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Portraits

One of my favorite parts of my current job is taking photographs, and at the brewery there are no shortage of subjects. For every new beer that comes to market, we take context photos (aka 'beer on bar') and studio photos for our website and advertising needs. If you've come to a Harpoon festival (Harpoon Fest is right around the corner), there's a good chance I've asked to take your photo. We organize photo shoots for promotional campaigns, create content to support programming like Harpoon Helps, and, sometimes, are asked to take headshots for events and/or news articles.
Photographing people can be a challenge, but it's also hugely rewarding. A well-done headshot of a colleague helps show them—and the company—in the best light possible.
I like to position people very close to a large window so they are lit by natural light and the background can more or less fade away. At the brewery, a pint and the taps imply the company connection. Keeping the subject phy…

'Sketching Block'

As an industrial design student, you are required to do roughly eighty ga-million sketches over the course of 4-5 years. The prompts for those sketches vary widely; sometimes they're extremely specific and sometimes they're as vague as 'do ten pages of sketches.' So it's inevitable that every student (and professional designer, for that matter) will get to a point when they just don't know what to sketch next.
Over the years I've come up with a few ways to keep sketching, even when you're feeling supremely stuck. Fittingly, I put those tips together in a sketch in preparation for the evening class I'm teaching this semester. Do you have any tips for getting un-stuck?



Milk Bubbles

Can I tell you a secret? 
Photography is one of my primary responsibilities at work, and I never took a photo class in college. 
We had a brief introduction to the photo studio, but that was mostly so we could document our work using cheap point-and-shoot cameras. When I bought my DSLR (almost a year after graduation), I figured out how to use it through trial-and-error. But I've been shooting photos for my entire life, spotting potential compositions and interesting details everywhere I go (yes, I'm utterly smitten with Instagram.)
That being said, it seemed like it was time to get a little more technical when I added 'professional photographer' to my resume. So I signed up for Digital Camera I at the New England School of Photography. The night class met for two hours once a week, covering the basics (aperture, shutter speed, etc. etc.) and critiquing weekly assignments.
The final assignment was a series of photos. The subject could be anything, but the photos were …

other people's places

A little more than a year ago I moved in with myself. After two years of living with outlandish roommates, I'd had enough. When a dear friend extended the opportunity to (temporarily) be the sole occupant of her city home, it was an easy thing to say yes to.
This, of course, is not your typical living arrangement. For the past year I have eaten my meals at her dining room table, watched movies on her couch, let my books live on her shelves. The space is very clearly not mine.
Perhaps that's one of the reasons I get so much enjoyment out of seeing other people's personalities shine through their living spaces.

In the span of time that I've been living alone, three good friends from college have moved within four hours of Boston. And we've spent two out of the last three weekends all together.

Like many rentals, their apartments have neutral walls. Instead of being bland, though, they serve as a canvas for bright pops of color that come through in stacks of book spi…

every opportunity

I spent this past weekend working Harpoon Fest and the 5 Miler, slinging a camera through both events and documenting everything from beer pouring to beer drinking to road racing (and all the things that happen in-between.) Before the start of the race on Sunday, a security guard got my attention.
"I have a question for you," she said.
Anticipating an inquiry about how to get to the nearest bathroom or where to find a bottle of water, I walked over. And she caught me off guard.
"How do you get into your profession? ...into photography?"
My answer was far from straightforward because I never really considered shooting photos at a professional (really, semi-professional) level until it became part of my job description. That was a fortuitous collision of hobby (photography) and career (design), fueled by persistence. I took photos almost every day through college, before I owned either an SLR or iPhone. Over time, I started seeing the world as a series of potential …

why?

Just about two weeks ago I wrapped up my third year of teaching Visualization III at Wentworth Institute of Technology. Every professor in the design department has their own style, their own unique take on teaching the numerous skills needed to succeed in the world of design. Mine has evolved into a combination of bad jokes and critiques—so many critiques.

The students in Viz III, as we call it, are second semester sophomores. I've come to love teaching this particular course because the students are almost universally at a pivotal point in their academic career. If they put the time in, the second semester of their sophomore year is when they can truly start becoming designers: sketching, thinking, and talking like professionals.
The talking, to me, is oh-so important. At their cores, designers have got to be masterful communicators. If a person can't talk about their work and why they made the decisions they made, the 'real world' quickly becomes a daunting, difficu…

makerbot and the robohand

3D printing has been all over the news for the past year or so (see here and here.) It's been a source of media frenzy; this idea that some day soon every house on the block will have the capability to print small plastic parts on a whim. And I have been skeptical.
Industrial designers have had a head-start with this technology. I first encountered a Z-corp powder printer as a co-op at Fisher-Price in early 2007. It was (and still is) an incredibly efficient way to prototype parts that were digitally designed. When I returned for a second co-op quarter a few months later, the shop guys at Fisher-Price had already started using more SLA (closer to plastic) prototyping. Even in 07, the field was evolving rapidly.
It's an awesome process to watch—there's something magical to seeing an object appear where there wasn't one before. And it makes a lot of sense for product development. But what the heck is an average Joe going to do with it? And what's more, if the genera…