AWDIT #9 – Taj LeBlanc


“The Matrix of Income”

My guest this week is Taj LeBlanc, a creator living in Los Angeles. Today we are talking about the recent changes in the American and partially the global economy in response to the Pandemic and the enforced Quarantine. We originally sat down and aimed to structure this podcast episode about the opportunities that come with large changes that have happened in the last few months. But we ended up talking about many different pieces of the way life has changed for everyone, and what ways we think people will need to adapt to not only survive but thrive.

To see more of Taj’s work you can check out his YouTube, listen to his podcast, or @ him on Twitter.


If you would like to support the podcast and my group of creators, please visit patreon.com/allwedoistalk. I would also love to hear from you if you have any feedback on the episodes, or would like to be featured on the AWDIT podcast yourself.

Village Canoe [2019 EXHIBITION] Video Tour

The Village Canoe is a multi-phase art project to create art and community from outdoor experience. Through an open-call invitation, 10 artists across various disciplines and practices were chosen to paddle, camp, and make work along Penobscot River and Bay in August 2019. Following the 10-day journey from river to sea, the artists had nearly a month to create and complete work before hosting a free, public, interactive art exhibition of the work inspired by the artist residency experience. The show took place over the final weekend in September 2019 in a temporary wood-and-plastic greenhouse structure along the waterfront in Heritage Park in beautiful, downtown, Belfast, Maine.

Video tour filmed by Wilder Nicholson (wildernicholson.com/)
Additional footage from the 2019 Artist Residency and Video Editing by Chris Battaglia
Additional exhibition footage courtesy Brian Kimble

Featured image by Brian Wasser

Learn More about The Village Canoe:

AWDIT #8 – Paige Speight


“Forced Friendships”

My guest this week is Paige Speight, an artist from Bar Harbor, Maine. A true Renaissance Woman, she has a history in collegiate-level boat racing, a Chemistry degree from Bowdoin College, and grew up running a motel with her family. When she isn’t hiking the Appalachian Trail, she spends most of her waking hours creating art pieces ranging from thick oil paintings of vulnerability, to stop-motion music videos for local musicians.

Today we talk about her art practice, National Parks, and forced friendships. This is one of my first remote interviews and I hope to have her back on with better recording equipment in the future.

AWDIT #7: Jason Elliott


“That is Not Alternative To Me”

My guest this week is Jason Elliott. Jason is the host of the self-titled Jason Elliott Show, currently being aired on Facebook Live. He provides members of the community with a safe and fun space to tell stories and discuss personal matters that bring people together. When he’s not hosting JES he models, coaches pageants, and gets bagels with a group of 5-10 old ladies. One of his favorite pastimes is organizing the Charlottesville Little White Party, a night of dancing and entertainment for World AIDS Day and a fundraiser for sexual health organizations.

Today we talk about Jason’s show and how he came to be so involved in organizing events to help benefit his community.

AWDIT #6 – Taj LeBlanc


“Homeless Playing the Flute”

My guest this week is Taj LeBlanc. Taj is a Creator living in Los Angeles, California – but he didn’t start there. He has been raised in many communities on both coastlines and even in Hawai’i. He’s a graduate of the Questrom School of Business at Boston University and has done everything from Real Estate Leasing to Bike Delivery. He currently has more than 100 Vlogs on his YouTube channel and is always creating new content for his Instagram.

Today we talk about Taj’s nomadic lifestyle as a kid, his experiences in Europe, and his comparisons of living on the East versus the West Coast. We also just gab and laugh and have a blast. Check it out.

AWDIT #5 – Doug Hornig

“We Pretend to Work, They Pretend to Pay Us”

My guest this week is Doug Hornig. Doug is a professional writer who first gained major attention in fiction writing for his series of mystery thrillers in the 80s and 90s. Outside of fiction he has ghost-authored a selection of best-selling memoirs and worked for many years as a columnist for financial newsletters. He is a lifelong Red Sox fan, and in late 2003 published The Boys of October: the inspiring story of the 1975 World Series and its impact during a turbulent time for the country. In 2004 the Red Sox would go on to win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Coincidence?

The topic of our interview today is the role of government. As a child of the fifties, Doug is at the head of a generation of Americans who grew up in the wake of World War II and have watched the government consistently increase their power and control. His political identity has evolved over time and these days he is a self-described Libertarian. Outside of the official political stances of the Libertarian Party, I wanted to sit down with him to get a better understanding of why he assigned himself the Libertarian label for his personal philosophy.


Support or Join the AWDIT Podcast

All We Do is Talk is an interactive and collaborative podcast with the purpose of bringing people from the audience into the conversation. If you would like to support the podcast and All Brian Does, become a donor on the Patreon page. If you would like to become part of the conversation, please sign up for the “Friends with Benefits” tier and get added to the Slack and Discord.

AWDIT #4 – Matisse Tsoy

“More Than Just the Meat”

My guest this week is Matisse Tsoy, a music producer and hip hop artist local to Charlottesville, VA. I first met him on a music video shoot for a hip hop track that he had written and recorded called Old Man – SPOILER: I am also in this music video and I get cake on my face.

We chat today about some of struggles and benefits of how the internet has changed the current lifestyle of art and media. And hamburgers. And tax returns. And just a whole bunch of stuff – give it a listen.

Get in touch with Matisse on his Instagram @matissetsoy or on Facebook at Matisse Tsoy. If you’re interested in production or leasing beats, you should check out his page on Beatstars.com.


Support or Join the AWDIT Podcast

All We Do is Talk is an interactive and collaborative podcast with the purpose of bringing people from the audience into the conversation. If you would like to support the podcast and All Brian Does, become a donor on the Patreon page. If you would like to become part of the conversation, please sign up for the “Friends with Benefits” tier and get added to the Slack and Discord.

AWDIT #3 – Elizabeth Mead

“Gentrification Sweet Spot”

My guest this week is Elizabeth Mead, a second generation rug merchant based out of Charlottesville VA working to modernize her family business while still holding on the old school magic of antique carpets. We sit down today to discuss her experiences as an event organizer, a rug dealer, and the state of art and commerce in the brick-and-mortar world of small towns.

Check out more from Elizabeth on her Instagram @rug_merchants_daughter or on her new podcast Dumpster Kitty.


Support or Join the Podcast

All We Do is Talk is an interactive and collaborative podcast with the purpose of bringing people in the audience into the conversation. If you would like to support the podcast and All Brian Does, become a donor on the Patreon page. If you would like to become part of the conversation, please sign up for the “Friends with Benefits” tier and get added to the Slack and Discord.

AWDIT #2 – Alden Goodwin

“Space, Rocks, and Game Theory”

My guest this week is Alden Goodwin, a geologist and science communicator from rural Virginia. We got to sit down for an hour and discuss everything from the Infinite Game Theory of Politics to O’Neill Cylinders. 


Support or Join the Podcast

All We Do is Talk an interactive and collaborative podcast with the purpose of bringing people in the viewing community into the conversation. If you would like to support the podcast and All Brian Does, become a donor on the Patreon page. If you would like to become part of the conversation, please sign up for the “Friends with Benefits” tier and get added to the Slack and Discord.

Improve Your Photography by Ignoring These 10 Rules

“If you asked me how to improve your photography, I would tell you to buy a real professional camera with more than 20MP, moron.”

This is from a real photography FaceBook group in which I post. The technology has gotten to a point where everyone thinks that they are an expert in the field if they know the tech specs. The problem with this talk is that an artist is more than just their tools. If you focus on gear-fetishism, then you can miss the underlying methods of the craft.

I have been a student of photography for over a decade. In that time, many photographers have given me all sorts of advice on how to improve my photography. In this article I will go over some of the most common pieces of advice I have heard, and why you should take these with a grain of salt.

1. “Never Center Your Subject”

centered photography - flower
Photo by Alex Blăjan on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

Those who study landscape photographers like Ansel Adams and Sebastião Salgado will say this a lot. Their subjects are large environments, and so they believe that centering one subject unbalances the shot. The reason that centering your subject can unbalance your shot is because it can end the feeling of movement in the scene. The eye will be drawn into the center and then stop, leaving the rest of your composition unexplored.

Why can it be bad advice?

Isolating your subject by sticking it in the center of your shot is strong when it is a purposeful decision. It is a method of saying to the viewer “this is the most important thing in this whole scene.” Photojournalists usually break this rule the most, because they often don’t have a lot of time to compose a shot. If you want to improve your photography, learn to highlight a subject no matter where it is in the frame.

2. “Study Other Photographers”

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and artists especially. Studying the old masters in any artistic field is always a good idea. You might already have influences that you may not be aware of – from childhood or from cinema for example. Learning any medium through the inspiration of another artist is often a good way to get the ball rolling.

Why can it be bad advice?

Mimicry. There is a fine line between paying homage to and copying other artists’ work. If you focus too much on trying to recreate the style of other photographers, you will never develop your own artistic voice. Michael Muller is known for saying that he never looks to other photographers for inspiration for his incredible portraits. The best way to improve your photography is to find your own style.

3. “Focus on the Eyes”

Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič – @specialdaddy on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

Many portrait photographers focus on the eyes of the people the photograph, most likely because of the old adage “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” When you are learning to shoot portraits, a crisp photo focused on the eyes with a little eye light can be very intense, and feel powerful.

Why can it be bad advice?

Anyone can do this. It is just a technical skill, and often will not show any of the personality of the subject. A portrait is shot to capture the essence of the person, not just the visage. Once you can capture the spirit in the eyes, you need to be able to capture the spirit in the environment. Sally Mann is the best example I can think of someone who does this combination perfectly.

4. “Shoot Every Day”

Photo by Thomas Schweighofer on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

Because practice. Obviously, all skills take practice. People say this all the time because the more time you spend behind the lens of your camera, the more comfortable you will be with it as a tool. Also the more time you spend looking through the actual viewfinder itself, the better you will be at recognizing the relationship of field-of-view of your own eyes to the lenses you use.

Why can it be bad advice?

Shooting every day is tiresome. Any artist who must work in their field to pay the rent can relate to feeling burnt-out on their own medium. Shooting every day is like telling a musician to write a song every day. It is good to practice, but it is better to write when you feel inspired. Trying to shoot uninspired every day will not necessarily improve your photography, and in many cases can hurt it.

5. “Don’t Use High-Key Flash Indoors”

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

The above photo is shot with in on-camera flash pointed directly at the subject. This type of direct light creating unrealistic highlights, shadows, and contrast is often called shooting High-Key. This style is constantly going in and out of vogue with the photography community. Many photographers consider it to have a “cheap” or “low-budget” look.

Why can it be bad advice?

If you are at all in-touch with pop-culture you’ll know that instant-photography has made a huge comeback recently. And almost all instant photography evokes a historic aesthetic made popular by Polaroid. That aesthetic is high-key photography. So really this isn’t bad advice so much as pointless advice: it call comes down to style.

6. “Use a Wider Aperture to Make Your Subject Pop”

Photo by Bhargava Srivari on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

This is a gear-head thing. Thanks to macro-photography and Instagram and bunch of other influences, the method of isolating a subject by DOF (depth-of-field) has become the frontrunner style by a long shot. The truth is, it is not a bad method, it is just a simple method.

Why can it be bad advice?

Because of the gear-fetishism of current digital photography, bokeh and shallow depth-of-field is becoming incredibly widespread. The problem with this is that it’s only one way of isolating a subject, and it’s the cheap way. The expensive way is to isolate your subject through thoughtful composition. Take the above photo of a lion for instance. The isolation is being done with color, contrast, and content. Being able to isolate a subject with these methods will vastly improve your photography.

7. “Shoot Women From Above and Men From Below”

Photo by eva chatzipavlou on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

This one is simple. Shooting up makes things look bigger, shooting down makes things look smaller. Portrait photographers have used this knowledge to set a standard of shooting down on women to make their shapes look more petite and feminine. They shoot up on men to make their shapes look more dominant and masculine.

Why can it be bad advice?

Using blanket techniques is the stupidest thing you can do in portrait photography. Portraits are unique to the subject. In each and every portrait session you should find what style evokes the personality or feeling of the subject. If you have a dominant, imposing woman and you shoot her like she’s a doll, you are just projecting your own image of the subject onto them. That makes you the definition of a bad portrait photographer.

8. “Photograph Pretty Things”

Photo by Max Lakutin on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

Cool things make cool pictures. This one is obvious. A photograph of the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado is going to be a pretty photo no matter how good of a photographer you are.

Why can it be bad advice?

This will not improve your photography. This will only improve your subject matter. Subjects do make a large impact on your photography, but at the end of the day they are just things. A great photographer can find the beauty in any subject.

9. “Get Closer to Your Subject”

Photo by Semih Aydın on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

This is very similar to the method of using a shallow depth of field. The reason people stress this is because many early photographers leave space in their photos with no purpose. They will have a single subject and they will only take up 1/3 of the frame with nothing else that draws the eyes in.

Why can it be bad advice?

Because it is another shortcut. Making your subject the majority of your frame will help with the movement of the photograph in most cases. But if you rely on being close to a subject to compose well, you will never develop the ability to use your environment for composition. If you want to improve your photography, you need to practice using your subject’s environment, not just cutting it out.

10. “Shoot at Golden Hour”

Photo by Robson Hatsukami Morgan on Unsplash

Why do people say this?

Photographers and videographers alike are obsessed with Golden Hour and I get it. Golden Hour is the time right before sunset and right after sunrise. Skin tones look amazing at this time and so does slanted light through trees, or any environment that has a lot of particulates in the air. It is one of the best times to utilize natural warm tones in nature.

Why can it be bad advice?

It is simply overdone. There are more than just warm tones to photograph. It will not improve your photography to focus only on shooting at a specific time of day. Personally, I prefer shooting at Blue Hour anyway, like the above photo. There are beautiful photos to shoot at all times of day, and focusing on one specific type of light can become an artistic crutch in the long run.


Thanks for reading.

I hope you learned some basic tips on how to improve your photography, and how to not rely on them to the point of hurting your photography. If you have any photography questions you can always tweet at me @allbriandoes.

AWDIT #1 – Jim Lark

“Libertarian v. libertarian”

My guest this week is Jim Lark, a decorated professor at the University of Virginia and a former chair of the Libertarian Party. In this episode I dive into the philosophy of the Libertarian and why the third largest political party in the United States has a tendency to be cartoonified by the media.


Support or Join the Podcast

All We Do is Talk is an interactive and collaborative podcast with the purpose of bringing people in the viewing community into the conversation. If you would like to support the podcast and All Brian Does, become a donor on the Patreon page. If you would like to become part of the conversation, please sign up for the “Friends with Benefits” tier and get added to the Slack and Discord.

How to Record 2 USB Microphones At Once in Logic Pro X

Can Logic Pro X record two USB mics plugged in at the same time?

Yes, but not easily. Audio from two inputs is called “multi-tracking” and Apple Logic Pro X has more than enough power to do it. The hard part for me was making it work without fancy equipment. If you’re a DIY broke creator like me trying to get into podcasting, this video will probably help you a lot.

Follow my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDoCe_cr87XtJAHthNgV-jw

Being Me – Sauce is Matisse (Prod. Nate WILL)

Part of an ongoing collaboration with Charlottesville-local hip hop artist Sauce is Matisse. This is shot in the IX Art Park near downtown Cville. For more information on those involved, please check out the links below. All these people are phenomenal creatives and it’s a great opportunity to work with them.

Collaborators.

Rapper/Performer: Sauce is Matisse

Music Producer: Nate WILL

DP: Brian Kimble

I Don’t Know – Sauce is Matisse (Prod. Nate WILL)

Part of an ongoing collaboration with Charlottesville-local hip hop artist Sauce is Matisse. Video shot at the Stonefield Regal near Route 29 in Cville. For more information on those involved, please check out the links below. All these people are phenomenal creatives and it’s a great opportunity to work with them.

Collaborators.

Rapper/Performer: Sauce is Matisse

Music Producer: Nate WILL

DP: Brian Kimble

Who I Am Inside – Sauce is Matisse

Part of an ongoing collaboration with Charlottesville-local hip hop artist Sauce is Matisse. Video shot at the Stonefield Shopping Center near Route 29 in Cville. For more information on those involved, please check out the links below. All these people are phenomenal creatives and it’s a great opportunity to work with them.

Collaborators.

Rapper/Performer: Sauce is Matisse

Music Producer: MatisseMakesMusic

Performers: The Protag Project

DP: Brian Kimble

Musings – Sauce is Matisse

Part of an ongoing collaboration with Charlottesville-local hip hop artist Sauce is Matisse. Video shot at the IX Art Park near downtown Cville. For more information on those involved, please check out the links below. All these people are phenomenal creatives and it’s a great opportunity to work with them.

Collaborators.

Rapper: Sauce is Matisse

Music Producer: MatisseMakesMusic

Performers: The Protag Project

DP: Brian Kimble

Old Man – Sauce is Matisse (Dir. Taj LeBlanc)

We shot this music video a while ago when a couple of my artistic friends all converged in rural Virginia for a spell. This was the first time I had worked on a concept shoot for a music video, and it was a really rewarding experience. Shout out to all of the people listed below, they are all great creative minds and a total blast to work with.

Collaborators.

Rapper/Performer: Sauce is Matisse

Music Producer: MatisseMakesMusic

Actor: Brian Kimble

Director: Taj LeBlanc

DP: Aspen Miller

Gaffer: Elizabeth Culbertson