Iwamoto's Photos

Painting with light.

Brandon Iwamoto is a freelance photographer based in Aurora, Colorado, USA


I gave in and created a 500px account. Looks as though my Tumblr shall soon be relegated to one-photo posts when I feel like it, as I may move my primary blogging platform to it. What a fascinating website that I hardly knew about before.

Leap of Faith

Sorry guys, too tired to type tonight. Just posting photos. Track and field this morning (only got to shoot a couple ppl from this one event, I was told it was an 8am start, they didn’t start til 9:30 and I had two 10am assignments, so…)

Baseball. Two local teams, two games, two wins. One by a score of 8-6, the other by 21-3.

Mother-daughter tea party, for mother’s day.



Between the Tall, Pointy Rock and the Long Flat One

That’s the reply my coworker Alysa sent to our editor when he asked us where we were. And, frankly, there was no more accurate a description. We had spent the entire morning waaaay out in the middle of the Navajo reservation, getting some work done for an upcoming special section.

The shots were nothing special, so I won’t bore you with the shots. But it was still fun getting out on the res’ again, I rather enjoy the scenery. Though I’m still kicking myself for missing this sweet shot of wild horses with a tall, flat, beautifully cut cliff/bluff directly behind them. Was running late getting to the trading post and couldn’t stop. Or so I keep telling myself.

Then a long ass gap in between assignments, before shooting a talent show (top) and Piedra Vista baseball. They were down 4-0 going into the bottom of the third and rallied for 14 runs (including a grand slam by the fella above).

Isn’t it fun when you have photographic evidence the umpire made the wrong call? It wouldn’t be proper to offer (or even show if he asked) the photo, but you know the whole time with a smile on your face. This kid was ruled safe at the bag, clearly here he is out.

That’s all for tonight. Long 14-hour day, and I’ve got another early one tomorrow. G’night and thanks for reading.


The Eddie Adams Workshop

Attention Young Photogs: Start applying, the deadline is only three weeks away. Do not miss this opportunity. That is all.


Dear stupid high school kids: When you decide to shout racist remarks from your truck, make sure you’re not stuck at a red light. Also make sure the person you’re heckling isn’t the local newspaper photographer willing and happy to take your picture.

Call me a “f***ing chink” all you want, but now your principal has your photographs and a partial license plate. Oh and I’m pretty sure one of you is an athlete at the school. Make Farmington proud, boys!

In other news, some dude name Osama bin Laden was killed. Apparently it’s a big deal… well, everywhere except Farmington. I spent time hanging out at the Veterans Memorial Park and a few other places trying to get some sort of reaction. Nothing. The only alternative art to this was a lame picture of a local firetruck with “9/11/01 Never Forget” on it. I would have liked to get a photo illustration/portrait of that logo, but the firefighters were pretty busy today, couldn’t get them in their stations.

District golf tournament.

Aaaaaand a bumpy road, for a story on the Restoration Act. Lovely, isn’t it?

That’s all tonight, thanks for reading!


Ethical Dilemmas

One of my assignments this afternoon, a charity softball match between the local police and fire departments, is a bit of an unusual case of feeling ethically dirty… not because of anything I did, not that I didn’t think the event was fun to cover, but it felt tainted by almost blatant conflict of interest, in my opinion, of coverage.

I’d prefer not to openly air all of my grievances here on this blog, however if you want to speak to me personally, I’d love to know if I’m riding a high horse here, or if it really is something to be concerned about in some way.

The event itself was fairly interesting to cover. Along with the fire and police departments, they had Special Olympic athletes play a couple of innings as well. Needless to say, good times to be had.

In case you’re wondering why the police (who won 22-3) in the first picture are holding a Dunkin’ Donuts box, and why this fella here is rounding third base with a chocolate donut in hand….

It was the result of a rather hilarious prank played by the fire fighters (sadly, their only “victory” of the day) where they ran a box of donuts to each of the bases and home plate in an attempt to bait them. All it did was make the police want to be on base more, hence the 22-3 score.

Quick shot from the bike race this morning. Had my secondary camera (this one) on the ground with a rock taped to the bottom and a cable release in my left hand while I shot basic, safe stuff with a telephoto on my other camera.

And a random picture of a horse from after the bike race assignment. Some dude on a horse came up and started talking with myself and Jenny, a reporter who happened to be at the race watching, and her boyfriend. I wasn’t about to complain.


Quick and easy

Kinda tired, thinking I’m just going to dump a few photos from today here and call it a night. Tennis district championships, “Pitch Hit and Run,” and dancing.

This whole thing really got me… whose bright idea was it to dress these little girls up like the trashy girls you see in clubs and then teach them to dance like it too? She’s not old enough to HAVE boobs to shake, so why is she being taught to shake them already? I just don’t understand… Was a little disgusted by the whole thing.

This picture is far from perfect, but for some reason I actually really liked it… but not entirely sure why. Thoughts anybody?

Another Day in…

I was really hoping today would be a nice, short day for me after a killer 12.5 hour one yesterday. No such luck. On the bright side, I got to shoot a little tennis and take my first trip out to the Navajo Reservation. Tomorrow, I’ll get the chance again.

The first shoot on the reservation for me was at a very tiny, locally owned fast food shack in Shiprock, one of the only non-chain restaurants in the entire town. The people there were very friendly and happy to talk, it was nice to see. It will also help both my and my reporter’s reputation with the residents on the reservation.

Why is this important? Because trust and reputation among the Navajo is extremely important if we’re to pursue bigger stories. Every step is one in the direction I need to be going to gain the access I need for the stories I want to tell. We shall see how well it goes.


Taking Back The Night

It’s hard to cover and then walk away from an event like this in a good mood. Not that I’ve been covering tough stories on a regular basis or that the things I’m covering is even nearly on par with some of the greatest suffering in the world… But you still feel it.

Take Back The Night is a great event, one that I know is very near and dear to more than a few of my friends’ hearts. Some folks are able to hide behind the lens, shield themselves from even empathetic feeling while covering an event like this. Not me. I don’t let it keep me from working, make me less effective… Rather, I try and express what I feel in the pictures I capture.

I have a great deal of respect for the strong women and men who come out for this event, survivors and friends of survivors of all genders. Although to be quite honest, I often feel like there is much being held back, despite the immense amount of support and the symbolic efforts to be in control. To be honest, I feel the same way very often myself, although obviously not for the same reasons.

Quick athlete portrait this afternoon of a Piedra Vista sprinter on the track and field team. One light, nothing fancy, though I wish I had some way of eliminating or filling in the shadow cast by his nose from my flash. I tried setting him up in a “ready” stance, but one small light with no modifiers wasn’t doing the job, casting strange shadows or looking just plain flat and boring. This pose was actually a happy accident, I told him to relax for a second and he fell right into it. Funny how things work.

Well, that’s all for tonight… Just finished a 12.5 hour day and have to be back at work by 9am tomorrow. Thanks for reading, have a good night.


The Bang Bang Club

"I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain … of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners…I have gone to join Ken, if I am that lucky"

-Kevin Carter

The Bang Bang Club is a group of four photographers that, if you’ve studied the history of photojournalism or delved into the ethics of photojournalism, is a familiar story for us.

Kevin Carter. Joao Silva. Greg Marinovich. Ken Oosterbroek.

Two of the photographers own Pulitzer Prizes. There are (as the sick joke goes) only one and a half of them left (for those of you who don’t remember, Joao Silva was severely wounded by a landmine in November and has lost both legs).

Tonight, I got to watch the movie adaption of what they went through and it was… unnerving, to say the least.

I wrote 20-page essay once on ethics and photojournalism, their relationship and the toll it takes the human being behind the lens that goes untold, ignored in favor of the suffering of those in front of the camera. I also talked about the audience’s criticism of such photos, and their view of what a photojournalist’s ethics ought to be. I talked in-depth about Kevin Carter and his famous image of the vulture and the child, how it was received and how it affected him.

The lead-off quote is taken from his suicide note. It was written 3 months after he was awarded the Pulitzer.

Later that year, I purchased a copy of the documentary “War Photographer" about James Nachtwey. In the documentary is raw footage of the gun battle that claimed Ken Oosterbroek’s life. The images of Nachtwey and Silva running behind an armored truck as it carried Oosterbroek and the wounded Marinovich away stuck with me.

And so I knew what I should expect during those scenes. Even so, there was a sickening revelation that, “I know what is about to happen,” followed by the production adaptation of the scene that I remember still. It was powerfully familiar. It was like finally putting two and two together and seeing (a movie adaptation of) what happened in the moments before and after that moment in time.

The movie was, as far as movies go, more than decent. However, it’s how close to home it hits for a student of journalism that makes the movie far more enjoyable and powerful, in my mind.

If anybody is interested in the essay I can see if I still have the digital copy of it saved somewhere on my old computer (I have a hard copy of it as well). Let me know.

In the meantime, I highly recommend watching “The Bang Bang Club.” It may not hold the same significance for you that it did me, but the movie is worth watching regardless. Kinda like “Only The Brave" was for me.

That’s all for tonight. Cheers.


P.S. NPR posted this interview a few days ago from both Silva and Marinovich as it relates to photographers being wounded and ethics in photojournalism, in light of the deaths of Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington.

You would know Hondros for this picture: