Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Piano

Quiz time:

You are a professional photographer. A friend who you havn't spoken to in several weeks (Mike, I don't care if you have been in Tanzania all month) calls you up, because he needs help moving Joys piano. Do you:
  1. Reply "Hey sure, how hard could that be?"
  2. Confuse him with the line rhetorically sticky line about "a friend in need"
  3. Tell him your back if feeling a bit tweaked and you hurt your shoulder throwing the tennis ball for the dog - not entirely untrue.
  4. Explain to him that you are a photographer and do not work for free.
  5. Grab your camera and go.
Continue on for the answer.

It's a beauty, made in the mid 1800's in London.

Why does Joy look so worried ...

... Oh ... right.

It was a bit tight. Lucky for everyone I had my leatherman in my camara bag, so they could remove the top and get it into the back of the van.

We still almost lost Rob.

Justin's new facebook photo?

Faux-hawk portraits.

Doesn't look that heavy to me. In case you were wondering I did ask them to turn the piano around, so the back wasn't facing me. These guys were so not on the ball.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I'm re-vamping the portfolio, removing photos that don't fit and in the case of the Pogues' 9:30 Club show, making a new home for them on my blog. It isn't that I wouldn't want to be known as a concert photographer, each week ticking off another show from the list of 100 acts to see before you die (or before they do?). But .. well .. take a look here, and tell me who the rock star is.


Set one: Shane takes a drag from a cigarette and spits into the mike. The packed house howls and sways, and we raise our drinks and pretend to understand what he is saying. Shane plays on. His body is old and broken. His music is not. Two songs, and he takes a break, exiting stage left, down the stairs and into the blackness (or as Shane might say, "blech"). I get the impression that he is being taken away to his dressing room on a two-wheeled dolly cart. Set two: I raise my camera, a 1957 Canon rangefinder L-2, into the air and snap a photo. The bouncer points and tells me, "No professional cameras!" What this old thing? .. well yes the lens does come off .. but this old thing? Come on! "Fine" he says smugly, "Not enough light without a flash anyway. You're just wasting your time." snap, snap, snap. Thanks .. and in case you missed it, Shane is smoking on stage again.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Back - Working Backwards

Time to restart - i.e. This post's title has little to do with its content, if anything it is a reminder that I havn't done this for several months, and that this is a starting point, and that this point will be proceeded and followed by other posts that I've had in my head during these last months of winter. Time pauses; the narative now moves in both directions.


Things have been slow, but opportunities are coming (and so I continue to be happy in photographer mode). Several weeks ago I was excited to be invited to a special press day with Maya Lin at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. (Thank you Rachel!)

Maya Lin, for those who don't know, was only 20 and still in undergraduate school when she submitted the winning entry for the Vietnam War Memorial on the National Mall. Today Maya functions as an architect, sculptor, and memorialist - all the while refusing any of these titles, instead refering to herself as an Artist. (I might also add humanist, environmentalist and activist to the list.)

Her appearance was thoroughly enjoyable. After a brief introduction delivered from behind a clear lexan podium, Maya led a group of jurnalists, students and special guests through the exhibit upstairs. She was exceedingly generous with her time, answering questions for more than an hour as we walked from room to room - always patient, thoughtful, introspection but not lacking in energy, passion or joy - at one point climbing the sloping side of one of her sculptures and suggesting that she would like to find a few days where visitors are encouraged to do the same.

A true rendition of the light was difficult with small flash and equal amounts of natural light from the skylights and from the incandescent gallery lights. As one moves from room to room I think this only adds to the understanding of the pieces and to the aesthetic of the photos, so I let it be what it was. I rented a fixed f2.8 zoom - trying to convince myself that I don't need to buy one yet - to try some more things with DOF. I've been pretending that the zoom lenses that I've been using are fixed by pre-visualizing my photo, setting the zoom on the lens, and then looking through the viewfinder to compose the photo - doing this is helping me to learn the effects of different lens length and f-stop combinations. I also find my pictures are better when I use a fixed lens (and my feet to zoom).

Again .. Go! see the show! More photos here.