decisive moments


“There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative. The Moment! Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”
– henry cartier-bresson

this is a very tender moment of a bride dancing with her brother on her wedding day. poised to dance hand in hand, i witnessed the gigantic emotional wave roll in as the music from ray charles began. the weight of their late father’s absence and yet presence in spirit has just come down upon them. their feet now shuffling memories out of the grass as they dance.

…more of this event to come. (thanks for watching)

my summer reads

these are a few reads that i have pounded through since the spring time. books, music, movies, and pretty much everything can be a source for inspiration for me and my photography. thought you might like to know what i am feeding my brain these days….

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i was so intimated by this book. the brick-thick pages that it contains could scare any wolf away. however this spring, due to encouragement of a friend of mine informing me that he “reads it once a year”….insane. if he can read it over and over i can read it at least once. and so i set out to tackle my own enemies, my own self, and read this 1250 page book. and i am so ever glad that i did. there are so many incredibly well written passages in this book, the characters are so thick with detail that a finger could noodle it’s way out of a paragraph, the revenge is sweet and tragic, and the love Dumas expresses (came as a surprise) was incredibly touching. coincidentally when i was at the beginning stages of my “death portraits” project i was also reading this novel on my off time. i read words like “he no longer dared to hold the hand that dangled outside the bed, he no longer dared to look into those staring white eyes, which he tried several times to close, but in vain; they always remained open..terrifying because there was no thought behind them.” – haunting. that was EXACTLY what i was trying to photograph!!!
and then Dumas can flip the emotions like a light switch – from horror to hate to love…his love expressed in this verse “anything that you might have to say to me will never be worth what i can read in your eyes, what your heart has thought and mine felt.”…it doesn’t get much better.

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hands down one of my all time favorite books. ever. love it.
again, i was intimidated by this book for the longest time as well because of the older english text. i have now learned i need to give myself more credit for the grey matter that i can put to good use.
never before i have i read such a book that brought such haunting imagery into my mind. actual b&w photos illuminated my mind while reading these pages and it has given me a thirst to bring justice to the monster that Shelly created. i want to kick hollywood in the nuts for the dumb-green-skinned-flat-headed-bolts-in-his-neck monster that we all now know as frankenstein.
it is a beautiful story, one that poses many intriguing themes and questions (personal responsibility. pride. science and progress, the relentless search for knowledge – and at what cost? what qualities make us human? fear. abandonment. love. innocence. hatred. revenge. guilt and shame. acceptance and understanding.)…a deeply layered and incredible story.

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i breezed through this book in a few evenings…and now thanks to this book i sit here in Aug waiting for the snow to come. i am drooling at the mouth to see snowy peaks that i can go surf again. this is a story about a father and son, a broken up home, and how the waves of the ocean and the powder snow became a way to leave all the crap of the world behind. an amazing part of this memoir is that the boy (author) survived a plane crash at the age of 11, because of his adrenaline seeking father pushing him to “chase the storm” and to always find the next big wave, he was able to crawl down an entire mountain of ice and live to tell the tale.
i love the metaphor the author uses in relating surfing a tube wave to life…”the ominous wall would bend and wrap me in it’s peaceful womb, revealing everything essential, a dream of pure happiness, – beyond all the bullsh*t. somewhere in the oval opening [of the wave] there is more to life than just surviving it. inside each turbulence there is a calm – a sliver of light buried in the darkness.”
this sucker snagged me quick, i could relate to many of the feeling on the pages, and now i can’t wait to grab my own board and hit the hills. blessed utah snow….

when it all comes together


this is just one of those incredible shoots when everything comes together, the sun, the light, the colors, the stunning couple…unfortunately everything came together literally seconds before Michelle had to jump into the car to make it to the location shoot. she told me her mom was snipping pieces of string as she is racing towards the door – yes, her mom made this dress…incredible… Michelle said her mom stayed up the night before until 5am sewing, that throughout the day of the shoot they were stressing whether the dress would be done in time and even considered intentionally pulling Michelle’s hair to one side to cover up a missing shoulder.

…oh, what i am ignorant to. i sit behind a camera and appreciate, i throw daggers of inspiration called fractions of time…but i never know the stressful days, hours, minutes, and literally seconds that my brides are fighting to get ready to stand in front of my camera.
michelle, my former intern, might i say what an incredible pleasure it has been to work along side you with my own shoots – and now having you in front of my lens as it has become your turn to get married – it has been incredibly flattering, rewarding, and thrilling.

to see more from this session visit here.

blessed interns


a moment of reflection with the infamous k-town. i can’t thank you enough for the countless hours you have worked, the inspiration you helped materialize…and the friend i have gained.

the time has come for me to make a shot out for some new individuals that are looking for internship opportunities.
i do get inquiries quite often, if you are interested in an internship with me i am asking that you email me and state “internship with duston todd” in the subject line. my email…
responding in this matter will greatly help keep things organized from here forward – (so even if you have already inquired please do so again.) once i have gathered the responses i will follow up with more details on an individual basis.

my best! and thank yous!

the contemporary wild west


i in no way had any influence in the character you see above. i asked if i could take a couple pictures of him, he got excited and scurried over to his white van and whipped out his animal skin hat. the expressions that followed were 100% genuine – 100% him. after catching about every third sentence he had to say, i politely asked if i could take one serious portrait (the last of the series).
meeting incredible people in incredible places…this is what road trippin in america is all about.

…and this concludes my tour of Bannack Montana.


the influence of color photography

color photography can have a surprising impact and influence on you. as we know, most of the images from decades ago were all taken in b&w. for that matter i have an abstracted sense of reality for those time periods – something i couldn’t relate to, like it was a different life altogether…and today i came across a Denver Post photo blog that has spotlighted a 2006 exhibit titled “Bound For Glory: America in Color”. the Denver Post’s feature of this exhibit is titled:

Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943

click here to see the 70 images of the feature.

seeing these images from this time period in color has had that surprising influence on me. it is the color in the photographs that brought the stories, the people, and the events a lot closer to home, like it was indeed reality and it was indeed just yesterday.  quite humbling and haunting to say the least. makes me want to squeeze my grandparents a little tighter….and the images are incredible.

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again, the feature is a must see, click here to see the post.