I’ll admit it, I know nothing, nor have I ever spent much time working to up my photoshop game. If you’re a photoshop fixer-upper, I applaud you. Leave your contact information and rates in the comment section. Sooner or later, I’ll be contacting you. I never had the time, patience, or skill s to master the art of retouching. Instead, I try to get it right the first time and make any needed adjustments in Lightroom later.
While unearthing images from my earlier days, I surprisingly still find pictures I love. The image below is a long time favorite. Shot in NYC on Pier 84 just blocks from my apartment on W48th st. Over the years, the tag on Charo’s bra became more and more of an eyesore. So much so that I put in a call for a photoshop minded editor on one of my social media pages. Luckily, a long time friend, one who’s friendship predates this ’97 photo. Stepped in and remedied a twenty-plus year issue in a matter of minutes. In the end, I wanted to thank that friend while sharing the before and after. If I ever find myself in a bind with a photograph or anything in general, I won’t hesitate to reach out.
Though I was still very much into straightedge and hardcore music during the nineties, I only manged to see New Jersey’s Mouthpiece several times. The most memorable are pictured below at New York City’s Wetlands and the legendary CBGB’s when I tagged along with Wendy Eager of Guillotine to conduct an interview with the band’s singer Tim McMahon. I also did an interview with Tim in Princeton ten plus years later over by the Record Exchange. You can order the band’s discography Here Musically and lyrically, Mouthpiece were heavily influenced by bands like Minor Threat and Youth of Today. Ultimately, carrying the torch into the 90’s and beyond. I also did an interview with Tim in Princeton ten plus years later over by the Record Exchange.
Thanks to the to the advice and guidance of a friend and gifted artist, I’ve decided to embark on selling prints of some of the many images I’ve shot over the years. Though still very much in the idea stage. I’ve begun to reach back to some old favorites, look into possible places to print and the right website to host my images. I hope to start small with just a few images, ones picked with the customer in mind. (Not necessarily my favorites, but ones that might appeal to a broader audience, while still reflecting my overall style. Below is an image taken back in the early nineties with a Nikon EM film camera and 50 mm lens. Special thanks to Jenn for the inspiration. You can buy her prints here. It Does Art
Our usual route through the city starts at World Trade Center. The stop is a short walk to Chinatown where we usually stop for Dim Sum and some bakery hopping. From there we usually make our way uptown making numerous stops on the way towards the Union Square area where we eventually catch a PATH train home. Making pit stops at Columbus Park (Chinatown) Washington Square Park (The Village) and Union Square (W. Village, Gramercy, Chelsea borders) always serve to nourish and refuel both body and spirit. A visit to any and all of the beautiful parks New York City and its outer boroughs have to offer is a guaranteed free entry to what is still one of the most vibrant and artful cities in the world. I’ve always said, “If you’re ever lacking motivation or inspiration in you work. Go for a walk in the city.” Try it. It might just do you some good.
As i began crossing the street at 23rd and the Avenue of the Americas. I noticed one of the vendors was selling one of those bubble guns. (You know, the ones that produce those massive oversized bubbles.) Wanting to pick one up for my friends son Luke. I made my way towards the table. Quickly, rethinking my gift choice and how it might turn my dear friend’s home in to one big puddle. I instead decided to get a few photos to take home. Being that I have gone back to my “Bring your camera with you everywhere” mantra. I was more than prepared to take action.Looking for a solid, unobstructed background. I set up a few feet away from the vendors table and waited for him to load up. Within seconds the enormous bubbles began streaming from the barrel of the oversized toy gun. Colors and shapes slowly made their way upward before bursting in to the early morning air. Along with the haircut, it turned out to be one of the highlights of my Chelsea morning. These little moments, the joy of a good haircut and a good image to take home to the demanding wife, keep me happy. Having an added piece to sell at the next gallery show or exhibition make us both happy.
I was strolling through Union Square when I came upon the group of Hare Krishna who gather at the parks south western corner to sell books, chant and play their unlistenable music. While this sight somehow manages to draw a curious crowd. It was the first time I ever saw them filming themselves. One can only hope it was being filmed to please their supreme Lord Krishna. That, they were filming a “How to make it in the music industry without even trying.” video.
Each year, as the Christmas holiday approaches. The thought of doing something a little different comes to mind. While I have no issues in sitting around a tree watching football and unwrapping gift cards while waiting for the tofurky to roast to perfection. The urge of getting out and doing something a little different often calls.
In recent years, my wife and I have made a habit of trying new things. While recent Christmas holidays have taken us to various exotic locations such as Tokyo, Atlantic City and Harlem. This year had us looking for something as close to home as possible. So with thoughts of vegan dim sum and vegetarian duck serving as our personal GPS. We headed to Chinatown to celebrate and be celebratory. For as long as I can remember having feet. Mott St. has been a favorite spot of mine. And while the area has become a major dumping ground for tourists. I can still respect it’s culture and historic significance. Visiting the buddhist center and spending time in Columbus Park always keep me inspired. While chowing down on vegetarian dim sum at Buddha Bodai is about the best way to enjoy a healthy, yet delicious feat. While I love the draw of family and holiday traditions. I feel a certain sense of reward in creating a few of my own.
Summer has officially arrived, as our complaints turn from “It’s too damn cold.” to “Damn, it’s f@#king hot out.” Soon, the streets will be teeming with sweat soaked residents, tourists and the like. All looking for a moment in the spotlight and a day in the shade. Personally, I’ve managed to capture my share of moments and mayhem. With some new gear and a strong focus towards doing what ultimately makes me happiest. Be sure to stay tuned for the laughs, tears and lunacy.
In my September 20th post “Just when I thought we were done” I wrote about my trip to ICP. (International Center for Photography) I mused about my portfolio review and signing up for the “Art of Fashion Portraiture” workshop. This past weekend I embarked on a two weekend intensive workshop that has been both an education and an emotional roller coaster.
On our first day myself and four other photographers (I actually expected there to somewhere between twenty to twenty-five.) gathered at a tremendously spacious Photo Studio and spent the day learning the ins and outs of the fashion industry from models, stylists and world famous fashion photographers who’s names I will stop short of mentioning.
It was a learning experience to say the very least. During the first eight hour day I absorbed more than I ever thought my puny brain could take on and changed my mind numerous times about attempting to enter and extremely competitive and tough aspect of photography. During the day we each had a chance to work with a model. Each given a matter of minutes to work our magic. Although I was nervous and had some performance anxiety due to working with close two ten photographers, make up artists and stylists just a few feet away. I had an amazing model to work with. She was sweet, soft spoken and completely understood what I was trying to convey. More on the workshop later.
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.