Missy Franklin: Olympic Gold medalist!

It was my absolute pleasure to get the opportunity to photograph Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin for The Hollywood Reporter Magazine. I received a phone call the night prior to she shoot from the magazine asking if I was available for a last minute shoot with an Olympian. The job came at a very busy time for me, but after rearranging a few meetings I was good to go.

The shoot was to take place in Knoxville,TN at the aquatics building at UT where the Olympic swim team had been practicing. This was a very last minute shoot and I was told that I would have 30min with Missy and was given a shot list. Living in Nashville I left the house at around 3:30am to get to Knoxville in time to set up and get ready before Missy arrived.

The last detail I received from the client was that there might be a media day going on at UT in the morning.. I didn't realize the weight of those words until I got on location and found out that it wouldn't be Missy, myself, an assistant and a pool.. It would be all of that plus around 2000 other people.

This had a pretty significant impact on what I could shoot and where I could shoot, but luckily my good friend and fellow photographer Donald Page, the head sports photographer at UT, showed me the one vacant spot in the building that ended up being exactly what I needed. I set up and popped off a few test shots using Donald as a test subject, then took a few minutes to shoot photos of the swim team warming up.

Soon after I found out that I would not have 30min with Missy, but I would have 15min.. Ok, not bad let's do it! Well.... Once Missy arrived (she wasn't swimming that day) I was told that I would have 10 min with her. Fine fine, was almost expecting that.

Missy came over with me and we got down to shooting, keeping in the back of my mind the time frame I was given I worked swiftly. Before I knew it the shoot was over and she off to an interview.

I got the oppertunity to chat with Missy while we shot and I have to say that she is truely a sweet person. Nothing but smiles and joy the whole time, an absolute pleasure to work with. Missy won silver in her first event setting an American  record, but today she got her gold! I couldnt be more happy for her and I can't wait to see how many she racks up by the end of her events.

It wasn't until I got home and checked the times on the image data that I realized my 10minutes dwindled down to 5minutes from 1st shot to last. I was happy, the client was happy and I got back to Nashville with 15min to spare before my meeting! Good day indeed!

The Moments Between Assignments

About a week ago I got an assignment to shoot in Louisville, KY for SportsNet Magazine out of Canada. I had never been to Louisville before and with a previous editorial assignment already under my belt with this magazine I was more than excited to take the job. I got back into Nashville from Louisiana Thursday evening and loaded up Friday morning and hit the road to Louisville with my buckaroo Seth riding shotgun. 

We got into Louisville in time for a quick lunch at the Troll Pub before the shoot and made it over to Louisville Slugger Field with a half hour to spare. Unfortunately our field contact was not at his desk and seemed to be M.I.A.. We had a late start because of this and the field allotted us a whopping 10min to setup AND shoot! By the grace of God I got 3 different looks to send back to the editor and everyone was happy. (Images to come on a later blog)

When I got back in the car and headed out to find the nearest coffee shop to compose my frazzled brain a wonderful moment happened. As we got right outside of the downtown area of Louisville wide empty streets appeared, mix in the beautiful overcast sky and vibrant green trees I had to pull over! 

I hopped out and started shooting in the middle of the street the tranquil scene ahead of me. As I was shooting Seth stepped into frame and said "Hey get this". It looked as if he were gonna jump in the air and smile and I thought "Ah.. ok, been there done that but cool." Then Seth caught me off guard  with a backflip! I didn't see it coming and definitely wasn't shooting at a high enough shutter speed to catch that motion.


So I began to beg for another one! Seth was a little rusty and was hesitant to attempt it again and thought we may need to find a hospital if he tries a second time. But I kept pushing for one!

Just then a gentleman walks up out of nowhere and asked "Are you gonna do a backflip?" I said "I hope so!" and the gentleman said he wanted to watch. Then he said "Hey wanna get this?" and walked over to a pole and described his next move. I quickly adjusted camera settings and then he went for it! 

A perfectly executed backflip off a pole.. I had no clue why everyone was doing backflips all of a sudden, but what I was seeing on my camera screen made me all kinds of happy! Such a surreal moment in time captured.. It looks like he is just falling out the sky!

The gentleman then told us his tragic story and asked for money for a bus.. After the image he gave me I was happy to pay up!

He began to walk away and I focused back on begging Seth for another flip until he finally caved in. We walked back in the middle of the street and with the right camera settings this time Seth went for it again and I snapped one shot.

It was such a great few minutes after a very stressful shoot.. It made me so happy that I pulled over to shoot that moment that I saw and made me regret the times in the past that I was too much in a hurry to stop and photograph something.

Lesson learned, sometimes it's the spur of the moment images you capture in between assignment that really make you happy.

Just slow down once in awhile!  

Greg Banks: Big Easy to Big Apple


"Are you going to a disco party?" a man yells out from his car as Greg and I begin to shoot. We both laugh and in my head I think to myself "He has no clue..". You see Greg Banks is not only a man of soulful music ability, but Greg has one of the greatest fashion styles of anyone I know! When he arrived on set you would have thought he'd just walked out of the past, but the great thing is that Greg always dresses this way. Whether Greg is on stage, on set, or on his way to get groceries, he is a man of style!

"My fashion is a mashup between the 20's and the 70's."-Greg Banks


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"My music style is Neo-Soul/Funk."-Greg Banks


The name "Big East to Big Apple" came to us while we were shooting in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. Greg was preparing to make a big move the following week to New York City and we wanted to build a story around this chapter in his career and life. So that only meant one thing.. I was headed to NYC!

Just two weeks after we shot in New Orleans, Greg and I were roaming the streets on Brooklyn and Manhattan capturing his new life. 


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Not too long after we finished up all of the images I found out that American Way Magazine wanted to run a story on Greg and one of our images was going to be used. I have been in several magazines before, but what made this interesting was that American Way is the inflight magazine for American Airlines. How awesome would it be to have everyone on an American Airlines flight see my image, pretty nifty. 


The issue is now out so if you are flying American Airlines in the next month, be sure to flip through your inflight magazine to find Greg's article. 


Read the article online here: Greg Banks American Way

Everything Greg Banks: www.gregbanksmusic.com