A Pacific Northwest Editorial Photographer's Blog


Revisiting “The Americans”


So a little more on Robert Frank’s influential book “The Americans”.

Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through Jan, 3, 2010.

Frank shot 767 rolls of film on his 10,000 mile road trip across America in the mid 1950’s, a total of 27,612 individual shots in total. He then edited it down and made over 1,000 work prints of different images and after 2 years finally selected the 83 images that actually were printed in the book. Editing is so important and perhaps the hardest skill for a photographer to learn. How to edit your own work. I hope to make it to NY to see this exhibit before it comes down. There is an interesting review of the Frank exhibit at the Met in the Wall Street Journal.

Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans” celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Americans, Robert Frank’s influential suite of black-and-white photographs made on a cross-country road trip in 1955–56.

“In the first room at the Met is a wall of about 80 work prints, most of which have never been exhibited before. They were at one time candidates for “The Americans,” and most were edited out over the two years he spent on the winnowing process.

Almost every one of these outtakes is wonderful—and these are only a sample of the 1,000 work prints he made, themselves a tiny fraction of the rough diamonds still buried in the contact sheets. Many photographers would feel lucky in a lifetime to have captured a handful of the images that Mr. Frank rejected.

Why he chose to publish one picture over another will have many of us studying the excellent essays in the catalog to gain a better hold on his reasoning. Everything was sacrificed to the flow across pages and the four sections of the book. The icon of riders looking at us from a New Orleans trolley car is followed by another frieze-like composition of busy pedestrians on Canal Street moving in apparent isolation.”



The Americans

My friend Jason wrote me with a request.
Dear Dan,

As you know I worked at the MET for almost 2 years as a security guard. In the last months I guarded the Robert Frank show almost everyday. Ive been asking famed photogs what photo of the 83 images in the Americans really does it for them or that they can say they were ‘born’ out of, is their hands down favorite. I’m trying to get 83 photographers to respond to this survey question.

I finally quit and Im on my to Turkey.

Hope all is well.



He presented me with a dilemma. I went back to the book and went through it again through all 83 images evaluating my emotions and thoughts.


I responded to him with these thoughts.


Selecting only one is like breaking apart a string of pearls and saying this one is my favorite. He put them all together, sequenced, juxtaposing them in an order that gave them a particular meaning. Telling a story.
Picking apart the thread and isolating one image changes its meaning.
But  since you asked, my favorite picture changes almost every time I seriously look at the book.
I like #81 City Hall, Reno, Nevada, 1956, these days, after having shot more than my share of just married couples in the past few years.
He nailed it.




Earshot Jazz Festival Week 2

The Washington Composers Orchestra presented an evening of music specially suited for the gorgeous acoustics of the Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center as part of the continuing Earshot Jazz festival which is now in its second week.


Robin Holcomb conducting Wayne Horvitz’s concerto for clarinet “River of Whiskey,” featuring guest clarinetist Beth Fleenor.

Robin Holcomb, Wayne Horvitz, and Tom Varner lead this adventurous 15-piece ensemble which featured top-flight Seattle improvisers and composers including Mark Taylor, Thomas Marriott, Eric Barber, Byron Vannoy, and Phil Sparks. Approaching the traditional jazz big band as a “pocket orchestra,” the program featured four extended compositions by Holcomb, Horvitz’s concerto for clarinet “River of Whiskey,” featuring guest clarinetist Beth Fleenor, and Chris Stover’s “The Murderess.” The program will also include the Seattle premier of “Laredo,” written for saxophone quartet by Holcomb, and commissioned by the Rova Saxophone Quartet.


Wayne Horvitz at the piano.

Also last night at the Triple Door Earshot presented Meshell Ndegeocello
Meshell Ndegeocello at the Triple Door Tuesday night

Earshot Jazz Festival presented the endlessly inventive bassist, composer, singer, and bandleader Meshell Ndegeocello who incorporates elements of soul, rock, jazz, funk, and hip-hop to express “the love I’ve felt and the energy I’m surrounding myself with.” She possesses a deeply expressive musical perspective and a fierce intelligence. The Triple Door was sold out including standing room only and everyone was so into Meshell and her mesmerizing performance.


Deantoni Parks, drums, Chris Bruce, guitar, Keefus Ciancia, keyboards, Ndgeocello, and Mark Kelley bass.


Ndegoecello’s debut album Plantation Lullabies came out like a breath of musical fresh air in the early 1990s, combining the crisp danceable production of modern hip-hop with funky, old-time soul. A major talent in many areas, from her nimble finger-funk on the bass to her breathy, robust vocals and her continually developing, passionate songwriting, Ndegeocello has excelled as a bandleader, drawing on the talent of jazz musicians such as pianist Geri Allen and saxophonist Joshua Redman for guest spots. Ndegeocello frequently ends up guesting on albums by artists including The Rolling Stones, John Mellencamp, and Rahzel of the Roots, but her excellent work as a musician never detracts from the direct, polished quality of her solo albums, which continue to evolve and improve. On October 6, she will release Devil’s Halo, her eighth studio album. The 10-time Grammy nominee co-produced the new album alongside guitarist Chris Bruce. Photographs by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializing in portraits and photojournalism for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer, shooting weddings with artistic documentary Seattle wedding photography.

Earshot Jazz Festival opens with Garfield HS and MIGUEL ZENÓN


GARFIELD HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND, With SPECIAL GUEST MIGUEL ZENÓN, under the direction of Clarence Acox, opened the 2009 Earshot Jazz Festival Friday night to a packed house at the Triple Door. What a great vibe to begin the festival. It is amazing to see some many talented young musicians coming up here in Seattle. What a fantastic show.


Miguel and all of those student sax players were a delight to hear. Photographs by Seattle photographer Daniel Sheehan, a photojournalist specializing in jazz photography and portrait photography for publications and corporations and a Seattle wedding photographer with a story-telling approach creating award winning wedding photography.

The Power of the Single Story – Chimamanda Adichie

I heard this story from the Nigerian author Chimamanda Chimamanda Adichie on the danger of depending upon the single story and it hit a nerve. Listen to her on this video from TED.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Irving Penn Is Dead at 92

Another giant of photography Irving Penn has passed away. What an incredible gifted, hardworking influential master photographer.
“Irving Penn, one of the 20th century’s most prolific and influential photographers of fashion and the famous, whose signature blend of classical elegance and cool minimalism was recognizable to magazine readers and museumgoers worldwide, died Wednesday morning at his home in Manhattan. He was 92.
His death was announced by Peter MacGill, his friend and representative.
Mr. Penn’s talent for picturing his subjects with compositional clarity and economy earned him the widespread admiration of readers of Vogue during his long association with the magazine, beginning in 1943. It also brought him recognition in the art world; his photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries and are prized by collectors.”
Continue reading the NY Times article By ANDY GRUNDBERG –  Irving Penn, Fashion Photographer, Is Dead at 92

Jazz Photography – A Travis Shook Comeback

Travis Shook made his comeback to the Seattle jazz scene at Tula’s Jazz Club last Wednesday night, playing in town for the first time in about five years. His performance with the Travis Shook Trio was greeted warmly by a full house. The Seattle Times ran an article by Hugo Kugiya detailing his career’s ups and downs. “The jazz pianist Travis Shook, a curiosity to some who remember his name, a cautionary tale for others, lives in rural, upstate New York, far from the city and the place he first greeted fame. People don’t recognize him much these days, and for a long time he preferred it that way.

“I’m 40 and I feel a lot more comfortable with myself now,” said Shook, a fixture on the Seattle jazz scene in the early 1990s and once considered one of the greatest jazz musicians of his generation. “That’s all that matters to me. Musically, I’m a much better player than I was. But the main thing is that I’m comfortable with myself. That was my biggest hurdle.”

For most, that would seem a small accomplishment, but for Shook, who experienced meteoric success and sudden failure, who was addicted to alcohol and drugs, who was virtually unemployable for a number of years, this is not an insignificant step.

“Comeback,” is the word he settled on.”
Read the rest at The Seattle Times


it was a delight to see and hear Essiet Essiet perform on the bass behind Shook.


Matt Jorgensen was great at drums throughout the set.


Jay Thomas made an appearance as well during the first set.

Travis looked pleased at the applause at the end of his first set.
Photographs by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializing in photojournalism, portraits and photography for publications and corporations, and photojournalistic Seattle wedding photography.

Cassini View of Saturn


I just had to post some of these images I have been looking at on the nasa website. There are some fabulous images of our neighbor Saturn and its fascinating rings and moons.




Read all about the Cassini Spacecraft Mission and see more (tax payer funded NASA) space photos at Cassini Equinox Mission Website. Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializes in photojournalism, portraits and photography for publications and corporations, and photojournalistic Seattle wedding photography.

Seattle Wedding Photography – Chris and Kathy


Kathy and Chris were married today at the Lake Union Crew Boathouse. Here they practice some steps before their first dance up on the dance floor. Photograph by Seattle Photographer Daniel Sheehan specializing in photojournalism, portraits and photography for publications and corporations, and photojournalistic Seattle wedding photography.

First Day Of School


Mom watches as Claire and Ema bump goodbye just before Ema takes off for school on her bike on the first day of school. Mom walked to school this first day with Claire. Below She arrives at the school yard.
Walking by the mural Claire and her classmates painted last year.
Claire and Rosie admire the rainbow Britting is painting as they work on their first assignment on the first day of 2nd grade at Salmon Bay Elementary.