Archive for August, 2009
I didn’t mean for almost a week to go by without a post, and it’s not like there aren’t exciting photography-related things going on that I could tell you about. For starters, I could tell you that one of my photos is featured today on the DNA Magazine blog, which I hope is one step closer to getting my work into the actual print magazine someday, which would make me a very happy man and allow me to scratch one big thing off my life’s to-do list.
There is a lot going on in my photography right now, which is probably why I haven’t taken the time to blog. All of a sudden enough paid shoots are coming my way that I am having trouble scheduling the art shoots. I had a fun fashion shoot I had on Saturday (you’ll have the chance to see those photos soon enough), and then last night I had the great opportunity to shoot some work for the GLBT community (you’ll be seeing that later, as well).
Tomorrow night, a former model of mine (who adamantly refused to get naked) is coming back; I don’t know what caused his change of heart but he called me and offered to do a shot for my Habits of Male Primates series (link 18+ and NSFW) that’s going to be one of the funniest shots of the whole series. If it’s executed well, I’m sure it will become my personal favorite.
I am supposed to get the Cube back some time this week, and if I do (and if I feel comfortable enough driving it) I am spending Saturday with two good friends on a little photo excursion. We’re going to drive some country highways, where I plan to shoot some Indiana landscape and architecture, with the final destination being the biggest windmill farm I’ve ever seen.
Speaking of the Cube, remember the ever-so-hot personal trainer I was talking about hiring? Well, the Cube’s wreck caused me to reevaluate my finances a bit and sadly, the money I planned to allocate to fitness is going towards the deductible to get my car fixed. But when I cancelled the appointment with the hot trainer, I told him who I am, and what I want to do to him (get your minds out of the gutter). He’s intrigued, and I’m still working on him, but here’s hoping that I will be able to get him into my studio sometime in the next 6 weeks. Wish me luck!
And with all this other stuff, I’m still working hard on the Unexpected Hoosiers series. My last shoot for this was with Tatjana, who goes by Rebelle, who is a fierce and beautiful local poet. I think I am more excited about this than any other project I have going on right now.
In closing, back to that DNA thing, I’ve noticed that their blog gets very few comments, in general. And I’m certainly not the kind of person who would ever use this blog to ask you to go to that blog and say something nice about me, but if you were so inclined, I wouldn’t hate you.
For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die. — Senator Edward Kennedy
Senator, may you rest in peace. But I hope that your last act on this earth would be this: May your death be what it takes to give the more wishy-washy members of your party the resolve that it takes to pass health care reform. May your spirit unite the Democrats and help them stop being intimidated by the lying, black-hearted Republicans who care more about political capital and issuing a defeat to the president than they do about the well being of American citizens. May this be your final legacy. And may you rest in peace.
As a side, here is a good article from Newsweek, about why so many Americans choose to cling to proven untruths, as spread by the fear mongering Right Wing.
Below are two photos from a new-ish sushi restaurant that I recently discovered, Miyagi on 96th Street. The food is divine, and the bar is glorious, and the decor might make this the most lovely restaurant I’ve set foot in, period. (It’s really beautiful.) And the waiter had a nice can, which always helps. Here is my salad and an asparagus roll.
Seriously, you need to try this place.
While I’m plugging new places, I want all you Indianapolis readers to consider buying your wine from my friend Philip, who opened a wine shop at 82nd and Dean earlier this year. It’s called Pairings, and it’s a really nice little shop. Philip knows more about wine than anyone I have ever met, so he will answer all of your questions and help you find the perfect wine to go with any dinner party. He’s also economical so he’s not going to force bottles that cost $30 or more into your hands — if he has a bottle that he thinks you’ll enjoy and it only costs $8, he’ll take you to that one first.
Sadly, I was too busy buying wine on Friday to take a photo of Philip in his shop, but there’s always next time.
Do me a favor and help local businesses stay around by supporting these both. I, for one, plan to stop into Pairings once a week from now on.
I have started a new series of portraits that I’m currently calling, Unexpected Hoosiers. These three friends, two artists and a history student, agreed to pose for it.
These three were great subjects, despite eagerness to get back to Ryan’s apartment where they were going to “drink and dance all night.” I think Jay could have talked to them for hours, and it’s true they were witty and funny and irreverent and intelligent. But they also made me feel old. I could be their father at this point, and I could no sooner drink and dance all night in a studio apartment than I could land the space shuttle. But I’m glad we met. Here are three more shots:
First, this is a shot from Daily Dose of Imagery. I like it because I like theaters and portraiture and this captures both. It also caught my attention because obviously, the photographer was shooting in the dark and without flash, and I would have no idea how to set the camera to get this shot (I seem to have a habit of overexposing night photography). But if you hover over an image on Daily Dose of Imagery, he tells you what camera settings he used.
Second is this shot by photographer Janelle Lynch (found via Conscientious). This is part of a series called “Common Grave” which appealed to me for its subject matter — Common Grave is an actual place in the heart of Mexico City where they bury their “indigent and unidentified.” That, by itself, fascinates me.
Photo by Janelle Lynch
A lot of photographers post messages on their websites about how they don’t want photo clients to bring people to a shoot with them. I recently saw one sanctimonious photographer go on and on about this for about three paragraphs and then finally close by saying that you would never take your friends with you to any other job, so don’t bring them to a photo shoot.
Personally, I always feel like someone that so adamantly wants to make sure no one else witnesses how they operate is probably doing something they shouldn’t be. But I also do see both sides of this. I don’t really like to be watched while I’m working any more than most other people (in any profession) do, but there are still safety issues that come with going someplace you’ve never been to meet someone you’ve never seen.
I would never advise anyone to go to a photo shoot alone. I would also tell any model that if a photographer insists that you come to a shoot by yourself, you should think long and hard about working with that person.
As for me, when it comes to the shoot, I have no problem letting someone else watch a photo shoot if
They stay out of the way.
They don’t do anything stupid or make jokes that make the model uncomfortable or distracted. (Ask me about the time a headshot client brought her mother to the shoot, who sat in the corner saying things like, “Tell mommy how much you love her,” and “Aren’t you glad mommy does these things for you?”)
They don’t offer me unsolicited advice on photography, poses, etc.
If you do break one of these rules, I might ask you to leave the studio, but I would never ask you to go too far away. The model’s feeling of security is always critical.
However, I have also discovered that it is a little distracting when, for example, a headshot client decides to bring her ex-boyfriend to a shoot, and the ex-boyfriend is sweet and funny and polite and just sits in the corner being as cute as he can possibly be. Very annoying, indeed.
I’ve always been fascinated with Andy Warhol, not for his art or his films (based on the ones that I’ve seen, anyway), but because of who he was. His story and personality and life intrigue me and always has, the way he created the Factory and surrounded himself by the most creative people he could find. I almost envy his “Superstars” and I have to give him credit for somehow finding a way to make people become famous for nothing other than being famous. (As a side note, Factory Girl is one of my favorite movies.)
This weekend I saw a Warhol biography on VH1. At one point they were interviewing one of his movie directors, who was talking about the night that one of the Superstars, professional dancer Fred Herko, took a lot of drugs, went to a friend’s apartment and did an interpretive dance that climaxed with Herko dancing out of the 5th-story window. The director said that when Andy heard about his friend’s suicide, he blinked for a minute and then all he said was, “I wish Freddy had told us about his plans; we could have filmed it.”
The director said this was the moment he realized that Andy Warhol was a monster, as so many revolutionary artists are.
I have been thinking about that line ever since.
And it is true, when I think about the artists, musicians, and writers who truly created something different, a lot of them have been described as volatile, unpleasant people, sometimes bordering on sociopathy: Cole Porter, Jackson Pollack, Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, JD Salinger, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Kerouac, Lucille Ball, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford, maybe even Michael Jackson. And if we expanded this list to include those artists who were also said to be clinically depressed, I think I could be typing all day.
Then I think about my own circle of friends. Not all, but a lot of the writers I’ve known seem all right. The actors, too (perhaps a bit over-extroverted or dramatic, but still normal). But the fine artists I’ve met and befriended through life have run the gamut from eccentric to depressed to socially anxious to full-out batshit crazy. It’s an odd coincidence, if it is one. Jay and I are not exempt from this list.
But I can’t get myself to accept the notion that there’s a relationship between creativity and mental illness. That’s just too much of a generalization. It over-simplifies “mental illness” and tries to explain it away, and it negates the unique energy and spirit that I’ve felt from every artist I’ve ever met, as well. Sure, the crazy/sociopathic artists are sometimes a little scary, too, but their energy/aura is always inspiring. And when it comes down to it, I’d rather be around people like that than throngs of too much normalcy, any day.
I don’t know how to explain it, but “mad genius” doesn’t cut it.
The summer before my mother died, she gave me some seeds from a flower she had growing on the side of the house. My mother sometimes liked to make up her own names for things and so she called them “Orange Lils” because of their beautiful tangerine color and because her friend Lilian gave her the first seeds. My mother made sure than when I was labeling the container that she put the seeds in for me, I called them Orange Lils, too.
Jay and I found the container of dried seeds earlier this summer and planted them. It’s been long enough that I had forgotten what they looked like and I didn’t even know if four-year old seeds would do anything, anyway. But they sprouted fast and for the first couple of months, grew into a feathery bundle about 18 inches tall. Then some thick stalks started growing about another foot higher and bloomed for the first time about 10 days ago. This is what we have now.
This has become my new favorite flower. The flowers stand tall and sway in the breeze during the day, which is surprisingly peaceful to watch. Then after dark they bend over almost 90 degrees: It even looks like they are resting. My sister has some from our mom, too. She says that bumblebees like to take naps on hers.
And for what it’s worth, Jay did some research and we found out what the flowers are really called, but I don’t care. I am going to continue calling mine, Orange Lils. For my mom.
I think I am finally in the mood where I can write about this, so here goes. Jay and I were in a car accident on Sunday in my Nissan Cube, which is (or was at the time) less than a month old.
Here’s how Jay tells the story: “Some lying shit bag hit us on Sunday morning.”
Here’s my take.
We were turning left onto Pendleton Pike at 52nd Street to go to church and then meet some friends at Scholars for brunch. I pulled about two feet into the road and out of nowhere there was a car right in front of us. She hit the front of the car (bumper/grille area) going about 40 mph and tore the shit out of it. I am 90% sure that she was driving in the right turn lane, but didn’t turn, which would explain why I didn’t see her or was looking beyond her to make sure the road was clear. Jay says he’s positive she was in the right turn lane, but of course, neither of us can prove that.
I do know this from the tow truck driver, who told me on Monday that his wife works for the mayor of Lawrence: The intersection where we were hit was closed and reconfigured until sometime around July 18th. Since then, ours was the second major accident to happen there. The mayor’s office wanted to put a stoplight there, but it was voted down 8-2 by whatever board approves such things. Also, both police officers that came to the scene made reference to this being a dangerous intersection, and one of them even said that no one knows what lane(s) to drive in, anymore.
But none of this really matters, at this point.
The other thing that the tow driver said was that he had a conversation with the woman who hit us and she said that none of this would have happened if I hadn’t blown through the stop sign, which is a bold-faced lie. The tow driver, who looked a LOT like an older version of one of my models, by the way, said that he told her if that would have happened, both of our cars would be destroyed; not to mention that the way this intersection is laid out, it’s physically impossible to “blow through” it because there is a second stop sign and sharp turn 75 feet behind the main one. Not to mention that a person would have to be on a suicide mission to run a stop sign on a street that has six lanes of traffic. I had a feeling that we were dealing with someone who might prove to be difficult because the very first thing she said to me as we were standing together on the sidewalk, in a voice that had obviously been in contact with cigarettes for at least 45 years, was, “I’m a heart patient.”
Currently, I am waiting to hear if my Cube is a total loss or not. The repair quote is right at the threshold of what Indiana requires for a total, so it really just depends on what my insurance company estimates the pre-accident value of my car to be. I don’t know what I want. For the first two days, I was hell-bent that I wanted MY car back, no matter what. But now that I’ve heard how high the repair bill is, I’m not so sure. I have always heard that gap insurance is a scam, so I didn’t buy that, which does mean that if it’s totaled I will be immediately responsible for paying the balance (after insurance) of my car loan. That will be a few thousand dollars, I think because I extended the warranty and bought a couple other things. And then I still won’t have a car. Ugh.
But as everyone has been pointing out, it could have been worse and would have been worse if I had been 2 feet farther into the intersection. At least I would be in the hospital and maybe Jay and that woman, too. As it was, the only injury was that I had a slight chemical burn on my arm from the airbag deploy.
I have some photos of the car, but I won’t be posting them. I can barely look at them. It would be like posting photos of a comatose body.