Friday, August 27, 2010

What is 1234NYC?

What is 1234NYC?
1234NYC is a personal 10 year photography project I have undertaken that follows the lives of 40 New Yorkers whom I am connected to on a professional and/or personal level.
All persons I have chosen for 1234NYC are "creative professionals" and/or small business owners who either live, work or go to school in Manhattan.
How's it work?
This project began in Autumn of 2007 and will end in Autumn of 2017.
The series is divided into the numbers in the title, 1234, which establishes the year(s) I photograph them. For example: in 1234 (or think of it as 1+2+3+4) the groups are..
1=2007 to 2008. (Autumn to Autumn)
2= 2009 to 2010. (Autumn to Autumn)
3= 2012-2013. (Autumn to Autumn)
4 = 2016-2017. (Autumn to Autumn)

If anyone leaves NYC during those times then they are OUT of the project. But if they return to NYC they are back IN the project.

Each section I have asked questions regarding the private and professional lives and will gather it all in the end as a way to look back over a decade's worth of living (hopefully).

Why did I start 1234NYC?

It was a slow spark that ignited this project. The economic difficulties of New York's increasingly expensive day-to-day and higher rents saw my friends and business owners close up shop and move to other cities because New York had bled them mentally and financially dry.
The dissipation of New York's creative energy and the loss of it's neighborhoods went hand in hand with the people who were moving into Manhattan and robbing it of it's character. Boutique stores and Starbucks surfaced like crocodiles forcing families, artists, artist spaces to abandon their apartments because of GREEDY landlords and higher costs. Soon enough Friday and Saturday nights became a "Netflix night" since none of the locals wanted anything to do with the throngs of projectile vomiting hookah smoking trash dumping human insects that invaded our blocks over the weekends.
It came to me one day that I should photograph some of my friends before they disappear. Too often someone close to me would 'check out' either by moving, by going crazy or dying. The past 11 years have been tough for everyone but especially artists. Living artists are often ignored by society until they make money and only the dead ones really do well. Musicians, painters, designers, chefs, photographers, glass blowers, writers, business owners...everyone is trying to create a world, a wink to the undefinable nothingness that can either fill us with life and love or shatter us into a living death that always leads to the final heart stop beating death.
I do not want to forget these creators I have grown up with and I don't want them to be I photograph them in their world and try to show THE WORLD their face...their faces, their eyes, their hungry souls.


Friday, August 20, 2010

My moment with Soderbergh

The story behind this linked article and photograph:
Slamdance asked me to photograph Steven Soderbergh. I said okay. They told me to come to the IFC center off 6th Ave. where there would be a screening of his film, Schizopolis, and a Q&A session afterwards. Then I was to photograph him...
Sounds easy enough. Never is.
I arrived there about 20 minutes before 7 with my photo assistant Logan and my battery powered Lumedyne lights fully charged and ready to go.
I have photographed celebrities before and the thing about celebrities is that they are a multi-layered beast who have minions designed to 'protect' them from harm. Whether it's their agent, publicist, manager, BFF, or what not, it is difficult to get permission to photograph a celebrity. And here's the other thing, once you get permission they usually slot you within his or her schedule...and that slot can consist of anywhere between 1 minute to 1 hour. Yes, 1 minute to photograph someone.
So, I arrived at the IFC Center with Logan, lights and camera when I was informed that Slamdance was "not sure" if Steven was cool with me photographing him. "Not sure" usually means that in order to get someone somewhere they didn't mention to that someone everything that somebody wanted that someone to be aware of, just in case that someone didn't want something to happend during that time that someone was somewhere.
Follow me?
The only choice I had was to convince Paul to interrupt Steven for a moment before he flees the scene for me to run up with Logan and blind him with my lights.
And that's essentially the direction we headed.
As the Q&A ended Logan and I sprinted toward Steven. Logan carried one of my lights on it's stand like a banner and I slipped past participants who wanted to tell Steven how awesome they thought he was and if he had a sec if he could look at their reel...
I stood by Steven and Paul with my gigantic camera in hand and waited as people hounded him. This was pissing me off because I knew that the more other people delayed Steven with anything the less time I would have to photograph him. So I mentally kicked Paul - - -
"Hey Steven, would you mind for a quick photograph for Slamdance?"
Steven turned, glanced at Logan and I and probably pondered..."Fight or flight?"
Luckily Steven acquised: "Okay, I have a couple of minutes."
Quickly Logan moved into position as did I.
To get Steven's mind off me I told him. "I saw Schizopolis in the theatres years ago, the UC Theater in Berkeley. That was such a great theatre, they played a lot of foreign and independant films before they got shut down."
Steven stared at me blankly.
"That's great." he said.
Fuck, i thought, I may have loosened him up for a second but now i sound like all the other film geek fans.
I tried again.
"Your film was important to me."
He looked at me again, instead of the lens.
I continued.
"I was in a weird place back then and the film made me laugh. It was such a gem at that time for me, it's hard to explain."
Soderbergh gave me a nod. "Thanks...I guess."
I laughed.
"Turn your head a bit this way."
One and a half-minutes later I could tell Steven was done.
"Okay, thank you."
Steven smiled and turned to walk out when Parker Posey stepped out of the darkness to say hi. (I would love to photograph Parker Posey.)
I turned to Logan and nodded, "We're done."

Document LA

This is the exhibition I am part of at the UCLA Fowler Museum.
The show has been extended until the 6th of September.

Check it if you can.