April 23rd, 2012 Comments Off
What happens when a Canadian and an English(Wo)man meet in New York?
Full article here.
(I’m actually a dual citizen and not “a legal alien…”)
(yes Sting was there and it was all I could do not to fall all over myself and say something stupid. So I said very little. (“modesty propriety can lead to notoriety…”))
(Trudie asked me if I would like tea and I said (really) “ooh that would be lovely” (daft…) (I don’t drink coffee I take tea my dear…) so I was served tea in a china cup on silver tray. Milk and Sugar. Yes I am bad. Sting had two cookies with his tea. They looked like arrowroot cookies but I don’t think they were that exactly, they might have been ginger snaps.) It was ever-so lovely.
(I can see by the timestamp on the pictures that tea was at 3pm on the dot.)
(we finished shortly thereafter and as I was packing up Sting was snoozing on the couch. I tried to be quiet like a mouse. (“If manners maketh’ man as someone said…”) )
“A gentleman will walk but never run”…well, I still like running.
April 4th, 2012 Comments Off
Artist Desi Santiago for NYT
April 4th, 2012 Comments Off
Max Snow for NYT
February 28th, 2012 Comments Off
Got a call from the editor, did I want to go do a photograph about people living alone?
I said, do you just want a self portrait?
Rod (not Rob) is a music producer and that is the lovely window light on Graham Avenue.
If you see him poking out the window as he is wont to do look up and say hi. He is very nice.
February 25th, 2012 Comments Off
Had the opportunity to photograph Adam Levine from Maroon 5 and NBC’s The Voice for NYT. A quick hit and then he was on to another press event. Thanks to stylist Daniella Shachter and Priscilla at the Mercer Hotel for their help getting this together.
February 15th, 2012 Comments Off
Adrián Villar Rojas, A person loved me (2012)
2012 New Museum Triennial
4th floor Gallery
February 13th, 2012 §
It was April 1997 and I was pretty fresh off the boat in New York shooting restaurants for New York Magazine on weekends and assisting during the week. I got a call from Marc Royce whom I had assisted for and with and he was hoping I could fill in for him with a special photographer he knew and had worked with who had a shoot coming up shortly in Times Square.
I wish I could say I had the wherewithal to understand the significance of this woman and her work, that would come later, for the moment it was all about the practicalities of a night shoot in Times Square, a girl, a gown, and a horse. We even had a curfew of sorts, they used to turn the lights off in Times Square, many of them, around 2am to save power, and we wanted the full blaze going, so it all had to happen between 11 and 2 as I recall.
We met before the shoot to go over the details, the lighting, which was pretty simple, an overhead light on a high boom, and I can’t even remember what it was, HMI, 2k, something like that, not a whole lot of light but just enough, on the margin, and then Lillian would take those negatives and do her thing in the darkroom.
Somewhere I have a very ordinary polaroid of me standing in. I was probably worried about exposure, shadow detail, etc, things that did not matter.
Lillian was great, she was excited, happy to be shooting, happy to be in the circus that is photography. It was a cold April evening, damp, windy. I wish I had a charming anecdote but it is so long ago I can’t remember all that much, it just makes me think, how did I get there? What credentials did I have? Scant I assure you.
I do remember her talking about the difference between the old days and now, then, she had to show the dress, it had to be clear, it had to be lit, you had to see what it was. Things that over time bored her and ultimately that is why she destroyed all those negatives. It would take a fresh eye and the distance of time to see what they could be, and she had the power to re-visualize her own work which is pretty remarkable. Absent the demands of selling a product, you could make an image, and the damage that the negs had suffered all those years in garbage bags and the ceiling leaks and water had begun to suggest a way. She just pushed them all that much farther until they were finally hers.
I guess there is a truth to saying we all have a few pictures in us that we tend to make over and over or remake over and over. If given the chance would you take everything that you have made, destroy it, and out of that waste make the same picture anew? It’s a brave thing. Of course we can all look at the work now and it seems to be obvious, but is it really? And would you have the courage to do it?
Lillian did. Bravo.
New York Times Magazine “Assignment Times Square” May 18 1997. Lillian Bassman photographer. Styled by Frans Ankone.
February 12th, 2012 Comments Off
Pierre Rougier is the head of PR consulting, and he decides who sits where at many fashion shows this week.
Pierre is also coincidentally a runner and this helps him fit into those nice Jill Sander suit pants. This was an assignment where I went in to the location and immediately knew I was going to have difficulty making something I liked, it was a long tube, and lighting in a tube is very difficult, plus all the walls and tables meant you couldn’t stand just anywhere, the relation of camera to subject was going to be not totally of my choosing.
When I saw this next pic I knew that I would at least be able to get somewhere- it has a graphic quality and humour.
Except for those pesky drum pendants I knew that it was about the glasses and the charts. And his silhouette. But the ceiling is really annoying.
So maybe change from hi key to low key, better but still all bunched up in the middle. The chart at left is driving the whole picture, so maybe its time to lose it. Still attached to the girl in glasses. She must have thought I had a thing but it’s an anchor, it injects a small twist into the picture.
Ok so the chart is still driving the picture but if it is going to drive why not let it take over? Still those pesky lights overhead. But I like the hedgehogging idea of just seeing over the partitions. But now he doesn’t look good in the suit.
Starting to move into parody. I’m projecting all sorts of things onto this picture. I mean, I’m letting the camera and the light do what they do just to see what happens. Its very easy to go down this road but ultimately it does not tell they story as far as I know it, which basically is about power. So as much as I like weirdness it doesn’t have a place here.
ARGH another row of those frickn pendant lights. You’ll notice that also its warm balance, this is what I was seeing while shooting, it was only later that I decided on the cool white balance. And I’ve lost my muse in the background.
This is what ran in the paper. Get on a chair and shoot down to eliminate the ceiling. Swap the ladies out in the background. Get a little tighter than perhaps I usually get (65mm). But the whole thing is simpler, more direct, and not leaning on parody as much, although the lady in glasses for me indicates a kind of intelligent ruthless efficiency that I think works here. It is a business, but it is a style business also. Looks are very important.
In the picture at the top I have pushed the print even farther, made the window light bluer that it was, the interior dimmer, the spot on him warmer and more circular. Because this is for portfolio and not for print I’ve also removed a light from behind his head.
This is another version where I’ve emphasized a different balance, made the flash like the exterior widow light, and the interior is down and warmer relative. I’ve spotted her face a little and task lamp is the “practical” source although it does not actually light her face. But the exposure was the same for all the pictures, just different toning.
I’d be lying if I said I knew how it was all going to go together as I was doing it, I really was just keeping on keeping on and hoping that something would happen as it usually does. I didn’t have the “one” in the bag but it didn’t bother me. I knew that it couldn’t get too dry or perfect or it would be a boring business portrait. So I knew I basically had to give up when it got really normal. That would at least mean I had tried all my lame ideas out and had finally gone for safe. Somewhere in that spread was the moment where it was safely between the two poles.
October 22nd, 2011 Comments Off
October 6th, 2011 Comments Off
Krysten Ritter of Breaking Bad fame was nice enough to let me into her apartment. She has a new show on ABC called Apartment 23, along with Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek. Gosh I remember when DC was on- that must have been the birth of Emo right there. She also gave me one of those juices you can buy at WholeFood for nine dollars, I know Bill Cunningham won’t accept a glass of water on assignment but boy those are good.