Monday, December 24, 2007


Jumpy Thing Erected In Living Room, 12/23/07

Thursday, December 20, 2007


So...I made this photograph with my kid and a pair of needle nose pliers. I liked it but I didn't know what the pliers were all about. Where they supposed to look dangerous next to his skin? Like a birds beak? Like a mouth...I just didn't know. Then I found this sticker chart that had a sticker of an insect, a flying beetle of sorts, with feelers, antennae, probes that help them understand and feel out the world before them. With the pair, I'm trying to make a connection between the two. Click on the pair and see what you think....below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Interview with Myself, part 2

So, what is up with all of these photographs of pills?

TA: Well, this is only the second one. That's not really too many, is it?

No, not yet, but I'm seeing a pattern and wondering if it is intentional.

TA: Oh, for sure, I see where you are coming from. I guess my original intention was to level the playing field a bit. If I was analyzing the details from my son's life, I figured it would only be fair to look at myself as well. My coping mechanisms, the things I may use to keep things together. Then, last week, we had a doctor's appointment for my son where they suggested putting him on a strong mood stabilizer. It kind of scared us, we thought it was overkill that this super strong drug would be needed to assist a little kid, and it just made me think. I found a hand full of pills in my pocket a friend had given me and thought it merited a photograph.

I see. So this is how you find your subject matter? Wouldn't it be more interesting to go out into the world and find a subculture or something? Again, aren't you taking the easy way out?

TA: Yeah, for sure. But sometimes it helps to learn to look at what is right in front of you. Do you buy that?

No, not really. But thank you for your time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tis The Season...

'Tis the season for friends, good cheer....and the firing of one's rep. Heads are rolling through the snowdrifts of Manhattan and the chilly streets of SF. It seems like every day or so I'm getting a call from a commercial photographer who has opted out of his working relationship with his representative. Is it the holiday blues? Does it involve some severance pay loophole? I dunno, but here is a short list:

Mark Holthusen pushes the button on Tidepool Reps.

John Loomis bids farewell to Redux Pictures.

Thomas Broening says it's splitsville to Heather Elder Represents.

Douglas Adesko lays to waste both John Kenny on the east coast and Freda Scott on the west in favor of Deborah Schwartz in LA.

Andrew Hetherington finds the exit door as well from Redux Pictures.

And then....whose repping my fav Catherine Ledner these days, what with her book ANIMAL HOUSE blowing up all over the place....?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chain Letter

Photo blog Look Underfoot recently tagged me in some type of blogging-chain-letter-type of thing, requesting that I publish 7 things about myself that most people do not know. I ask?? I am flattered that the Look Underfoot lady for instance, wants to know my secrets...but I just don't know who else would want to know this stuff? And some of the really personal stuff, well...I just think you will end up burdened by such information. But I'll do it if we keep it to the history of photography...k?

None the less...I need a blog today, so here goes:

1. In 1989, my girlfriend and I sat on the bed in a Motel 6 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, looked up Joel-Peter Witkin in the phone book, found that he was listed, dialed the number....and he answered.

2. In 1984 I was in high school and attended a lecture with my parents by photographer Duane Michaels at Skidmore College in Saratoga, N.Y. In 2000 I was having dinner with blogger Olivier Laude and artist Thorina Rose. As we were speaking we realized we were all at the same lecture, Laude and Rose were students at the college at that time. WASW?!?! ( What A Small World ! )

3. When I was 19, a girlfriend wrote a letter to photographer Larry Clark and purchased a signed poster from Clark's project "Teenage Lust" for me as a birthday gift, depicting a girl masturbating her boyfriend in the backseat of a car. I hung it in my room at home, though my parents often hid it behind blankets when guests or repairmen came to the home. Clark included a nice note with the poster, requesting a photograph of ourselves from her as part of the exchange. I have that note to this day.

4. While on an editorial assignment in NYC, I met the shooter who later went on to gain national attention as the anonymous blogger Bitter Photographer.

5. I once had an email exchange with famed literary hoax J.T. LeRoy.

6. In 2005 I sat in a conference room of The New Yorker with their photo editors. They looked at my project "Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews" and asked me, un-smiling, "Why would you ever think we'd want to see this project?"

7. Um....I think that may be it. The last one was a good one counts as two.

Monday, December 10, 2007


 denying the influence of the Wendy McMurdo shot below with the kid enveloped in the giant bubble... and then a shot so you can see my kid without all the theatrical stuff:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Photographer: Wendy McMurdo

Ok...Ok...I know that most of those reading this blog are totally un-interested in the details of an advertising photo shoot, as detailed below. Correct? To you, I apologize. But...I do think it's important to be honest about how I make a living: book and print sales from Sex Machines and my current project Weird Photographs of My Kid really do not pay the bills.

Earlier in the week I asked some of the blog readers to share with us photographers who were working with children in an interesting way. The one who has really taken my breath away is Wendy McMurdo. I found this analysis of her work on the web that I thought was right on:

Wendy McMurdo works with traditional photography and computer technology to produce pictures of children who seem slightly 'out of this world'. Her images exist somewhere between fact and fiction. Like the work of American documentary photographer, Helen Levitt, these photographs represent moments of play or reverie where the children are isolated from the world of grown-ups. But they are not simply the documentation of a child's world. Many have the formal look of a dramatic set piece and hark back to historical portrait painting conventions. In addition, McMurdo uses digital techniques to manipulate the image, deliberately removing or emphasising certain elements to undermine the apparent objectivity of the photographic image and to highlight the subject.

I couldn't say it better myself. Dig into her projects HERE.
all photographs by Wendy McMurdo

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


When your crew hits the stores the day after Thanksgiving to get the clothing, props, and gear for your shoot, you know you have something to be thankful for. Either that or you are insane to think you can pull off a shoot at that time. Which is it? I dunno, but I certainly was thankful for having the dream team on my side for the project shot here in SF for Atmosphere BBDO.

Cyrus Vantoch-Wood, DJ, Creative Director, friend of Banksy (?!?!) and all around Englishman flew in from NY that weekend to direct this beast of a campaign. Wow...I feel like I'm in the film 24 Hour Party People for a moment here as Cyrus walks into the motor home. And it true? We hired soap star Ryan Preimesberger from The Young and The Restless to play the lead in our first shot. Ryan needed to play the role of an arrogant child of privilege...and he inhabited that role and made it his own. He delivered the goods...and then some.

And the team: Shannon Amos, Micah Bishop, Veronica Sjoen of Artist Untied, Erich Morton and Jonas Olsson assisting, and killer producer Kara Snider. It was all documented via photos and videotape by photographer Suzy Poling. Everything was held together by zen master Mark Gordon of G10 Capture.

Lots of pics from the adventure above and below...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Headphones & Plastic Coin

I'm kind of all over the map while I'm working on this project on my son: scans, things on black, regular pictures, all with a consumer grade scanner and digital camera...maybe by design, maybe by default. I think something ties the stuff together, though, but too early to say.

I shot this image above earlier this week. The shots that I control are usually pretty obvious. The shots where the subject totally dictates are starting to have a link as well. The two shots below were done in the manner of the above shot...we agree to take some photographs, my son trys to do things he thinks would look interesting and I point the camera. In 10 minutes we are done and getting ready for school. Here are the two earlier ones, below.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Family Meal by Doug Adesko

adesko setting up the 8 x10 camera, el sobrante, ca 2007
Last friday my wife went out of town for a long weekend, leaving me alone with our 2 boys. I was essentially dreading having to manage them all by myself, so I took every opportunity possible to get people to share the time with me:

Hey...can I stop by?

How about you stop by?

Sure, anytime....we are here...not going anywhere...

Photographer Doug Adesko came by in an attempt to photograph myself and the boys eating dinner together, as part of his ongoing project titled "Family Meal". Shot with an 8 x 10 view camera, it's a fascinating anthropological study of people all across America engaging in this daily ritual that most of us never even think of as such. Is this a contender for Best Unpublished Book #2?
See the whole project HERE.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

You were all so generous...

Oh, you were all so generous with your insights earlier this week...I still need to address it all.
If anyone is still paying attention, here is another question for ya. Does anything here work for you? Single image or diptych or neither? Multiple choice:

a. No, they are simply scans of sheets of paper. Please leave your desk and take some real photos.

b. Yes, deep mining of the subconcious. Thank you for enlightening me.

c. Sorry, I still don't get any of this.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


I love nothing more than solving the issues of contemporary photography with those in Blogsakstan, such as we did HERE and HERE. But...gotta have a commercial interuption, I gotta remember this is a job too, right?

We all had a super time with artist Rodney White and art buyer Jasmine Batista of BBDO NY on the M&M campaign we put together out here in SF. It was the first days of November but it felt like indian summer....the weather was just magical. One day we enjoyed the sun on the other-worldly football field of San Mateo College, the next day we were locked in the studio darkness...but made the best of it for sure.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Who Is?

Who is Bitter Photographer?

Did he really force a popular photo blogger to shut down his blog?

PDN looks into this fly in the industry ointment HERE, but never really tells us who he is...

Monday, November 5, 2007

Next Question, A Biggie

Ok...gotta say I was so flattered by everyone chiming in and helping me edit the series of photographs from last week. Great input from all, and thanks so much for putting the time in.
Next question. Here are some recent images in the vein of what we worked on in the last post.
What does this work mean?

a. Means nothing, but stuff does look cool when it is scanned.

b. Anthropological dig in an attempt to understand a 5 year old's brain.

c. Weird and exploitative shots of a child, primarily for shock value.

d. Other ( extra credit for essay )

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Ideas From Last Week

Trying to put the pieces together for a photograph from the remnants of last week.
Your grade will be based on participation, so please participate. What's working better for you, these images as ...
a. duo
b. trio
c. they are not working for me, i don't get it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Halloween Memory & Commercial Plug

Halloween provided a few real moments this year. Prowling around the neighborhood with a Ghost and a Spaceman, sitting under a streetlight and ripping into the bag, pouring the contents of a Pixie Stick directly down our throats, passing it around as if we were three homeless dudes sharing a bottle of Jim Beam.

Ghost: You know what the best part of Halloween is?
Me: Um, no. Tell me.
Ghost: Seeing into strangers houses!

The day after, of course, is a bloodbath. Sugar hangover for children, wired and breaking down over the smallest things, showing early signs of addiction. So not fun for anyone. And by then, you realize it is November 1st, winter is here and is going to be here for a while.

Trick or Treat? Is it serendipity? Karmic retribution? I don't know, but just as the holiday was coming to a close, our production of the forthcoming M&M ad campaign with BBDO in NY was all snapping together with the yellow boxed prop shown above arriving at my doorstep. We wrestle this all to the floor on Monday and Tuesday up here in SF.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

In Brooklyn Nov 2nd

So....there is this whacked out magazine in Brooklyn called "Chief Magazine", recall? They did such a thorough examination of myself in Issue #7 thorough that I felt I should pay them for the therapy session. What's my co-pay on this again? Anyhow, they are having this blow out party, art auction, fundraiser this Friday, November 2nd in Brooklyn. Come to this blow out, buy art by all sorts of artists such as myself, support the magazine and partying these guys are involved in, and take a cab home! We Are The World!
Find out how to get there HERE.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Conversation / Communication

Some pics from a super fun photograph we put together yesterday, with killer cartoony props fabricated by Shannon Amos of Artist Untied.