Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have a story to tell, and I will tell that story over and over, with different voices.

Sergey, Sept. 15, 2010, Brooklyn

John, Oct. 6, 2010, Brookyln

Clint, October 23, 2010, Manhattan


It's not often that I get more than one photo session in a single day. Not counting the gig on Fire Island this summer, which was kinda its own thing, it's only happened once before.

I did it this past Saturday, though. I'd been discussing a shoot with Clint a studio session (originally scheduled for two days ago) but I got the idea that we should shoot on the Saturday before, in the morning, to get some outdoor shots. He hesitated at first but then went for it. Unfortunately, it was colder than I had hoped and so we had to start by shooting in Richard's building without studio lights, and then went outside once it warmed up a bit. I was a bit off my game at this point, but Clint is so handsome that it's really difficult to take a bad picture of him. (He'd probably argue with me on this, but they always do.) I got some good stuff, and I'm looking forward to the studio session when we can really have fun, and we won't have to worry about the weather or who is watching. We've had to postpone our original date, but I'm sure there we'll reschedule for soon.

Then I went to meet Simone. He had approached me with such humility and sincerity that I really wanted to work with him, and quickly. I had offered him Saturday when I thought Clint wasn't going to take it, and although he originally wanted a few weeks to prepare, he went for it. Then Clint came through and I was in the position of having to decide what to do, but inspired by Simone's enthusiasm, I decided to go for it, too. I shot in his apartment, again without lights, and while I loved the space, some of the shots didn't come out as I'd hoped because of lighting issues. But like with Clint, it felt like a bonus shoot, a preliminary session leading up to something better-planned. I was mostly quite pleased with the results, and especially pleased with Simone himself: he's full of ideas and is as sweet as his face suggests.

Joey's Hands

After this I think I should post something other than pictures of Joey, but I've spent the past two days working on his photos so it's sort of where I'm at right now.

So, it's funny, that I normally don't pay attention to people's hands, per se, but when I have a camera in my hand, I frequently shoot pictures of them. I do think a person's hands can tell you a lot about who they are, and to a certain degree, how they've lived.

I liked Joey's hands a lot.

Asking Permission

Joey and I were walking around in Brooklyn looking for places to shoot, and while we found a bunch, most were not at all private and still not satisfying the idea that we'd come up with that we should get to the water. We never did get to the water, but I found this access road to a construction site, leading to a trailer where, I suppose, the construction was managed. Joey decided to do something that I've never done, and actually ASK PERMISSION to shoot pictures there. Well, he didn't say exactly what we had in mind, but the woman didn't seem to care when she realized that we weren't asking to set up equipment for a complicated shoot.

This is one of my favorites from that location. I'm kinda curious how others will respond to this particular image, and what about it generates that response.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Joey Underground

I've tried this before, and I'll try it again. Joey and I went down to a subway platform and took a few guerrilla shots.

Then I noticed this old-style turnstile gate. How could I not want to play with that?

And through the gate.... although you can't see it, he is standing three feet in front of a MetroCard machine.

Then we went back aboveground... so, to be continued...

Joey, Brooklyn, Not MY Brooklyn.

I had a photo shoot with Joey today. I took the mysterious G train to an undisclosed location in Brooklyn and got the outdoor shots that were a bit deficient in our last outing. The weather couldn't have been nicer, which was pleasant, especially considering that I was fearing rain. I came home with 700+ pics to process, and now I'm editing that down, removing duplicates and the shots that didn't come out, but I'm well on my way to ending up with 250 or more to run through Photoshop. I just don't get tired of doing this.

I decided to process just one to post here, to manufacture some momentum for this new photo blog concept.
Is the best that I took all day? I don't think so. Is it representative of what we got? I'm not sure any one picture could be. But I like it and I can't wait to get back to work on the others.

Tuesdays with Joey.

Today - in an hour - I'm going to go shoot some new pictures of Joey. The goal is to mostly shoot outdoors and it's a warm October day, slight chance of rain but hopefully it'll all work out.
Funny to think that's it's only been a week since my last session with Joey. It feels like so much has happened, is happening, and I've shot three other people since then. But it's been a week, exactly.

A Story in Two Parts

I've known Lara since I was a little boy. She was my older sister's best friend, and sometimes during the summer my mother would babysit her during the day, so for those years, she was like an additional sister. I idolized both her and my sister, and they were both surprisingly kind to me, the kid brother who wants to tag along. My actual sister could be a bit domineering and emotionally distant, but Lara and I always clicked. I may have had a little boy crush on her, and I remember a particularly fun afternoon when my sister was away somewhere and I got to play with Lara all to myself.

When I was eight, I think, Lara moved away.

Jump ahead thirty years, and it is a world that we couldn't envision until it happened, a world of social networking websites constantly connecting our present realities to every version of our pasts. In this world, Lara and I have become friends again, completely separate from the glue -- my sister -- that originally bound us. We discussed the idea of doing some photos together, first abstractly and then less so, especially after I moved back to the east coast.

On Sunday we finally shot the pictures, and it turned into a very interesting collaboration for a number of reasons:

1. Lara is not a man. I always shoot men, so this was a big departure for me. Women are allowed to express themselves so much more, just in general, but also through external factors such as hair, makeup, fashion, and even the way they hold their bodies. What I shot with Lara would never have been possible with a man.

2. Lara likes to plan things. Normally when I set up a shoot, the model asks me what the concept is, and I often, quite honestly, reply that there is no concept. I will just just put him in front of the camera and make it up as I go along. Lara wanted a concept which forced me to think about the whole process differently. I gave her two. One would be very feminine, a crazy frilly dress, and the other would be more masculine, or at least less feminine: a tanktop, boxer shorts, and simple studio shots. Both work individually but i'm hoping that people will agree with me that juxtaposing the two tells a new story not evident in either individual series.

This is what I love about using a visual media. By putting these two images, of the same woman, next to one another, I (hopefully) encourage you to evaluate the two of them, not just individually, but in relation to one another. It's a more complex story.

It was a great experience. First I was forced way out of my comfort zone, both creatively and geographically by, walking around with this girl in the crazy lavender ball gown, in some somewhat rough sections of the East Village, and then again, using my friend Richard's studio (and not my own) to suddenly figure out how to adapt my studio style to a woman who is sort of dressed like a guy (and is actually a bit of a tomboy) but is still very much NOT a guy.

Adding the context that all these pictures are of a person that I've known since I was about three years old only makes it more interesting, I hope.

So here's a few more:


My blog, if I can even call it that anymore, doesn't know what it wants to be. It veers from random musings to random snippets of writing to vitriolic political rants to... long, long stretches with no posts. So I had this idea, just now, that I'd try something new. I've often tossed random photographs into my posts, but what I wasn't admitting to is that my photography has eclipsed my writing as my primary outlet for creativity, and so now I'm wondering if it would work if I used this as a bit of a photo blog, a place to post some of the photos I've been taking and perhaps give them a context that's absent in the other places I post them. Probably no one's even looking, but does it matter?

I'll start today.