Every once in a while, you just have to take a busman’s holiday. A very dear friend of mine showed up and instead of hanging around the studio all day we decided to take a ride to upstate New York; we passed what appeared to be a very sophisticated junkyard. We pulled in and there were eight signs saying report to the office. The key here is, “Pay attention to the signs and report to the office.” There were several Rottweilers on chains, and to be quite candid, I had no interest in photographing or meeting them. We checked in, asked if we could look around and they said, “Yes. But first we have to weigh you and the car.” We thought it was a little strange but then they explained, “We weigh you on the way in and the way out. You better weigh the same or we’re going to charge you for the extra weight.” I have to tell you, it was just a lot of fun. Keep your options open, you never know when you will come across something. The photos may not cure cancer, but a little bit of fun never hurt anybody.
Growing up in New York City, when I heard the word orchid, I knew exactly what it meant. Orchard Street, a Street in New York that my grandpa would take me shopping on Sundays. I don’t know, while in college, that I learned much about orchids. I sure had my street smarts. Let’s fast forward a few years. I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting the most beautiful man that God put on this planet, Werner Kabitzke. Werner was born in Germany, but as a young man, moved to Maine. He fell in love with Maine and all of the flora and fauna that came with it. He became an expert horticulturist, and his expertise on all things flowers was truly amazing, but his favorite were orchids, and my God, did he grow some magnificent orchids in his green house. With his green thumb and vision, he was able to breed varieties of different orchids together to create works of art. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending his 88th birthday with him. Last Sunday, he prepared himself for the trip from this planet, to the orchid gardens of Heaven. When you read this, go home and hug your bride, your girlfriend, your boyfriend, life is beautiful and fast. Have an absolutely fabulous Day.
While working on an add campaign for a Fortune 500 company, I did an environmental portrait of an American Indian, and they loved it, rapidly followed by an American Cowboy. We then broke things up by doing a photograph of the Empire State Building on a very cold, rainy, foggy night, which yielded a fine image. The creative director at Saatchi came back and wanted to change it up, and he wanted me to do a photo of an American laborer. After two weeks I submitted three photos, he didn’t like any of them. The following week, I submitted three more, he liked those even less. I became extremely frustrated. Any assignment photographer will tell you they would rather have a AD and CD with a firm story board (with approval of the end client) with very little leeway on the initial concept, but a lot of leeway on how you stylize a photograph. It’s called a compromise. We got in a, shall we say, small argument. I was very frustrated, and decided was that what I needed to go was some serious manual labor, which in my opinion, is extremely healthy. It will also stop you from getting arrested for attempted assault and battery. Being dedicated to your art form is one thing, but doing hard time? Unacceptable. Stepped into the studio, looked at a full length mirror, readjusted my Dynalites, asked my best female friend, JoAnne Kalish, if she would be kind enough to make a photograph… client loved it. Is there a moral to this story? When — is not working — change it up. If you want to see the complete story without any restrictions or censorship, in six months you can pick up my new book on visual literacy.
To all the ships at sea, grab a camera and a shovel, go have a ball. It’s all good.
Anyone who’s travelled to Italy, France, Germany, etc., you have to love the rail system. It’s amazing, it’s great, it’s cost effective, it’s safe. The NYC Subway System may not have the luxury, but if you have to get from point A to point B, it’s a great choice. Unless of course, you have a Mercedes Limo, a driver, and security… but even with that, sometimes with the traffic, you’re better off with the subway. I love photographing in the subway, it’s a little known fact that you’re allowed to photograph/film in the subway as long as you don’t have a tripod (double check the law.) A dear friend of mine, Bill DeSmedt, author of “Singularity” and “Dualism,” attached is a portrait I did of him, notice the sign behind his head. That puts it into perspective. While you’re at it, check out his books, they’re quite good. The other graphic is just me having fun. Sometimes we forget, photography is about the fun.
Everybody knows about Murphy, my god, yesterday was Saint Patty’s day, Murphy was all over the place. When you combine Murphy with a senior moment (even though I’m an adolescent immature senior), you come up with Oh my God I forgot. I wrote a beautiful note to Terri on the quality of her photographs but forgot to post them on the blog, consider them now posted. Terri you have my apologies.
While teaching a class that started at Grand Central Station and ended at Times Square I had one camera and one lens, a 16-35. Did not imagine I’d be doing any portraits. Even though the 16-35 is not a portrait lens, this is an environmental portrait of a gentleman from London. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Why would anybody put up this genre of photograph in June when obviously the photograph as taken in the dead of winter? That’s funny, I asked myself the same question. There are two basic reasons: the first is I just found this photo I had been trying to find for the last few years for my book, so I scanned it and now you have an opportunity to see it, and the second is I just liked the feeling. It makes me feel warm. Two lovers outside a coffeehouse in Greenwich Village. Very cold and snowy night. One grabbed shot, EOS camera, 85 1.2, ISO 200, 1/60th at f2. No rhyme or reason, I just like it.
A quarter of a century ago, you couldn’t walk the streets of Dumbo unless you had an armed guard. It has now become one of the most chicy-chic places in the metropolitan area. Multi-million dollar construction— oops, I used the wrong word. I used the m word when I should have used the b word. What a great place to make photographs. Join JoAnne and myself on the late afternoon/early evening of Thursday June 13th from 4-9. Check it out on the Adorama Workshop site. It’s all good, it’s all great, it’s all magic. One opening left for the rodeo workshop.