Friday, September 29, 2006

Off The Cuff...

...and on the table.

This is Desiree Starr. Markus was right behind me somewhere clicking away. He is safely in Las Vegas now. If that is an option.

Tomorrow is retouching, retouching, retouching.

I got Tomiko and Lisa back from the lab tonight (that sounds odd, but cool, right?).

Great stuff. But I am nine months behind…

Birthday weekend for my girl. Tomorrow a BIG surprise early in the morning that only Michael, Pamela and Catherine know about. Sunday morning, she runs the half marathon in Central Park.

Nutty McNutt Nutt.

I'll be there, just like last time, camera at the finish line.

Patti is playing the last CBGB’s show EVER on October 15th. Tickets go on sale at noon on Sunday. So, my girl has to finish the marathon by 11:30am.


Host Mode

When you live in New York, you are often put into host mode. Everybody you know from everywhere wants to visit here, and they do, and you are expected to show them around, show them the Empire State Building, show them where the best Italian food in Little Italy is ("Didn't you used to live there, James?").

It can be exhausting.

But sometimes it's exhilarating.

My photographer friend Markus (see link to the right) spent the last week here and I loved "hosting" him.

He shot me shooting a model. I shot him shooting a model. We ambushed a gallery curator into granting us a meeting regarding a future two-man show. We drank some beer. We talked about our families and girls and hometowns. We got kicked out of the Carlton Arms Hotel.

We had fun.

Not so much host mode as meeting a long lost brother and going from there.

He booked a lot of models here in NYC some of them cancelled. I consider these people FOOLS. If I was a model, a model want-to-be, or just a hot chick (which I want to come back in the next life as) I would go to great lengths to have Markus photograph me.

Fools. Their loss, man. I watched him work tonight and, well, their fucking loss.

He is off to Las Vegas tomorrow and then Miami. I wish him safe travel and a swift return.

I wish I had a shot of him tonight shooting Desiree in one of her crazy contortion poses, but I left my shit at the office...

In that shot's place is this one. My other German friend, Lisa.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One Man's Crutch is Another Man's Wing

I launched my newfangled website on September 14th. On September 17th, the guy from linked to me. I have no idea how he ran across my site. I suspect he was trolling D. Brian's site (see link to the right) but I do not know. He linked to this blog too. Egregious, but cool.

The next day I got 18,000 hits.

Thank you, guy from Indie nudes!

Even though I am sandwiched right between "The Good Nudes" and "Naked guy in aviator glasses and..." I kid you not. You can go there right now and see that dude with the aviator glasses and his mess all flacid and out. It's cool, mostly for him, I'm guessing...

But 18,000 hits. Jesus!

I also got linked via that site to the Fluffy Lychees Blog and a related site, Fluffy Feets Blog.

These sites were also responsible for a good amount of traffic, despite the fact that I do not purposely shoot with "Lychees" or "Feets" in mind, but I am damn glad to have those blogs and their loyal readers in my camp. Rock on!

So anyway, one of those hits was the photo editor from ELEELA Magazine in Brazil, named Autumn. She wrote me about publishing my work, and after we spoke, replaced a feature they were supposed to do on Ellen von Unwerth's "Revenge" (who I am a HUGE fan of) with my work.

Due to the fact that she is OVER exposed and I am UNDER exposed.

I was good with that.

After a lot of back and forth there are just two shots. Both of them from my ROOMS series (man, people love that much more than the CHAIR series, oh well...) One of Tomiko (who I just fucking shot for the CHAIR series) and one of Gizel, who I adore.

The article will be in Portuguese. Which means, when I get my copies of the magazine, I'm gonna have to get my friend Bella to translate it back to me.

HEY! I know what I said, but what are they gonna say?

I quit smoking on Thursday and the last week has been a living hell. I have two choices as of now. Start smoking again and smoke until it kills me. Or, never, ever go through this withdrawal shit again.

I'm going for the latter.

Photo is of Tomiko. Soon to be published in ELEELA in South America. That's two Tomiko's in a row. I love me some Tomiko, and she knows.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Celluloid Heroes

Four "Chairs" down, nine to go...

Raining this morning in Brooklyn and all sort of nice and cozy here inside on the top floor of President Street.

Just perfect for listening to The Kinks bootleg "Fillmore West, 11/13/70" that my good buddy Johnny sent me this week. Boy, they were drunk that night. Ray and Dave singing horribly out of tune and Dave so, so sloppy on the guitar that he sounds like he's in a different band. But it is glorious. A close to eleven minute version of "Last of the Steam Powered Trains," Ray describing what he is wearing to the audience in detail (?), and a rollicking "Top of the Pops" right at the end before the hippie that recorded it abruptly switches the tape off. You know that sound - whirrrrppp!


I wish my six-year-old ass had been there...I wouldn't see them for another nine years. Ray's one of the few songwriters/singers that has ever made me weep uncontrollably during a live show. Paul Westerberg was another, and as Johnny pointed out in his note to me, there is a similarity there...

Tomorrow is quite the day. Markus Richter is in town (see link to the right) and I am very excited to meet him. I have followed his work for years so it is an honor that he not only wants to hang out but to shoot together tomorrow. There are not a lot of folks I would agree to do that with...He has two models lined up and so do I. I have a shoot at 11am (the earliest one I've ever done) with a model from down DC way, who has worked with Sam Holden, whose work I really admire. Then later in the afternoon is a model from Los Angeles who came recommended to me by Eric Kroll, so she should be a hoot. I secured a fantastic location from my friend and patron Simon that is mind boggling - a 6 story building in midtown that has been completely demolished on the inside. Nothing but floors, walls and ceilings. I hope Markus digs it. Two freakish photographers and four models in an abandoned building. We'll have to try to get a group photo -mental note: take the tripod.

My good friend Tomiko from Los Angeles doing that thang last night. Her friend Mike assisting. Mike's a good man and he holds a mean snoot.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Back In Business

And too tired to do anything about it. And in a bad mood. Foul, actually.

Despite that, I finished three photo sets tonight after working all day on a major women's clothing line multimedia project.
I have four shoots scheduled between now and Wednesday.
I must be nuts.

But, computer is working and it's extremely fast.

Photo is of Saffron from January. Her signed prints went out today. To Leeds, UK.
Which means that it only took me nine months to finish them.
Models beware!
Sometimes I am slower than the sand...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Out of Business

While attempting to trouble shoot why the newly purchased additional 2 gigs of RAM and the newly purchased 400 gig hard drive are SLOWING DOWN my G5, I managed to get the machine to the point of being unable to start.

And I'm very angry, as I type this from my work machine.

It's crazy how much we depend on those things. I listen to 95% of my radio on it. My entire photography career is dependent on it. I get my news from it.

Tech support on the way...

The above photo is what my monitor looks like at this very minute.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Please Set Me On Fire

Self imposed exile is over, temporarily.

I TOLD myself - TOLD myself I wouldn't shoot again until October 10th, when I shoot D. Brian Nelson's "find" (see link at the right), Angela, from Newfoundland.

But, a model that I contacted about a year and a half ago - Shuko, from Japan - is in town and I cannot pass this opportunity up.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I met her today at the home office FOURBUCKS on 5th Avenue between 28th and 29th and she was lovely. We discussed 2-3 "fashion" looks and some "figure" work.

So, don't bother me next Tuesday, I'll be shooting her here in NYC. Somewhere. I'll see if I can get her to stand in a chair...

I hung out Friday briefly with Rich and his "find" SMITH, and he suggested that the "Chairs" project should be a collection of 13 of them, called, "13 Chairs." I like it. Mel Brooks, anyone? His reasoning: It doesn’t make any sense to shoot more than one of them, so why not shoot thirteen?

My kind of logic. There's a reason I count him amongst my mentors. Few and far between, they are.

I've had a lot of positive response to my shot of the beached ship on the Chilean shore (see entry below) and I predict that despite all the naked chicks I shoot, this one, after my death, will be my most popular shot. Actually, it will be second to my "Pigtails" shot.

Getchore prints now, while I'm alive and can still sign them.

Finishing up the last two shots of Natsuko's UMBRELLA story tonight while listening to WMFU (see link at the right). Mike Lupica, Monday night DJ extraordinaire, is playing an excellent set: Klaus Nomi, The Hot Monkey, and Eugenius.

I like.

Photo is a hot off the presses Natsuko. "Please Set Me On Fire" is one of the first songs released (1990) by my bestest friend Greg Elkins' band, Vanilla Trainwreck. Out of print, but available on eBay, like all the good stuff. Or here, if you click properly...

Friday, September 15, 2006

What Difference Does It Make?

- How many shots per shoot I shoot.
- What kind of camera(s) I have.
- Whether I shoot film or digital.
- What kind of film I use.
- What kind of lights I own.
- What lighting set-up I favor.
- What kind of models I prefer.
- If I do my own processing and printing.
- If I do a TFP, a TFCD, a TFU (time for underwear, which I have done) or if I pay or get paid.
- What locations I tend to use.
- How I retouch, edit (god, I hate that term) or "Photoshop" (NOT a verb).
- If I have an assistant.
- Where I get my wardrobe.
- If I use a MUA, a make-up artist, or have the model do their own.
- Which stylists I partner with.
- If I think LaChapelle, Avedon or Newton is a genius.

ALL that matters is that I do what I do, that I am confident and happy about it, and that others respond.

Photo is of the amazing and beautiful Kristin.

(and if you must know, and only about this particular shoot)

- About 40 shots.
- Pentax.
- Film.
- Fujicolor 800.
- A bunch.
- This one.
- Just like Kristin.
- No.
- A "fuck motel" in Queens that has themed rooms.
- Heavily retouched in Photoshop.
- Not on this one.
- Everywhere.
- I used a brilliant hair stylist/make-up artist.
- I styled this.
- Yes to all three.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

You can see this joke coming from 911 yards away...

My girl and I have a ritual.

Get the fuck out of town on or about September 11th.

One of my employers asked me this morning (upon my return to work) what was up with that. Which, from one New Yorker to another, is a fair question.

My response to him was this:

As witnesses (20 blocks away) to the events (whatever they "were") of that day, we have no interest in staying in the city (NYC) to further witness said calendar day becoming an "anniversary," a "celebration," and most importantly a "political agenda."

Which it did. On or about September 11th, 2001, at about 9:00pm, as I remember...

It's just fucking disgusting, no matter what really happened.

I saw people die. A few at first, then a lot all of the sudden. I breathed the "air" for years, and I am no better or worse than you for any of it.

I was just there. And I'm telling you what my deal is.

So this year, we went to Woodstock, NY. Surely you've heard of it, although Woodstock ain't the place where you know what you know about it went down...

Another conspiracy...

But, we avoided the bullshit, as best we could, while paying respect to that day and those lost in a private way.


This photo opportunity made everything a little lighter.

Hey - Everybody gotta bowl, right?

Enough. At least for a year...

Fuck "9/11"

I said it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Current Playlist

And it changes EVERY DAY.

Audio and Visual:

- "The Gilmore Girls" 5th Season DVD
One of the smartest, most literary, pop-culture reference a mile a minute types of things ever written, other than "Harvey Birdman." But its much sweeter than "Harvey Birdman."

- "Mad Monster Party" DVD
A birthday gift from my best and oldest friend Toby (see link to the side) with a long history. Back in Raleigh, when we were 13, the movie theatre at the North Hills Mall (shit, what was it called, The Cardinal?) started showing 12 noon Saturday monster movie matinees. So either my mom or Toby's mom would drop us off and pick us up while we sat through "Godzilla vs. Megalon" and this Rankin-Bass (the folks who brought us "Rudolph" and the Heat-Miser, dammit!) masterpiece! Was this the one where the kid dumped the large "buttered" popcorn tub on my head?

- Cheap Trick "Heaven Tonight"
There ain't nothin' wrong with this album. OK, except for the egregious bonus tracks.

- KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic"
I listen to it every morning (on the web) here on the East Coast, which is convenient as Nic Harcourt's show is on WAY TOO EARLY in Los Angeles. Noon to 3pm here. Nic's one of the good guys and he is THE reason to tune in. This man know's his setlists. And Radiohead stops by occasionally. Send them money like I do. Also, it's kind of surreal hearing about the traffic problems on the 405 while I'm sitting here in Brooklyn having coffee. This morning he made me laugh out loud and almost spit out my coffee when he said that he was interviewing Jerry Lee Lewis in the afternoon and that he was scared. Then he said "No, I'm not." Then he hit the mic one last time and said "Yeah I am." He's the real deal. (see link to the side)

- The Grifters "Full Blown Possession"
I miss The Grifters. Memphis' best alt indie drunk bar blues band. Everything they ever did was great, but this, their swansong, is extremely poignant. Jeff Buckly was staying with them when he drowned. This record has way too many references to that on it.

- Frank Zappa - anything/everything
I REALLY miss Frank. I saw him eight times. I really miss Frank. Always will. And that ain't no hippie bullshit.

- Swearing At Motorists "This Flag Waves Goodbye"
The Best band to EVER come out of Dayton Ohio (except...see below, wait, I know how to save this one) with just a guitar and drums. This is poetry set to music and I don’t mean that in the way that Ray Manzarek said it to Jim on the beach in that Oliver Stone movie...

- Guided By Voices - the good stuff
I've spoken about GBV and Mr. Pollard here before. He currently is in my personal 1st place for best album of the year, and GVB doesn't even exist anymore.

- TV on The Radio - the new album
Nic's been playing it for weeks on KCRW, but apparently the US doesn’t get it until 9/12. It's amazing. They are a melting pot of goodness.

Enough. Listen and watch your own stuff and tell me about it.

Naomi, about two years ago, with one of my rare Blondie 12" singles...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Big Fat Lies

Did anyone hear the "president" lying today?

I did.

What he really said was this:

"Torture is okay as long as it's not called torture. The Geneva Convention is toilet paper. I am so wrapped up in war mongering that I do not know what I am saying. Oh, and fuck you."

That's what I heard.
And I'm pretty sure I heard it correctly.

Here's one of my all time favorite pictures of one of my all time favorite girls, Julia, in the Chelsea Hotel.
$185 a night, and we still had to rearrange the whole room...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Unintentional Series

Sometimes you intentionally make it happen and sometimes it just happens by itself. You look back at three months worth of work and wonder, "Why did I make the last six models stand in a chair looking all detached from reality and odd?"

I don't know, but I did. It occurred to me last night while shooting when I asked the model to stand on the chair, not once, but twice, that I was sort of digging it. I think she did too, as she regaled me with stories of photographers wrapping her in tinsel and caution tape, angel wings - you know the drill - and have her stand in front of a wrinkled bed sheet. She told me that this was different, weird and fun.

I love hearing that. It's not the reason I do what I do, but it sure does make it worthwhile. If I'm not getting the image I want, I'm doing something wrong, and even though it is work, and often grueling, if it's not fun, why bother.

Producing images has many different stages: there's the pre-production of practical details, brainstorming the concept, actually shooting the images and then retouching or "editing" the images. Whether the film has been moving or is a still, I've dealt with this process for my entire adult life. From time to time my "favorite part" flip flops from shooting to planning. From planning to retouching. From retouching to planning. I've certainly gotten bogged down in the retouching where I dreaded the mechanical aspect of it or just hated what sitting in a chair for four straight days was doing to my lower back. There have also been times where I was, in my mind, unprepared for a shoot and felt that anxiety going into it. Shooting is always fun as there is a creative seratonin and adrenaline rush for me. I crash after a shoot. Or I'm wound up wide awake into the wee hours of the night.

Today is a retouching day. It's also a "provide the IRS with your business income and loss for the last three months" day. Probably time to pay that big NYS tax bill.

Seems as though I've got a chair thing going on...
Up and coming porn star, Lux Kassidy, perching on her $900 a night chair in NYC last night.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

I hang out with a bunch of folks a lot younger than me.
AND a bunch of folks who haven't studied film like I have.

That said:

It's been a long time since I've seen a lot of my favorites, and you know, sometimes your favorites do not remain so because you've outgrown them. Sometimes your favorites remain so because you understand them in a different, more mature way.

My girl hadn't ever seen "Dog Day Afternoon" until tonight. We'd talked about it - and a hundred other films that either she or I hadn't seen - but this one kept coming up. So we stopped by THE EDGE and picked it up after a long walk in Brooklyn Heights along the promenade and a screening of "Factotum."

(Big Bukowski fan, don't even get me started...)

"DDA" is fucking amazing. I've seen it 2,3,4 times, but as an adult living in the neighborhood where it was filmed and the borough where it took place, it blew me away. Yet, again.

Pacino was nominated, but lost to Nicholson for "Cuckoo's Nest" - same year that "Jaws" was released, one of my favorite films of all time. Think about that - a film based on a counter-culture Ken Kesey classic swept the awards and beat out a film about a bisexual man robbing a bank to pay for his "wife's" sex change operation. This was 1975.

Hollywood was different then. It didn't SUCK.

I love Jack in "Cuckoo's Nest," but at this point, I'd retroactively give it to Al. And take back Milos Foreman's best director award and give it to Spielberg for "Jaws" so that he wouldn't have to make all the crap he made after that.

There must have been a lot of really smart, disappointed people on that night.

Sigh ~

Ms. Haze, in my gifted-to-her, brown leather jumpsuit shorts kinda thing...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Solar Lottery

Rained all day yesterday here in Brooklyn - Hurricane moving north - pretty miserable. Seems as though we lost the transition from scorching hot August to chilly, windy October. What happened to September's weather?

Desperately trying to catch up on retouching. Noticed yesterday that my hard drive is almost full (!) and it ain't small. My technical advisor suggested that I get another one since they are literally dirt cheap and some new RAM to speed that puppy up. Done. Should be here by Wednesday and I've been told that installation is brainlessly simple on a G5. We'll see.

Chip Willis is on a publishing tear, hunh? Excellent, excellent work...

Finished the Natsuko selects - both color and black & white. Now I gotta build that story. I hate that part, but in the end, it is satisfying. And then figure out where to submit it to. I've got some ideas.

Renee Haze doing Jackie O.
In the shot right after this, Renee slid down the back of the limo's trunk and was briefed by the CIA to NEVER tell ANYONE what she had just seen...