I felt very grateful to be a part of this past weeks Jersey City Artists tour. What made it even more rewarding was having the chance to display a couple of my own recent photos in the lobby here at Canco Lofts. Since I’ve already included both of my images they included in the exhibition in prior posts. I figured I would share some of my favorites from some of the other artists residing here.
Touring the Facilities.
When we first moved to Canco. We were pretty excited to have an old, abandoned factory two doors down from. However, after two weeks of exploring the outside and sneaking into the adjacent parking lot. We realized that the old factory we had fell in love with was alive, well and filled with art. Finally, after almost three months of wondering. We finally had the chance to tour the facilities. To say we loved getting to know the place would be a major understatement. The Jersey City Artist Tour gave served as the perfect opportunity to explore the entire building, all five floors, without ever having to look over our shoulders or wondering if we were trespassing. During our three hours there, we explored the many studios, spoke to the artists and got to enjoy hand operated freight elevator. The art, not to mention the architecture were inspiring and served as a reminder that art is the best medicine for whatever ails you. Below are a few of the many pictures I took that day. Enjoy.
A Little Mayhem Never Hurt Anyone
After months of having issues with my Model Mayhem account I am just now starting from scratch. Over the years I’ve had the chance to collaborate with a number of aspiring models and makeup artists I had found through the site. I’ll be adding images and contacts slowly as I go. In the meantime, you can come say hello or at least see what I have to offer. Just follow the link below. http://www.modelmayhem.com/887432
Brooklyn’s Cinema Cinema Help Me Embark on a New Project
This week I took it upon myself to start a new photo project. Take the bands and musicians that inspire me and invite them over for a session and do my best to take the band photo out of the box. Take the band out of it’s normal comfort zone (the stage, the studio) and do something more creative than lining them up against a wall as if they were about to face a firing squad. To start my project on the best note possible, I got in touch with Brooklyn’s experimental noise rockers Cinema Cinema.
I first met Ev (Guitar/Vocals) and Paul (Drums) during a local music festival in 2011. To be cuttingly honest, their performance that night scared the freaking Bajeezus out of me. It was intense. I mean, like a roller coaster ride through the seventh layer of hell intense. Since then Ev and Paul have been featured on my music blog numerous times in record and show reviews, an interview and even as contributors. Needless to say, we’ve become good friends. The guys arrived on time and though it was a short set. I never felt as if we were rushing through the shots. I had specific ideas not only were they were they on board. They helped me steer the ship. We drank dirty water, listened to Fugazi and got some memorable images that will serve as the groundwork for what I hope will be an ongoing series. I really can’t say enough about Ev or Paul. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The Shirt Off Your Back
Earlier this week I received an email request from a band asking to use one of my images for some shirt designs they were working on. The request, one that would most likely have me beaming with pride in the past. Left me with more mixed emotions than I ever thought I would have. Feelings ranging from surprise, feeling somewhat honored and even a bit uneasy came and went. Sure it was cool to have someone appreciate your work and even want to use it to promote their art. But as selfish as it might look. I couldn’t help but think, “Well, what’s in it for me?” There was no offer of money, product or a percentage share in future groupie earnings. Considering the band is asking for a copy of the image that doesn’t bare my standard watermark. No one is really going to know or care who took the shot. No one will know it’s my work. So it is in no way promoting my so called brand. Later that day, after much consideration, I asked the band for a big bag of filthy money and a stolen truck filled with shirts. I’m still not sure it will happen in the end. Until then.
Time to Reflect
I’ve been having a real hard time finding the right words to describe my recent shoot with Roksolana. Sometimes it just takes time to properly let an experience run it’s course of emotions in order to write about it from an observers point of view than an actual participant. This became evident to me when talking to a model I worked with the other day. I’ve worked with this particular woman for years and over that time, developed a close bond and trust. We’ve always shared stories and not only is she supportive of my wiring. She’s downright forceful in that she feels my stories are worth putting to paper. This Friday afternoon, as she unpacked her chosen outfits for that days session, the conversation quickly turned to just that. It was then that I realized why I do and do not write about certain subjects and certain experiences in my life. It was then when I understood why I was having such a hard time writing about this particular shoot with this beautiful and very sweet woman. It all came down to separation and the time it takes to remove yourself and a certain emotional element from the story. At the time of the shoot I was overwhelmed by Roksolana’s energy, her thwarting of everything I had planned and inability to focus on anything for more than a few seconds. That could all be easily overlooked if not for the pure fact that she turned my organized and uncluttered studio space and turned into a combat zone. Even going as far as moving my couch and taking the shirts I had picked out for her to model and spreading them across my couch insisting “See, it feels like a college dorm.”
Yet, with all the madness, lack of direction and complete exhaustion those few hours created. I still had a beautiful woman in my studio. One who is inspiring in all that she’s already experienced in her short life. I was doing one of the things I love most in life and I was in the midst of a ‘real story’. I controlled my anger and emotions throughout and stayed focused. An hour or so later, my heart rate was normal and I was sharing dinner with my lovely wife. I was not only alive, I was living.
Since last weeks session with Denise the two of us have been in constant contact with one another about working together on other projects. Every now and then my phone lights up with an image, shortly followed by “Look at this.” “I want to try this the next time we shoot.” I’ve been really inspired these days to work with different people, try new things and experiment with different concepts and lighting. As the winter begins to thaw and signs of spring just starting to show. I feel energized and confident that I’m moving in a good direction. I’m meeting new, creative people who are open minded and love living life to the fullest. Photography, art and being a photographer allow me to communicate, create and relate on levels I would never be able to otherwise. Only the future can tell just where life takes me. For now, I’m extremely grateful to be where I am.
In just a couple of hours I’ll be headed to Montclair’s Gallery U for the opening of ‘Permanent Images’. This is my first time exhibiting there and my first time displaying at a gallery in over a year. The three images showing at the gallery are a few years old which, for some strange reason, takes away a little of the excitement away from my inclusion. I’ve always been one of those people who’s appreciation for his own work has a sort of expiration date. Shooting work and preparing it for exhibition has always been the exciting part for me. Seeing it on the wall and standing under it with a “Hey baby, wanna see my junk?” look on my face has never given me the satisfaction that capturing the image and hunting down a wall to show it does.The truth is I’m a bit of an oddball. I often feel weird at these things and can’t wait for a friend to stop by to snap me out of my geek spell and say “I hate this kinda stuff.” “Wanna get a beer? Which I’m usually more than happy to do.
By now my nerves are starting to get a little scrambled. I’ve had way too much coffee and even broken into the cola reserve. I’ve peed a half dozen times and the butterflies are turning into tarantulas. This is the uncomfortable part. Knowing that getting there is the hardest part and once I’ve seen a familiar face those butterflies will disappear is comforting; But for me it couldn’t come fast enough.
Finding Inspiration in my Earliest Influences
I was talking to my Mother tonight on the phone when the subject quickly turned to my recent work and more specifically, studio work. I mentioned the evolution of my style and approach. As a kid I was surrounded by art in general. My Mother was an office secretary at a well known NYC advertising firm. From an early age I’d take the bus or train in from Queens and meet up with my Mom at the office. I’d spend most of my time in the art rooms where art work, advertisements and movie posters were being made right before my eyes.
I met a lot of really amazing and creative people who would later have a major effect on my life and the direction I decided to go in. At home we scraped by but my Mother always made it feel like a home. There was art everywhere. Vargas posters and Marilyn Monroe prints throughout the two bedroom apartment and classic nudes in the bathroom. There was also a collection of art and photography books always within reach under the near by coffee table. To put it mildly, my Mother has so much to do with the person I am today. The way I think. The way I work and my crazy, unfiltered personality.
Lately I’ve been reminded more and more of those days and in particular the Art books that first captured my attention and imagination. As I was photographing my most recent inspiration the other day I noticed a few images that immediately brought me back to the beauty and overall simplicity of those images that first inspired this eight year old. Mixing those classic elements with somewhat of a modern touch excites me to no end. Finding people that inspire me to do this is essential.
An Old Friend Stops By
I’d been wanting to get some of my musician and artist friends to stop by for some laid back studio shots for some time. When I ran into Eric recently at a friends exhibition opening I thought, “now that’s a fucking character I’d love to photograph.” So a few days later I dropped him a line and asked if he’d to stop by and shoot the shit while I cleaned the dust off my studio lights and gear. We talked about music, old friends and our Dad’s. Eric’s a good friend. The kind that would give you the shirt off his back. Upon returning from living in Seatle he gave me a HardCore record I had regrettably sold years ago. Knowing the personal and sentimental value the record held for me. He saw it only fitting that I should have a copy back in my prized collection. As the years go by you don’t see many of your old friends as much as you’d like. Jobs, family, distance and all the responsibilities that life throw at us play their part. Some stay close while others fade from the fabric of your life. It’s always good to have a few of the old guard around when you need someone to relate to or just share a common experience.