Monday, June 21, 2010

samurai photog vs. the march of progress.

national cold storage
national cold storage,
originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
When you do the sort of work that I do, especially in a city like New York, you tend to get your heart broken often.

Ever since I've been documenting my world, there's a few places I revisit often, like old friends. One of them is the National Cold Storage Company.

It all started when I was a young aspiring poet, when someone gave me a book of Harvey Shapiro's poems as a gift. I became fixated on one of the poems within, "National Cold Storage Company" and longed to find this place by the harp of the bridge.

Fast forward to the mid '90s, when on a particularly bad day, I found myself walking around lower Manhattan, along the river. As I walked by the South Street Seaport, I looked across at Brooklyn, wondering if I should walk across the bridge to soothe my troubled soul (did I mention that I was an aspiring poet?) and there it was.

The National Cold Storage Company.

How had I never seen it before? How many times had I crept under the harp of that bridge, and never once looked to my right to see this wonderful, mysterious building?

I had a camera with me, as always, so I photographed this container of history for what would be the first of many times.

Every few months I would return, using different films, different cameras. Trying each time to reveal something else about this place, and maybe something about myself as well. When the redevelopment of the Brooklyn waterfront began, for the first time, I felt my friend's days were numbered.

I thought National would always be there for me. Last winter, I kissed someone in its shadow, as if I were looking for its blessing.

In early May, I went to National to photograph it with the Polaroid, for my Wish You Were Here series. The destruction had already begun, but the NATIONAL still remained. I felt like it had gotten a stay of execution somehow.

Last Tuesday, CW and I took his class to DUMBO to photograph by the bridges. After we walked from City Hall across the Brooklyn Bridge to the other side, I slipped away, hoping to get some portraits of my old friend in the beautiful, brilliant, magic hour light.

As I walked up the newly-constructed path that winds through the waterfront, I had my heart broken again. This time, it hurt more than the others.

Add this to the national total.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

samurai photog vs. red club lights

I borrowed a Canon 5DMKII from LL last Sunday, so I could shoot my friend Brett's band. I had wanted to shoot film, but wanted to turn around the pictures quickly.

I've been debating whether or not to buy a MKII. On one hand, my 20D is no longer suitable for the type of low-light work I want to do (the tech is 6 years old at this point) but still functional as a camera. On the other hand, I rarely shoot with it any more.

So I have some real serious questions to ask myself: do I not shoot with it because it doesn't give me the results I want? Or do I not shoot with it because I'm "over" digital and more into film?

With that in mind, I figured if anything was going to convince me one way or another, it would be shooting a situation in which I use film 95% of the time. The show was at a place that I knew had poor lighting, but when I got there, I was bummed to see that they had changed the color of the main light to red. I knew this was going to be a real challenge for this camera, and I remained skeptical.

One of the things I love about shooting bands is getting motion blur, and the MKII allowed me to get the kind of blur I had previously only gotten with film. Because of the lights, I had to shoot at 6400. The amount of noise in these is comparable to what I would get grain-wise if I shot this on film (maybe even a little less) using my development recipe.

I felt good about the shoot, and people I've shown the pictures to seem to dig 'em. I'm pretty impressed at how it handled a really tough situation - unusual, but not unheard of. I'm impressed. And convinced.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

samurai photog vs. the written word

"candela structure"
"candela structure",
originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
I've decided to experiment with having other people interpret just what, exactly, my photographs mean.

At my exhibition in April, I got to eavesdrop on people talking about my work, and it was pretty interesting. Since they were all New Yorkers, their interpretations of what the work "is" is informed by their own experiences living here, working here, wandering around.

Recently, I've been thinking about what people who are not as intimate with the city will take away from the work, or see in it.

To that end, I've decided to collaborate with someone to see what happens. What little I have read of this person's writing is really interesting. It's sharp, experienced in a way that belies the age of its author.

It could be really great, or it could fail miserably.

For me, though, the most exciting part is not the anticipation of the end result, but rather the process of discussing what can/should be done, getting to know each other's creative process (without altering it to suit the other one's requirements to make their part of the collaboration) — something I have never done with anyone else with my visual art.

samurai photog vs. a crimson grail...and The Wire

Rhys posted a scan of a review of A Crimson Grail, in The Wire. And in the accompanying photo is...ME!

Gotta get a copy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

samurai photog vs. a crimson grail...and the grey lady

Friday, August 07, 2009

samurai photog vs. a crimson grail...once more, with feeling

I'm doing Crimson Grail again. I haven't posted about it because I've been so busy with other stuff, but let's just say that this is a welcome diversion from 90% of the crap I have been dealing with lately.

It's loud.

It's tomorrow.

All the awesome people in our section returned, and my friend Matthew joined us as a bassist. There's a couple of people way more famous than I am in the orchestra this time. I actually got recognized by someone yesterday...who saw my photographs at the gallery show. That made me feel good.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

samurai photog vs. the art world

i am not tseng kwong chi
i am not tseng kwong chi,
originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.

I'm in a group show.

I have six pieces in an upcoming show at the Lana Santorelli gallery.

I am super excited.

I also have been putting stuff up for sale at Etsy. Take a look, why don't you?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

samurai photographer's obsession with radishes.

the tasty results
the tasty results,
originally uploaded by samuraiphotog.
Seriously. I love them. I hope to be able to grow some, someday.