Monday, November 15, 2010

Losing My Head


Been a long time in posting due to distractions on all fronts. A month full of papers, projects, deadlines and publication dates. The Torch is a pretty constant workload and we've recently been working on Courtside, our basketball publication.


This has meant a lot of late nights walking home past closed stores on Steinway and Ditmars. They often leave one or two neon signs up in them, giving the whole place this dramatic and contrast-y look. Rather than just hurrying past to get home, I've taken to recording these midnight scenes.

Windows After Dark

Busy few weeks coming up, but hopefully there will be some things worth sharing in them. Basketball, ducks and maybe some Delta Phi Epsilons?

Thursday, October 14, 2010



My favorite shot from the night. The same five-year-old-boy expression on the opposing players as they race after the falling ball. That "Whoa-damn, lets go!"-face.

I've been looking at this shot for a while, and today I realized it's because I'm making the same expression as the players when I'm shooting them. That urgent feeling and tension is on me for the entire game, for every action. Every time a person moves or twists or kicks, it's a ball falling that I need to get to to make The Shot.

Shooting sports is difficult for me because of this. Each moment keeps building up tension that doesn't get released by looking at the shots in the camera. I know chimping is bad, but it's so difficult not to peek right after shooting ten frames of a guy rushing up the field and making an awesome kick. I just don't have the willpower right now not to look. The need to see if you translated the amazing spectacle you just witnessed is powerful, and it can't be satisfied on a three inch screen.

The release doesn't come till back at the office, sorting through the shots and realizing that there are actually some worth printing. Some actually worth feeling a little pride about. Some worth writing about.


No Torch next week, looking forward to the time off to work like mad.


Take Your Corner

These are from the St. John's University v. Cincinnati Soccer game last Saturday. St. John's went 0-2, but I was shooting it so my involvement was separated; the score is almost inconsequential. If anything, there are better shots when they don't do well. Our team has some really emotional people, and it bubbled up to the surface during the last twenty minutes of the game.


Number 10 got angrier and angrier as the game went on, and his movements got more reckless and dark when it was sure St. John's wasn't going to win. The kick above missed badly and he knew it as soon as he connected, but he kept running towards my end of the field. Before turning the corner and getting back in the game he kicked the fence that the cheerleaders were leaning on, which sent us all rattling.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Words on Words


Click above for more pictures of the Mosque Rallys from last Saturday; it was interesting to cover but I don't have anything important to say about it that hasn't already been said. I felt a little guilty shooting pictures and being part of the group of media that was recording such a silly debate and perpetuating it and making it into news. So instead of talking about that I will just show you some of the pretty pictures interspersed with some words about news and media.


This post is going to have a lot of words; throwing up jumbled notes taken on a class reading here:

Functionalist interpretations of the purpose of the news as being anything people need to know in order to function as citizens in a society are always going to be a bit iffy due to varying definitions of what it means to "function".

I feel like knowledge of huge things - disasters, political elections, wars - only bears on a small portion of my functioning in society. Important, granted, but still small.

Lonely Opinions

Most of the actual day-to-day functioning as a citizen I do relies on a massive intake of largely irrelevant "small" information. In my particular case it is webcomics, blog posts (Steve, Alia, Warren Ellis, Coilhouse, Zo, etc..), some news sources, photo blogs and a few other oddball things.

Focus on these things is not at the exclusion of "important" news that deals with more "serious" things mentioned above. The massive quotes used on those two words are there because we have to spend some amount of time sorting through all media deciding what is and isn't relevant based on our interests.

Often in Journalism classes a teacher will be surprised that people do not know what is going on with X STORY. They will be shocked and disappointed. People do this to other people too; they're shocked when other people do not share their interests.

Spreading Revolution

I'd like to think that one of the goals of journalism, or maybe more generally the goal of anyone creating media (that is, everyone) is to work towards getting rid of that shock.

Everyone has a THING or set of THINGS that they believe are relevant to them. Mine are above - comics, blogs of interesting people, some news sites. I will occasionally venture outside that set, but the primary hunk of media I consume will be relevant to that set of THINGS.

The shift in mindset that is happening right now is a departure from "This is THE important thing that is relevant to YOU right NOW" to the more personal statement of "This is what I think is really important and relevant to you and here is why I think that".

We are all becoming niche consumers of media, and the conversations we are having with Strangers (that is, people not intimate with the same THINGS as us) are less about the context we all share and more about sharing our own context with them.

Tea Party Santa

I'm mostly done. If the above was interesting to you, feel free to comment. If the above was interesting to you and you're single and female, we should get dinner some time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Changing Spaces

Kittin & Muffin Loved Each Other Here

It's been over a year since I first posted here, and after a long absence I'm returning to some old subject matter: graffiti.

It's interesting the things that are written to people anonymously. Notes about life, a written history of love on a street pole. These bits and bytes are being written by someone and will be viewed by thousands who pass by, whether the author knows it or not. Now that I'm here sharing it with you, even people who didn't pass by Union Square will know that this was the place that Kittin and Muffin loved each other.


There's something attractive about the fact that someone writing a note on a bathroom wall, which seems like a really small act, will be viewed by everyone who goes into the bathroom at this cafe. Now, because I took a picture of it, the already public piece will be viewed by people who might never visit this cafe or even New York City.

Subway Philosophy

This is an exchange that was written on one of the subway ads for philosophy classes at the 169th St. stop on the F train. You can click through to read it more clearly.

We pass by complex thoughts every day without knowing it. There are people who talk on walls, who discuss and debate and put forth ideas that you might never see because you weren't looking at that phone booth or at that street sign. There is a character to the world around you that's defined in part by these anonymous messengers. They're speaking their mind and not censoring themselves because of outside pressures. There is honesty there.

Define Space

I had a part in writing this today on the board at the Honor's Commons, and I have a connection to all of the words there that is different from the connection that anyone else will have. Specifically, the words remind me of two very important people who left New York City at the end of this summer and the memories I had with them over the past few months. On looking at this I can't help but think of their faces and all the words we shared.

There is beauty in how those words on that blackboard relate to me, but there is also beauty in thinking about it the opposite way. All the other pieces of graffiti in this post have a story or a thought process behind them that is greater than what you see written on the wall.

Think about the stories that are behind the wall.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jim Joe's Advice

Well Lit Jim Joe

Good advice for anyone walking up or down the Bowery.

Click through for more Jim Joe pictures, as well as some other things.

Romantic Jim Joe

More to come later tonight. Be good to each other.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jim Joe Has A Posse

Jim Joe's Package

I've always been fascinated with bits of graffiti left around the city by street artists, and recently I've been seeing a lot of pieces by Jim Joe downtown. A lot of people see things like this and just see something illegal and defacing, both of which are true.

Jim Joe's Air Conditioner

It is illegal, at least most of the time; I'm not sure on the legality of writing on a junky air conditioner (pretty sure it falls somewhere between "who the fuck cares?" and "waste of resources!" in the grand scheme of things). Jim Prigoff, who writes a lot about graffiti, doesn't like using the terms 'legal' and 'illegal', instead preferring 'with permission' and 'without permission'. That's an interesting way of looking at it, that there is some art which exists because other people want it there, and some that exists because only the author wants it there. Some of it is collaborative between owners of space and creators; but the vast majority of it is a statement solely by the artist, they are forcing the change to the space themselves.

Jim Joe's Postbox

Jim Joe's stuff is definitely a forceful statement; he prefers very public and visible places to place his work. The works presence in a space is as important as the statement that might be written.

The second argument, that it defaces spaces, is also true. It removes the image that was put forth by architects, designers and other original creators and replaces it with one altered by the artist. Sometimes it's a complex illustration put on an otherwise blank and featureless wall. Other times it's simply a name or a phrase placed obviously on something we see everyday, as in the case of "Jim Joe" on a postbox.

Because a lot of Jim Joe tags are in such public/temporary spaces (like scaffolding), they quickly get cleaned up or painted over. This means that a lot of his work exists for maybe a few days, maybe weeks if it's in a hard to get to spot. Most of his work will exist directly in the minds of people who see it, and in pictures taken during the window where it still exists. Something about the impermanence of it is attractive, especially in an age where we like to catalog and document everything. The idea of graffiti art as 'an event' is interesting.

Will be photographing downtown tomorrow, mostly people for an up-coming post but I'll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for Jim Joe.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The House of the Setting Sun


Took shots yesterday of probably the most peculiar sun-related phenomena in Manhattan, where the setting sun lines up perpendicularly with the street grid. Sunsets are always pretty gorgeous times to take pictures, but this event in particular is pretty special because you can view it setting over Jersey and it's framed perfectly by tall buildings.

Our little group set up around Herald Square looking down 33rd St., which gave a pretty cool perspective because of the pedestrian walkway that took over that section of Broadway this past year. Theres a little island that looks straight down the grid that makes it look like you're in the middle of the street, even though you're perfectly safe from cars.


As 8 o'clock rolled around a big group of photographers, amateur and pro alike, started to congregate around us. Mike had already set up by this point as you can see in the above picture (taken by my indispensable assistant Alia). He took an eight minute long exposure of the whole event with his neutral density filter on, which looked pretty sweet in camera when it finished processing. I'm sure he'll make it look even sweeter in post and put it up somewhere soon.

My favorite pictures from the actual moment of the sunset don't seem to be of the sun itself setting, they're more the ones where pedestrians blocked the sun itself and got this very cool silhouette and rim light on them. One guy in particular stopped during a light right in the middle of the street and began dancing in front of the sun, which yielded some really nice frames.


All in all it was a great day. Great shooting, great company, and later great artichoke pizza. Can't wait to get another crack at shooting this on July 11th as well. Because the street grid isn't oriented perfectly East-West, it happens twice in periods roughly equal in time from the solstice. Should be fun!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

35mm Cooking Theater: Fig and Ginger Ribs

Fresh out the Oven

Earlier in the week aomeone pointed me over to a lovely food blog called The Hungry Mouse, which is full of wonderful things to do to meat (and some nice cakes I'm gonna try to). I decided to take advantage of a weekend my mom was away to cook up something nice for my dad and I.

I took this recipe for these fig and ginger ribs and decided to have a go. It's really simple; slather some pork in a disgusting-looking-but-wonderful-smelling mixture of fig preserves, ginger, salt and cider and apply heat!

Rib on Mash

They were really good on top of a parsnip and potato mash, which was also inspired by Ms. Mouse. The succulent pork flavors were really balanced with the caramelized fig-ness, and the ginger provided a nice contrast-y hot note. This was my first time cooking any really big meat dish and there was a bit of pressure because I was cooking for just my dad, who's a guy that knows a lot of things about cooking meat. But it all turned out really great! This might be the start of a series of posts about ribs and roasts and other protein-themed things.

I think this recipe could also work well with beef ribs, but with a stronger marinade; maybe something with a soy base for the liquid, so the fig is almost a back note. And then you could reduce the marinating liquid with the drippings and make a pretty kickin' sauce.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Magnolia 2

After the trip to the park on Saturday I met up with the lovely Magnolia Song to do a shoot at St. John's University. It was a pretty overcast day, so we decided to use the fourth floor of D'Angelo as our location. It has a very long hallway, a newly painted white wall and rows of GIGANTIC windows. It's basically a dream location for doing headshots outside of a studio, and it's never busy except if there are school functions going on.

Magnolia 1

This was what the ambient looked like when we got there. Really a great quality to the light coming in through the big windows on the left, so all we wanted to do was even out the exposure by placing a big light source to the right. Chose to go with the big softbox since it's pretty soft while still having a specular quality, which gives some subtle contrast to the light on her face.

Magnolia 9

Magnolia was completely natural in front of the camera, varying her pose just a little bit but enough to make each shot feel unique. The big light sources we were using allowed us to play around with poses and positioning really freely. By just moving to the window, we shifted from having the softbox filling in shadows to having it provide a rim light which made the shots have a fashion-y feel.

Great shoot. Great model. Great day!

Green With Envy

Wooded Path

It has been a while, hasn't it? Very busy two weeks producing pictures for the Torch and writing very long and complicated papers. I've still got quite a bit of work to finish before the year ends, but I really can't complain. It's all been pretty exciting!

I got a little reprieve from all the hurry of deadlines and citations last Saturday though. Spent the first half of the day traipsing around Central Park with Dr. Frank Cantelmo, his daughter and the one other person from my class who was willing and able to come on a weekend morning. Our little group was lucky to have Sgt. Sunny Corrao showing us around all the various areas of the park. We also picked up two other people along the way: a young couple from Pittsburgh that were in town for just the day.


In spite of the lackluster showing we had a blast and got to cover a pretty large swath of the park including some bits that are usually off limits, like the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. It was a pretty small part of the trip, but I think I got some of the best pictures there just because it's so different from the surrounding area of the park. Nestled right at the bottom of the park near the Pond, you'd never guess that such a beautiful little glade was just a few yards away.


The cool bit about the Hallett Sanctuary is that it's mostly undisturbed; the only time any fauna are removed is when it interrupts a small path that runs through the area. The entire place feels much more real than the other highly preened parts of Central Park, with fallen trees around the place in various states of decay and wild flowers blooming in patches.


As we moved up north through the rest of the park we began rambling through what is appropriately called The Ramble! A criss-crossing maze of rough paths, it's really easy to get lost there - and we likely would have had we not had Sunny guiding us. On our trip down the maze we happened upon a few trees that were totally covered in these very small white mushrooms. Sunny told us they were called turkey-tails, and that if we were ever lost and hungry in the forest they were actually quite edible (as long as they had a porous underside).

Dr. Cantelmo was pretty elated at this discovery and proceeded to eat a couple before we finished up our tour at Belvedere Castle. The whole trip was a lot of fun, and gave me an opportunity to take pictures of things I normally wouldn't think to like pine trees and rock formations.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Common Grackle

A lots happened in the past few weeks. Became Assistant Photo Editor at the Torch (St. John's Uni newspaper), which basically means I get to think of picture ideas to match stories. Sorta like an art director kind of deal mixed in with some actual editing. It's a blast, and it's really pretty challenging. Working parts of the brain that I've worked before personally, but now with the pressure of a deadline and the knowledge that what I do will be published.

Also, there is the whole 'working for an hour on layouts/ideas that will never be seen by anyone' side of it, which is pretty deflating. But I'm getting off topic; this post is supposed to be about a bird!

The above picture was taken at Central Park last Thursday after three long days of rain. Hundreds of birds were out and about, happy to be able to eat and enjoying the warmth. This bird was following Jaclyn, Pauline and I around the path, looking curiously at us while still keeping his distance. I tried to get low and stay small as I inched closer but as soon as I did he would get skittish and trot away. Some of the ground shots came out alright, but it's this one on the branch that I really like; you can see his eye really clearly and that lovely iridescence on his wing.


Also shot a few frames of Pauline as the sun was setting. We were wandering through the park and came to a bridge with these lovely yellow vine flowers that had just bloomed. They were really pretty with the sunset light hitting them, so I decided to use them as a backdrop by just lowering myself a few inches and looking up at Pauline. This picture confirms my theory that this girl just can't look bad during a sunset.

Till next time.


Sarah Nelson 6

Took pictures of the lovely and extremely smart Sarah Nelson for a story on women in mathematics that ran last week in the Torch (full article here). I already knew Sarah pretty well and we'd talked about taking pictures before, so it was pretty easy to approach her for this series.

Had an absolute blast setting up and doing the shooting, too. I had a clear image in my head beforehand of her lit by a big key and the blackboard with writing on it being her background. Easy to understand and pretty easy to execute, and gets the idea across. Total shooting time was maybe 40 minutes to an hour from setup to packing up.

In hindsight I'd like to have had a reflector to fill in some of the shadows on Sarah a little bit and separate her a little. But that's a minor complaint on what was a really fun shoot to do.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hurry Hurry!



Spent the last two days cooking up simple little curries, using whatever veg was lying around. Just cooked some carrot, celery, kale and chicken together, then put it under milk and simmered till it got nice and soupy. The real skill comes in evaluating the spices and constantly tasting and altering it to taste.

It takes a while, but it might be the most delicious thing I've ever made. I've never been more proud of a thing I cooked.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Dan as Diety

Dan Christ

Took these pictures of Dan while waiting for friends to arrive at Grand Lux this week. The late afternoon sun was coming in really nice and hard, doing all sorts of pretty things to the area. I find I'm liking this 2:30-4 o'clock sun even more than sunset light lately; theres less pressure since it lasts longer than half an hour, and it's more constant along its duration which makes it easier to work with.

These were just shot really simply with Dan blocking the path of the setting sun, giving him a nice halo around his whole body (and making removing some background elements easier when editing). The orange wall of the Grand Lux behind me gave enough fill for Dan's body even though we're blowing out the background. If I could do this again, I'd try to position us closer to the wall so the difference in the two exposures wasn't so great.

Daniel Sun

Also used this as an excuse to play around with some high pass filtering in Photoshop. It's pretty subtle, but it really helps bring out features and sharpen things up without making them look too strange.

Dan plays bass in a very cool band called Fumblerooski. You oughta' check them out!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Duck Duck



Went to Astoria Park this Monday with mi amigo, Michael Evangelou. Hes a really good photographer and friend with really sharp eyes and a very very silly haircut.


Mike's "caught unawares" expression is always hilarious. Totally not flattering in the least, but it'd be boring if every picture was of him looking all nice and handsome. I've got pictures of Mike looking handsome*, and they're really really boring.


We also pulled Cristina away from a mountain of schoolwork to come hang out and stand in front of our cameras (Mike and I are weird and have our Spring Breaks this week). Popped off a couple simple shots of Cristina backlit by the setting sun and front-lit by just a bare light. Pretty happy with the results, and I didn't catch any diseases from the ultra-sketchy coastline! All in all, a good day!

* - I checked and this is actually a lie.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Me as Diety

Me in front of Me As Diety

The Honor's Commons is pretty excellent sometimes. The people that hang out there are far and away some of the most excellent people I've ever met, and things like this are just physical testaments to this.It started with a simple game of hangman, and instead of a boring stick figure Saher decided to draw me instead, with my furious beard and untamed golden mane.

Dan & Rox

Dan came in soon after and started a new game of hangman, which quickly evolved (or devolved, depending on how much you like hangman) into a collaborative brainstorming of ridiculous things to draw onto me.

Dan Draws

Dan drew most of the ridiculously awesome parts of the drawing: the kilt, the claymore & katana, the completely accurate legs, the pipe. Roxanne contributed wings, me exercising my smiting ability on Pompei, and various other finishing touches. They're both wicked talented artists, and they should totally make websites for their works that I could point you to (HINT)!

I know some excellent people.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tom's Balls

Tom's Balls

Just a micropost today. Midterms are a horrible horrible thing. Lots of time has been sunk into things that are not photography and writing, which hasn't been good for moods or brain. Grammar deteriorating. Not good.

Tom's Balls

This picture sums up my emotions at the moment perfectly.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Wrong Type of Snow


Spent last Thursday hauling snow with this amazing architecturally minded man, Justin. Our original plan was to have a massive snowball fight at Belvadere Castle with 10+ people, but thanks to pretty much everyone we knew bailing, that plan never materialized. So instead Jaclyn, Pauline, Justin and I tried our hands at igloo making.

That's actually inaccurate; Justin and I tried our hands at igloo making. Jaclyn and Pauline just stood around looking pretty and documented the whole thing (and each other).


You'll note that we didn't actually create a proper igloo. This is because making an igloo is way more difficult than we had anticipated. It also didn't help that we ambitiously tried to make an igloo four feet in diameter. We did quite a lot of work in the time we spent doing it, although in the end we built more of a snow fort. We rationalized it by saying that snow forts are a lot like igloos, just with a very large skylight built into them.

Making a snow fort also has an advantage photographically: they're basically really big bounce boards!


All in all, it was an excellent and exhausting time. It felt good to play around in the most snow I've ever seen in the city, but it really took a lot out of me. Lifting 30+ pound blocks of ice can be pretty tiring, it turns out. To wrap up, a picture summing up my post-igloo-building experience: