I love to travel for work. Love it. It's not without its difficulties, of course—just last week I spent an entire night in the Toronto airport because my late afternoon flight home was canceled and there were no hotels available anywhere (ironically because of the conference I was there to photograph)—but there's nothing better than getting out of Seattle once in a while for a fresh perspective. It really gets my creative juices in a blender. (That's a good thing, in case that wasn't clear.) Over the past year and a half, I've been so, so fortunate to do more work travel than ever before. Domestically, work has taken me to Palo Alto, Chicago (twice), San Francisco (lost count), Miami, Orlando, Portland, and San Diego (for the Comic Con, no less!). Internationally, I've been to Toronto, Barcelona, Helsinki, Singapore, and Nairobi and Nanyuki in Kenya. It has been nothing short of amazing. Kenya was an especially unique experience, and one I'll never forget. I've made space on my website for some images from that job, and I'd encourage you to have a look if you are interested. It's a great story.
Truthfully, each trip deserves its own blog entry...but instead, I'm just going to post a very few highlights. These aren't images I shot for clients, but rather quirky people and things of interest to me along the way.
Easily the best Leeloo you or I or anyone else has ever seen. Taken at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con while covering the Halo presence for Microsoft.
You can't walk through La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona without thinking over and over again, "Are you kidding me with this?" I was extremely lucky to see this place while in Spain to shoot the 2015 GSMA Mobile World Congress.
Spiral staircase in one of the towers at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, definitely the most audacious work of architecture I've ever witnessed. Except for the few moments I spent taking these pictures, I hugged the outside of this staircase as I contemplated whether US safety regulations would ever allow such a thing. Certainly not.
Door detail, La Sagrada Familia.
I didn't have a ton of time in Helsinki, but I did go out one night for drinks with our makeup artist, Pinksu. Here we are exchanging glasses for a moment. I'd've made the trade permanent—I think I look fetching—but she doesn't wear anything that isn't pink. Meeting her was the highlight of the Finland visit, and I'm delighted that we still keep in touch. Be sure to check out her work, because it's every bit as amazing as she is.
And this is, without question, the most...um, intriguing(?) thing I saw in Helsinki. It's across the street from the ferry terminal, at...well, nowhere in particular. Seriously, is this not the most arbitrary placement of public art you've ever seen? What's going on here? This is a statue called Bad Bad Boy, and I found it equal parts hilarious and grotesque. Best part is, it's a fountain—like Manneken Pis in Brussels, this guy pees. I'm bummed it wasn't active for this photo, and also that I didn't get a photo of its saggy little butt. If you'd like to see these things, though, check out this video.
The most striking thing about Singapore that's readily apparent is the imaginative architecture. These are just a couple buildings I was able to snap from the car.
In Singapore, you can go to a place called Selfie Coffee and have your photo printed on your latte's foam. This is Jen, the very talented writer for the Singapore story. Her selfie coffee is epic because she did her photo in such a way that she could have the straw sticking out of her mouth.
Just for fun, a selfie with a monkey hanging from the ceiling at Selfie Coffee in Singapore (I'm on the right). In the middle there is Jen, laughing at me.
After the work in Singapore, we flew up to Thailand for a personal week instead of heading home. This is a group of plastic zebras in Bangkok. Lawn ornaments, maybe? Fun fact: a group of zebras is called a zeal, or a dazzle (see: dazzle camouflage).
Whether it's a painting of Mark Ruffalo or soap in the shape of a penis, you can get anything your heart desires at the sprawling, downright overwhelming Chatuchak Market in Bangkok.
In Chiang Rai, a couple hours north of Chiang Mai, is an astonishing place called The White Temple. Designed and constructed by local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, it's not so much a Buddhist temple as it is an art exhibit in the style of one. It's gloriously insane. Oddest of all are the western pop culture references peppered throughout. In the temple itself is an otherworldly mural (no photography allowed, unfortunately)—against a backdrop of flames and strange planets, you'll recognize familiar elements such as Spider-Man, Kung Fu Panda, the Terminator, Freddy Krueger, Michael Jackson, Harry Potter, the Twin Towers on fire, Transformers, Elvis Presley, Neo from The Matrix, and Angry Birds. I kid you not.
Pop culture references on the White Temple grounds—Batman, Pinhead from Hellraiser, Hellboy, and others. And a Predator, because why not?
Outstretched hands below the bridge to the White Temple. I could have photographed them all afternoon, but the guards were quite insistent that people keep moving.
They even did the traffic cones. Amazing. And there's me hanging out with...geez, I don't even know what.