There are few people that I call good friends.  

I think a lot of of it has to do with the fact that I’ve never really been good at being a friend to another male adult.  I have a hard time connecting with my gender on a personal level, especially the American variety.  When I’m around other guys I find myself wondering why the hell they are talking about what they are talking about.  Not always but often, I can sit there, somewhat quiet considering how it’s possible to have so much to say about a subject that really amounts to nothing in my mind.  In the midst of these conversations my mind just floats away until someone yanks me back down from whatever cloud I’m floating away on, back down into the depths of a massive discussion about what brand of power tools are better.  Or the Superbowl.  Or MMA.  I just don’t care.

I’m not saying I’m above these conversations and their perpetrators.  In fact quite often I feel the exact opposite.  I sit there, deep in the throws of a full-blown bro-convo (brovo?), feeling stupid and inept at not having anything insightful to add, thereby left with no way of tightening the emotional tethers connecting me to another male human therein creating what normal humans call “a friendship.”

Every once in a while though someone breaks through to me.  Such was the case with Tim, who was one of the first people I met when we moved to Santa Monica.  Conversation was fluid and came with a degree of ease I didn’t know was possible. Our world-views were very similar as was our family situations.  We both worked in “the industry” and had a similar appreciation/disdain.  It was a total bromance and it continues to this day.  

Now I won’t bore you with many details suffice one important one.  Of all the qualities I could praise in my friend, I would say that Timothy is the best father I’ve ever met.  He is loving and caring at the same time as being consequent and impactful.  He balances his frustration and his praise perfectly and I often find myself standing in awe of both how wonderful he is with not just his own children but how wonderful he is with all children.  

A few weeks back Tim and his two kids showed-up at my house, totally out of the blue.  He told me that Elliot had facetime’d him a couple hundred times asking him to come over for a few rounds of “Let’s Dance 2018,” on the console.  After an hour of singing at the top of their lungs and presumably dancing until they were out of breath, everyone emerged from Elliot’s room, horse, sweaty and completely danced-out.  We all said our goodbyes and I caught Tim in a tight embrace (that maybe lasted a little too long) just as he was trying to get out the door.  We broke, shook hands and smiled.  “Thank you” I said.    

He’s one of the best men I know.  Shot on my Leica M7 on Kodak Tri-X film, pushed +1 at the Icon. 


I’ve had to make a few changes in my life for 2018.   We’ve always had a comfortable lifestyle, the Noellert family.  We’re not wealthy or even rich or affluent, but we’re not middle class.  Ester says were “bougie” from time to time which makes my face do this weird sideways smirk that makes people ask me if I’m in a bad mood.  That may be historically more correct than she knows but then let’s call it like it is, we’re haute bourgeoisie.  I like that more.

Our bougie lifestyle has meant Ginya and Malibu Farms quite often.  Shoppigs sprees for tops from Urban Outfitters, bottoms from Brandi Melville and a that new pair of Superstars.  Sketchboxes, Chatbooks and New York Times a-plenty–Netflixes and Spotifys and Apples galore.  You want iPhones?  We’ve got 20.  But who cares, no big deal, we buy more.

And so it goes.  The money comes and the money goes and as I try to stop the bleeding there are obvious things that can be quickly culled.  Simple subscription services are canceled with the swipe of a finger.  Budgets can be created for food and for shopping.  Tough choices need to be made for sure, but none so tough as the realization I had a couple weeks ago.  

I need to stop shooting film–maybe forever but at least for 2018 and while that realization feels like my soul is being ripped apart, between my stock and processing costs, if I’m going to get ahead of my finances I have to stop shooting on a physical medium.  So I’ve begrudgingly packed-up all of my favorites–the Leica M7 and the Mamiya 6MF and the Hassy and the FM2–in their respective bags and put them in the closet.  I have a couple rolls left to shoot out but I’m saving them for Mardi Gras or Stockholm this summer.  I am Jacks wasted life.  

I’ve charged up my M9 and taken it with me the past couple weekends.  It feels all wrong.  It goes to sleep sometimes and doesn’t wake-up in time to make the image.  Sometimes it won’t turn on at all, sometimes it refuses turn off.  It feels kinda right in the the hand but I’m shooting tons more and find I’m concentrating significantly less.  I find myself chimping.  But worst of all the images themselves feel worthless because somewhere in my head I know that they cost nothing to make.  Not only that but there’s no physical record of what had to happen for that image to exist–the image only exists when I look at it on my laptop or on the back of the camera.  Then there’s the aesthetic of the image–the just don’t look right.  The gamma is wrong, the contrast is wrong.  The colors are wrong, the sharpness is wrong, the highlights clips, the shadows are shit.  WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG.  It’s all fucking WRONG.    

I feel fucked.  So much so that I don’t really feel like shooting anymore.  So much so that I don’t feel like sitting in lightroom and even importing these wrong images.  So much so that I don’t much care to process my last 10 rolls of film because just seeing those processed negs is just going to depress me more.  So much so that I have bothered to write a daily for at least week.  So much so that I don’t have the energy to will to post.  In the back of my mind there’s this nagging feeling.  The images that I make have always had an inherent value to me partially because I know that each and every one had a cost attached to them and I made those images because I thought that each and every one was worth that cost.  How am I supposed to feel when I can’t really afford the cost of my art anymore?  I’ve always thought my images were film worthy, but maybe they weren’t after all and what’s the point of doing something if it no longer brings you joy.  

Shot on my Leica M7 at 35mm on Kodak Portra 800 and processed at the Icon.

Hairy Scary

The idea for this image came in a flash.  Ella and I were sitting in the living room.  I was reading the Sunday New York Times and Ella was behind me, on the other side of the room brushing her hair with what could only be called extreme prejudice.  She was starting at the roots, with a big, prickly brush, and reversing the length of her hair in long, jerky strokes, punctuated with frequent grunts, sighs and what almost could be called growls.  After about 15 minutes of so near constant racket, all the grunting stopped and I looked up to see Ella staring in the mirror.  

Now we all have big hair in this family from my wife to the kids to even little old moi.  When we go to restaurants and are just about to order, the waitress will say, “My God, you guys have such amazing hair!”  When we go out shopping and Ester is trying on something and we’re all waiting around near the dressing room, one of the sales folks will walk by and say “Damn, I wish I had hair like that!”  When we’re getting on a connecting flight from London to Stockholm and we haven’t really slept in twenty or so hours, an overly cheerful flight attendant greet us as we board a shitty little commuter flight with “Well, goodness what lovely hair you all have!”

You get the point.  

Be that as it may I was ill prepared for how absolutely ginormous Ella’s hair had gotten.  All of that brushing had puffed and feathered and poofed it all out to the point that there were bits that, even under normal big hair conditions, should have gone straight down that seemed to be lunging-out directly to the sides in a gravity defying vector that I have truly never seen before.  Poor thing.  She looked miserable at first, this tiny toothpick of a child topped with a head of hair that looked ready to attack whatever came walking by for first for food, but then she just started laughing.  

And I started laughing too.  I grabbed my camera and made a few images of her.  Then I got the idea to lay on the ground and shoot upwards.  With all of that hair going everywhere I knew it would be perfect so I threw myself on the floor and pushed myself around on my back with my legs ‘till I found the sweet spot.  I loved the way that hair cut her off at the eyes and it was so long that it just gradually swept out of focus.  I made two more frames, all the while making jokes and laughing about that monster hair of hers.  When I was a kid one of my brother’s friends, who constantly cut his hair to a millimeters length, made stickers that said “Hairy Scary” and plastered them all over the place.  I hadn’t thought about those stickers in ages but as I was squirming around on the floor taking pictures of my daughter and her enormous frightening hair, I found those exact words coming out of my mouth and they elicited such a hysterical response from Ella that she started hic-up’ing uncontrollably which made me laugh so hard that I had tears in my eyes.

That was a good Sunday. 

“Hairy Scary” shot on my Leica M7 with the 35mm Cron on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.    

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