June 29, 2005

I'm a RAID-owner

I'm the first kid on my block to own Apple's Xserve RAID. 6500 bucks later and I've got a terabyte of secure data storage for my photographs. Now I can rest a little easier. No more daisy-chained external drives and no more fretting as to when one will crap out. Sadly, they do and they will die.

The reason I'm saying I'm the first kid is because anyone seriously working digitally is going to have to face the fact that this new digital wonderland is hungry for storage space and as an "I don't delete" camper, my needs are tripled. Regardless, given time, everyone is going to be talking in terabytes. Simply put,RAIDs are an elegant solution to the problem. Okay, that's the word from my workspace. Save your money RAIDS aren't cheap and at least with Apple's version, they are surprisingly heavy.

Take pictures.

June 25, 2005

Summer Nights

I've added some Night images from a recent trip to New Orleans. I was hired to make portraits of the women who work in the Coyote Ugly down there. I spent two mornings making the portraits and two nights doing my thing. The portraits are more studio-driven and formal as you can see from the image posted here. I shot them all in the bar and simply worked with one light, an occasional bounce and some daylight as it came through the windows. Presumably those pictures will get used by Coyote to advertise and promote their bar while my action images are part of the ongoing exploration of alcohol, gender roles and the nocturnal life of dive bars and alike.

Blogging hasn't been my priority of late. I've been shooting for some advertising clients and my standard editorial work for AOL Music.

Summer has arrived in the Northern hemisphere. Get out and enjoy it. Oh, and take pictures.

June 01, 2005

Punch Drunk Photography

The fun never stops in my life. Last Sunday, two days after my run-in with undercoverboy, I was attending the birthday party of a friend. I had my camera on my wrist as usual and made the standard happy shots of those in attendance. All was right with the world. Then the club starting filling up, the dance floor started moving and sure enough the photos turned more risque. I was in my element.

Now what I've failed to mention is that this was a birthday party for a friend from Staten Island. Not the toughest neighborhood kids on "The Rock" but let's just say that Staten Island is the fighting capital of the world. Not gunplay like in Brooklyn, full-on fist-a-cuffs. Old-school. My friends from there can tell you fighting stories from now until Christmas; one more ridiculous than the next. Safe to say, honor bleeds from the kids of SINY.

So there I am on the dance floor making pictures of everyone. One couple in particular is making a scene. Dirty dancing up a storm. Naturally, I direct my lens that way. The female half of the duo seems amused by the attention while her partner doesn't even open his eyes. Signs point to yes as I continue taking pictures. Not an obnoxious amount. Just the normal pop every minute or so. It's a crowded room. I am hardly overdoing it. Sure enough the couple ends up next to me again and the guy, barely opening his eyes says to me, "if you take another picture, I'll punch you in the face."

The decision is fast on my part. This birthday party is batting 500 on arrests. 2 years ago a fight spilled into the street with at least 3 people leaving in patrol cars. Last year went smoothly. What would it be this year? That decision was mine to make and it was an easy one. As usual I chose the pacifist route. I said to the guy, "All you need to do is ask me to stop. I'll stop." He in turn repeated, "I'll punch you in face if you take another picture." I got the message. So much for diplomacy.

Now here's where it gets amusing. Normally I am alone taking pictures. But today I'm at a party surrounded by people who, if they don't know me well, at least know that I am friends with the man of the hour. Now run that through the Staten Island filter and POOF! My boyz got my back. Out of what seemed like nowhere, two guys known as Baratta (a.k.a. The Dog) and Zeug come up behind me. Baratta says smiling, "take another picture." He says it so soon after the little aggro dancer says it that I almost think it's an echo in my brain. It didn't make any sense that anyone other than me could have heard what was said on the dance floor. It was between the kid and me. When I turned and saw these two guys ready to pounce, I was doubly impressed and a little worried. The Staten Island fight radar is very sensitive.

Since I was set in pacifism, I simply laughed at their bravado and willingness to "defend" me. To be honest, I was a little tempted to snap another photo of the kid just to watch him get pummeled as he tried to punch me. Not because I like to see that sort of thing but because of his attitude. It's ok to writhe all over the dance floor, bang into people, put your face in a woman's cleavage and lick each other up and down but god forbid someone takes a picture of you. It's the same story. Real 3-D, in-the-flesh behaviors seems less important, less powerful than the photographs of those actions. I'm all for privacy and I'll respect that wish without hesitation. Threaten me with violence and I'll still respect your wishes, just less enthusiastically. Knowing there are at least a dozen fellas who have my back, it's very tempting to push it.

It was hardly the end of the night and I would have totally forgotten about it except I later learned it became the talk of the party among those involved. It got me thinking about all the threats that I've received making my pictures. It's actually a fairly common thing. I simply dismiss drunken machismo more easily than most. Additionally, it is a quiet privilege of being a reasonably built man not to be intimidated by threats of violence or disrespectful behavior. Not everyone fares so well in that environment. There are no shortage of drunken abuse stories in the world and I don't take for granted that I am not immediately affected by it. It is something I am increasingly sensitive to and will be looking to explore going forward.

Take pictures. Be happy, stay sober.