April 30, 2006

D2Xless

I'm having a run of bad luck. Last night while shooting my friend's wedding I had my Nikon D2X, a pocket wizard and a 2GB card stolen. I actually think the guy in this picture is the thief. He showed up in the back of one of my photos and no one from the wedding party knows who it is. He's also suspiciously looking at my gear which is out of the frame about 10 minutes before I noticed it was gone. Hotel video cameras show nothing.

The worst part is he got my brand new card with a bunch of wedding photos on it. The bastard!

The debate now is whether or not I should replace it or buy something else.

Take pictures with my camera, cheap!

April 28, 2006

En Route Discovery

For some reason there are a bunch of Vietnam images that I recovered from a accidently formatted compact flash card on my laptop. It's like a little treasure of forgotten photos that were under my nose, unnoticed for over a year.

On the way to Los Angeles I took a look at what was actually there. It was the first time I'd looked through any of the hundreds of images. It was somewhat informative to look at images I shot so long ago and in such a different context. While I've been doing a lot of looking back for my portfolio lately, this was different. I could look at my process more critically and see how I might do things differently next time. I spent time seeing my decisions adapt with each frame. I could see what was working and what wasn't. Six hours of uninterrupted time to just look at and play with my photos was an a rare indulgence.

It's not all good news. I lost four 1GB compact flash cards yesterday. I couldn't find them before I left so it looks like I'll be dropping a few hundred bucks tomorrow.

Take pictures.

April 24, 2006

Made in America

I was out with a new friend on Friday night in Denver. I didn't make many shots but I got a winner with this one. I love the crucifix necklace. There were some others of his face being blindfolded by a bra that were nice because he wasn't smiling. I like when they don't smile.

On another note, the Sunday New York Times had an interesting article about American Apparel and it's advertising photography among other things. Go soon, that link won't last. I've always liked American Apparel's style. It works and it's an aesthetic very accessible to everyone. Try it, you'll like it.

Take pictures.

April 23, 2006

Doorman, porters and super, oh my!

I made a quick trip to Denver on Friday. As I was leaving my apartment at 5AM I was a little surprised to see my doorman John (lower right) sitting there. I was sure they were going to go on strike at the midnight deadline five hours earlier. Happily, all the parties worked it out.

The past two years I've made portraits of my superintendent, porters and doormen for the building Christmas card. Until a few days ago, I hadn't thought about those photos as being portfolio worthy but my rep saw them and thought otherwise. In they go.

I shot some night and potential mundane stuff while in Denver so in the next day or two I'll share it even if it's a little weak. I need to get out of my little blog.

Take pictures.

April 16, 2006

Big in Denver

My friend, former colleague and gallery owner, Tracy Weil sent me an article from today's Denver Post that (as usual) probably won't be available online for long. It features a photo of mine to illustrate and talk-up the opening of a show in which I am a participant. If anyone is in Denver this Friday, stop in and say hello. I'll be there for the party.

Take pictures.

April 11, 2006

Oh my!

Did I see what I think I saw? I am on JetBlue flight from New York to Portland and among the half dozen TV's within eyeshot, I think I saw a story about New York magazine faking a cover of Brangelina's baby. Wow! No wonder I recently got rejected to shoot for them. I'm all for some photo-illustration but I think they overstepped their bounds this week. Bummer. Weird. Maybe in the backlash they'll ask me back to help regain some credibility ;-)

I'm not even gonna check if it's true. I hope it isn't. This is just getting posted at the next hotspot.

Take pictures, real pictures.

We're Surrounded

Let's just get something straight. Being a photographer doesn't mean that you are constantly surrounded by women. The past three strangers to whom I told I was a photographer all said something equivalent to "do you need an assistant? I want to spend my day surrounded by beautiful girls?"

Where is this notion born? Sure I shoot for Coyote Ugly but that's been about 6 days out of the past 100. I don't even bring that up and those photos aren't in my portfolio. What gives them the idea that my days or any photographer's days are spent surrounded by women? That any photographer is instantly associated with women is a tad unusual and maybe a bit troubling. I wonder if still-life and food photographers run into the same thing. I wonder if it's only male photographers that get that reaction.

It's a funny world, eh?

Take pictures of boys too. I do.

April 08, 2006

Q&A: Eye Catching

Here's the question I received. "Say you're in a subway car, someone catches your eye across the car, then what?" I love that. The answer: it depends.

First off I usually play a different game in the subway but that's not important. The location is a good one because I have actually met people in the subway and asked to photograph them. I wasn't interested in shooting them in the car or the platform but in a more formal setting. I was struck by them and asked to make their portrait. (It's why I have my business cards). Unfortunetly, a good number of them simply failed to follow up and it never happened. C'est la vie.

I once saw and spoke with the most amazingly pimped-out dude with a pin-striped suit, top hat, cane, the works and he was game to be shot. He called me back and then disappeared. I'll never forget him. It was the 6 train going downtown. I got off at Union Square, he stayed on. One thing's for sure, New York subways provide.

That said, I have made more surreptitious images in subways but only because the context and the ballet of the moment were more important than the individual. Asking them would have ruined the shot. Those images aren't portraits, they are traditional street photography and the rules are different.

Decide what is important to you. Know your intent and act accordingly. Don't be shy and if confronted making a discreet image, explain yourself. If your intentions are reasoned and true, people will get it. I have often made pictures of folks without them knowing and showed them afterwards. It is usually greeted with a smile of understanding and appreciation. If you are interested in making a portrait right then and there, you simply have to ask. Smiling helps. Nowadays, with a simple promise of emailing them a copy, you're pretty much golden in terms of ethical issues and being fair.

FYI, the image I used to illustrate this post was made without the subject's knowledge and I didn't ask or show him my images. He was hammered and therefore, fair game.

Take pictures.

April 07, 2006

I'm Back

You don't even know what my brain has been through the past few weeks. I think I have combed over a good seventy percent of the photographs I've made over the past three years in an effort to put together another portfolio of my landscape, travel, mundane images. Daily slogs on an old computer using nothing more than the thumbnails provided by column view in the finder is not fun. My back, my eyes, my neck, my brain are all twisted. I spent an hour looking for a damn picture of a toy cable car to no avail this morning. I have no idea where that picture is. I know it's in my collection somewhere. I think I even saw it inthe past few days but for the life of me, I can't find it. Thankfully, I can retake that one.

When I tell you I have a lot of images, I mean I have boatloads. It's well over 250,000 without a stitch of exaggeration. It's a blessing and a nightmare. On the blessing side of things I have relived thousands of moments, re-seen images in a new way, and in a few cases saw pictures I hadn't seen since I chimped them on the beaches of Thailand. That's the one on the left in the diptych above.

So that's my excuse for the lack of posts the past few weeks. Over that time a few folks have written some eloquent emails and comments to my existing posts. I have been asked some cool questions that I haven't had time to answer. It was a recent question about my approach to photographing strangers that it dawned on me that I could answer those questions here in my blog. So that's what I am going to do going forward. I will try to answer questions that people have about my work provided they seem relevant for a larger audience.

I have a few in the cue but feel free to send 'em if you got 'em. I only wish I could answer then as creatively as Strong Bad.

Take pictures.