Favorite Flicks of 2016
Looking back on 2016 through the camera lens (what a year), here are 12 of my favorite photos that I shot last year - my best of each month - and the stories behind them. Enjoy...
New Year. New Gear. - January 5
The infamous "New Year, New Gear" photo that I posted on my Instagram at the top of the year in 2016 that racked up over 2,100 likes and almost 80 comments. This really started out the year right I guess... It was the day that my 2nd camera body, a Canon 6D came in the mail. (Also my first full frame DSLR.) Ricky came over to check it out and we ended up going outside in the back of my house where HE shot this photo of me dual wielding the 6D with Canon's 135mm f/2 L, along with my 70D with the little 50mm f/1.8. Shouts to Ricky on that photo cred for this. Ironically, my camera bag shed some weight for the new year as I sold my 70D last week, I'm down to just the 6D for now with plans of getting another full frame body towards the end of the year.
Aside from the rest, this is one of the most important photos that defined 2016 for me. I feel like it was a big breakout year for photography for me, and finally having the right gear at this point helped a lot with that. Set a plan, then execute.
Happiness is expensive. Anguish is free - February 21
First, big thanks to Michelle for proposing the idea to shoot at this location in the first place, and for killing this shoot as well. This was towards the beginning of really trying to push portrait work and get more comfortable working with people. Flowers and trees and shit like that don't move, so taking photos of inanimate objects and still subjects is not as challenging as working with people. On the opposite side of that, portraits can convey so much more emotion or a story, so the reward is greater.
Sao Miguel ABANDONED Hotel - March 23
On a trip to Sao Miguel, Azores we came across an abandoned hotel that overlooked the Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a twin lake situated in the crater of a dormant volcano. These "hanging" shots are so played out at this point, but this was a prime location for one so I got over it and just shot it. The vegetation on the Island is lush and rainforest like, unlike New England, but the architecture is just as different which was strangely more appealing to me. From painted cement walls to bright orange terra-cotta style roofs, and big spiral staircases, this all seemed to stick out more than the beauty in the green hills that sunk into the sea. Character says a lot about a place, and character was in great abundance here.
We Might Die For This Shit - April 11
Model is disclosed. Location is disclosed. What I can tell you is that this photo was used for the graphic in our Uncle Sam Tee that we dropped with our Summer 2016 American Greed Collection. I rotated the image counter-clockwise 90 degrees, cropped it in super tight, and cleaned it up a little bit more in photoshop. From there I added the "We want you" text under it along with the red SOSICO. box logo, and threw it on a tee. Bang.
No stock photos here my guy... Deadass B.
NYC - May 16
I couldn't pick one photo for this month, it just was not possible. We were somewhere in Queens when we took a weird side road off of the highway to turnaround. As we were stopped to configure the GPS, I looked over and saw this beat-to-shit car. Immediately I grab my camera, hopped out into traffic and snapped this photo of it. That's how some of the best photography works I think. It's sporadic, it lives in the moment, is reactionary and displays character (again).
As for the Shade45 mic, this just needed to be documented for obvious reasons. I'll just leave that there... If ya know, ya know.
Tsu Surf at The Red Door, CT - June 16
June was one of the best months of 2016 for photography for me. June was a great month in general. I shot a few different parties, concerts, my first wedding, and then we went to Agenda in Cali and shot some crazy photos there too. This was another super tough month, but this photo stands out most. Tsu Surf at the Red Door in CT - I'm not the biggest fan of this dude, he's very very dope, but just not my favorite artist. This is one of my favorite show photos that I've ever shot though. Something with the lighting, composition, and colors makes it stand out, like everything fell together perfectly for this shot. Idek to be honest.
Walkways to venice beach - July 1
There are so many crazy flicks that I caught in Cali that it's insane, but this one stands out the most. How does this beat out the shots from Griffith Observatory overlooking downtown LA at sunset, or how does it beat out the photo of Ace throwing his hands up to make the "LA" sign with palm trees in the background softly out of focus? It has a better sense of perspective, leading lines, warmer colors, it tells a story, and it makes me remember. But aside from that I feel like it can make anyone "remember" the feeling of vacationing somewhere warm and the little moments when you take a stroll around an unfamiliar area to take in the new sights.
I'll describe this setting for you: Brodie dropped us off by Venice Beach and we had to walk a little ways to get to the actual beach by cutting through shady alleyways like such. Ricky & Alex walked ahead as I stopped to snap some photos like this one, while Ace trailed behind. It was a warm, sunny, stereotypical California day. The sun was just about to peak in the sky around 11:30 AM as the afternoon just begun to roll around. The air was warm, but dry and comfortable as the scent of the red flowers climbing over the fence intoxicated the surrounding area. Palm trees reached over the walls and fences of the condos and modern homes to shade the alleyway in random spots. The simplicity and innocence of a potential forgotten moment in time creates the purity and bliss depicted in the photo. It was so thoughtless, but so memorable, and "happy".
What Is SOSICO? - August 7
SOSICO. is... Starving for the love of art. Going broke for your dreams. Doing what the fuck YOU want to do, and not what the "safe" option is in life. Not conforming to the "norms" of society. Risking everything for everything.
Nothing - September 30
Without a doubt, September was a busy month and I didn't get around to using my camera too much. I was behind the scenes with things more and I didn't generate too much content myself, but I did get a chance to snap this.
Taken in one of my favorite go-to spots, it was a rainy day and we needed to get some product shots done of the new camo crewneck sweatshirts. Matt brought his zippo, and this happened. I think I'm noticing a "Black and White" trend too, clearly I'm a sucker for classic monochromatic shit.
Mt. Monadnock - October 2
A slightly spontaneous trip to the Summit of Mt. Monadnock - Ricky, Matt, Joe & I hopped into the car on an overcast Sunday morning in October and drove up to New Hampshire. What was meant to be a full group of SOSICO. as a team building retreat turned into something less structured, but just as great. It had rained the day before and was misting on the 2-3 hour drive up to the base of the mountain. Once we got there, the park attendants advised against hiking to the summit due to weather; challenge accepted.
We set foot up the mountain at a fairly reasonable pace, passing other groups as we broke from the tree line. The sky was filled with a cold white haze of fog that obstructed any views. We continued up the rocky slopes to a continuous banter of "diarrhea of the mouth" from Joe coining sayings like, "I don't know about Lewis & Clark, but I'm no Sacagawea." Due to the lack of oxygen that comes with the elevation, being incredibly out of shape in the first place, and hearing shit like that, we were all split over holding our stomaches and gasping for air from laughing so hard. Thanks for that, Joe.
Once we finally reached the summit, we took a break, had some snacks, snapped some photos, and we were on our way back down. This is were things started to come undone. During the climb up, Joe had been leaving a trail of Goldfish partially from the tear in the bottom of his synch bag, and partially from actually dropping Goldfish in the path to leave a trail like some Hansel & Gretel shit... We couldn't find the trail, and in our eagerness to climb back down we disregarded the signs. Ricky took charge and lead us down a very steep decline to where it was impossible to embark without ropes and harnesses, causing us to turn back, but not before I could slip out on the wet terrain and slice my hand open. Great. We ended up following another trail, getting completely lost, put back an hour, and taking a "detour" (for lack of a better word). In the midst, Ricky shit somewhere on the mountain, more photos were shot, my Instagram story via SOSICO.'s account barely posted, and we were all wet, tired, and covered in dirt and mud. It was a great experience over all. Seriously.
touch the sky - November 5
I love concert venues that have good lighting. This venue had amazing lighting + a commercial grade fog machine, so they were good in my book already. We stepped out onto the stage in Maine at one of the largest shows I've shot besides Jadakiss at Lupo's in Providence, RI. Brodie Fresh was opening for Young M.A. (who never showed up because of a discrepancy with the venue not paying her) in front of a large crowd of impatient and eager millennials. The show went decent while we were there, he did his thing while backed by his cousin who DJ'd his set, Jason Mizell Jr. (son of the late Jam Master Jay of Run DMC who was killed in 2002).
At one point while shooting on the actual stage behind Brodie, I ran and jumped off of the side and went into the photo pit. In the narrow walking path between the front of the stage and the chest high fence that holds the crowd back, I pointed my camera almost straight up towards the lights and snapped this.
Love Your Roots- December 4
On the early end of December, Rhode Island was graced with a visit from our good friend Nello Luchi of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, NY. I picked her up in Providence off of the bus and spent most of the day driving around the more scenic areas of the state to show her some of the cooler spots RI has to offer. We ended up on Jamestown and had to check out the lighthouse area at Beavertail around sunset.
People who grow up living in a big city their whole lives appreciate things like this, just as kids from the suburbs and rural areas of New England appreciate a trip to the major cities to gaze up at the sky scrapers. This is something that I've come to appreciate over the years of traveling around a little bit. It's made me realize that I could never live in a city, and that I'm always happy to come home to RI. It's made me appreciate my home state more in certain ways after you experience it from another persons perspective.
As 2016 came to an end, I was both excited and nervous for the impending new year. As much as everyone looks at it as a blank slate, or a new start - and it is - it also possesses the ability to allow for a lot of negative things as well. You cannot look past that. Shit hit the fan in 2016, but at the end of 2015 everyone was hyped off of the "new year, new me" saying - something that encourages a very optimistic view. People don't want to account for the fact that there most definitely will be negative points, but that's life, it's inevitable. I know it may seem like I'm veering off topic in saying this, because this is a "photography post", but I like to be a realist and acknowledge how things really are. Sometimes we need to take a step back, slow it down, and realize this.
Although I'm not feeling excited or nervous so much anymore, now that the new year has kicked off. I'm more content with things, and I've established a new mindset for the year which is one of the most important things anyone can do. While staying positive, but not ignoring the other, I think that my new best way to describe the feeling for 2017 is hopeful.
Peace + Happiness