I’m gonna jump on my soapbox and make an appeal to all photographers who live or shoot in New York City. Today is the last day to register with the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to speak out at the hearing on June 3rd against charging fees for all still photography permits. Every editorial and advertising photographer uses the type of equipment that under current rules requires a film permit from the city and up until now those seeking a permit simply were required to carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance, but the new proposal is adding a non-refundable $300.00 ‘application’ fee for every time a permit is pulled to shoot! Given the razor-thin profit margins photographers are working with these days and the budget tightening our clients are faced with, a $300.00 permit fee will seriously hamper location shooting in the city.
I will be speaking on behalf of EP, ASMP, APA and NPPA, but the more photographers who get up and let their voices be heard, the better! If you’re available to to go the hearing being held June 3, 2010 at the 125 Worth Street Auditorium, you must register by TODAY…contact Dean McCann of the Mayor’s Office at 212-489-6710 or by e-mail at email@example.com and if you can’t make the hearing, please vote “NO” on this online petition.
!!! Spoiler Alert !!!
If the ‘LOST’ finale is still on your TIVO
Stop reading now!!!
OK…first off, I’ll just say that while I may not be the most die-hard ‘Lost’ fan out there, I still have invested 6 stinking years of my life following the survivors of Oceanic Airways Flight 815, the Others, the Hatch, Jacob & the Smoke Monster, the Flash-Backs, Flash-Forwards & Flash-Sideways, Quantum Physics and Electromagnetic Forces, the four-toed statue, Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack, whether Richard Alpert uses mascara on his eyes and…those God-damned polar bears…..so after sitting through four and half hours of the ‘Lost’ series finale (five and half, if you count the wrap-up on Kimmel!), one word can sum up my feelings…DISAPPOINTED !!! I could Monday-Morning Quarterback this well into Tuesday, but the main things that bugged me were…
1. For a series that was consistently fast-paced and full of action, the finale plodded along as though it were stuck in quicksand. Cast member throwing each other long, meaningful glances leading to flashbacks bathed in warm, glowing light, all framed with the sappiest soap opera-esque musical accompaniment you could ever imagine! Half-way through the show I realized that despite the fact a few of the ‘Big Ticket Items’ were finally being revealed, I actually caught myself getting bored by the way the story was unfolding! And I never got bored by ‘Lost’!!! And what little action that was present seemed amateurish compared to what came before…a slow-motion Jack jumping in the air to punch Locke/MIB/Smokey looked like an out-take from ’300′ and Kate finally killing Locke by shooting him in the back was not only telegraphed earlier in the show (“You might wanna save your bullets!”), but a totally unsatisfying way to dispatch the root of the island’s evil! This was how the final battle between Good & Evil I’ve waited for all these years ends…with an off-camera shot in the back?!! And finally, the ‘special effects’ employed when Jack replaced the cork-like rock to restore the Island’s magic was hokey enough to qualify for “Worst of the Year” lists everywhere! Excuse me, but am I the only guy who saw it as a poorly realized, blatant rip-off of Spock’s death in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”…?!!
2. A major part of why the show dragged had to do with ABC’s decision to sell more ad time than I’ve ever seen in a finale like this. Here I thought the reason the show was going to be 2 1/2 hours was because they were cramming more story for the fans, but nooooooo….it was simply to squeeze every possible advertising dollar outta the show! The editing suffered horribly because of it…you would just be getting into a scene when suddenly the action would cut to an ad! I’m sure ABC is sitting on a giant pile of cash this morning, but they should still get a trip to the woodshed over that one!
3. I know a series like this can’t answer every single hanging question, but there were far too many things left to the viewers imagination after the screen faded to black, like…
• How did the explosion of the Hydrogen Bomb that ended last season fit into all this? Did it create the Flash-Sideways World that was Season Six? Was everybody already dead or is that was did them in?!!
• The Dharma Initiative…will somebody please tell me just how the Hell it got started? I dunno..maybe I missed that episode, but somebody had to come up with the initial idea of moving a few submarine-loads of workmen to a very hard-to-find island in the South Pacific to get to work on cracking that Electromagnetic Anomoly!
• Walt and Michael turn up outta nowhere, but I still don’t know what made Walt ‘special’ and how he kept turning up to warn people.
• THAT DAMNED FOUR-TOED GIANT ON THE BEACH !!!!!
Finally and most importantly…I would have liked to think that after all of the great writing and crazy action and red herrings and time travel and meticulously interwoven story lines & relationships, the writers of this show…a truly memorable and groundbreaking production, I might add…could have come up with an ending a bit more satisfying than what to me was nothing but a religious cop-out with, “You’re all dead…walk into The Light!”. I realize that ‘Lost’ is simply a bit of modern mythology transmitted over the TV waves, but when it was all over I was left with the feeling that I just sat though a fifteen-course meal cooked by a Michelin 3-Star chef and for dessert he served me…ice cream! Yeah, everything up to this point was fabulous…..but ya’ couldn’t come up with a better finish than that?!!
Rant over…..but I really hope tonight’s Series-Ender for ’24′ is better!!!
OK…let’s step back from yesterday’s exercise in shameless self-promotion and get back to why we’re all really here…to get some new music for your iTunes folder!!!
After the new website went live yesterday, I sent Ryan Karazija the link telling him that his band, Audrye Sessions, was chewing up some serious bandwidth in the ‘Famous People’ gallery. Ryan got back to me late last night with a gift…a leak from their new album. ‘Bad Day’ is a revelation…unlike the guitar-driven Audyre Sessions I know…it’s simply beautiful…like a pastoral journey that floats in on a warm breeze but steadily builds to a frenzied & joyous drum-banging, anthemic crescendo. Few songs get me hooked as quickly as this one did and honestly, I can’t wait to hear more. No word on when Ryan and the Gang plan the next release, but stay close…I’ll let ya know…and in the meantime, check ‘em out on MySpace
And it even comes with
a trippy YouTube Video…
Damn Ugly hasn’t had this many hits in one day since he went to DC and photographed The President…and even then I don’t think the graph went that high! This morning, David Hobby, also known in photo circles as The Strobist, interviewed me last week and posted it on his blog at 8:00AM this morning….
His post today…and the launching of my new website…have resulted in a major traffic jam clogging up the interwebs! I could only hope and pray to get this kinda action on a daily basis, but since I’m trying to get people signed up for the Santa Fe Workshop Ronnie Weil and I are teaching, I’ll take whatever action I can get!
!!! EDIT !!!
Damn Ugly made it to the Top 100 Blogs of the Day on WordPress!!! #27…and climbing like a rocket!!!
The Redesigned Website Is Up !!!!!
You’ve probably noticed my participation here at Damn Ugly has been sketchy recently, but after a couple of months of all-night design sessions, resizing images and portfolio editing, my new website is up & running!!!
This is the third website design I’ve put up and by far the best. Quite honestly, the format of this site is exactly what I would have wanted years ago, but the technology just wasn’t there. Until now I’ve been using a Livebooks design, but this time I worked with Rob Haggart’s web design company, ‘A Photo Folio’ to implement the changes and we went live over the weekend. While everything about the architecture of the site is new, I incorporated a lot of the basic design elements from my previous site in this new project.
The first major change you will see is that I’m no longer hamstrung with a single, small image window…the images are much higher resolution ands now dynamically resize as you change the size of your browser window, or…even better.…you can click the ‘Full-Screen’ button at the lower left of your monitor and view the biggest, sharpest possible images I can offer! Navigating with the Thumbnail view is also much faster since you can see larger thumbnail images and they pop up ten times faster than the Livebooks version ever did. And I really like being able to navigate forwards and back by simply clicking on the left or right of the image…as you roll your mouse over the image, a ‘+’ or ‘-’ icon appears and you can click and go! You can also access the thumbnails by placing your mouse in the middle of the screen and clicking when the grid icon appears. I don’t even know why I’m explaining this because the site design is so intuitive it just seems natural! But if you have any problems getting around the site, just ask a five year-old…it’s been years since I’ve met a kid who couldn’t figure out the internet!
Finally, having these hi-rez images allowed me to add a couple of galleries that I plan to have a lotta fun with in the future. My ‘Artificial Portraits’ and ‘Light Tests’ will allow me to show more of those behind the scenes moments that normally get archived to a hard drive, but offer insightful looks at the nuts & bolts of my shoots.
As some of you already know, the past couple of months have had me furiously redesigning my current website with the folks at APhotoFolio.com and yesterday Rob Haggart, Mr. APhotoFolio himself, informed me that they have become the first photography website company to deliver custom designed iPad sites, built using HTML5, for all of their customers. Check it out…
As I sit here resizing TIFFS down to JPEGs for my new site, I hafta wonder if the next thing I’m gonna be doing is purchasing a carload of iPads to act as my portfolios?!! Given how labor intensive, not to mention expensive, printed portfolios can be, having everything on an iPad just might make sense! I dunno…it’s all very early in the game, but if I can get over not having a printed book of BIG prints to show an art director, who knows?!!
And now, here’s a quick look at a sample page from my new website, which will be up as soon as I finish resizing those damned JPEGs…
Click on image for Full-Size
Hey Kids…It’s a Two-Fer Tuesday today on The List!
Paul Banks, Carlos Dengler, Sam Fogarino and Daniel Kessler…those Joy Division-lovin’, dark-minded boys in the dark-colored suits otherwise known as Interpol…are back in the studio and they just leaked ‘Lights’, a song that takes more than two minutes before it really gets going, but then majestically builds up a theatrical momentum and ultimately sounds like it could be the opener off of their as yet unnamed new album. Now don’t get me wrong, I really like this, but I think the boys might hafta sit down with The Killers and work out some royalty payments, ‘cuz from where I’m standin’ they straight-up lifted the opening riff from The Killers song, “All the Pretty Faces”, and used it and the plodding hook that carries this song!!!