Round two testing on the Lensbaby Composer with Sweet 35 optic. A trip to the park with Chris, a martial arts instructor and former gymnast.
Once again, I shot with both my Canon glass and the Sweet 35. Sure, I could have photoshopped the images to look like the results but it was fun to make magic happen up front.
Once again, it’s an added level of difficulty moving around a sweet spot on a moving target while focusing but then you just shoot a few extra frames and have fun with it. I love the lower contrast. The non auto aperture makes focusing a bit tougher even shooting in daylight. I could see where a mirrorless camera could have an advantage here but that’s not in my gear bags and just a guess.
This year, and for the past decade I have had the pleasure of shooting the cover for the WLA issue of Consulting Magazine. Each year, I’m amazed with the brilliance, power and grace these women bring to the table. Though I don’t get to be a fly on the wall as they navigate the corridors of power, their peers present them, each with a story of commitment, humbleness and dedication unparalleled. This year nonetheless seemed even more pertinent given the political gyrations and social upheaval we’re experiencing.
Those who know me as a left wing nutjob or libtard might a different attitude in my interaction with the subject set but this isn’t about me, the companies they consult for or my shallow understanding of their world. Honestly, after listening to them and their peers it seems they get to the stage because of the good they do as much as the team spirit they bring to the table.
I wish them all the best in the coming years and to continue to bring a greater perspective to the C-suites of the world.
Congrats Debbie Simpson and everyone who stood before the camera this year, and thanks to whoever bought the wine and scotch. Unwinding after fast high pressure shooting is easier with a single malt and truffles.
For the tech side, this year we had 12 women on the deck, that means 12 portraits and the cover shot all in about an hour with an hour to set up ahead of time. This year I opted for DC powered strobes, Elinchrom as I have had issues in the past with blowing circuit breakers and I just can’t afford down time when there’s so much to do in the allocated time.
Thanks Rob for keeping me from jumping out a locked window and running away and for hauling all my stuff.
This fall we produced and created images for The College Board‘s social media campaign ads. We created happy and engaging lifestyle images of students, at school Production took a few weeks, a good part of which had to do with casting, location scouting and logistics, all handled in-house with a bunch of help from my wardrobe stylist Amy Auslander. Budget was decent though not lavish by far. Weaning the client off royalty free stock, the pricing had to be competitive yet there was allowance for images more unique following a shot list. Comparison wasn’t linear scale but there was some relationship. Talent could have been astronomical so it required using “real people.” There are always trade offs as such. I’m fine working with un-seasoned talent but it’s a different ballgame. More talking/directing and lower throughput. There’s a reason good talent isn’t cheap! Still, it was a great bunch of kids, they were enthusiastic, some surprisingly stellar in front of the camera and petty much wore me out for the day.
The shoot took place in Queens NY, we rented a bunch of gear from Root, a big cargo/passenger van to move a good portion of the crew and loaded into a rented high school on a Saturday. Weather wasn’t stellar but then a little rain is much better than a lot.. and maybe better than a bright sunny day in some respect. Hair and Makeup by Jerry and Sophie.
Takeaways… after wrap, don’t eat the rest of the pizza. Orange juice is great when you’re going to be directing talent 10 hours, digital tech is good, very very good!
We’re back on “The Curated Fridge” again, I love having my photos refrigerators & cubicles!The next two months, Daniela Momo from Taragano Dance Theater is being exhibited on “The Curated Fridge” if you’re in Boston, you can see it live, otherwise see it online. Fun exhibition. If you request one, you might just get your own postcard copy in the mail.
Did I mention RJ was really tall? It’s really strange standing next to a pro ball player. I got a Lensbaby, wanted to get a few frames on it and see if it would be worthy creating originals vs Photoshop. It’s fun, some filmy sort of serendipitous feeling shooting with it though I doubt I’ll be using it on a commercial job when a frame can easily be converted to have the look. I’ll make more notes on this in the future as I play with it more.
The three images are shot within an hour under pretty similar lighting conditions. Okay, the third is shade but we’re trying to have fun without getting overly techy. I post process my RAW files in Lightroom, in this case I threw stock filters on them because Instagram is free, Lightroom is amazing so why not.
Differences to note, and partly because you can’t see the original data you just have to read my analysis.
Lensbaby Composer with Sweet 35 is fun to use, requires some coordination, some trust and doesn’t have an undo feature. You lose some frames because you can’t focus as well, you lose some because you are tilting and swinging and having fun. You shoot some more and have fun. Would I use it on a commercial shoot, sure but it would likely be to warm up, play a bit and show a client what can be done with a situation other than making it a normal shot.
Canon glass, kicks ass. I love my 24-70, probably use it on 95% of my work… at 24mm around f8. There you have it, you can now be me. It has great contrast, matches well with the camera and is easy to focus, manually, because I was born in the 60’s and still like to focus my own lens. Of course, having used the lens so much for years I know what’s going to be sharp, how to blur or defocus on demand… and what to do in post to make something look like it was Lensbaby. Have I tried to make an image look like it was done with the Lensbaby, no I’m not worried about it.
“Artist-in-Residence HOTTEA transformed Viacom’s worldwide headquarters with his largest installation to date.” Artist uptown residence Dave takes Pictures was brought in to make pretty pictures of said person going by HOTTEA for Viacom. Nobody told me I shouldn’t touch the thread! Okay, I should have known… but it was just yarn hanging from a ceiling with a few kinks and tangles here and there!
One of our lights touched yarn, HOTTEA was present, he was distressed, before anyone could get a ladder we used a light stand to unstick a few stands that had stuck together. Good thing we weren’t in the elevator lobby where the HVAC had tangled up a few yards of yarn. Sure does look pretty though!
Thanks Mike for giving me a hand with the gear and running through the shots. Thanks Julie for not wanting to do it and tossing me the work… and also walking through a shot.
More than just guys in suits here at Dave takes Pictures! I’m starting a project, yep another project. Since it’s hot out, I’m going to wrangle some talent to stand outside in the heat and sweat in front of the camera. First shot, into the gym, an A/C’d private gym on the East side with Oliver. I really just wanted to test a new softbox and computer. Now that I’ve started, why not!
It’s a bit of a throwback to an older shoot with a similar feel. The original below was film, illuminated with fluorescent tubes, cross processed and scanned. My recent test was simpler in some ways, digital using lightweight DC strobes, the new octabank, strip bank and a bare head.
Major differences in shooting the two. I could see pretty much what I had captured on a laptop immediately after shooting the digital yet using strobe you have to imagine how your light will look as you can’t see it when you’re shooting. when I shot Athalon Group collateral below, I could see almost exactly my tonality in the camera but wouldn’t see the film finals until a day or so later. Either works for me.
By the way, Oliver hates this photo, he thinks it makes him look fat. I remember when my abs might have looked fat like that, that was probably 25 years ago.
Do you want to sweat in front of the camera? Drop a note, let me know what you have in mind. Mistress Eliza included wherever you are…
Anyway, if you’re looking for a personal trainer in NYC, Oliver is 6’5″ or something like that, can pick up a horse, speaks mean French and might be able to make you look like him. Drop a note I’ll pass you on to him. I’d link back but they he might see the fat picture and track me down.
T’was the day before my birthday, we put together a nice dog and pony show at a friend’s studio in DC, Studiowerks DC. Budget was tight so we went cozy for the day. It’s a great studio but with 13 people and two sets running space is tight. Other than some words of wisdom, don’t eat the steak at a seafood restaurant, the day went smooth.
So, thanks Paul and Chris for hooking me up with the studio, thanks to the crew for doing everything while I lay on the floor wishing I was dead, feeding me occasional sips of diet caffeine free Coke, and not letting me fall over when I tried to stand up or get off my stool. Thanks Johnny’s Half Shell for feeding me a $40 steak that was alive enough to fight back for three days. If you decide to eat there, get the Crab Cake, my Art Director Hosea ate two and a half, he was fine. Oh yeah, thanks Hosea for carrying pharmaceuticals enough to keep me alive for the day. Thanks Kane & Crew for looking good. It helps!
Just a day or two before The Great Blizzard of 2018 we were scheduled to photograph The Wizard of Blizzard: Joe Costanzo for Snow and Ice Management/Snow Business Magazine. Oh the perils of scheduling ten days out, and having other jobs on the calendar include missing out on an opportunity to photograph a snow plow with snow rather than a snow plow on wet pavement.
Joe was a trooper, gloveless after dark on a cold and windy day. As much as I would have liked to have snow on the ground, shooting in a blizzard would have posed some interesting challenges not the least of which would have been getting to the location when orders are in place for essential vehicles only to be on the streets and the prospect of gigantic hunks of snow dropping from the sky at a hard angle with 50mph gusts doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. Well, if I hadn’t already been booked I would have done it. Thanks Consulting Mag for keeping my warm, dry and well fed instead!
Thanks Joe for pulling it together, thanks Rob for hauling my crap around, thanks NYPD for not noticing my car double parked illegally across the street, the tripod, lightstands or my 100′ driving through Fulton St. Mall to get to the location instead of driving over the sidewalks.
It’s always sweet when one of my favorite images resurfaces. In this case, my wife Alice prodded me to get in touch with an old acquaintance on my next trip to Boston knowing fully well how I’d love Joe Davis’s art and attitude. She hadn’t been in his studio space though if she/I had any idea what I was about to encounter, the whole day might have been blocked out to poke around and play with gadgets. Joe’s a classic hands on tinkerer, researcher, artist. Renaissance man in flannels with a baseball bat for a lower leg. Thanks for an entertaining afternoon Joe. I’d love to have a few hours more to look at your work, if I was only 21 and fresh out of college I might beg for an internship though I get the feeing I’d be waitlisted.
Back again, from the garden tractor pull series my submitted image to the ASMP 2017 Annual is about to hit the streets. Here’s your jump start, you can say you saw it here first! Woo Hoo! Look out, I just scooped the Daily News!
Feel free to toss me some dough to continue the series, I’d love to keep it going.
Last month, we photographed Peggy Wang, a Buzzfeed founder, for Tulane University Magazine. We had sample layouts, a bit of instruction for self AD’ing the shoot and and Peggy’s email address to get the ball rolling. We almost nailed down the time, date, place and some ideas with Peggy before the PR handler jumped in. What started as an hour shoot with an hour setup was hacked down to twenty minutes setup and twenty minutes to shoot for two to three sets. From run of the shop to two tight locations. You take what you can get sometimes, and even if you have to spend 5 of your forty minutes looking for a two replacement light bulbs. We found only one. Just do it? Photoshop the lamp to look like it has two bulbs in it? Maybe tomorrow.
Peggy, seasoned with a decade plus in public eye was easy to work with. PR advised her not to dunk the cookie for us even though she convinced Pres. Obama to dunk a cookie for Buzzfeed. Thanks Obama? Once again, you take what you can get. Though I would have liked to have some silly in the shoot, here’s the serious Peggy Wang from Buzzfeed.
Some new work just went live, results of a two day shoot for Kognito.
Kognito is “a health simulation company that believes in the power of conversation to inspire and inform, impact how people think and act, evoke empathy and change lives. How do you say that in pictures? The assignment was to get environmental portraits of the leadership team and a set of images from around the office to put a face behind the technology. Pretty fascinating and innovative place in my opinion.
Challenges we faced were working in a live workspace using real people while working, minimal styling and a pretty loose shotlist. Though the office usually has nice sunlight, the week we had to shoot turned out to be very wet so everything was lit using four Elinchrom Ranger Quadra packs. We had a small crew and did a whole lot of hustle. Usually keen on a tighter shotlist but can manage fine on the fly if we have to.
Early one morning, as commuters began to filter into the tubes heading midtown, we photographed Grant and Michael at Citibike rack by Grand Central. They are Risk Managers associated with bike shares accross the US.
As our taxi rolled past loaded citibike racks on the UWS a bit before sunrise, I lamented not riding my cargo bike down loaded with gear in a show of solidarity but my assistant didn’t have a bike and would have put me a bit over capacity. We arrived half hour prior to Grant and Michael, to find an empty rack! I could have put Rob on a Citibike and at least we would have one! Hopefully Grant and Michael would bring a few! As the sun began to shine (strobe) fortunately the bikes began to roll in. To the frustration of a few commuters, we used administrative access to lock a few props on the rack for the shoot… sorry;)
Not my money, but Dr. Singh was a pretty good sport for having been swindled out of nearly a half million bucks and being photographed on a miserably rainy day in January for the writeup. The Profoto AcuteB is still chugging along, though I brought the Elinchrom’s along too for the ride. I’ll save the smiley outtakes for Dr. Singh. He’s a pretty upbeat guy and even gave me some sidewalk medical advice for free!
I’m working on a series of Garden Tractor Pull images. Yes, it’s a real sport. Some five years or so ago, I happened upon a county fair somwhere three or four hours northwest of NYC. Following the sound of loud engines to a dirt track raceway there was a queue of garden tractors lined up to pull an incrementally weighted sled. I knew the term Tractor Pull from TV & radio ads in my childhood but never had a visual to go with it. The entries were anywhere from stock up to sponsored racing machines with glossy custom paint jobs. The pulls generally aren’t what you might consider jackrabbit fast. They’re loud and it’s common amongst participants I’ve spoken with that they’re spending way too much money on rides that in many cases won’t mow a lawn. A few riders still had a mower deck and blades hanging below. I’m finishing work on a few images to post soon and will get them up on my site.
I love having my photos refrigerators & cubicles, making this one of the most fun exhibits I have been in. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to hang a show in MOMA, maybe it will be hung on refrigerator doors?
The next two months, “Space Improvement Day” is being exhibited on “The Curated Fridge” if you’re in Boston, you can see it live, otherwise see it online. Fun exhibition. If you request one, you might just get your own postcard copy in the mail.
Makerfaire Mega NYC huge edition, 2016 and then some. It rained this year on the only day I could attend so here are two photos from last year and one from this year without sunshine in a tent covered with plastic. Hey, it was fun, just kinda wet. I was working on PRS, Power Racing Series for which I’ll soon have a larger post and web gallery update. The lower, Monty double will likely get into the main galleries. There’s only one Monty, of course it’s altered, twins are funny.
I was just wondering if clickbait would get you here. We took a trip got tired on the way home and spent the night in some hotel in Connecticut that had seen just a few too many changes on ownership/management. Still, it had funky green curtains and some nice morning light. Good morning Alice & Max! And the stalker outside the window.
2016 Photoville ASMP container, Charlamagne tha God made an appearance selected as one of about fifteen or twenty images from the New York chapter to represent. Quite an honor, the image was also selected for the 2016 annual to be delivered tomorrow to a few hundred creatives across NYC. I hope everyone enjoyed browsing images on a lazy August weekend between the bridges.
On a recent trip to Baltimore working on the PRS series, I dropped in on a former co-worker Todd Blatt at Baltimore Node. Todd is a 3d designer, tinkerer, maker guy and part of the 501st Legion Garrison. The Storm Troopers do fundraisers for charities and look pretty good at a party. I had a camera, Todd had armour, the whiteboard… just a coincidence I couldn’t resist. Storm troopers don’t sound quite the same without the sound effects guy in the house so keep the music up when they march in. Preferably Vaughner?
Another day working with Power Racing Series teams….
We went out to the legendary Bellworks Labs in Humboldt NJ for a mini Maker Faire where the PRS was having the first exhibition race to help local new and old teams tune up their rides. Two major teams I have already worked with were there and a few new entries below working out the quirks in their new cars. We ran some tests and will hopefully get some fun race shots at the big race this Sept in Queens!
At the American Museum of Natural History #AMNH NYC for game night kid free! After ping pong and Cocktails I found myself playing with clay feeling inspired for something a little retro. Mr Bill is back! Not the original of course (was he ever the same twice?)I gave it my best shot I left him on the table fully intending to go back and see if someone might have mauled him well but unfortunately was directed by security before I had a chance. I’m kind of hoping to look online and possibly find someone posting a follow-up if so I’ll post a follow-up.
Midway through a fun day shooting the FUBAR Labs Power Racer Series team in New Brunswick NJ, Rob and I got to take a few cars out for laps. Fun day! I probably should be wearing a helmet here, they are not slow! Now why didn’t I think of handing my camera to someone instead of waiting for a bad cell phone shot. More to come soon, have to edit down quite a bit!
We had a snow day last month, a snow day without snow. From the set design side, a little snow might have been nice but if it had snowed I probably wouldn’t have been able to get these guys to drive over to the TransCanada power plant in Queens NY for a photoshoot either. Sure it was cold, sure I was wearing a fur hat, down parka and mittens but these guys are snow pros! Interesting showing up on location and having security tell you you can’t photograph the power plant, smokestacks, waterfront, barge, dock or any infrastructure. Okay, not interesting but that was the gig.
Profoto AcuteB & umbrella
What I learned: Mac Laptop battery life is reduced by… maybe 7x when it’s below freezing so tethered shooting can be precarious. If it was my car, it would have had an inverter in it. Oh well, NYC sucks for owning a car so I rent.
Beginning of 2016, I’ll be partnering with Agency Access to do promotional legwork and planning. The beginning, a potential revamping of my identity, promos and some edits to my website, compiling new target lists and calls will start again. It’s been quite a few years since I sent out anything other than social media so it will be interesting to see how things have changed.
Step one, editing images…. this is intimidating though I have done it many times before… starting with a library of over 300,000 images, culled down to around 35o. It doesn’t look as difficult to edit when reduced to .5″ cells in a grid?
Question is, where do I focus on the promotion… advertising, corporate or editorial and even then how much more focused will we go. It seems as though I have become rather focused in the past decade but it may become more narrow for the purpose of the campaign. Anyhow, this is the starting point!
I’m a few weeks off of bringing home a new camera, likely the Canon 5DS over the Sony A7RII. I decided to do some testing of my own so I really know what I’m getting for my dough. As I mentioned in the previous post, I use a 5DMKII and love it. Nearing the point where my backup DSLR really is obsolete, upgrading to make my beloved 5DMKII the backup seemed like more fun than buying a new backup. I invited Heidi Klum over to stand in for the test but she got a last minute booking so I had to do the test alone. The following series of images were shot with studio strobe varying the power as much as possible to maintain consistency in camera settings though I had to stop down at the high ASA end and open up a little on the low. What I’m really looking for is excessive noise and funky colors at the high end and creamy smooth low end. I’ll shoot the same series with the new camera in a few weeks. Images were processed to JPG 65 using Lightroom. There is a default amount of color noise reduction which does make a big difference on the high ISO files but as I use it on all my files regardless I left it on. There is no applied luminance noise reduction. The images are reduced cropped sections, click on them to inspect at full resolution.
Fact: I shot this shortly after the bagphone’s obsolescence. I had my first flip phone which may or may not have had text message ability. I was digging through a box of chromes today cleaning off a shelf and ran into originals from this set. Unfortunately scanning the originals wasn’t going to happen today for a quick post but I did have some copywork from a print on an archive drive from a decade ago. This was my first big job, PSINet shot in NYC, Toronto, Hong Kong and Paris, a three week stint with five primary locations. The individual shots were stripped into the stack of flat panel monitors we shot in Toronto in the second row. Caption was something like the internet is knocking are you there? They were a big deal, at about $10K/monitor, shipped in from some rental somewhere at a time when a 21″ monitor was a 60Lb CRT that cost $2K.
I can’t help but to notice my last blog posting reached and converted almost 4x more than the last FB promo and converted 16x more than the last. When my first website was posted in HTML, I populated metadata with words stripped out of a porn site to increase hits. It was a bit of a joke to me at least, thinking people might go there for #boobs and find a bald fat guy in a nasty wifebeater playing guitar on the toilet.
After a bit of a hiatus, I have returned to my blog, with a backlog of material to fill in and release. I’m not really good with blogging as I go, maybe I’ll get better this year. Encouraging as it is to see hits to my words, I went into the stats today thinking I’d figure out some pattern to success and amp it up a bit but it’s hard to see where Moby would only get 59 hits to my random model in a towel getting 78 hits. I have to find out what exactly the reach means. Doesn’t everyone getting my feed get my post on their timeline? Has something changed? Is FB broadcasting me more since I’m posting more? What gives? I want to see it give more! At the risk of giving my competition a trade secret or even worse, motivating them to do the same, I ask you… was it the clickbait that drew you in? Did you just happen to get caught up in the statistical cloud and drawn in? Was it the photo?
Though the shoot had four main images to be composited into to three final images that would rotate on the site, there were oodles of selfies that had to be taken to fill in the quadrants on the phone screens and to be scattered in various places on the website. It took about four days to shoot the groups in enough varied locations that they could be reassembled on screens without much redundancy in the talent. We discussed shooting the images with an actual smartphone but shutter lag and the inability to sync a smartphone easily with strobes made it impractical. Sure I could have probably done the lighting with Kino’s or other but the impracticality of redundant grip outweighed authenticity. SLR it was, and it gave us the advantageous options of cropping and RAW files.
For the record, this is my 95% smiley face happy edit, look at the ads in the previous post to see OOVOO’s selections to their concept.
A whole lot of pictures in pictures was the plan… action packed week of production and location shooting made this one up. The plan was to show a bunch of teens/twenty somethings slacking about and chatting on the phone app, having a good time with their peeps. The shot list was pretty packed, the producer had to watch the checklist pretty closely to be sure we had every option we needed to use each person on the screen as a possible chat mate for each landing page scenario so things multiplied quickly. I shot this in 2013, why now write about it? It’s been sitting in a folder on my desktop for two years waiting, Max was born in the middle of the production so it kind of slipped my mind. The site was recently overhauled, not quite as conceptual I’d say. Just checking in? I’m going to do another post on the selfies. Nice collection, may as well use it.
One fine morning we got to play in the studio with Elvis Duran and his production team. Having recently slimmed down a bit, Elvis was ready to show the world his new image and boy did he look great. Thanks to Sophie, Sophia and Yasu for getting them all prepped for set and thanks to my crew for keeping things moving. We shot at Elk Studios, Chelsea for the day and the wonky large Chimera seemed to do the job just fine. Another two feet of ceiling would be nice but hey, it’s NY.
Thanks Elvis for smiling when repeatedly calling me an asshole. It truly was a fun day and I got to take home a bag of almonds!
And if you are reading this post and wondering why it suddenly appeared backdated… I promised I wouldn’t release images until publication so… here you go.
We’re having breakfast in the subway corridors! The Breakfast Club, coming soon to a subway platform near you.
They’re back! DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne, in a subway near you. No, not the store, the L train, Corridor from 6th ave to 7th, etc…. I get a kick seeing my image unexpectedly appear when scurrying from a subway car. Last sighting, Broad St. at the end of the J & Z. If you come across a poster, send a the location and a selfie for giggles. Bonus points if the poster hasn’t been defaced. There should be some billboards up in other markets, maybe stop the car if you’re going to selfie at them and especially if you’re the driver.
Fun, outgoing, athletic, stylish and handsome. That’s my boy! You should see him roll over!
Perhaps there should have been an “It’s a Boy” post this past, ahem, May. Being aware that parenthood suddenly zaps all your free time away you may just give me a pass on that one. On the other hand, if you were following me on facebook you have seen a selection of the thousands of images of Max already online. Make him a marketing machine you say? Without further adieu, Max Mercury Neff, at 10 months. I’ll backfill a bit in a few posts then go forward again as I try and reclaim a bit of time and get things out there.
Fun, outgoing, athletic, stylish and handsome. That’s my boy! You should see him roll over!
Rewind ten months, back to May 21st. Sometime about 11pm Max had his debut breath of fresh air. Here he is right after having his footprints done thus the inky feet.
An interview with Wilder Duncan, classical artist, taxidermist and Brooklynite
A happy coincidence, having missed a special seminar at the Secret Science club a few years back: a client from Chicago asked me to introduce his nephew to the Great Fredini thinking there could be some symbiosis. Before passing on the info, I thought it best to check out his credentials. To my delight, Wilder happened to be a rather colorful person well deserving of documentation.
Wilder honed his craft at Wesleyan University. A mashup of classical art education, the lifelong love for animals, art, history and diorama. His reanimation of roadkill began in Newton, Massachusetts. Self-taught as a taxidermist he went on to be the make it look alive again guy at the Evolution Store. When he’s not making or protecting art, he teaches workshops in preparation of zoological displays.
When he was 12, Wilder’s aunt found a dead Oriole, that would be the first bird he stuffed. When I asked him what got him started, he said, ” People love animals so much they decide to stretch their skins over something else so they can look at them forever; this phenomenon fascinates me.” He had already professed his love of animals ten minutes earlier. What would he hope to do with his work one day? Show it as a whacked out, crazy natural history collection. Hellooo Museum of Natural History, anyone want a resume’? Sideshow! Take me with you! You can pay me (David) peanuts to brush the beetles out of the dioramas.
Coincidentally, a few days later I ran into The Great Fredini as I was passing through Union Square. Introduction done. Museum of Natural History, meet Coney Island, I see great hairy reanimated possibilities. Did someone say sideshow?
* note: Wilder would like it to be known that all animals used by him are acquired legally as well as ethically. Please practice responsible taxidermy. Live animals are to be respected, expired animals are to be admired.
Chelsea Miller makes hand wrought knives from reclaimed files and tools in her Bushwick Brooklyn workshop.
Chelsea Miller, I met her at a loft party five years back. We spent many eves biking Brooklyn & hacking the human grid with the gang at Pedal Power NYC. Last summer she began selling a line of knives she creates using repurposed files stockpiled in a top secret Vermont location. A couple times a year she hauls a suitcases of mill bastards, rasps, woodchucks and tapers down to her Buswick Brooklyn workshop and works her magic on them, turning them into hand wrought one of a kind original knives.
A few weeks ago I dropped in on Chelsea to see her new shop and a few of the knives before they rushed out the door. She began selling her blades at the Brooklyn Flea last summer. One day we visited her tent to see the collection and shoot the breeze. Maybe the flea wasn’t the spot to sell a knife that costs more than the table in the booth one over but great for marketing, picking up a nice page in Saveur. Go Brooklyn magazine people! She’s making knives faster than the cuts on her hands can heal. All are hand wrought by Chelsea one of a kind knives with riveted hardwood handles. Check out her knives, get one with a matching cutting board. Do it while you can still say you got a Chelsea Miller Knife back when she made them all herself! You can sometimes find Chelsea at the Brooklyn Flea, if you don’t recognize her from the photo, look for the girl selling knives wearing bandaids not nailpolish.
I dropped in on Fred a few weekends ago, and talked shop a few hours before he pulled out the sequined tux for a few photographs. If I had thought of it sooner we could have pulled the Stanford bunny out of the hat but print time for a big one could easily be a day. Having first encountered “The Great Fredini” as a performer at Coney Island’s Burlesque shows, his enthusiasm toward 3d printing seemed out of place. Fred is the longtime Creative Director at an interactive/gaming company Funny Garbage, with a history of putting sharp objects in his head, Brooklyn resident, living just a little closer to an undeclared Superfund Site than I. Maybe it makes a little more sense to me now. I was introduced to Fred by a friend Keith who works for 3d Systems. He and Keith collaborated on the trophies for last summer’s Mermaid Parade. It turns out, Fred, has become quite the 3d printing enthusiast as you can see here, working on a scaled reproduction of Coney Island’s famed Luna Park. On the Rostock to camera left is one of Fred’s scanned people. Off to the right is his first machine, a Printrbot. The recent launch of his new pet project, Coney Island Scan-A-Rama portrait studio is a really fun project using some stuff from the hardware store and a hacked Kinect Controller. See his blog for more info, go get scanned! Alice and I are scheduling our scan in the next week or two…. follow up to come. Knowing Fred what I have seen people under his spell perform, we should be seeing some interesting works!
Wondering what that strange Rostock thing is? quick explanation, it’s part of an open source project to build 3d printers at low cost out of common materials. The Rostock is an original approach in the way it moves the print head on x,y and z axes. I’d hate to see the math behind it but it’s truly entrancing to see one in operation much as most of the machines on the market.
Sometime last month, and kept under wraps until the client had a chance to release images, I had an assignment to photograph Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club. If you follow my work, note, this is not a bunch of guys in suits. The image to the left is an outtake, they were going for lighter smiley shots. After four hours with the club, the image to the left I can relate to more. Between wardrobe sets we took the club out in the lobby and picked up a few extras with backgrounds. Bonus rounds! Images are just filtering into the web… http://www.power1051fm.com/pages/onair/tbc-weekends.html If anyone catches a billboard out there, send me a snapshot and a location, I’d love to see it. So what did we feed The Breakfast Club? Bubby’s! I love Bubby’s, reminds me of Bubby. Davepix.com, more than guys in suits!
Thanks to Hosea for making the call, Thanks to my crew Sophie, Sophia, Yasu, Maegan and Simon.
Marni & my laundry does it again, pulls in some traffic to the site. Shot many years ago as part of a series on ballerinas it’s gotten a whole lot of mileage and been in and out of my portfolio for years. This was shot in Charlotte NC using one of my first pro digital cameras. Recently I reprocessed the file using Lightroom 4 and put it back in the portfolio. Amazing how reprocessing has improved the image but you would have to see a high res print or screen detail to really tell. Thanks again Marni for a fun shoot wherever you are.
This past June I had the pleasure of photographing Moby for a Japanese publication, Illustration Magazine. Though short on time, Moby wasn’t short on character. A wall of fame adorns his Lower Manhattan studio with another wall of analog electronics that will make any tech head drool let alone one with musical inclinations. Setting up in Moby’s ultra cool loft, my urge to play with electronic toys was squelched when I was shut down in an attempt to move an extension cord out of the frame. Yuko (designer, illustrator and reporter for this one) and I decided on a tag team approach, or would it be bait and switch? Interview a bit, shoot some available light, come up with good angles for lighting, pull him into a lit set, ask a few more questions, shoot a few frames. Moby wasn’t having it. He’s media savvy, experienced, and quite an energetic showman. Not that we didn’t get what we needed, but in his own, gentle way, Moby ran the show. He gave us what we wanted, and then some.
Thanks, Moby, for the 45 minutes. I wish we had noticed before we wrapped, but we finished 15 minutes early and didn’t even know it until we entered the elevator. Maybe he’ll give us that 15 minutes another time? I promise I won’t try to play with the synthesizers. Thanks, Yuko! We should to this more often.
Oh yeah, and about that phone number… 212-243-1895 it’s still the same but if you were using my 917 number that one is no more so please make the change.
I moved into another office/studio recently, this time in Midtown West on 36th Street.
Most of my work is still on location, and in reality, all I need is a good space with a freight elevator reliable enough to get my equipment down to a taxi. For just a little bit more dough I upped the footage to have a play space. The majority of the shots in my current portfolio were taken in Manhattan office spaces more cramped than mine, so I thought I’d give shooting in it a try.
Results: it works! Here are two rounds of model testing. I shot another gig last week in here with models lounging naked on a riser, but to see that one, you’ll have to go to the gallery opening in a few months when we get it all together. For today — Sherry P — a fun girl to work with! Tiny studio, yet compact, efficient, and sleek!
I received a request today to shoot some Polaroids for a model to submit to an agency in L.A. Coincidentally, I’m sitting on a stash of expired Polaroid I was saving for… the next Cold War? Doris arrived around 3. I dragged out a few cameras and went to work. Fun to shoot. The colors are a bit off, but I did enjoy playing with some analog technology. Thankfully, Doris has some idea of what to do in front of the camera, otherwise I would have wasted a pile of ‘roids.
I’ll have to do it again. A few partial boxes of 4×5 Polaroid remain, and possibly a few twins of 669 at home. Unfortunately the Pola pack back I have for 4×5 doesn’t mount well on my Busch Pressman. The Graflex is set up for pinhole, and the Sinar P, well, it was liquidated recently. Maybe I’ll throw a lens on the Graflex.
It’s been a long time since I have rented a studio for shooting. Usually I shoot in my own, but we needed something a little bigger and a bit more polished for my peeps this go ’round. So, off to 28th Street– James Weber’s studio. Another change for this gig involved renting most of my gear. The rental joint was only six blocks away, and yet I felt paralyzed with the following choices: push a giant handtruck loaded with equipment, take taxis six blocks, or worse yet, rent a truck? I decided to rent the lighting gear instead and arrived with a stool, camera case, and some snacks. Fun day! Two assistants, a great stylist (Thanks, Jerry!), and really nice clients. Randi was fun to work with, and I look forward to doing it again, perhaps on at a more scenic location next time. …and just moments after we wrapped and shut down the lights I powered up for a group shot. It’s not often I remember to put myself into one of these.
Here is an image of our installation with John Bonafede manning the Table of Denial.
We had great turnout last night at X Initiative Gallery for the closing exhibition. More than two hundred people were denied service! One bottle of champagne almost filched, many smoked almonds picked with some returned upon request. We have much work to do sorting out who is whom in our image captures and editing the body down to something presentable. Considering the 3am wrap-up for the crew, and a few days of shooting ahead, expect images next week.
For the new year, I decided to up my megapixels. Does that make me a mega-geek? To counter the possibility, I thought it best to photograph scantily-clad models and prove my alpha-photographer-superior-male status. Of course if you really want to see a comparison from the old camera to the new one, I didn’t do it. That alone should drop the geek thing from your vocab. If you’re a regular follower, you know I’m in a new studio on West 26th Street. Gorgeous, huge windows, amazing light, but the shots above are from the space next door. Oh well, maybe we all can’t afford $20K/month rent. Not sure who is as of yet, but with fresh walls and electrical wiring, we’ll know soon. Bummer… it was a lovely space for rogue shooting.
Just another play date, Erin Reiter Burton, a friend of wardrobe stylist Crystal Thompson popped in today to try on the silver set… Erin is a showgirl, I hope that is a proper term. Currently she is a cast member in the Phantom show. She is the first person that actually fit in the outfit, a bonus for starters. Add in dancer’s moves and physique… a little fan to the right… and here is what we get…
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll get into photoshop, extend the background and touch it up. There are a few more tests to come…. Fumi, Samantha need to be edited still. Okay, back to work.
So we went out on location today…. early… much too early… I have a new camera! So testing has resumed of course. Who are we? Yep, David Neff Photography can often be more than one person, it’s a crew, it’s a production machine, today it was Evan and I, in a taxi, off to conquer the world. So what happened? half way to the location, the shoot was scrubbed. Kill fee to be negotiated but the hunger to kill still in my veins (note the switch to singlar.) Really it was the urge to take a picture, not really an urge to kill.
I’m in a new studio, that you know if you read meticulously through my blog, maybe if you read a little of my blog? ten minutes later… three phone calls, four emails….
Where were we, okay Evan is working on catalogs, I should be editing, but instead I’m going to shoot a bit. Crystal came over today (as if you know who Crystal is?) from the Costume Lab next door and dropped a few tidbits of fashion off to play with. Now you see where I’m going, probably you already knew, likely you saw the photograph first but if you were following my train of thought you would have also had the half hour delay between typing this and posting the image with it that you looked at before you read this.
Blah, blah, blah. Later we shoot it on Jenn and maybe it will look more spectacular.
Does Jenn look ridiculous?
I don’t think either really look ridiculous, though I have gotten about 45% less sleep this week than I should have and my judgement is beginning to slide. I really think Evan looked quite regal if not gladiator-esque in the silver suit. I tried to get him to take his shirt off, I have better luck these days telling the opposite sex to bare some skin. Hmmm, am I getting old? Okay, enough said, off to the old 37th St Loft to hellp Bonafede with his leaking sink. Why don’t my friends call a plumber? Better get dinner out of this! Yes I know I need to retouch out the bra strap.
Why don’t you call me today and license this wonderful picture of Ken Lewis? Y’know, the Bank of America CEO that is in the news so much these days. It’s one of the few stock images I have online. Come on and license one today! He’s newsworthy!
If you’re on the list, hopefully you received the new promo. If you’re not on the list, or you are but did not receive it, email me. This one resembles the original; I’ve been playing with templates, but go easy… I’m not a designer nor a programmer.
Greetings [My Esteemed List],
As the sun sets earlier, and days turn colder, I thought I’d share some images from a sweltering few days this past August. I shot production stills on the set of an exciting short film that should work its way through the festival circuit in 2010.
In 1960, students at Sycamore University volunteered for an experiment that sought to stop the external aging process. The experiment worked, and the resulting drug, Juvenol, went on to become the most popular prescription drug in history. Fifty years later, the Sycamore Class of 1960 has gathered for a reunion. Some look young, while others have chosen not to take the drug. JUVENOL is a short film directed by Yale University graduate Xander Dominitz and executive-produced by Stone Phillips (Dateline NBC).
Enjoy these images, evidence of the fun I had working with talented filmmakers, cast, and crew. I’m grateful to the JUVENOL folks for allowing me to establish my own off-set narratives featuring various cast members in character.
Please contact me directly if you wish to see a portfolio in person. Portfolio delivery available by foot, bike, or boat.
Another model test with Roxanne and Yassira on a sunny day. Central Park. Autumn chill and Rox’s dress was lace. She only shivered a little. What a trooper!
Photoshopped images? You bet. Just a little bit. After many years of avoiding major tonal mod, finally, I’m tired of not having cross process and all the fun, serendipitous things film gave us. I gave in. My mantra was: “Anything one can undo is not pure.” Having recently processed a roll of film, the first in years, I decided I no longer care. I might start altering images more. There are just too many options. However, I’ve enjoyed saying, “I made it with lights, not the camera/computer.”
Poking around on the Web, I came across a shot of Bre Pettis I did in 2007 when we shared a loft space on 37th Street. I was setting up to some headshots when he wandered through and sat in for some lighting tests. Now I live in the East Village and Bre moved to Brooklyn to start up Makerbot Industries and NY Resistor. Of course the goal is for the Makerbot is to build the empire on its own! Go Bre!
What a view! I had a really neat assignment to photograph the Empire State Building for the real estate section of a magazine a while back. Bonus Feature: a two-hour tour of the building from the sub-basement to the antennae six stories above the publicly-accessible-by-ticket observation deck. The elevator car looked as it did seventy or so years ago, only now it was coated in fifty layers of paint.
So here’s my touristy version. The actual photo printed was something I shot from the street before the tour. The experience was well-worth the editorial rate on this one.
This is a double test: of the Davepix Blog system and some test shooting with Rox, a jewelry designer who likes to be in front of my camera. Good test? She’s also particularly useful as a model when scheduled models, er, flake.
I ran into this again today, a write up in the New York Times for an Advertisement I shot ran in Heeb Magazine. it was posted on a friend’s blog, I was searching for an old image and… well, here I go, getting a little more life out of it.