October 29, 2005

Drive-by Shooting

Shots missed because I don't have my camera handy are a frustrating reality for me. I've learned not to put my camera in the overhead luggage compartment of an airplane because those first and last 10,000 feet too often provide photo ops. Today, driving on the New Jersey turnpike, I was caught empty handed...if you don't count the steering wheel. My camera was in the back seat; in it's case.

I'm not advocating shooting while driving even though I've done it, but having the camera in the passenger seat ready to go isn't a bad idea. Pull over if you can. Make the photo. Don't let lack of access or knowing it'll take a few minutes to get the camera out prevent you from shooting.

I don't use lens caps because I want to be ready. I got tired of looking though the lens and seeing black. I hated that feeling of seeing nothing through my lens.

Take pictures.

October 28, 2005

Scratching the Surface

I've been meaning to hit up the fashion/model scene with my camera. Dive bars have their place and I am as comfortable as can be in those places. Put me in a party with a bunch of folks in the fashion industry and I could start to feel a little out of my element. Until I realize, these folks are all out for the same thing as whiskey swillin' bikers. They like to get their drink on, be seen and to feel part of something bigger than themselves.

Earlier tonight Surface magazine had a party to showcase their new fashion photographer talent. Hundreds of folks showed up for Lexus sponsored vodka drinks and music. I hung out with my Le Book friends as the elixir took hold. Sure enough a bunch of Sassoon hairstylists started to get their groove on and I was there, camera in hand. They broke the ice and I ended up bopping around the place trying to get folks acting up. There is absolutely no difference between these people and less camera-savvy crowds. The real trick is getting access. So much of these folks' world is invitation-only, velvet-roped, list-driven ridiculousness that it's no wonder they get excited once past the threshold.

On a more serious note, the party reminded me of something. The dirty little secret of the fashion and celebrity photography industry is increasing hard to ignore. Is everything retouched?! Damn, the role of retouchers is really starting to get the better of me. I'll hold my tongue for now as I continue to mull my words but suffice to say, I've got issues with their influence. In the mean time, try to spot something in a major non-news magazine that isn't retouched, then ask yourself, what is that doing to people's perceptions. Take your time. I'm not gonna let loose until I can properly defend my arguments. Pay attention. It ain't pretty.

Heck, I don't even like to crop. My night stuff is 100% straight. I sometimes feel bad dodging and burning too much.

Anyway, take pictures.

October 27, 2005

Jacket on My Beer

Inked magazine had it's premiere party last night. A bunch of my Shootdigital friends have page after page of editorial including Evan. And you know what that means? Evan and I were out on the town again. He brought a fabulously tattooed and beautiful accomplice for the night that ended as it has so often the last few weeks; in distressingly bad sentence structure and laughter. The title of this entry is close to the last thing I heard Evan say before he and Julie went home.

Earlier in the night I did a phone interview with the dynamic duo of studiolighting.net for their LightSource podcast. Just above the din of the Inked party below, I sat on a bench at the top of the staircase of Drive In Studios right next to someone's abandoned burrito. We spoke for close to an hour. We chatted and joked about my approach and thoughts on photography. I'll let you know when the edited piece is up. It'll be my podcast debut.

And finally, the indomitable Dan Connor made an appearance at the party. Be sure to check out his take on the evening over at his site. I have no idea when those photos will be available. Maybe he'll post a comment here when they're up.

I'll get back to more photographic issues and away from my escapades one of these days. I promise.

Take pictures.

October 18, 2005

Too Bad

I've been swamped with shooting, editing, contracts, invoicing, expenses, travel planning and the lingering affects sleep deprivation. I shot this one at a wedding for a friend over the weekend and I like the general sentiment it expresses. Don't take my picture! Too bad.

I releate to it becasue I'd like to stop the world for a second so I can have a decent conversation with a lawyer but that ain't gonna happen. I'd like to figure out a way to shoot more and edit less but that's an elusive goal. I'd like to have a faster computer but that's a few jobs away. I'd like to have more jobs on my calendar but all I can do is keep my fingers crossed.

Otherwise, all is well. The thank you notes and happy sentiments being expressed by the Coyotes continue to arrive in my inbox confirming the good times had last week. Evan, my assistant, was over today and he too places that shoot among the best he's ever been a part of. He said something that I got a kick out of when he spoke about how cool they all were. He said, "they talked like real women, they hung out like real women, they ate like real women. They were just so cool." Perfect.

Take pictures of real women.

October 14, 2005

2006 Here We Come

Whoa! That was a marathon of shooting and drinking. The not so dirty little secret of the last few days is if you end up shooting a bunch of bartenders in their own bar, you inevitably end up working all day and then closing the place night after night. That's what we did. Evan, my assistant, and I worked our asses off and loved every minute of it. I feel like my photos rose to a new level.

The Coyotes rocked too, no question about it. And the 2006 calendar is gonna kick ass if I have anything to do with it. And seeing as I do, I'm truly excited. Unfortunately, I'm too busy and sleep deprived to elaborate. Stay tuned.

Take pictures, get some sleep.

October 07, 2005

Spoiled in New York City

So today I find myself in San Antonio, Texas, site of The Alamo. I am here to finally shoot the Coyote Ugly calendar that was supposed to be shot last month in New Orleans. I have to have all my gear lugged down by my assistant after renting it from Shootdigital (former employer of Dan Connor) in New York because this town doesn't have a single gear rental house. While that's not really a big deal or even unusual, it was a little reminder of how things are done off my island. Most cities don't have the dozens of choices I have in New York. We New Yorkers are a lucky bunch of photographers. We don't have to own much gear at all. That thirty thousand dollar Hasselblad H1 and digital back can be rented if we need one. Heck, I have it delivered to my set.

If you think about it. It's probably part of the reason there are so many photographers in New York. You don't need to make a massive investment in gear to get jobs done. I've gotten calls from Glen Luchford's people to borrow a lens. That guy clears millions annually but he doesn't even seem to own his own lenses. There are dozens of places to call, even last minute, to get some of the most expensive and obscure stuff. Not so in San Antonio.

I couldn't even find a place that would rent me a C-stand until I made a few phone calls and someone (in Mexico City...wacky!) gave me the name of a video production house that occasionally rents their gear out. Count your blessings New Yorkers and best of luck to everyone else...except those in Miami and LA. You folks are probably equally set.

On a more entrepreneurial note, here is a link to a photography retouching service that made me smile. Thanks Brud.

Take pictures of your boo.

October 05, 2005

On Display

Dig it. I've been invited to show a dozen of my mundane diptychs in Siem Reap, Cambodia later this month as part of the first ever Angkor Photo Festival. I made the images last February while attending the VII seminar and I guess I impressed the guy putting the whole thing together.

Only 810 dollars later and a fair bit of photo-lab confusion (arggh!) I've got my 11x17 C-Prints made and en route to the other side of the planet. I sure hope they frame them nicely. Cross your fingers, I may even sell a few.

Take pictures

October 04, 2005

Backstage

Sorry for the gap folks. Between my ingury and lots of little logistical jobs, I haven't been in the mood for sharing. Dan Connor should be credited for nudging me back to this here blog. Let that be a lesson to all of you. Don't be shy about asking for more posts.

Anyhoo, I was hanging out with Big and Rich and some Muzic Mafia folks a few weeks back and I snapped this behind-the-scenes-looking portrait. I shot it, chimped, and realized immediately that I'd gotten a nice one. I knew I'd grain it up and give it that authentic black and white 70's rock-n-roll look like I was in with the band, part of the party, witness to the inner sanctum of fame and just plain lucky as the day I was born. It reminded me of those shots I've seen of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix.

So it's only John Rich pouring Royal Crown. It's a start. Velvet Revolver hasn't asked me backstage...yet.

I'm back. Take pictures.