Tonight I stopped by the Powerhouse Arena in DUMBO to check out the launch of “Forest Defenders,” Chris LaMarca’s new book. Also at the arena that night was a show called Shifting Landscapes, a beautiful albeit incongruent selection of huge photographs taken by Lamarca, Josh Lutz, Olaf Otto Becker, Edward Burtynsky, David Maisel, and Simon Norfolk. The subject matter dealt loosely with natural landscapes and the imposition of man/ human relationships with them, but to me the chosen images connected on an almost purely aesthetic level.
Here’s how the PH website defined the show:
“Shifting Landscapes features Olaf Otto Becker’s serene photographs of Greenland’s sprawling and rapidly melting glaciers; Edward Burtynsky’s vast and unimaginable mountainous landscape of discarded tires; Joshua Lutz’s intimate study of New Jersey’s dwindling natural wetlands and the landfills and poorly planned developments responsible for their destruction; Christopher LaMarca’s activist inspired documentary work with elusive forest defenders in majestic and vulnerable north western old growth forests; David Maisel’s bird’s eye perspective on a convergence of roadways in Los Angeles exposing abused desert terrain; and Simon Norfolk’s photographs of the detritus of decades of war in Afghanistan and Iraq as philosophical metaphors for the foolishness of pride, awe and the sublime, and the vanity of Empire.”
I’m excitedly awaiting my copy of LaMarca’s book in the mail, and judging by the beautiful cover image and design, it should be a good one. Can’t wait to see if any of the photos are of the “forest defenders” I know, and I’m equally excited to see how LaMarca, who I’m guessing is an outsider to America’s anarchist/radical movement, handles his subject matter.
Way too tired to post, but you can check out my work here:
Yawn! So in lieu of my own photos, here’s a funny one my friend Bill Auth took of me, while I was wedged between a few Secret Service agents, an NYPD photog, and Police Commissioner Kelly today at the Yankee Stadium Mass.
Of course, I ended making friends with the agent on the left. He asked for a picture of himself with the Pope in the background. These Secret Service guys, I swear!
Last night, after the show ended in Yonkers, myself and my wonderful fellow photographer Erin Feinburg (yes, Chris hired two Erins, more on that later) were in the production trailer uploading our images. In popped two agents, who gave us expensive-looking business cards, along with very sheepish grins. They wanted to know if we’d taken any photos of the Pope with them in the background.
I found a shot with one of them- though it’s not exactly the Pope in the background.
Actually, it’s when Christian musical acts perform for bunch of nuns, seminarians, students from Catholic high schools and universities, and the Pope himself.
An excited nun.
One of the singers from Christian super-group Toby Mac.
The Pope arrives backstage.
A devout kid gets to meet him onstage.
Kelly Clarkson performs “Ave Maria” for the Pope.
The Pope performs his signature arm-wave for the crowd.
So after flying from SF to NYC last night, I got to St. Joseph’s Seminary this morning (big love to my lovely friend Bex, who let me borrow her car for the Brooklyn-to-Yonkers commute). The client I’m working for, a fantastic producer and total smart ass, had me work a 13 hour day shooting soundchecks and getting the lay of the land for this weekend’s, uh, Papal ecstasy. Here’s the throne, pre-Pope, on a wheeled dolly.
Christian group “The Three Graces” soundcheck. As the soundcheck ended, one of the many Secret Service agents trolling the Seminary grounds walked by me, lightheartedly growling, “I bet you can sing better than that.”
I don’t understand how some players can just walk back into the dugout and not toss an old ball up to one of the kids above. Like this little guy.
Who cares if he’s a tiny San Francisco fan begging the visiting team for a ball?
Here’s your levitation shot of the day:
Hey, are those balls in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
And of course, the thanks-for-the-base-hit safe on second moment of prayer:
Here’s the weird shot of the day.. apparently this guy didn’t wanna slap hands.
And here’s my new friend Chris, who was shooting next to me and kindly put up with incessant questions about the game, his favorite players, and everything else.
Here’s a sequence of Larue, who plays for the Cardinals, trying to bunt and getting hit in the face.
The crowd goes crazy as PATD starts to play.
Last night I shot Panic at the Disco for Rolling Stone. The show was at the Warfield, which is San Francisco’s answer to Webster Hall, I guess. The band is made up of 19 year olds, so the crowd seemed about 98% female, and about 50% accompanied by a parent. To me, it was really interesting to watch the preteen audience, with their carefully made up young faces, tight halter tops and painstakingly ironed hair- such a difference from the punk and skacore shows I went to as a teenybopper at the old El’n’Gee in New London. I remember dragging my mom to a Checkered Cabs show once, not as a chaperone, but so she could see how much fun it was to -ahem- skank. She didn’t dance, though, but seemed content to stand along a wall and gawk at the pink mohawks.
Last night it was also kinda saddening to listen to the trained girlspeak so many teen ladies utilize…
Girl One: “Like, Brendan is sooooo hot! Like totally! I so wanna make out with him!”
Girl Two: “Yeah like totally!”
Girl One: “I wanna like MARRY him!”
Girl Two: “Totally me too like that would be SO AWESOME.”
Girls One and Two (together): “EEEEEEeeeeeeeeeee!”
There were also plenty of other sentiments ecstatically shrieked from the crowd while waiting for Panic to play their set.
“Ashley Simpson is a whore!”
“I love you MTV!”
“Mom let go of my arm!”
(*Honda is Panic at the Disco’s corporate sponsor, they play advertisements for their cars to the teens before the show)
Brendan Urie, lead singer of PATD.
Here’s a photo of me at work, Perez Hilton style.
Rolling Stone arranged to have me shoot the band backstage before the show- unfortunately, their beefy security guy Zack wasn’t the friendliest character, and gave me roughly 7 minutes of access. Pretty much the whole time, the band was immersed in deep conversation about body parts of high school girlfriends tasting like fruit and the Spinal Tap reunion. One PATD member wants his next girlfriend to taste like Mango-Apricot.
Teenage ladies, get on that, stat!
I’m sure most of you know about the torch snafu here in SF today. It was a little chaotic- I feel pretty good about my own coverage though. Here’s one of my photos which is currently on the front page of the global Reuters site.
Starting at 8 this morning, I ran around on foot and on bike across the entire city, from the ballpark all the way up the Golden Gate Bridge in pursuit of that damn torch. Despite a pretty bad sunburned face due to losing my favorite baseball hat (riding the bike, didn’t want to pause to pick it up) and being totally exhausted, I’m happy with my coverage today. I feel like I covered pretty much everything within my ability. Check out my site for a few more pics.
Yes, believe it or not, that is the Olympic torch, following a yellow duck boat.
Today it was announced that Reuters photographer Adrees Latif won a Pulitzer for his image of the death of Kenji Nagai, a Japanese videographer. You can read the backstory behind the shot here, on the Reuters photo blog.
What’s missing to me in the blog post is info about Nagai himself, shown here in a handout image via Kyodo circa 2003.
According to a 9/28/07 Reuters article, “…Nagai, 50, was shot dead on a Yangon street on Thursday. Pictures smuggled out of the country showed him taking photos with a small camera even as he lay dying.”
Nagai worked for the Japanese news agency APF News. The Times Online reported that the journalist’s mantra was ““Someone has to go to the places nobody wants to go.”
Has anyone recently looked through the history of Pultizer-winning photos, and analyzing them based on content? How many images do you think describe the moments before, during, or after someone is killed?
What do you think sells the most? The look on someone’s face before or after dying? Or would it be that last magical moment, a final fraction of consciousness?
Not to be cynical, but after leafing through the latest issue of News Photographer magazine, my curiosity is piqued. The cover image of the mag is another from a Pulitzer-winning take, although it’s not the exact frame that won the prize. It looks like it’s sequentially just a frame or two before. In it, a black woman, Diane Bryant, is caught in falling in mid-air seconds before her death.
How often have photographs of dead white bodies have won Pulitzers? How many dead or about-to-be dead people of color?
Mariana giggles while Shantel talks about one of her photos.
From a new personal series “California.”
Yesterday I received notice from Columbia that I’m one of fifteen students admitted to their 10 month MS program at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. My first reaction was dread, because despite the fact that it’s the best program in the world (blah blah blah) I’ve recommitted to my true love, photography, over the past few months.
Since moving to the Bay Area to reflect on what the hell I’m doing as a freelancer last spring, I’ve put a lot of long walks and thought into it. This fall, I decided that I’d apply to journalism school- but only to one, Columbia, which has the Stabile program.
Everyone from editors to colleagues to reps to friends has encouraged me to accept the admissions offer, but I can’t help but feel that the timing is less than ideal. Right now, I’m finally feeling steadier in Cali, and much clearer about certain projects (yes, the Federation book!) and photo work I’ve been doing.
So I read back through my application essays, to help redefine & solidify what my initial motivation was. Thankfully or not, it still appears valid- that is, coming to terms with the realization that a lot can be said with photography- but there’s an awful lot that the visual alone just can’t nail.
What is it about baseball? I shot the Boston v. Oakland game tonight, and there was something I found a lot more compelling about the game than hockey. Maybe it was my mindset: instead of thinking about shooting wire images, I was completely enthused by the darker aspects of competition, and the accompanying emotions that invariably flashed across player’s faces.
Here’s a Red Socks coach, in the dugout.
A player waits for his turn at bat.
A player watches a teammate at bat.
This weekend I worked on a written piece, which was a humorous reflection on various entertainment assignments I used to cover for Reuters and Retna while I still lived in New York. It got me thinking about my outtakes, wondering about the bad photographs I’ve taken that are the opposite of a good red carpet shot- you know, the ones where the subject isn’t just beaming faux smile at your lens.
Like this actress from Law and Order…
or figure skater Oksana Baiul thinking very hard.
Anyone out there know of any entertainment photographer blogs who post their funny outtakes? A red carpet Bitter Photographer, if you will?