photography, travel

travel updates

last weekend, i traveled to richmond, virginia to shoot an ismaili wedding.  ismailis are a sect of shia muslims, and these folks in particular were mostly of pakistani/ indian origins.  it was a very interesting experience.  everyone was incredibly hospitable, and i really enjoyed observing a different culture.





overall, i had a great time, and am very happy with the imagery.  i only wish i had more time to spend exploring richmond… maybe next time.

now it’s off to new york city!!  i’m really looking forward to finally having a chance to take an in-depth look at the capitol of the western world.  and, even more exciting than that, i get to see my friends anna and elaine!!  more thoughts and pictures to come…

all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2008

music, photography

the sight of music

when people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they have never had and never will have.  ~ edgar watson howe

my friends and family might say that i’m obsessed with music.  i would like to think that i’m not obsessed with anything, but i will whole-heartedly admit that if music were not a reality, i would not want to be alive.

were it not for music, we might in these days say, the Beautiful is dead.  ~ benjamin disraeli

without music, life would be a mistake.  ~ friedrich wilhelm nietzsche

so it always happens that i love to shoot these things that i am most passionate about, but practically, i just shoot music for fun.  it’s very hard to make any substantial living shooting music.  however, a few months ago, i went to an avett brothers show with a few friends, and captured some images that i really liked.  they were different than any performance work i’ve done before, and i’ve been thinking of entering them in a contest or something.


i just received an email today about the pdn/ billboard summer music photo contest, and i decided it might be fun to enter a few images.  but it’s very hard to edit your own work sometimes, so here’s where you, the lovely passer-by, come in…


please help!!  the deadline is august 29, and i’d like to narrow these down to 3 or 4 of the best images for two of the categories, performance and spontaneous moment.  it’s always better to have many sets of eyes seeing from many different perspectives, than just one.  so, either email me directly (, or post your comments here… please!

thanks much in advance…

the only proof he needed of the existence of God was music. ~ kurt vonnegut


a painter paints pictures on canvas.  but musicians paint their pictures on silence.  ~ leopold stokowski


music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  ~ berthold auerbach


music is the language of the spirit.  it opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.kahlil gibran

men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it.  ~ henry david thoreau


all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2008




photography, random thought

primal depression

i have always loved zoos.  some of my earliest and fondest memories include family trips to the famous ft. worth zoo, where i would gaze at the magnificent creatures before me.  i believe that these early visits actually cultivated my great love for animals.

however, i went to the zoo just the other day, and had quite a different experience altogether.  now, don’t get me wrong here – i am by no means a supporter of PETA, nor do i hold animals in higher esteem than humans.  i simply saw the zoo, for the first time, in a very depressing light.  i’m beginning to rethink my ideas about human/ animal interaction. 

to further explore this concept, i’m starting a series on “caged animal” portraits.


i’m not trying to contribute to some “great” cause or anything, i’m just trying to see something from a different perspective than before, and i believe this is worth pondering.  i hope the photographs speak for themselves. 

thankfully, in all the tragedy that is our world, there remains beauty and humor as well.  i hope that some will find all three in a few of these images…

the primates exhibit an obvious parallel to our own mental malaise.  but what really got me was the bald eagle.  i’ve been lucky enough to have first-hand experience with wild balds when i lived in wyoming, and they are some of the most freewheeling and majestic creatures i have ever seen.


this animal, whose wingspan is longer than i am tall, was in a netted enclosure approximately 10’x10’x20′. talk about a caged bird… but it certainly could have been worse.


another factor that i guarantee contributed to all the long faces, was the temperature.  i was drenched in sweat the entire time as i walked the wide paths inside this enormous facility.  it had to have been over 100 degrees fahrenheit on the concrete, so it’s a given that the animals (many with gratuitous amounts of fur, hair, or feathers) were overheating, and desperately trying to keep cool.

please let me know what you think about all of this.  what has been your experience at various zoos around the world?  america’s zoos would be some of the best and most humane in the world, i imagine.  and i know that one justification people have for the continuation of traditional zoos is to create an awareness and love for animals in humans, which is the precise effect zoos had on me.  are we justified because of this?


i overheard a woman guiding a tour that day ask a group of children where they think zoos get their animals.  

“from the wild,” the children all answered.  

she kindly corrected them.  apparently, american zoos now almost exclusively acquire their animals from captivity.  they encourage captive breeding so that they are not pooling from the wild, therefore in theory, caging animals that are “used” to being caged.


i don’t know what the answers are.  and frankly, i feel very strong that there are much more important issues going on today with our own species.  however, these questions will eventually need answers.  as we move forward in our own evolution, have we surpassed our need for these exotic attractions?  are there simply better ways of studying and learning about our animal neighbors?  


all images © andrew r. slaton | photographer 2008