weekend, but I’m doing my best to not focus on that. It is what it is.

Waco isn’t fun. The traveling isn’t fun, but we (fingers crossed) move back to San Antonio mid 2020. We’ve even been looking around online at houses to start daydreaming/getting an idea of possibilities when we move back to San Antonio. And that makes me happy. The thought of all of us being back together at the same time without miles between us. And in a city where all our family and friends are. That. That makes me happy.