Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An afternoon at New York Botanical Garden

When you are freelance, like I have been for the last 11 years,
the concept of sneaking away from your job on a day off will
lose its meaning. But every once in awhile the feeling comes
back. For some reason going to a garden during the week
gives me the sense that I shouldn't be there enjoying myself
quite so much (which of course makes me enjoy my time there
so much more). I think it has to do with who else is there at
that time. Lots of school kid groups. Lots of gardeners working.
The occasional Buddhist monk, retirees enjoying the garden
and each other.

Yesterday I zipped up (literally in a Zipcar) to the
New York Botanical Garden. Earlier this week I was out in
New Jersey visiting my mother and it seemed every other
tree was exploding with blossoms. I did not have
my camera with me. When I got back to the city I became
almost desperate wanting to get out and shoot flowering trees.
Things, blossom-wise, can change so quickly this time of year.
Just one strong thunderstorm and VOILA, no blossoms.

Anyway, here are some pics from my garden time
yesterday in D'Bronx.

ps. Do you think the woman in the next to last
shot KNEW she was going to sit under pink
cherry blossoms when she chose her cherry-blossom
pink shirt that morning?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vermeer and Caravaggio

Sunday in the city was gorgeous. The first weekend where spring was here without reservation.
I went for a roller-blade along the Hudson and I thought the clouds looked like clouds I
remembered from a Vermeer painting. Well, when I got back home that led to me looking
up other artists and I found this still-life by Caravaggio I don't remember seeing. It is an
amazing still-life of a fruit basket. In a way a tour-de-force. Somehow almost second-hand
but to me mesmerizing and evidence of intense compositional skill and painting talent.

Everything now is so immediate with digital work that it is almost beyond comprehension
the time and planning and ability it takes to make paintings.

Here is the lovely Vermeer landscape, View of Delft and Caravaggio's Canestra di frutta.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

what happened to my neat studio?

Shooting today and tomorrow in the new studio. Ironically I am
using lights because some of the pics need to look like we
are outside and to do that in a studio you have to use lights
(the light has to look like it comes from overhead not from
the side like it would from a window). Everything went well
today but the studio fills up very quickly.

I like the prop stylist, Helen Crowther (she is putting
together her new website and I will post it once I get the address).
Helen is organized and has a great eye and fun and does
not get too wrapped up in "I'm the stylist on set" sort of thinking.

Here are just a few random shots of the prop tables with
some of the props set up.

What once was a nice vaguely OCD studio now looks very lived in.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring flowers in the studio

Did a test with these spring flowers from the 28th street flower market.
I have bought some new lights (continuous lighting --Lite Panels and
an Arri instead of the strobe--Profoto). Of course, ironically, I try to get
the lighting to look like daylight. This is helpful when on set and the client
needs time to tweak things and I have to send out jpgs and wait back for approval.
That way we can just go right back to the image and not worry about the
sun shifting position or clouds or nightfall!

The narcissus had the most intense fragrance. Two days later our studio
manager basically said "it is either me or the flowers!" because the fragrance
just became too much.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My very pink saturday morning

On my walk across west 37th street between 9th avenue
and 7th avenue there was a pink-ish "wolf" seat cover,
pink leaves in a planter, pink graffiti, a pink vest and
crazy pink fabric. Then the Union Square Farmer's Market
had flowers that nearly assaulted you with their springy pinkness.

Maybe the color gods decided NYC needed a little help today
on this gray, cold spring morning.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nice is, well, nice.

Back from Corsica and France. Will get some Corsica images up after the client
get them up on their site.

Did stop for one night in Nice. I have been before and there is something so
interesting about the city. Reminds me of Hawaii. The Beach and the sea
are big draws for both tourists and locals. I have never been here at the height
of summer season but beach must be slammed with people. Already in
not-so-warm temps there were people trying to get themselves into the water.

You can tell that jet-lag has sucked away my clever juice....maybe I can
reboot after a good nights sleep.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Took off in this / landed in that

Yesterday at 6pm I flew out of gray/rainy JFK and today
landed in Nice, France and than a short flight to Corsica.
Here in Bastia for a shoot. It is extraordinary here. The most
mountainous island in the Mediterranean. The culture is an
interesting mix of I love France/I Hate France. In a way
a super-sized version of the townies vs. the summer people you will find
at summer resorts through out the US.

The magazine had a small budget on this one so for
the first time I am negotiating a foreign
travel job by myself. And no. I do not speak french.

Right now hoping I fall asleep early since I am weirdly
dog-tired but somehow not in the mood to get to bed
it being 4:30pm NYC time and 10:30 Corsica time.
I have alot to get done tomorrow and want to be
up-and-at-em in the morning.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The simple new studio

Here are some pics of the new photo studio. We are trying very, very hard
to keep
it so simple here. I took these photos before we opened up for
business so of course
even now there are more things in the studio.
Some grip (stands, sandbags, apple boxes, etc)
and a few rolling carts.
But I want it to be a clean slate for me and for anyone who rents

the space for shooting.

I love so much the concrete floors. And of course the light is so nice
for my job. I have
gotten into the habit of using strobe to re-create
natural light and now I am back in
love with using natural light.

And my office is upstairs and my assistant's space and a room for
me to shoot in if someone
has booked the downstairs

You can tell that I am maybe a little bit obsessed about open,
simple my apartment. But
my apartment is simple
and open and gray. This place is so white.

ps. The white chairs (Norvald) and white tables (Melltorp) are from
Ikea of course. The Jean
Prouve inspired chairs are from
White On White furniture in NYC. The stainless steel tables

are from Chinatown, NYC.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I'm friends with my apartment again

Spent a good part of the weekend just organizing and cleaning. When I do this I feel like I am back again at the "dating" stage with my apartment where all seems new and fresh and exciting. Well I guess not so hard to clean since I don't really have too much. I like my apartment simple and uncluttered. I took a few pics. I did not have a tripod at my apartment---well I had a tripod but not a tripod head---so I shot these handheld. Usually I am all about the tripod.

One of the best parts of cleaning is that I can then relax a little bit later on and look thru
some of my books for inspiration. Here is what I looked thru today.

This is from the book about Herb Ritts titled "Herb Ritts: The Golden Hour".
Herb was a major
force in photography from the 80s and 90s. I remember
thinking, before I was a photographer but still a photo editor, "I wish I could
someday take pics like that..." His work was so stylised
and sexy and
beautifully printed.

In that same "Let's take gorgeous pics of semi-clad beautiful men" vein, here are some spreads
from an epically photographed and printed and designed book by the photographer
Ruven Afanador. This book, Torreo, is on matadors. Ruven is from colombia and I am guessing
the bull ring and bull fight are part of his mythos. This book seems to me testimony to the idea
that what you know well and are passionate about will show in the final result.

NOMA (titled after the restaurant of the same name) is an outstanding book of recipes and photographs. The recipes are by
Rene Redzepl and the photography by Ditte Isager. The pics weirdly don't make me want to eat the food right
away as much as they make me with I was Danish.

And from the other side of the world but very close in terms of attention to esthetic detail is a book on Japanese photographers from the 1960s and 1970s called, aptly, "Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and '70s". The image above is titled "Fushi Kaden" by Issei Suda.

Here is another book featuring work of a Japanese artist. This time a person who was
declared a National Living Treasure in Japan. Keisuke Serizawa. He practiced and exulted
"mingei" which is "people craft". Especially textile design. The above spread shows his
stencil-dyed raw silk of Japanese syllables.

Finally this little book titled "Watercolour Patterns" by Joost Van Roojen. I can't remember
where I found this book. Maybe even at the prop house but I love the paintings and color
treatments by Roojen.