Archive for June, 2010
I don’t regret living in Indianapolis as long as I have. I’ve made amazing friends here — at parties I look around my house at how many smart, creative, funny, cool people are gathered and sometimes I almost tear up a bit. I’ve participated in the political process in ways I may never have been able to somewhere else — I am friends with state representatives, I know my U.S. Congressperson, and I’ve been on a conference call with President Obama. And truthfully, I’m not sure I ever would have become a photographer if I hadn’t lived here, if I hadn’t been bored one Sunday afternoon and picked up a camera that I hadn’t touched in over 10 years.
I also don’t regret buying our house. To be honest, two things happened at the end of 2006/beginning of 2007 that prevented Jay and I from breaking up. First, we found Lucy, who needed someone to rescue her and bring her back to health. She became a physical representation of where our relationship was at the time and what we needed to do, and healing her together also somehow helped to heal us as a couple. Second, we committed to building a house together. That big financial and long-term obligation was symbolic of the permanence that we both wanted but were not willing to demonstrate before then.
But despite all this, if you’re savvy and pay attention to hints in conversations, Facebook posts, and other subtleties, I’m sure you’ve figured out that Jay and I have been thinking about moving on. Jay has been looking for more fulfilling employment for over two years and just isn’t finding anything in Indianapolis that matches his goals and personality. At my job, I haven’t had a promotion in nine years, and don’t see one coming until the senior editor retires or my director quits, neither of which are expected any time within the next 9 years. (And Indiana is not exactly rife with other publishing opportunities.) We’ve hit the glass ceiling. And to be direct, as two artists, it will also be nice to live in a city that’s more “artist friendly,” where Jay may find more people who look deeper at his art and offer more than a cursory “that’s nice” and where I won’t have to spend so many hours persuading (or sometimes begging) guys to pose for my art, or listening to cheap portrait customers telling me that my rates are too high.
We’ve been quietly eying Chicago for about six months, and we’re a few weeks away from implementing a plan to make it start happening. It may be six weeks or it may be 18 months from now, but it’s time for us to be in a bigger city. We’ve picked a realtor and set a date to list the house, we’ve started selling some of our stuff, and I’m 95% finished with updating my resume to get it ready to go out.
Chicago feels like home. When Jay and I are walking around the city’s Lakeview neighborhood, we both confess to an overwhelming feeling of “this is where I’m supposed to be.” Honestly, I can’t wait, and since we made this decision it’s like life has become exciting again for the first time in a while.
But then something interesting happened when we were in New York. Jay and I were standing on 7th Avenue waiting to meet a friend for lunch, and suddenly I looked at him and said, “Why are we thinking of moving to Chicago when we could just move here?” Certainly, there is nowhere in North America with more jobs in publishing than New York. And certainly, there is also nowhere with more models and guys that want to be models than New York. I found that out firsthand, when I spend 10 minutes placing a casting call for a last-minute shoot I wanted to set up and had 32 models respond, nearly all of whom were willing to do the shoot for free.
New York is even more appealing because three or four of my absolute favorite friends on the planet live there now. Some of these people mean so much to me that the day after I see them, I physically hurt from withdrawal. Jay has many friends from college who have landed in New York as well. In Chicago, I have made a few decent acquaintanceships, but only one or maybe two “friends.”
And so the first decision: Do we go to the city that “feels like home” and that we’re already comfortable in, and that would be a much easier lifestyle adjustment? Or do we go to the city that might be too big, audacious, and competitive for our personalities, but where we’ll have a much easier time finding employment and photography opportunities, and where we have a built-in network of amazing friends?
Odds are, we still want to go to Chicago. But if the perfect job presented itself in New York . . .
Sadly, my new website design only allows me to post one or two images per portrait client. So I have some deciding to do.
Forgive the terrible snapshoty-ness of this photo, but I had been waiting for this day for a long time.
No kidding, when Jay and I decided to build a house, one of the things I thought to myself was, “Mormon missionaries will knock on our door.”
I was going to tell them that they can evangelize me as long as they want, as long as they do it in my studio and allow me to take their photographs while it’s happening.
But, as you can see from the photo, they got just around the corner and then turned the other way in the neighborhood.
Damn the luck.
We were in Bar-tini. Later, we heard from a friend who was also there that model/reality TV star Reichen Lehmkuhl was sitting at the bar, having a drink.
You’d think as a photographer, I would notice a “famous” model sitting 20 feet away from me, but Hell’s Kitchen seems to be full of both working and aspiring models — I’ve never been somewhere where you walk 75 feet down the sidewalk past so many perfectly beautiful people. And with that, Reichen didn’t stand out. (Besides, although this might come as a surprise to you, but I don’t get star struck easily, so I wasn’t looking.)
We left the bar and walked up 9th Avenue, looking for a place to have a late dinner. Just like out of a movie, the crowd walking towards us parted and a made way for a solitary man, coming our way. He walked towards us and stopped, literally right in front of me, and then stepped to the side, parting our group, before he moved on. He was wearing a blue work shirt with the sleeves rolled up and very old khakis. He had longish, curly black hair which I think was under a baseball cap, although Jay doesn’t remember that. He looked pretty much like this:
His skin was gray and ashy, his face was completely expressionless, and his eyes looked dead. Literally. And not even remotely close to the tragically drunk, meth-addicted homeless person that we’ve all seen; there was something about this guy that went way beyond that. It’s like the energy left when you saw him, or like time stopped and the street went silent for a minute. Even our friends, Patrick and Jodi, New York residents who’ve seen it all, were surprised — with Patrick doing a double-take and Jodi emitting a startled-sounding, “Oh,” as he passed.
Jay remains convinced that we saw a real, Haitian inspired, risen-from-the-dead zombie. There’s no persuading him otherwise.
And I need to be faster with my camera.
Back to photography, I shot this photo a few days before we went on vacation. This is Matthew’s second photo for my Drifters and Wanderers series, which I like better than the original.
I have six model’s worth of photos to go through, edit, and post — three of which were in New York and taken in my friend Patrick’s shower. And so you know what I’ll be doing this weekend.
I don’t know a whole lot about plants.
But I do know (don’t ask me how) that these things (I think they’re hydrangeas) are supposed to get their color from the kind of soil they are planted in — which would make this scene in our backyard a scientific impossibility.
Whatever, they’re pretty.
This photo makes it look like I have saggy tits and a forehead the size of a Martian from a black and white movie, but I still think it’s one of the best snapshots taken of Jay and me in a long time.
The Chelsea Hotel, where Sid Vicious killed Nancy Spungen and where Ethan Hawke lived when Uma Thurman kicked him out.
Two naked men in MOMA.
A shopping Jewish boy.
David Letterman’s studio.
Looking towards Times Square.
Somewhere on Broadway.
A corner pashmina salesman.
Bernadette Peters’ apartment building.
Alexander McQueen’s storefront.
The view from my seat at a Cuban restaurant in the East Village. This might have been the best food I had all week.
After dinner, our friends Darren and Jody took us to their place for a couple more drinks. They opened their blinds and revealed their view of the Empire State Building. It literally took our breath away.
This cop on the left, in the train station in Brooklyn, was seriously hot.
On the train.
And after a while, the train (the Q line, I think) came out of the ground and crossed the Manhattan Bridge, giving us a great view of the city.
I think that’s all.
You have no idea how much I loved it here.
There were famous hot dogs.
And cute boys.
And a lot of interesting people.
I wish you could have seen how brown this woman’s teeth were . . .
. . . or how big this woman’s boobs were.
By the way . . .
. . . if you haven’t already figured it out . . .
. . . this is going to be a long post.
Sometimes it was hard to tell . . .
. . . if a person was there for the Mermaid Parade . . .
. . . or if they just always dress like this.
Either way there were a lot of costumes.
And people to look at.
And lovely women.
This one was my favorite.
I have always had a thing for carnies.
And old fashioned rides —
even if none of them at Coney Island looked safe enough to actually get on.
But the Cyclone is famous.
Then there was this cute boy . . .
. . . spotted when we were leaving.