The Hamblogger is a small group of opinionated photojournalists that are based throughout the U.S. who share a common passion for taking pictures and eating burgers. If it’s made of ground beef, comes on some form of bread and isn’t from a chain like McDonald’s or Burger King, we’re gonna eat it. Our jobs take us all over the world and we have challenged ourselves to find tasty burgers at each stop. We want to experience burgers at cool places in our hometowns and in your neighborhood, sampling as many as we can without turning into the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
Want to know the full story? Check out our Welcome to the Hamblogger post.
Justin “Hold the Onions” Sullivan
Co-founder, Correspondent – San Francisco, California
Justin was born in the middle of the Southern California burger scene and raised by a family of burger lovers. His family used to eat burgers at least once a week at great places like Tommy’s, In-N-Out and Astro Burger in L.A. It’s a miracle that they have all lived this long after their excessive burger eating. When Justin was seven years old he would help the workers at the local In-N-Out by sweeping the parking lot and peeling onions in exchange for a free burger. Although he doesn’t do janitorial service for burgers anymore, he still puts in extra hours doing his job as a photojournalist so he can afford his addiction to the almighty hamburger. Some of Justin’s non-burger work can be found here.
Josh “Somewhere in the World a Vegan is Weeping” Weisberg
Co-founder, Correspondent – Los Angeles, California
Some of Josh’s earliest childhood memories include ordering “hamburger, french fries and ketchup” from the McClown with his dad. As he matured, so did his palette and his appreciation for burgers. As a photojournalist, Josh has traveled the world experiencing everything from hamburgers in Indianapolis to lamburgers in India. He maintains an admiration for cows both on and off the dinner table and has not visited the McClown in nearly two decades. Take a peek at Josh’s website.
Craig “Meatetarian” Mitchelldyer
Correspondent – Portland, Oregon
Never been known to order anything resembling the color green for fear it may be a vegetable, Craig is not your normal tree hugging born and bred Oregonian. He prefers bacon over lettuce and more bacon over tomatoes. Meat and cheese, plain and simple. He’s a big guy so he doesn’t like wimpy little burgers. Not wanting to leave out those cattle that don’t become burgers, Craig drinks about 3 gallons of milk a week. When not making vegetarians cry, Craig is spending time with his wife and two young kids and photographing a variety of assignments for editorial, wedding, commercial and sports clients. www.craigmitchelldyer.com
David “Bacon Makes it Better” Calvert
Correspondent – Reno, Nevada
Six years and 20 pounds ago, David was another misguided youth, roaming the streets of downtown Reno jonesing for a fix. David “gasp” was a vegetarian. And although, to the unenlightened, this might automatically deem him unfit to comment on all things cow, we can assure he wasn’t always so troubled. No, when David was in high school he regularly drove the two hours from Reno to Auburn, Calif.-many times missing his afternoon classes-for the nearest Double Double (animal style). So judge him if you must but know this, in the years since, while efforting to right past wrongs, David has willingly sacrificed his waistline for beefy, bacony bliss. When David isn’t biting into a burger, he’s photographing baseball and Burning Man. Check it out http://calvertphotography.com
JD “ketchup only” Pooley
Correspondent – Bowling Green, Ohio
With over 13 years experience shooting, he has over 30 years experience eating burgers. Pooley started eating burgers at the age of 7 when his mother would fry them over the stove in a frying pan (totally not recommended). Since then he has enjoyed burgers throughout the Midwest and Canada (family trip one year when I was a kid. Pretty sure I had a burger). When he is not eating burgers he has photographed everything from presidential visits, professional and college sporting events to the local county fair (where in Wood County Ohio they serve up one killer of a pork-o-lean sandwich – you can’t eat burgers all the time, or can you?). Pooley is a frequent contributor to Getty Images, The Associated Press and The New York Times. See JD’s work at his website http://www.jdpooley.com
Matt “Would You Like Some Fries with That?” McKnight
Correspondent – Sandpoint, Idaho
His first job ever, taking drive-thru orders and flipping burgers at an In-N-Out Burger near Magic Mountain in Southern California, and he’s been in love ever since. He once worked serving burgers to marching bands at the end of the Rose Parade, and has eaten some of the best burgers the West Coast has to offer. After finishing his degree in Photojournalism at San Francisco State University, he moved to the Inland Northwest during 2010 to enjoy its beautiful mountains, trees and lakes while continuing his pursuit for some of the best burgers around. When he’s not stuffing his face with meaty goodness, he can be found working on long-term documentary projects or taking on editorial assignments. See his work here: www.mattmillsphoto.com
Chris “Animal Style” Preovolos
Correspondent – Stamford, Connecticut
For a Bay Area native like Chris, living on the East Coast has been difficult. He will go to the ends of the earth — even Queens — on the hunch a ‘West Coast-style’ burger joint might be opening. While New York’s In-N-Out impostors have yet to live up to his discerning expectations, Chris has found many a worthy burger along the way. From food trucks to Michelin-starred gastropubs, he’s left no burger unturned while eating his way through the Tri-State region and documenting his efforts at The Lunch Break Chronicles. In real life, Preovolos is a web producer and former photojournalist at the Hearst Connecticut Media Group. Check out the Lunch Break Chronicles at http://blog.ctnews.com/lunchbreak
Jeff “Where’s the Beef?” Swensen
Correspondent- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jeff began burger science classes at McDonald’s his freshman year in college in a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania. He flipped burgers for busloads of Friday Night football fans and grew fast in production, but never satisfied with soul-less frozen patties. His first burger experiences were with his grandfather, George, grilling up on a hot hibachi in the backyard, “Pittsburgh-style”, rare and juicy inside a blackened exterior. Years later, Jeff got on his bicycle and explored the family-owned diners of America in search of good food, cheer and heavenly pie. When he is not eating, driving, or listening to music, Jeff is making pictures for Getty Images, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian Magazine and anybody else that will pay with a smile and a dance. See his work here : www.jeffswensen.com
Sam “Hamburger Hairdo” Morris
Correspondent – Las Vegas, Nevada
Sam Morris is a born and bred Iowan who cut his burger teeth during an ill-fated, short-lived job at McDonalds in his teens, where he learned even if you accidentally set off the fire suppression system, you will get fired. He began his love of food when he lied his way into a job at Dugan’s Deli in Ames, IA, as a short order cook during his stint at Iowa State. Hours of hand forming 1/3lb. patties of beautiful ground chuck instilled in him a respect for food and an interest in the culinary arts which exists to this day. After spending the ’90’s working in kitchens and then taking some photos for the AP for a few years, he found himself married to a wonderful woman and a lack of knowledge of birth control. That led him to find a staff position, which he found at the Las Vegas Sun. Currently he shoots sports, politics and food for the recently converged media empire of Greenspun Media Group. Sam is also the proud owner of a #5 LEM meat grinder (thanks Mom and
Dad) that he uses to grind beef and pork for burgers and sausage.
Matthew “Burger King Failure” Cavanaugh
Correspondent – Greenfield, Massachusetts
Matthew grew up eating at and eventually working at *gasp* Burger King – where he was once chewed out by the manager for not being a ‘Team Player.’ Eventually escaping hamburger hell, Matthew finally got to eat a real burger, but not until early adulthood. He’s spent years in food therapy since then, achieving a major breakthrough when he first visited Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Washington, DC. Currently residing in Western Massachusetts, Matthew is getting reacquainted with the greasy spoons, diners and hip cafes of “The Valley.” When he is not eating, Matthew can be found changing diapers and or shooting assignments for the New York Times and The Boston Globe. Some of his work can be seen here: Matt Cavanaugh Photo.
Max “Double Meat” Whittaker
Correspondent – Sacramento, California
Max grew up in Redding, California and the favorite part of his high school day was walking over to Bartel’s Giant Burger, buying a cheeseburger, and taking it back to campus with a trail of grease behind him. His mom calls him “Garbage Disposal,” and as a photojournalist he’s eaten his way around the world from pork tenderloin in Iowa, to turtle in Bolivia, to sheep’s brain chili in Iraq. He believes that cows are quite stupid, but they sure are damn tasty. You can view some of his work at www.maxwhittaker.com.
Scott Sommerdorf & Lesli “Medium-Rare” Neilson
Correspondents – Salt Lake City, Utah
Lesli: Growing up in the 1970s, Lesli J. Neilson got her burger fixes by going to McDonald’s every other Friday night with her family. She started out with a Quarter Pounder with cheese and worked her way up to a Big Mac, fries and a Coke. Years later, after living abroad for 4 1/2 years with Italians who live to eat rather than eat to live, she realized the error of her adolescent ways and began eschewing all chain restaurants while living the mantra, “Life is too short to eat s@#$%y food.” She’s particularly happy when, passing by any McDonald’s, her two kids say, “There goes the bad place.” When Lesli isn’t extolling the virtues of eating great food and preparing duck confit for her 6-year-old, she’s writing about food, alcohol and reviewing restaurants for The Salt Lake Tribune. See more of her work at www.sltrib.com/food.
Scott: Born in Minneapolis, Scott Sommerdorf’s first burger experience was with the little jewels at White Castle. Then, with his dad in the Air Force, he landed in Sacramento, by way of Wiesbaden, Germany and Oklahoma City. There he ate many mediocre burgers while stuffing his face with whatever he found near his last assignment for The Sacramento Union. Later, while slaving away as Director of Photography at The San Francisco Chronicle, he met Lesli Neilson, and the World of Food took a dramatic turn. No longer did he consume crummy meals. An appreciation for fine food was kindled. He hasn’t stepped into “The Bad Place” for at least 18 years. Now, while stationed in Utah, far away from the more fertile California of his youth, he shoots photos for The Salt Lake Tribune, helps raise 3-year-old Miles and 6-year-old Zoe, and in the 15 minutes he has to himself each day, manages to make a few photos of the best burgers Utah has to offer.
Lucas “Beefmaster” Jackson
Correspondent – New York City, New York
Lucas Jackson’s beef credentials run deep. Raised on a cattle ranch in New Mexico he grew up with the luxury of actually being able to name the steer that would grow up to grace the racks of his freezer each year. T-Bone, Rump Roast, BBQ, and most importantly Hamburger were all very amiable bovines that grew up to become some of the best steaks and hamburgers ever eaten. This blue-ribbon background honed his meat-tasting skills to the razor sharp status that curse him to this day. Lately he has been eating his way through the gastronomic Disneyland named New York City that has been his home for four years while working as a staff photographer for Reuters. While not afraid to try other food groups like “fried chicken” or “sushi” he has maintained a very healthy love for a simple burger made with quality meat. No need for any of the crazy toppings save cheese and a slice of tomato and lettuce.
Jamm “Burnt to a crisp or bloody as hell” Aquino
Correspondent – Honolulu, Hawaii
Jamm was born and raised in Honolulu, where he is currently fighting the war against teriyaki sauce on any and all beef products there. Living in the culinary and cultural melting pot that is Hawaii, he often ate burgers as a kid sans the bun, but instead with white rice, macaroni salad, over-easy egg and a generous swimming pool of brown gravy, and always after a bodysurfing session at Sandy Beach. After living in the San Francisco Bay Area for a few years for school and burger/burrito sabbatical, Jamm returned to Honolulu in 2004. He prefers his beef like his wine–red and juicy. When not savoring meaty goodness or nosing Petit Verdot from his latest wine club shipment, Jamm has his burger paws wrapped around his cameras making images for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser where he’s been a staff photographer since 2005. See some of Jamm’s work photos here: http://blogs.starbulletin.com/aperturecafe
Chris “Royale with Cheese” Wilkins
Correspondent – Dallas, Texas
Chris grew up in the piney woods of east Texas on a steady diet of Whataburgers and barbecue. Once he left Texas in the early 80s for the big cities of Washington D.C. and Chicago, it was as if a big part of his life had been left behind. For those of you unfortunate enough to have never eaten at Whataburger, he feels nothing but sympathy for you. And to those who think the best BBQ is anywhere but the Lone Star state, guess again. For the past 10 years, Chris has worked as deputy director of photography at The Dallas Morning News, while pursuing the love of all things barbecue through his blog www.texasbbqposse.com.
Christian “mayo makes the world go round” Petersen
Correspondent – Phoenix, Arizona
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, this California boy is no stranger to Hamburger heaven. For 32 years I moved around CA and always sought out the local beef sandwich, avoiding the drive thru as much as possible. My European background helped to broaden my understanding of the possibilities of bread and beef but never took me too far from the classic American hamburger. Now living and working in the greater Phoenix area, I must continue my duty and seek out the sizzling beef (fries too please). Contributing to the Hamblogger is just the inspiration I need to expand my search and hopefully satisfy the hungry.
Sandy “Ego Burger” Huffaker
Correspondent – San Diego, California
I love food! I love it so much that I have to jog about 20 miles a week just so I can eat more. I grew up in North Carolina, went to college in New York and married a gal from New Orleans, so good food is in my blood. Usually when we are gathered around the table for a meal, we are planning and coordinating what we will eat for our next meal. It’s kind of like a circle of life. My other love is photography. I shoot regularly for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Getty Images, The Associated press, USA Today and many other publications. I’ve been in San Diego for about 20 years and love the laid back lifestyle. Check out Sandy’s website http://sandyhuffakerjr.com