As someone who grew up, lived, worked and went to school in the boroughs of New York City, I thought I’d seen it all. From the dark days of a crime-ridden city, the crack epidemic, and two terrorist attacks, one that shook the towers in 1993 and another that brought them down in 2011. However, moving to Seattle has reintroduced me to some of those somewhat dark times. On the day this picture was taken, we had witnessed much of what Seattle has succumbed to. The homeless camps and tent cities on the sides of the highway, the mentally ill clashing with random passerby’s, and people are shooting up on the sidewalks, allies, and in public bathrooms. While I can’t help but feel for these people and their suffering. I can’t help but feel the atmosphere created by the politicians and appointed authorities foster it. Ax much as I’ve loved and appreciated my almost three years here. I can’t help but wonder when the powers that be will get off their duffs and find real solutions that can be put to work to help these people while saving their own city and state. Only time will tell.
I wholeheartedly admit to regretting each and every time I leave my camera at home. There are numerous factors that go into my choice to leave it behind. Today’s plans to do some shopping and run some local errands was today’s culprits. The hopes that our day out would be a short one were soon lost when I was reminded that even errands and shopping absorb hours like a sponge or paper towel take on spills.
I was looking forward to my return home when my wife pulled in to a park by the lake. I found myself growing angry as I turned to my wife to remind her that I hadn’t brought my camera. “Yes you did.” she replied in a snarky tone. “There’s a camera in your phone.”
Now, I know damn well what that means and it doesn’t settle well with me. After close to thirty years of working with various SLR cameras, using a phone device to take pictures just doesn’t work for me. Especially when I’m constantly being reminded not to drop it. And while I honestly have not found any way to be creative in the shooting phase, I do find myself enjoying the editing options. Still, the need to bring my Canon, flash and at least one extra lens along with me wherever I go. At least until I get one of those new iPhones with all the cool lenses. Until then, keep shooting.
I just wanted to take a moment to share some of my reviews and interviews featured on Jersey Beat. I’ve been photographing and writing about music for over thirty years now. Being offered my own column by one one of the longest running indie rock publications was an honor. Taking that offer and running with it has been an absolute pleasure. Below I’ve attached links to both my column and the many interviews I’ve been able to conduct over the last two plus years.
As I was going through a couple of file boxes containing old tax returns and medical records. I came across a copy of the school newspaper that featured the article they asked me to write about my experiences and observations of my days, weeks and months as a terminal inpatient at an uptown Manhattan hospital.
Though I was unaware that the school even had a student based newspaper at the time. I agreed and proceeded to pour my heart out about the most trying and challenging experience I had been through in my somewhat short life. After penning and handing it off to visiting teacher. It was delivered to the forces that be and sent to the newspapers staff to be printed and distributed.
Imagine my shock when upon delivery when I realized that my words were not only edited, but rewritten to fit in with the dogma our schools faculty were forced to teach.
While I’m pretty sure my 7th grade English could benefit from a little grammarly love. But having what was being interpreted as my own words, twisted and fabricated to describe my recovery as a result of prayer, faith and God’s mercy. It would seem or be suggested that my becoming ill was part of God’s will to make me a stronger, better Christian. An act on their part was a fabrication and flat out lie. I had no idea the sisters, priests or clergy would go as far as committing libel to spread their message of fear, control and suppression of free speech or thought. While it wasn’t the first time the school or church committed one of the many sins they instructed us to abstain from and swiftly punished us for acting out. It found their avenue of doing so, rather tasteless.
Looking back, it’s hard to remember exactly why I didn’t take my case up with the schools principle, Sister Mary Patrick, or even threaten to take them to court. Maybe it had something to do with the fear of retribution on the schools part. Perhaps being just twelve years old trying to survive a terminal prognosis brought on by a non operable brain tumor. I don’t know why such a predictable action on the part of those put in charge of indoctrinating so many young minds to believe in half truths, fairy tales and flat out lies would warrant one’s anger, but it did.
When leaving the house this morning. I left with no intentions of checking my camera’s battery or making sure the card inside had been cleared, or for a better word, “formatted” the last time I uploaded a session to my laptop. As of late, my newer camera bag. The one I bought to house a rather large 70-200 lens. Seems to be getting heavier and heavier.
Truth be told, I’ve gotten lazy and though not seeing nearly as many as many photographers and more phones being used to capture the moment makes me cranky. I can’t help think that maybe I should be changing with the times. However, with my stumbling, fumbling, shutting off and often having to remove my thumb from the picture i’m trying to compose. Chances are I’ll be holding on to my film and DSLR’s for years to come. And while there’s no doubting my regret of not taking my camera long with me for such a picturesque trip. I was pretty satisfied with some of the images I managed to capture with my phone.
When agreeing or planning to attending any type of county or state fair. You have to open yourself to being exposed to some outlandish and outright redneck culture. Outdated and often unsafe carnival rides that feature soundtracks from the earl 80’s. D list cover bands who haven’t updated their sets since the Reagan. Deep fried everything and of course, the occasional Trump supporter or mullet fashioned family. It’s low brow entertainment in the third degree. And like it or not. Once you enter the fairgrounds, you are a consenting, willing participant and member of its subculture. For, it is only with that acceptance and embrace, that you will truly know the pleasure of eating bacon on a stick while crowding near a pen of newborn piglets to coo and look on in awe of their cuteness without even a minute sense of irony.
Over the last two weekends, we traveled to two separate fairs. One a County fair, the other, the mighty State fair. While I avoided the rides, one of which was featured on the news due to it breaking down. I took a bunch of pictures, had the worst BBQ in my entire life and chose not to seek the answer to the question, “WTF are elephant ears, anyway?”
So go, try the bacon wrapped hot dog, mount your five year old on an unwilling sheep and ride the wooden roller coaster and have a blast. Life is short and the rewards often outweigh the risks. Worst case scenario, you end up on the news when the fire department arrives to rescue you from a ride called “Satan’s Revenge”.
With my life as a studio photographer in a holding pattern and my days of shooting bands at basement shows coming to a screeching halt. I’ve had to get a little more imaginative when it comes to what I photograph. Knowing full well that a new city or town takes getting used to. I’ve done my best to do just that. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve occupied two apartments that bookmark the Seattle Center. Being somewhat of an anti-tourist. I tend to steer clear of the traps every city seem to offer. That said, I’ve always made it point to document my surroundings the best I can. With that in mind, I decided to brave the mid day sun and heat known so well to Seattle and headed over to spend some time in the green, green grass. As you can probably tell, I did my best to avoid including the famous Space Needle. To be honest, you can see it from anywhere and I’m kind of sick of it. This was shot on manual and set to monochrome. I was hoping to give it a 1960’s Worlds Fair kind of vibe.
For years now, our weekends have included road trips that have taken us to many cities, states, farms and out of the way eating destinations. Some of my favorite have been out to the countryside where we get to enjoy things that us city folk don’t get to enjoy during the work week. And with all the roadside attractions and calls to “Stop the car. I’m getting out.” It’s a near miracle we ever get to our final destination. With all the recent verbal onslaghts of “People live here, you know.” and “You’re on private property.” I have learned to choose the ground I tread on lithely. In this case, with a 50 mm lens. I was able to keep a safe distance. Though no one showed up or emerged from the collapsing structure. I definitely felt a presence and history as I walked among the ruins.
Having worked with Iya numerous times during my years of shooting in my cramped Hoboken home studio. I’ve been eager to have her over to the Loft to close out my new portfolio in a much more open and for lack of a better word, lofty space. Having someone who was both a friend and an experienced model at my disposal initially felt like a no brainer. However, her inquiry regarding my providing a makeup artist and/or stylist threw me in to panic mode. And while having one of the industries best makeup by stephanie perez living in the adjacent loft went a long way to ease my tensions. Trying to book her only days in advance was a bit of a challenge. In the end, the m.u.a’s assistant Karen not only stepped in. She amazed. As beautiful as Iya looked walking through my door. *&^%$% had her looking like an absolute goddess. Going forward as a photographer, I hope to incorporate the use of a make up artist and stylist. Knowing that I have such fantastic options at arms reach is very reassuring.I highly recommend you take s look at Satephanie’s site. I assure you, you’ll be inspired.