September 28, 2011

Electronics-Free Road Trip Anyone?

Norman Mailer once said something to the effect that "technology is the devil's greatest invention."

In the past year I've become hyper-aware that in every restaurant, store, gallery, library, in every seat on a bus, subway, train, plane, cab, limo and even movie theater, people are either on a phone, checking their Blackberry, looking at an iPad, Kindle (or other reading device) or plugged into some sort or game or iPod. I can't remember the last time I had a meal with anyone where at some point they didn't check their phone for an email, text or Facebook entry. Stand on any street corner and look at the people around you, everyone's on the phone. Walking down the street, everyone's got earplugs in or looking at a device. I went out to dinner with 5 friends recently and at one point everyone but me was checking their phone. I was appalled but didn't say a word. WTF???

The other day my phone died. I was incommunicado for about 5 hours. I must admit I had a rush of panic and a nagging sense of anxiety until I arrived back at my apartment and plugged in my phone. "What if someone calls? What if I miss a job? What if someone dies?" I tried to rationalize how stupid my thoughts were. I took a Xanax.

I think this is a HORRIFIC shift in our society. We rarely communicate face to face without interruption. We're not offended if someone says "hold on" while looking down at their electronic device, because frankly, we want the same consideration when our phone buzzes. Walk into any Starbucks or small coffee shop. It's impossible to get a seat because 30 people are plugged into an outlet doing something on their computer. They sit for hours staring into their screen unaware of what's going on around them. Coffee shops have become personal work spaces for the few able to get a seat.

Not to mention that people are dying left and right from walking out in traffic unable to hear horns blowing just before they're squished. Dead on the ground, iPod still attached to their ears. Ridiculous.

I want to take an electronics-free road trip. Like the old days. Leave the phone at home, take only a film camera and a few rolls of film. Take off for a few days and just drive. Sounds lovely. Now, should I pack some Xanax or take my chances?

Mailer was right....

September 27, 2011

Random Three

People wonder why Americans are fat.

Bad day

Ferry sunset

September 26, 2011


In a bar by a red neon light.

Two red doors, upper east side.

September 24, 2011

WAY Too Much Time on My Hands!

Sitting in a sushi restaurant I set my chopstick down on my plate making a tiny stain that looked like a pair of sunglasses. I felt a sudden rush of creativity! Using a chopstick as my brush, I created a soysauce man on a scooter. I executed this incredible piece of art all during a conversation with a friend. For her, I'm sure it was like dining with Picasso.

I peeled an apple tonight without breaking the peel once. What a feat!

Buildings along 5th ave reflected in the boat pond in Central Park.

I like digital but I LOVE film. I saw this sticker on a sewer lid in Soho. My sentiments exactly!!

Two nerds donning Mickey Mouse ears having their engagement photos done in Central Park. Who does that?

September 19, 2011


I went gallery hopping Saturday and stopped by the Richard Serra show at Gagosian Gallery in Chelsea. Having never been a big fan of Serra, I have to admit I was stunned as soon as I walked into the gallery. Those huge slabs of leaning steel makes one wonder how they got the massive sections inside the building, much less assemble them. Walking through the maze of thick rusted metal gives a visual effect very similar to those deep sandstone slot canyons in Utah.

Though I'm not a total Serra convert, I was very impressed with this show. Just the enormity alone is worth the visit.

September 17, 2011

Old Friends

Stepping off at my subway stop the other day I was greeted by an old friend. A large movie poster of Christina Hendricks had been installed on the wall of the station. It seems like a very long time ago since we were close. She's obviously doing very well these days. I'm proud of her.

Last weekend I made what was possibly my last trek of the season to Coney Island. It's all cleaned up and improved. Most of the old rickety rides are gone, replaced by newer, faster, scarier ones.

A very high, fast ride where your whole existence dangles from a few small links of chain.

Odd Stephen Shore-esque scene. (Google him if you don't know who he is). Bleak and sparse.

September 14, 2011

Somebody's Got to Do It!

The truly great thing about working for Conde Nast as a photographer is that you never know who you may be shooting next. Yesterday I was sent to do a story on Rosie Huntington-Whitely. She's a Victoria's Secret model and now actress. I spent some time with her and I even got paid. Not a bad gig.

September 13, 2011

Rachel and the Red Sky

Late the other evening I was hanging out with a friend in Central Park. It was a bit overcast after a beautiful sunny day when all of a sudden we looked up to see these beautiful, fiery red, almost apocalyptic looking clouds hovering over the Upper West Side. It was a bit spooky!

The Rachel Zoe show that I'm on airs tonight at 10pm. Check it out. Might be good, might be bad. Keep your fingers crossed.

September 11, 2011

Kori's Video

My friend, model and muse Kori sent me this video last night. She took a short clip from a recent shoot, slowed it down and added the perfect soundtrack. I love when people create things, especially when I was involved in some way. She's not just a pretty face!

September 9, 2011

Almost Famous

I got an email today from Conde Nast letting me know that the shoot I did a few months ago for WWD of Rachel Zoe will air next week. Here's the trailer. I'm very relieved that I didn't come off as being a complete chump. Perhaps I should wait until I see the whole show. Take a look:

More recently, I did a shoot this past Tuesday with the Kardashians. After watching their show I was a bit concerned that the shoot might be "difficult." Other than an hour of primping, after coming "camera ready", the shoot went off without a hitch. Kim, Khloe and Kourtney were very professional, did exactly what I asked and were a joy to work with.

September 6, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

I generally think that people who put photos of themselves on their blogs (as so many do) are somewhat narcissistic. Then again, perhaps people with blogs who expect others to read their thoughts and look at their daily photos are narcissists as well. So, all bloggers are self-absorbed egomaniacs?

I'm always perplexed when I see photos of myself because looking in a mirror I don't see the same thing. Why is that? In the mirror I see a normal, happy, pleasant looking, middle-aged guy staring back at me. When I look at photos of myself I see something entirely different. An average looking, weathered, tormented man with a bit of mileage behind him. Someone who might consider addressing that ever-deepening furrowed brow with a syringe of Botox. Not to mention that I never really noticed how asymmetrical my nostrils are until I did a few self-portraits, even though I've never broken my nose.

Funny, I don't feel particularly tormented (except the constant, nagging desire to create something). I've had a relatively easy life so far. I'm not overworked. Not overly stressed. Don't have kids to drive me crazy. So, why the tormented look? It's a mystery.

New(ish) glasses and unshaven.

Sans specs.

September 5, 2011

Portraits from the Fair

More images from the Perry County Fair.

I photographed many of the same people I had in the previous two years, most of whom (re)introduced themselves and said hello.

September 3, 2011

How Much?

While at Nemo's farm, I happened to look up and see something that reminded me of a famous photo by William Eggleston, titled "Greenwood, Mississippi, 1974". Here's the kicker, Eggleston's photo sold at auction not long ago for $84,000. You can have mine signed and numbered for $84. A savings of $83, 916.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister Margie. Sorry I let it slip by; I lost track of the date and was extremely busy yesterday... but that's no excuse.

The $84,000 Eggleston.

September 2, 2011

A Rural County Fair

Last Thursday I headed for the Perry County Fair in rural PA. I arrived at my friend Nemo's home and he immediately tossed me the keys to his Range Rover and I was off to the fairgrounds. I've gone the last two years and couldn't wait to start shooting. Especially fearing the hurricane that was bearing down on the East Coast.

I shot many portraits of the annual tractor parade. These farmers are quite proud of their restored old tractors. From there I moved on to shoot the carnival workers and attendees of the fair. I shot for three days and had a great time. Sadly, I discovered (again) that "fair food" is horrible. I had a barbecued chicken that was dry as dirt, ate two soft serve ice cream cones and drank too many lemonades and sodas. But I refrained from other sweets, cotton candy and funnel cakes.

Nemo and his lovely wife Carol put up with my coming and going, getting in after midnight, using their car, eating their food and basically disrupting their home. But what are friends for? I appreciate their friendship very very much. I was also able to establish my place as "Uncle Steve" with their three-year-old sons Ellis and Aiden.

All trains back to NYC were canceled due to hurricane flooding (I'm sure to everyone's dismay) so I stayed an extra day.

The night air was cool and crisp at their farm in Elliottsburg. Late one night I looked up and saw stars like I haven't seen in many many years....