30 November, 2006



Umbrella, trash cans, plants, chairs. All stuff that blew over in the wind yesterday. Not to mention the palms raining down from my palm trees. These things are like razor sharp projectiles.

29 November, 2006

The Nog

About this time of year, when I'm wandering the aisles at the local food store, my eye is sensually drawn to an alluring old friend. Somewhere near the border of the dairy department, decked in bright green or red, where the air is cool and crisp, I say hello, once again, to my old friend Egg Nog.
Perhaps the greatest sports drink of all time, the Nog is the right choice for virtually any situation. Long ride on your bike? Sure, fill up that water bottle with Egg Nog. Having a party and need something to mix with whisky? Go ahead and Nog.
Good Egg Nog is like a gel, or paste, and should be somewhere between a solid and a liquid. They make, "light," but don't waste your time. This is an insult to what the real Nog is like.
Is it wrong to dream about Egg Nog. No.
Espresso + Egg Nog = morning heaven.
So, the next time you are wandering those same aisles, do youself a favor and do the Nog.

Tick Tock

Just read where the Iraq war has lasted longer than World War II.

28 November, 2006

Mom Update

Just spoke to the parental unit known as my mother. She was at home watching Kung Fu movies, and admitted that her dog was dominating her life.

25 November, 2006

The Journals

Okay, so I've kept these books for years. Why? Don't know really, just do. I keep them in an old shed in my backyard. The shed has been there for decades, and perhaps is not the most secure, weather wise, of all locations. But, it's cool. It's an old shed. The books, from time to time, get a little musty you might say. So, I take them out and let them breath.

22 November, 2006

Thanksgiving Officially Postponed One Day

According to independent sources, Thanksgiving has officially been postponed one day due to traffic on local roads and highways. It was determined that the vast majority of all persons traveling in Southern California were unable to get to their intended destinations due to violently dull gridlock.
Motorists, stranded on the 5, 405, 210, 605, 22, 91, 710, 73, 55, 57, 76, 78 and 15 freeways were all in agreement that something had to be done.
"This sucks man," one motorist was heard to utter. "I'm cooking my turkey right here," another blurted out as he began spraying lighter fluid over coals in the HOV lane.
Known as "The Land of the Automobile," Southern California has began to feel the bite of poor planning, lack of vision and mind-numbing lethargy, and now Thanksgiving has paid the price.
Stay tuned for further updates.

21 November, 2006


Best inventions ever:

1-espresso coffee
3-equipment used to enjoy espresso coffee and film.

20 November, 2006

What next?

In this business, many of the people you end up working with, within the industry, try to envision you as one thing or another. Pidgeon-holing someone is another description for this, but it is not to say anyone does to to damage you. Just picture yourself, no pun intended, as a photo-editor having to deal with the hundreds and hundreds of photographers that clog your inbox everyday.
As a defense mechanism these editors, or other people in the position of hiring photographers, will want to remember you for just one thing, to make things easier when the times comes to hire someone. Someone says, "Los Angeles, spot news," and wham a name pops in their head. "Kid photographer," wham, another name.
For me, this has always been an issue. Why? Because I shoot A LOT of different things.
Recently, I was in New York showing work at a gathering of photo-agencies from around the world. All throughout the day, editors, art-buyers, picture researchers, etc, were coming through the door and up to the table I was sitting at. They would casually browse the work, mine as well as many others, and if something caught their eye they would move closer and ask questions.
Many times someone would look at my work, the varying images and ask about one or the other. Then, they would ask about the other work, and look for another person to be associated with it. I would say, "Oh, actually, all of that is mine," and we would laugh about the diversity of the pictures.
Last week, in one day I shot a kid portrait, an adult portrait, pictures of my mother, botanicals and black and white landscapes.
The crazy part. I feel like I haven't even started yet, and there are many more things on the way.

Scarface and the Coke Sub

So recently I watched the 1980's classic Scarface, one of the signature pieces of actor Al Pacino's career. I had seen this beauty before, but it had been years, and so many currents films are crap, so I decided to revisit this brutal classic to see how it would stand the test of time.
The disco scenes alone are worth the price of admission. Tragically 80's would be a accurate way to describe these awful moments. When I say awful I mean like a car accident where you know you shouldn't look but you just can't stop yourself. The cars, the clothes, the lighting, etc, might be the 80's, but Pacino's acting and the storyline are equally as strong today as they were in the days of daylights shootouts in Miami Dade.
We have had Enron and the Yankees, but nothing crumbles quite like a coke empire, and this film is worth revisiting.

And, on a newsworthy note, today, off the coast of Costa Rica, authorities captured a "coke sub." Yep, someone actually built a sub, a lame one(6 foot diving depth) to haul their booty to the US of A. Do you need a captain's license to pilot this thing? Is there a bathroom on board? A glass bottom to see the fish? Direct TV? I guess you don't have to worry about the captain falling asleep.

Who Dat?

Okay, the Saints have begun their yearly slide, slowly killing me in the process. Twice as many first downs. Twice as many total yards. 510 passing yards. And we lose big. Oh, not to mention the five turnovers.
Reality is like a shovel to the head.

17 November, 2006


NYC from my room. Nothing fancy.

LA Gallery Shows

Okay, if you have the time, there are two shows in Los Angeles that are must sees. First, "Subway," by Bruce Davidson, Magnum photographer and legendary documentary icon, at the Rose Gallery in Bergamont Station. Dye transfer prints. And for you digital love children, if you don't know what these are, put down the wacom pad and google it. Only one person still doing this style print, but they are unique and fun to look at, and will give you an idea of the power of "old school" color. Don't know Bergamont Station? Wake up, put down the pipe and drive there right now. An interesting place, typically something worthwhile at any point you decide to drop by.
Also, Daido Moriyama at Stephen Cohen Gallery on Beverly Blvd. Trend-setting Japanese master of the nasty streets of this Asian land. Dark, grain, mood, craziness. If you don't know Daido, don't fret, their is still hope for you. Drive there as fast as possible.

Was also able to take in BD lecture at the Anthony Nex studio in Culver City, a beautiful place. Thank you Anthony.
Bruce was fantastic, had a sense of humor and a body of work that just makes me shake in my boots. There are not many people like Bruce left, and unfortunately, there don't seem to be many young photographers producing the depth and girth of the work that Bruce has done. However, we live in a time when this type of depth is substituted for Tom and Kate's wedding, etc. There are great "young" photographers working, Magnum having at least three or four, but a different time indeed.
I always had respect for Bruce, but now it goes even further.
Oh, and just to remind you what this 73-year-old shooter does on a daily basis....PRINTS! His own work, from 5am to 2pm each day. How you like them apples?

It appears as if there will be much new work from Bruce, courtesy of Steidl publishing(my favorite by the way, not that I have ever had a book done!) which is good for all of us. A retrospective. 50 years, new work. Brace yourself.

Mom in the Backyard

Gotta have some snaps of the mother unit. Mid laugh.

13 November, 2006


I knew it. I held the catalog in my hand and made the call. Computer catalog. Trying to buy new laptop. I knew it wouldn't work. Could I even get through the phone options? Would I get a human? Would they know the product? Would they have the product? Could I get a price?
I know, I know, in the computer age this kind of customer service, service with no face, never provides anything remotely this helpful.
So, here I sit. The call the over. I don't own a laptop. I'm no closer than before. The "online" service department "hasn't been updated" to show the options available in the catalog I hold in my hand.
"The most you can get is two gigs of RAM," the voice says. "No," I say. "I think the new model holds three."
It does.
"I see you can get a bundle with an extra gig of RAM," I say, reading this off the COVER of the new catalog.
"No, we don't have that option," the voice says. "Unless you can give me a part number."
Wait, ME give THEM a part number. Doesn't this work the other way?
"Do you have a showroom in Los Angeles?" I ask. "No," the voice says.
"You don't have a showroom in Santa Monica?" I ask again.
"Oh, wait, let me check....oh yes, we do have a showroom in Santa Monica."
Okay, now what.
Do I REALLY NEED a new laptop. Hmmm, maybe not.
I could have had it by now? Maybe.
Maybe I buy something else?

11 November, 2006

Dateline Newport Beach

Newport Beach Hike and Bike Trail Named World's Most Dangerous Road

Independent sources are confirming that the Newport Beach Hike and Bike trail has been named "The World's Most Dangerous Road." This title has in the past been linked to such destinations as Bolivia and Nepal, but this year finds itself right here in Southern California.
When cornered, the judges said the evidence was overwhelming. "People on cell-phones, walking like they drive, baby carriers, dogs off of leashes and those damn birdwatchers," one judge squawked as he sat with is head hung low. "I've never seen anything like it."
"Just carnage," another judge repeated over and over.

10 November, 2006

This little guy was wanting to sink his teeth into my fleshy thigh.


I didn't know Ed Bradley. In fact, never met him, spoke to him or had any dealings with him. But, in a modern journalism world filled with mindless jackals(listen to the post election Bush interview if you need proof) Ed Bradley was a throw-back to more simplistic and effective times.
A journalist from seemingly the beginning of life itself, he had a respect and intensity that doesn't come around very often.
I think he actually cared about what he was reporting on. Let me repeat that. I think he actually cared about what he was reporting on, or at least it sure felt that way.
Perhaps he was above the fray of modern journalism, which allowed him to operate this way, and to focus on only the good projects.
He was at 60 Minutes for at least 200 years. And who can forget "the wade" into the coffee-colored waters of another world to help the struggling boat people, the story that was quite possibly the first memory many people had of this African-American pioneer.
And at 65 years young, Bradley should be a reminder to all of us to get off our asses and get done what we NEED to get done in life. Not the mindless antics we do on a daily basis, but the REAL stuff we always promise ourselves we need to do.

09 November, 2006

A Change in the Wind

Well, election results are in, and we see a change in the wind. House and Senate, under Dem control for the first time in over a decade. What does this mean? Something? Nothing?
Not really sure.
There are many folks talking and thinking big, but actually getting things done in Washingon is far more difficult than most idealists think. When things go right, everyone wants credit, and when they go wrong, the blame falls on who came before. It's just the way it works.
We the people are a strange entity, fickle and desiring everything for little or no required effort.
Our political system is like docking The Queen Mary, quick reversals and movements are not possible.
Steady as she goes.

08 November, 2006

Movie Review: The Aviator

Okay, with so many people talking about the recent release, "The Departed," I figured it was time to see the LAST Leonardo Dicaprio movie, at least the last one I know of, "The Aviator," a film revolving around the eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes.
Dicaprio, a talented actor, has had his ups and downs, but this film had received many awards, so my expectations were high.
The film, with much of its content shot on blue screen, aided with special effects, never lost it's human feeling, something that commonly happens when computer effects are the selling point of a film. I was pleasantly surprised.
And, Dicaprio was very good. "Brilliant" is a word I reserve for films like "Enter the Dragon," "Wargames" and "Spies Like Us," so I'm not going to use it here, but you get my drift.
As the film played I ran the names and faces of other actors through my head, others who might have been better in this situation, and NOBODY came to mind. A good casting call in this one. Kate Blanchett as Kate Hepburn was also an interesing twist.
I'm giving this baby the finger, which will be MY rating systems. No thumbs up or down, just "giving it the finger." Rent it.

07 November, 2006

"E" None of the Above

Wow, just returned from the vote and was dying for "E none of the above," option. What a trainwreck of candidates. Not in all cats mind you. There were some clear choices, but in some cats it was truly the New American Option of "Lesser of Two Evils."
Let's see, do I want the guy with the mile long rap sheet, or the guy who steals only from rich folk?"
Is this it? Does it get better?

The Smog of War

Jesus, just back from voting and running some errands. The air in Orange County today is like breathing a faint liquid, so filled with particles and pollution it appears as if we are seeing the world through a warming filter, one a little on the brown side of warm.
How on Earth is this not more of an issue?
They say if your child is born in SoCal they are immediately at risk in their respiratory and immune systems.
The Santa Ana's have taken the hellish, Inland Empire fumes we call air and kindly transported them our way. Gee, thanks.
I was planning a short 25 on the bike, but will stay in today. No sense riding in this. Voting was bad enough.

More Tech Woes

Okay, today's update. My watch, digital special, just broke. Done.
Last night two beautiful, 16x20 prints of the new printer. Now, printer doesn't work.
Just pressed the "send" button on my phone...nothing. Frozen. Take the battery out and restart.
If you need me, I'll be out back trying to make fire.

Ballot Booth D-Day

It's here people. Voting day. And once again, the great question...."Who the hell are you going to vote for?"
My entire life, all thirty-seven-years of it, I've never had ANYONE who made me think, "I really feel great about voting for this person."
Nope. Never.
If you are HONEST about "your" candidate, and you look TRUTHFULLY into their background...I"m not sure how you can vote with confidence. Our system of government, although grand in many ways, does seem to produce candidates of alarming stature.
I always find myself asking,"Is this it?" "Is this the best we could come up with?"
Voting straight ticket is beyond my ability to fathom, and I know A LOT of folks who vote this way.
Just because I see a guy in a Satan's Slaves vest doesnt' make me think I want to join the biker gang. Then why would I vote for someone with "Democrat" or "Republican" around their neck?
Let's face it, the days of hard, party-line politics are as blurred as Mel Gibson's night vision.
I think...I think we have to THINK now. Does that make sense.
There IS one thing I enjoy about today, and that is the process of going to vote, the actual, physical process. Walking into the booth, punching, clipping, licking or whatever process we are dealing with at this point. It's cool. So go do it.

06 November, 2006

Photo Plus Review

Back from New York with a review of Photo Plus Expo, the annual gathering of the tribe known as the photo-industry.
I wasn’t sure how to go about this; how to give my impression, but I know that most people aren’t really going to care what I think, so there was a generous amount of flexibility.

My grand idea is to give medals. Yep, that’s it. Gold, silver, bronze, you know the drill.

My choices might surprise you because much of what I experienced at this grand convention was not that inspiring(I'm picky), so I had to look outside the bounds of traditional prize-winning subjects and dig deep into the experience of the event.
It is very clear the photo-industry is now run by technology and not photography. The vast majority of booths, lectures, seminars, etc, were technology based, and if that is your thing, then Photo Plus would have been a pixilated overload.
But for me, I think there are many ways to sell gear without having to talk tech. Show me work. And in this I was very disappointed.

It had been several years since I had been to New York, or Photo Plus, and what struck me immediately was the fact that many of the speakers endorsing one thing or another sure seemed like the same folks I saw endorsing the same stuff years ago…? There seemed to be an intense lack of new blood, of new work and new angles.

I think the photo-industry suffers from a malaise of creativity, which is masked by the continual infusing of new crap to buy and upgrade.

There was also intense overexposure, as in the same photographer speaking at three, four different booths. In my mind, there are very, very, few photographers worth seeing at more than one booth. And none of the speakers I witnessed really seemed to have work interesting enough to pull this off. (Mental note: I’m not claiming I’m a genius, or that my work would be worthy of this either. Not even close. But, I do have the right to critique. And, there were plenty of speakers I did not see.)

Okay, enough of this babble. Now, lets get to the awards.

Bronze Medal: Martin Parr

I would guess in the neighborhood of 250 people crammed into meeting room whatever to see and hear what Mr. Parr had to offer. Images and concepts were the dominant feature, how refreshing, with little to no questions or talk regarding software, cameras, etc. And, Mr. Parr had a sense of HUMOR, something lacking in many of the other presentations. Parr, one of the few photographers to really bridge the ever-important gap between art and photography, is one of the most influential photographers working today, and appears by all accounts to be a very normal guy with little ego or overt flash.

Silver Medal: All the companies who sponsored the nightly parties.

Oh, and I’m talking about the “open to most everyone” parties, not the “exclusionary” parties that also occur during this time.Those elitest party planners know who they are!(Am I pissed because I wasn't invited? You will have to guess.) American Photo, PDN, Digital Railroad, Livebooks, Photoshelter, Kodak, etc, all had parties that were “light at the door” if you know what I mean. These parties were about “come in and have a good time,” and not about whom you know or who you are. I’ve always had a problem with this other kind of party, probably why I’m not a joiner when it comes to clubs or groups. (Again, if that is your thing then so be it.)
A personal “thank you,” goes out to these welcoming folks and their shelling out the pesos to give all of us a good time.


The crews that clean up the Javits Center the MOMENT the event ends.

I wish I had a photo-related lecture, event or happening to take this medal, but there are only so many style points you are going to get by talking about software, lens elements or workflow options. It’s just not that interesting people! (Mental note: I, of course, use software, lens elements, and even engage in workflow, but there is no way in HELL these are taking the top prize.)
So, I’m relegated to handing out nothing other than my awe to the guys and gals that tear this great beast down.
If you haven’t seen these people in action, all I can say is they work faster cleaning this building than those lawyers in Glen Gary Glen Ross. It’s like they have something to hide.
One minute you are in a mini-mall of booths, and the next minute your standing on cold cement. Kudos people, you are a well-oiled machine.
Now I think I have some idea who cleaned up the Hoffa mess. If your not careful and hang around too long there is a danger of being swept up, boxed, taped, and shipped before anyone has a chance to realize your gone.
Again, this was an easy vote for me. This group was far and away the most dominant, interesting feature of the event. I’ve been looking for a new project, and I think I might have just found my subject matter. “Trade Show Hellions”

Honorable Mentions: There were plenty of other bright notes.

Apple Aperture(See, I’m not totally jaded): Complicated, but looks to be headed in the right direction, thinking of the total picture, including the cataloging idea. And, price reduced.

Leica M8: (See, I’m not totally jaded.) Looks interesting for those who feel digital M will give them what they need.

Darius Himes for his program about photo-books. Darius fits a niche in this industry, an interesting one, and you won’t find anyone who knows more about photo-books. And he has a cool car.

Kate Chase: A woman who reps retouching experts. Very nice, very interesting.

The crew at Digital Railroad: The team was great, fun, and walked me through the new operating system. Kudos to Jennifer, Tom, George and the others.

Dave Metz at Canon for final night dinner at Victors. I’m still full.

The Picturehouse crew for arranging the event.

Ted G(aka Ted Longfellow), writer friend from New York, who put a mighty dent in the whisky bottle during a nightly party, and became a hit in the process.

The guy stuffing buffet food in his photo vest at one of the events.

The guy I saw peeing in daylight hours somewhere on 38th street. A real daring dude he was.

Peter Waisnor for his dinner conversation, quirks, and just being Peter.

Janet Began for her Halloween costume.

Coney Island. My first trip. Fantastic.

Michael Grecco for the book.

Hussein Formani for the Lucy Awards, tons of work and fun.

Duane Michals for saying and doing what he says and does.

Scott D from Kodak, for his sense of humor and the film.

Clay Blackmore, someone I had never met, but someone who I now know is REALLY a photographer. He has the bug, the bug you can’t acquire, you are just born with it. Here is to printing and processing Mr. Blackmore.

Oh, last but not least. The Peruvian flute player on the subway. I’ve heard my fair share, and this guy was good.

Stay tuned for more thrilling photo-industry news.

Photo Plus Expo

Strange happenings at a strange place and time.

Tedly Von G, AKA "Ted Longfellow" after making a dent in the whisky bottle. Photo Plus Expo party. Scary, truly scary.

05 November, 2006


Just back from The Apple. Give me a moment to catch my breath. Much to report.