Time for something different.  I need to stop raging about the world for a few minutes and have a little bit of light-hearted, old fashioned enjoyment, if even only for a minute or two.  I may or may not have mentioned that I’m trying to shoot a little more color.  While I slowly but surely make my way through the gamut of film stocks, trying on each one (yet again) and seeing what fits and what doesn’t, I remember how difficult color really is.  In fact, I would venture to say that color is a fickle bitch in all honestly.  There are so few places I’ve found where I’m able to get the results that I want and even fewer still that I’m able to shoot when the light is good.  So rather than giving up I’ve resorted to another tactic.  If I’m driving somewhere and I see a color shot that I just have to have, I slam on the breaks while veering the car to the side of the road, jump out with my camera and I make that shit happen.  Easy peasy lemon-squeezy.    

It’s stupid.  Really stupid actually, given how insane people drive here in LA.  Most of the time you’re lucky if you don’t get killed walking down the sidewalk much less jumping out of a half-moving car and narrowly defying death as you frogger across LaBrea for an image of a pearlescent green VW bug parked in front of a banana yellow liquor store.  I’m pretty sure I need to examine my priorities, but at the same time color has reinvigorated me somewhat.  Images have an urgency–like I’m finally learning to see them and if I don’t act in that exact moment I’ll never see them again.  

That was the basic framework of the image above as well.  Seeing and acting.  The yellow sign and the blue sky and brown chair, all sitting there waiting for a story.  I jerked the car to a stop at the curb, grabbed my camera and ran to the opposite side of the intersection to see what I could make of it all. I framed the arrow to the pedestrian who I just couldn’t believe was there, walking by and shot few frames in quick succession.  Then I ran back to the car, jumped in the driver’s seat and sped away.  Another Noellert smash and grab.  

There shot on my Leica M7 with the 35mm Cron on Portra400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.  



I’m not a big Thanksgiving person.  I’m just not.  When I was a kid, the holiday felt like bullshit to me more often than not because I didn’t really get what I had to be thankful for.  I loved my family, but I was miserable most of the time after my parents got divorced. I didn’t eat turkey so I hated all the food except for the mashed potatoes.  The only thing that was nice about it was that I got a day or two off from school.  As I approached my teen years the whole concept started to feel even more rank.  You learn more about the systemic genocide of the native Americans and the whole concept of giving thanks feels so lopsided that just the thought of it started to make me feel ill.  Like you’re having a party at some guys house that you just slaughtered.   

Then I moved to Sweden and Thanksgiving wasn’t an issue anymore.  For almost 14 years or so I didn’t have to worry about this morally-corrupt, bullshit holiday and the whole thing slipped into memory almost for good.  Then we moved to Los Angeles and here it is, front and center again.  Some things have changed.  My family usually comes up from New Orleans which is lovely.  My mom and stepdad cook and I eat everything that gets put on the table now, but try to take it easy on the mashed potatoes.  I’m still thankful for the same things, my family siting atop that list but I’m also happy that I can provide for my them and that I’m able to be here for my children pretty much whenever they need me.  I’m thankful for my life, my small successes, for Anna Maria, for her patience and her love.    

Even all that still isn’t enough to close my eyes to the realities of our society and the gross injustices one can see on the daily.  When you see how poverty stricken so many people are in this city juxtaposed against the incredible wealth and excess of the upper echelon, it’s hard to feel like we as a nation are interested in doing anything other than lining the pockets of the rich capitalist corporations and those that run them.  We allow the market to succeed and grow while our own quality of life takes staggering hit after staggering hit all the while watching the wealth accumulate at the feet of those who could care less about society’s quality of life.  Capitalism is completely and utterly agnostic to humanity’s quality of life, it’s ability to be happy and whether or not it’s members lead successful productive lives with one single exception.  Capitalism needs us to consume and keep on consuming in order for it to grow and expand.  

It’s disgustingly ironic that Thanksgiving, a day when we’re supposed to genuinely focus on the aspects of our lives that we are truly thankful for–family and love and togetherness–is followed by a day we spend showing just how thankful we are at being slaves to capitalism and consume at the highest volumes of the entire year.  Happy Black Friday America! 

Are you thankful for anything dear reader?  I wonder if the guy in the picture is thankful for anything. 

LeicaM7, 35mm Cron, Kodak Tri-X +1 at the Icon.       

10 minutes

I rarely shoot just architecture anymore.  Somewhere along my photographic journey I was pulled towards images narrating a  human experience to art or architecture or the surrounding environment.  Architecture began serving a compositional role that is one component of the human experience as opposed to being the experience in it of itself.  I’m still drawn to stark lines, textures and contrasts, but those elements feel incomplete to me without a subject experiencing them first hand–to give them scale and grounding in the real world.  That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate people who create architectural images, it just means I seek a different balance in my own work.  Usually.

A few Saturday’s back, Ester and a few of her friends marched in the AIDS walk Downtown.  I was proud of her and of her friends.  I don’t want to sounds like the out-of-touch father but I didn’t realize that Ester was felt so strongly about showing her support for social issues like AIDS.  I was touched.  Surprised by touched.  

While we were waiting for her to meet us up at the car, I realized we were parked half a block from the Walt Disney Concert Hall.  The second I realized it, I immediately started feeling fidgety.   My camera bag was in the back and I reckoned I could get in at least 10 minutes before Ester showed-up so I jumped-out, grabbed my Mamiya and asked AM if she wouldn’t mind picking me in front of the Disney Concert Hall as soon as Ester finally showed.  

I crossed the street, walked half a block down to the back entrance and took the steps two at a time.  When I arrived at the garden there were images everywhere and in my haste to bail I hadn’t thought to take another roll with me–just the camera.  I started with a couple images of silhouetted trees and I got lucky.  There was a guy walking around back there shooting himself and I managed to catch him in one of my frames.  The other pictures were made purely as a testament and celebration of Gehry’s intimate understanding of light and form.  He was a genius and every time I have the pleasure to experience his work I feel humbled.    

Just as I shot out the last frame on the roll, AM called.  She and the kids had already looped around the block twice and hadn’t seen me.  I ran down the front steps, out into the street in front of the Concert Hall and jumped in the passenger seat feeling totally overwhelmed by 10 minutes spent basking in the intense glow of what could only be defined as greatness.

Shot on my Mamiya 6MF at 50mm on Kodak Tri-X 400 film, pushed to 800 at the Icon.    

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