A Day With The White House Press Pool

4 a.m wake up

5 a.m arrive at Hawaii Convention Center for security sweep

6 a.m secret service and dogs check all camera bags

7 a.m load buses to JW Marriott

8 a.m arrive JW Marriott

9 a.m move to first photo location APEC Leaders’ Meeting

10:30 photo spray at top of meeting

President Obama greets world leaders at APEC Leaders’ Meeting

11 a.m return to press hold to edit and upload images

1 p.m press pool moves to second photo location

2:30 p.m Leaders arrive for group photo

APEC Leaders gather for “Family Photo”

2:45 p.m return to press hold to edit and upload images

4:00 p.m move to third photo location for concluding press conference

5:00 p.m President Obama arrives for press conference

President Obama arrives for press conference

6:00 p.m setting sun frames President Obama as he concludes his press conference

President Obama concludes his press conference

6:30 p.m return to press hold to pack up gear

7:00 p.m board buses back to Honolulu

8:00 p.m arrive International Media Center at Hawaii Convention Center to edit and upload images

9:30 p.m quick dinner

11:00 bedtime

This was the final day of APEC Leaders’ Week in Hawaii and it was a long and exhausting experience, but one that I will not soon forget.

Landing the big one

As a young photographer, just out of college and idealistic enough to believe that my love of music was enough to have a career as a music photographer, I loved to look at books by established photographers.  The first book I remember spending a lot of time with was “Photo Diary” by Lynn Goldsmith.  This chronicle of her adventures with musicians on various shoots from the mid-seventies to the late eighties hooked me and I loved it.  The stories are insightful and allowed me a glimpse into a world I only dreamed about.  One story that has stuck with me over the years involves Bob Dylan and an assignment that she received in 1976.  Lynn tells the story better than I do so I will use her words here,

“But I never really experienced what it meant to be a professional photographer until I got a call late one night in 1976 to come down to Secret Studio to photograph Bob Dylan and Bette Midler.  I grabbed my cameras and hopped in a cab.  I was so excited I started talking to myself, saying over and over, ‘I’m going to shoot Dylan, Bob Dylan!’  The driver heard me and pulled over.  He told me to get out of his cab, he didn’t want to drive ‘no assassins’.

Many photographers use this term ‘shoot’ to describe the act of making pictures but in today’s world it is best to change the verb under certain circumstances.  This morning I received a similar call and an assignment that makes me very excited.  When I step into the cab and head to the airport on Sunday I will only say, “I am off to Hawaii to photograph the President of the United States, Barack Obama.”

For more information or images visit www.scottchernis.com

Putting my Political Science Degree to Work

When I received the call from The State Department this past summer regarding APEC 2011, an economic summit being held in San Francisco in September I did not know what to expect.  As a photographer my name gets passed around and I am often asked to submit proposals for a variety of projects.  This one however was different than anything I had done before, but I felt like it was the right job for me.  As a college freshman at Tulane University I signed up as a Political Science major.  I always enjoyed politics and had no idea what else I should study so I went with it.  Once in New Orleans my focus quickly shifted outside of the classroom and I began to explore and study the city I was living in.  Eventually I took a photography class and the rest as they say is history.  My love for music and deep respect for the traditions of New Orleans led me to jazz and for the past 15 years I have been shooting this truly American art form.  Jazz photography has been the thread that keeps me tethered to my passion and while I shoot a wide range of subject matter it is jazz that I always come back to.

When I received word that Scott Chernis Photography had been chosen as the APEC 2011 official photographer I knew it was going to be a great project to work on.  I have come full circle and one week in with one week to go, the APEC 2011 Senior Officials Meeting in San Francisco has been an experience like no other.  From the opening remarks by California Governor Jerry Brown to the two days of meetings chaired by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood I have been immersed in the functions of international politics like never before in my life.  I sat in on Bilateral meetings with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and have created countless images of foreign dignitaries from around the Asian Pacific Region.  The week culminated with an address by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at the Women and The Economy Summit, which is being held in conjunction with APEC2011.

The days have been long and the pace has been fast, but the experience has been amazing and I am looking forward to shooting at this level again in the future.  It has been inspiring to see so many committed, bright, hard working people come together to pull off an event of this magnitude.  Week two began today.

To see more work from Scott Chernis visit http://www.scottchernis.com


SF Outside Lands has arrived

In four short years Outside Lands, the music festival in Golden Gate Park has established itself as the premier summer music festival in California, perhaps even the country.  This eclectic mix of music, food, art and human personalities has found its groove and should be a part of the San Francisco scene for many years to come. Following is  small sample of photos shot by Scott Chernis on Saturday from the three day music festival.

The food truck forest

Outside Lands

Christina Perri

Old 97’s

Only in San Francisco A cello playing Wizard in the forest

The Roots

Twin Peaks Stage

Warren Haynes Band

Outside Lands sunset

Muse plays for 60,000+

Golden Gate Bridge

This may or may not be true, but I believe the Golden Gate Bridge is the most photographed landmark in the world.  When this is the case how are we to find one more interesting angle to shoot.  With the 75th anniversary of this incredible structure being celebrated all year; cameras are sure to be snapping.  Many years ago when I was younger and blessed with much less common sense I walked into the Waldo Tunnel to shoot the bridge framed by arch of the tunnel.  This was dangerous and stupid and the police quickly lectured me on that fact, I also received a $50.00 ticket.  I recently shot a portrait of an SFTravel Association executive with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop and we made a nice image with an interesting perspective of the bridge.  Regardless of the over saturation of Golden Bridge imagery I find it hard not to shoot this bridge.  The light is always changing, the fog is a constant factor and the view is breathtaking.  This year I will honor the bridge by trying to photograph all her beauty and find something different to look at.

For more work check out  http://www.scottchernis.com

24 hours in the life of photographer Scott Chernis

Everyday in the life of a freelance anything is a bit different than the one before or after it.  Photography is one of those jobs that does not follow a steady rhythm, at least not my line of work.  Take a recent 24 hour period as an example that most likely will be repeated in the future with a completely different rhythm and result.  Drinking scotch and shooting out the window with renowned photojournalist Rick Friedman www.rickfriedman.com at the Starlight Room on the top floor of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in downtown San Francisco is a good way to start any evening. From there I walked three blocks to the Hotel Nikko where I was to meet Kim Nalley www.kimnalley.com who has taken up a five week residency at the Rrazz Room playing a 5 night a week tribute to Nina Simone. She requested me to come by and shoot the band. After a stellar set of music I met up with her guitarist Greg Skaff in from New York to play the gig who also needed some updated photography for himself. Around 11:00 we were atop the Ellis/O’Farrell garage setting up for a portrait. The lights of the Palomar Hotel framed the back drop as the city wound down another day and I finally headed home for a short rest. Thursday morning had me scrambling about on five hours of sleep to get the kids to camp, and my equipment packed for a three shoot day. Intersection for the Arts www.theintersection.org recently opened their latest gallery installation “Sweet Beans and Rice: Investigating a Chino-Latino Future”. As I have been doing for years I was hired to document the gallery. These shoots are some of my favorite moments when I get to spend a couple of hours alone in a gallery with incredible art and make pictures. Upon completion of shoot number one I headed across town to another rooftop, this time in Chinatown, where I was to meet a new client, with a new business and a need for headshots. Setting up lights in the Stockton tunnel and creating a striking portrait was a challenge and an experience. I had no idea so many people walked through that tunnel and the sidewalk is quite narrow. With the sun going down on another San francisco day I had just enough time to eat a bit of dinner with the family before heading south to the campus of Stanford University and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. In it’s 40th year the SJW www.stanfordjazz.org puts on 30+ shows and holds three separate weeks of Jazz Camp each summer on the Stanford University Campus. This night was legendary Brazilian singer-songwriter and guitarist Milton Nacimento and I was shooting for the festival as I have done for the past eleven years. A great performance and a perfect end to a busy 24 hours in the life of Scott Chernis Photography.

It all started in New Orleans

New Orleans changed my life. As an 18 year old college freshman, I left home and embarked on an unknown path in a very different city from where I grew up. It took me a few years to begin to understand the complexities and uniqueness of New Orleans, and as the layers were slowly revealed to me I was hooked. I had been a music lover for years and enjoyed live performance from many genres, but when I discovered jazz and the brass bands of New Orleans something inside of me changed. I wanted to get close to this music, I needed to feel it and since I did not play an instrument myself I picked up my camera and attempted to document it. At first the results were less than satisfying as I was still learning my craft, but a few memorable moments in the darkroom seeing that image appear in the developer pushed me to improve my skills and find what I was looking for. This yearning began a process that has continued to this day and I am still searching for the heart and soul of New Orleans. It has been nearly 20 years since I first picked up a camera in New Orleans and while I now live in San Francisco and work as a Bay Area Photographer I have made numerous trips to New Orleans and I continue to photograph the musical culture of the city. After Hurricane Katrina I was able to utilize my vast archive of New Orleans’ images to raise money, through print sales for musicians relief and last year the hit HBO series Treme used one of my brass band photos in the opening credits for the show. All of the pieces of my photography career, my life in New Orleans and now San Francisco came together at a recent SFJAZZ show at Davies Symphony Hall. “A Night in Treme” a traveling tribute to the history of New Orleans music and culture which showcases many of the shows real and acted roles opened a national tour in San Francisco. I was contracted by SFJAZZ to photograph the performance by Kermit Ruffins, Donald Harrison, Big Sam Williams, Dr. Michael White, The Rebirth Brass Band and hosted by Wendell Pierce. It was dream come true. Some of the finest music available today and an enthusiastic crowd appreciating the city that I love.For a look at photos from the show check out http://www.scottchernis.com/A_Night_in_Treme_gallery/index.html and to see more of my work both from New Orleans and beyond http://www.scottchernis.com

A Night in treme

Wendell Pierce and Clark Peters share the stage at Davies Symphony Hall