December 30, 2012

20/20 Artists Issue

My great friends at 20/20 gave me the assignment of shooting artists in their studios. All painters, all of whom were incredibly gracious and easy to work with. We spent two days in various parts of Brooklyn going from studio to studio with minimal equipment doing these portraits. Most shot with window light. I love shooting this type of assignment. Real people, no attitude, no styling, just walk in and photograph them in their own environment. Such a cool job....


December 27, 2012

Currier & Ives--Bronx

I took the A train up to the Bronx today and stopped in a little dive that makes great "authentic" Mexican tacos. For some stupid reason I also ordered a bowl of minestrone soup. What was I thinking? It was basically three day old yankee bean with some celery and spaghetti noodles added... Note to self: Never order minestrone soup in a Dominican-run diner.

As I left the restaurant it started to snow. I rode the train for awhile hopping off at various stops to take in the scenery. The ghetto version of Currier and Ives.

December 23, 2012

No Ho Ho

I take my Christmas list back.

I woke up early this morning, I couldn't sleep. While reading the NY Times, I found an interesting article called "The War Against Too Much of Everything." It was written about a Canadian named Kalle Lasn who is the co-founder of Adbusters as well as being responsible for the whole "Occupy Wall Street" fiasco. He explains that, “As our planet gets warmer, as animals go extinct, as the humans get sicker, as our economies bail and our politicians grow ever more twisted,” Americans just go shopping. Over-consumption is destroying us, yet shopping is “our solace, our sedative: consumerism is the opiate of the masses.”

Looking at another related article, I read that in 2010 Americans spent $648 million on Black Friday and another $1.028 billion on Cyber Monday. And sadly, according to Consumer Reports, 14.1% of Americans are still carrying debt from the previous year's holiday spending.

This is sick!

Hey, I love a great gift as much as the next guy. But, when I see friends rushing out to buy a co-worker some stupid gift "for under $15" just to have something for them to open, I think about how ridiculous the whole thing is. Or, those massive lines and brawls that break out in stores when a group of ravenous consumers all descend on the latest "must-have" item, ending in a fistfight. Macy's is now open 24 hours during the holidays? Really?

I don't think Christmas has quite turned out the way it was originally intended. Christmas for the most part has morphed into some twisted, pathetic joke of gluttony and consumerism.

December 22, 2012

We're Still Here

 My friend Tatiana sent me this a little while ago

I backed into a corner to avoid the cold rain on Prince Street in Soho. I don't like cold rain.

 Soho loft ladder

 Bug-like vents cut into mesh at construction site. 

Toilet paper roll art by artist Yuken Teruya. I'm so envious of brilliance. 

December 17, 2012

Two Things to Ponder

I often beat myself up for spending so much time going to galleries, Central Park, meeting friends for coffee, taking two hour lunches and three hour dinners. I love taking long walks in the city watching people and shooting with my camera. Though I enjoy these things very much, there's always a slight element of guilt to the life I lead. More than one person has suggested I should make better use of that time.

Discussing this today, my friend Jen reminded me of a story I had heard at some point regarding one's interpretation of success.
Everyone complains about long posts but I suggest you ponder this:

The Fisherman and the Businessman
There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish. The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with your kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman smiled.
Here's another point of view for all you workaholics:

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

December 16, 2012

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
             I admit, I have not been a good little boy this year. I cringed every time I did something bad, those words ringing in my ears, "He knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake...." If you've been watching, though I was bad, you know I had a lot of fun. So, if you can possibly forgive me for my inappropriate behavior, here's my Christmas list:

iPad (the big one)
iPhone 5 (I will finally succumb to technology)
Sony NEX6 or Fuji  XE1 (new street camera)
Canon 5D MkIII (new work camera)
37-inch LG TV
Cuisinart food processor (small, not mini)
Telecaster guitar neck (mine's too fat)
Timberland Boots (size 9)
Socks (black, thick)
Some good paying jobs (advertising/catalog)

If you're feeling overly generous this year...

Airstream trailer (31 footer)
Small cabin in woods with 5 acres
Loft in Soho (doesn't hurt to ask)

And lastly, 
End to world hunger 
A ban on assault weapons

That's it Santa. I'm very grateful and fortunate for what I already have in life. And I certainly don't expect everything on the list. How about 3 items?  Hugs, Stephen

December 13, 2012

Life of Brian

Last weekend I took some photos of my friend Brian Delmonico and his girlfriend for his website. They have a fitness studio called Circuit of Change on 16th Street that features a blend of yoga, martial arts, strength training and overall well being. Beautiful space. We set up a few lights, a backdrop and Brian did his thing. He stretched, kicked and punched the air as I shot away. It was exhausting (more for him obviously) as he was forced to repeat many poses over and over to get a good shot. He'd laugh every time I'd yell "Do it again" as if I was asking him to do some easy movement like a simple pushup. Hardly! 

Afterwards I executed all the moves myself with perfect form...though apparently no one snapped any photos.  

December 10, 2012


I saw this hand-printed sign left over from hurricane Sandy. Contradictory and stupid, I'm curious why anyone would even take the time to staple it to a wall. 

"I need"? ...Perhaps to add something to this?

I walked by this guy working in this dumpster. About 40 minutes later I happened to walk by again and he was still in the same place hard at work. That's precisely why I never worked construction.

Hot dog places are all around the city. Papaya Dog is the only one I've found with turkey dogs. I had an urge. Two dogs with a soda for $4. Loaded with sauerkraut, spicy mustard and ketchup. A delicious, unhealthy treat!

People are taking this whole electronics thing way too far. iPads, iPhones, iTouch, iPods, Androids, laptops, smartphones, cars with dvd players on the backs of seats to keep the kids quiet, gameboys, the Xbox, various tablets, Kindles, Google readers. When does it stop? I went to dinner with friends the other night and after coming back from the bathroom I noticed that every single person was checking their phones for tweets, texts, Facebook, emails, messages and Skype. This is really getting annoying....

And then there's this guy. Standing there for half an hour without moving, twiddling away on his Mac. This is ridiculous...seriously. And, saying this, I'm embarrassed to admit I still have a shitty flip phone...but, also sort of glad I do.

December 6, 2012


While standing on a corner in Soho, my camera in one hand, a phone in the other, I snapped 7 minutes of a blue wall without interruption of my conversation. I'm not proud of that. I should enter this in the next 2014 Biennial and call it something stupid like "Blue, series #4." Photography of the mundane and ordinary, a common theme these days. 

Hanging of the wreath

December 4, 2012

Wildness, Ed

Some friends and family members have been a bit judgemental about me posting photos of the women that I shoot. I find this odd considering that most fashion magazines these days contain far more risque photographs than anything I ever post. Recently a female friend asked "Why do you do that Stephen?" I responded with an old joke I remembered as a kid which went something like this:

A guy looks at his friend and says, "I wonder why dogs lick their own balls?"
After pondering the question for a moment the friend looks back at his buddy and says, "'Cause they can." 

If that doesn't make any sense to you then maybe this will: There was an episode from my favorite TV show Northern Exposure where one of the main characters, Chris, gets caught stealing radios from the local townspeople. When his friend asks him why he did it he replies, "Wildness Ed, wildness. Sometimes you have to do something bad just to know you're alive."

So, with that said... "I can," therefore, I do. And, given the opportunity and the right circumstances so would every straight man alive.Your husband, your dad, your boyfriend and yes, even sweet old grampa.  If you think I'm wrong you're sadly mistaken, believe me. 

We just decided to take some photos. A few crappy lights, a wig, a point-and-shoot camera. Just for fun...and, to remind us we're alive. 

December 2, 2012

Around Town

On the way to the Inwood post office I stumbled upon this makeshift shrine. In my 3+ years of living here I've seen many candles in front of apartment buildings after a longtime resident has passed away but this was a first. A few men were sitting in lawn chairs nearby and I stopped to ask about the details. The person for whom the shrine was erected for was a gentleman apparently known as "Suave," a man in his mid-thirties who evidently met his demise on a scooter at a nearby intersection. Whose fault it was was not determined. Dominican people make a very big deal out of death. 

I see these stickers often. I wonder what the person who created them gets out of sticking them on everything.

Art or vandalism, you be the judge. Soho.

With all Soho lofts now running into the millions of dollars you'd think they'd have better, updated intercom systems. Most buildings still have a similar mish-mash of these owner-installed, antiquated buzzers. Looks sort of half-assed and cool at the same time.