Communication Arts Award Of Excellence

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I am quite honored and humbled to announce that my portrait of Willem Dafoe for the Wall Street Journal was included in this years Communication Arts Photo Annual

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Thanks to photo editor Ronnie Weil for thinking of me such a plum assignment, art director Keith Webb for his elegant layout and writer Alexandra Wolfe for her always eloquent words.

848 Shots…One Final Photo

Barron's Penta Fashion - Paul Smith

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A while back, Mr. Delucca called me up and asked it I wanted to do another fashion piece for Penta, Barron’s Quarterly lifestyle magazine. The feature was on Paul Smith and he wanted to do the shoot at the Paul Smith store in SoHo. After I checked out the store, I came away thinking it would be kind of fun to do all the shots he wanted to do…but in one photo. So I put on my David Hockney hat and devised a way to shoot our model in three positions at the entrance to the showroom for a deconstructed fashion photo. After popping off 848 individual shots (and why I used my Hasselblad/Leaf back is a mystery cuz now I have over 50gb of raw files to archive forever!) this is the result…

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And here is the final image in Penta…

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Pullin’ Out The Bull & Bear Costumes For Barron’s

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It’s June, and that means I hafta jump back on the Photoshop Horse and put together another cover story using elements from our January shoot of the Barron’s Roundtable members for the Mid-Year Issue. Adrian Delucca and I thought it might be fun to once again make use of those very expensive Bull and Bear costumes we had made for the 2014 cover, but this time the idea would be to have our mascots walking hand-in-hand down Wall Street. Sounds easy. It isn’t. For a whole mess of reasons, shooting ‘live’ down on Wall Street was never gonna happen. Forget about the expense of shooting this type of thing on location, just try to shoot on Wall Street when there aren’t a million people milling around! No…this was gonna be much more manageable shot in pieces…

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First off, we had to shoot a ton of variations of the Bull and Bear in the studio that I could drop into my Wall Street photo. To save a few bucks on models, Adrian and Assistant Photo Editor Jenna Bascom elected to get all sweaty in the mascot suits…

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…how about a ‘selfie’?!!

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Next, I had to shoot our empty Wall Street scene. Shooting on weekdays were out, since Wall Street folks are already filling up lower Manhattan before the Sun rises, so that meant an early morning weekend shoot. Almost every weekend of March and April was either too damned cold or rainy (or on one Saturday when I arrived at 6:00AM, the street was filled with Jodie Foster, George Clooney, Julia Roberts and about 200 grips setting up a film shoot!), but I finally got off a few frames of a relatively empty street and Stock Exchange building…

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Now I had to get rid of any people and other extraneous crap out of the background and stretch it out a bit (and make it square) to fit Barron’s format…

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…then throw the buildings a bit out of focus for perspective…

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But the early morning grey look wasn’t working, so I sparkled things up a bit…

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And it was finally ready for our Bull and Bear…

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Throw in some final color & contrast adjustments, a few shadows and more Photoshop magic…and voila!!!

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For the cover images, besides the portraits we did for the Chess theme, we quickly shot a few individual portraits of each Roundtable member on a neutral seamless…

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…a quick Photo-Bomb…

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The idea was to insert them into Financial District street scenes…here are a few of the results…

Mario Gabelli:

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Marc Faber:

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Bill Gross:

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Bill Gross - Barron's Roundtable

…and the final cover…

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And we’ll do it all again next January!

Waste of Time of the Day

So a few Microsoft engineers cooked up a demo website called How Old Do I Look? where you can upload any photo showing a face and the system will try to guess the age and gender of the person in the shot…

I uploaded my ‘Damn Ugly’ photo…

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Sixty-Six?!! Microsoft assholes…I’m sticking with Apple!!!

Bid On This Misty Copeland Print For A Good Cause Now!!!

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For more than 20 years, I have been involved with an organization called Leave Out ViolencEor LOVE. LOVE’s goal is to help youths prevent, reduce and respond to the violence in their lives. The kids involved in LOVE have all been victims, witnesses, and/or perpetrators of violence. Their lives have been shaped by bullying and fighting, assaults in their communities, gang recruitment, self harm, attempted suicide, domestic violence and dating violence. Many live in predominantly low-income communities across NYC’s five boroughs.

One of LOVE’s biggest fundraising activities is Images of LOVE…an annual auction where that get some pretty amazing photographers to donate prints, with the proceeds helping to fund projects like youth outreach workshops on photography, afterschool programs that encourage leadership and teamwork, and publishing books containing their photography and writing.

For this year’s Images of LOVE event, I contributed my multiple-image photograph of Misty Copeland, which I also had Misty sign…

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Pre-benefit bidding for the Misty Copeland photograph is now open at Paddle8. Honestly, the print is gorgeous…it’s 24” x 36” on bright cotton rag art paper, and the opening bid is only $300…and runs until May 11th, when it transfers to the live auction. All winning bids are 100% tax-deductible and for more information or to purchase tickets to the benefit, please visit the Images of LOVE website.

Mr. & Mrs. Hawkeye Pierce In The Bronx

Alan & Arlene Alda photographed at the New York Botanical Garden

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Alan Alda. Academy Award-nominated actor, director, screenwriter, author, board member of the World Science Festival and a visiting Professor at SUNY Stony Brook School of Journalism. Arlene Alda. Photographer, writer, Fulbright Scholar…and just a Kid from the Bronx. Which is how we ended up at the Bronx Botanical Garden on a 20 degree day in February. Arlene has just written Just Kids From The Bronx, an oral history on what it was like to grow up in the place that bred influencers in just about every field of endeavor today, with thoughts from Bronxites as varied as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Al Pacino, Carl Reiner, Mary Higgins Clark, Colin Powell, and on and on and on. When Arlene and Alan began seeing each other, a lot of those dates took place in the Bronx, including taking long walks through the Botanical Gardens. And while it would have been great to shoot them walking the paths of the Gardens on a sunny day in May, her book was coming out now, so inside we went…here’s what we found…

While it was nice to walk among the greenery inside the Enid Haupt conservatory, it was still too early for the Orchid show and too soon for the Spring blooms…

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…but this indoor fountain area showed some promise…

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But I had also learned that the Alda’s had donated a bench on the grounds…and despite the freezing temperatures and the fact that it was buried in snow, I had to check it out…

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On the day of the shoot it was a brisk 22 degrees outside…but about 85 inside with Lousianna-like humidity. When Alan and Arlene arrived, while I waited for the sun to come out of the clouds, we did a few shots of them just walking through the galleries…

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And then Kaz and I set up our main shot at the fountain…

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…which seemed to please Alan and Arlene immensely…

Alan & Arlene Alda photographed at the New York Botanical Garden

Alan & Arlene Alda photographed at the New York Botanical Garden

Half-way through our shoot, Gregory Long…the President of the New York Botanical Garden…dropped in to get his copy of Arlene’s book autographed…

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Here’s how things look in The Journal..

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And then…because we were just getting too warm in there…Kaz and I decide that we just had to shoot that bench!

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Thanks Alan…thanks Arlene…and special thanks to the Botanical Gardens for warming us up on one very cold day!

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Misty Copeland

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I’m not sure at this point if there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard of Misty Copeland. Besides making history as the only African American soloist dancing with the American Ballet Theatre, her best-selling autobiography, ‘Life In Motion’, dancing onstage with Prince, appearing in ads for Under Armour, Dr. Pepper, Coach, The Corcoran Group and T-Mobile, and her numerous features in magazines like The New Yorker, Vogue, Elle and New York Magazine, the 32 year-old ballerina is possibly the most visible face in the dance World since Baryshnikov. And my buddy Rob Smith asked me to put her on the cover of Arrive. Here’s the behind-the-scenes from our day at Bathhouse Studios

Since we knew we would have relatively limited time with Misty, Rob and I had worked up our ideas for the shoot early on. The story was about mentors, and we would be photographing Misty with Raven Wilkinson, the first black woman to dance full-time in a major ballet company, including Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, the Dutch National Ballet, and the New York City Opera Ballet. We had to get enough for our cover, a few opening shots, a portrait of Misty and Raven together and anything else we could fit in! But shooting at the Bathhouse meant we would have lotsa space to set up everything beforehand cuz the studio is so beautifully huge!

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Our setup on the cyc…and that marvelously high ceiling…

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Kaz and I setting up the two-shot of Misty and Raven…

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Robert and Julien sitting in for our cover…

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Julien taking flight…

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My stylist Karen Sherwood laying out the wardrobe…

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Misty arrived just as we were about finished with our setup and went into hair & makeup right away…

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…but shortly afterwards, our little dancers from the ABT School showed up…

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and they quickly put on a little show for Misty…

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Julien grabbed Misty to test the lighting on our first setup…

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…and so started our shooting day…

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Here is the final portrait of Raven and Misty…

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Next, we moved onto the cyc for our opening photo of Misty with the Dance School students…

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Misty approves…

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…and the resulting photograph…

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Now I wanted to do a series of solo shots of Misty in different positions. The idea was that I would assemble these solo images into one unified ‘group’ photograph…

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And the final ‘group’ shot…

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Before I took Misty off the cyc, I pulled out my vintage stools for one more idea…

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Best shot of those two stools I’ve ever taken…

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Oh yeah…I nearly forgot…CBS sent over Anthony Mason and a film crew to document our little shoot for CBS Sunday Morning

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Now where was I…oh yeah…the final shot would be of Misty and Raven together for our cover. We re-purposed that ballet barre from the shot with the kids, and set up a very simple situation with a big, soft Octalite…Misty in her costume as her mentor looked on…

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Our cover image…

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Here’s how everything looked in ‘Arrive’…

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And finally, here’s the CBS Sunday Morning piece, complete with yours truly on set with Misty…

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