Cotopaxi is an outdoor gear brand from Salt Lake City, Utah. Each piece of Cotopaxi gear is tied to a humanitarian cause in one of the poorest regions of the world. In an effort to be transparent, Cotopaxi makes very clear where the proceeds from each piece of gear sold go, as well as the effect that they have on the lives of the people there.
Cotopaxi gear was made available for purchase for the first time in May of 2014. At the end of April and beginning of May, we traveled to Arizona with Cotopaxi to shoot promotional photography for their launch.
All photos shot on an Olympus OM-1 MD and Zuiko lenses; a 28mm f2.8, a 50mm f1.8 and a 135mm f2.8. One half roll of expired Portra 120, several rolls of Ektar 100 and several rolls of Portra 400 color negative film. Any photos that are black and white were done so after scanning them with a Nikon Coolscan V.
This album can seem an understatement at first listen. Almost like some of the music leaves you wanting more, as if it doesn’t quite deliver as much punch as you are expecting. Jose Gonzales’ vocals sit right in between emotive and dramatically understated, almost like a melancholy complacency. But everything that seems missing is actually there, nearly hidden in the details. Spotify.
Although his lyrical content doesn’t sit well with me some (sometimes a lot of) the time, He’s in the running for my favorite living lyricist. This whole album seemingly functions as a confession, an intimate look into Earl’s mind and his struggles with his newfound infamy, his lack of motivation, and his discontent of everyone’s expectations of his life. Spotify.
Woodkid, otherwise known as Yoann Lemoine, is one of those do-it-all creatives. He’s worked as a photographer, a DP/Cinematographer/Director, and is now making music. His film background shows in this music, which at times feels more like a movie score soundtrack than just another 14 song album. We’ve been waiting for this album since the premiere of the “Iron” Video. Go watch it now on vimeo. Spotify.
This is not your NIN of the 90s. It’s not as angry. There’s not as much hate. This is NIN stripped down, presenting the elements of the NIN sound in a spartan and minimalist way, forcing you to really experience them in this uneasy atmosphere the slowly driving beats create. It’s easy to forget about the vocals, to forget about what Trent Reznor is saying even though the lyrics are more exposed with the simpler instrumentation. Listen close though, they are perhaps the most personal lyrics he’s ever written. Spotify.
The forced antiquated sounds of the trendy modern folk-rock band that bring to mind images of wool vests, steam trains, fedoras (real fedoras), pomade, and suspenders are like a thorn in my side. Midlake, however, manages to not only to produce a timeless sound incredibly well, they do so honestly; in a way that’s relevant for 2014. Unconventional song structures and unique mixes of a familiar, sometimes antiquated sounds, and great harmonies in the vocals come together into a great album. Spotify.
There’s not much to say about this one. It’s dark, it’s mean. It starts grinding, and doesn’t really stop for an hour and 15 (besides 7 minutes of “Evergreen” towards the end there). The wailing and echoing is haunting. All of these seemingly negative forces at work all come together to make something awesome. Spotify.
Reflektor – another instant classic Arcade Fire album. It’s distinctively Arcade Fire, with an expected progression, or evolution in their music. Meeting expectations isn’t a bad thing in this case, as expectations were high. Just like every album before it, it takes a minute to digest. But in the end, it’s imaginative and full sounding, strange and quirky, running the middle ground between pop and drug inspired art rock. Listen to the lyrics once you’ve got a handle on the sound. Spotify.
Jay Z shows that he’s still on top. Jay Z performed “Picasso Baby” for six hours straight at the Chelsea Pace, dancing and rapping to the likes of Marina Abramovic and Picasso’s granddaughter herself in a private/public concert. He has worked tirelessly to bring an appreciation for his art, which started as poetry about his experiences dealing cocaine and selling CDs out of his car in Bed-Stuy. Spotify.
This album is simple. It’s melodic, and relaxing, and a little depressing. The lyrics are super personal and super honest, almost a a cynical train-of-thought transcription. Don’t miss the song “Bliss”, it’s about anything but. Spotify.
This image is enjoying quite the ride around the digital world in recent weeks. I habitually monitor traffic to my Flickr feed including what sites are linking to photographs. Several days in a row “In Rainbows” was receiving significantly higher traffic than anything else in my photo stream. A Tumblr image blog under the name LEHROI posted and linked that image back to my Flickr. His blog design has changed now, but for awhile I could see statistics showing the number of likes and shares the post was getting: 14,500. Not bad.
The following week, the imag hit Twitter. I woke up to my mail box full of notifications that my Twitter handle (@kuhnsben) was being called out in a number of different messages. Again, it was the ice castle image floating around.
A quick Google search yesterday afternoon lead me to an article showing not one, but all of my images from the ice sculpture. This morning I was alerted that The Cool Hunter had picked up the original image on their Instagram account where it has 15,500 likes and counting.
Long story short, I’m amazed at the outpouring of love for these images. It would be easy to harbor some anger to the sites posting my content, not one reached out to seek my permission to share the photographs. Yet, each one took the time to include my name and link back to my work – something that is all to easy to forgo on the web. To everyone liking, sharing, tweeting, etc., thank you for looking! See the full set of ice castle images below: