Saturday, January 29, 2005

samurai photogapher Chills Out

For the past few weeks in NYC, the temperatures have been very chilly indeed. So chilly, in fact, that none of my cameras can function very well at all. I've been spending my time indoors riffling through my contact sheets, deciding what to print next.

I'm not going to update this blog every day, because that would be rather boring: "Woke up. Drank an America's Best Caffiene Tallboy (Milkman Mocha). Watched some bad TV. Returned three phone calls. Bought toilet paper." As a person obsessed with the photographic documentation of the mundane, I don't feel compelled to write all this stuff down. I'd rather share the interesting stuff.

A little about me, first (I've copped most of this from a little feature in the Village Voice that you should read all the way through.)

Three days after Christmas of 2003, I was nearly killed by a speeding car. I had the cliché near-death experience and was compelled to start thinking about my life, my career, and what I could do to unstick myself. I was happy with the shooting assignments I was getting for myself, but I was sick of crappy jobs that left me mentally exhausted. After a few months of physical rehab and some minor setbacks, I was able to go out and photograph again, and it felt really, really good. It became clear what I had to do to be happy.

I had dabbled in photographing poker players for the past two years, and had started to get to know some key East Coast players. A big step for me, since I did not, at the time, enjoy photographing people.

In May of 2004, at the behest of my buddy Scott, I threw caution (and two paychecks) to the wind and self-financed a trip to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, with the intent of photographing the participants. I spent two weeks in Binion's Horseshoe, getting to know my subjects, making lots of friends (and some enemies), and shooting a lot of film. It really drove home the point that the distance between myself and my subjects doesn't have to be psychological as well as physical. I fell in love with my subjects, which is something I never thought was possible for me.

As a result of the Binion's trip, I've become a lot more involved in photographing the poker circuit. My first big assignment this year was covering the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, and it was more fun than I had experienced in a long while. I even got to buy myself a nice new lens with the money I made. Mmmmm, new zoom lens.

Hello there ladies and gentlemen.

Hello there ladies and gents, are you ready to rock?
Are you ready or not?

Would you like to do a number with me?

- Cheap Trick, "Hello There"