Kurt Warner - USA Weekend

Kurt Warner photographed in Phoenix

Look out in your Sunday paper if you get USA Weekend. We shot the cover story of Kurt Warner, their 2009 Most Caring Athlete. The last time I photographed Kurt it was in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl when he was a Ram. The PR team from The Cardinals were a big help in setting up the shoot that took place at their practice facility after practice.  Please read the article and you will see why this award is so well deserved.

Nice to see a successful player making the world a better place. Congrats Kurt! To learn more about his charity please visit

3-D Contrast DVD wins HOT ONE Award

I just received news that Professional Photographer Magazine gave a HOT ONE Award to our 3-Dimensional Contrast -Principles of Photographic Lighting DVD for one of the best educational products of the year. This program is based on Dean Collin's theory of 3-D contrast and covers a detailed overview of lighting for both stills and moving pictures. I worked with Dean for many years as both his studio manager and assistant. The information is presented by myself and director/cameraman, Bill Holshevnikoff. If you are looking to learn more about lighting for your photography, I think you will be pleased with this one.

We have a limited number for sale direct from our studio, please email if interested. Price is $45 plus tax and shipping. Also available at

You can learn more about Bill Holshevnikoff and his video lighting education at

Linsey Corbin - underwater photography without getting wet!

I had the fortunate opportunity to shoot the latest issue of Triathlete Magazine, featuring Linsey Corbin. Linsey was the top U.S. female finisher in Kona last year and was a pleasure to photograph. The image was to appear on the cover of their wetsuit profile issue, and they requested a shot that involved water. I pitched the idea of an underwater portrait. Unfortunately the heater for the pool went out the day prior to the shoot. Linsey was freezing, but a true champ. I asked her a few times if she needed to take a break, "I'm a f***ing Ironman" she replied with a smile. Perhaps all models should do Kona once for perspective of what discomfort really is! The issue should be hitting news stands any day. To learn more about Linsey check out her website,

We did the shoot at a sporting goods store that has a pool with had five large windows. Three of the windows are located in the store where patrons can watch scuba classes in action, the other two windows face the parking lot. To the right of camera, we put two large Chimera softboxes in the parking lot windows so they filled the entire windows. One Profoto Acute head and a 1200 pack powered each light. I was shooting from the windows in the store and blocked out the ambient store lights and reflections by placing a black curtain behind camera and getting the lens as close to the glass a possible. We shot with a 28-70mm zoom lens so I had some flexibility in composition as Linsey moved around. Strobes were triggered with Pocket Wizard radio slaves. The final image required a bit of clean up to retouch out a ladder from the background. No air tanks or camera housing required!

PHOTO PLUS, NYC - More 20x24 Polaroids!

I was back in New York for the photo expo and took the 20x24 Polaroid to Javits to shoot. It was a great trip and I was able to record another 17 artists for my "Behind Photographs" project. Life Magazine legends, Henry Groskinsky and John Dominis came in along with Danny Clinch, Lauren Greenfield, Gary Knight, Lois Greenfield, John Iacono, Howard Schatz, Bob McNeely and several more. (Don't want of give it all away yet!) I could have never done it without the continued efforts of John Reuter and Jen Trausch from 20x24 Holdings LLC. Thanks for helping to bring this project to life. If you would like to shoot with this camera, you can rent one from John Reuter in New York or Tracy Storer in San Francisco. Expensive, but worth every penny. But watch out, it is addicting, you have been warned!

We had a small room to shoot in, about 12x12. Let's just say it was cozy by the time we got the camera, lights and background in place and if you miss the toxic smell of Polaroid, I got enough for myself and every other photographer in the country over the three days.

You can check out a video of the shoot at Special thanks to John Harrington for coming in and documenting a bit of the shoot.

And congratulations to Johnny Iacono (pictured here) for this Lucie Award this year for Achievement In Sports. Thanks for helping to pave the way for the rest of us! I know V.J. Lovero is looking down on you with a big smile John.

Life Rolls On

I made the mecca to Hollywood's Kodak Theater on Sunday for a gala charity event to help raise funds for the Life Rolls On Foundation. If you are unaware of Jesse Billauer's story, visist the foundations website at for some inspiration and a reality check. The foundation is raising funds for spinal cord research and to better those disadvantaged by unfortunate accidents. It was great to see not only a few Hollywood stars like Jenna Fischer (The Office), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) and Nikki Hilton show up to give support, but the highlight for the crowd was the opportunity to visit with 9 - time world champion Kelly Slater, along with Rob Machado and Brandon Boyd of Incubus. A special thanks to Josh and Jessie Billauer for letting me be a part of the Life Rolls On family.

If you are an Incubus fan, check out Bradon Boyd's latest art book, From The Murks of the Sultry Abyss. I worked on this project with the very talented Mark Murphy to record Brandon's artwork for the book. 

Tim Mantoani by Anne Telford

Tim Mantoani photographs an America you almost think you remember. He makes honest, simple pictures of everyday Americans. His is not so much an Avedon vision of America as a Cartier-Bresson one where through the small moments we all experience we are made to feel part of the larger community of man. Athletes celebrate their prowess and people react with their environment in uncontrived settings.

It’s apparent upon first entering Mantoani’s photo studio that he appreciates cultural artifacts. A rusted-out refrigerator holds stereo equipment and an old photo booth and soda machine lend a small-town 1950s air to the efficient and eclectic space near San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood, conveniently located next to a camera store. If the vintage touches don’t instantly ground you, go into the kitchen, pick out your favorite candy from a variety of jars, and sit at the picnic table that serves as a conference table.

It’s also clear that Mantoani feels an emotional connection with the athletes he has photographed since the age of 21. He took his first photographs on a school field trip. He started out at U.C. Santa Cruz but transferred to Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, his sophomore year, when he realized he really wanted to be a photographer.

As a child he had an Instamatic 110 with a flip flash and relished the opportunity at holidays to use his grandmother’s Polaroid SX-70. “The first time I looked through a 35 SLR camera I was a freshman in high school,” Mantoani relates. On a summer school trip to Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania he remembers standing on the steps above the Liberty Bell when one of the chaperones handed him his camera and asked him to take a picture. He can relate in excruciating detail what type of camera and lens it was, and the feeling he got when he framed his subject through the telephoto lens. That was Mantoani’s decisive moment. His neighbor in the San Francisco Bay Area town of San Carlos owned the local camera store and encouraged his father to buy Tim a second-hand camera. He still has that camera, and many more.

Mantoani comes from a family of collectors. His mom has collected Kewpie dolls since childhood and his dad, a hunter, collects duck decoys. Tim collects photographs—moments—which he captures with a variety of equipment. He muses about the sentimental value of cameras that one finds in thrift stores. “I think it’d be great if every time a photographer sells their camera, there’s a little journal that goes with it. I think of my Hasselblad... If this just showed up anonymously at the swap meet they would have no idea where this camera had been. What has this camera seen? What images has it recorded?” he wonders, ticking off the names of famous athletes he has captured over the years on his own equipment.

Photographer Dean Collins was his mentor. “He was the photographic educator,” Mantoani explains. Collins had an internship program, and Tim came to San Diego for seven weeks to work with him. He’d come down whenever he had a break, sweeping the studio and hanging out. Collins offered him a job as studio manager fresh out of school. Three years later Tim moved to associate photographer and after Collins retired, he and colleague Marshall Williams set up shop at their present location.

“The portraits that I’ve done have some staying power as far as a historical body of work that will live beyond me,” Mantoani says. “With the athletes I can say ‘I documented this group of people that were at the top of their sport in this period in history’ and that will have historical relevance versus shooting widgets in the studio for catalogs.”

Mantoani’s latest project documents both a disappearing medium—Polaroids—and photography’s old guard, the guys who apprenticed with the greats and refined their techniques in the darkroom. At home with a view camera Mantoani is using a Polaroid 20 x 24-inch camera to make portraits of noted photographers. The angle he has hit upon, photographing the photographers holding a print of one of their iconic photographs, is powerful and simple, much like his work. His honest, simple pictures scratch the surface to reveal the personality of his subject: their character, their passion. In the process he is honoring both the vanishing photographic medium that pioneered “instant” photography, and the venerable lens men who have collectively captured decades of culture and celebrity with their own cameras. Legendary rock photographers Jim Marshall, Michael Zagaris and Dan Kramer have posed for Mantoani, along with Walter Iooss, Neil Liefer, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Pete Turner, Eric Meola and Roberto Salas.

It’s not surprising that he gets to the heart of things. Nearly seven years ago, he developed a rare form of cancer. His son Lucas was born ten days after Tim’s surgery. No wonder that when asked what he likes to do in his spare time, he replies “Be a dad.”

“If you want to get all your stress out of the way at once, you buy a house, find out you have a tumor in your leg, close escrow on your house 3 days later, do 30 days of radiation, have your leg sawed in half, have a baby 10 days later and then do 6 months of chemotherapy,” Mantoani explains.

His mentor Collins’s death at 51, and his own brush with mortality, have informed his work in many ways. A surgeon telling him “get your affairs in order, you’re not going make it through this,” made him realize there was a limited time to make the Polaroid portrait project happen. He is creating a body of work that will be more relevant as time passes and the materials disappear.

“As a photographer, we document other artists and cultures and parts of society. But there are only a handful of people I can think of who have documented photographers,” he muses. “I don’t think anybody has done it in this format and it’s coming at a time when all of the film has been made, there are factories being torn down and I don’t know how long it’s going to be—maybe two years from now? There’s a good possibility that you’ll never be able to shoot in that medium again.

“Maybe this kind of a project hasn’t been done, because it’s very intimidating to contact these people, ask, and then they walk in the room and you think ‘OK, I’m going to take a picture of you and you are one of the best photographers around!’”

In an age where it’s hard to tell what is real and what is digitally altered, it’s refreshing to find a photographer who likes to keep it honest and simple. The result is powerful portraits and unvarnished craft. Mantoani speaks of the purity of the single frame in black-and-white photography. You can see in his eyes that that ideal sparks his creative drive; the dichotomy between shooting nearly limitless frames with a digital camera, with composing $75 pieces of film, offers a desirable challenge.

As for his latest project, “I think I’ll be done when I can’t think of anybody else to shoot who’ll come in, or I can’t shoot anymore because there’s no film left,” Mantoani says.

Brandon Boyd, Hanna-Barbera and Mark Murphy

I have been working with the amazingly talented Mark Murphy,, on a few books. Mark is a kid who actively archives living artists, as well as designs incredible art and coffee table books. It is interesting how he assembles collections and how he needs the support of photography to assist in the story telling.

First is "From the Murks of the Sultry Abyss," featuring a collection journals, paintings, photographs and drawings by Brandon Boyd. If you are an Incubus fan, this is a must see. Working along with Mark, creatively photographed Brandon's art work in the studio. Mark and I manipulated the painting featured on the cover of Brandon's new book to enhance the contrast so that specialty printing techniques and typography could be easily identified. The book turned out great and Incubus fans will not want to miss.

The second book is The Hanna-Barbera Treasury, published by Insight Editions, an imprint of the Palace Publishing Group. Mark and I worked together photographing a private collection of Hanna-Barbera collectibles. It was a trip, as we were somewhere, in a warehouse, filled with Batmobiles, Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers, and piles and piles of Hanna-Barbera artifacts. Mark worked on this project for over 7 months, and we were given one day to photograph over 120 artifacts. The book was presented like a scrapbook and there were over 20 collectible artifacts featured within the book. It is a great assembly of unique cartoon favorites including: the Flinstones, Scooby Doo, Tom and Jerry, Spaceghost, Atom Ant, Huckleberry Hound and hundreds of others.