Casey Lee

SBSW8 // Dallas

A couple of months ago I had the pleasure of photographing South by So What?! for the second time in two years and to photograph some of my favorite bands that I've never had a chance to shoot before, as well as make some new favorites. Even through some tough weather on Friday and Saturday, with pretty consistent rain coming down both days, the bands put on unreal shows, from Circa Survive and La Dispute, to Vanna, Capsize, Harms Way, Unity, Lydia...Frank Iero...and more. There were a lot. And it was an amazing experience, even if I did spend two days soaking wet and trying to keep my cameras moderately dry.

So yeah, I took some photos, some on film, some digital, all of the live and behind the scenes photos are here in the beginning, with all of the portraits at the tail end of the post.

cody // lifestyle portraits // deep ellum, texas

It's been a minute since I've blogged much of anything (apparently I haven't been here since I blogged 8:18 in December...shit.). So, let's try this again. Maybe I can commit to this thing again, at least for a while. I shot a few weddings over the summer, and those are in the pipeline to be blogged here, as will at least one more set of cycling photos, some music, but I figured it would be best to make my prodigal return to blogging with a some super recent, personal work, that I shot this past Sunday on one of the first driveable days in Dallas since Cleon/the Icepocalypse of 2013/the shit show of a debilitating ice storm that seemed to cripple most of North Texas (myself included - Jordan and I were holed up for Friday and Saturday, not leaving for much of anything, and only leaving to go places within walking distance. Thank God for Stackhouse and All Good Cafe). Once I realized the weather was going to clear out a bit for Sunday, I reached out to one of my best friends, Cody, to go shoot around while we were blessed with the borderline Pacific Northwest light, a huge change from the norm here, and take some portraits down in my neighborhood. I'd like to think it was successful, especially for only have an hour or two before we were feeling frozen to the core and trying to get everywhere on foot. [start=rambling] - if you just want to see the photos, don't feel ashamed to fast scroll through this massive block of text.

Over the past couple of weeks/months/whatever, I've noticed I've struggled to be super excited about editing images, maybe it's the borderline-daunting task of culling 3000 frames from a wedding, 1000 from a race, or borderline burnout, but I just wasn't chomping at the bit to get home, plug cards in, and dive into Lightroom like I used to. That sucks. A lot. After Jordan and I took a trip out to LA for our anniversary (you can bet your ass I'll blog that soon, probably...maybe...), I realized that one of the biggest things I had been omitting from my photo work over the last two years was to just go out and shoot to shoot. Take a photo because it might look cool, but there's nothing riding on it. The only person that would be bummed out would be me. So, over the next year, I'm setting a goal for myself to simply get out and shoot what makes me happy. Weddings do that, to an extent. But I've thoroughly enjoyed going out and shooting concerts again for friends, portraits of friends and/or cool looking people. Shit like that is always fun and doing it on my schedule/when I want to couldn't make for a more laid back shoot. I like to keep it mellow whenever possible, even though I think I thrive on high-pressure situations, sometimes you just need to chill the fuck out and have a good time.

This is me chilling the fuck out. Not worrying about the next wedding I'm gonna book, or the next magazine that's going to call, or who's senior portraits are going to land in my lap. What am I worried about? Shooting the shit that makes me happy while I work on getting stronger on the bike, take care of the 8-5, and do photos at my own pace, on my own time. This isn't me swearing off wedding work, or other commissioned work. Not in the least, just a friendly, written reminder to myself that I need to throw in some personal to mix with the professional. And let that show to you, if only to have my work seen by someone other than me.

Second: I had some serious struggle with wanting to be focused SOLELY on photography, getting to live the life if you will. I got bummed out every morning driving to work because I wasn't about to go to a shoot, couldn't ride my bike whenever I wanted during the day, couldn't stay out until 2 or 3 shooting shows. In my mind, that can be living the dream. But then I had it pointed out to me that I am living the dream, just a little differently than most would probably define it. Yes, I've got an 8-5 job as a mechanical design engineer, photography is not what puts food on my table right now. But I'm not spending my Saturday afternoons sitting at some department store trying to figure out what area rug represents me as a person. I'm not spending my Monday nights sitting in front of a TV living on the edge of my seat of who is going to go home on whatever reality show is big right now (I will, however, freak the fuck out over a Cowboys/Stars game, in a heartbeat). I'm getting up and spending my Saturdays riding a bike for 60 miles, not because I have to, but because I want to. I want to push myself in new ways. I'm going out on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights to shows, hanging out with friends, banging my head, taking photos if I want, screaming my lungs out to bands I've been listening to since I was seventeen years old, and some bands that I've been listening to for a few days. I'm going out and taking photographs. Fuck it. I am living the dream. It may not be your dream, and it may not be my ideal dream, but I am. I'm doing everything I want to do, I just occasionally need to remember that I am currently in the confines of a day job. But shit, how cool is that? I fucking work from 8-5ish, every day Monday-Friday, but then I get to go see some friends living their dream on tour, see a new band I've never heard of before. See friends I haven't seen in years, maybe make some new ones who don't give a shit about what college I went to, majored in, or what my day job is, they just want to talk about music. I go and race a bicycle in lycra. Yes, the lycra matters. Why? Because I want to push myself harder than I ever have. I love being challenged and I wish I had embraced that more playing sports growing up. I get to track my performance, improvements, gains, with metrics that are dependent solely on how hard I am willing to work that day. How much energy I want to pour into it. Not Google Analytics, not flickr stats, not instagram or facebook "likes." I am in control of how hard those pedals get pushed and how fast the wheels turn. I get to take pretty cool photos of fucking awesome people in different ways, all the damn time. I've got my passions, and thankfully, they mesh pretty damn well with how I live my life. That. That is living the dream for me. I'm going to stop rambling now. If you made it this far through my train of thought, unedited, unreviewed, ramble of writing, laced with run-on sentences. Props. I probably wouldn't have made it through half of it. So, to go with those props, thanks. Seriously.

Cody Dressercody dresser

 

 

 

-casey

san francisco // jordan // personal and portraits

This whole trip to San Francisco stemmed from something a bit more important — Jordan and I got married just over a month ago! So of course, we had to make our honeymoon just as rad as the wedding (shot by Pat Furey) and go somewhere neither of us had been before. That just happened to be San Francisco and it was definitely the right choice for both of us. It was great getting out of Texas for a bit and over to the West coast, seeing new places, meeting up with some friends of ours from school, and just having a generally awesome time. On top of the standard tourist-esque things, you know, Golden Gate, Alcatraz, we also hit up what was probably my favorite place of the whole trip: the Marin Headlands. So. Damn. Good.  

Anyhow, here are some photos from the trip to SF, and some portraits of my best friend/wife.

Definitely going to have to get back to SF soon, it would definitely be rad to shoot some weddings out there.

joanna's mckinney cotton mill bridals // mckinney, tx // bridals

A few weeks back I got to shoot a friend from high-school's bridal portraits, and after many attempts to set up a session there, I got to do them out at the McKinney Cotton Mill in McKinney, Texas. This has to be one of the most epic freaking places I have ever shot. Ever. So much light and so many cool little [and, really, really big] architectural details on top of having a rad rustic vibe. Joanna, her mom and sister were all awesome while we were out shooting, especially given the heat that tends to come along with shooting photos in an un-airconditioned, early 20th century brick box (read: oven). But despite the heat, we definitely made some freaking killer images. So before I bore you with a few too many words, I'm just going to go ahead and show you these freaking gorgeous photos.

Joanna Cotton Mill BridalsMcKinney Cotton Mill WeddingJoannaJoanna McCormackFucking gorgeous wedding dressMcKinney Cotton MillMcKinney Cotton Mill BridalsCotton Mill WeddingJoannaCotton Mill WeddingCasey Lee Dallas Wedding PhotographerMcKinney Wedding PhotographerJoanna's BridalsAwesome ass bridal gownMcKinney wedding photographer

So, there's that. Nothing like a solid morning of taking photos, making some pretty spectacular that's what she said jokes and hanging out with some kick-ass people. The Cotton Mill is easily one of my favorite places to shoot now, and probably will remain that way for quite some time, because, well, it's epic as shit.