About Me. The page that makes most people cringe when asked to write one. Over the years I’ve read loads of About Me pages and they are truly fascinating. For many people, myself included, the About Me page is an important page on a website. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for an attorney or a funeral home, your experience on the About Me/Us page can sometimes be where the first bit of trust is built. No matter what you do for a living, you share something in common with the rest of the working world…we all interact with people. Doing business of any kind is working with people, not companies.
Working as a Director of Photography is something I feel very comfortable doing because of hard work, experience, and constant learning over many years. I’m very confident with what I know and if a project is indeed over my head, I know the right people to connect clients to, to execute it flawlessly.
But before you decide if I’m a person you’d like to work with, wouldn’t it be nice to know a little about me personally? In my professional life I like to build relationships not clients.
Christopher graduated with honors at the top of his class and took a unique path gaining first hand mentorship from accomplished industry professionals resulting in workmanship and attention to detail left unmatched in an industry littered with inexperienced blah blah blah. As you read that do you hear the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons “Wa Wa Wa…Wa Wa Wa Wa Wa”. I know I do.
So below is the kind of About Me page I wish I could read about people, it’s more personal and honest. If you actually read it all (and you are truly a champion if you do because it’s long) it should be fairly obvious if we should be meeting for lunch to talk about your project or if there is something I can help you with for free be it advice or otherwise. It’ll either resonate with you or it won’t, but at least you’ll know a bit about me.
(note: photo credits at bottom of post)
I’ve been a Matthew McConaughey fan since he played Wooderson in Dazed and Confused. He had a line towards the end of the film that went a little something like this:
Matthew’s father passed away during his time on this film and from what I’ve read, that last line was a personal reminder that helped him get through that really tough time. He later started a foundation based on this concept and named it j.k livin (just keep livin). The JK Livin foundation is a lifesaver for kids that need a physical place to learn to better themselves physically and mentally and to teach them how important it is to reach out to others in need in their local communities.
In addition to the important opportunities the foundation offers to those who need it (jklivinfoundation.org) j.k.livin is also a lifestyle choice. It’s how you choose to handle both the good and bad things that life throws at you. When you continually appreciate the good and carefully navigate the bad with positive thinking, perseverance, focus and without putting others down, life is consistently easier and more enjoyable regardless of what’s going on at that moment in time. I’ve been blessed with a personality where this comes naturally for me, and I’ve been living my life this way long before j.k. livin was born. However, having a name for it makes it much easier to share with others and leading by example is the best way to do it. There is a reason this image is the center of my life’s collage.
I encourage you to give it a try and when you experience how well it works I guarantee you’ll catch yourself sayin’ “alright, alright, alright”.
In high school I certainly wasn’t the homecoming king. My best friend was popular and as such, I was in by default. I played sports but not for my school as my school didn’t offer the sport I played. When dances rolled around, I wasn’t out there asking girls to dance because I didn’t know how to dance. Fast forward to my early years in college, I signed up for a tap class on a whim. I’ve always been fascinated by tap. When I signed up for the class I thought I had an understanding on what tap dancing was. Boy was I wrong.
Hoofers like Steve Condos, Lon Chaney, Arthur Duncan, Sammy Davis Jr, Gregory Hines, and more recently Jason Samuels Smith and of course Savion Glover.
Hoofin’ was it, man! I was hooked! But as is often the case with my interests because I have so many, I have not had the opportunity to dedicate time to learning Rhythm Tap. Conveniently, I married a professional dancer who was a tap prodigy so I know that hoofin’ will eventually be on my resume as a “special skill”. Until that day, I enjoy watching hard hitting tap numbers. Here is a link to a short film posted on my blog called Tap Heat. I was not a part of this film, simply sharing it. The storyline in this film is a little silly but the tap is fantastic!
Photo number 3 is the only photo in the group related to what I do for a living. As a Director of Photography, my primary job is to figure out how to use lighting to tell a story based on a Director’s vision. Besides working with talent, lighting is usually a top concern of a Director followed by lens choices and locations. There are dozens of other important elements to producing a great film, the single most important of course being the story. All of the aforementioned technical considerations only exist to support the story.
To me, the french film Amélie uses every production technique flawlessly to tell a captivating story. The lighting, casting, lens choices, camera moves, locations, music and dialogue are incredibly synchronized.
This is hands down my favorite film of all time. I purposely chose the frame above to share because out of all the gorgeous and elaborate shots in the film, this shot uses just one common household light bulb to light the scene and the shot still looks great. You can read more about the thought process behind some of the Director’s technical decisions for Amélie, here on my blog.
Music is certainly an inspiration for a lot of people and I’m no different. I love all types of music, from The Beach Boys to Tom Waits. I often times can’t listen to music when I’m working because we’re either recording audio on set or I’m in an edit bay listening to dialog. I also don’t listen to music when I go running outdoors because that’s the time when I feel most connected to my thoughts. So when I do listen to music, usually while driving, I really listen to it. It’s not background noise. Tom Waits has evoked emotion from me since I discovered his music 15 or so years ago. What makes his music so appealing to me is that I can literally see the brush strokes from the lyrics he writes. Anyone familiar with Tom Waits knows he has evolved drastically over the years and I have to admit I don’t like all of his albums. The earlier records like Small Change, Heart of Saturday Night, Closing Time and Nighthawks all resonate to me. I like to listen to his albums on vinyl like a lot of people do because it simply makes sense.
Throughout my 7 years of community college and into my mid-twenties I worked in high fashion retail. (side note, I did graduate with honors but I only took 1 to 2 classes a semester so it’s rather unimpressive) Back to fashion, I was definitely immersed in that world for quite a while in sales and as a fashion stylist for a few of my clients. I think my closet is worth more than my car, and my car is pretty nice. I like classic styles when it comes to men’s wear and my brand of choice has always been Hugo Boss because of the way it fits not because of the brand name. Fashion is a very interesting topic. A friend of mine spent 30 years writing a book on men’s fashion. It’s a timeless guide to the 7 body types for men and is an incredible book. He finally published it in November. You can learn more here: Remy Toh’s Legend of Style.
I believe that being fashionable is dependent on creating your own style that complements your body type and personality. The more common belief however, is that if you wear what’s trendy, you are fashionable. In my opinion, that may classify someone as being “in fashion” with what’s popular at that moment, but it doesn’t necessarily make them fashionable. I’ve lost count with how many times I’ve seen someone wearing the latest trend and it doesn’t match their body type or personality. It’s obvious that they are trying to fit in to a group or using expensive clothing to try and overcome insecurity. I don’t care about trends, I wear whatever makes me feel comfortable and confident. That’s really what fashion is supposed to be about anyway. It should make you feel your best and as a result you will naturally attract things without even trying, be it people or opportunity. Just be you.
I have a very small family and as a result, I only have one grandparent left, a grandmother who is just shy of 94. She drives around, hangs out with friends, I’m convinced she’ll make it to 100, no problem. This painting hangs in her guest bathroom above the toilet and has for many years. Anytime I visit her and use the restroom, I’m no doubt forced to stare at it. I have always loved it. If you look very close, the woman has the slightest smirk in the left corner of her mouth (her right side). Because of that tiny detail, I’ve always wondered what she’s thinking.
Or it may be because it looks a bit like she did at that age. She told me she bought it at a garage sale for 10 dollars.
I’ve never been one to think about what may be coming to me when a relative passes away. I have a great family and would rather enjoy my time with them as long as possible then to think about that stuff. This is the only thing I’ve ever wanted in that regard from a relative. My grandmother wants me to have it someday and I hope that someday never comes. It can hang above that toilet for many more years as far as I’m concerned.
I know it has become extremely commercialized, but I’ll shamelessly admit it, I love Disneyland. Just to clarify, I’m not a “Disney as a brand” fanatic. You’re definitely not going to find little porcelain Dumbo’s and Tigger’s in my house, I simply like Disneyland as a theme park. I’ve discussed this with many individuals and have come to the conclusion that when it comes to Disneyland, people either love it or hate it. Nine times out of ten, those who love it, have a connection to it because they have a memory of going there as a small child, as I do. Those who hate it, went for the first time as an adult and it was busy and hot and the lines were long and they were upset that a bottle of water cost them $6 and on and on. I definitely don’t argue these points as they are all certainly true, however for me, my childhood memory overshadows those things.
Besides rekindling my past experiences, the other aspect that makes Disneyland special for me, happens when I’m taking a break from all the walking. As I sit there enjoying some ice cream from the creamery on Main Street, I see little kids entering the theme park and with their eyes locked on the castle in the distance and an ear to ear smile on their faces. That moment makes me completely forget about the crazy outside world we live in, and reminds me to enjoy the simplest moments in life. One of the things I look forward to most in the future is when I get to see that moment in my own childs’ face the first time he or she experiences the Magic Kingdom for the first time. And you probably guessed correctly that the person sporting the Mickey Mouse shirt is my wife and while she doesn’t share quite the “enthusiasm” I do about spending 16 hours in a theme park, she is always a good sport and plays along as you can clearly see. My favorite person at one of my favorite places.
Coast to Coast like butter on toast, is a hockey term for a player that takes the puck from behind his own hockey net and skates all the way to the other end of the rink, weaving and dodging between players and then scores a goal. I started playing hockey as a kid in Northern California of all places. I started pretty late, at age 11. While it was fun, I never expected it to turn into a professional career because of the late start. A few years later, I moved from California to North Carolina and half way through my senior year of high school I quit playing competitive hockey all together. The reason was due to bad sportsmanship displayed by the majority of my teammates. My team was the best in the state and would run up the score to 10-0 and then start fights. That was not my style. I was a finesse player that often led the team in assists. I was actually benched a few times for not being aggressive enough regardless of the fact my offensive stats were very good.
The tipping point for me occurred at an out of town tournament when one of my teammates got into a fight towards the end of the third period. I had already left the game early during the 2nd intermission once again due to the frustration of poor sportsmanship shown by my team.
Medics came and my teammate was escorted out of the rink by police and questioned. My parents have a photo somewhere of the other team skating past the stands, middle fingers raised to our parents with blood on the ice behind them. When I heard about possible assault charges being pressed against my teammate, I realized this was no longer a hockey team. The sad thing is that we had some incredibly skilled players. They didn’t need to be goons, they had actual skill.
I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona after high school and I continued to skate in the beer leagues for about 15 years. During that time, I even had some ex NHL guys like Claude Lemieux skate a few games with us and his brother Jocelyn was our goalie for a season. Guess that’s a perk of living in a city people like to go to when they retire. Since coming to Seattle I haven’t skated much but I still enjoy being on the ice when I can. I never had any footage captured during my short hockey career so a few years back I had a buddy come out and capture what was supposed to be some footage of me shooting the puck around for fun. He wanted to test out a new camera and I wanted some footage so it worked out…sort of. It ended with a slight mishap, it’s posted here on my blog. (he recovered just fine, he won a million bucks in a Doritos Super Bowl ad a few years later, he’ll live)
I’m not sure what this says about me, but I really enjoy kids books. My favorite book of all time is Le Petit Prince or translated into English, The Little Prince. The book is nice overall as it is a reminder to pay attention to the basic joys in life. I really like how the story exposes the seriousness of “grownups”.
In the beginning of the book, two drawings are made (below). I’m pretty sure the point the author was trying to make was to say as we grow older we tend to see things only one way. We forget how to use our creativity and imagination to view other possibilities in life.
The quote above calls to our attention the importance of numbers to grownups. As we get older and making money becomes a full time job, our mind begins to focus on numbers. If you really think about it, until we discover currency, we are free from numbers. When we were little, we didn’t worry about making money or paying the mortgage. The Little Prince was first published in 1943 and the author brings our attention to this problem. Today, this hold true more than ever. Advertising is almost always based on numbers especially when selling technology like mobile devices. What’s interesting about this, is that advertising studies have proven that people buy things based on an emotional reaction and then they close the sale within themselves by justifying the purchase with logic. An easy example would be a typical car commercial. Flashy exciting shots followed by gas mileage, safety ratings etc.
I’ve gotten a bit off topic, but I guess what I’m getting at is we can’t avoid thinking about numbers as we grow older, but we can decide to think about other things in addition to numbers, just as the author states above.
The Little Prince is a book that can be read in a few hours and I highly recommend you read it. I should mention also, that this is one of those times where you should just read the book and forget about the movie.
The Art world is so deep and I know very little about it. I’m certainly familiar with Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Dalí but that’s about it (ok I’m exaggerating a bit) . There are 2 artists however that I discovered around 2003 that I find to be incredible. Their installments are overwhelming to experience but on top of that the most incredible part of their journey is their relentless perseverance. Because of the nature of their work, some of the installments don’t become realized for decades. They have to deal with land permits, zoning laws, activists and a slew of other hurdles to get permission to install their work. Another amazing part of their lives as artists is how a majority of their work was documented on film from the Maysles Brothers. From what I understand they rely on sales from Christo’s Sketches to realize their installments and do not take donations. They accept volunteers when installments are up and they usually run 2 weeks. Jeanne-Claude passed away in Nov 2009 in New York City, but Christo vowed to keep moving forward with works in progress.
Number 11 is the picture entry. It you are not familiar with these artists I encourage you to visit the website and really spend some time viewing some of their past works, they truly are incredible: Christo and Jeanne-Claude.The boxed set from the Maysles is also a fantastic addition to any collection: 5 Films About Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Update: Another great resource to see some of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s smaller scale work is here: Artsy’s Christo Page. It’s definitely worth a look.
That’s our dog. My wife and I are dog people. We both certainly enjoy the company of a cat but we are both allergic to cats so adding one to the mix is out of the question unfortunately. Until we have a human child, this child gets all the attention. Woof.
The last image I selected are these brass handbells. I chose this image to represent my parents. I was fortunate to have fantastic parents who did a great job at raising me.
The thing that has always bothered me about my parents is that they are both so smart and did so well in school yet have had to work extremely hard at times to make ends meet. They did all the right things academically but still struggled financially at times. This isn’t to say we were poor, rather sometimes we were struggling a bit and sometimes we were doing ok, depends on the decade. Experiencing tight times was a great lesson for me as a child. It taught me work ethic and to appreciate what you have.
I would agree that an only child can be spoiled when it comes to the attention they receive from their parents because they are the only child. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean an only child’s parents are buying them whatever they want whenever they want it. I definitely had to do my share of the house work, yard work, and as early at 15 get a job to help support things I was into, like hockey equipment for example.
So why the handbell picture you might be wondering? Since my parents were always working and even lived 2000 miles apart for nearly a year or more than one occasion in order to make ends meet, I often felt like they weren’t having enough fun. Years later I realized they had each other which was the most important thing but I didn’t understand that when I was younger. Don’t get me wrong, they were very happy people and I can count how many times I’ve seen them fight on half a hand. Five to ten years ago they joined a handbell group together and have since traveled to Europe twice to play and have made a ton of friends in the various groups they play in. It makes me so happy to see them having fun and getting to travel. I think the decision to play handbells was the moment the scale tipped and fun out weighed work. They are about to celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary next month. I am one lucky kid to have been raised by the two of them.
Photography Credits: Photograph #1: Christopher Meurer photographed by Andrea Snapp-Meurer (2014) | Photograph #2: Gregory Hines photographed by Rose Eichenbaum (1999) | Photograph #3: Audrey Tautou screen grab from the French Film Amélie photographed by Bruno Delbonnel (2001) | Photograph #4: Tom Waits photographed by Anton Corbijn (2004) | Photograph #5: Christopher Meurer photographed by Ryan Anderson (2010) | Photograph #6: Painting of Unknown Woman photographed by Christopher Meurer (iPhone 2013) | Photograph #7: Andrea Snapp-Meurer photographed by Christopher Meurer (2009) | Photograph #8: Christopher Meurer photographed by Carter Fagan (2005) | Illustration #9: by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943) | Photograph #10: Christo and Jeanne-Claude photographed by Ugo Mulas (1964) | Photograph #11: Christo and Jeanne-Claudes Umbrellas – Japan photographed by Wolfgang Volz (1991) | Photograph #12: Bella the Basset Hound photographed by Christopher Meurer (2009) | Photograph #13: Schulmerich Handbell product shot from the schulmerichbells.com website (2014)