December 22, 2011

My Upper Room

When I was a kid, my mother used to read a small religious publication called "The Upper Room." Thinner than a Readers Digest but about the same dimensions. There were always one or two on the coffee table
in the living room. It always had a photo on the cover of a bearded, Caucasian Jesus in a soft tan robe, looking up at a sky of parted clouds, sun rays streaming down, hands clasped, perhaps a moment just after a storm. Odd note: that's what photographers now call "God Rays," sun rays that appear while shooting a landscape.

My father has taken up reading "The Upper Room," which is now in a larger format, more like the size of a regular magazine. As a kid, I didn't want to think of heaven as "a room." It sounded too claustrophobic. I was once told by someone it was a vast, endless place, a place you could run barefoot for miles through huge fields of grass in the summer sun, without any fear of stepping on a bumble bee or a shard of glass. Heaven was the place the old people go on that movie "Cocoon." You never get old, you never get sick, you never die and every single day is sunny and beautiful.

Yesterday, while surfing the Web, I found my ideal of "The Upper Room." I can't imagine a more wonderful place. Small and quaint, filled with art books, a small bed covered with fine linens, a few thrift store decorations, a stuffed rodent or two.... Yes, this is my heaven. This is my "Upper Room."

December 20, 2011


The other night I was looking at eyewear in a store off West Broadway. The young woman waiting on me was a tall, striking, model-type with obvious mixed ethnicity. I asked her why she was helping people choose eyewear instead of modeling. After all these years of being a photographer, I'm still concerned about coming off as some lecherous creep when I meet someone I'd like to photograph. She explained that she had recently moved to NYC from California and hadn't started her modeling career here yet. I gave her my card and told her to call me if she was interested in doing a test.

Fast forward to today. My friend Todd was kind enough to let us invade his eclectic, art-filled apartment for the shoot. My friend Kristi did her makeup and helped with styling. We spent four hours snapping away. Sophie was amazing. Fun, energetic and didn't complain about my continuous shooting and adjusting the lighting.

What a great afternoon I had.

All test shoots are not created equal.

December 14, 2011

Junk Mail

I have this ongoing mission of returning junk mail to the senders with a note: "Take me off your mailing list." I've been doing this for a few years and have gotten my junk mail reduced to a few pieces a month. Most of that comes from various galleries I've attended. It ends the hassle of recycling and obviously helps the environment. Not to mention that I've always wondered if all that paper actually is recycled.

A few weeks ago I gathered up all the crap that AARP has sent me for the past few months and sent it back to them in a large envelope with a stern note about their constant, annoying offers, as well as the obvious waste. Being just slightly over 40 (cough) I don't even know if I qualify to be a member of AARP.

Well, my letter was answered. I do applaud AARP for responding. I suggest everyone do the same to anyone who sends out constant junk mail. The only person who will care is your mailman... And, fuck him.

December 11, 2011

Are We in Montana?

Odd scene at the BBQ restaurant in Chelsea. I wonder what interior decorator thought this was a great idea? Chelsea doesn't exactly have that Montana vibe, even with some random deer head hanging below the air vent next to the bathrooms. I also wonder who shot this deer and where?

Walking through the Village, I glanced over to see a coyote staring back at me through a closed store window. Maybe Manhattan is more like Montana than I thought.

I remember watching large flocks of birds flying around the cathedral at Notre-Dame in Paris. I've posted similar photos like these before but I find birds flying in formation both beautiful and fascinating.

December 9, 2011

Beats Digging a Ditch

Tuesday I spent the day in a beautiful studio with a great crew taking photos of pretty girls in bathing suits and sunglasses. All this while snacking on gourmet catered food. I'm sure this wouldn't appeal to everyone (yes it would) but for me, life doesn't get much better than this. I have truly been blessed.

December 5, 2011

Just a Regular Joe

I'm obviously not the paparazzi type, nor a stalker, nor enamoured of famous people, but I've seen John Currin and his artist wife Rachel Feinstein at my favorite little dive Mexican restaurant, Lupe's, on more than one occasion. While eating lunch with my friend Iris I secretly snapped this shot. They're just regular people like everyone else... well, except for being rich famous artists with gallery shows all over the world... and...

...The next day I was on the subway and sitting directly across from me was Michael Stipe of REM. I waited until I was off the train and then snapped a shot of him (in white hat) through the window with my crappy point-and-shoot camera. Just a regular Joe... well, except for performing for millions of people at concerts around the globe and many number one hits, and...

...I just find it odd when people like them go to regular places like people like me. One would think they'd be eating at Balthazar or Babbo or taking a limo instead of a subway.

December 1, 2011

Mr. Fashion

While surfing the web this morning, I ran across this photo I took of the lovely Kardashian sisters for Women's Wear Daily. I never knew whether the photo was published until today. It ran a half page on October 10th.
Today was a bit out of the ordinary. I did a model go-see (audition) for a job I'm doing next Tuesday. The shoot will consist of 3 girls in bathing suits wearing sunglasses. Today a steady stream of models came into a conference room where I had them lying on the floor in bikinis (or, the ones who didn't receive the memo, in bras). I photographed them in a similar position to the way we'll be shooting next week. This made for a very interesting afternoon.

November 29, 2011


The other night I was walking through my lovely ghetto, I mean, neighborhood, and heard what sounded like gunfire. Now, it could have been fireworks but the last time I thought that I was corrected by Roy down at the corner, who said, "No, that was a machine gun." Anyway, that got me thinking--what is it about firecrackers that is so appealing? You light the fuse of this object, quickly jump away and put your fingers in your ears blocking the very reason you lit it in the first place. It doesn't make pretty sparks or colorful flames, it just makes a loud, obnoxious noise. Again, a noise that you cover your ears to avoid. This makes no sense to me. Even though I love firecrackers.

While up on a friend's roof I snapped this shot with a point-&-shoot camera. Later played with it in Photoshop (very limited skills). Wouldn't this make a nice cover of my favorite magazine, the New Yorker?


I've had Thanksgiving dinner at expensive restaurants and crappy diners and everything in between. I have to say, I think I like the diners better. The expensive places do weird things to what should be simple dishes: chutney this-and-that, cranberry-walnut-raisin-fennel-apple stuffing, shallot mashed potatoes, turkey rubbed with exotic herbs. I just want the basics. And, that's what I got at the Village Den diner on Greenwich Ave.

November 27, 2011


Little shaft of late afternoon light in Chelsea

Laundry day in Inwood

There are constant bulletins on the subway and the news telling New Yorkers that "if you see something, say something." If you see any suspicious packages, suitcases or boxes to report it to the police. Here's the problem: you see an unattended suitcase, box or strange package a few times a day.

November 23, 2011

Last Remnants of Fall

A mini rainbow. A tiny blip of color in the sky.

Reflections along the High Line.

A glimpse of geese flying over in Van Cortlandt Park.

Fall path

The last of the leaves have fallen for the most part. Now comes the bleak long winter. I like winter but I'm not looking forward to the biting winds and black slush in the streets after a snow. I have to appreciate and enjoy these last few days of fall.

November 21, 2011

Not Much to Report (obviously)

I find graffiti interesting for many reasons. I understand the whole "street art" concept. A frustrated artist skulking off into the night with his cans of paint to find a barren wall or billboard to scrawl his message upon. Think Basquiat, Keith Haring. I never really got the turf war concept of "tagging" over each others street art. The 80s seemed to be the height of the graffiti era. The first time I came to New York in the 80s the red line subway cars were covered in graffiti. I sort of miss that.

This this is deep. Why bother to scribble such nonsensical bullshit on the wall? Not particularly funny--though I admit I did smile briefly when I saw it--not creative and just plain stupid. The "unimaginative graffiti artist." Well, unless he actually did shit himself.

Me standing on 6th Avenue at a bus stop. Not waiting for the bus, but using the lights of a broken lighted advertising display of the bus shelter for a quick self portrait.

November 18, 2011

Odd Night

I went out tonight to see my good friend Mike Ault playing with the PRS Experience including the AMAZING Davey Knowles (Back Door Slam) and David Grissom. They were doing a little promo gig at a beautiful guitar store in Soho called Rudy's. Strangely, only about 30 people showed up to see these world class musicians jam.

Afterwards a few of us cabbed over to Raj Mahal in the east village for some awesome Indian food.

What's better than hearing some great guitar playing followed by a big plate of Chicken Sag, some chana bhaji with naan bread, a few Kingfishers and stimulating conversation? Not much.

Paul Reed Smith and Nicky Moroch (above), Mike Ault below.

The night got more interesting when I hopped on the L train across to 8th ave. A person in a skeleton getup wearing a red dress and leather jacket was standing on the platform ravenously eating something from McDonald's. I walked up, pulled out my camera, showed it to the character and said "May I?". A semi-feminine voice replied..."Certainly".

Subways can be frightening late at night. For more reasons than one might think.

Where else but New York City?

November 16, 2011

Pee & Tree

There are many different types of urinals throughout the city. These occupy the bathroom at Van Cortlandt Park. Though some urinals around town are very modern, these might be better suited in a prison than a park.

And yes, I feel a bit weird shooting in bathrooms so obviously I wait until everyone is gone so I won't be caught and perceived as a pervert. I always wanted a home with a urinal in it. They seem so practical.

MOMA's ultra modern urinals.

Nothing to do with urinals, while in Van Cortlandt Park I found this very interesting tree consuming a fence .

November 13, 2011

Republican Noms

I've seen a few of the debates on TV and it looks like Mitt Romney probably has the best chance of being the Republican nominee.

Just read some interesting facts and quotes on Mitt Romney. This is why he's a douchebag:

He's a devout Mormon (cult member).
Quote: "Freedom requires religion in society."
Against abortion.
Would like to overturn Roe v. Wade (though he's flip-flopped when need be).
Vetoed emergency contraception for rape victims.
Vetoed stem cell research bill.
Quote: "Cut taxes and Grow! Apply Reaganomics."
Wants to add 100,000 troops to military.
Quote: "Bush and Cheney made mistakes but kept us safe."
Quote "$700 Billion was well spent to win freedom in Iraq" (said in 2009).
Against gay marriage.
Wants to drill in ANWR (Alaska National Wildlife Refuge).

Other possibilities?

Newt... A lying, hypocritical sack of shit. What I loved best was that he was cheating on his own wife during the proceedings to impeach Clinton for perjury. Actually known to have cheated on both previous wives. He's now on his third marriage. And, he's fat.

Michelle Bachmann? Please! Crazy eyes, crazy mind! She's religious, says idiotic things and doesn't believe in global warming. Enough said.

Herman Cain? He did it.

Rick Perry? Comes from Texas, loves George Bush. Has A+ rating from the NRA. A total buffoon. Enough said.

Rick Santorum? Religious zealot. Every decision he makes is based on his misguided religious beliefs. Here's a terrifying fact: After giving birth to a premature baby (20 weeks), who died 2 hours after birth, he and his wife brought the corpse home, introduced it to their other living seven children and slept with it in their home until the next day before taking it back to hospital. Fucking crazy!

Jon Huntsman? Not bad actually. Believes in global warming and evolution. But he is a Mormon, which is scary.

Ron Paul? My choice. Stance on foreign policy is consistent non-intervention. Believes in pulling all troops out of Europe, Japan and Korea. That's enough for me.

It'll be an interesting race. The Republicans better get their shit
together and find someone with a brain.

November 12, 2011

Autumnal Bliss

Truly spectacular colors in the park. So vivid and rich. Walking down a path, I looked up to see a flock of geese flying over, honking in their V formation. Another Courier & Ives moment.

There are places where it's summer year round and places where it's always winter; if it existed, I'd move to a place that had never-ending fall. By far, my favorite time of the year!

A Walk in the Park

Today I took a long walk in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. The air was brisk and the wind was howling. I've been battling a chest cold for a week and discovered quickly that I hadn't worn enough clothing for a long jaunt in the woods. Van Cortlandt has a vast variety of maple trees that have blanketed the ground with an array of colors. Hard to believe I was in the Bronx, it felt more like upstate New York.