I had an awesome opportunity back in late August to go document and experience a place I’ve always wanted to go – Upton Boxing Center for Baltimore magazine. It was an awesome opportunity to work with 16 year old, 165lb boxer Lorenzo “Truck” Simpson who recently won his sixth National Silver Gloves Championship and a gold medal at the Junior Boxing Olympics, surpassing Oscar De La Hoya. He’s currently preparing for the 2020 US Olympic Trials as the top ranked 165lb amateur boxer in the country with a 161-2 record.
I’m not a huge boxing fan, but you can tell the way he hits, talks and acts that he’s special. Here’s a few of my favorites from my time with Truck, the coaches and boxers at Upton.
This spring I got a chance to go back-to-school by working with Maryvale Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 Catholic girls school here in Baltimore. We documented the beautiful and modern campus over two fast-paced days of admissions marketing photography concentrating on student collaboration, 8-1 student-to-faculty ratio, advanced technology resources (3D printers and robotics!), STEM curriculum, art studios, athletic facilities and the energetic campus.
Here are a few of my favorites from the project, to see the whole project, check it out here – http://www.ebrianschneider.com/#/maryvale-prep/.
Last month I spent the afternoon with Baltimore Corps CEO Fagan Harris at their row-home headquarters in Federal Hill on assignment for OZY.com. Harris is a rising star locally who is helping change the city of Baltimore for the better by connecting business leaders and creatives with social enterprises, city government and non-profits through his social entrepreneurship venture Baltimore Corps.
It was a fun assignment for me because I was exposed to another person in Baltimore who’s trying to improve the city. It was great to share experiences, views, goals and hope for Baltimore.
What do Character, Talent, and Style all have in common? It’s how Under Armour picks its sponsorship athletes.
Back in April I had a chance to photograph Under Armour executives Ryan Kuehl and Adreinne Lofton for Baltimore magazine. They find these “under-the-radar” athletes who have exploded over the last few years – Stephen Curry, Jordan Speith, Tom Brady, Misty Copeland, Cam Newton, and Bryce Harper to name a few.
With both of them on crazy travel schedules, we were able to find a 15 minute time slot where both were free and in Baltimore together at the Under Armour Brand House in Harbor East. We were able to knock through 3 different setups to give the magazine the most flexibility.
With a project this large, it’s never done alone. It’s a team effort to pull off a project of this size and complexity. We shot Feb 18 & 19 at 11 different locations, spending 32 hours on-set, most of it in the freezing cold. In fact, I’ve truly never been as cold as I was during Invictus. I wore sweats to bed and took hot showers, to finally return my body temperature to a normal level by the next week. I actually made a weather call for a shoot with a client, “It won’t be Invictus cold.” so we shot it.
It all started over 6 years ago before we even moved to Baltimore. I was a senior at Clemson with graduation approaching very fast, Em and I weren’t even engaged (though the ring was hiding under her bed in a safe spot), and I was at a very interesting fork in the road. Basically where do I go with my new college degree, what do I want to do, what am I supposed to do, where do Em and I want to start a life together post-college?
I went to school for Computer Science, but long before I had fallen in love with baseball, which led me in to photography. I would be so stoked to get Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine every week and would just study the photos. I always dreamed about being a staff photographer for SI or have my name as a contributor at ESPN. When I got to Clemson I was able to work at The Tiger where I was fortunate to meet an amazing group of professional photographers who took me under their wings, showed me the ropes and became a sounding board (Bart, Ken, Nathan, Phil, Sefton, Rex, Vern). I was able to grow from just working with The Tiger, Tina LeMay’s Office of Publications, working with the local papers and then eventually a wire service covering Clemson athletics.
With graduation coming up fast, I knew Em wouldn’t want to stay in South Carolina. I also didn’t want to stay anymore, I wanted to go out and experience something different. While I was able to make it rain at Tiger Town Tavern every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights; the stringing work I was doing wasn’t as sustainable as I would’ve liked. Having worked for the DoD as an intern in school, I had a very marketable technical skill set and had job offers all over the east coast. Neither of us had lived in a city and we wanted to have that experience. There was something about Baltimore that had a draw to it. So we decided that’s where we were going to live. We didn’t know what “it” was at the time.
I remember the first time I told them we’re moving to Baltimore – the reaction was less than positive – at our routine Sunday Schneider Family Dinner (Since we lived 20min from campus). My mom said, “Have you heard about ‘The Wire’?” – this from a family that has NEVER subscribed to HBO. “Why do you want to live in a city?”, “You know there’s lots of crime”. “What if you get mugged?” … and on for the whole dinner. Sadly these questions have plagued the last six years as I travel for work, see family, etc.
With my shiny new degree, a computer programming job and an engagement ring removed from hiding, I moved onto the 500 block of South Montford in Baltimore City during Snowpacalypse 2010. I even got to shovel out my street so the moving truck could bring the stuff to the house. I knew as I walked into my “real job” on the first day, I had made a mistake. I wasn’t going to sit behind a desk. I restarted my business and while I did a lot of editorial sports coverage, I wanted something more. I wanted to work on projects that have lasting impact, that make the viewer stop. I’ve found over the last year or so, I get super excited about projects that have a human element. The overarching questions for these projects are: “Why would someone do this?”, “What makes them tick?”, “Who are they?”.
I know we didn’t make a mistake moving to Baltimore. There’s an energy/buzz/passion that flows through the City every day. It was here as soon as we moved here on those snowy days in February. There are people – my friends, neighbors, acquaintances, creatives, entrepreneurs – who wake up, do their work and are a positive influence on the City. I was fortunate to get a grant for HackTheTrash and led a team of community activists, artists, and non-profits to not only help destroy litter, but to bring public, community art to the park. Baltimore allows you to be a maker, you just go out and do it. Em and I live across the street from Patterson Park – a beautiful urban oasis that Annie runs freely catching her tennis balls every day. We found a home, fixed it up, host parties, clean up the ally, watch out for neighbors, run the business and work in the City. This is the life we’ve built and we were only able to do it in Baltimore.
Fast forward to April 2015, we were at the Orioles game with out-of-town family the night before the riots. We attended a friend’s wedding at the Peabody Library the first night of the unrest; we went home and watched it after celebrating our friend’s new marriage. The next few days everything in the city got turned upside down. We watched protests turn violent, watch buildings burned, stores looted. We irrationally had Annie’s leash in the room and a golf club for protection the first night; because Annie’s aggresive bark and my Callaway steelhead was going to save us if someone looted the house. The second night we sat out with neighbors on our block having beers and talking, ignoring the City’s mandatory curfew. It was surreal and even though it was about 3 miles from the house, it felt like a whole world away.
We all agreed on one thing – This isn’t the Baltimore we knew. The Baltimore we knew got up the next day, helped the businesses clean up the destruction, created a peaceful wall between protesters and police, and community groups came together to help stop the destruction.
The newest questions to add when I travel: “How were the riots, did you get hurt, was there damage?” “Is the city safe again?” “Are you going to move?” “Did I loose business do to the riots?” “What about that Mayor?” “Why didn’t they stop it?” and on and on.
There are real issues that Baltimore is dealing with on a daily basis: crime, poverty, post-industrial decay, blight, failing infrastructure, schools, budgets, local government mismanagement. These issues suck. There are people who trying to fix these issues. The worst part about calling Baltimore home – these constant questions are maddening/frustrating/sad. The outside doesn’t see the Baltimore we see every day.
We want to change the narrative and show the side of Baltimore we see everyday. As a creative, lets try to do it through art. Myself and Lee Morton of Mozell Films co-directed this collaborative stills + motion project. It’s a story of heart and hustle of a Baltimore teen, motivated by basketball, inspired by family to persevere through the environment. On Monday we’ll share the Making of Invictus 344.
One of the most rewarding projects I had in 2015 was documenting the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Spinal Cord Injury Center’s hand cycling team training and competing in the Baltimore Running Festival. I spent 4 days during the month of October documenting their training rides and marathon day. Our goal was to show their patients as athletes. You think this would be obvious, but after talking with Erin and the team throughout the planning process, the general public doesn’t see their work, dedication, and that they are in fact athletes because they spend their days in a wheelchair. We wanted to change that.
For those of you who haven’t been in Baltimore for a Marathon Day, you are missing out because it’s amazing. People line the streets to watch thousands file by while in agony, usually beer in hand; Em and I live right on the Marathon’s path; our neighbors also throw a great party. It’s definitely worth experiencing in person.
Some of them have raced (running to dirt bikes) before their injury, while others have found it as an outlet after injury. Most of the racers are mechanically inclined due to constant fixing issues with their chairs or bikes to solve daily life issues. There’s something about working with these athletes that I have yet to articulate well, other than I’m always truly inspired by their attitude, work ethic and determination.
Tomorrow I’ll share the studio portraits of the team. Here’s a link to the full story – http://www.ebrianschneider.com/handcycle/
Back in November I had a chance to shoot John Urshel at the Baltimore Ravens facility. John isn’t like any other football player. He graduated from Penn State with both his Masters and Bachelors in Mathematical Sciences. He’s gotten a fair amount of press over his published papers and playing in the NFL at the same time. I had a chance to shoot him on seamless for Baltimore magazine. I graduated with a degree in computer science, so I took a fair amount of math – Calculus, Discrete Math, Linear Algebra, Computational Computing – during my time at Clemson. I never would’ve thought in a million years I’d get a chance to shoot a portrait of an NFL athlete who is a math nerd. Offensive lineman are hard for me because they don’t hold the ball, but they also aren’t interesting recognizable due to their position.
We were fortunate to have 10 min with John to make a portrait, spending time talking about Turing machines and driving crappy cars. Thanks to Travis for the awesome assist.
I’m excited to share some new commercial portraits with local nutrition and fitness blogger Sara Cooper. We wanted to have a clean, rustic, and urban feel for thee photos. We spent the day in studio setting up and propping our “kitchen”, then Sara got to work prepping a beautiful kale salad with avocados, beets, and other healthy foods. We shot details of the food, portraits, and some brief kettle bell action to create custom imagery for her new website launch.
I’ve been addicted recently to using the old windows for backgrounds and light for recent portraits. I also discovered during this shoot, that the studio doubles as a great place to train. Here’s a few of my favorites from the day.
Now that this photo has finally hit the newsstands – Baltimore April 2014 – I can share this fun shoot I did with Baltimore tech startup OrderUp at their company headquarters. For those of you who haven’t heard of OrderUp, they are a food ordering and delivery service focusing on small markets, usually college towns and are already profitable. They’ve also made waves by hiring former Domino’s CTO who built the Pizza Tracker App.
With the recent expansion of the service to non-college towns like Towson, MD and Raleigh, NC, I got a call from Baltimore magazine to do a portrait featuring the two co-founders. If you can put a logo on a product, OrderUp has and most likely it will be on the swag wall. Both Chris and Jason were super laid back and up to try a few different things. We ran through a few different setups, but this was my favorite from the shoot, it was also one the magazine selected. Doesn’t always happen, but cool when it does.