Cruella De Vil

She’s come a long way down. Her unnamed husband has gone. As to where, the grave or simply  from his misery, it’s unclear. Cruella now finds herself among the normal. The mundane and the “spotless”, if you will, fringes of society. 

Unable to let go of her frivolities, she clings tight to what was, even as she does laundry. Such as chore Miss De Vil would have never before dared touch. 

Wrapped in what is left of her fine jewels and wares, you’re likely to see around more. A bit less put together than she would care to admit, and without a chauffeur nor errand-boy to do her bidding. She’s still Cruella, but she’s in our world now.

On Creating Cruella: 

I met up with my dear friend and fellow artist, Elisabeth Donaldson one day a few weeks ago. We were meeting simply to catch up, which we did but were soon deep into ideas and fantasy. In the end, Cruella became quite the topic. 

This past Halloween, Elisabeth put together one of my favorite costumes I've seen. It was a beautiful take on Cruella de Vil. 

We decided that there should be more of Miss De Vil, but perhaps in a way yet unseen. 


The Cruella that Elisabeth and I are displaying is an alternate one. Image merging Cruella together with Lucile Bluth and you have something close to our character. 

She's fallen quite low from where she once perched. The only thing that she holds on tighter to than her furs, jewels and frivolities is her pride. 

Like any good project, we have a set of rules and variables. We've based our concept for Cruella's attire largely off of the original book, "The 101 Dalmatians".  From there, we're taking some modern liberties and always keeping with the idea of her fallen status. Everything is a little less perfect than it should be. A little off, but still De Vil. 

Below you can see the images from our first outing with Cruella. I'll be certain to include a few behind the scenes images and I'll be sure to take more of them next time, as Elisabeth in character as Cruella doing anything at all is amazing and often hilarious. (Like going to a taco truck, which we did after we shot) 

I can't wait to share with you all what Cruella is dong next. In due time. The series continues. 



If there were ever a duo that 100% encompassed the idea of the dirty south it's Birdcloud. Their music is raw and extremely... honest! In their own lyrical words, "I do what I want, dammit!"

My  shoot with them was a collaboration with friend and fellow photographer Hollis Bennett who introduced me to Makenzie and Jasmin. We all met up Tin Dog Tavern, a local neighborhood dive at 10am. The owner just gave us the keys and an open tab. It was a fun and interesting shoot, as you could imagine. Take witness by viewing the images below. 


Meeting MAXX The Robot

I got a call on a Wednesday. It was my friend and client, Bradly, of Habitat Entertainment.  "Hold on... Let me send you a text and then I'll call you right back.", he says.

I get a video a moment later, and it's of the huge robot, Maxx. In the video, a lady calls to him and with such fluid motion he walks over to her and seamlessly leans down to hear her. He then rises and says something that I assume is Japanese. (The video quality wasn't the best) I was blown away. I called Bradley back immediately.

"So what's going on?" I ask. "Can you shoot Maxx tomorrow?" 

I was already booked, but you'd better believe I found out a way and slot for that time. I mean... it's a ROBOT! How often does you get the chance to photograph a robot!? Of course, not often... or ever. 

I had a total of 40 mins to unload all my gear, set up and shoot Maxx. It was a big time crunch. Even though it was on short notice, and I had a pretty small window I still wanted to make these images as bad ass as I could with what I had to work with. 

I rolled into a public parking deck. Carrying shoulders full of gear, and two c-stands, I walk down to the bottom of the concrete steps to round a corner and am immediately face to face.... or really face to abdomen with this 10' tall beast of a machine. "What's up? How's it going?", says Maxx the Robot. I think my response was something like "Hooolly fuck!" I feel that it was appropriate. 

There was little time for awing at this marvel. I had to get right to work. I plugged in a fog machine immediately, which I brought on just the off-chance of there being power to supply it. I got lucky. I then set up a huge soft silver PLM umbrella as well as another strobe with a standard 7" reflected and Color Temp Teal gel. That light I moved around quite a bit as needed and even shot into it on some occasions. The setup was quick and dirty, but it worked. I also used a bit of the florescent lighting that was already in the paring deck and played everything else off of that. Below, you can see a sketch of an overhead view of the lighting. 

It was a good time and experience. I had to stand in a chair through quite a bit of the shots to get on the same level as Maxx. Even then I was still on my tip toes. 

As an added bonus, I was able to add Maxx to my My Red Bandanna Series. I'm pretty excited about that! I'm also excited to possibly do more projects with Maxx The Robot in the future!

Below, you'll find a few of the images from my shoot with Maxx, including the My Red Bandanna portrait of him. 

Overhead Lighting for Maxx The Robot in Parking Deck

Overhead Lighting for Maxx The Robot in Parking Deck

maxx robot marvel Nashville Photographer music entertainment Chris Daniels Music Portrait entertainment fashion headshot dark moody chrisdanielsphoto atlanta models Image picture photo chrisdanielsart (1 of 5).jpg
maxx robot marvel Nashville Photographer music entertainment Chris Daniels Music Portrait entertainment fashion headshot dark moody chrisdanielsphoto atlanta models Image picture photo chrisdanielsart
maxx robot marvel Nashville Photographer music entertainment Chris Daniels Music Portrait entertainment fashion headshot dark moody chrisdanielsphoto atlanta models Image picture photo chrisdanielsart
maxx robot marvel Nashville Photographer music entertainment Chris Daniels Music Portrait entertainment fashion headshot dark moody chrisdanielsphoto atlanta models Image picture photo chrisdanielsart (4 of 5).jpg

Snow Day

Today, Nashville awoke to another snow. No more than 4" from what I can tell, but it's enough to all but shut an unprepared southern city down. 

I sprung out of bed at 6:30, looked out the window and decided that today would be spent on the computer at home. Already feeling antsy, I decided to first have some fun. 

I set my camera on a tripod and engaged the timer. I placed one strobe above my head and adjusted the camera settings to 

2.5 sec exposure, 22f, at 100iso

With remote in hand, I clicked the shutter and manually fired the flash several times. within a few short minutes I had added an additional two strobes, both controlled separately and had also started flaring the lens with the iPhone flashlight and a laser pointer. It was a mix of intentionality and chaos.

Below are some of the images taken in the process. All are unedited and straight out of camera as you see them. 

Coffee Through Portraits

I recently did a job for a new Hawaii-based client who specializes in e-commerce coffee. The overall concept I took on as a look at the feel of coffee through portraiture. 

Below are some of the results from the shoots. I'm very pleased with how the images came out! 



MUA: Hayley Bidez

Styling: Emily Brock

Talent: Pap & Chuck Shirock of AMAX Talent

Please Read. Please Consider.

Kathy is a relatively happy and content person. About the same as the most of us. She has her ups and her downs. She tries to have fun when she can and she dreams just as we all dream. 

Kathy works as an accountant. She’s done so since she finished her degree in finance and at age 31 she’s come to terms with what life means to her. 

On a Thursday, a normal Thursday like so many before, Kathy goes in for a routine check up. The doctor pauses during the process and says that he’ll be back in a moment. 

Walking back into the exam room he says “Kathy, I’d like to run a few test on you. It won’t take long.”

After, she heads home, has dinner and a glass of wine and calls it a night, not really thinking about the day at the doctors office. 

The following Monday our dear Kathy receives a call while she’s at work asking if she can come into the clinic the had just visited on Thursday. 

“I’ll be there right after work.” She says. 

There's a long pause, and the inability to find any words to speak. Kathy feels tears stream down her face. She collapses to the floor as a nurse comes to put her arms around her. “I’m sorry, Kathy, but you have cancer. I suspect you have two years at this point. It is regrettably terminal.” 

Those horrifying words from the doctor just moments before her collapse to the floor. 

Kathy goes home, feeling lost and empty. There is no dinner that evening. No wine. No sleep. 

After taking a couple of days away from the office she calls into them and informs her employer that she will not be returning. She has some things to do and take care of while she still can. 

Those dreams that Kathy had been having suddenly became much more. They became a necessity to her existence. They were no longer dreams or even goals. They were things the had to do because she KNEW she had to do them. Things that had been toiling around in her mind for as long as she could remember. 

Kathy went after the person she’d always wanted to be. She chased the things she always wanted to do. 

We’ll leave Kathy’s story here. I feel that she probably found the power to fight her battle of health within her dreams as well. 

In any case… there’s something for us all to take here.

First… We are building our legacy NOW. What others say about us, what we’re known for now or when we’re dead will be what we’ve done and who we’ve been today. 

Second… GO! We all have shit. There is ALWAYS an excuse to put something off and wait until tomorrow… or next year… or when you have more money, resourses… etc. 

We all have that still small voice inside that tells us who we are. Even if no one, even ourselves, have ever seen that person. You can call it "what you’re meant to do", “your calling”, “your purpose” or whatever you want, but we ALL know it. 

So, what happens? We so easily give ourselves a reason to not even attempt to be that person before we’ve even tried. We say to ourselves “Man… That would be amazing!!!   ….but it’s just a dream. It’s okay to have dreams. It really would be awesome if that happened, but that’s not real life. That’s just not how the world works.”  BULL SHIT

Tony Hawk didn’t become a great pro skateboarder because he thought it would be nice. He became so because he OWNED that about himself. He didn’t say “Maybe one day I’ll get there.” He went after that shit! He said “I AM” and it became so. 

Owning something about yourself gives you the ability to see it through. For a long time I had trouble calling myself an artist. What would people think if I did that? What gives me the validation? What if I’m not good enough? At the end of the day absolutely NONE of that matters. ZERO

If you’re creating something very deep and personal to you and you’re doing so for the love and approval of others you already need to reevaluate what you’re doing. 

I am an artist because I know that I am. I don’t need the approval of Joe Blow or Sally Sue. I am. 

With that ownership I am able to create drive. It doesn’t mean it’s no longer difficult. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t obstacles, or life obligations, but those things just become part of the journey. With that ownership and drive you’re happy to go out every day and bust your ass because the idea of not being able to be your “I AM” is simply no longer an option. 

Who are you, really? What have you said to the world today? Is it what you would want to be relayed? Build your legacy NOW! Please… 

I want you to succeed and you can’t do that if you don’t try. There are more people than you would ever know to give you support, but it won’t happen without you making it happen. It should take someone telling you that your life is a time bomb before you get off your ass. All of our lives are time bombs. We never know when we’re up. 

This could be the last thing I ever post. Today, when I get in the car it could be the last time. Tonight when I go to sleep it could be my last. 

Don’t wait. Go NOW! 

Owning Yourself

It’s funny how something or someone will come along one day and completely change the way that you feel about life. It can happen so suddenly and unexpectedly. Obviously I’m about to tell you what recently happened to me.


I read an interview, done by The Great Discontent with Theron Humphrey (aka This Wild Idea). While the whole interview was great there was one quote that really resinated with me and left me pondering for hours. 


“I’m okay with people not remembering me; I’m okay with not leaving and impact on the world. That’s not my calling. My calling is to have meaningful relationships with people, and that’s enough.” —Theron Humphrey


Not just the quote, but even the idea of this really just stuck! It’s the ownership of it that makes it so unique. It’s taking an honest look at yourself and seeing your own heart with no regard and then clinging to it. That’s courage. 


You may name it as a calling... or your destiny… or simply that thing that you know will bring you the most fulfillment. Whatever you want to call it, I feel that most of us, were we to ask ourselves the question, immediately know what kind of imprint we truly wish to have… What we wish our legacy to be. 


Knowing that and actually owning that are two very different things though. If you own this fact about yourself it then becomes your fuel and drive. You’re able to take yourself beyond the day to day and the superficial parts of life that are all too easy to become entangled by. It becomes your reason to be. 


When I wanted to give my own answer, the outcome wasn’t surprising. It’s something that I’ve known all along, but the sensation of saying it out loud and giving it verbal recognition took that knowledge to the next level. It made me actually feel it for the first time. 


For me, I don’t want to be famous, but I want those that know of me to feel that what I’ve done has made them think. I don’t have to necessarily change their world, but if I can get them to pause, consider possibility, and even question I’ve done what I feel like I’m wired to do. 


From here I want to hold this knowledge about myself close. I own it. It’s mine. It would be a shame not to use it. What is your own personal truth? It’s something that you probably immediately know. If you do know it… say it out loud. Really… do it. It’s empowering.


I heard a famous British author (though I cannot recall her name) not long ago on NPR. She said something that also impacted me and certainly applies here. She was speaking to writers, but I heard it loud and clear. She said, 


“Write as if you were already dead.” 


In other words, whatever it is that you want to be known for when you’re gone… do that now! 


To sum all of this up, figure out who you are as an individual. Once you figure that out, OWN IT! I feel like I will always be searching that to a degree and that is part of what I own about myself. You have to be happy for you. No one else can be happy or content for you. It’s your responsibility for and to yourself. 


Life it too short to not be fulfilled. Go get it. 




Please feel free to respond and comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts. 


I was recently asked a question that I've been asked several times before and I'm certain there will be no end to it. That question is "How did you get into photography?"


Not long before I was most recently asked this I ran across an image that I did far before I was seriously pursuing a life in photography. Even more than that I feel that it was a turning point for me and I can certainly see how my style developed into what it is today. 


The Backstory here is that I worked with a friend, (Mike Carthy) on a low budget short film. I even had a small acting part in it and a death scene. They were good times!

I've always had a fascination with film and movies and for a short time thought that I wanted to pursue a career in acting. At some point I realized that it wasn't the playing of a character that excited me but rather the creating and directing of one... Bringing life and emotion to a project.

I offered to do some promo material for that film and shot it with a Canon Cyber Shot. As raw and gritty as those point-n-shoot images were, I was hooked!


Below you'll see one of the images I shot years ago for Mike, with that Canon Point-nShoot, and then a similar image that has more of the feel and style that I've come into today.


Keep pushing! Keep moving forward! Things don't usually happen over night. It takes hard work, dedication and persistence. I tell myself this every day. I'm no where near where I'd like to be and I hope that I always feel that way! Grown, change, and adapt. Keep on keeping on!


Sir Josh Ulmer

I don't think Josh is actually knighted but in my mind he is completely worthy of the title Sir. 

He and I met initially some months back. We quickly realized that we had mutual friends and quite a lot in common and said from that point that we should get together and geek out on some photo stuff. It took a little while, but it finally happened. 

Josh came over in the late morning, and we spent the first part of our time talking about all sorts of things. Life... Art... Gregory Crewdson... Abandoning the world to live in a cabin... and of course photos. 

Telling me beforehand that I'd peeked his interest when it came to lighting, Josh was curious about my technique. I'm all about off-camera lighting so I was more than happy to show him what I do! 

If you live in Nashville and you don't know this wonderful human being, make that right. Heck. He's on social media. Say hello there! Josh is a heck of a photographer and he's hungry to grow. That's an amazing thing to see! I can't wait to see what he has up his own sleeve, but we've already got a project in the works. I hope you get to see that soon!

For The Photo Geeks:

(I'm going to talk about lighting. If you're just here for the pictures, scroll down.)

I'm always curious so I'll let you guys know what setup I did for Josh and I to play around with. I'll even throw in a diagram. 

Equipment: 2 AlienBee 800's, One 22" beauty dish (with diffusion slip), and One 36" OctoBox. (inner and outer diffuser)

Camera Settings: ISO 100, Shutter 200, F-Stops 22

Modifiers: The beauty dish was used as my main light source. I had it placed about 1.5' above the subject (Josh), and running at about half power. The octobox I positioned pretty low to the ground and at model's right 45º. About quarter power settings here, just acting as a slight fill. 

Because of the position of the beauty dish it also gave me a bit of hair light. In addition I had the subject about 2 feet from the wall to there was a slight backlit glow and reflection from behind. 

This shot will also be the first of an upcoming series. 

That's it as far as the lighting here. I really like this setup. It's simple and moody, which is right up my ally. Do you have a favorite light setup you'd like to share? 

Here are a couple of bonus images. I've been playing around with these caricatures lately, just for a bit of fun. I really like how the ones of Josh turned out!