In Print: Tasting Table

When Tasting Table called to photograph Mika Paredes, Chef de Cuisine at Beast, I jumped at the opportunity. Mika is super cool, super nice and oh yeah, she has a look that I see as a beautiful combination of tough and soft. Shooting with her was going to be awesome, and I loved creating a mood through the lighting that reflected her look, her aura. You can see Mika’s recipe and the other featured Sous Chefs on the Tasting Table site here.



In Print: Fitness Magazine (and a good story about staying fit and dog-love)

What a great way to get fit, stay fit and bask in some unconditional dog-love.  My crew and I photographed Katie and Maverick for Fitness Magazine, describing Katie’s journey to a healthier lifestyle through walking and running with her dog.  I was totally envious of the fun those two were having! (I grew up with mutts, setters & a retreiver but sadly, am now dogless)  The shoot was hilarious with Maverick being totally focused on the ball instead of my direction, typical Lab!

Fitness 03, 2014



In Print: Luxe Magazine

Jeffrey Kovel, Principal of Skylab

“Architecture is the mediator between person and place,” opens Jeffrey Kovel in the Master Mavericks profile in this month’s issue of Luxe Magazine. I have so much respect for how Luxe uses black and while portraiture to convey the individual style of the people profiled in the magazine. It’s suitable for someone so distinctive. Learn more about Skylab Architecture or Luxe Magazine.

Oregon Humane Society | Brooks Rescue Dogs

blog new image of dogs

It’s a pleasure to be able to use our talents to help the Oregon Humane Society. In late January, the OHS rescued more than 100 neglected dogs from a failed rescue facility near Salem Oregon. The dogs came to OHS in terrible condition. We were given the opportunity to photograph only some of the healthier dogs–and I think you can see from these photos, what even while the body can be harmed, a dog’s spirit, is well, dogged.

We fell a little in love with every dog. Wiggly, scared, proud, curious or playful. These delightful spirits let us capture their expressions and their feelings. We hope our photos help some of the dogs find their future families. Who do you like best?

Go here for the latest news about the Brooks Rescue Dogs. And here’s the link to OSH’s facebook page.

OHS-rescue-dogs04 OHS-rescue-dogs02 OHS-rescue-dogs09OHS-rescue-dogs05 OHS-rescue-dogs06

Yoga, larger than life

Drove past these, um, tearsheets the other day and they really made me smile big. Almost as big as the images are reproduced.  Shooting in the studio with Portland Yoga Arts was incredibly rewarding, and making pictures with the charismatic Francis, the 93 year old yoga practitioner reminded me what life should be all about; mindfulness & flexibility.

exterior view of yoga studio showing large photo murals by John Valls

close up detail of large photo murals at Portland Yoga Artsclose up detail of large photo murals at Portland Yoga Arts

detail of photo mural at Portland Yoga Arts shot by John Valls

Black Enterprise Magazine


A good portrait is one of my favorite challenges. There’s so much to think about. Figuring the shot, building rapport and coaxing out the “moment” while at the same time working with the light, timing, and keeping out distracting elements. To top that off, there’s an art director somewhere with his or her requirements, too. In this case, a double page spread.

It’s hard enough to figure out what I want from the photo, but add to that high winds, harsh light and that exaggerated off-center layout. Here’s my answer: plenty of negative space for copy on the left side and a strong vertical element anchors the subject on the right side of the spread.

Dave Allen: Gang of Four


This assignment was somewhat a departure for me. For one, a post-punk rock musician is stylistically a bit different than a well-mannered, white coated chef. Also, the tight (basement!) quarters were a little snugger than what I’m used to.

A wider lens, harder light and some groovy gels give this portrait a little more “edge” befitting the subject.

Luxe Mag & the pleasures of shooting B+W


When I went to Martha Pfanschmidt’s studio for Luxe Magazine, I knew the image would run full page, B+W.  Which was great, since I really miss the process of shooting specifically for black and white. Before digital, switching to black and white film forced you to reinterpret the setup in a new way.  In this instance, knowing it would run B+W, I set up a strong composition that simplified the environment into graphical elements. I like how the image reflects her unfussy nature and the old school equipment of the printmaking machinery.