September 30, 2012

From Two Long Walks

Red doors  

Garage, Lower East Side

Phone check

Thought-provoking graffiti

September 28, 2012

The Tale of the Ugly Foot

Tonight I was headed downtown on the A express train on my way to my usual Thursday night gallery openings. A woman sat down next to me, crossed her legs, pulled out a book and began to read. I glanced down to see one of the ugliest feet I've ever seen. Knowing I must capture this horrific sight I immediately pulled my camera out and pretended to be previewing photos by looking at the back of my screen. I secretly shot in the general direction of the ugly foot, but didn't capture it. I put the camera on wide angle and fired again thinking I would crop later. Reviewing the photo, I knew I could do better. I glanced at her face to see if I had been detected but could tell she was fully engrossed in her book. I fired off a third frame and felt I had gotten my shot. A second later she changed positions. The foot was hidden. A few minutes later, somewhere between 125th Street and 59th Street, the foot reappeared. I threw caution to the wind, hit the zoom button and fired recklessly, aiming directly at the ugly foot. I slipped my dark sunglasses over my eyes and continued to stare at that disgusting overlapping toe. I wondered why this woman hadn't gotten surgery or at least refrained from EVER wearing sandals again to hide this hideous sight from others.  

Failed first attempt

Wide angle

Third attempt


Final thought: Perhaps she had a fear of the subway and secretly crossed all of her appendages, including fingers AND toes, hoping to arrive safely at her destination. Then again, probably not.

September 24, 2012

Past Few Days

I'm still looking up. Beautiful clouds over the Hudson River. Upper Upper West Side.

Gray car, gray building, gray pavement. I often wondered what the correct spelling for the color is--here's the answer: Grey (with an e) is generally used in Great Britain where gray (with an a) is generally used here in the States.

I followed this sign to Washington Square park, where Ingrid and I sat in the sun, watched crazy people enjoy the last days of warm weather and enjoyed a nice long chat. It did lead us to happiness.

Looking up. Last light, around 31st and 9th Ave.

Last night Ingrid and I stopped in at my favorite spot, The Hummus Place. Mushroom hummus, small health salad, pita, hot sauce.... perfect.

Claiming not to be hungry, once the food arrived Ingrid couldn't help herself. She ate half.

September 20, 2012

Looking Up

They say that you can always tell a tourist from a New Yorker because tourists are always looking up. New Yorkers don't look up. Deer don't look up. (They have no natural predator from above.) That's why hunters climb up in deer stands and shoot them so easily. Deer should start looking up.

Today I looked up. I walked around the Upper West Side looking at the sky. The light on the buildings, the beautiful blue sky and the wispy white clouds (cirrus clouds, for those who care). 

I think I'll look up more often. Like a tourist.

September 19, 2012

Rough Seas and More Bad Art

I had some interesting days of shooting last week. Still life, a fashion presentation, dresses for I also shot backstage at the Perry Ellis men's runway show (below). I may have found myself the perfect new hat. Looked like a big fuzzy version of an equestrian helmet/hat.

Today I decided to hop on the Staten Island ferry. The water was very choppy with high winds. I felt like a cast member on Deadliest Catch. 

Back on land I snapped the #1 train in Inwood as I was leaving the platform.

I constantly struggle with my own creative abilities. Are my best photographs worthy of a gallery show? Each Thursday I go in and out of these galleries around the city and I walk away at the end of the night scratching my head at the bullshit I see on the walls. Am I missing something? Are blocks of wood mounted on walls and Cheerios in a trashcan lid beyond my comprehension? I truly wish someone could explain this to me. I'm convinced that you can basically make anything out of anything, hang it on a wall and call it art. This shit makes me crazy. 

Last week's art crawl...a disaster. This lovely piece called "White Pine" by William Tucker was around $150K. I will never understand the art world...ever.

Same artist, titled "Trap." Over $100K (yes, thousand). Looks pretty much like an old metal bed frame you might find in a trash heap.

Different gallery.  This brilliant piece was simple canvas splattered with a small amount of paint. Gallery pal Iris pointed out the toilet brush used to splatter the paint was hanging by a hook in the corner.... Really?

Artist (term used loosely) Robert Thiele. Block of wood about 6 inches square. Looks like a bed riser with red paint... $1800. Again, really? (Bargain: Ikea, set of 6, $5.99)

Cheerios floating in a milk-like substance in a trash can lid. Seriously?

Eight speakers mounted to the wall. No sound, just old speakers. 

September 14, 2012

Gliding Along

Gliding. The description of most people's lives. John Lennon once said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." We're all gliding. We go to our jobs, we come home, we eat a similar meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we watch some tv and we get into the same bed night after night. We're creatures of habit. We can't wait for the weekend so we have an excuse to do nothing. Is that a bad thing? Is the constant desire for travel and excitement actually contrary to human nature? Is monotony actually bliss? Is traveling once a year sufficient for most of us?   We're all just gliding through life in our own little cages, no more significant than a hamster or a gerbil. 

Speaking of cages, I was talking to some friends the other night and the subject of prison came up. Somebody said, "How bad can it be? You get up, eat a provided meal, watch some TV, read a great book and maybe even play on the computer." After giving it some thought, it didn't seem much different from how many of my friends live. Self-employed, staying in their apartments 20 hours a day, plinking away on the computer. Except in prison you get free food, free rent and free health care. Maybe the trick is, once you get to be about 70 and money is getting tight, go rob a bank. No gun, no weapon, no bomb threats. Just a simple note slipped to the teller--"Give me all the money or else." Then slowly walk away and put up no resistance when the police come. You plead guilty and have the rest of your life to kick back in a minimum security prison and relax. Beats an old folks home. And, think of all the interesting characters you'd meet. I'm fairly certain they segregate elderly prisoners in federal penitentiaries. Better yet, buy a one way ticket to Norway where the prisons are supposed to be wonderful. 

I think I've decided on my "elder plan." 

Not long ago at MoMa. People on the outside curious as to what's going on on the inside.

Walking in Central Park I found the very tree type that must have inspired camouflage.

Evidently graffiti artists feel as though their first amendment rights are being violated by not being able to tag (paint) all over every blank surface in the city.

September 11, 2012

A Day in the Studio

7th floor fashion studio.

It's Fashion Week, and while everyone else was shooting the shows, I was assigned to the studio. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I'd be shooting hosiery much of the day. My model was very sweet and performed all the required poses without any complaints or signs of fatigue. A delicious lunch was provided. A very nice way to spend the day.

A few of your basic hosiery poses (feel free to try these on your own).

Obviously these shots will be cropped to just show the legs and the pattern.

September 9, 2012

Dark and Rainy in Central Park

I met Rebecca for an early dinner tonight on the Upper West Side. We went to the Hummus Place and ordered the same thing I get every time I go there: mushroom hummus, a small health salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil) and extra pitas with hot sauce. De-friggin-licious! The best $16 you can spend anywhere.  

After dinner and almost dark, we took a long walk around the Boat Pond in Central Park, taking pictures in the light rain. As many times as I've been to the park (hundreds), I never get tired of it... ever.  

September 8, 2012

I Love 20/20

Yesterday my friend Iris (the art director of 20/20) gave me a the latest issue of the magazine we shot in that beautiful loft last month. I really like this issue. One of my favorites. I love the natural light and shallow depth of field in all the shots. I've mentioned it before and I'll mention it again, I LOVE shooting eyewear. 

September 7, 2012

Katie Holmes

The other day I was given an assignment to shoot Katie Holmes for WWD/Conde Nast. You never know what you might get when you shoot a celebrity. Sometimes it's a nightmare (Joan Collins and Lady Gaga) and sometimes it's delightful (JLo). Luckily she was the latter. Very sweet, made eye contact, we had a nice conversation regarding a mutual acquaintance. Even though I don't get the same amount of time as a "celeb" photographer like Annie Leibovitz, it's still nice to be allowed into that "inner sanctum" of their world. I'm very appreciative of my job....most of the time. Thank you Katie for not pulling a Gaga on me.

September 6, 2012

Back from Virginia

Took a break to spend some time in Virginia with dad. Friday, the two of us took off on an delightful 250-mile journey. Our first stop was at Stribling Orchard in Markham, where the trees were heavy with a fresh crop of Gala apples. I wanted to take some photos as we drove along the rows of trees but it was too bright and contrasty  to make nice pictures. Though I did manage to take a few snaps with the trusty Lumix.

I took very few photos along the way but did stop a few times to shoot an abandoned building here and there. Dad was very patient with me slamming on the brakes every few miles. We stopped for a late lunch at the world famous Johnny Appleseed restaurant (connected to the Quality Inn) in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and dined on turkey Reuben sandwiches. Beautiful weather, no traffic, a bit of bonding, what could be better?

As I headed back to the city I passed this small construction site across from the Arlington metro station. This hand printed message made me stop and turn around. After a few moments of thought, I couldn't remember doing anything for the first time in a long time. I need to work on that...