Sunday, December 27, 2009

Relaxing in the Country

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It was great being back in Louisiana for the holidays. We spent the day after Christmas catching up with family over anduille gumbo and bloody marys. The light was perfect so I took out my camera and shot for a few hours.

Music: The Postal Service - Give Up









Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

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Tradition is a pretty powerful thing. For Christmas Michael and I drove up to New Orleans to visit with family and friends for a few days. Despite the fact that 2009 has been a pretty rough year for just about everyone I know there is some comfort and hope to be found in the traditional preparation of a meal.

From the canned cranberry sauce that I insist be served in the shape of the can it came in, to the perfectly prepared turkey that Michael and his sister started cooking at 6am, to the stuffing that Michael prepared using his late grandmother’s recipe, all kinds of tradition are alive and well this Christmas.

While we hardly live a “traditional” life 363 days a year, holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas give us the opportunity to participate in the ritual meal preparation that has accompanied the holiday season for our ancestors for centuries.

For me, Christmas is a great opportunity to express gratitude and appreciation to all of my friends and family. It hasn’t been my greatest year in terms of communication, but all of you have been in my thoughts this year.

Music: Tori Amos - Midwinter Graces
Movies: Avatar



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Art Basel 2009 (Miami Beach)

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What a week. I went down to Miami to take in Art Basel with my friends and haven’t stopped looking through the catalogues and programs since we got back. On day one we viewed work at the Bass Museum. Several highlights of that show were meticulous and elegant pieces by Dzine. From there we headed to the O.H.W.O.W. gallery where we watched and heard Koudlam perform from the rooftop as fire extinguishers were shot down on the crowd. Inside we saw work by José Parlá and KAWS among others. The space was packed but we managed to see everything.

Day two started at the Miami Beach Convention Center where we had the opportunity to take a leisurely stroll through what looked like more than two miles of spaces set up by the top galleries in the world. We all saw so much there that blew our minds, but a pair of sculptures by Evan Penny really knocked us out. From there we headed to SCOPE where we saw some more great work. A really nice surprise at SCOPE was a taste of New Orleans in the form of the Red Truck Gallery.

Later that evening we checked out STAGES, an event hosted by Nike, O.H.W.O.W, and Deitch Projects to benefit LIVESTRONG. I was floored by the work on display, particularly “Foyer”, an intensely personal piece by Eric White. Other highlights included “Lance’s Tequila Bike for Girls” by Tom Sachs, “If Ink Were Blood (Man and Woman)” by Dustin Yellin, and “The Tipping Point” by Dzine.

Following the STAGES opening we checked out The Wynwood Walls, an outdoor mural project produced by Deitch Projects and Goldman Properties. Os Gêmeos, Nunca, Futura, and Shepard Fairey really turned it out in the courtyard, and the lateness of the hour made for a wonderfully surreal experience.

Days three and four were spent exploring Miami Beach, going back to the Convention Center for a recap, and processing everything we had taken in over the past 72 hours. I finally had the chance to take out my camera on the last day there, so I took some parting shots of Miami Beach before we headed out.

Music: Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
More Music: Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
TV: Modern Family


Friday, November 20, 2009

Inside Out



I started disassembling a television (circa. 1985) about two weeks ago. I found the TV at the dump and it's proving to be a really educational tool for a project I am still sketching out in my head and in my notebook. I'm planning to use the casing and some internal parts of a very old TV for a diorama. I figure I'll make mistakes on the first three or four that I try to take apart, so before I spend the cash on an antique console television I will practice on some free or cheap ones.

It's easy to have really grand aspirations for a project at the outset, but I'm just happy that I managed to get it apart without losing any fingers or getting glass in my eyes.

Music: Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Movies: Star Trek





Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, so its not a day I can let go by unrecognized on my blog. As Halloween and Michael's and my anniversary (9 years!) fall on the same day I thought a collaborative piece would be a nice way to commemorate the day.

Michael carved the pumpkin yesterday morning in his twisted Halloween fashion and I shot it last night.

I hope everyone has a great and safe Halloween.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Beach

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I wonder what birds think about when they stare out at the ocean.

We had lunch on the beach the other day and I walked away with a few shots that really captured the mood of the afternoon. Just after I took the photo of Michael I went out and joined him in the surf. As we recovered from being rolled by a particularly big wave he asked me how anyone who has been in the ocean and felt its strength could possibly be an atheist.

As we are a pair of agnostics I think we tend to take our faith for granted. We are however, in a way, doubly blessed. We have the benefit of a strong faith without the dogma of religion. Standing in the ocean being knocked around by water, it was as if I could feel the energy of everyone and everything that has come and gone before me.

It was one of those afternoons where everything just feels warm, not much else to say about it.

Music: Nirvana - Live At Reading
Books: John Irving - A Widow For One Year




Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spray Paint

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I love spray paint. It's an incredibly versatile and oh-so-helpful product that can completely change the mood and feel of just about any object. From simple redecorating to graffiti that suggests the detail and beauty of big budget cinematic CGI, spray paint is there to help with the most disparate of creative endeavors.

The real fun of spray paint is that nearly everyone has at least one can of it around the house; and those of us with several can attest, every can has a story behind it. Most of mine involve things like Michael deciding to paint Buddha metallic blue, or toothpicks white to use as creepy evil pumpkin teeth.

Comment if you have a favorite spray paint story.

On a side note, East Village Boys just posted a series of shots Ignacio Lozano took at La Tomatina, a Tomato festival in Buñol, Spain. The work is gorgeous.

Music: Anjulie
Movies: Paranormal Activity
Reading: The Book Of Inspiration

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inspiration and a Taco Bus

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I meant to get this up Tuesday, but I got back from Tampa a little later than I had planned. Spending the extra time was really worth it though. I spent a good part of Monday afternoon touring a facility called Pyramid. Pyramid is an organization that works with more than 700 adults with severe disabilities.

Pyramid uses art as a form of therapy that gives people who often have trouble with even basic communication an outlet for self-expression. Going beyond art therapy, the program provides life skills training, advocacy, and community integration, all of which make a tremendous impact on the lives of those involved.

The work that the participants produce is incredible, and is sold at shows throughout Florida. I stayed late to have an early dinner with a couple of friends who work at Pyramid.

While I was in Tampa I ended up selling a photo, which is great. I am putting the money I made from that sale into a drawing that I fell in love with at Pyramid.

I don’t know how many people actually read this blog, but for those of you who see this, give the Pyramid website a look. Read about what they do; it is really inspiring.

I didn't expect to lead off with shot of another bus, but the burrito I got at the Taco Bus was so good that I had to, and the composition was so drastically different from the one I shot the other day along US-1.

Aside from a night out in Ybor City, and my visit to Pyramid, I basically spent the rest of my time running around Tampa, hanging out with my BFF Jenny in her studio, and meeting some really great people. Definitely my kind of weekend.

Music: Lady Gaga – Fame Monster
Movies: Valentino: The Last Emperor
Food: Taco Bus

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Exploring

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The trip up US-1 from Sebastian is a largely boring drive, but with moving comes exploration, so I have travelled it a lot over the past week. I wanted to get some shots along the highway before I head to Tampa this coming weekend. My thinking being that I could catch a few shots while the road still has the proverbial "new car smell."

The motel and the bus really remind me of "The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert." I would love to pack this thing full of equipment, christen it Priscilla, and spend a month following the highway all the way up north shooting objects of interest along the way.

I am planning on posting a few new motion studies when I get back, hopefully by Tuesday.

While I was checking out thrift stores for camera equipment (about the only way I am going to find a Leica I can afford) I stumbled upon Diana Vreeland's autobiography. Since I just finished Nijinsky, the timing couldn't be better.

Music: Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Books: Diana Vreeland - D.V.
Movies: The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Friday, October 2, 2009

Say Unkle

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One thing I love about moving is how it forces you to look at everything you own in totally different ways, and things that wouldn't normally come into the same frame do. Futura designed these absolutely slicktastic dunks for Nike back in 2004, and Pentax made this camera back in the late 1960s. I think they really look beautiful together.

Lately I have been loving the pairing of pink (and some neon primaries) with chrome. Some of my more recent design work has been following that vein, only with lots of really fun textures.

I love this camera, and shooting without a working light meter brings an interesting challenge. Estimating the exposure times adds the element of surprise to everything I shoot with it.

Music: Muse: The Resistance
Television: Flash Forward



Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Space

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As they say on Cribs, this is where the magic happens.

Michael and I are pretty much settled into our new space. Unpacking is almost finished, and our first care package from Amazon.com just arrived. Hooray! And, as if things couldn't get any better, I had a life changing steak fajita burrito at the mexican restaurant up the road.

Thinking of hitting up Universal Studios this weekend and then getting back to work.

On a side note, I am rereading "The Diary of Vaclav Nijinsky", which is a rather disturbing but absolutely unique book. Essentially the diary is a collection of notebooks Nijinsky filled as he lost his mind to severe schizophrenia.

Music: Girls: Album
Books: The Diary Of Vaclav Nijinsky: Unexpurgated Edition

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'll Follow The Sun

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I was listening to the Beatles "I'll Follow The Sun" when I took the above shot on the Florida Turnpike. The title feels appropriate.

A few nights before, I was watching "The September Issue" and remember enjoying Grace Coddington's comment that fashion photography today is too crisp, that it lacks movement. After thinking about this, and going through some of my favorite pieces from Avedon's fashion work, it really struck me that motion is one of the most beautiful things our cameras can give us. Photographs of motion allow us to see the progression of time in a single frame, which I think is pretty spectacular.

Movies: The September Issue
Music: The Beatles - Beatles For Sale
Books: Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946-2004

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

100th Post




So I've been blogging for almost a year now, and this is my hundredth post. For the past year this blog has been a consistent reminder of what I am dedicating my professional and personal life to, so 100 posts seems like a really good milestone.

As timing is everything, it amuses me that this milestone comes as I am in the process of packing up my life into plastic tubs to move 750 miles away. Not only that, but it also comes the day after the Autumnal Equinox. I am pretty high on faith in the universe right now. On the upside I actually get to start interviewing and shooting for my project in a couple of weeks; on the downside (because of packing, organizing, cleaning etc.) I have had no time to shoot since Sunday.

Above is an old shot that I took at the Millennium March on Washington back in 2000. I hopped on a plane at the last minute (for 27 dollars) and flew up to DC to explore the rally for the long weekend on a 150 dollar budget. I didn't have hotel reservations, but I went anyway, trusting that I could figure it out. On the plane I ran into a couple of friends who were headed to DC for the same reason and they cut me in on their room. The trip was wonderfully productive, a bit of a stretch financially, but the risk really paid off.

Recently I have been going through a lot of shots from around 1999/2000. At the time I was using my first SLR and had no formal training, but I always looked forward to going someplace new and always managed to come out with shots I loved. I feel that kind of inspiration and enthusiasm now, but with the much more specific focus that comes with experience, education, and training. Below are some other portraits from around the same time period.

Music: MIKA - The Boy Who Knew Too Much




Sunday, September 20, 2009

Caterpillar

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This little bastard was eating my sister-in-law's tomato plant this morning. I tried to pull him off the vine but his little feet were too strong. Rather than kill him (as Michael did to a different caterpillar this morning) I photographed him and tossed him into the woods.

Maybe I am just a little too sensitive to the lives of insects, but I have a feeling that in the natural order of things I am going to be a part of thousands of insects after this life is finished. Blah blah blah, circle of life, I sound like such a hippie. The funny thing is though, if you compare the color and texture of the tomato vine to that of the caterpillar, the similarities are kind of eerie.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Light Bulb

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I decided to do a study of one of the light bulbs in my bathroom this morning. This shot was (to myself at least) the most interesting of the group. My goal was to balance capturing as much detail in the reflections on the glass while at the same time containing the blowout from the filament.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Zvezdochka

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Marc Newson designed these killer shoes for Nike a little while back and they were given an extremely limited release. I was fortunate enough to receive a pair, and rather than keeping them hidden away in a box I have given them some exercise. Between climbing mountains, hiking through forests, snow, and lava flows, I have put this pair through their paces but they are still going strong. Their modular design makes for a uniquely customizable experience and the brightly colored booties inside are interchangeable.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Lee Keeps an Eye on Shell

From the traffic light I was day dreaming about Lee storming One Shell Square, and just as the light changed I remembered my camera was still in my lap. At the last minute I got the shot. Despite being in New Orleans, this scene makes me think of Soviet Era Moscow, filled with monuments and spartan towers that Stalin loved so much.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dragonfly

This kind of reminded me of a claw, or damaged mecha structure, either way it made me think anime. I found the dead dragonfly and termite eaten block of wood on my run back from the gym this afternoon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Clover Grill Employee


I saw this man standing in front of Clover Grill on Bourbon Street and had to photograph him. His expression combined with the fact that this photograph was taken in the hours before Southern Decadence kicked off, made me think that he was embracing the calm before the storm.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Orleans Eastern Bloc

Driving through New Orleans East I noticed a dead tree, and behind it a huge plant that is operated by AT&T. I was reminded of my travels through more rural parts of the Russian Federation and the Czech Republic, where factories were almost always on the horizon. The dark and richly detailed cloud cover that day reminded me of the coal burning factories that are polluting Asia, and of the "dark satanic mills" of William Blake's England.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Be Sure With Pure

These decayed pumps were part of the gas station at the Robinson family's intersection in central Mississippi. Like everything else, it had been shut down for years and bears a "u loot we shoot" type notice. The last price listed on the pump was seventy-five cents. The "Be Sure With Pure" sign above the pumps is still intact.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Take 327

Daytime lightning shots are difficult without a lightning trigger. After 327 shots the lightning finally struck while the shutter was open. I kept the shutter tight at f/22 and the speed at 1/25 at ISO 100 to keep it open as long as possible, but it still took a while before nature cooperated. It started raining where I was standing about 45 seconds after I got the shot.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lamar Concrete Inc.

After I blew past this compound I realized that I had to turn around and get a shot of it. It took me about 10 miles to find a place where I could turn around. I took about 13 different exposures of this with the intention of merging them into a wicked HDR image, but it looks much better this way.