Its Gonna Take a Long Time

November 11, 2011

I’ve never advertised before. In fact I was never a proponent of self-promotion. When I began to photograph commercially I really had no idea how to run a business but only that I knew I could take the pictures that would warrant running one. I started slow, following all of my favorite bloggers and writers and photographers on the internet. I poured over any and all information that could propel me into internet stardom. I started Facebook albums. I wrote my own blogs. I was given the “How to Build Your Own Website for Dummies” book and handcrafted code line by line four times over to create what my website is today. When I came back to New York City I jumped on any and all jobs I could find. I photographed nightlife parties. I ran around the city on the subway with my equipment in a messenger bag. I assisted at weddings. I bought professional lights. I took pictures every day. Then I hit the wall. I was making little to no money doing what I loved and finally had to take several other jobs to be able to pay any sort of bill that was coming in. I lost my momentum completely. I began to think that I shouldn’t be trying at all. I worked at ABC Kitchen for a year and a half before that feeling started to turn itself over. Before the wind smelled clear again. I began to see my photographs happening. They would appear to me out of nowhere. Down a Long Island City alleyway. A rooftop sunset. Simple pleasures that were mine for the taking. I started booking weddings and shoots again. I remembered to trust myself.

I know that everyone has their success story.
But this is not a story of my success. This is a story about how to get up and keep going.

I’ve had the same business cards for three years. After reading a few articles over at Matchstic, I made the decision to rebrand my cards into something more tangible. An object of affection.  I make my living off of my sight and my intuition. I needed a card that would help me create a piece of myself to show others how I see the world. I used Moo Business Cards to accomplish my vision. (Who by the way I am now obsessed with. Rounded corners, double sided cards, beautiful accurate coloring, and thick cardstock- ohmy!)

I also for the first time ever this year decided to run a couple of advertisements. This is the latest one from the November 2011 issue of the Chronogram. Heres a peek !

In a moment of pure and open honesty, I’ll admit, I am not nearly where I’d like to be professionally. I may not have all of the latest gadgets or the fanciest flash website, but one thing remains the same as when I ventured into this. I’m confident that I know how to take the pictures which warrant running this business.

So I’m working on it.

As Mayer Hawthorne reminds us,

Its gonna take a long time,
Its gonna take it but we’ll make it someday.

Clair and Sam

August 23, 2011

They couldn’t be cuter. Jetting over to NYC from England, these two celebrated their love with their closest family and friends on a wonderful day in June. We started at the Ladies Pavillion and made our way over to the Central Park Zoo in a horse and buggy ride. Although my tendency to tear up at weddings seems to have subsided in the past couple of events that I’ve shot, Clair and Sam’s ceremony was especially emotional as the two recited their own vows to one another, and I found myself loving them dearly. When you can see the love that couples have for one another written all over their face, it is the most beautiful and most wonderful thing that you can be privy to.

With the recent closing of iconic NYC locations like Mars Bar and Film Center Cafe, I thought it appropriate to render a tribute to the city that I am from.

I have always been nostalgic. Even for places and events and people that I have never been to or attended or met. Certain weights that tug on my heartstrings. They are simple, like fire escapes, or fading painted advertisements on the sides of older buildings. They are ghosts of the past of a city that was raised by ambition and seems to be taken down by the natural element of ‘progress’. Establishments that have existed for years are closing. Huge skyscrapers are being built in the midst of beautiful characteristic low-rises. I am interested in documenting the things that are fading. In the buildings and the blocks. In the telephone wires and the phone booths. The neon signs.

I once wrote a letter to the Landmarks Commission in attempts at saving 35 Cooper Square which as a federal style house is one of the oldest surviving buildings on the Bowery. The following is an excerpt from that letter;

“There are reasons why tourists come to Manhattan. There are reasons why people from all over the world come with not more than a weeks’ saved wages to try to ‘make it’ here. There are reasons why numerous artists, writers, revolutionaries, business people, great thinkers, and big dreamers have chosen New York as their home base. I can tell you right now, its not because of our newly built glass towers, or the gastro-pubs, or the bottle service nightlife clubs. It’s because Manhattan was raised with charm. It has a grace that not many cities posses. It gives off the potential that anything is possible and part of this element is the structures that exist here. There are buildings that have dated back to the 19th century. They hold the city’s secrets. They have been standing throughout fires and floods, bombings and shootings. They are older than all of us, and deserve to have a chance to continue to show newcomers what the city is really made of. That throughout everything, New York buildings, like New Yorkers themselves, are durable, are resilient. That they have a strong history and past to settle their roots to, and because of that past, have a chance to to root their future in something promising, something real.”

Place is extremely powerful. There are spirits and lives that are buried beneath these streets. Under the concrete, under the cobblestone. They permeate every inch of the air on this island. I wish to document what’s been left and what is soon to go. Not only for a cartographical basis to determine footprints of the city’s mindframe, but for an artistic sense of seeing as well, creating in our time, a similar likeness to the times of those past.

I have lived in New York City for my whole life, and just this year I have begun to document it correctly. Here are a few images from this journey.

These are some highlights from an event I shot the other week at the Tribeca Cinemas. The first annual Video Art and Experimental Film Festival. Because they said it better than I could, “The festival aspires to shed new light on the definition of the video art genre by showcasing the work of ground-breaking contemporary video artists and experimental filmmakers from all over the world”. It included two hours of screening, a panal discussion and an afterparty. The panal included Ross Harley, Professor and Head of the School of Media Arts, College of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales in Sydney; Ed Bowes, an SVA professor and winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship 2010; Blake Whitman, Director of Community and Product at Vimeo; and moderated by Bonnie Friel, a video and performance artist and instructor of Media Theory and Production at ( no other than my alma mater ) Temple University.

As someone who is creative in their profession, its so important to have portals in which you can share your work with others, especially others from all over the world. The panal touched on the importance of social networking sites and how they are specifically impacting the way that people communicate their art.

On their website there are videos that you can take a look at from the event including interviews with a few of the filmmakers. It was a wonderful event, and I was glad to be able to shoot it!

loveee this one

A shot of one of my favorite films, Manuela from Marco Castro

If you follow any of my personal sites ( tumblr, twitter, facebook) you know by now of my obsession with neon signs 🙂


Spring Fever

April 7, 2010

So I know spring has officially been here since March 20th, but it is just now beginning to feel warm and cheerful. The flowers are blooming, the people are sunbathing, the amount of frisbee on the beach has been plentiful. Spring is the time for renewal, for brushing off the cobwebs of winter, for breaking out the flip flops and Coronas, and for not only looking forward to the year ahead, but for embracing all thats come before you to make you what you are today. Spring is a blessing, it reminds us of everything we’ve accomplished, and pushes us towards doing more. It is definitely the motivational season in my mind! Maybe thats why my schedule filled up so quickly this month, but I do know i’ve been somewhat missing from my blogging life. Alas, don’t fret so soon! There are miles and miles of photos to go through before I sleep.

Last year about this time, I had just moved once again and begun my business anew. This year, some big changes have happened and I will soon be working for Anthony Vazquez Photography. For those of you who don’t know who he is, check out his website. He was the one who photographed Beverley Mitchell’s classic Italian wedding and Kevin Jonas’ fairytale castle affair. Yup, that guy. In short, he’s kind of a big deal. I’m super excited to be assisting the company, unfortunately I can’t post any of my images due to copyright infringements but you know i’ll be tweeting about them so be sure to follow me on Twitter and my Facebook Fan Page! Speaking of which, my twitter has been revamped!

I woke up at 5:30am last saturday and pimped it out.. so make sure to follow me !

Also I’ve got a Facebook Fan Page now as well that looks like this :

so be sure to become a fan to keep up with what’s going on. I promise I won’t tell you what I had for dinner. Probably. Unless you ask. Unless I was sitting outside eating at a sidewalk cafe, then I might tell you out of sheer joy 🙂

Happy Tuesday & Happy Spring!

Guerilla Photoshoot

March 27, 2010

Sorry for the delay! I’ve been trying to put together this blog post for weeks now and every time I sat down to choose which photos were going up, I couldn’t decide on a reasonable number. No, Sam, 45 is not a reasonable number of photos to put up in one blog post! In any case, I was finally able to sit down and force myself to choose the ones that were gonna make it up.

In any case, in efforts of trying not to blab on too long, I just want to say that I think this first shootout was a long time in coming. Photographers and creatives need to ban together, help each other, support one another. All too often does our classic east coast standoffishness come across as us plain ol’ disinterest , but alas that is not the case! We just need to get the ball rolling so that in the long run, everyone can benefit. Working as a community in your field is one of the most important in keeping business alive. Although I could ramble on about this for hours, here are the photos from the first ever Guerilla Photoshoot, which I look at as something inbetween hanging out with your good friends who happen to be photographers, and a full on workshop. Its the perfect balance! We had some great models and some wonderful photographers and I hope that you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them 🙂

Grocery Store Openings

March 5, 2010

“Do everything. Do grocery store openings. Do anything and everything” was Jimmy Fallon’s advice to an audience member trying to get into comedy at yesterday’s Interview at the Soho Apple Store. He talked about his childhood, doing impressions in front of the mirror and acting out skits with his sister. A little known fact that I found out later was that even though Fallon was born in Brooklyn, his family moved to Saugerties, NY only a short distance from my house in the country! He spoke about his first gig which was inspired by a troll doll and took place at Bananas in Poughkeepsie, NY. Obviously his hard work has paid off, being the host of a late night TV show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, having acted in a number of movies including Almost Famous and Fever Pitch, and a member of the infamous Saturday Night Live.

Questlove is the drummer for The Roots, who are now the house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. From Philadelphia, his family has ties to Doo-Wop, with his father being Lee Andrews of Lee Andrews and the Hearts, so he grew up around music and has been playing the drums onstage since he was seven! I felt an instant warmth from both of them and the admiration in the room was glowing.

During the interview, Questlove and Fallon spoke about a number of topics, and answered questions from the audience. These men work hard for their success and their following is vast. They told us of their journey, and I came away from it inspired and blessed to have heard their stories.

After the discussion was over, instead of walking off the stage and going straight to their towncars waiting outside, even as the ushers were trying to get them to leave, both Fallon and Questlove stayed and talked to their fans, took pictures with everyone who asked them, signed every autograph and listened to every person who stopped them to tell a story about how they’ve influenced their lives. Being there and watching them interact with the people who so eagerly gave up their Thursday evening to watch them, not only restored my faith in the celebrity icon, but reminded me that the road to success and the path to following your dreams, although sometimes filled with stones, is worth what you need to do to get yourself to where you want to be. Even if, and especially, when it starts with grocery store openings.

I loved that they loved to laugh 😀

They were so sweet I even got photos with both of them 🙂