Thursday, November 29, 2007

I didn't have to use my AK

There’s nothing like a mostly white girl trying to seem gangsta…

But it was a good day, so imma gonna tell y’about it.

I like days when Kate and I are out of the office, and today was one of my fav sorts of fieldtrips.

We spent the morning with our favourite printer, Katy Martin. She’s such an incredible person to work with I’m inclined to keep her a secret but as Paul Arden says, share and more comes back to you.

Anyhoo, she lives and works in a giant loft in Tribeca and owns an equally giant Epson printer. She has the sort of place where the lift opens directly into her home and she awaits you, smiling visage and softly spoken. It’s all white washed in there and somehow she keeps the masses of prints and papers and boxes looking tidy with a mix of antique and industrial flat files and shelving. The place feels zen, for want of a better term.

So at Katy’s place, first you are offered tea, then you settle in front of her large and fancy computer as she methodically clicks through files and folders to create test strips and adjustment layers in an effort to get your work looking just so perfectly considered and completed on her expertly chosen rag paper.

Coming to her feels like the most glamourous completion of our work. Our images finally look and exist just the way we intended them. She has the right amount of involvement and detachment to make sure that the colour nuance is spot on and the saturation is just so and the contrast is finely tuned, so that finally, blissfully, our pictures are actualized, realized, whatever you want to call it.

Afterward we had a brilliant lunch at Bubby’s, then we stopped by the Mac store to check the biz email, then we parted ways, whereupon I bumped into the adorable Ryan Pfluger strolling with his Mom.

Then a funny thing happened on the way home. I saw not one but 2 girls on the subway, unrelated to one another and, realistically, unrelated to me, but both of whom I know now because I see them on the train quite frequently.

One has fake blonde hair, it’s been artificially straightened, it might be a weave but it’s hard to tell, and she’s pretty, full pink lips and very smooth skin. She could be a white girl with a fondness for fake tanner and bronzer or a black girl with some other culture in the genetic mix. What’s interesting about her is her artifice and for all the methodical painting and preening on her head, her clothes are plain, black pants with pin stripes, polyester looking, professional looking, but neck up she’s more like a dancer at Carnival in Rio. Today I saw her chatting with someone, possibly giving directions to someone, at Canal Street, her pink glossed lips pursing, her orange brown skin glowing.

The second girl is glorious. She has Josephine Baker cropped hair, tightly combed to her scalp. Her body is a particular sort, lithe, slender and long. She has impeccable style -impeccable because as lovely as she looks in tight grey jeans and a shearling jacket, the look seems utterly unconscious and probably because of that body, that sublime long body, a dishrag and some twine would look stylish on her. So it goes.

What I love about these girls beyond their singular beauty and beyond the fact that we mildly acknowledge one another as we walk on by, is that even here, in this gaping hole of a city, there is a peculiar sense of community, based as much on style as it is on familiarity.

Having been recently in State College PA, a tiny town in a valley well protected from the rest of the world, I saw a version of this community. I sat in the recently rehabbed movie theatre and looked at the backs of many heads and knew that if the lights were switched on and everyone stood up and turned around, that there was a very high likelihood that there would be a lot of hellos and hey theres.

Big little world.

Ca suffit.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Working late

Only to have the good luck to happen upon this gem:


J'adore cette chanson

Cripes she's so knockout.


Put a cork in it. Open this bottle instead.


I've got to get the bitch outta the blog, and keep the kvetching for my therapist.

Instead, here is a sample of the wellspring of fascinating blogland goodies.

There is some seriously interesting stuff being discussed in these places, whether it be about advertising, art, techhead stuff, philosophy, or fashion, they all relate somehow to photo.

They're restoring my faith in the existence of constructive creative discourse.

Take your pick:

A Visual Society

A Photo Editor

Worship Worthy

You Call This Photography?

The Sonic Blog


What's The Jackanory

The Year in Pictures

I Heart Photograph

Diane: A Shaded View of Fashion




Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This is driving me bonkers

Has everyone been duped? Can't anyone see? Or HEAR?

I just don't understand it. I have not been convinced.

Beside the amusement of watching her knock-kneed bogle.

I think M.I.A. sucks.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Work it out.

Oh my, oh s#!t, oh yeah.

Time to get back to biznas.

I’ve got butterflies in my belly.

Things look good, very good, possibility abounds.

I’ve been traveling; recuperating, breathing deeply and playing, and I feel, finally, creativity lurching back full force.

Kate and I often talk about the struggle to maintain a career path that pleases us. As with anything, balance is hard to attain, but not impossible - as mentioned this week, “integrity is rarely painless.”

We’ve learned this the hard way. Trying to keep integrity within our workplace is hard when you need to pay the bills. It’s difficult to turn down paying work just because it doesn’t get your mind bubbling.

Another hard but valuable lesson was discovering that even if someone is indeed passionate about your work, it doesn’t mean they get it. We were briefly represented by a person who had our career pointed in a very scary direction, if we had stayed on that path, I can tell you right now I would have ended up smashing my camera, packing it all in, and becoming an acupuncturist. Thankfully though, we had the sense to leave, even if said agent made the process unnecessarily unpleasant.

So we’re flying by the seat of our pants, and it’s a great way to be. I’d rather be the highly inflammable concoction of reckless, calculating, stick to my guns, master of my own destiny person, than a watered down version of myself.

So, it’s time for Kate and I to get back to our essential selves. We’re doing a million casting calls; we’ve got some fab projects under way, and some wonderful magazines to work with in the coming months.

We’re on the edge of a fantastic relaunch.

Above, for starters, is the wonderful new logo designed by the talented, the wonderful, the lovely, WSDIA.
I can't bloody figure out how to put it on the blog though....


Monday, November 12, 2007

Heppy Birsday, Broadway Camilla!

I don't know why I'm Broadway Camilla, but that's what the Mongolian lady who lead the cabaret at Primorski's thought of me.

In her baritone voice she summoned me to the stage to receive my Birsday cake. In a low grumble she looked at me and said, "Do you sink you cun remember wot to do?" If I was clever and not drunk on wodka I would have said, a la Lauren Bacall, "I just put my lips together and blow". Instead I nodded, clapped my hands like a gleeful kid, did a little samba step and blew out the candle to seal the celebrations of my 30th birthday.

It was a stupendous night, totally met my party fantasy. I had a wish of a decadent night eating caviar, drinking free flowing vodka and champagne along with a slew of special dear lovely friends, and that is exactly what happened. Plus we got to add a group of 60 year-old revelers to the mix as well -they couldn't stop fondling our men folk!

Being at Primorski's was like being teleported to St Petersburg in 1959. Hardly any English was spoken outside of our table, dance moves were organic, interpretive and goofy, food was salty, greasy and wiggly, attire was flashy, trashy and decidedly Russian.

We danced, we ate tongue, we poked the "aspic", we ripped dresses, I spilled cola, we did dining table break dancing, and I felt love and happiness all around me.



Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I understand why there are so many anonymous blogs in photoland.

It’s clever, it’s stylish. It’s a cut above, it takes talent, and not anyone could do it, even if it does look effortless. It’s beautiful, it’s moody, it’s a narrative, it’s a lifestyle, it’s compelling, and you know what? I’ve seen it ALL before.

Where is the new? Where is the original? Where is the next? This is not the voice of a voracious consumer, rapacious and chewing through the masses of objects insatiably hungry for the next, this is the voice of a disappointed photo lover, of a hopeless romantic with no object for my affections.

I adore photography, it is a compulsion within me that manifests in bursts and spates: I can turn the camera on myself when I need proof of my existence, I can turn the camera on others when I need to feel connected, I can turn it to a mountain when I need to touch the intangibles of life.

Yes, I have an ongoing frustration with my photographic vision -that will never stop. I have taken, we have taken, the occasional SUBLIME image, and one day we will take another, and one day we’ll have a whole bunch.

This other fight is outside of our production; it is simply as a lover of the photograph. I see so much, and I see it is GOOD, I see it has a place and a moment and maybe even some MEANING. But it all feels the same. Where is the inspiration?

I went to the ADC last week for a lecture given by the visual artists who received this year’s Young Guns award. The first speaker made very appealing music videos. They were hot, they oozed style, but I could attribute most of his visual devices to someone before him. It wouldn’t be fair to call him a rip off artist, he did indeed make the videos his own, and well, and they bore his identity and signature, but he boldly took from others. The moderator had the balls or audacity to ask him, “What have you shown us here that’s original?” We were all a bit dumbstruck, it was harsh, but on the money.

So this is my peeve. Polish is great, style is mesmerizing, execution is everything and talent essential, but when you can’t tell one artist from the next and one guy's work is clearly “inspired” by another’s, what’s the fucking point? Why don’t we just make robots for all our favourite photo styles so when the originators die we can plug in the photobots to keep cranking it out.

I wrote all of this every so slightly afraid of who I would offend, having linked to a number of photographers in order to illustrate my points. After some chats, Kate and I decided to remove the links. We've done it before, stated our opinions, said what we believed only to be castigated later. I have opinions and I don't think it's cool to kiss ass and be magnanimous, opinions are good, expressing them valuable, I don't intend to offend, I intend to discuss, express, and assess. But Kate's right, I'll regret it when a bunch of photo peeps hate our guts and make our lives difficult some day down the line because I used their work to illustrate how repetitive so much photo is now. I feel like I have to give in and tacitly support the sameness, when I would rather push my opinions in order to push the paradigm, push the standards, be better photographers, better image consumers, more conscientious participants in creative society.

We've found plenty of articles
and blog discussions decrying our work. It burns for about 3 seconds and then you say, "whatever, next please". Yeah, people need to harden the fuck up.

And I feel pressure to shut the fuck up.


Monday, November 5, 2007

Crazy trumps all.

Okay we can get back into my difficulty with social bonding environments later. There’s so much I and we haven’t been updating you on that I’m starting to feel the burden of the backlog. Time to be timely. So here’s a story from this morning accompanied by the pictures of us at Halloween, and if you can't figure out who we are then follow the Big Bottom:

8:30 a.m. R train. Manhattan bound.

Train is surprisingly un-crowded considering morning rush hour patterns.
I secure a wide open safe spot by the doors that won’t open until the Atlantic Pacific stop so I can stay put until then and set up with my book. Good follower of MTA safety rules, I perch against a divide, not the doors.

Suddenly I feel an elbow in my back. I assume it is an accident and continue to read my newly delivered purchase.

Elbow is now repeatedly nesting in my lower back with a rhythmic poke poke poke. I turn around to see a haggard looking woman, with red brown lipstick leaking onto her pale white face from the tiny crags around her lips. Her circa ’84 Madonna bleach job has a dry straw-like quality as it sticks from under her velvet cap.

She scowls.

I say, earnestly, “Feeling aggressive this morning?” and return to reading.

I can endure physical pain it does not bother me like it should. She can poke, I don’t care, I have a knot down there anyway and I’m seeing my chiro tonight.

She starts more pointedly poking her elbow into my back.

I turn to her and say with a smile,“It’s too early in the day for this.” And turn back to read.

“Get yer fucking back outta my face. Get yer fucking back outta my face”. She repeats and repeats.

I turn toward her again, smile a true smile and say “I looove you too”

“What?” she shrieks.

I look deep, unwaivering, into her purple kohl-laced eyes and say,

Woman gets quiet. Mission accomplished. You can be tough you can be strong you can be logical or fair. But when it comes to winning an NY street turf battle –nobody argues with a weirdo.