Sunday, May 24, 2009

i miss it

I used to travel a lot.
Both for work
and when I had a chance
I haven't been anywhere farther
than Washington and Boston
the last year and a half.
A couple of hours drive by car from
where I live.
I really miss traveling.
The picture is one in a series I took
for Ericsson
after they had installed
an advanced cell phone system
at this airport.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

black bird

I'm in black and white mood.
I often like photos without colors.
We tend to see the colors we want in them.
Or maybe not?

Now, I'm not one of those who say color is not
as good or artistic as black and white.
When I look at old b/w photos or old b/w film clips
I many times wish they were in color.

We have that strange idea that after photography was first
invented the world was all in black and white for a while.
Whether the motif was in fact a colorfully dressed in silk
Siamese king in a tropical setting or
Andrées disastrous balloon expedition to the North Pole.

Everything was monochrome.
Black and white. White and black.

Or worse; some had pastel-like colors
n added to make them appear as color photos.

Before photography people were in color.
Even technocolor, although it took a while for
Kodak to get there as far as film stock went.

The Dutch masters show that noblemen
and peasants alike dressed
in rather colorful garb.

A visit to any museum that puts old clothes on show proves
that both men and woman were more like peacocks than
even the most colorful inhabitants of Christopher Street
in New York are today.

The photo of the black bird was taken on a trip to the Dead Sea.
It's actually a rather vibrant place despite its lack of greenery.
The landscape constantly shifts depending on the time of the day.
The sun gives it every color from pale grays in the midst of the day
to rich golden tones closer to evening.
Shadows constantly change the landscape.
And as we know, shadows are not shades of black,
they are in color too.

You don't see a lot of animals.
Scorpions hide under rocks and blend in.
As does the snakes.
Birds are dark.
The mountain goats or deer are brown like the sand
and seem to shift colors with the light.
Blending in.
The dessert isn't giving life.
You'll have to survive.

What I see in the dessert are patterns and shapes.
It's all very graphic.
With my eyes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

plastic lens

As a photographer I strive to not having a particular style.
Which of course means that it's hard to get assignments.
I hardly get any, other than those I create for myself.
The narrower you define yourself
the likelier you will get work.
They hire you for exactly what you mostly do.
It's safer that way.

To fine tune just one thing and specialize
doesn't really interest me
as I see photography
as language rather than technique.
I prefer to speak many languages.
To make languages up.
I tend to simply make it up and figure it out as I go,
rather than fine tuning a particular approach
or color scheme.
Each situation asks for something different.
In my mind.

Thus I throw in a photo that I took with a simple
plastic polaroid type of camera with a cheap plastic lens.
Printing from the negative.
I did a series of portraits that way.
The film is no longer manufactured.
Whatever stock there might be left is hard to find.

You can do almost anything in Photoshop today.
But nothing you do comes as a surpising gift to you.
You have to figure out each and every imperfection
In the days of more manual labor the material
did stuff for you.
Sometimes it made things worse and you had to fight it to
achieve a desirable result.
Other times little sweet accidents happened
that made the work more interesting.
A gift.
I actually try to approach digital
and photoshop that same way.
Which may be futile.

Is this an ad?

UPS doing its morning deliveries
in Greenwich Village, New York.
One of my few followers
has commented that my images
are too advertising like.

Did you hear that UPS?

Waiting eagerly to get that great
assignment shooting
UPS vans around the world.
Will do the video version too
while I'm at it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The New Yorker is
a massive colossus of a building.
Very Gotham City.
And once upon a time
a really happening hotel.
Where the stars of neighbor Madison Square Garden
stayed and held court.
Nowadays a mid market tourist hotel.
I wonder how many bricks
it took to build?

Monday, May 11, 2009

a lovely day in the park


New York Times.

Live Jazz.
Free if you're cheap or broke.
A dollar if you're neither.

Central Park.

Don't know
what motivated
the hurry
the person in the picture
seemed to be in.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

what we leave behind

I took hundreds of images during
a not so long walk along the waterside
in Aberdeen in Hongkong.
I pointed my camera down.
This is what it captured.
I was first looking at it with an artists eye.
I saw patterns, images, ideas.
I saw huge prints hangin on vast white walls
in rooms with ceiling height and spotlights.
But soon I came to my senses,
ashamed of myself for exploiting our worst
behavior. I'm no better for trying to use it
as art or something.
And now on my blog.
Is this what we've become?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

color for a gray day

At the farmers market in LA a while ago.
You can't stage stuff like this.
It won't look real.
(As if this does?)
I just happened to have my Hasselblad loaded,
as we were shooting a scene at a parking lot just behind.
In a pause I took a short walk around.
I figure a little LA color will
contrast this perfectly gloomy, wet and
rather chilly Sunday
in New Jersey.
And the noir story of yesterday.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

I don't know what happened

Or actually, I knew what was about to happen.
And I witnessed it unfold.
This was a couple that looked happy and successful together.
They probably were happy for a while.
Successful they were.
I love them both.
Although I do, in fairness, love one of them more.
Goes back a little longer in time.

Yes, they did split up. Shit happens.
Both are artists.
One is a legend.
The other one is working on it but
may never reach the heights of the one who is up there.


I obviously staged this photo.
About ten years ago. I think.

But I had a gut feeling that it was a true image.
No, I don't mean that she was looking at him in distaste
from the background, or that he was sitting alone
in the front distancing himself.
That is not describing what made them split.

The composition could have been reverse.
They were actually magic together.
It was electric. Their combined charisma.
But there was a lack of balance.
And there was a lot of insecurity.
Which is totally human.
Although they looked
super-human together.

Even if you try you can't
read anything of the reason for the split
into this image.

The only thing I knew was that it wasn't forever.
That they weren't really for each other forever.
Which was why I staged the portrait of the two the way I did.

How the actual split came about was as much a surprise to me
as it probably was to either of them as well.

Now you're curious.

It would make a great book.
Not their break-up,
but their lives.
Apart and together.
More colorful people are hard to find.
Despite the black and white image.
They only dress in black and white.
With the odd red accent.
And sometimes white.

Forgive me for being silly.

Yes, some of you will recognize them.
But as I only have like three readers maybe not.

Friday, May 1, 2009

view from a train window

The NJTransit train from my town in New Jersey
to New York's Penn Station is mostly a ride that shows
some of the bleaker sides of the US.
Swamps filled with garbage
and dumped vehicles rusting away.
Not to mention the victim's of the Sopranos.
Abandoned industrial buildings.
Empty offices in disarray.
We pass Newark.
A city that would have needed another 10 years
of a booming economy to truly recover.
They have started to clean it up. In every sense.
It's a brutal crime-ridden city only minutes
from Manhattan.
Its Mayors have been a long line
of criminals essentially.
Often ending up in court and even jail.
We hope Cory A. Booker, the latest Mayor
is cut differently.
With the new arts center njpac
and a new stadium and many
other projects happening there is hope.
Provided the new bad economy won't put
a break to it all again.