Archive for March, 2010
At first, I though Witte could have found happier subjects to photograph while in night clubs, but considered that maybe it had more to do with the fact that she was shooting stoic “Germans,” who don’t smile much on their best days. But further investigation led me to realize that her intent was just this: Clubbing is how we socialize now and we expect our nights out to be full of pleasure, fun and community. But Witte’s series tells the opposite story. Being in a club can also bring on loneliness, rejection and isolation, even while surrounded by people. No doubt, I’ve been there. I think we’ve all been there.
At first, I thought that Witte’s series, very polished and maybe a little too editorial, also looked a little too easy. I thought that the light show in any night club would make it possible for just about anyone to catch these photos. I’m eating my words, having spent a few minutes on Saturday night photographing my friend and favorite DJ while he was working at a club. It’s surprisingly dark in there; and the lights and movements of the subject(s) unpredictable. It took me a long time to get just three photos that I liked.
And as I always say, check out the rest of Witte’s portrait work. It’s great.
All photos in this post copyright, Hanna Witte.
Seeing more scenes like this close to home is just one reason I’m happy that spring is here.
Ryan contacted me a couple of months ago to tell me that he is moving from Cleveland to San Francisco in June, but also that he wanted to work with me once before he left the Midwest. And so he drove to the studio on Saturday. Both Ryan and I underestimated the time it would take him to get here from Cleveland (six hours, not four) and so he arrived later than expected and we only had two hours to work together before Jay and I were due at another couple’s house for dinner.
But Ryan and I hit it off amazingly; he might be the most mature 22 year old I’ve met. He said something about possibly staying in Indy for the night and asking if I could resume the shoot in the morning. And so impetuously, I told him that he could stay with us (note that I’m selective about who spends the night at our house, and I’ve literally never done this before for a model that I didn’t previously know).
And so as Jay and I went downtown to our dinner engagement, we dropped Ryan off at 45 Degrees so he could get a drink and some dinner. I felt bad for abandoning him but would have also felt awkward bringing him along to someone else’s house who wasn’t expecting extra guests, so I told my friend David the bartender to look out for Ryan and then pointed him towards a few other places on Mass Ave that he might like. Then I turned around and noticed several friends at various tables in 45, and two of them invited Ryan to join them. They bought his dinner and took him to an art show and kept him company for a couple hours, until Jay and I could get back to him and take him clubbing for the night. (Greg’s and Talbott Street, where the divine, 7-foot-tall Asia LaBouche did her thing and did her best to make Ryan’s face turn as red as his hair — I’m surprised she didn’t throw him over her shoulder and walk off.)
The next day, we went to breakfast and were in the studio for most of the afternoon. We finished shooting about 4:30 and by that time, Ryan was referring to Jay and I, collectively, as “Dads.” I looked at him and said, “I don’t think I want you to leave.” He smiled and said, “I know, I feel like I live here now.”
Ryan is first generation American (his parents are Swiss), French is his first language, and he’s smart and charming and well-spoken. He goes to school (pre-med) but is going to take a break for a semester when he gets to San Francisco. He works out every day and he eats well. He carries a can opener and cans of tuna and tobasco sauce in his backpack; he mixes the tuna and tobasco together for a quick meal — which is disgusting, but forgivable in a “he’s just a cute boy” way. He also carries around a huge jar of whey protein that he drinks all the time (but again, he looks adorable doing so, and not like some dumb meathead). And he has the most amazing deep voice. And he’s a good guy in other ways; he does the circuit party scene but he has morals at the same time. In a way, he kind of reminded me of myself when I was 22 — except I didn’t have the red hair and the great body and the self-confidence.
And so after two days, I have about 600 photos of him to go through. I hope I captured how awesome he is.
When he got home, he sent us the following email:
Just wanted to let you know that I got home safe & sound.
This weekend was soo great… I really appreciate you taking me in and introducing me to your friends and all… And I think the shoot(s) went great!!
Hope I get to see you guys very soon … I’ll def. try to stop and make a trip.
I like you both individually and as a couple.
Keep in touch,
You can expect to see a lot more of Ryan on here and my website, as I get through the photos.
Here is the final portrait — a snapshot, really — that I captured of Ryan, just after we finished our all-weekend shoot and were sitting in the studio, talking. I miss him.
I brought my personal trainer back to the photo studio for a second shoot. Here are a few of the shots I’ve posted. Please note that I took the first photo a week before seeing that new Lady Gaga video — it was MY idea first.
There are more new photos of David, mixed in with a few from his first shoot, on my website.
So, let me get this straight: Indiana ranks fourth in the nation for penis size, by state; but Indianapolis ranks 13th, by metro area. How can that be? Where are all these well-endowed Hoosier men, if not in Indy?
The first flowers to come up in our yard . . .
. . . and the dog that decided to sit near them.
Nick is a recent college graduate/soccer player who just moved to Indiana from Minnesota three weeks ago.
Let’s talk about the top image: I imagine this won’t be the only portrait subject that I put in front of that tree. I love it. I almost wish it would stay bald. But I guess I just need to find someone else to shoot in front of it, before it comes out of dormancy.
Photographer Eric Ogden (found via Exposures) opened his first solo show last week and it runs though May in New York, at the Hous Projects Gallery at 31 Howard Street (in SoHo). I’d encourage a few of my New York friends to go check it out, just because I can’t, since I won’t be in New York this year until a month after the exhibit closes.
In addition to his portraiture being beautiful, one of the reasons I want someone to go to this exhibit is because of the first photo (above), which is exactly the kind of image that comes to my mind’s eye, when I consider my childhood.
If you like Eric’s photography, be sure to check out his website, where he also has an incredible gallery of celebrity portraits. These include Parker Posey, Ryan Reynolds, Victoria Beckham, Felicity Huffman, Tilda Swinton, Matthew McConaughey, Glenn Close, and a lot more.
Eric Ogden is a photographer that I look at and think, I hope one day to be this good.
All photos in this post copyright, Eric Ogden.
I wanted to take a quick moment to document the Tea Party’s actions yesterday. As the health care bill vote looms, the violent, racist, homophobic nature of these people is becoming less thinly veiled.
As one commenter says, regarding the above, this kind of makes you question the conservatives slogan, “guns don’t kill people, people do,” doesn’t it?
And then there’s this:
All this, because progressives want to give the people access to health care options. It’ll never cease to amaze me.
I looked in my planner for the weekend. We had a couple of things fall though, and as a result there is absolutely nothing scheduled for tonight, Saturday, or Sunday. We do have a couple of things going on, but I intend to keep the plans loose and the planner empty. This kind of weekend only happens to me about once every two years, and I think that emptiness is symbolic. I need a break. I need to rest. This weekend is for me to be quiet.
There’s too much going on right now. The news channels are saying that on Sunday, the House is (finally) going to vote on health care reform. To be honest, after all these months I just want it over with. Just vote on the god damned bill and let’s be done with it, pass or fail, so we can all move on and figure out what’s next, whichever the outcome. The Republicans aren’t going to stop saying that the world’s going to come to an end until the vote. And the Democrats aren’t going to stop whining and wallowing and worrying until the vote. It’s time for it to be over.
I will say this: Any Democrat in my jurisdiction that votes against health care reform will not be getting my vote again. Ever. (Are you listening, Brad Ellsworth? You want to make the jump from Congressman to Senator in November, if you want my vote you’d better vote for health care reform. If you don’t, I don’t care if you’re the grand marshal in the gay pride parade and you write a check to pay off the entire national deficit, I won’t vote for you.) Don’t get me wrong, I won’t vote for a Republican, either. But I’ll have no qualms about skipping over some races on November’s ballot, when it comes to this.
As if health care wasn’t enough, there’s also yesterday’s gay rights activism to figure out. Lt. Dan Choi and Cpt. James Pietrangelo are in jail, and won’t be given a phone call or bail — this sounds like something that would have happened under the Bush administration, but here we are. Protesters from a group called, GetEQUAL, were arrested at Nancy Pelosi’s office, after staging a sit-in demanding that Pelosi call for a vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which would prohibit firing someone on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity).
At least we know, once again, where the Human Rights Campaign stands. At yesterday’s rally in Washington against Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which featured military and gay rights expert Kathy Griffin (?), when HRC President Joe Solmonese was asked if Lt. Choi could speak, he’s quoted as saying no, and that “this is Kathy’s show.” And so HRC, once again, has chosen to waste its money on starfucking while a real GLBT activist group (GetEQUAL) just emerged from the woodwork.
Some are asking if this is the birth of a new civil rights movement. I have to say that I certainly hope so, and I would eagerly contribute. (I’ve yet to be arrested for civil disobedience, myself — even the pastor of the church that Jay and I occasionally visit has me beat, there.) But sadly, I don’t think this is the case. I think it was one exciting day, but I think this generation lacks the stamina to keep long-term activism going. I could be wrong. I hope so.
Anyway, I need this quiet weekend to process, watch, and compose myself.