Tuesday, July 31, 2007
A couple hours after commenting on Andrew Hetherington's blog (http://whatsthejackanory.blogspot.com/) abut a recent Larry Sultan photograph (above with hose ) I found myself at an executive's house on a photo assignment. I couldn't get the LS image out of my mind as we walked around the mansion scouting.
When shooting a portrait there are a thousand decisions that we as photographers make and none of them are an accident. A portrait is not a document but a lie that we tell about ourselves or about our subjects. Above is this amazing photograph by Eugene Smith from the '50s. He spent a bunch of time at a spanish village and shot these town guards. He could have shot these guys a myriad of different ways but chose this unflattering approach because he wanted to comment on Franco's regime. A lie for sure but sure has some truth in it.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I was taking to Evan Hurd (EvanHurd.com) about self-promotion yesterday and it occured to me that you could buy a pretty nice German luxury car for what we spend every year to promote ourselves. But I guess there is nothing more expensive than not working but there has to be a better way. A photographer just bought a house around the corner from me and he doesn't even have a website. Sounds pretty good.
Monday, July 23, 2007
We are going getting ready to go back on the QM2 next week to shoot some ads for an upcoming campaign. We are doing the TransAtlantic crossing from NY to the UK.
The first time we did it a couple years ago I got a cabin with two balconies and my own butler. Last year I got a cabin that must have been in the Coffin Class. Teeny. No window. Comfortable bed.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Today we shot another picture for that story I am working on . A friend of mine from college (Doug Benedict) helped us with the shoot outside of Philadelophia (and shot the picture above).
We reminisced about school and what every one was up to. Dave Yoder is shooting in Venice. Chien Chi Chang is now a full blown member of Magnum. Last heard Tom Hirshfeld was driving a cement truck in Indianapolis. Dave Adams , the publisher of the college paper where we all worked was found face down in his pool in Bloomington last month. I liked him a lot. When I was at IU I ran into him a gay party. I was working on a story for a journalism class about what it was like to be a homosexual on campus. It is hard to believe that any body cared but that is an indication of the time and how conservative Indiana was. Dave saw me taking pictures and made sure I wasn't there to out him. I ran into him years later on the street and he was out of the closet and doing well.
Doug and I talked about the photo trips we used to go on in school. One year there was a monster storm storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm of the century they called it. Four of us climbed into a car and drove 24 hours straight from Bloomington to Victoria, TX. We all shared a room in a motel and watched as CNN kept cutting to the same street sign being buffeted by the wind. The sign was not 10 miles away and we figured someone was shaking the sign from off camera because it was completely calm for a far as we could see. The storm petered out in Cuba and there was nothing left to do but get drunk and drive back.
I was in Louisiana a week after Katrina. We flew a private plane into new Orleans and were escorted by a local fixer. It was never clear what he did for a living. I think he owned some gas stations and sat on some county commissions. But His most useful asset was a T-shirt. A few months earlier he had done a good deed for a Louisiana State trooper and the trooper had given him a Louisna State Police shirt as thanks. Every night in the days after the hurricane his wife would wash his shirt and every morning he would put it on and it allowed him to drive freely through all of the dozens of road blocks in Southern Louisiana. He would slow down at a check point and be waved through when the cops saw his shirt. That is how we got from the New Orleans Airport to LAke Charles where we had the shoot. I was riding in the back of his pick up truck when our fixer started to try and make a call. He had a half dozen cell phones non of which seemed to work and finally he got the Sat phone to work. I over heard this conversation." Yeah we need to go in to New Orleans tonight to get some judge's cat that is trapped so I am going to need some hip waiters, an animal carrier and a sniper"
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
I created this character -Wolfgang Taliban-at the height of the two wars last summer. One war is is still raging (Iraq) and the other one in my house has died down. I have four girls and last year three of them were under five years old.
Being the only guy in a household of five women I know what it is to live under my own personal Taliban. Creating this character (my mddle name is Wolfgang) seemed to take a little pressure off.
Michael Wertz designed the logo.
Monday, July 2, 2007
I drove past a series of these ticket scalpers outside the Giants ballpark last week. Each one looking meaner than the next. I had the good sense not to photograph these guys but my assistant (and driver) kept goading me into shooting them by pulling up to them and slowing way down. Eventually I couldn't t take her implied assault on my verility
and snapped one frame.
"Get his camera! Rip that camera out of the car! " and then after we pulled away with me having taken my brand new Linhof Master Lecknika off the tripod and clutching it to my chest, he yells "Faggot". The fact that the largest gay pride parade in the galaxy was a mear six blocks away seemed lost on him.
I calmed down, set the camera up again and like a 6 year old insisted we drive by him ( in the far lane) just to prove he wasn't the boss of me.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
We were shooting in front of a bar across the street from the Giants ball park last week when a cop came up to the truck.
Cop:What are you doing?
Cop: Well you are disturbing some people by taking their picture.
Me: I have a constitutuional right to take photographs on the street.
Cop: Would you like to step out of the truck to discuss it?
Me: Not so much
We drove away and went to Chinatown hoping for a warmer reception.