Thursday, December 29, 2011


Returning, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

mixed media piece... ink jet print, wheat paste, acrylic paint, watercolor, grass, wood bark.

This one will be up for auction at the Electric City Creative/Machinery Row silent art auction on the 25th of January. No minimum bid... a lot of great art is going to go for crazy cheap.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

I done did a drawring

a crow sketch done in prep for a larger more finished piece that I will be working on in the near future.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dirty Dwayne Taylor

tire marks

tire marks, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.


sprocket, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

I've starting to get back into riding my bike. In the process, I've run into a few serious riders around Great Falls. Some good people. Of course, they've had a camera in their face the whole time because... well, that's what I do.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"We have it all!"

"We have it all!", originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

I'm blogging this shot again. It was taken last fall.

I like this photo because in many ways it represents the city in which I live.

The often maligned Great Falls does have it all... or very nearly (we could use more quality regional and ethnic food). There is an amazing arts community, music all over the place, a wonderful collection of bars and pubs, beautiful nature near by, and so much more. I think, often, Great Falls is disregarded by its own people, who don't know how good they have it.

The people and the community are much like this building. Very rough and pieces are falling apart, but there is so much potential there. Everything you need is there, if under a layer of dirt and grime. Often Great Falls, much like this building becomes more beautiful because of the bits of dirt, and wear and tear. The beauty is in its roughness.

I guess overly polished just isn't my style.
When I returned to Billings, my home town, this weekend and had time to kill, I spent it taking photos is the old, dirty, run down part of town. I seem to do a bit of that everywhere I go.

There's a fair amount of complaint (and rightly so) about "ruin porn" within contemporary photography. The difference between "ruin porn" and documentary work that covers the less wealthy side of things, the run down, the falling apart in a less destructive way is in the emotion and intent behind it. The inherent difference lies in the tendency to either view things as a side-show... a car crash to gawk at, or to look at things with love. One can see these things as indicative of the resilience of the people in the area and the strength of community bonds despite the harshness of their economic environment. There is hope in this view. There is potential and a vision for a positive future, whereas the other viewpoint hopes for the continued crumble and fall.

To me, "ruin porn" holds no appeal. To me, the "arrived", wealthy, and polished, hold no beauty without a story to give it context.

To me, the potential, the growing, the hope for the future is where it's at.

I'm entering this one, for all these reasons, in the Old School Photo Lab Old School Photo Contest. I think it fits their mentality. It's all about the old school, and how our past can carry us foreward.

Art links: painting, video, electronic music

there's a wonderful quality of vulnerability in Peter Ravn's work.

Peter Ravn

The level of production that goes into this video and stage work is pretty amazing.

Monstrous techno video production

Jen Mann's work has an ethereal beauty to it, with some amazingly natural skin tones and a tendency towards aloofness in her characters.

Jen Mann

Friday, July 15, 2011

Good information on copyright, transformative works, and fair use

Anyone working in a creative field should try to keep themselves up to date on concepts of copyright and fair use. My opinions on U.S. copyright law have changed a lot over the last several years, but disagreements with the implementation of the law do not allow us to ignore the law itself.

Fair use

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Art Links: Illustrators a-go-go

Amazing detailed black and white work. I wish I could draw like this.
Iain Macarthur

Comic book influenced, reality washed away...
Loic Zimmerman

The colors! Oh god, the colors!
Darin Shuler

Monday, July 11, 2011

Link gallery: India, drawing, pie, and surreal photos

India is a place I long to visit.

A visit to India via skateboarding.

India via skateboarding

One of my favorite new artists to discover in quite some time. Bayo's work has detail in all the right places.


I've always liked pie better than cake.


Wet Collodion process photographs that bring a touch of surreal to the traditional process. Something different, fun, and often creepy.

Noah Doely
I am amazed by this project. So much time and care taken in these pieces.

Areth: An Architectural Atlas by Adam C. Ryder

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Paintings by Rajni Perera on Booooooom Blog

Solid painting work here. I enjoy the human/geometric tension. Great color as well.

Booooooom Blog is a great source of a lot of good artwork.

Rajni Perera

Robert Adams

"Making photographs has to be, then, a personal matter; when it is not, the results are not persuasive. Only the artist’s presence in the work can convince us that its affirmation resulted from and has been tested by human experience. Without the photographer in the photograph the view is no more compelling than the product of some anonymous record camera, a machine perhaps capable of happy accident but not of response to form."

Robert Adams on personal photographs


I've long been a Fugazi fan, and while not a big Wu Tang fan, I can respect the sort of culture they've created around themselves. It's an interesting mash-up that makes sense on multiple levels.


Buy the The iPhone SLR Mount at the Photojojo Store!

Put DSLR lenses on your Iphone

I... I... I just don't know, man.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

These are over a year old and some how they slipped through the cracks during moving and I never edited them, let alone uploaded them.

So here you are, a year late, but better late than never.

I think that's the first time I've taken that long to share something I've shot.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

These are over a year old and some how they slipped through the cracks during moving and I never edited them, let alone uploaded them.

So here you are, a year late, but better late than never.

I think that's the first time I've taken that long to share something I've shot.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

These are over a year old and some how they slipped through the cracks during moving and I never edited them, let alone uploaded them.

So here you are, a year late, but better late than never.

I think that's the first time I've taken that long to share something I've shot.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Leo Bercier

Leo Bercier, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

... a sponsored athlete of 221 Industries shot ( for Signature Montana Magazine

Pro MMA fighter Leo Bercier

... a sponsored athlete of 221 Industries shot ( for Signature Montana Magazine

Halley Gallagher

Halley Gallagher, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

Halley Gallagher is a Great Falls based artist featured in the current issue of Electric City Creative (


GOO edit, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

This is an alternate edit from the shoot that appeared in Electric City Creative (

GOO is a Great Falls based street artist who is now doing work in the fine art world as well.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Floods, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

At the Electric City Creative Group Show and Party at Machinery Row. Great turn-out and tons of fun with some really amazing artists showing work.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

take a seat, take a drive

downtown Great Falls at the end of last summer... some Tri-X film. Home processed since no one in town does it anymore.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Shiloh, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

my niece during the last visit to Great Falls. She loves the accessories.

Chuck Fulcher

Chuck Fulcher, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

from a profile we never had the opportunity to run in Electric City Creative

Critique without dismissal

During a recent discussion via a certain online social network that rhymes with acebook, I found myself defending the artistic merits of Lady Gaga. I found this to be a bit of an odd position to hold. While I certainly don't mind Lady Gaga's music (part of my fondness certainly stems from the love of her shared by my daughter, son, and wife) the conversation was about something larger than her individual qualities.

I found myself questioning the way in which we dismiss the value of an artist's work -- Even, at times, going so far as to say they aren't truly an artist. I find this worrisome in that in dismissing another artist's work as having no value,, where does that leave my own work? If I am ready to dismiss the value to be found in another endeavor, what is to stop that person from dismissing the value to be found in mine? The answer is nothing. That brought me, in a round-about way, to the question of the value of the art critic. What is it that makes us listen to the opinion on the relative quality and worth of a particular artwork or artist of a select few individuals? Via both SPOKE(a)N(e) Magazine and Electric City Creative (not to mention this very blog) I have acted as an art critic of sorts. What is my place in all of this?


I've spent some time contemplating this and I think I've come to some level of resolution, at least for myself. A long while ago, the art world was something that had a certain cost of entry, or at the very least, individuals and organizations that held the keys to the kingdom. Either artists went to school and entered the art world as a professional under the guise of a craftsperson or a servant of a church or state, or they toiled away until someone with money (i.e. a sponsor) took them under their wing and exposed the world to the work that the artist was doing. Now, there is hardly any cost of entry. We can throw paint on a canvas, take a picture of it, put it up on the internet, call ourselves artists, and expose the world to our brilliance (or lack thereof). Thus, in the modern art world, the lack of "gatekeepers" raises the importance of the art critic to prior unheard-of levels. The art critics of the world, if they are doing their job as they should, are telling others what is out there that is wonderful, and when necessary, telling the world what still needs more thought or time to gestate. A quality art critic is instructive and constructive rather than destructive. A quality art critic critiques the work, without dismissing it. Dismissal in the art world, as in school, slows or even stops learning. The art critic is the cheerleader for the art world. And in being a cheerleader, an art critic is the post-modern gatekeeper. A gatekeeper that leaves the gates open so you can come and go as you please but hands maps out as you enter. That is, if (and this is a huge if) they are doing their job properly.

Great Falls Riverside Railyard Skatepark

But more importantly, in the modern art world, consumer has also become critic. The consumer is the one who transfers their love and knowledge of art on to their circle of friends and acquaintances far more frequently than the professional critic. In truth, the job of professional critic has become quite rare. We trust those who we personally know, more than we trust others -- who, while they may know more about the subject, know less about our individual tastes. As such, it becomes even more important that no individual dismiss work outright. Debating the merits and intent of art is a welcome exchange as it makes us think more deeply about the process and the consumption of art itself. But dismissal of art doesn't serve any positive purpose.

Beyond the damage that dismissal can cause, I think it is important for us to look inward at why we tend to dismiss things. More often than not, it is simply because the work of an artist is not to our individual taste.

I'm not saying Justin Bieber's last album was filled with deep meaning... but I'm also not saying it wasn't. The fact of the matter is, "the Biebs" is not to my taste, so I've never taken the time to delve deeply into his catalogue, subject matter, or focus. I couldn't tell you what his music is influenced by or strives towards. As such, I'm not much of a critic of his work. I think most people who dismiss Lady Gaga, or any other artist of her sort, do so because they don't truly know the work being presented.

alive @ 5 with Igor and the Red Elvises 3

When we say "I prefer my music to have more meaning," what we're truly saying is either "I prefer a different variety of music and thus haven't given proper consideration to the meaning of this artist or this song," or "I prefer meaning in musical genres I don't care for to be spoon-fed to me so as not to make me listen any more than I have to."

When we say "I don't think splattering paint on a canvas is art," what we are truly saying is, "I don't find any personal meaning within this work and thus dismiss it as art in my eyes."

The problem with what we say vs. what we mean is that the dismissal of value closes a gate that should remain open. We should be in a golden age of creation. We should be entering a post-modern renaissance. That can't happen if we close those gates that have been opened for us only in this modern era.

Critique, don't dismiss.

For further thoughts on the subject of arts criticism (and more defense of Lady Gaga, believe it or not), please take some time to read this post by Spoken Spokane editor, Michael McMullen.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Electric City Creative Issue #4

Branch: the new issue of Electric City Creative/ in which I have portraits and a photo editorial. Electric City Creative is one of the properties of Habein Studio, edited by Sara Habein.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Shifting our thinking or Business is personal

This post is more intended towards fellow photographers than towards clients.

I work two jobs. I run Habein Studio and I work at a grocery store. I stock shelves, essentially. When it comes down to it, both jobs are in a service industry.

No matter what I'm in the midst of doing at the grocery store, stocking a shelf, rotating product, cleaning something up, if a customer comes up to me and asks for assistance in any way it is my job to stop what I'm doing and help them. Often times our natural reaction is to resent the interruption. I see it in my coworkers, I see it in myself. We don't want to be prevented from smoothly completing the one task at hand. But when I look at it from a different perspective, I realize that the only reason I am cleaning something, stocking that shelf, or rotating that product is in assistance to the customer. Stopping that action to assist in a different way is only one more facet of the same task.

We think about taking pride in our work when we do a concrete task. We make sure an aisle in the store looks good and we step back and take pride in the work that we have done. We often fail to do this when it comes to our interactions with customers. It's all the same job. Perhaps it's the lack of physicality in the result that allows us to take the quality of our work less personally.

That's why I hate it whenever I hear someone say "It's not personal, it's business." We all know, in our heart of hearts, that's a complete lie. All business is personal. We take every business interaction personally. We often define ourselves by what we do for a living. I think of myself as a photographer. Sara thinks of herself as a writer. We build personalities up around our business.

I think that's a good thing. I think when I'm stocking a shelf and stop to help a customer I should take it personally. I should take pride in my interactions. The same holds true with my interactions as a photographer.

It's not about being professional and courteous towards clients. That sort of thing should go without saying. It goes beyond that. It's about shifting our thinking.

I'm sure we've all seen this:

and this:

and this:

...or some variation of that online.

The fact of the matter is we look at this the wrong way. We present such hostility towards the world at large because we believe they truly "don't understand the things that are required for great work." We seem to believe that in the modern photography word, it is us against them. We do our work in spite of the editors and clients of the world. The fact of the matter is that I do my work because of the editors and clients of the world. I don't work in spite of them, I work with them. This is something we need to remember.


We become hostile and offended as an industry because an editor wants a shoot done (gasp!) cheaply. Of course they do. Their job is to make sure their magazine/paper/client/etc. gets the quality of work they need for the lowest price they can. Our job is to make sure we can make the most money possible while upholding our creative integrity.

If we step back, we realize that both of us are simply trying to do a job. This is the nature of negotiation. The moment we begin to think that our clients aren't intelligent enough to understand the nature of business, or they are out to "get us" in some way is the day we fail to do our job as photographers. We fail to uphold the service portion of working in a service industry.


Business is personal. Let's hold onto that idea. Let's make business personal and personable. Hostility gets us nowhere. And creating within and feeding into the hostile environment that one currently swims through in so many online venues is a losing game. It's a losing game for our sanity, and it's a losing game for our profession.

Perhaps there is no ground upon which you can meet a particular client. Perhaps their cost/quality ratio is not where your income/quality ration is. That's fine. We don't have to shoot every job on the planet. In those situations, we simply say "I don't think I'm the right photographer for you. I wish you the best of luck in finding that right person for the job." If the client's ratio is so far off the market ratio that they can not find the right person, they will have to rethink their process. Likewise, if our ratio as photographers is so far off the market rate that we can't find work, then we need to rethink our process.

our chef

The market isn't heading downhill. The market is expanding. Just like any creative market in a new global digital economy the photography market now has low-end jobs, mid-range jobs, and high-end jobs where in years past it only had the mid and high-end work. These less expensive clients and their less expensive photographer counterparts are not taking our business, they're business that wasn't there in the past. And if a client who used to be a mid-range client goes the route of low-end work, one of two things will happen. Either that client will be happy with the lower end work (and all of the inconsistencies there-in) or that client will decide that cheaper doesn't always equal better. Sometimes clients discover that it's not simply added cost, it's added value.

mermaid thanks for the tips

Add value for your clients. I add value for mine by making sure that business is always personal in the right way.

I love this wall

IMG_1553, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

The old brick, the combination of the windows and stairs and door, it just begs to be photographed.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


IMG_1605, originally uploaded by Tyson of Habein Studio.

I can't wait for spring. I long for the increase in foot traffic downtown. It makes street shooting so much more enjoyable.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Official Site Finished

The official site for Habein Studio is now live. Galleries include my portrait work, editorial, wedding and various fine art projects. Updated contact information is also available.

Also take a look at my new micro-press site, Nouveau Nostalgia.

Thanks as always.