June 28, 2010

That new life (with a few restrictions)

After a good friend and I had a discussion about marriage and kids (his) I whipped off what I think is an accurate and appropriate letter that all people should send out to their friends prior to getting married or starting a family. It's only fair to those left behind.

Dear friends,
This message is to notify you all that I'll be getting married soon. Any further communication from me will be greatly limited. My new spouse will occupy a minimum of 75% of my time. Also, 85% of what I say and do will be monitored by her/him. In the event we have children, that figure will rise to approximately 95%. With one exception: I will secretly tell my closest friends (always in a whisper) about the unfortunate state of my sex life and how much better it was before all of this happened. Also, be advised that everything you say, do and entrust with me WILL be discussed with my spouse. There will be no secrets between me and my spouse. Therefore, "The Friendship Vault" is now officially closed.

FCF--"Family Comes First"--is my new mantra. I will continue to take your calls and emails as long as they do not interrupt family time or cause disruption in our family core. No phone calls after 10:00pm are permitted (might wake up the babies... God forbid). Unexpected "drop-ins" will no longer be permitted nor tolerated. The duration of any long term visits will not exceed 4 days, with 2 weeks notice of arrival required. Any time alone during these visits will be greatly frowned upon.

From this day forward I will no longer be allowed to do the following:
  • Stay out past 10:00pm (without phone interruption)
  • Drink or swear to excess.
  • Dine alone or with friends if spouse is in the same city.
  • Take any unplanned drives with or without friends exceeding 1/2 hour without permission from spouse (unlikely, due to excessive spousal eye rolling and guilt).
Road trips with friends may be discussed but are actually impossible. This is non-negotiable.

Also, there will be:
  • No porn.
  • No wrestling.
  • No happy hours without spouse present.
  • No drunkenness unless spouse present and drinking same amount.
  • No hunting, fishing or photo excursions.
  • No motorcycles (unless spouse approves and is ALWAYS on back).
In the future I will:
  • Attend church more frequently than before.
  • Attend functions (birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc., etc.) more frequently.
  • Go to counseling if needed.
  • Attend future PTA meetings.
  • Attend school functions (plays, recitals, etc.)

I have willingly chosen this new path. I have entered this "institution" with the determination to be the best spouse and parent that I can possibly be... God willing. Past friendships will be fondly remembered but I must follow this new path honorably by focusing on my new direction.

Be well my friends. Perhaps we can renew a similar path (still heavily restricted) in 22-25 years after the children have moved away.

I hereby willingly and happily give up 95% of my independence and freedom.

Note: In the event of divorce and outcome of custody, please see revised Friendship Contract #2.

June 22, 2010

Cover your eyes. Rant on MF

Today I was editing some images I took over the weekend with my $2600 Canon. Half the images are out of focus due to a "micro-adjustment" somewhere in the lens and sensor. We never had these problems with film. Now, it's a common problem that's very frustrating. So, with that said, I sent an email to my good friend Nemo telling him of my hatred for digital. He's a MAJOR digital lover and a great photographer. To save all the details of our lengthy conversation, here was my last response to his "pro-digital" rant. Mom and Dad cover your eyes and read no further. Brave readers, see below.Two "digital" images from long ago... (as a buffer before my shit-storm rant)
I hear ya brotha. However... I like the fact that when you shoot film it is what it is. Unless you use graduated ND filters your sky is washed out. But that's real. Photographers are adding clouds and making skies unnatural and fake. Like over retouching skin to make it look flawless. We all know it's bullshit. Even the French (or Italians) are starting to think over retouching is bullshit. Everything you see is fake. Where's the realism? What happened to waking up at 5:00am to get a good sunrise? Nope, people are shooting at noon, burning in the sky, adding clouds... it's all bullshit. And, HDR? It's bullshit too. Looks so contrived. Yes I think digital has its place... like snake churches. It's so dark in there you need latitude. Yes, you're right. But, that's more documentation than making/creating art. I think the image is almost secondary in photography, it's the process, the love of the organic quality, the waking up early and waiting for that perfect sun or waiting for that last bit of light at dusk. How organic is sitting at a screen sipping coffee and adding clouds that really weren't there? Might as well get a job with Pixar. Why leave the house? Create images from stock photos. Shoot landscapes out the window of your car? Why bother to walk past 20 feet from a scenic overlook? Might drip some of your Starbucks. Fuck that... make a sacrifice. Get up at 4:00am, hike into the woods with a Hasselblad, slap on a 50mm and shoot whatever it looks like. Film doesn't lie for the most part (until it's digitally scanned), digital is the great visual lie. Most of today's photos are lies... mine included. I felt like a photographer when I would shoot Polaroid type 55 or 665 and look at the image and see those edges, the chemistry marks. I felt like a photographer dipping that paper in that liquid and watching the print come up. Now I feel like everyone else.... There's no sacrifice. It's all related to the general laziness of our society. Take the easier route... no fuss, no muss, no dirty hands, no cleanup, no hiking, no waking up early, no nothing. It's all bullshit. And, I'm as guilty as the next guy. Oh, it's fun, it's entertaining, like Pixar. You want "Toy Story" or "Gone with the Wind"? "Monsters Inc" or "The Wizard of Oz"? "Raging Bull" or "Shrek"? Digital is a lie... it's all fake. I'm going to go shoot a roll of 120 since my fucking 5D piece of digital shit won't focus. Rant on motherfucker... rant on. I feel better.

June 19, 2010

I took notice

Carts for sale near Canal street.
My feet have Teva tan.

Another wispy cloud that made me stop and stare for a moment.

Waiting to unpack boxes and wondering why I'm pointing a camera his way.

June 17, 2010

New scenes from NYC

These odd "metal man" sculptures all over Manhattan are causing quite a stir. They're on the tops of buildings looking like "jumpers", standing in Madison Park and overlooking Union Square. Here, a tourist hooked his post operative pooch to a metal man looking as if it was walking the dog... How clever.
While walking along the path on the west side I noticed this little soft cloud hovering above for the longest time. Very wispy and cotton-like. I know, it's a stupid photo.

Late afternoon on 17th street in Chelsea this scene looked so much better out of focus. Like a frame from a 1950's movie.

Hanging out on the corner the other day with my "homies", I noticed this accidental abstract collage created from old ads on the wall of the corner deli. Oddly, the guitar neck was metal and nailed to the wall. What happened to the rest of it?

June 15, 2010

From the South

Just back from another trip to shoot churches and preachers, this time down in Tennessee. I passed this place on the way to McDonald's one morning. Surprisingly, McD's lattes were perty darn good (yes, I meant to spell it that way). More photos after a very large edit.

I stopped in a small church up on a hill. A man and woman were out front; they had a big sign about abortion out front with a bunch of little crosses all over the yard. After a brief chat (when I was tempted to tell him my opinion on abortion) he asked me to come inside and listen to a little bit of what he was doing. I thanked him and declined. He begged. I reluctantly went inside and he literally ran to turn on the lights, sound system and jumped behind a keyboard. He wiped the sweat from his brow, gained his composure, clicked a few keys and started playing and singing. Like church karaoke. I felt like an idiot standing there next to his smiling wife, proud as she could be. After the song I clapped (ever heard one person clapping in a church? Very weird.). Before I could escape he started singing another one. I was trapped.

I always feel like a tourist when I jam my camera up to the window to take photos while flying. I expect someone to say, "Is this your first time flying?" But, I find the view from up there amazing. We flew up the Hudson into LaGuardia. Beautiful....

June 10, 2010

How cool is this?

Watching Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up you can't help but think the life of a fashion photographer in the 60s and 70s in London, New York or Paris had to be absolutely incredible. A beautiful girl, great clothes, perfect makeup, a camera and some film. Simple, easy and without all the hoopla of today's shoots. What more could a photographer want?
Did I miss something in my career? I think so.
Here's a snippet.

June 8, 2010

Summertime, summertime, sum sum summertime

Up on 207th Street there's an old dilapidated subway station for the 1 train. I like to go to the top of the stairs and watch the people hanging out on the corner below. The fruit stand, the old guys (out of frame) playing dominoes, the kids playing.

Not to mention another example of the curious signage here in Inwood. "DANNY'F Donut & Deli". I've never seen an apostrophe F before.
I liked the painterly quality of this image.

Three kids (and a bored mother) on a southbound A train. They were so engrossed in their Playstations. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The kid next to me (out of frame) also had a Playstation and was looking at them wondering what games they were playing.

Saturday was a beautiful day to read at Poet's Walk in Central Park.

Spring has sprung
Fall has fell
Summer's here
It's hot as hell
Actually the past few days were very warm but today was magnificent. Low 70s, no humidity with a cool breeze. I hung out with the locals down on the corner. Last Saturday around 4:30 my new friend Willy, who I photographed a week ago, was stabbed multiple times by some crazed woman who attacked him with a broken wine bottle. Right there on the very corner we all hang out on. He's now in ICU at a local hospital. Willy's in bad shape and police are looking for the woman.

June 5, 2010

Central Park (mostly)

I'm never surprised by the ingenuity of some asshole New Yorkers. Where else on earth does someone take gum from their mouth, stick it to a beautiful old lamp post and then reach in their pocket, take out a penny and stick it in that gum? Only here.

A happy dog on a warm day

Today I walked past Tavern on The Green which is now abandoned and quickly disintegrating. This was the parking booth. Click on image for parking lot prices and etiquette.

Curious similarity between a spider web and a temporary fence.