Tuesday, January 30, 2007

And The Needle Touched Down

This is Tanya. I've just processed four of these images. We shot about 100 digital and 36 film. I picked these four out of ten. There are a ton more. She's that good.

It's also the 4th time I've hung out with her. We ate at a deli near Union Square back in September 2005. Then we shot some amazing shit on Black Friday 2005. Then we had lunch at Chef Tony's on Madison Avenue in December 2006. And then we shot these last Saturday.

She's a cat killer, but only artistically...

...and a buddy.

The title of the entry is from Neko Case's 2006 album "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood." It's one of my favorite albums of the year.

More on that soon...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Saturday Night in the Universe...

Shot today with Tanya, who I adore. Winding down the CHAIR series, and Tanya was resplendent in her Pepto-Bismol pink boots and self-proclaimed "hippie hair."

Spending the weekend catching up. Catching up with friends I haven't seen in a while - both in person and on the phone, catching up on shots that need to be retouched, catching up with my girl, and lastly catching up with myself.

That's really important. So that this nagging back pain goes the fuck away.

Working on the Best of 2006 list in my head. Watch the skies...

The photo is a crude Polaroid taken with my new MF Mamiya. It's the sink in the kitchen. An urn of utensils and my grandmother's ceramic dog planter.

Hey, I'm trying to figure it all out...

The title of this entry was stolen outright from dead Jack Kerouac (except he wrote, "Friday..."), who's Verve Records album with Steve Allen, "On The Beat Generation" hangs on the wall in my office to my immediate right and up a bit. Brad Smith convinced me to buy it from a great record store in Georgetown, MD, circa - uhhhh, I'm gonna say 1987, when we went up to see Mick Karn at that little club there that I've forgotten the name of as well. The album was priced at $175.00, which at the time, was the most I had paid for anything, less rent or a car. I hesitated, held it close to my chest, and waffled. Brad said, "Jamie, when's the next time you are going to see one of these?" I maxed out my credit card right then and there. And to this day, I have not seen another one...

This one goes out to Brad Smith. We need to talk more, my friend...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

In Anticipation of my Top Ten Albums for 2006

I was the first music critic for Warner Brothers On-Line (thanks Bob!) when they first went on-line back in 1996. I had a paid weekly column called "Greetings From the Edge" for about a year, at which point, we both lost interest. It was great though, as I'd always wanted to do it and I got tons of free CDs, 45s and press-only concert tickets. I also had an office with a soda machine full of beer and the means to get from seeing Morrissey in Central Park to seeing The Grifters at Brownies the same night. I wrote about Jeff Buckley's death, and I begrudgingly went to a Paul Westerberg show where he made me weep like a 5 year-old with a scraped knee. I trumped up the Mission of Burma reissues on Ryko, while never, ever expecting to see a reunion show. I tried to go beer for beer with Robert Pollard and found out that that was a huge error ("I think I might have mentioned that before.") I saw Mark Lanegan have a junkie meltdown and stood behind Elliott Smith at a Those Bastard Souls show, until the sheer force of his festering body odor forced me to move away. I was writing free of the thought of standing in front of the World Trade Center and watching the towers crumble - hell I wrote about Spiritualized playing at the Top of the Towers! It was the last time that I actively studied current music. And I miss it. Now it's all about searching on the Internet, listening to the two radio stations to the right, and reading everything I can get my hands on while REALLY focusing on my photography. Which again, leaves me feeling like my grip is loosening...

Like John Swain (RIP), Matt @ Schoolkids, Jack @ Poindexters and John "The Guru" Williams?

Within the next week I will post my Top Ten Albums of 2006. Now, a couple of things: I only select the stuff I like and I know that my choices are the absolute correct ones. If I don't cover your favorite genre, too bad. And no, I won't consider editing the post and including your favorite record upon your suggestion. I'll listen to it, but man, I've already moved on to 2007.

My favorite record so far 23 days into this year? "Vietnam" by Vietnam. Shaggy Brooklyn boys who know how to rock.

Here's one of my reviews from "Greetings From the Edge" October 7th, 1997, afore alluded to…

Coming down off of Morrissey and the Port-O-San's in Central Park, with just enough time to ingest and wash the Upper West Side off my face, I head back uptown to catch what I will ultimately determine is the greatest live band currently touring. I smile to myself and say, wow, you were right to make all those stupid arcane comparisons about "the greatest live band currently touring" the last time you wrote about them. Here are some things that I like about The Grifters: they don't take themselves too seriously, they can play every musical style there is with mind-numbing dexterity, they are just some sort of old dudes from Memphis, they have a great sense of humor, they kick ass, they make me laugh, they rock with the fury of a thousand jungle beasts, they admittedly don't write songs about "the world's injustices" and they admittedly do write songs about "girls, liquor, the solar system, you know." Oh, and let us not forget the delicate interplay between the two guitarists/vocalists Scott Taylor and Dave Shouse, each bringing his unique bent to the table - Taylor more Stones/Howlin Wolf/Pearl Jam and Shouse more Bowie/George Clinton/Lou Barlow - a damn good, never boring mix. And let us not forget the fabulous rhythm section of drummer Stan Gallimore and cover artist and bassist Tripp Lamkins - well, they're the kick ass part, but you can also readily apply them to all the other things that I like about this band too, 'cause it's as much their doing as anyone's. So the place isn't even packed - in fact it is noticeably "unpacked," but that doesn't matter, 'cause one of their Memphis pals is out back selling vintage Shangri-La vinyl, tee-shirts and the like. I ingest some more and as the band takes the stage, I literally walk up front and wonder where all my music loving buddies are and then I think that the stories of this evening will just make me more popular with the ladies. The Grifters saunter and launch. They squeeze and moan. They spit and spew. They good. They real good. Burning through the new album, the last album, the last EP and the album before that (with a couple of single-only tracks and weird sorta "Those Bastard Souls" songs re-werked as weird sorta Grifters songs), you could never accuse them of just burning through the new album. Whatever. I couldn't help but wonder if there was something in the New York City air, when someone yelled for "Junkie Blood" (the first chapter to the heroin trilogy - followed by "Slow Day For The Cleaner" and "Spaced Out" off of the new one) when Taylor fired a "Good luck, pal." right back at them. Other highlights: a played too early in the set cause we were all still settling down but great nonetheless "Spaced Out," "X-Ray Hip," "Skin Man Palace" and "Sweetest Thing" off the new one, "Full Blown Possession." I've said it once, I'll say it again - see this band.

I was 32 years old then. The Grifters don't exist anymore. And honestly, I can't remember if it was at Brownie's or the Westbeth Theatre or hell, maybe it was Tramps. Doesn't matter. They're all gone...

And here's the first shot from my new, new series. It's called: Naked hairdryers and brushes in chairs.

Neither Here Nor There

I’ve been testing my medium format Mamiya and my 35mm Nikon F5 XMAS gifts to my tax attorney and me all this week.

Hey, I owe it to the IRS and ART, right?

Sharmeen is also gonna be in Detroit! It's like a family reunion or something...Chip, Sarah, Sharmeen, Iris, and a bunch of freaks I need to meet. I am really looking forward to it...downtown, westside...

We rented two films recently that sucked. Michael Mann's "Miami Vice" and Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia."

AVOID AT ALL COSTS...even Netflicks costs...

"Miami Vice" is just utter AND worthless shit. "The Black Dahlia" is just sorta disappointing, which pretty much sums up copycat De Palma's entire filmography, except for "Carrie" which is just sorta...

Got great stuff back from the lab with Stacy. She's all Helmut Newton with this ridiculous stuffed fish. It totally works in black and white. Gallery quality.

The photo is Kristina from two Saturdays ago. She designs lingerie and she's off to Hawaii for a month by herself, which is enough to make anyone jealous...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Random Chair

OK, so it finally got cold here in NYC and I mean REAL FUCKING COLD!

Got the three chair shots back from Duggal - surprisingly competitively affordable, even reasonable, being that they printed, mounted, framed and shipped them to Detroit. They are gorgeous and they are for sale!

Just found out my long lost brother, Chip Willis (see link to the right), will be at the Detroit show too, which is awesome. We've chatted on the phone, emailed each other like crazy but have never met, which is weird for brothers... But we'll rectify that on the weekend of February 9th. I'm really looking forward to meeting Mr. "I am not mean at all!" There will be drinks in order...

Worked on chairs today, which brings my total to 18. And I'm shooting one tomorrow. I figure for 13 strong ones, I'll probably end up shooting about 20. I've already got three that due to various circumstances, do not adhere to the rules of the series, so really I've got 15...

This is a new one with Liz. She sat for me (or stood) right before XMAS and as she works at a major 5th Avenue department store, dealing with all the idiots doing their holiday shopping, I think standing on a chair with just boots on was a welcome change for her...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wall of Voodoo

Some crazy wacky facts about Wall of Voodoo:

- Early '80's band based in Los Angeles

- Signed to IRS Records and released "Dark Continent" and "Call of the West"

- Lead singer Stanard Ridgway left the band after "Call of the West" and they continued to record, with a new lead singer, under the same name

- Did soundtracks to early '80's porn films, like maybe, "Cafe Flesh."

- Porn film director Stephen Sayadian "styled" the cover of "Call of the West" and probably directed the video for "Mexican Radio." Stephen is one of my major "visual" influences. Does anyone know where he is or if he is still alive???

- Toby (see link to the right) and I saw them in a tiny little underground club on April 30th, 1983 in Raleigh, NC. We could not afford tickets ($6.00 or something) since we were freshmen in college and had already spent our textbook money on their album. Toby won tickets to see them on WKNC, the campus radio station. Divine Providence. We immediately went to K-Mart and stole plastic dinosaurs because we had read in Trouser Press that Marc Moreland, the guitarist, collected them. We hung out with the band for an hour while they packed up and drank Heineken’s. Marc loved the dinosaurs and told the keyboardist, Chas T. Grey to not "rip them off" of him.

- Marc Moreland is dead. He "passed away March 13, 2002 from complications following a liver transplant."

- Joe Nanini, the drummer, is dead. He "died on December 4, 2000 because of a brain hemorrhage."

- I returned a call to Mark Poutenis tonight (see link at right) and he confirmed THE love of WOV. Mark is the truth. Just like Keith on "Gimme Shelter" and I do not throw that shit around lightly.

See, it's crazy when one of your formative records comes back to haunt you and actually turns out to be good. Fuck that, "Call of the West" is a masterpiece.

Wall of Voodoo mean something to me. And it's just time and place. I spent four hours on www.youtube.com tonight watching Stan and company perform from 1982-83 and I loved it.

The photo is the back of "Call of the West." Mine. Autographed by Stan, Chas, and two dead guys...

I wish I had taken that photo.

If you are a band, and you are as good as Wall of Voodoo, and you want me to take your photo, call me.

Shit. I feel old…

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams...

That's from the play, "The Elephant Man."

When I was 16 years old and of normal bone/skin/tissue structure and fascinated by David Bowie (I had just purchased "Scary Monsters..." new on vinyl obviously) after going to the Cary, NC library and repeatedly checking out and keeping their vinyl copies of "Stage," "Heroes, " and oh my god, "Lodger," I read an article in Rolling Stone about said DB doing "The Elephant Man" on Broadway.

Not even fathoming how to actually GET TO NYC at that point (it took going to see King Crimson in 1984 and then going to see the ARMS concert in 1985 and then actually attending NYU in 1986, but those are all other stories…) I made my family watch a "20/20" expose on Bowie, which I still have recorded on Betamax somewhere.

My mother actually told me, after he was "legitimized" as a crazy person/artist/nutjob on "20/20," that she actually respected him as a performer. She also basically told me that he was kinda cute...

Anyway, there was a clip of him from Broadway, doing that line - "Sometimes I think my head is so big..." no makeup, no David Lynch...yet...just Bowie, contorted, pre - "Let's Dance" and not cute at all. Compelling.

And it's always resonated with me. My head is pretty near normal size, give or take the years of abuse, but still, yeah, pretty normal...

The photo is of me shooting Stacy. Hey - I told you she was a photographer...However, unlike me, when she shot this, she wasn't wearin' nothin' 'cept some boots...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

You Cannot Kickstart a Dead Horse

Thom Yorke wrote that. Doesn't really mean anything about the following. I just like it.

And in regards to the dead horse, you can't, you know...

Picked the three shots for Dirty Detroit tonight. Been going back and forth, looking at old stuff and then at new stuff, then at really, really old stuff, then...

...I decided to premiere three pieces of a new series.

In color.

Getting them printed tomorrow (or the next day) and framed and shipped off to fellow Taschen “New Erotica” photographer BT Charles, who is solely responsible for my exhibiting at the show. Thanks, man!

I hear Giger is also exhibiting. Yeah, THAT Giger.

And more importantly, a bunch of friends and some folks that it will finally be good to meet in person.

I haven’t been to Detroit since the 1997 Auto Show. And that’s a whole ‘nother story…

"Do yourself a favour and pack your bags
Buy a ticket and get on the train
Cause this is fucked up, fucked up"

Thom Yorke wrote that too.

His album, "The Eraser" is high in my Top Ten Records of 2006 list.
Coming soon.

Photo is of Stacy last night, during THE FETID CHAIR shoot, ruining the chair shoot.

"Is this the Limelight, circa 1995?"

Clearly not...

I love her for it! I was howling as I took this.

And we DID get the REAL shot and it kicks ass.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Any Similarity...

...between the last three shots?

Did'jah notice?

Photo is of Stacy, who is my new hero.

Today, she stood on THE FETID CHAIR, she posed with her new camera, she knowingly tolerated my Virgo craziness, she offered me presents, and she consistently takes a badass photo herself.

I love taking photos of female photographers...

...and Stacy rocks!

It's officially my new series.

XMAS Eve Eve Eve


She don't like these shots so much.

That's OK.

I do...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Here's my quote: "Wait a minute Basil, I have to buy the book?"

Dear James

We are delighted to announce your nominated image has been selected to be
published in our first book "The World's Greatest Black & White Photography, No. 1".

The book showcases over 450 of the most outstanding images from the Awards
and is accompanied by comments and quotes from photographers and panel members.

Your submitted Spider Awards entry entitled "Pigtails" has been selected to be published as part of the collection. To participate and have your work published in the book, please submit a high resolution image in jpeg format at 300dpi resolution, size 8x10 inches before January 15, 2007.


If you would like to submit a quote to be considered for publication, please email your comments on black & white photography (comments should be about black & white photography, its power of expression, what it means to you, etc., or even a quote from a favorite photographer) before January 15, 2007.

Congratulations once again on your achievement.

Best wishes,

Basil O'Brien
Creative Director

Black and White Spider Awards

Photo is of me by my very talented friend Sanders McNew. Google him as he's being elusive right now as to his portfolio...

And the answer is "no" - all published photographers get a free copy of the book...

Thanks, Basil!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I just got an email from Sara, a model I worked with this year. Sara and I go way back. I contacted her in early 2005, we met for a coffee and a walk around NYU and made plans to shoot. I rescheduled, she rescheduled and it was June 2006 before we actually shot. Shortly thereafter, Sara, an actor, made the BIG decision to move to Los Angeles, where she is, I'm happy to say, working - and I mean as an actor!

This makes me happy. That shit is hard.

Anyway, Sara emailed me today and said that she had been visiting family here in NYC for the holidays and thought about me and would be back in The City in May and she would like to shoot with me again.

I'm always flattered by this, especially since Sara and I really hit it off and made some really great shots. As I told her, I'd shoot with her anytime, city-wide terrorist act aside...

There are several model/photographer networking websites where I have a presence. On them, I am absolutely clear about one thing in regards to my personal work: If you want to work with me you better be willing to take your fucking clothes off. It's pretty simple, really. One rule.

Now, that does not mean that I do not and am not interested in taking pictures of people with their clothes on. Or clothes that I provide, or wardrobe from my stylists. I think of myself primarily as a portrait photographer and all my photos are about "people." But here's the deal: I use the nudity rule as the litmus test. If you are willing to give that much to me, then we will be able to go anywhere creatively. Even places where you have your clothes on. I've done shoots with models who agreed to shoot with me and never asked them to take their clothes off. Hell, I've even purposely put clothes on figure models and documented their uncomfortableness with being clothed...

That said, I also enjoy being known as an photographer of things "erotic."

Sara is as great example. She didn't want nude photos of her circulating out there due to her burgeoning acting career, but agreed to shooting some because she wanted to work with me. The nude shots are beautiful, but all of the shots are great, because she was free. And she trusted me.

And now she's back. I can't wait!

This is Sara, with my belt pulled tight around her neck. It's one of my favorite shots from the shoot, and she ain't nude.

Naomi's Sweet Apartment

The last time we shot together (for the Bunny Series), she said to Martha, my trusted MUA, that she would do anything for me.

So, I called her bluff. And damned if she didn't drop trou and stand on a chair for me in her new pad. And I love her for it.

The Chair Series is two shoots shy of being complete. Stacy on the 9th and Tanya on the 27th.

Dig it.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I Wanna Destroy You

That's how I feel about 2006.

Holidays over. Happy New Year, here.
2006 was not such a bad year for me personally, in fact, it was a very good year.
But as far as the world went, boy, what a turd 2006 was...

I cannot speak about the world in 2007, I can only try to make a difference with the things I do and the things I believe in.

Although, the fucking world is doomed.

2007 does hold promise for me personally. This month begins the serious onslaught to get a rep, a gallery, and my first monograph out there. I've been invited to participate in the Dirty Detroit show the second week in February and I've decided to exhibit three new pieces that I shot last week - not even back from the lab yet, but I'm fairly confident. It also looks like there may be a Taschen photographers promo event there that I will be taking place in, although that has yet to be confirmed. I only have three shoots scheduled for 2007, as I've decided to focus on the work outlined above, and catch up on my backlog of retouching and to sit back and take a good hard look at where I was, am and where I'm headed.

My style has broadened noticeably. And I sort of feel like I could go anywhere. I've been enjoying shooting lately with less planning and more spontaneity. My ratio is less, but those that are good are good in a different sort of way for me.

I acquired a Mamiya 645 medium format system and a Nikon F5 over the holidays. Serious new toys that I can't wait to start incorporating into my work. So, naked girls, beware!

Been listening to 2006 tunes all day in preparation for my annual Best of List of Music that I dig. I'll work on it this week - all sorts of goodies like The Keene Bros., Tool, Thom, etc...so stay tuned.

"The way we treat each other
Really makes me feel ill
And if you're gonna fight
Then you're just dying to get killed."

The title of this entry and the quote is an old kick-ass Soft Boys song.
The photo is Uma and Vittoria.
An example of the "new stuff" for me.
They were not fighting.

My New Year's Wish...

...is that 2007 is a whole lot better than 2006.

...a whole lot better.

The photo is from my last shoot of 2006 and is of my good friend Naomi Jay.
See what it takes? Sometimes you gotta scratch your head, people!

(the "people" part is all the way live KRP)

More tomorrow.