This is my girl

No need for a long diatribe tonight.  This is my girl, Anna Maria.  I made this picture a couple weeks ago when we went to the beach right around sunset.  She was running around like she’s want to do, taking pictures of all things beach.  For just a second she was standing still, like she was just taking it all in—the sunset and the kids and the huge waves—all of it.  She was rim lit by the sinking sun and I couldn’t help but think of how beautiful she looked standing there, in her new hat and her cut off shorts searching calmly for her last image in those final seconds of the day.  AM looked liked she was meant to be there—like she had been doing it her whole life so that I could be there to see it just at that moment.  I could feel my chest swell for some reason.  I could even feel my heart hurt a little.    

I moved in closer, bent my knees to come down ever so slightly and made this image.  Shot on the my Leica M7 with the amber filter on a Summicron 35.  I used Kodak Tri-X 400 film pushed to 800 at the Icon.  

One by one

The story behind this image is more anecdotal than anything but at the same time a testament to how sheep-like we humans can be at times–or at least how sheep like I can be at times.  

I had just walked out of the LA/LA exhibit at LACMA in a pretty good mood.  The exhibit was superb and I was fairly certain some lovely images (by yours truly) would be waiting for me once I processed my rolls.  I don’t really know what I was thinking about as I moseyed around, in fact I would say that I let my mind wander as I sashayed.  Maybe I was considering the pictures, perhaps the art, or possibly whatever, but at some point after exiting the exhibit I totally spaced-out  and queued up for something.    

Now, when I realize that I’m in a queue, I also realize that I don’t actually remember why I’m queueing.  I also realize that I have no idea where the queue leads or how long I’ve been standing in it.  I figure it can’t have been long.  I briefly look around and neither my wife nor my children are waiting in this queue.  They are all standing across the hall looking at me waiting in a queue looking at them.  I wave and they wave back, a bit confused but I’m guessing that I look like I know what I’m doing.  

But what the fuck am I doing?  Now it’s getting more than a bit ridiculous.  I look around at my comrades in the queue.  They seem to be in control of their mental faculties, fully comprehend what they’re doing and are generally looking forward to some amazing thing as every few moments they shuffle slightly forward in anticipation.  I can feel excitement from them and I hope they can’t sense my bewilderment.  I strain to look over the top of everyone and as far as I can tell we are queueing up in front of a large white wall with some writing on it, which is sadly very little to go on. 

As silly as it sounds I’m kind of stressed out.  I’m not going to ask anyone why I’m queuing because the time for that question passed five minutes ago.  Nor do I want to cut the queue to find out what I’m queuing for just to jump back in line because that’s equally stupid.  I could bail but what if it’s something I want to see, like a small door to a hidden world where everything is small and colorful and made out of papier mâché.   

In the end I opt to bail.  Chances are it wasn’t a small door leading to a colorful hidden world where everything is made of papier mâché so what’s the point, but my curiosity gets the best of me anyway and I go towards the front of the line to see what I have missed.  The wall says something about a “Tale of two Persian rugs,” followed by a fair bit of writing on the wall and a small picture.  

People were pointing and waiting and excited for this?  Jesus.  I was more excited about all of their silhouettes, one by one, against the white wall so I made this image.

Shot on my Leica M7, amber filter on a 35mm Summicron.  Film was Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed +1 at the Icon.


I made this image one Sunday at the Beverly Hills Farmer’s Market.  We had stopped at the library to get a couple books for Ester and then walked over, thinking to score some seasonal produce–in particular peaches and nectarines which are just crazy good this time of year.  The best part about famers markets is that almost all of the merchants have samples available at the front of their booths, so you can try everyone’s offerings and then pick and choose amongst your favorites.  

My sampling wasn’t confined to just produce of course. 

I was booth hopping between the mediterranean spreads booth and this indonesian bread tent place when I heard a tiny voice yell “crash!”  I whipped around and the humus on the quarter-of-a-piece-of-pita-bread I was sampling went flying.  Perhaps it landed on an unfortunate passerby or perhaps it just landed on the ground, I didn’t think to check at the time.  The camera comes up to my face and click…

But there was no click.  Instead of that click, here’s a bit of historical context on the author.  I fidget with the Leica when I’m not shooting.  I swing it around on the strap or rock and roll the frame selector again and again.  My favorite bit of fidgeting is to turn it on and off, on and off repeatedly.  Over and over and over again.  I’ll be speaking with someone with the camera in my right hand, pointer finger turning it on and off and on and off and on and on and on.  It’s a nervous tick perhaps.  Almost definitely it a nervous tick.  I’m a very good driver.  That on-off switch’s very existence is almost reason enough for me buy an MP.  Almost.  

So I turn on the M7 and I’m reminded of the singular biggest design flaw of the model.  The giant total cluster-fuck of piss-poor engineering that will definitely force me to buy an MP.  When you turn on an M7 there’s a moment when it’s film barcode reader, the heavy-weight champion of all shitty barcode readers, tries and fails to ascertain what film you have loaded so it can automagically set the iso.  I’ve turned off the auto-reading by manually setting the iso on the back but it still takes a second to start and that second, when you’ve already lost several precious moments because you are a fidgety idiot, usually means you won’t make your image.  

A beat later and now the camera is on.  The kid yells “crash” again and collides with his sister’s cart and I finally hear click.  I finally hear that singularly satisfying mechanical click and I know that I have the shot.  I look down in admiration/irritation with my frenemy, the M7 and see a large glob of humous oozing down the lens hood.  


“Crash” shot on a crusty Leica M7 (with a crap-ass barcode reader) using a 35mm Summicron, amber filter on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.  

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