London Day 2- Outdoor Markets and the Victoria and Albert Museum

Throughout my trip Kate and I never set early mornings, or really any sort of agenda.  There were things to see and only so much time to see them in, so we just went.  My second day in London was a drizzly Saturday.  We woke up at a decent time, had some breakfast, got ready, and headed out for the day.Outdoor Market

On this day Kate did have a meet up with some friends from her school, but first we explored some local outdoor markets.  The walk wasn’t far from her flat, and the weather was holding for now.  The markets were great outdoor locations with old storage areas for their main business area. We sampled cheeses, smelt delicious pastries, looked on at the meats, and grabbed a fresh croissant for a snack. Honestly I don’t think I have tasted a croissant this good before, nor this fresh. We wandered from Spa Terminus to Maltby, snapping photos and taking in the local atmosphere; again nothing like i’ve been to here in the states (although Fisherman’s Wharf in Seattle came close).

After a quick stop back at the flat to drop off some cheese we made our way to the Underground and off to the Victoria and Albert Museum.  After a short wait outside for the rest of Kate’s group, and being asked a few times for directions from other tourists (I blame the pale complexion and red hair), we made our way inside.  It was Design Week in London and the V&A had a few exhibits relevant to Kate’s studies, so while they went through their exhibit I decided to wander about.  The area we were in was full of great time period pieces from Europe. The real Victoria and Albers Museumawe moment came after we started walking around a bit more.  There were some great fashion exhibits for the Design week, and as we wandered past that we came to an expansive room, full of the largest paintings I have ever seen.  Each of these paintings were done by Raphael; The Raphael Cartoons. There isn’t a photo that can do the pieces justice, nor accurately portray there size.  They were simply huge. When someone in their 20’s walked into the room and asked who Raphael was, I had the overwhelming urge to just slap him…fairly sure he was American…Hurray education in the arts… The courtyard grounds in the center of the Museum had stunning architecture and a lovely pool in the center, along with some works of art dotting the grounds.

VandA Look Up

Wander VandA







From the V&A we moved along to grab a bite to eat and some wandering through the West End.  A walk West Enddown China Town, and we were off to see the river by night. For this we needed a bus, a bus that got incredibly crowded very fast, then someone tried to sneak on.  After some yelling, and name calling, and the bus being totally turned off, we were back on our way.  We walked around the Tower of London and across the Tower Bridge before we decided we were both starved and tired.  Another bus to pick up some Indian food and back to the Flat for some rest before a very big day.

China Town

Walk at Night

London Day 1- A Walk Along the Thames


There is so much to go through from my trip to London I’ve decided to do it in sections based on what I did  each day. Let’s begin.

So it seems as though I unintentionally took a summer hiatus from blogging.  Well with an amazing trip behind me, and some cool projects I’ve been working on it’s time to begin yet again.  Let’s start with my big trip this year.

It’s always been a dream of mine to one day visit London, and Europe in general.  As luck would have it, just like it did with my trip to New York, one of my very dear friends, Kate, is studying for her Master’s Degree at LCC across the pond.  Thus I had an opportunity to stay with someone, and a nice tax return to buy a plane ticket.  To top off this trip I would also be turning 25 while in London.

I had been waiting months for this moment.  My first trip overseas, my first time to Europe, one of my life goals about to come true, but I still had to work a half day before I could leave.  With a good night sleep under me I decided that it was a wonderful morning for some Starbucks before I headed to work.  Well the Starbucks was good, but the rest of the morning was shaky.  First my roommates lovely cat decided that my water glass didn’t belong on the footboard of my bed and gingerly swiped it off onto my carryon bag…the bag with my book, cameras, passport, and travel documents in.  The bag was closed and disaster was barely averted.  Second, after getting my delicious Starbucks and pulling up to the stop light I was rear ended by someone who was texting and not paying attention.  I know this cause I was watching him in my rearview mirror.  Again disaster averted…well for me at least.  No damage to my car, however the hood of his car was a goner, score one for driving an SUV. Work was crazy fast and busy, but I got it all done and got home on time.  Off to LAX I went, through security, grabbing a quick bite to eat along with some gum, sleeping pills, and a water and before I knew it I was boarding my Virgin Atlantic 747 Flight to Heathrow.


Shortly after takeoff we were served “dinner” and giving a neat little package with a dark eye mask, earplugs, socks, and a small toothbrush and toothpaste. I popped some sleeping pills, threw in the earplugs, and cozied up with my blanket and eye mask for the most uncomfortable sleep of my life.  Somehow I managed a few hours here and there, and to everyone’s delight our plane would arrive at Heathrow and hour ahead of time thanks to a bitchin tail wind the whole way.  About an hour before we were going to land, just as we began to fly over Ireland they served us some breakfast snacks and another round of drinks.The Journey

Touchdown, that was incredibly smooth by the way, and making my way through the maze of boarder control and through customs, down to the tube station to catch the Heathrow Connect to Paddington station and Kate.  Well I managed to get one message out to Kate before my phone completely died, and somehow got on the right train to Paddington.  Once I got there I got lost…sort of.  I followed the signs that said “Way out”.  After standing around for about 15 minutes I decided maybe I missed Kate down at the station and decided to make my way back.  Then I found yet another sign that said “Way Out” going another direction and thought,’ why not’, and BAM there I saw Kate walking towards me.  Needless to say I went the complete wrong way the first time.  Now here I was reunited with my long lost twin, in London, in the largest train station…well the only train station I had ever been in.  We made our way down to the underground and a transfer later we were on our way to Bermondsey Station and Kate’s place.River Walk

A quick shower for me, some delicious Lasagna soup made by Kate, and a quick plan we were off to explore.  First stop would be Tower Bridge that was quite close to where we were, and a walk along the Thames River to see the sights.

The City was so alive, so vibrant and metropolitan.  It felt rich with history; buildings that were hundreds of years old next to the modern cityscape of London.  It was like no place I have ever been before.  We walked the river past Tower Bridge, down towards Millennium Bridge and across to St. Paul’s Cathedral. We took a stroll around the grounds then made our way back across Millennium Bridge and moved towards the London Eye and Big Ben.  After some photo ops where I stopped every 5 feet to take a new photo of Big Ben, we were on our way to Westminster Abbey.  A quick stroll on the grounds, an iPhone map consultation and it was off to Trafalgar Square.  By the time we got there it was dark.  A rest and some chit chat we boarded a Double Decker bus back to Kate’s place.  We took a brief rest, grabbed some food, and went out to meet her roommate Andrew at a Pub (@thealbany on twitter) where I had some great London Pale Ale.  A few hours there, a bus ride later, and I was curling up to finally get some real sleep.   

St. Paul's

Big Ben 1

Westminster Abbey

extra day 1 images

“Man of Steel”

“Man of Steel”

Man of Steel Henry Cavill

What would happen if Super Heroes were real?  Lets not just stop there; what if someone from another world was actually super charged by our sun to be, for all intents and purposes, a god among mere mortals like ourselves?  The fall back to, “With great power, comes great responsibility”, almost seems to be an understatement. You could, if you so chose, bring humanity to their knees and force them to follow you.  The other path would be to transcend ultimate power corrupting absolutely and use your abilities to better all of man kind. Even then you are faced with another struggle, one that even us “normal” humans face; acceptance.  Will the people accept you, or fear and reject you?

I saw “Man of Steel” today and thought it was amazing.  A departure from the norm of what we have come to accept from a Superman movie, but in my humble opinion better.  For as long as I can remember, Superman has been my go to super hero.  From a young age something about him just clicked, maybe it was the suit, the flying, saving people from utter destruction while keeping your morals, and a large part because he was indestructible.  As I grew up my view of Superman changed, and what I related to changed as well.  In those awkward pre-teen and teen years his story of just wanting to be accepted became more important then his super powers. Today, not far off from my previous teen years, I find myself more drawn to the themes of mortality.

As lame as this may be, I’m not a huge comic book person, and the first time I was truly immersed in Superman lore was with the TV show Smallville. It my not have been exact, but I loved that show.  I loved how we got to see his journey, his abilities develop, got to see Clark figure out who he was, and who he wanted to be.  For me that show had a lot to do with acceptance.  Clark fought to keep his identity a secret from everyone.  Those that knew the truth often ended up being hurt, and those he managed to keep it from ended up being his enemy. Lies breed hate and mistrust, even if you think a lie is in the benefit of those around you.

So here we are today with yet another go at the Superman legend, in the spirit of The Dark Knight, re-imagined for today;  a darker, more truthful twist to the story. I was fairly sure from the fist trailer that I was going to love this movie.  Reading the interviews with Henry Cavill, whom I have been watching since his days on The Tudors (A great showtime show you should all Netflix), I knew this movie would be spot on.  While the storyline is crucial of course, the choice of who would play Superman/Clark Kent also has to be spot on.  If your actor can’t be believed as an authentic Man of Steel, then the movie, no matter how well written, will flop.  For me, Cavill embodied a perfect Superman.  If you have not been able to read anything about Henry’s story I encourage you to do so.  The article written up about him in the June/July issue of Details Magazine is brilliant, and gave me chills.  In an odd twist, that interview was conducted just before and as news broke of the Boston Marathon Bombings.  It’s powerful to say the least.

This movie took on the issue of acceptance, and showed a very real portrayal of how being different in our society can make you an outcast, and a target.  Seeing that struggle from a young Clark Kent’s point of view, having all this power and strength, trying to come to terms with the fact that you are different and nobody knows what you are truly going through, all the while restraining yourself from unleashing all that power on people who push you around.  When Kal-El is revealed to the world it’s by force, being outed by General Zod in a ‘give me Kal-El or you will all die’ ultimatum. And in true fashion we as a people, save Lois and Martha, are very willing to give up someone who doesn’t “belong” with us.

As I said before, the themes of mortality are something I notice more now.  I’ve always found one of the most heart breaking things about the Superman lore to be how Jonathan Kent died, a heart attack.  It’s something that literally strikes at the heart of humanity and shows how frail we are in comparison to this man from Krypton.  It also shows that for all of his powers, not even Superman can stop death (let’s not go into turning back time…just no). I think that moment also taught Clark a very valuable lesson, and I was sad that they changed it for this movie.  Don’t get me wrong, what they changed it to does make sense for the film, I just liked the old way better; simple and no frills, heartbreaking.

In another twist, Superman is faced with another huge decision.  In order to stop Zod from destroying their only chance at sending the other Kryptonians back tot he Phantom Zone, he must destroy the ship they are on (His Fortress of Solitude for these films), and in the process destroy the only chance of his peoples survival.  For the sake of his new home, Earth, Superman destroys the ship.  It’s powerfully symbolic when you step back and think about it, but the only other choice is to let every living thing on Earth die.

The end of the movie did surprise me…or I should say the end of Zod.  One of Superman’s high moral codes is to never kill.  When the singularity fails to drag Zod back to the phantom zone with the others, it is left to Superman to stop him.  In a sequence that accurately shows what would happen to a major city if this was actually happening, two indestructible men battling with god like powers, Zod meets a sudden end.  Giving Superman yet another ultimatum, watch the people (in this case 4) you care so much for die, or kill me.  There is no other choice, there is no chance of redemption, there is no other way to stop Zod. Superman is forced to kill.

You say to yourself, well you had to do it, it was either him or those innocent people, you saved them. That’s how outsiders would see it.  It is a very different set of thing to come to terms with for Superman.  If I kill you, if I resort to taking your life, what makes me better then you?  That is never voiced in the movie, but one can surmise. After all, from Zod’s point of view he was doing exactly what he was created to do, ensure the survival of his people at all costs.

I’m sure there will be people, and die-hard comic cannon fans out there that will just hate this movie.  I loved it.  I love where they took the story, I love the themes they are focusing on, I love Henry Cavill and Amy Adams.  I highly look forward to the next movies to come out of this franchise, and to see how they will expand this world.

I give Man of Steel a 5 out of 5.


Darren Criss- Listen Up Tour


I’m going to write this post in two parts (before and after).

Tonight Mallory and I are going to make our way to Weho, to The House of Blues, to see Darren Criss in his first solo tour.  Honestly I have no idea how I even managed to get the tickets, but I did.  The show starts at 6:30…we get off work at 5:30…we are going to cut it close.  Most likely we will get horrible spots and not be able to see anything, but I’m prepared for that to happen.  This is the second time I’ll get to see Darren perform.  The first was in How to Succeed, and that was amazing.

(Well this post is going to continue to evolve as I get my video and photos uploaded so stay tuned)

The show was awesome!Mallory and I were surprisingly not late, nor the last people in line haha.  We didn’t get the best place to stand, but I was able to see Darren the whole time so it was good.  Curt Mega was in line like 5 people ahead of us and that was awesome.  Of course I was chicken shit and didn’t go ask him for a photo…I still just can’t bring myself to do that.  We saw a lot of people from Starkid there too, and that was awesome.  I thought the girls ahead of us where going to die when Joey Richter walked by.

Moving onto the show,  the opening acts where great. Chargaux (Charly and Margaux) opened the night with some amazing Violin playing, then Theo Katzman took the stage to get everyone amped.  After the opening acts Darren took the stage with Circle of Life.  I’m not going to give away the set list in case you want to be surprised, but it was great, and about half way through Darren will ask what the crowd what they want to here, he sang Sophomore for us (SO GOOD).  Darren’s new songs are catchy and awesome, and his classics are still as good as ever.  I was really digging his new now Pheromones; super catchy and it had me moving in my spot.  For the encore Darren came back out to sing Teenage Dream.  He started out on the piano then it moved into a whole band which led into Stutter and ended with Circle of Life and confetti.  Awesome ending.

So below are some links, photos, and videos.  Note none of them are mine and everything should be linked to the original owners, or the folks that did the edits on the photos.  Enjoy…and for sure check out Pheromones.

Most of the photos come from Socialite Life

Darren Criss' LISTEN UP Tour - West Hollywood, CAtumblr_mnns0q2cNN1qivzmmo2_250 tumblr_mnnta76K7p1r3egono3_r2_250Darren Criss' LISTEN UP Tour - West Hollywood, CA Darren Criss' LISTEN UP Tour - West Hollywood, CA

And this great edit came from Tumblr.



These video’s are from the Fillmore in San Fran from the previous night.

I will post more when I get all my stuff uploaded!

A post where I see my life as a romantic movie…not really.

As I sit here typing this I wish my life was somewhat like a romantic movie.  Lock eyes with the attractive barista, me behind my computer, them behind the espresso machine (it’s true love ya know). A smile, a cute note on a cup, a short conversation, living happily ever after.  But alas this is real life, and I’m sitting here waiting for my venti green tea lemonade with three pumps raspberry completely invisible to anyone attractive. Maybe one day.

Well I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  My mom came down to good ol’ southern california to spend the weekend with me; we had some good times, and i wont need to eat again for a week. Did some touristy LA things, and went to Universal Studios.  All in all it was a great visit, I just feel like we could have done so much more, but there was so little time.

I also saw Star Trek: Into Darkness again while she was here.  I never posted about the movie the first time I saw it on opening weekend, and I’m not sure why.  The movie was amazing, and I’ll say it, better then Iron Man 3.  I don’t even know how to really put into words how great I thought this movie was.  A perfect sequel to the first, great plot lines, great visuals (I really enjoyed all the Getty/Star Fleet Headquarters stuff). I had all the feels and emotions- I even cried.  Just do yourself a favor and see the movie.

Star Trek Into Darkness Final Theatrical One Sheet Movie Poster


The next movie I cannot wait to see is Man of Steel.  Superman is by far one of my most favorite Super Heroes.  I liked the they were doing with Smallville, and I hope this movie take on that Dark Knight grit and that the cheese is dropped. Basically I don’t even care what they change, I think that movie is going to be amazing…so we shall see.


I have also kept myself spoiler free for the most part.  I’m not watching any more of the trailers.  I want the movie to just be fresh and unspoiled for me.

Something eles I finally got on board with buying is the new Daft Punk Album- Random Access Memory.  I’m loving it.


Can we also take a moment to appreciate the awesome shoots that have been done with these two.  I’m loving what’s coming out as promotion material, and editorial material.





Heart of Darkness

Good lord, what is with me and these titles lately?  I finally got around to doing the face mask of the image I really wanted to do, and I’m loving how it came out.

This is from a shoot I did with Kyle a while back, with some amazing makeup by Amanda.

©Justin Miller

©Justin Miller

Am I Getting Serious?

As I’m spending more and more time on this blog I’m thinking of doing a small upgrade.  I want to change up the logo a bit and get some cards made to leave around places. Mallory and I will at some point hopefully in the near future, be starting a food Vlog, and I’ll be using this to post the images video and recipes to when we start that.  I have an idea in my head what I want the changes to be, now I just need to see if i can to it myself or get some assistance.

But here’s a question to all of you.  When Mallory and I start the Vlog we need some food ideas.  Right now we are working heavily on Pinterest.  What do you want to see us make?

Send me an email-

Tweet me- @jcharlesphoto

Or leave me a message/ comment on Facebook.


Wow…ok so that title sound so…I don’t know, over the top?  Trust me this post isn’t some profound enlightenment or deep spiritual awakening; I just got a new toy haha.

I’ve been looking for a way to do something different with my photography.  Instagram and the other photo apps are great but I was looking for some tangible products.  So naturally an instant camera was in order.  I looked around, waffled on what one to get, but in the end it came down to price and size.  So I ordered a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 from Photojojo.

While this post is about the camera I first have to talk about my experience with Photojojo.  This was my first time ordering a product from them, and I LOVED the experience. “What exactly did you love so much about it Justin?” You may be asking yourself…well let me tell you.  The overall ordering experience what typical of online stores.  It’s what came after that was so fun.  In the email they send you there is a link to the page to track you order…complete with interactive map and a cute little read about the new product that’s on its way to you.  I donno why, but that little part just brought be a lot of joy haha.  Also they upgraded my shipping, and I got the camera even sooner then was estimated.  So yes, I will for sure be buying from here again.

Ok on to the camera…and here is the embarrassing part…I got it out of the box but haven’t used it yet. I donno what to photograph first to take it’s photo virginity, but it has to be something good.  Until then, here are some photos :-)




Also they sent a little Dino in the box…I died from the cute overload.  Best shopping experience ever.

The Great Gatsby

This post will contain spoilers, so you might wanna see the film before reading.

The Great Gatsby


Mallory and I just finished seeing the film, and I think I’m still on a high from the experience. If you have been following the movie you know it was directed by Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, Romeo+Julien), and in that style he not only brought the book to life, but hyper realized the whole experience. This was one of those movies that I had to read the book before I saw the film (yes somehow I went though my entire school career and never read The Great Gatsby).  I was incredibly impressed with how well the film followed the book almost word for word.  Of course there where changes, because after all this is Hollywood- a visual representation. 9780743273565_custom-s6-c10

When I first saw the trailers for Gatsby last year I was very excited for the movie.  I loved the look and feel of what was happening, the Moulin Rouge feel of grandness and slight impossibility.  I was sad when they postponed the release until now, but that gave me time to read the book (that only took me a week…it was a long process actually buying the book). When I read the book I started to get that ominous feeling that the movie was going to be to grand and make a hard right turn from the book.  Well I was very wrong.  Oh it was very grand, but they followed the book almost to the letter. I say almost because they of course had to make changes.  However, the movie in a way made the book make more sense. I’m a very visual person, and while I can have very clear mental images while reading a book this movie somehow brought it into a better perspective; clarity.

I loved the cinematography in this movie, the wardrobe, the pace, the cuts in footage to images of early 20th century and the mixture of era appropriate visuals.  If you know me, you know I love the fantastical, the over the top and conceptual, and that’s exactly what this movie was to me.  The acting was, in my opinion, great.  I felt that each actor was able to capture what made the character in the book, in small ways and the obvious.

After the movie I came to Starbucks, because what else do I do with my life on the weekend right?  HAHA well as luck would have it the Barista, Guy had seen the movie the night before.  As we talked he brought up the one part of the movie he didn’t like, and come to think about it, it’s also the part of the movie I also didn’t care much for.  I’ll preface this with the fact that I love the soundtrack, however there is a good majority of the songs that don’t fit the movie.  You have the entire catalog of Jazz and romping 20’s era music that you could have chosen from, and instead you choose to play a modern day hip hop song in the middle of the movie…not as background noise, but as the song they are listening to in the car. It was hard for me to understand why they did that until you realize JayZ is one of the producers and then the entire soundtrack make complete sense.  Again, I really do love the soundtrack, and I love what they did with the music giving it a 20’s feel, but still…come on.

Overall, however, I loved this movie.  I will be buying it to add to my collection when it’s out, and I recommend you go see it…in 3D if you can.  I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars in my book, but I don’t think Leo will be winning an Oscar for it.

In case you need a roadmap to Gatsby.


Thinking, A Dangerous Past Time

So basically that title says it all haha.

So after waiting months for Disney to begin the process of finding a new Photo Editor for their internal and D23 publications, that little status bar on my page began to move.  I was more excited and nervous then words can possibly say.  I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, I would get a shot at doing what I’ve always wanted to do with a company I really do love.  I had a lot of confidence, the job description fit me and my resume to a T. The fact that my resume moved beyond just the initial stages was also exhilarating.

Then Tuesday came with the crushing defeat.  I was no longer in consideration and they would be going with candidates that “more closely” fit the job.  A crippling blow to say the least. That “lack of experience in this field” thrown in my face yet again.  Honestly, I don’t know how anyone expects to ever get a job when you need 3-5 years working at that same type of job, yet no one hires anyone who doesn’t have the experience.  I suppose that’s where interning during college would have been most helpful, however, every time I brought up the subject of Photo Editor to career counselors no one ever seemed to know where to even begin.  I also haven’t had much luck in that area until this job magically appeared and I wasn’t even looking for a job for myself.  I thought for suer this must be fate.

So I’ve grieved, whined and moaned, threw my fits, gone through the stages of depression (yes it’s only been a week…I move fast) and have come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t take this as a defeat and here’s why.  The job I want is out there and I accomplished what so many career counselors couldn’t…I actually found the job haha. While it did take months, my resume did make it past the first stages, so I’m not a complete failure at my resume.  I’ve been rejected, and that will only make me fight harder next time, and in the end, maybe this wasn’t the job for me.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s the exact position I want, and while it’s with a company I do love it may not have been exactly the area I wanted to be in.

So how do I improve for next time?  Well I’m not sure yet.  There are no direct “this is exactly why we didn’t hire you and this is what you should work on” so I must answer that for myself.  I have an interesting idea for this question of why, and to do it I’ll need to separate myself from my photography.  As in I need to show that I can distinguish between good and excellent work, that I can’t have consistent continuity, that while I have no experience in design I do know what is current and high scale. This part of my journey requires me to reconnect with some of the best photographers I went to school with, and there is a great list to choose from.

I need to be happy with the now and not lamenting that my life isn’t what I thought it should be by now.  I mean hell I’m only 24.  I’ve never had to wait so long for something before though.  Normally when I put my mind to something I make it happen one way or another.  I guess these last few years have taught me that I need to be patient, not give up, and roll with the punches.