Monday, December 25, 2006

Ho Ho Fucking Ho


My sister and I from a year ago.
She's still this cute.
I am not.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

There's Gonna Come a Time When I'm Gonna Have to Go with Whoever 's Gonna Get Me the Highest



This is me signing off until right before the end of the year.

Tomorrow I hire a car service to pick me up in Park Slope and drive me to JFK ($45.00). There, I will check my light kit (sans bulbs - I will carry those on and use them to slash the throats of the Infidels!) and suitcase, while carrying my Lowell Softlight and camera bag full of Neopan 1600 that they have to check one roll at a time (oh joy!), through HOMELAND SECURITY. That is always a HOOT!

Jet Blue JFK-RDU and back ($278.60) - My Dad will pick me up in Raleigh in his Jag. My Dad just turned 74 and he bought his Jag two years ago. He should have bought it when he was 44, but solidly middle-class is he, as am I, thanks to him. I always ask him how fast he's gotten it up to, and he always tells me and says not to tell my Mom. Like I would even think of it. But the fact that my father is opening up the silver feline all up I-40's ass makes me smile. It's about time. Go, Dad, go...

It took awhile before he offered me the keys, not that I was chompin' at the bit. I'm scared of my Dad's car for two reasons. 1) If I fuck it up - and this includes a shopping cart ding at Food Town, I am out of the will - HARD CORE black sharpie through my name and my sister gets EVERYTHING and just laughs at me and says something like you shouldn't have driven the Jag and, 2) I don't want to look like an asshole. Some privileged yuppie scum. I'm not, and hell, I already said how my Dad waited 30 years too long, but the fact is, in Cary NC - everybody drives a stupidly expensive car. And most of them look like dicks doing it.

NYC would eat almost all of them alive. Like a wood chipper. Potentially interesting experiment. For me...and my friend Rich Goldstein...It would take two of us to shove them all in...

My Dad will drive me home, where I will see my sister, who is a lovable freak, my mother, who is one of the sweetest and smartest people in the world, and my grandmother (my Mom's Mom) who turned 92 this year and is sweeter than my Mom, but only because she gets to pull rank.

And that's where I'll be until the 29th of December, when my girl and I return to NYC (car service- another $45.00)

My last shoot of the year is in Greensboro, NC with Uma von Diehl this Friday. It should be one of my most interesting shoots of the entire year and a fitting end to 2006. I’ve been invited to exhibit in the Dirty Detroit extravaganza this year and I’m hoping it’s gonna be all Uma. We’ll see…Google both Uma and Dirty Detroit, if you are the least bit interested...

Oh wait, I'm shooting with my friend Naomi on the 30th - well, Uma is the next to last shoot...

The title of this post is from The Hold Steady. They kick ass.

Photo caption contest!
What the HELL is going on here? Is it a print ad for cat food (clue) or just a snap of a crazy stuffed duck? The winner gets a mention here and a beer the next time I see them. Pretty swanky, hunh?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Light Rain

The Leaving Trains.
Mostly out of print, mostly fading away.
One of the best bands of ALL TIME.

"The phone had a ring to it. I knew just what she said. You shot up again light rain. Can you hear anything I say? Can you hear anything at all?"

Falling James is the shit.

So is Alysa.

Right here, right now.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Roll Over Beethoven...


...and tell Pytor Ilyich the news.

Last night I went up to 145th Street to shoot a "Chair" shot with Alysa and a concept shot as well. As Alysa was telling me a story about Aaron Hawks running out of battery power shooting her in this very same apartment almost one week before, my batteries died.

Really.

So, after going to the PathMart from hell and procuring more batteries, we were able to continue the shoot. After half an hour and me sweating from running up the hill...

I told Alysa that she was a battery vampire. Zwetschke giggled.

Alysa last night in Harlem.
Makeup by Zwetschke.
This is one of the concept shots.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

And Tell Me Where Is The Love In What Your Prophet Has Said?


Scatter. Static. Sushi.

Crazy days pass short light divining.
Oh, seven seems so far away.

Yep.

Didya hear? I still can't play the guitar. Never will be able to.

The photo is Melanie. She is a genius.

Title of this entry by stupid, dead Jeff Buckley. I'm only mad at him because I'd kill to hear his new album right about now. He was also a genius. And he went swimming in the Mississippi River drunk, when no one goes swimming in the Mississippi River, sober or drunk.

I'm maybe a little bit jealous. I'll let you wonder about which part.

"And I've got a message for you and your twisted hell
You better turn around and blow your kiss goodbye to life eternal angel..."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Appearing Tonight


My soon to be buddy (he's gonna shoot me naked in the streets of NYC, but that's another post), Gary Breckheimer, an amazing photographer here in NYC, emailed me last night congratulating me for a NOMINEE AWARD in the 2007 Spider Awards.

This is who they are, according to their website:

"The Black and White Spider Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography. Celebrating its 4th year, the Awards are juried by the world's most prestigious curators, auctioneers, editors, and dealers of black and white photography, including captains of the industry from Magnum Photos, Leica Gallery, Bonni Benrubi, PDN, Man Ray Trust, LIFE Magazine, Communication Arts, Fratelli Alinari, Tate Gallery and Hamiltons of London."

So I sent them some shots back in, shit, I don't know, May? June?

Anyway, Gary was right - he got two NOMINEES - I did get a NOMINEE for Professional Fine Art (which is neither 1st, 2nd, 3rd or Honorable Mention, so it's sort of like being recognized as a contender), and they are printing it their Annual hardback book, which, as a NOMINEE, I can buy for $30.00 or something. And it's the Pigtail shot, which is my girl, which makes me happy...

Look, it's cool and all, but unless one of those folks from The Tate wants to mount a show of my shit, it really ain't gonna amount to anything more than another AWARDS entry on my website. This and $1.00 will get me? At the Cadillac dealership? Thank god for the TASCHEN thing...

Which brings me to my point.

So does any of this really mean anything? I'm gonna still do what I do as long as I can afford to do it, and I am in a really good space to do that with all my "beauty industry" work. What is the Holy Grail? Is it financial independence? Is it getting the chance to photograph Kate Moss (and I don't care if she is on the coke)? Is it some sort of status in the photographic world?

Creative freedom. That's what it is. The end all be all doesn't exist at all not even for Neil Young. He got sued by Geffen Records for "being un-Neil Young-like” back in the late 80's/early 90's and won.

Justice. Hmmmm...

It does mean something to me. It is creative expression. I am making films one frame at a time. I am meeting fantastically creative people. I am embarking on the next step.

I have no idea what is coming next, creatively. But I'll think of something and it might suck a bunch of ass.

But it'll be fun. While it lasts.

I would like my parents to see it when it happens.

The photo is of the awards to be given away to the blood and rain and smoke and sweat and gasoline soaked participants in "The World's Largest Demolition Derby" in upstate NY, August 2005. Man, those people LOVED them...My friend Michael (see link at right) and I went up and spent a week photographing these lovable freaks. And that's a whole 'nother blog...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sister, I Need Wine


"Sister, I need wine
For color in my skin
And darkness for my eyes
But I can see the light burn through
Still it is the night brings me to you

Sister, use your gift
The backed up river spreads
On ground for fighting words
And I am hating the ignorance in my body
And I can't feed on the heaviness
Sister, I need you

And we will dance for gold
And straddle the hour of fear
And learn the real story
Drink the truth
Shed not one tear"

- The lyrics are Guided By Voices. The photo is me of Darenzia.

God damn, I'm tired.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Some May Ray Kind of Sky


It gets dark way too early on the East Coast on December 7th, 2006.

I did that thing where I listened to NPR (KCRW - see link to the right) all day long so I had this false sense of security. You know, all day people were telling me that the way that I think about things (freedom of everything as long as no one gets hurt) is the way everyone else is thinking about things and I got lulled. I guess I gotta stay the course...

I heard Idiot Boy's "Presidential" press conference with Tony Blair and was particularly offended by his "It’s bad in Iraq. Does that help?" attack, but shit, that's just stayin' the course. A trapped animal with (Borat accent) brain the size of walnut (end BORAT accent) ALWAYS responds this way. My monkey dick is bigger than yours because I am who I am and I have this job that a bunch of people wanted me to have. And I am ONLY smart enough to know that I am scared.

National security. War on terrorism. Middle East peace.
Give me a fucking break.

I am not scared. I just want to take pitchers.

Neither was Scar when she strutted up and down the conference room table at 148 Madison Avenue, 9th Floor, between 31st and 32nd all those years ago...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I Think I Have a Thing for Furniture


A girl, a chair, a loft in SoHo and me.

Scheduling the last shoots for 2006 now. Not sure how much I'll shoot in January - gotta focus on gallery show, Chairs book and Bunny thing. I also have to get the fucking IRS off my back, and that, my friends, is a full-time gig.

"That is some serious poetry, man!"


My single-most favorite quote from Danny Sugarman's "No One Here Gets Out Alive."

(Although, now, looking through it, on page 61, after Morrison recites "Moonlight Drive" to Manzarek, Ray says, "Those are the greatest fuckin' song lyrics I've ever heard. Let's start a rock 'n' roll band and make a million dollars.")

Recreated purrfectly in Ollie Stone's stoned rock/bio/picture/thing.

(Which is where I think I heard the "serious poetry" thing, or shit, man, it might be that Time/Life "History of Rock" thing I have on VHS...whatever...the point is that Ray SAID IT!)

Here's some serious poetry man, courtesy of The Hold Steady.

It's called "Cattle & The Creeping Things," a take on some book that a bunch of folks writ a long time ago that still fucks with me and people I love. And people I don't know that I wish would just think about themselves and the ones they love more often and LESS about the THE BABY JESUS.

JESUS!

It goes like this:

2-3-4

"They got to the part with the cattle and the creeping things.
They said I'm pretty sure we've heard this one before.
Don't it all end up in some revelation?
With 4 guys on horses, and violent red visions famine and death and pestilence and war.
I'm pretty sure I heard this one before.
You in the corner with a good looking drifter.
Two cups of coffee and ten packs of sugar.
I heard Gideon saw you in Denver.
He said you're contagious.
Silly rabbit.
Tripping is for teenagers.
Murder is for murderers.
And hard drugs are for bartenders.
I think I might have mentioned that before.

He's got the pages in his pockets that he ripped out of the Bible from his bedstand in the motel.
He likes the part where the traders get chased out from the temple.
I guess I heard about original sin.
I heard the dude blamed the chick.
I heard the chick blamed the snake.
I heard they were naked when they got busted.
I heard things ain't been the same since.
You on the streets with a tendency to preach to the choir.
Wired for sound and down with whatever.
I heard Gideon did you in Denver.

She's got a cross around her neck that she ripped off from a schoolgirl in the subway on a visit to the city.
She likes how it looks on her chest with three open buttons.
She likes the part where one brother kills the other.
She has to wonder if the world ever will recover.
Because Cain and Abel seem to still be causing trouble.

She said: I was seeing double for three straight days after I got born again it felt strange but it was nice and peaceful.
It really pleased me to be around so many people.
Of course half were just visions but half of them were friends from going thru the program with me.
Later on we did some sexy things.
Took a couple photographs and carved them into wood reliefs.
But that's enough about me.
Tell me how you got down here into Ybor City.

He said: I got thru the part about the exodus.
Up to then I only knew it was a movement of the people.
But if small town cops are like swarms of flies and if blackened foil is like boils and hail.
Then I'm pretty sure we've been thru this before.

And it seemed like a simple place to score.
And it seemed like a simple place to score.
And it seemed like a simple place to score.
Then some old lady came to the door and said McKenzie Phillips doesn't live here anymore."

The photo is one of those scary two thousand dollar light things that you see in SoHo photographed by me tonight in a friend of Sarah's SoHo apartment while he was out of town.

Cool, 'cause she got all naked and shit...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Dandy


Amber is.

Last night in Queens, NY.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dinosaurs Are Real!


The Steamer Amadeo (1893), grounded 1932 in front of Estancia San Gregorio, Chile.

The Amadeo´s last cruise around Cape Horn and Patagonia ended in disaster. Along the coastal highway between Punta Arenas (Chile) and Rio Gallegos (Argentina), many vessels seem to have shared her fate, including The Ambassador, beached 50 feet away from it.

"Visit to Pali Aike National Park, 195 kilometers northeast of Punta Arenas. Leaving this city by international route 255, along the edge of Magellan Strait, there is first visit to historical monument and ancient cattle establishment San Gregorio and steamer Amadeo, beached in the Strait (124 km. from Punta Arenas). Continuing the trip up to km. 166, there is left detour to Punta Delgada, main town of San Gregorio."

Link.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Outtakes

Going through shots originally discarded can sometimes yield amazing results. Mindset can dictate that interesting shots are immediately discarded. For instance:

I shot with the beautiful Sarah Crawford back in May. While going through the files today and cleaning off my computer drive, I came across this:

This is an incredibly photogenic woman making a very evil face. Actually she was probably laughing at me, but whatever...Sarah is the kind of model that you light and just basically point the camera at. She photographs WELL. And she would probably not dig this shot - at least not use it in her portfolio (although, she was pretty punk rock). She might put it on a Christmas card or something...

Since I do think of myself as a portrait photographer first and foremost, I rescued it. It's a real shot of a real person. And a total accident.

Note to self for 2007 work: You can still be a dictatorial director, but remember to just let stuff happen, too.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Red Wine in a Dixie Cup is a Must Have


Sarah said that.

She's one of the foremost figure models in the US and an all around fantastic person. I worked all day long on the shots from our last two shoots - the first from May and the second from June (yes, I suck and am behind, but at least I own up to it every chance I get). Sarah is a great friend AND a great sport as she has never yelled at me about it. And that's cool. She knows she's gonna get them, and they are gonna be good and dammit, they're going out tomorrow...

It's funny. When I first started shooting, I was a little bit at a loss as to what to do with a figure model - a model that is more comfortable in no clothes than in clothes. That kinda went against my narrative scenario when I was shooting the ROOMS series, so I did what came naturally to me - I dressed them up! Sometimes in a Styrofoam Statue of Liberty head-thing, sometimes in actual clothes...

When Sarah and I first got in touch with each other (she with me, I think) I was a little intimidated. Her work was amazing and voluminous. Her confidence was at 11 and, I don't know, it seemed as though she was this sort of rock star of figure models.

We hit it off immediately during our first meeting and our first shoot yielded great results. And she was a rock star. Still is...

She's one of my favorites to shoot with, since at this point after working together three times, it's like old times. The last time we shot - in June - she asked me to get a Australian red for the shoot. I did, but the hotel only had Dixie cups. We made do. Nothing like red wine and wax...and she claims I turned her into a wine lover...

The photo is Sarah from May. I wanted to see how far I could push the Neopan 1600, so I blew out the white tile of the bathroom in this hotel room with all the light I had and nearly lost her in the exposure. But not quite...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's a Process

Thanksgiving.

I think the best thing is the long, long weekend. I woke up this morning after seeing The Hold Steady @ Maxwell's last night thinking it was Sunday. Nope. Reprieve!

Took my girl to see BORAT tonight. Her first time. My second. Still holds up. In fact, not having to deal with the sheer frequency of slapstick/intellectual humor allowed me to focus on the sheer genius of it all. The pre-production must have been an absolute hoot.

I'm envious. But anyway, I take pictures...And so...

...since I described the way I shoot the Chair series in the second to last post, I thought it would be cool to actually show the steps toward making the final image.

I'm shooting Sheena tomorrow for both the Chair series and the Bunny series and that is cool. I've worked with her before and we get along famously. When I contacted her about shooting, she wrote back. "LOL...yea I kinda figured after lookin at your recent stuff that I would get caught up in the naked on a chair scene."

Ya gotta love that in a model...

Well, here's the Naked on a Chair Scene, dissected, exploded and semi-explained - the process, not the secrets:

EXHIBIT #1 - The Chair

The chair must be unique, that is to say, unlike any of the other chairs in the Chair series. The chair must have a strange, circular light under it. The chair must be able to support a full-grown model. The chair must not obscure the models boots, i.e. black chair bleeds into black boots. Chairs usually come with hotel rooms, although this particular fleabag in Midtown did not come with a chair. I requested one from the management and without a question, he gave me this one from the office, where he was watching some sort of Indian sports program. Stability was tested and it was determined that this chair would serve just fine. This is also the step where the entire room is art directed and production designed. There was a huge wooden shelf in the corner that had to be relocated (see EXHIBIT #2) and a bunch of corn chips (or something!) on the floor that had to be swept out of the frame. You can see the beginnings of that strange circular light in this shot. Also notice the phone that is screwed into the wall that the model will need to hide with her pose. The model's hair and makeup happens during this part of the process.

EXHIBIT #2 - The Model

At this point, hair and makeup is complete and the model (or an assistant, but preferably the model) stands in to be lit. As any real photographer knows, lighting is about balance, reflection and intensity. Since I am replicating an existing lighting schematic (see EXHIBIT #3) I spend a lot of time here getting the model's face to read at one level (or f-stop), while the rest of her body is at another level and the surface of the chair and her boots is at another level. The background also has to be lit, and the strange, circular light under the chair has to be maintained relative to all the other light, it being the brightest. This is the fun part. This is also the part where I direct the model as to the pose for the shot. I also determine and lock into the camera placement vertically and horizontally, which often places me under a table or levitating about 2 1/2 feet off the ground upside-down.

EXHIBIT #3 - The Lighting Schematic

This is the actual lighting schematic for the Chair series. It was drawn on a bar napkin a couple of days ago while I was explaining all the complexities of these shots to my girl while we were having a few drinks. She put it into her back pocket and walked around with it for the rest of the evening. When I asked her for it, she produced something that vaguely looked like a cigarette that had been machine washed from her pocket and gave it to me. I think the texture just adds to the coolness of it. When I gave it back to her, I initialed it and dated it and told her to sell it immediately upon my death. That and $.75 will get her a cup of coffee here, as long as she goes to the cheap deli. Look closely - all the secrets are here! If this gets into the forums on Model Mayhem on OMP, I'll be ruined!

EXHIBIT #4 - The Final Product

I usually shoot about 20-30 shots of the set-up for the final. At 1600 asa. I pick the best one based on facial expression and posture, clean it up a little in Photoshop, run it through my "custom" Photoshop recipe and out pops another chick on a chair.

Like I said, 9 down, 4 or 5 more to go...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

1925-2006

"What is a cult? It just means not enough people to make a minority."

- Robert Altman

RIP

Tappy Hanksgiving !


Finished four sets of photos this week - amazing what you can get done if you:

a) do not leave the house all day long
b) are unemployed at the moment

Sent them off in the maily mail today, which always manufactures a strange sense of accomplishment. Always seems like magic of some governmental sort. Always leaves me with much less to do. And less people to bug my draggin' ass ass.

Hey, I'm a TYPE A, I overextend, I take on too much. After all, death is just around the corner ("Hi, Death..."), and even though I WANT to believe in reincarnation and that I WILL come back as a HOT CHICK, I'm not convinced. That leaves a lot to do NOW.

I took some photos of the Baby Kitty playing with her menagerie of toys last night and just amused myself. Used the flash, in the living room, while chasing a moving target. The pictures looked like shit, in fact, the email I sent them out with was entitled, "See, I can take crappy pictures too..."

Monday, I shot another model for my chair series (#8). Since the lighting and angle are consistent throughout - meaning I have to replicate them every single time to the finest detail (color temp, wattage, exposure, focal length - really) - it takes me about an hour to set up. This mostly involves me lighting an empty space with a chair while hair and makeup is happening for the model. Then the model stands in, usually wearing her casual clothes while I fine-tune the lighting to her. Then she disrobes, sans anything but boots and accessories and we attempt the shot. Monday's shoot was easy as the chair was rock solid. The last chair shoot I did - with Kyra - the chair cushion was poofy and her boots were spiky and she had to hold onto the wall until I said "go." I'd shoot a frame and she'd wobble and grab the wall again. But we got the shot (posted back a couple of entries ago - she with the pink hair).

Taking snapshots of the cat and shooting portraits of the chair series are opposite ends of the spectrum for me. Except that it's all about trying to get...

Gonna spend the next 5 weeks wrapping up two distinct projects - The Pissed-Off Bunny Project and The Chair Series. I need 12 strong bunnies, and I've got 10. I need 13 strong chairs and I've got 9. Then, with those done I'll concentrate on the gallery show and the self-published "Chairs" monograph. 2007 is wide open for me.

Creatively, as of this writing, I have no new ideas. I know I've done the "Hotel Room" thing (which doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t shoot in a hotel room, just not AS a hotel room), the bunnies, the chairs...

I need the next big idea. And some real work. Thinking cap on...

I'd like to meet my friend D. Brian Nelson (see link to right) up in St. John's in March and shoot Angela again. I'd also like to go to Toronto for a few days and work with some of the models there that never seem to get down to NYC, like Kim. And there's always plenty of talent here in the city.

But what to do? Harder-core? Motion blurs? Double exposures?

We'll see...

But first, turkey, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and tons of wine...

Photo is of the Baby Kitty and The Duck. The Duck used to contain catnip, but I think it either got eaten out of the Duck's back (no anesthesia!) or just went lame. The Duck mocks the Baby Kitty. The Baby Kitty does not take to the mocking kindly...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Taschen's "The New Erotic Photography"


Taschen has finally gotten the release info for the book up on their site.

I'm very happy with the fact that it's hardback, 10.5" x 7.5" and is $50.00 - a perfectly respectable coffee-table book.

The talent represented in the book also blows me away - 82 photographers total. And names that pretty much own "erotic photography" today, plus a bunch of us up-and-comers. It's humbling and exhilarating to be included among such company.

February 2007 release.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Everybody Seems to Wonder What It's Like Down Here...


I am on edge. So what else is new?

I had a ticket to see Greg Dulli tonight (right now) with Mark Lanegan, but I elected not to go.

Three reasons, in least to most importance:

1 - It's raining like hell, and I'd have to walk 7 blocks to the Q train, then on the other end 12 blocks from Bedford to The Warsaw. Then back. Which at 1pm takes four times as long. Of course, I could call a Car Service, but then we're talking $20.00 each way. Fuck...

2 - I'm very, very tired. And, I might mention, unmotivated due to the rain and the cost of a car.

3 - I just don't want to see Mark without my girl. He's her favorite. "Do him without retribution" favorite. Plain and simple. But tonight, he's a back-up singer, guest-star shill for Greg's The Twilight Singers.

NOT The Afghan Whigs. Not bad, mind you, just not memorable. But NOT The Afghan Whigs. Which were great, but NOT American Music Club great, but that complicates things.

So $21.00 goes to Greg and Mark tonight, courtesy of me. I hope they use it well and make more music. $9.00 goes to Ticketmaster and they can blow me. A lot. All the time. Forever.

And more disposable income out the door -

I stopped by Virgin @ 14th Street today after my ALLERGY SHOT (what am I allergic to, you ask? TICKETMASTER, for starts...) to pick up the Neil Young thang and, of course, slippery slope, gateway drug, ended up with the following:

- Neil Young, Neil Young and Crazy Horse Live at The Fillmore East, March 6 & 7, 1970, CD/DVD
- Frank Zappa, Thing-Fish, CD
- P J Harvey, The Peel Sessions, 191-2004, CD

Nuff said.

Been scanning negatives and working on digital shots all day long. Want to get the LA girls their shots as soon as possible and I have six rolls here from Sharmeen's wedding.

And a conference call with The Gap tomorrow at 1pm for a shitload of corporate work.

Photo is Ginger in Beverly Hills perching. Pretty.
Neil titled the blog entry. Godlike.

Anyone else reading "Shakey"? I got a copy in Woodstock and I'm 400 pages in...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Glad Girls


I'm a bad bachelor. I may have mentioned this before.

My girl is somewhere in America on the Human Rights Watch Donor Dinner tour 2006. She left two Sunday's ago and isn't gonna be home until this Sunday.

At my worst, I drink a bottle and a half of wine (good stuff, mind you - Chilean or Argentinean reds) and order Chinese food and fall asleep on the couch with THE TV on Channel Static.

The cat jumps on me or licks me or something at 4am and just looks at me like - idiot boy, go to bed...(but feed me heartily in four hours...)

That's EXACTLY what it would say if it could talk, and our baby kitty can ALMOST talk. Really. Serious shit. People have seen it almost talk. It's sounds are SO CLOSE to human words.

And who says our language is the best anyway. Fucking self-important opposable thumb assholes that we are...

I digress.

The other thing I've done since my girl has been gone, in-between dealing with my corporate clients and the IRS, is scan, scan. scan negatives. I also make trips into the city and back to Brooklyn to drop off and pick up negatives. So I can scan them. 13 rolls of Neopan from the damn West Coast excursion - 13!

This is the way it goes at US COLOR LABS

Hi Tony.
Hey James, where’ve you been?
On the West Coast shooting my ass off.
How many rolls?
Thirteen.
All girls?
Nah, I shot a wedding too. But yeah…
1:1 develop, reference prints glossy with borders.
Yep.
Tomorrow at 8pm?
Yep
But like 8pm?
That’s cool, Tony, I’ll either stop by then or come by the next morning.

I’ve been getting my stuff done at US COLOR LABS since 1990. I am often asked by fellow photographers if I process my own and my answer is always the same: I am too old to give up that much time and hell, at this point, Tony knows more about how to process my stuff than I do. And he likes seeing the girls, so he gives he a healthy 30% discount. Tony will be thanked in my first monograph.

I shot Lee, a model from my home state of NC last month. We had been talking about it for a year or so and she finally made the trip to NYC. I booked a studio (there’s a shot in a previous post) and even though she was an hour and a half late due to transportation difficulties, we had a great time and as I was scanning the negatives today, I realized that we got great stuff. Very 1960’s Audrey Hepburn/Marcel Marceau if that makes any sense.

Lee was MAD when she showed up at the studio and I gave her a big hug and told her not to worry about it. She recoiled and said that she really needed to vent, to get the trains and taxis out of her system.

I understood that intuitively. And liked her all the more for going there first. She’s got a New Yorker’s soul whilst living in Durham, NC.

Just like me a long time ago.

The photo is her, completely relaxed and inventing. Reinventing, perhaps.

Or as Bob Pollard would say:

Reinvented nightly
Wake up with skills like this
And do you want me in your head?
But what's behind your scattered eyesigns?

I want to reinvent you now

Fifty hats and bargain suits
We will wear them if we must
But who will be a human boot?
Kick the wave of current hotlines?

I want to reinvent you now

Reinvent you nightly
Reinvite you rightly
I'll reunite you

ps - he was amazing last night. And really fucking drunk. Really fucking drunk.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Drinks with Friends


No, Robert Pollard has not written a song called this, although he should have. He did write one called "Teenage FBI" which has nothing to do with this except that it is blaring from my computer jam box right this second.

Occasionally, I enjoy the company of other photographers. I've been fortunate to meet many that I, a) admire and respect and, b) actually enjoy spending my free time with.

(Think about that phrase - "SPENDING my FREE time with." - hmmm.)

I like the colliding of concepts, the different points of view, the goofy war stories and the availability of rich advice.

There's Rich and Tito. Marco and Allen (although DO NOT call him that). Melvin and Sanders. Lauren in the home hood, and Jessica, who was kind enough and down enough to allow me to photograph her clothed only in her camera.

Tonight Rich and I had some drinks with a very talented fellow of the Lower East Side called Christopher Bush. He has a chopsticks shot that is fantastic. And he's a fellow vinyl junkie.

Check out his stuff here before the three of us get thrown in the pokey for the ill-planned "Five Borough Skanky Strip Club Tour 2006."

Portfolio

I like that he goes by Christopher. I am a huge stickler for honoring your given name. If I say my name is "James," do not call me "Jim." Unless you ask me and I give you permission. I have given permission to one human being (Steve Thomas) to call me Jim. And several family members and close friends for "Jamie."

Photo is that beautiful beached boat in Chile. For India. There are twenty more...shots, not boats...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Surgical Focus


I am still on West Coast time and it is damning me.
To stay up until 4am.

Robert Pollard, late of "Guided By Voices" is playing @ The Bowery Ballroom on Monday night. He is also playing on my computer jam box, currently. The title of this entry is his, not mine.

I will be at his show, close to the bar, and not trying to match Mr. Pollard beer for beer. It's a losing proposition.

Later in the week, I'll ACTUALLY go to Williamsburg (arghhh!) and see Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan.

Wish my girl would be with me, but alas, she in da Los Angeles.

We've talked a lot about our individual families and friends getting together for a celebration. An event. A remembrance. A thing.

I wish it was the Dulli/Lanegan show.

Passing time.

Photo is of the lovely Krya tonight, down from Boston to stand on a chair naked for me. With boots. She had great shoes...

…and moxy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

In the End, We Are Just a Heartbeat...


"Now" is us being here. When we are gone, it will be another's "now."

Perspective is everything, personally. Relatively.

This was me, recently, but not "now."

Shot by the very talented Petr Sorfa (see link at right) under duress, when "now " was then.


I love this "now" of me. I will not be "now" tomorrow.

This One Goes Out to the One I Love


Once I thought I saw you
in a crowded hazy bar,
Dancing on the light
from star to star.
Far across the moonbeam
I know that's who you are,
I saw your brown eyes
turning once to fire.

You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I'm getting blown away.

I am just a dreamer,
but you are just a dream,
You could have been
anyone to me.
Before that moment
you touched my lips
That perfect feeling
when time just slips
Away between us
on our foggy trip.

You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I'm getting blown away.

You are just a dreamer,
and I am just a dream.
You could have been
anyone to me.
Before that moment
you touched my lips
That perfect feeling
when time just slips
Away between us
on our foggy trip.

You are like a hurricane
There's calm in your eye.
And I'm gettin' blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I'm getting blown away.

- Neil Young

Friday, November 10, 2006

Los Angeles Girls Like To Stand On Chairs, Part II

Told ya.




















































Photo #1 - Trish
Photo #2 - Ginger
Photo #3 - Ariyana

Uncertain Acclimation


The last week and a half:

- I traveled from New York City to Las Vegas to Los Angeles to Las Vegas to New York City to San Francisco to New York City.

- I watched the Democrats Win. I witnessed Rumsfeld Booted!

- I was sad that Ed Bradley died...I wanted him to be President one day. Really. RIP.

- I loved that BORAT made $27M!

- I shot Trish, Ginger, and Ariyana in Los Angeles.

- I ate dinner at Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

- I saw the Bob Dylan Tribute/Benefit @ Lincoln Center - standouts: Ryan Adams (really), The Roots, Rosanne Cash, Natalie Merchant and Philip Glass, and of course, Patti w/ Tom Verlaine!

- I received the press release regarding the Taschen book. It's hardback! It's big! It's $50.00!

- I struggle to determine what day and time zone I'm in. Also, the "to do" list is in shambles...

- I am ecstatic that Neil Young is FINALLY releasing "The Neil Young Archive Vol. 1 - Live At The Fillmore East, 1970" on Tuesday. Aren't you?

Something more substantial tomorrow, maybe...

Photo is by the great Marcus Richter (see link to the right) of me shooting Lisa and all my lighting secrets all out in the open for public consumption and replication.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

"How do you get that grainy effect?"


Does this mean anything in the digital age, to the digital boys with their digital toys?

"Tabular-grain film is a type of photographic film that includes T-max films from Kodak (with Kodak's T-grain emulsion), Delta films from Ilford and the Fuji Neopan films. The silver halide crystals in the film emulsion are flatter and more tabular (hence T-Grain). By spreading the crystal area out to intercept more light, Kodak and Ilford were able to increase the film speed without an increase in the overall graininess. Normally, without tabular grains, faster films with cubic or pebble-like crystals have a grainy appearance due to the larger silver grains that result from the required larger silver halide crystal volumes."

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tabular-grain_film)

Thanks to Petr (see link at right) for this.

The photo is tabular-grain in it's purest form.

What Becomes of All the Little Boys?


I love me some Amoeba Music. For years, I’ve spent my not-so-disposable income at their wonderful Haight-Ashbury and Berkeley stores in San Francisco, their used section being a virtual cornucopia of out-of-print treasures and in-print undeniable adorableness.

This past Thursday, after speaking to Eric Kroll, who was in NYC, but traveling to LA that very minute and invited me to hang with “some dominatrixes” that very evening at 1:00am, I ventured inside the Los Angeles store on sunny Sunset Blvd.

This is what I came away with, all from the used section:

• Bongwater “The Big Sell-Out”
• Bongwater “The Peel Session”
• David Bowie “Heathen”
• Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan “Ballad of the Broken Seas”
• Ray Davies “The Storyteller”
• Mojo Magazine Tribute “The Genius of Ray Davies”
• Guided By Voices “Do The Collapse”
• Red House Painters “Untitled”
• Red House Painters “Red House Painters”
• Red House Painters “Down Colorful Hill”
• Red House Painters “Ocean Beach”
• Sleater-Kinney “You’re No Rock ‘N’ Roll Fun” UK CD Single
• True Believers “Hard Road”

That’s $121.10 (with tax), bag full of half the CDs that I wanted, walking out into the Sunset sun.

Some annotations:

- Bongwater: I was a huge Shockabilly fan, still am. Saw Kramer’s Bongwater back in 1987 when I lived in Norwell, MA, up in Boston @ Johnny D’s Uptown and Ann Magnuson didn’t show. So it was just Kramer. Then I saw Kramer’s BALL a year later. Then I invited him to be in a film I was pre-producing. He accepted. Then I moved to NYC. Met Kramer (for the first time) through a mutual friend and we became friends. Dated a girl that he wanted to date and basically gave her to him (don’t know the outcome of that one). Remained friends, talked to him about scoring another film I was working on, and ate rice and beans with him many times. At the last peace rally here before Bush plunged us into his fantasy money war, I took a picture of Kramer and his daughter. He now lives in Florida and I miss his madness. Anyway, these were the two out-of-print CDs that I didn’t own.

- Bowie: Adolescently, my favorite. When I was 18, Dave was the man. “Space Oddity” to “Scary Monsters” still is pertinently primal to me. Everything after that – whatever…A friend of mine just did an internship with the guy that took the photos for “Heathen.” And some DJ on WFMU (see link to the right) played something from it several weeks ago that I kinda liked. And it was $7.99.

- Isobel & Mark: This one is for my girl. She loves Mark. Isobel was with Belle & Sebastian. It’s sea shanty songs.

- Ray / MOJO: Out-of-print career retrospective briliant idea that spawned a thousand other bands to do really bad episodes on VH1. The MOJO thing is Kinks covers, including one by Mark Lanegan.

- GBV: If you’ve read this thing at all you know how much I love them.

- RHP: Had them all, lost them, gave them away or misplaced them. Someone in LA sold them and I got them all back for $6.99 each. Sweet.

- Sleater-Kinney: My girl’s favorite band. Period. End of story. From Olympia, both of them (the girl and the band). I love searching out rare CD singles with two unreleased B-sides and shit for her, ‘cause she just doesn’t, and I do. This is one of them.

- True Believers: Alejandro Escovedo’s seminal LA post-punk band from 1983-86. Their one album has been out-of-print for years – I think the last time I heard it was when I lived with John Williams in 1989 on his turntable. In 1994, RYKO released that album and the never released 2nd album on CD, which immediately went out of print. Travesty. This is the jewel of my quest.

The title of this entry is from Tom Waits’ “On the Nickel” which is one of the most profoundly beautiful songs ever written. Glen Jones (WFMU – see link to the right) played it while I was typing this and it almost made me cry. Glen obviously loves it and so do I. James Walker IV was the first person to ever play it for me. Thanks, Jim.

Photo is a self-portrait/light test in the Downtown Hollywood Motel on Hollywood Boulevard shortly before the proprietor asked Ariyana and I to “stop taking commercial pictures.”

Fair enough: She was topless on the balcony with a host of my lights shining on her…now if I could just work on the "commercial" part...

Los Angeles Girls Like To Stand On Chairs, Part I


Really.

Proof soon...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Las Vegas and it's Evil Clowns


What strikes me this time, probably my 15th time here since 1991, is that just like in NYC, the difference between upper upper middle class (or lower upper class) and migrant workers, meth addicts and down and outs, IS STAGGERING.

Just driving down Las Vegas Blvd. - all the way down, past the wedding chapels, the strip joints (the two that remain) and the tattoo parlors and pawn shops (SUPERPAWN!) - having not driven there since 2000, it hit me profoundly how, unlike Brooklyn, for instance, there is no gentrification here.

It's just ugly and divided sharply by class, race, and what have you.

The only thing pretty about Las Vegas is the mountains in the distance, which are not in Las Vegas. The view of the not so Vegasy mountains is tainted by the crap that people built at the foot of them.

I cannot help but think about "Planet of the Apes" and the ensuing Armageddon.

I have no choice but to get up early tomorrow (at this point, I haven’t slept since Brooklyn - 26 hours) and go photograph some of that stuff...

Although millions probably have.

Went to a burlesque show at Mandalay Bay tonight with Sharmeen and her crew. They folks there knew exactly what they were doing, recreating vintage music and the moves to a tee. But there was no NYC irony, and I missed that. Plus you had to tip the bathroom attendants, and I hate that...

Sharmeen danced her ass off on the stage.
That was awesome.

Photo is of two clowns who are scared of clowns.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Going on a trip or two


Don't know when I'll be back.

Shot this yesterday in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

My favorite photographer, Jessica.

And she's gonna shoot me next.

Still listening to that damn REM compilation, even though Lauren tried to push me toward Wayne.

"There's a progress we have found, a way to talk around the problem..."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Difference Between Me and Mr. Newton


Speed of life the last two days, in-between Stipey Mike making me weep...

Finished five models photos in a huge burst of energy - so Emily, Angela, Shuko, Desiree, and one of my favorite little MUAs and all around favorite people, Sibyl - watch the skies, or at least the US Postal Service. Maxine, I'm handing you yours baby, City of Quartz style...

Goal: Finish at least one and a half a day between now and Saturday. That's 6 more and that would be good, being that I'm still about 12 down (wait let me check) ok, 21...and I got 7 shoots coming up between tomorrow and the end of my Vegas/Los Angeles trip...(21-6=15+7=22)...

Shit...but it is quality over quantity as I promised myself. It's just that when you go to LA, the quality is stunning.

I'm going skydiving on Saturday, weather permitting. It's time. When I was a sophomore in college, my roommate, Dave and the two guys across the hall, Russell and one of my oldest friends, Chris went. They wanted me to go, but I said to them very confidently, I have stuff to do.

I guess I've done it, 'cause Saturday, I'm jumping out of a plane. With Michael (see link to the right) for his birthday.

Nothing like bouncing on your birthday...

Photo is of Mr. Newton, stolen by me, off the Interwebs. I don't know who took it, perhaps June or some assistant, but I love it.

This never happens to me. Never. Especially with Carrie Otis. And just for the record, I don't have a guy in surgeon scrubs propping me up when I decide to lean back and defy gravity WHILE Carrie Otis rubs her right foot in my mess.

I pretty much just use my calf muscles. Without Carrie Otis.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Google: these days lyrics rem


It's the first day I've had off in weeks and I've decided to do nothing but some leisurely retouching of images more than an embarrassingly sell-by date old.

The first thing I discover after weeks of neglect is that my computer is a mess. Files everywhere, digital shots everywhere, duplicate files everywhere - shit, how did this happen?

So I spend some time straightening out what surely must have been The Baby Kitty in here mucking around while I was working for my "beauty and fashion" clients.

Almost finished with Maxine's photos from Los Angeles, so I attack the black & white negative scans. I shot Maxine back in June when she was in town for Fetish Week and since I am going to LA next week, I figure it would be decent to give her the long overdue shots. Upon inspecting the scans, I see that hers were the first I scanned with my new scanner and that they are kinda all over the place in quality. Was this before D. Brian (see link at right) helped me out with some very sound scanning advice? Apparently, as the first ten or so just plain suck ass. Ahhh, number eleven looks better (thanks D. Brian!) - so I rescan the first ten. Damn, I didn't really want to do that today...

I just picked up REM's "Best of the I.R.S. Years 1982-87" mostly for the bonus disc of band-picked rarities as I am a complete sucker for that shit. A word on REM: I have maintained publicly my entire adult life that I do not like them. Close friends and various significant others know better - I love them, well, at least the I.R.S. records and hell, even some of "Green" and "Monster" and, well, I do give them the benefit of the doubt with every release.

Part of the reason I "hate" them is that I was "there." REM played their first live show in Chapel Hill and it seemed like they came through town every ten minutes and everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, loved them. Well, not me - that wouldn't be very punk rock, now would it? Jangle jangle whine whine bleat bleat. That's all it was to me, as far as anyone knew...

I even saw them three or four times "out of spite" - the Fables tour, the Pageant tour, the Document tour...

This afternoon while listening to Disc 1, the "greatest hits," I found myself becoming very melancholy and even a little overwhelmed. By the time Disc 2 was in and "These Days" hit, the tears were flowing freely.

What the fuck? I'm crying over an REM song?

Nahhh, I’m crying over the loss of youth, the realization that everything is always fucked up. I'm crying over a part of my past - mind, spirit and body, that I wish I had back. People, places and things - gone. Feelings, emotions, and philosophies - so na├»ve and beautiful.

Photo is of Maxine - one of the good scans.
She is young despite the years. She is concern. She is hope despite the times...

It's 3am...


...and I'm all wound up.

A quick one (while he's away)...

Exhausted. Nodding off at 5pm tonight when I call my girl (who is at work!) to tell her that "I'm taking a nap."
I NEVER take naps.

She says, that's cool, what about BECK tonight? But I thought Beck was tomorrow night, shit, let me look, SHIT, it IS tonight.
So, I have a cup of coffee, meet her at the 34th Street PATH station and away we go to Jersey City.

Bad news - Jersey City. Good news - 4th row.

Between the two of us, we had seen him 5 times. Good, great, ok, whatever, and I don't remember.

Beck is at the top of his game. If you are a fan, do not miss this tour. I cannot describe it right now ('cause you know, it's 3am), other than to say that it is well-thought out Dada, Absurdism, and Magic. Not to mention a STRONG set-list and musicianship across the board, bar none.

And puppets, a four-course meal and a city specific video. We got Bon Jovi.

Photo is from this morning of the wonderful sarcastic and beautiful Lee from Durham, NC, who rocked with me against a black background in the "famous" Starrett-Lehigh Building on 26th and the river. I took this on purpose for this very post. More to come...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Toiling Midgets


Sometimes, a band from long ago, stillborn, but one of your favorites - one that none of your friends knows - just your little guilty pleasure, says everything you feel like saying at any given moment.

The Toiling Midgets are saying it for me now. Search eBay for "Son," their last album featuring Mark Eitzel.

It's why I LOVE music. And photogrpahy.

My work has a soundtrack.
This is one of them.

"Faux Pony"
(Toiling Midgets)

When something’s dirty
You gotta make it come clean
America needs a hero
To put into it’s giant dream

I understood
I understood
Yeah, I understood

Me and Jodie Foster
We would have made a fine pair
If my aim had been straighter
Maybe I could have got somewhere

I understood
I understood
Yeah, I understood

You and me and our love
Could have gone into the stratosphere
But you know how hard it is
To ever find love anywhere

I understood
I understood
Yeah, I’m sorry, I understood

I loved you in your black dress

----------------------------

Photo is of Sarah Ellis, to whom I owe A TON of pictures.
She has been kind enough not to wail on me, which I appreciate.

I hadn't figured out the light under the chair thing, but Sarah was my first...

She is like zen.

Rule #1

Just because she's naked, doesn't mean it's art.


"Some people say not to worry about the air
Some people don't know shit about the air"
- David Byrne

Build a Cult


I think a lot about everything. In fact, since I was 10 years old, I've pretty much thought of myself as an OVER THINKER.

Over thinking is an odd arrival point. Some things need to be thought out, talked about, and thought about again.

GENERIC EXAMPLE:
I think I love you but I'm not sure so instead of saying it let's just think about what love means to me and to you and I have no idea what that is and to all of us while we're at it and then is that gonna freak you out because if it is I'll take it all back and rethink my feelings even though I know at the core of my being that that is impossible...

At the same time, I am a HUGE proponent of "gut" as wisdom.
You feel it, you go for it.

I do it a lot. Like, everyday...

When I feel insecure, or am treading in an area that I am not confident in, I tend to OVER THINK.

FOR INSTANCE: Trying to choose 10 images from my THOUSANDS for a gallery show presentation...

GUT says: go with what you love. Fight fight fight -

So, after a lot of crazy ass rationalizations, platitudes and just plain crap thought, I did. Over thinking be damned.

Photo is of the long lost Sundae St. Laurent.
A bunch of us miss her...
I know I do. She's in the show.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Smudge


Markus (see link to right) sent me his 10 images for our dual gallery show today and they are great.

They are new. They are old. They are black & white.

I sorta cheated and told him that I would send him my 10 images after he sent me his...

So, I've been going through years of shots all night trying to pick my own best shots.

This is impossible.

NEVER try to pick your own shots. Have people you trust help you. Have people with a non-egoist eye tell you that your opinion sucks ass and is worthless. Have people who are completely disconnected from your work tell you which ones appeal to them. The most.

So I picked 10. And I'm sleeping on them before I send them to Markus. I ALWAYS reserve that right...

Meeting with a NYC gallery on Thursday.

Ready to do the rest of the "13 Chairs" series. My idea is to have the self-published, limited edition of 100 copies available at said, non-existent gallery show. And the website - don't forget the website and "e-marketing" if you can keep the barf in your stomach and out of your throat.

Don't forget.

$75.00. That's what they cost. Yep, this is just shit that I dreamed up on the Q rain on the way into the city to sit and wait for a client sign-off. This is the shit that I think might be the "best-case-scenario."

I have no idea what that means. I just made it up on the Q Train.

So, in that best-case-scenario, I'm printing up 100 copies of the book, including a real print, signing them with a Sharpie or something, and numbering them with a 1-100 over a slash with "100" over it. Right? And that's it. No more of those. They go on eBay for thousands of dollars. Prestige, since obviously, I get none of that. But hey, I ain't in it for the money anyway. Unless I get hungry, DAMMIT!

So, I'll reprint it bigger and glossier and more differenter. With Director's commentary and behind the scenes photos and never-before-seen shit that no one needs to see anyway AND a commemorative pin and a DVD of me making the book.

But EVERYONE will buy it.

Just like I bought the Universal Horror Series last year, only to be tempted to buy "Frankenstein" and "Dracula" again this year (doncha know? It's the 75th Anniversary!!!)

And don't even talk to me about the two versions of "Apocalypse Now" that I have. And "Lebowski."

Maybe I'll do a calendar too. And playing cards. No, really...

Photo is of Markus shooting Desiree Starr. Probably for his calendar.

Hard week, and it's just Monday...


Trying harder than anything in the world to deliver corporate women's clothing project. They just won't let me...

Listening way too much to Guided by Voices. They just won't play live again...

Hanging out with my sister. She's just trying to go to sleep in the other room...

My girl is sick from a plane, and nothing to do with snakes. It's just not fair...

Photo is of me, by Rich Goldstein, with my camera. (Rich, did I sign a release...?)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Shit Fire and Save Matches


Three weeks. No need for matches anymore, save for the BBQ on the roof, being rained on soon to be snowed on.

Got a big box of CDs yesterday and am trying them out one by one. Been through two so far. The Hold Steady's "Boys and Girls in America" is ok. High expectations - sorta even keel results. But not bad. The second in the stack is The Twilight Singers' "Powder Burns."

Let's talk about Greg Dulli. Shall we?

I was a big Afghan Whigs fan. Saw them multiple times, last time in Providence, on Valentine's Day, 2000. Like Robert Pollard, do not try to outdrink or outdrug Mr. Dulli. He will smack you down in spades.

So - I bought all his post Whigs "I'm on my own and this is my new band - really - Twilight Singers" albums, and basically thought to myself, Greg's doing ok, he's just not writing shit that is as shit mighty as "Congregation." And really, who could?

"Powder Burns" is great. Not "Congregation" great, but what Mr. Dulli should be doing and doing well.

Dig it.

My sister is in town for the next few days for some seminar or something. I hung out with her and her friend tonight in the Marriot Marquee revolving bar thing in Times Square.

Martinis and 360 degree views of the most beautiful city in the world. Over and over again.

Not a bad thing.

I love my sister, and her friend was really cool.

Photo is of what happens at the end of a Demolition Derby. This one was August 2005, upstate New York.

It always ends in tears...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Hot Soft Light


I want a Leica M8.
I want a Nikon F6.

The only reason I want them is that they kick ass, marketing and first hand testimonials.
My cousin owns a camera store chain in North Carolina and offered to "loan" me a Leica last year during the holidays.

I was scared. Scared I would want to buy it from him. But he's the guy I want to buy it from. I asked Richard and Tito last week @ Coffee Shop on Union Square if Leica "was all that?" They both said without blinking and kinda like I was a moron, "Yeah."

Shit.

But, you know, I am fine with my old videodrome arm extension Pentax ZX-M and my Nikon D-50. I always loved lo-fi, home-grown, and idiot savant anything. Cassette fidelity, grinding spices to make curry even though it permanently injures your hand, and programmers who can send shit into space but do not know how to wash their clothes or get food on a regular basis.

I don't even know where I'm going with this...

So, why do I WANT these things? Well, as I said, they kick ass. How important is the status symbol to me?

I just wanna take good pitchers...

Photo is of Angela last night shot with my camera.

Vacation ?


Exhale ~

Finishing up my latest incarnation of the Very Famous Women's Wear Line project for Holiday '06 at the end of the week. What's "IN" for this season? I'm glad you asked. Two words: Gifts...

I shot with Angela from Newfoundland tonight. She's only shot with D. Brian (see link to the "write") and he recommended her to me. Thanks Don, Angela was amazing. So much willingness to "experience" in that 19 year old body. Such a great sense of humor, and somewhat of an old soul. We laughed, we shot, we got great stuff. As soon as I get to it, it will be here.

AND, Angela, who has been booked for three months or so, is my last shoot for two whole weeks. I need the time off, as I'm SO far behind in retouching and getting shots to models, getting shots to me, sending out my new website to reps, agencies, galleries and art and photo directors.

So far behind that I just plain suck ass.

On the 20th, I am shooting a very famous "pinup" photographer. She asked me personally and I was flattered. We're gonna rock it and the results will be everywhere. Or nowhere, depending on what she wants to do...

Then, I'm off to Las Vegas!

Oddly enough, I can't get anyone there to shoot with me. I sent out a couple of requests, but man, if you are looking for natural breasts, it ain't your town....WORD!

I've got two NATURAL prospects. TWO! Jesus, I could do better just sitting here in Brooklyn...

And then I'm driving across Death Valley (or at least the southern tip of it) to a mythical place called Los Angeles.

My thinking: Three days, three shoots, and only with my three favorite LA wish-list girls. I sent out the feeler emails and within 30 minutes all three had said YES.

Thank you Trish, Ginger and Mary. We're gonna party.

So the vacation never really happens, does it? You just take two weeks off so you can work really hard during every day of the third week. Yep, I guess that's the way we go...over and over and over.

Michael (see link to the right) wants me to go skydiving with him on his birthday. I've thought about it long and hard and I'M THERE.

There will be no Chiller this Halloween. Sorry Mark, but I'll be in Vegas...

Oh, and after two weeks and three days, the jonesing is at a minimum. Still happening, but manageable.

I haven't heard The Hold Steady's new album, BUT last year's "Separation Sunday" is a masterpiece.

Yep.

Photo is of Amanda, who some of you that watch television might recognize from this season’s "Project Runway." Rich Goldstein and I shot her last summer in Williamsburg in 100 degree heat for two days straight for an editorial that we hoped to place, but alas, we we're thwarted by the stylist, who commissioned the shoot.

I could tell you what I think Amanda's chances are on PR based on my experience with working with her. But her agency at the time took the cake. They were truly heinous.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another Place, Another Time


I miss people, places and things.
I miss things past.

What was that guy's name that I met in Rudy's Bar & Grill in Hell's Kitchen that was so fascinating?
What happened on the last episode of (the new) "Battlestar Galactica" that I watched two days ago?
When did my friend George jump into a swimming pool and break his neck?
What happened to my passport?

I can't remember.
And it's starting to worry me.

There is no history in my family of the disease that Alois Alzheimer diagnosed in 1906.
There is no history in my family of cancer, other than the intestinal cancer my Grandmother had and beat sometime in the 1980's.
There is no history in my family of leukemia, Parkinson’s, Lou Gering’s and all of those other proper nouns.
There is a history in my family among males of heart attack, but late in life, and sudden. Oh, so sudden.
There is a history in my family among males to drink themselves to death. Gangrene, even. Oh, so slow.

All of this to say that I think that I am okay.

Blame it on the nicotine withdrawal.

My memory loss officially worries me. It's been happening for "years," but I cannot remember for how long.

The photo is of "Scar" as "Vampiralla" many, many years ago.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Portuguese Illumination


My patron at ELEELA MAGAZINE sent me the full pdf file of the October issue today. It features three images from my ROOMS series featuring the fantastic models Gizel, Tomiko and Amy.

It looks cool. The font is bad (she apologized) and they cropped them, but what the fuck? The shots reproduced well. They accompany some sort of text that is called "FORUM" which (unlike my previous publisher) is the editorial section of the magazine - and someone editorializes about something "sexy," I was told.

Being that the "FORUM" section is a monthly feature, my patron asked me today via email if I was interested in supplying images to ELEELA MAGAZINE every month moving forward.

I said: YES.

Understand that I am being paid $0.00 and as I mentioned before, they are cropping my shots to suit their own needs, but here's the deal.

I need some exposure. And Brazilian exposure is as good as any in my house...

Then my patron asked me if I knew any girls that she could photograph while in NYC next week. Do I know any girls in NYC? C'mon...

Shit, now I gotta come up with...oh, never mind.

I suggested we shoot together. She accepted, but amended my proposal and suggested that we shoot consecutively. Two distinct "films" with the same script, talent and sets.

I'm in.

It's been a good day and the jonesing was at a manageable minimum. BUT, did I mention how, now, as I walk the sidewalks of NYC that I am ACCUTLEY aware that EVERYONE SMOKES! I mean old ladies smoking, little kids smoking and fucking dogs smoking like nobody's business. I saw a dead guy smoking today. I swear to god.

Or something...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Candidate


Jonesing badly today.

Made the mistake of reading that withdrawal takes two weeks, and that cranberry juice helps, and that just as things are declining after Day 3, there is a spike on Day 10.

Well, today's Day 11. Went to Dr. Ming, my acupuncturist, today. I told her what I'd done and she laughed and said "You nervous?" She stuck needles all in my face (I could see them move with my pulse...) and in my ears and wrists and a bunch of places down my legs that I couldn't see.

Acupuncture always makes me a little wonky. Super relaxed or just weird feeling. Today I got a headache and that weird metallic taste in my mouth that I haven't had since Day 3.

Distraction is a good thing. So I've been retouching like a speed demon.

Still jonesing.

The aforementioned Mike Lupica is having another brilliant set tonight on WFMU (see link at right). We must be approximately the same age, 'cause his show reminds me of a show I might do. He just played Bowie's "Candidate (alt)," a demo recording of "Candidate" from the brilliant "Diamond Dogs" that has wildly different lyrics from the version that eventually ended up on the album.

1974. Nixon. In retrospect, I guess those were good times.
Here's the lyrics to the album version.
Photo is of Kimberly who stole this shirt from me.
Both song and shirt pretty much sum up what I think of most things...

“I'll make you a deal, like any other candidate
We'll pretend we're walking home 'cause your future's at stake
My set is amazing, it even smells like a street
There's a bar at the end where I can meet you and your friend
Someone scrawled on the wall "I smell the blood of les tricoteuses"
Who wrote up scandals in other bars
I'm having so much fun with the poisonous people
Spreading rumours and lies and stories they made up
Some make you sing and some make you scream
One makes you wish that you'd never been seen
But there's a shop on the corner that's selling papier mache
Making bullet-proof faces, Charlie Manson, Cassius Clay
If you want it, boys, get it here, thing
So you scream out of line
"I want you! I need you! Anyone out there? Any time?"
Tres butch little number whines "Hey dirty, I want you
When it's good, it's really good, and when it's bad I go to pieces"
If you want it, boys, get it here, thing
Well, on the street where you live I could not hold up my head
For I put all I have in another bed
On another floor, in the back of a car
In the cellar like a church with the door ajar
Well, I guess we must be looking for a different kind
But we can't stop trying 'til we break up our minds
Til the sun drips blood on the seedy young knights
Who press you on the ground while shaking in fright
I guess we could cruise down one more time
With you by my side, it should be fine
We'll buy some drugs and watch a band
Then jump in the river holding hands…”

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Director's Commentary


I work with two kinds of models - novice types and been-there-done-that types. On any given day I love working with either, but on certain days I prefer one to the other. The creative headache occurs when I book one and then the other then the other then the other. Working with each involves an entirely different directorial skill-set, and even though they intersect, they are fairly "uniquely" different.

Novice types are fun. There is a bit of the Svengali allure to it, but you have the potential (without the evil intent) to really "discover" and "mold" someone who potentially is "receptive" and "capable." Sometimes none of these four parenthetical things happen, but if one on your side and one on their side does, it can be exhilarating.

Been-there-done-that types are great. They know what to expect and are basically gonna go through a certain amount of what they are doing from rote - muscle memory and experience. I love to shake that up, challenge them and put them in situations that they've not been put before. Buck the stereotype, as I've written about here before.

I've got a bevy of each scheduled for October. Quality over quantity, but the quantity of quality is reaching its peak.

Photo is an "Alice" outtake featuring one of my two long, lost models, Kate Mandala. Kate was a been-there-done-that model.

Kate, if you are reading this, call me. We need to shoot again as people are buying prints of that one shot and you have my wardrobe. And you ARE my Alice...

She Drives Like an Exodus Slow to the Steeple



Finished a huge set with the lovely and talented Anyssa from San Francisco today. About 7 hours of retouching straight (after a triumphant return from Coney Island at Noon - lonely and deserted, but birthday gifts in hand).

I was supposed to shoot with Anyssa last September, but my 93 year old Grandmother passed away. Almost a year to the day, she had a wedding to attend in NYC and told me that I would be her only shoot. She brung with her 10 latex outfits, straight from the designer.

I shot all 10 of them and Anyssa naked on a chair as well (see earlier post).

I haven't even tackled the black & white yet, but I am VERY happy with the digital color. Anyssa and I talked about submitting the shots to the latex designer, although as cool as that is, I think we could place this as a story in MARQUIS or SECOND SKIN.

Easily.

Photo is obviously Anyssa ALL THE WAY LIVE! The post heading is Robert Pollard, whose "Blues And Boogie Shoes" I CANNOT get out of my CD player...