Monday, August 24, 2009

hey?! that's my cab! is back

Yes the old blog (HEY?! THAT'S MY CAB!) or is making a return and RUNVANRUN will be replaced. Why the change... AGAIN?

Good question....

Sunday, August 23, 2009

developing an idea

If it feels stupid, it's stupid.

If you're half way through, finish up.

Research. Research. Research.

This is what I've been telling myself lately... but then again ideas are just the beginning.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

finishing summer

OK, the last day of summer is Sept. 22, but it seems like it's closing in faster and faster... back to school sales are about to end, football season is around the corner, grillin' burgers and dogs have taken a major nose dive since July 4th...

So how do I plan on finishing off summer and staying sharp creatively?

dropping the camera to DAYDREAM...

yep that's me - a new sheriff in town

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

sequoia national park

© van ditthavong

August days in Texas can be brutal. I found myself escaping the 100 degree days by camping in the Sequoia National Park for 3 days. Yes there was a bear sighting, yes one of my friends got stung by bees, and yes we made s'mores. Ahhh, life in the wilderness...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"Sharon Killer"

© van ditthavong

This is a photo OF a photo of Sharon Keller (the Court of Criminal Appeals presiding judge) from her 1970 high school year. Known to many as "Sharon Killer" she is in some hot water at the moment. She's "been caught closing the door on a dying man's last request." Read the story here...TEXAS MONTHLY.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

ian + belle 2009

© van ditthavong

We walked to the back. They both sat down at the chairs and simultaneously stared through my camera.

Monday, June 29, 2009

kyle myers

© van ditthavong

The phone rings. The assignment is in Del Rio, Texas - a border town. The subject is Kyle Myers (who lost 80 pounds). The magazine, Men's Health. We head to the park where he has been training. Kyle is going to be a pilot. He's been stationed in Del Rio for a few years now and he's headed out of town - finishing up his duties there. Also, in a few days after the shoot he was going to get married in Oklahoma. Are you going to miss Del Rio I ask... Not really he says.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

portrait of the american dream

© van ditthavong

This series was awarded honorable mention in the Px3 competition - Europe's biggest and most prestigious photography competition.


HONORABLE WINNER OF PX3, Prix de la Photographie Paris



Van Ditthavong of United States was Awarded in category for the entry titled, " Portrait of the American Dream ." The jury selected winners from thousands of photography entries from over 85 countries.

Px3 is juried by top international decision-makers in the photography industry: Carol Johnson, Curator of Photography of Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Gilles Raynaldy, Director of Purpose, Paris; Viviene Esders, Expert près la Cour d'Appel de Paris; Mark Heflin, Director of American Illustration + American Photography, New York; Sara Rumens, Lifestyle Photo Editor of Grazia Magazine, London; Françoise Paviot, Director of Galerie Françoise Paviot, Paris; Chrisitine Ollier, Art Director of Filles du Calvaire, Paris; Natalie Johnson, Features Editor of Digital Photographer Magazine, London; Natalie Belayche, Director of Visual Delight, Paris; Kenan Aktulun, VP/Creative Director of Digitas, New York; Chiara Mariani, Photo Editor of Corriere della Sera Magazine, Italy; Arnaud Adida, Director of Acte 2 Gallery/Agency, Paris; Jeannette Mariani, Director of 13 Sévigné Gallery, Paris; Bernard Utudjian, Director of Galerie Polaris, Paris; Agnès Voltz, Director of Chambre Avec Vues, Paris; and Alice Gabriner, World Picture Editor of Time Magazine, New York.

Winning entries from each major category (Advertising, Photojournalism, Book, Fine Art, Nature, and Portraiture) are exhibited in Paris at the prestigious Galerie Acte 2 from June 26-28 and published in the high-quality, full-color Px3 Annual Book, which is distributed to galleries, agencies, publishers and bookstores worldwide.

About the Winner:

Contact Van Ditthavong:

The "Prix de la Photographie Paris" (Px3) strives to promote the appreciation of photography, to discover emerging talent, and introduce photographers from around the world to the artistic community of Paris. Winning photographs from this competition are exhibited in a high-profile gallery in Paris and published in the high-quality, full-color Px3 Annual Book.

For Press Inquiries, Contact:

Monday, June 22, 2009

my cousin aaron

© van ditthavong

Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down, the British doctor who described the syndrome in 1866. Aaron has the chromosomal disorder, but he also has one of the most beautiful smiles you'll ever see.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

eric + cooper

© van ditthavong

Eric walks around the room with his son in his arms, thanking everyone for coming today. He seems like a natural... well, they both do. It's Cooper's first communion. He's just a little over 3 months. Eric turns to me and says, "How's it feel to be the godfather?" I immediately thought - I better shape up now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ian + his bb gun

© van ditthavong

Being a kid is fun. It's not always about video games.

Monday, June 1, 2009

hulsey smith

Ex-football player Hulsey Smith is looking to turn up Indy Car racing's popularity. At 26 years old, he's willing to do whatever to make it work... including this shoot for American Way. We were one phone call away from having a helicopter scoop down on to the track. I thought to myself, "wow! awesome idea but best to just keep it simple" - so I mentioned it wouldn't be necessary. Hulsey continues, "Are you sure? All I have to do is make a call." You have to love that persistence and enthusiasm.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

in east texas

The 2 and a half hour drive towards east Texas from Dallas was painless. Besides a few unexpected detours we made it to our destination on time. The clouds were looming - but the winds were here already. As always, you can make plans but there's always a catch. Rusty Dorman is a good man. He's been in Henderson, TX for most of his life. He leans up against the wall in the hallway of his office - smiling (and partly embarrassed) because a co-worker is staring at him laughing. Being photographed is never easy...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

in a hotel ballroom

© van ditthavong

Brett walks in the ballroom. He is a calm, cool customer. With a friendly voice he says, "Ok, tell me what you'd like me to do." He seems relaxed with only a tiny hint of nervousness... a perfect state for a subject. I respond, "Can you look towards the light?" For some reason or other - some folks need little direction. He was one of those folks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ian + belle

© van ditthavong

Yes they have their fights and disagreements, but Ian's a great older brother. He includes Belle in pretty much everything he does... and even when he doesn't really want to. It's been a year since this photo and next month we get to make some new ones.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

kathy arroyo

© van ditthavong

We met in the fall of 2007. She was in the midst of her battle with breast cancer. At that time I was working on a project about the women of The Bridge Breast Network... The Bridge saves lives by linking low income, uninsured individuals to diagnostic and treatment services for breast cancer. What I remember about that afternoon was how Kathy would say how helpful and caring her neighbors were. We talked about her family, her treatments, our crummy healthcare system, and which hospitals and doctors would tell her - sorry you're dying but we can't help you cause you don't have insurance.  But she wasn't angry or mad.  She was grateful... to The Bridge, to her family, and to her friends and neighbors.  Kathy passed away last month - and I am grateful for the chance to have spent a lovely afternoon with her.

Monday, May 4, 2009

cameron hughes part deux

from April's Spirit Magazine issue...

Monday, April 27, 2009

cameron hughes

© van ditthavong

Cameron Hughes lives his dream. He gets paid for being a fan. Whether it's in an NBA or NHL arena... his job is to get the crowd going - by clapping, dancing, yelling, and more dancing. Actually the truth is... he simply just has to be himself. The week before it was Cleveland and Lebron James - this day we are in Oklahoma City - right before the "bottom of the standings" OKC Thunder team take on the Memphis Grizzlies. Like a good athlete - Cameron stretches, mentally prepares, and tapes up body parts before he walks through the tunnel and takes on 15 thousand people.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


© van ditthavong

Understandably he was a little hesitant at first. Meeting someone new isn't the easiest of things but Gray was very comfortable in front of the camera. In an attempt to draw out a different reaction I asked him, "What do you do when you score a touchdown?" ... hoping he would demonstrate. But with a slight furrow of the brow, he answered, "I don't know... I haven't scored one yet."

Monday, April 6, 2009

the suburbs

© van ditthavong

Our subject ended up having a broken leg so the art director slightly switched the shoot agenda - capture the feel of the community. The Verandah is a new development in Royce City, Texas. It was eerily quiet that day - all you can hear were the winds swirling around. Most of the houses were yet to be occupied and tons were in the midst of being built - so it had that feeling like we were in a movie set. Actually, it reminded of the town in Edward Scissorhands... very cookie-cutterish, very suburbia.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

remembering shoots

© van ditthavong

I was combing through some old files and ran into this photo. There have been pivotal moments where I can kinda pin point where my photography career/education takes a turn. This shoot happens to be one of them... here I started to really enjoy using props in my shots and I focused more in creating scenes and using the environment. It was very liberating.

Monday, March 30, 2009

alpha mc

© van ditthavong

Alpha MC finishes his set. We head into the back room, where the light is falling perfectly. "Oh, don't forget your CD," I said. He answers, "That's right."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


© van ditthavong

U-God of Wu-Tang Clan fame and a glass of wine.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


© van ditthavong

We packed the car up with gear and left Dallas - headed to Austin for some work down at South by Southwest. It's only been four days but feels like 4 months. It's great to always get away... but sometimes it's even better to get back. So after some intense shoots, the road back home tomorrow couldn't happen at a better time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

joining Q. ink

It was with great coincidence that I met Quitze Nelson, owner of Q. ink (thank you Selina!). At this point in my career I wasn't necessarily looking for representation. However, after meeting with Quitze several times discussing photography, personal mantras and philosophies - our vision and goals seem to match... both personally and professionally. And that was important to me. Not only is she an extremely wonderful person, we were on the same page as far as business objectives were concerned. So I have joined Q. ink and look forward to a beautiful relationship filled with growth, great challenges, and fun.

For those of you looking for a rep as well, Nick Onken was a great post about this in his Shoptalk blog. Do check it out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ken downing, director of fashion/neiman marcus

Ken walks in with a confident and pleasant air about him. We talk about the Grammys and about "Milk." He shifts positions each time he hears my shutter click. I fire off about 20 frames and then say "Thank you for your time"... and just like how he entered, he exits elegantly while shutting the door like a true gentleman. Here is an outtake:

© van ditthavong

Saturday, March 7, 2009

the yellow plane

© van ditthavong

You can hear the engine roar. Thankfully it was getting closer and closer... making a mundane sky a little more interesting. But more importantly making the image a little more interesting. Like an ice cube is to a glass of whiskey - this yellow plane is just what the image needed to "knock the edge off."

Monday, March 2, 2009


© van ditthavong

I like doors. I've been staring at this one for over a year now - not knowing how I would use it. Then Trevor came in one day to take my portrait... and I took his.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

david feherty

Former pro golfer/broadcaster/writer and (extremely) funny man, David Feherty has survived two brutal car accidents while riding. Unable to swing the golf club again he says, "I'll tell you this, the next person who hits me had better keep moving, because if I'm able to get upright that ambulance will have two passengers." This is a new tearsheet from Bicycling Magazine... here is an outtake from the shoot:

© van ditthavong

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

3 and 33 years old

© van ditthavong

The flower pot wasn't there when I first started. I wanted something to break up the brown. I needed more life. Then I proceeded to calmly press myself against the wall, waiting for the timer to go off... staring at the black and white picture taken of me when I was three.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

before the smoke clears

© van ditthavong

The smoke was still in the air just outlining the rays of light coming through the blinds. If you look closely you can see the dust particles dancing around. Josh walks through the door. I hurry to close it - afraid the smoke will leave. He steps forward and says "is this good?" I respond, "can you step back a little... perfect."

Monday, February 23, 2009

some face time

Thanks to the PDN staff for highlighting my portfolio this month... and thanks to Emily for telling me about it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

selina maitreya

I got a wonderful call from Selina Maitreya ( this week. For those who haven't heard of Selina, she has over 30 years of experience as a photographer's rep, consultant and industry advocate. Her book HOW TO SUCCEED IN COMMERICIAL PHOTOGRAPHY is terrific. I've had a copy on my nightstand for the past year... and would read and reread chapters before I would fall asleep. I decided to send her a copy of HEY?! THAT'S MY CAB... and to my surprise and amazement, she gave me a ring to say she loved it! Thank you Selina!

Monday, February 16, 2009

cool beans

Just like style, you either have it or you don't. These magazines have it... one day I can only hope to be fortunate enough to work with them.

STOP SMILING - based in Chicago and New York, it's "magazine for high-minded low-lifes."

ODE Magazine - For Intelligent Optimists

AHORN Magazine - an online magazine dedicated to contemporary photography.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

a pear in the sink

© van ditthavong

I grabbed a flashlight and pointed it at the pear.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

finding window light

© van ditthavong

Tracy is a personal trainer. I was about to set up my lights until I saw a section in the gym where all this window light just flooded the room. It's funny - the more you start to know about light, the less you use of it... strobes that is.

Monday, February 9, 2009

at the beach

© van ditthavong

I remember I couldn't wait to get my polariod sx70. It came in a great looking case. The camera shape was something I've never seen before, sort of like a transformer - it looked one way, and then popped into another. I really felt like a photographer... or a spy. Sadly it now sits looking pretty on my shelf, next to its sibling - the polaroid 180.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

filling in light

© van ditthavong

The light was terrific that morning but I needed to open up him up. Laying in front of Young's knees is a small silver reflector. Not only was I able to fill his face with some light... I was able to also cast his shadow up against the wall. Sometimes I think shadows tell a much better story.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the true meaning of pictures

I bought this documentary about two years ago and just watched it again. The opening scene is terrific - a fantastic plane ride over the Appalachian mountains in Kentucky. Appalachia is one of those mystical places to me ... like New Orleans, Paris, Siberia or Giza. Shelby Lee Adam's portraits are simply beautiful.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

grace each year

© van ditthavong

Grace is about to turn five. Each year we do a portrait and have been doing so since she was born... and each year she gets even more creative. It's great to be a kid.

Monday, January 26, 2009

our paths

© van ditthavong

Joe was riding his green bicycle towards his shop. He refurbishes antique furniture and sells them. I was standing outside with a kitchen mitt. Our paths collided. I asked, "Could I take your portrait?" He said sure. I then asked if he could hold on to the tree - and once again, he said sure.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the fix

© van ditthavong

I saw his truck in the distance… he was working on a light pole. We talked a bit. He told me he has been an electrician for his company for 50 years. I asked, "Have you ever been electrocuted?” He answered, “Yes, lots of times” … and then pointed to his chest.