Monday, July 30, 2007

This Is How It All...Ends...

Juliet, about 30 minutes before the final - and I mean it, the FINAL - CHAIRS shot.

I have 29 and thought I was done. It's an odd number, which I was cool with, but it also sorta bothered me.

When I was hanging out with Juliet last week talking about stuff, I mentioned that she wasn't a part of the CHAIRS series even though I've worked with her since 2004.

Today we both decided that she would be Number 30, and that would be it.


The title of this entry comes courtesy of Pete Townshend from some live footage of The Who in "The Kids Are Alright" the best damn rock damn movie of all time.

Pete is pure rock 'n' roll.

So is Juliet. I cannot think of a more fitting end.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Been Down So Godamned Long

That's Jim Morrison from the new "The Doors: Live in Boston 1970" CD I'm a listenin' to.

There are a couple of truisms in this world that if people say they don't agree with, they are lying.

"Fart sounds are funny" is a good example. If ANYONE ever says to you that fart sounds are not funny, they are LYING.

Here's another now that you know where I'm coming from:

"Everybody wishes they were Jim Morrison, or that they could fuck him, or both, even if just for a second."

I should be hearing crickets, dig?

This is a cross-section of me, taken during the CT Scan.
I'm lying on my back and you're looking down through me from my head to my feet. That's my spine at the bottom, my kidneys, and my intestines.

Supposedly, everything is "fine."


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Leave Your Makeup on & I'll Leave on the Light.

You are Hardcore, you make me hard.
You name the drama and I'll play the part.
It seems I saw you in some teenage wet dream.
I like your get-up if you know what I mean.

I want it bad. I want it now.
Oh, can't you see - I'm ready now.
I've seen all the pictures, I've studied them forever.
I wanna make a movie so let's star in it together.

Ohhh, don't make a move 'til I say, "Action."
Ohhh, here comes the Hardcore life.

Put your money where your mouth is tonight.
Leave your makeup on & I'll leave on the light.
Come over here babe & talk in the mic.
Oh yeah, I hear you now, it's gonna be one hell of a night.

You can't be a spectator. Oh no!
You got to take these dreams & make them whole.
Oh this is Hardcore - there is no way back for you.
Oh this is Hardcore - this is me on top of you and -
I can't believe that it took me this long. That it took me this long.

This is the eye of the storm.
It's what men in stained raincoats pay for but in here it is pure, yeah.
This is the end of the line.
I've seen the storyline played out so many times before.

Awww, that goes in there.
Then that goes in there.
Then that goes in there.
Then that goes in there and then it's over.

Oh, what a hell of a show, but what I want to know:
What exactly do you do for an encore?
'Cos this is Hardcore.

Pulp and the brilliant Jarvis Cocker.
Me and the brilliant Ms. Storm.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Lazlo Kovacs, RIP

I just read that Lazlo Kovacs passed away today at 74, the same age as my father.

His work as a Cinematographer had a profound influence on me as did his friend Vilmos Zsigmond's.

My first day at the NYU Intensive Filmmaking course in the Summer of 1986, I went to the NYU bookstore and bought all the books (that I could afford) on lighting and cinematography, since that's what I was "going to school for."

I still have my copy of "Masters of Light" which I do refer to on occasion, because you can always learn something, especially from the masters.

On page 192, Mr. Kovacs says:

"I always felt that if you really believed that film was a form of art, then black-and-white was one way of expressing your art. Black-and-white does create a certain kind of abstraction visually. Even today, I always light color like it was black-and white for separation and creating depth."

Something I've never forgotten and something I learned that Summer, but actually applied it many years later.

He's also part of the amazing documentary "Visions of Light" which I highly recommend.

Mr. Kovacs was one of the good guys - one of the really good guys.

Some of his notable films:

- Say Anything... (1989)
- Little Nikita (1988)
- Mask (1985)
- Ghost Busters (1984)
- Frances (1982)
- Inside Moves (1980
- Heart Beat (1980)
- Paradise Alley (1978)
- The Last Waltz (1978)
- F.I.S.T (1978)
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
- New York, New York (1977)
- Nickelodeon (1976)
- Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976)
- Shampoo (1975)
- Freebie and the Bean (1974)
- Paper Moon (1973)
- Slither (1973)
- The King of Marvin Gardens (1972)
- What's Up, Doc? (1972)
- The Last Movie (1971)
- Five Easy Pieces (1970)
- The Rebel Rousers (1970)
- Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)
- Easy Rider (1969)
- Targets (1968)
- Hells Angels on Wheels (1967)

ps - my stomach is KILLING ME from all of the barium sulfate I drank for my CT Scan, but I am getting the images on CD-ROM this week! Maybe I should rename this fucker "Inside James M. Graham" although, for the record, I'm about done with all this prodding and probing...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Six Thousand Dollar Man

This is the front part of my top left molar, 3rd from the back. It came out last night during a lovely dinner at a new restaurant here in lower Park Slope/upper Sunset Park/east Windsor Terrace. I think the filling came out first (swallowed it?) and then the front part of the molar just snapped away right in a tasty mouthful of my buttermilk-fried chicken.


It certainly wasn't the chef's doing (although the chicken not being entirely done falls squarely into his lap!) and it wasn't even like I was chewing gum or crushing ice (which I have a tendency to do, just like my Dad). It just cracked and fell out.

So let's think about this. In the past six weeks, I have need for:

- New sciatic nerve
- New stomach
- New tooth

Total cost to fix me, including the insurance covered expenses (HIP sucks), is probably up around the $6k mark.

But I am not necessarily better. I am not necessarily stronger. I definitely can't run faster.

Steve Austin, I ain't.

Things happen in threes, so perhaps I’m done now.

Off to the dentist…

ps - the texture behind the tooth parts is what moleskin looks like magnified and scanned. Pretty cool, hunh?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mr. Magnetism Himself

The sciatic pain is all but gone, a miracle performed after the third time. Now, if I could just get rid of this nagging stomach problem. I AM NOT A HYPOCHONDRIAC, but I have a great doctor (shitty insurance, just like everyone else, but a great GP) who’s specialty is gastro. So he asked me point blank what I wanted to do about this feeling I've had for THREE MONTHS that something is just "not right" in my stomach. I told him that unlike Frank Zappa, I was here and I just wanted to be sure that everything was OK. He had "carte blanche" to do whatever he deemed necessary.

And he said, without even hesitation: I'll do a gastroscopy and a CT scan of your abdomen.

That's why I love him. Just get 'er done! Be sure, be careful, and don’t lose me like Zappa's non-existent doctor lost him as a patient. He even offered to get it all "pre-approved" with the assholes, my insurance company, but I'm not mentioning names.


The gastroscopy was yesterday and was pretty intense. General anesthesia for 5 minutes. Then they stick a camera down your throat through this little ball gag with a hole through it and check you out all stomach-wise.

I asked for pictures. Watch the skies.

CT scan on Monday. I'll get those shots too!

And there’s your photography tie-in.

Actually, I’ve just been scanning and retouching and not shooting at all. We’ll see when the urge overtakes me to shoot again…

Title is an old Bill Nelson b-side that I just got on CD. Bill was first described to me by Jack, the not-surly-at-all clerk at Schoolkid's Records on Hillsborough Street across from NCSU in 1983 as "a thinking man's Thomas Dolby." I'm sure Tom Dolby thinks, but this appealed to me and my buddies. Bill, late of Be Bop Deluxe (check them out!) was trying to negotiate the whole early '80s post New Wave/New Romantic thing and turns out he was a musician of all trades, recording all instruments himself, alone in his little Yorkshire room at night. Clearly he didn’t care for people much, which appealed to me even then, and he used the E-Bow, which I'd never heard before but became mesmerized by - imagine infinite sustain on an electric guitar. Imagine my other guitar hero at the time, Robert Fripp, picking one up too.

I was lucky enough to see the non-US touring Mr. Nelson at the 9:30 Club in DC back in 1984 with my buddy Carl. He couldn't believe that anyone had driven 5 hours to see him. He said something like, "In England, that would put you squarely in the sea." I saw him again in - shit when was it? 1999? on the Upper East Side at a now defunct HMV store in the basement. With a bunch of "thinking man's Thomas Dolby" types.

Yikes! Jack would have bolted!

Shot #2 of 4 of "Dead Girl" Natsuko. She's the best. I said "Lie there like you're dead." And she did. Until I started shooting, and then she laughed. I said "What?" and she giggled "Dead girl..."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Re: Ever Wanna Quit?

I'll stop shooting when I'm dead.

Or when I decide I'm done.
Or when THEY stop making film.
Or when I get to shoot my "dream subjects" and can think of no more of them.
Or when I finally go blind.

These days. They are a comin' ~

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Snap of Electric Whipcrack

Nerves are weird.

Saw "Sicko" and I think it's Mr. Moore's best film. Not "left" - not "liberal" - just true. And really, really depressing and sad.

My girl and I are thinking of moving to France. Or at least a second residence there. Our place in Brooklyn is flat out amazing and well, we could rent it out on Craigslist when we are in the land of the escargot (which I happen to LOVE).

But before we do that....

I gotta get some work.

Hire me.

I can walk now.

Title is from Lee Ranaldo's phenomenal "Hey Joni" off of Sonic Youth's seminal album "Daydream Nation." Which they will be performing in it's entirety here on July 28th to celebrate it's 20th Anniversary. I'll be there. I first saw them on the "Sister" tour at The Brewery in Raleigh, NC. I actually did not go to the "Daydream Nation" show in either Sommerville, MA or Raleigh because I was having a bad year. I did see The Cure on the "Disintegration" tour twice though...


Natsuko, from my one-off "Dead Girl" series, which is exactly 4 photographs in length.

I should kill more.

Thursday, July 12, 2007



As of 1:28 a.m.
• U.S. intel warns al-Qaida has rebuilt
• Lady Bird Johnson dies at 94
• Uneasy GOP senators beseech Bush on Iraq
• British PM Brown acknowledges failures in Iraq planning
• U.S. regulators clear airline Virgin America for August takeoff
• Boy band mogul Lou Pearlman faces fraud trial in Florida
• S.D. has first execution in 60 years 48 min
• Murder called motive in pizza bomb plot
• Radical mosque searched for booby traps
• Iraqi civilians join raid on al Qaeda base
• GOP senators losing patience over Iraq
• Nintendo issues Wii warning
• Bogus firm faked nuke license, report says
• Pipeline attack closes Hershey's and Honda
• Bush orders lawyer to defy subpoena
• Dr. suspended after liposuction deaths
• America's gas price guru on what's to come
• Sexy photos kick off Beckhams' invasion
• Flynt motivated to expose hypocrisy
• Fat rant exposes a few myths

Picture is of Meagan, somebody that matters...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Nerve Blocker

Great name for a band, right?

My band. When I start one.

The photo is of my lower back and a needle shooting Cortisone into my vertebrae this afternoon. Which I scammed from the x-ray thing he used to do me. That slightly visible shadow at the end of the needle is his finger...

Turns out that when I went in to see Dr. SCHOTTENSTEIN (his real name) today for a follow-up to my first nerve block epidural 10 days ago, he decide to give me TWO MORE.

One in the side of the 4th lumbar nerve hole thingy and one more in the 5th...


What I told him was this:

"I think the first nerve block dealt with the spasming pain down my left leg that was keeping me from caring about life in the 95% successful range. I still feel tingling and "heaviness" in my left leg, but most importantly, my gait has changed."

He said, "Your gait has changed?"

And I said:

"Yeah, it's weird. I don't walk like myself anymore. I walk like someone else. My left foot falls oddly. Sorta like if I woke up after being hit in the head, or came out of Jeff Goldblum's "The Fly" molecular descrambler chamber with someone else's leg. It's weird."

And he said:

Well, you know what he said.

This was local. Novacaine in my back. I needed to be able to tell him when he HIT THE NERVE. He rooted around a little ("feel anyhing?") and when he did and I did, he shot it full of Cortisone. Which tingles from your ass all the way down your toes for about 5 seconds...and not a good tingle...

Here's the deal:

He's blocking the nerves with steroids, which (and I have no idea how) prohibits them from sending pain messages to my brain.

I gotta Google that shit...or at least Wiki it...

I've got a 5% Lidocaine prescription patch on my back right now and it's all I can do to sit upright and type this and order some Chinese food, which is on the way (oh, it's here!)

The promise is to be better.


Null and Void

The photo is of Reby, back when I wasn't so damned angry...

...Kodak 800 speed color.

Shot in William Quigley's loft in SoHo and showcasing his work.

Look him up in the Google.
Or her.
Or me.

Dumb poetry...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Random Shit, Vol. XXIX

- My girl and I saw the Macy's July 4th Fireworks last night from a friend's roof deck in Greenpoint that literally had us "under" the fireworks. And by "under," I mean that the roof deck was a block and a half from the East River and the three barges that set them off. I'm not a big fan of a) the Fourth of July and ALL of it's patriotic SHIT, and b) fireworks; seen them once, seen them a thousand times. BUT this was different. When they exploded they were in your face, literally. And your body felt the shockwaves. And when they were visible, you could hear the sizzle. Thanks Charlie!

- Digitized the entire Roxy Music catalog today as a project, including the two newer live albums, the "Manifesto" tour and the "Avalon" tour, and the single version of "Jealous Guy." Not a bad note in the bunch - and I sure said somethin’ there!

- Currently having a nice Domaine Monte De Luz Tannat, 2006, from Uruguay. I've been to Uruguay. What if you could only drink wine from countries you've been to? I could also drink French, Argentinean, Chilean, and a bunch of USA swill. Shit, I gotta get myself to Australia!

- The new series is "White Light." The first series, "Rooms" has been retitled, "No Vacancy." The second series is still titled "Smudge." And the first series to hit a gallery will be "Chairs." Then there's the "Bunnies" series. Does this make sense to anyone but me? Titles are stupid.

- Check out Aeric's photoblog down there to the right. Aeric posts a picture a day and titles it with a song title. A picture a day, people! You think you know music? Wander through a little of Aeric's photoblog and challenge yourself. I learn stuff about songs I never knew, remember stuff about songs I've forgotten about, and celebrate Aeric's fantastic musical depth. He's also one of my favorite living photographers. And he lives several blocks from me here in Brooklyn, and that rocks the fat ass.

- I gotta pay the IRS a bunch of money in a settlement for my past multimedia business transgressions. Then it's over. As long as I keep paying them income tax every year - and, oh, since I'm self-employed, those damn quarterly payments every fucking three months. Look, here's my deal - I earned it, I should be able to keep it. It does nothing except fund the Federal Reserve Bank and A WAR THAT I WOULDN'T WALK ACROSS THE STREET TO FUND, so...hmmm, hey, IRS guys? What if I sent you a bunch of signed limited edition prints of some boobies and you guys just looked the other way? What do you say?

- This Roxy Music is REALLY GOOD!!! Seriously, when's the last time you listened to "Out of the Blue" off of "Country Life" ??? Speaking of which, I always thought it would be cool to do my own take on all of the Roxy Music album covers....but then I looked at them again and realized that they are perfect.

- An elephant-sized gob of steroid seems to have mostly taken care of my sciatic pain and lower back problems, which I don’t totally understand, except in a "Six Million Dollar Man" kind of way (they rebuilt me). Although, I'm not sure I could sprint if a huge concrete chunk from a building was falling on me on 28th street and I definitely don’t make that na-na-na-na-na sound that Steve Austin did...

- I have no shoots scheduled although there are some that I have to reschedule. I suppose...

- I'm seriously thinking of going down to Chapel Hill on the 31st to see Stan Ridgway, who is touring to promote the 20th Anniversary of Wall of Voodoo's "Call of the West." I saw them 20 years ago with Toby (see link at bottom right) and it only seems fitting that we see "it' again. The Cat's Cradle is a great place to see a show - join us! I know all sorts of great drinkin' joints down there...not to mention The Char Grill!

- Lorraine. The final "Chairs" shot. If you could see it big, she's wearing a tiarra and the beer is Brooklyn lager. Damn right!

Monday, July 02, 2007

New Series?

My friend Autumn (see link to right) wrote, asking me if it was. My friend Marty wrote, saying, "Diggin The Hell Outta the New Series!"

A couple of months ago after completing all of my "projects," I decided to just shoot organically - to wing it - to go commando. To only work with models I already knew or ones that I determined would work well in this manner.

Let the next thing happen, if it happens, when it happens.

Well - I was out in Seattle with Rich, and after being on the set of a formal editorial shoot by my friend Leo, I asked one of his agency girls if she would like to shoot with me. She agreed and Rich and I saw an opportunity to shoot together in a situation that we'd always talked about doing: my lighting, my locations, "my" model - and both of us would shoot. Cool!

So we shot Stacee, both Rich and I tag teaming and switching off - me lighting, moving the girl, Rich shooting his shots in my set-up.

The end of the shoot was to be this highly orchestrated shot of her half-naked, collapsed in the stairwell of our hotel, head down, holding her bra in her hand - dead fashion victim, very Helmutty. So, after determining that there were no cameras in the stairwell (terrorists take note!) and unscrewing the fluorescents (thanks Andy!) I returned to the room. Rich was just finishing up with Stacee in my last set-up with her on the edge of the bed, when he asked her to stand up in front of my soft-light. He then moved around and shot straight into the light.

Well, Rich, I stole it, and I've done the same thing now, for the last 6 or 8 shoots.

I don’t know if it’s “a series” just yet, but I’m liking what I’m seeing…

Thanks, buddy.

Meagan from Utica doing her best "White Light, White Heat."