Tuesday, April 26, 2011

03 april 2009: allison

my obligitory reminder: click on the photo to see it bigger. these are scanned prints that i ran through my old typewriter. viewing the text larger is rewarding!

for those of you just tuning in: i started posting this series of photographs to my blog in 2009, while i was still shooting it. the idea was to photograph a different person every day. this project spanned three months of lugging my big camera with me everywhere i went and obsessing over who would be my next subject. i intended it to function primarily as an exercise in constant shooting, in breaking down my personal taboo of asking people to be photographed, and for exploring spontaneous portraiture. I also hoped it would function, secondarily, as a self-portrait. As I've lagged sometimes months between sharing them here, suddenly, two years has elapsed. this time provides the distance to see that secondary function emerge at the forefront. when i flip through this series i see a time capsule.

i shot this portrait, along with a slew of others to come, at a bar in williamsburg called iona. i spent a lot of time there over the course of a couple of weeks, meeting jade's friends and waiting out an awkward relationship transition at home. i didn't know allison at all. i knew her so little that i invented the words to type on her photo. i had no idea she'd become my neighbor, that's she'd sell me girl scout cookies and offer to deliver them in improvised uniform, that we would cook together and vent our troubles at my kitchen table.

to see more of this series, click here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

01 april 2009: miss sarah brown

there are certain moments when you are struck by love. especially when you are just falling into said deep feeling, these moments are poignant realizations of admiration. usually they stem from small gestures that signify something greater, something important to you. maybe it's something you've knowingly searched for. maybe it's something you never knew you wanted until that moment. whatever the trigger, for me, these moments slow the pace of the world and heighten all senses.

behold, a moment at freddy's back room, roughly two years ago. this place no longer exists, having been demolished to make way for luxury condos or shopping centers or some such nonsense that none of us really have the funds to support.

sarah brown used to host a reading series there, monthly. it was possibly the best activity in all of new york (this statement biased by my own interests of course). rather than read from well written books or highly praised poetry, the readers would read from the ratty pages of their own teenage diaries. requirement: what you read must be so horrifyingly embarrassing as to make you physically cringe. hence, the title of the event. CRINGE. i cannot express in words what hilarious fun this was to watch. The comedy came from empathy, from having been there. and oh, was i there. i have 4 boxes full of faux paint-splattered, hello kitty, puffy rainbows, rhinestone-studded, behind lock-(albeit pickable by bobby pin) and-tiny-keyed tomes of cringe-worthy words to attest to this. and finally, i had something to do with them.

over the course of roughly a year, i laughed so hard i found it necessary to smack my fist on the table. on a few occasions i downed a pint of grapefruit vodka and soda to fuel the courage to stand behind the mic and cringe myself, reading ridiculous histrionics over ex-gay boyfriends and jaw-droppingly heinous 'poetry' about affairs with chefs. really bad bad stuff. but getting behind that mic and hearing others slapping the table and roaring with laughter easily constituted a year's worth of therapy. we've all been there, and we can all laugh about it together.

when sarah compiled entries from readers from freddy's into a book (Cringe: Teenage Diaries, Journals and Abandoned Rock Operas) she included a few of my 'gems' in the body of the book and a whole lot of anonymous excerpts and miscellaneous scrawlings and samples collaged into the interim pages. dreams about george michael written on garfield stationary. reports of rick springfield on hello kitty red and white. hearing that these entries had been selected for publication was at once exciting and horrifying, but having experienced the joy of laughing at myself in public (really cathartic!), i decided not to fret.

there was, unfortunately, a wet towel dampening the experience of cringe in my life, and it came in the form of a boyfriend who shall remain nameless, who was less than thrilled with my 'exhibitionist' activities. sharing these entries in public advertised the fact that in my 30+ years, i had actually shared love and lust with someone prior to him. the horror. he refused my invitations to join me even on nights i wasn't reading to see how fun and harmless it all was. he picked huge fights with me upon my return from cringe nights and gave me the silent treatment for days. he refused to accompany me to the publication party of the book and not surprisingly, awaited my return from said really fun and awesome event where i met so many great people and felt so proud to be a part of, with a fight. cringe became a bittersweet night, and so, i started to go in secret, just to avoid the fights, ridiculously sneaking around as though i was having an illicit affair or sleeping with prostitutes.

clearly this was not the man for me.

so let's return from my bitter rant (sorry!), to the moment you see pictured above. i've just fallen head over heels in love with jade townsend. freddy's backroom is so packed for cringe that we sit on the floor behind the readers, holding hands. as sarah introduces the next reader, i look at jade. he is laughing. he is there with me. and i'm so much in love.

Monday, April 11, 2011

i do not want what i haven't got


i've been thinking far too much about it lately. i just can't seem to be happy with any haircut in the past year. this could have something to do with the fact that i refuse to pay for a haircut, but thankfully, i have a fairly buddhist standpoint on the issue of hair. it's not a big deal. it will just grow back. if you mess it up terribly, we'll just buzz it off and start over.


so the other day i hit my limit. i've been told i look like a mother, 'too sober', like a skinhead's girlfriend, like a troll. the list goes on and on. so on saturday, after helping jade buzz his unusually shaggy (but still adorable) hair off, i made good on my ultimate back up plan and let him take mine all off.

and i have to say, i am happier with it than i can remember feeling about a haircut in a long time! it's likely you won't agree. but don't worry. it won't hurt my feelings.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

i wasn't looking!

labor day. eastern parkway, brooklyn. in the heat of the crowd i caught him staring intently at her shimmering butt, index finger on the disposable camera trigger.

i'm in the middle of epic spring cleaning, alternately sifting through many snapshots that make me feel old as well as hand-made prints that affirm what i always knew: i was never a very compelling black and white photographer, as much as i love the magic of the process and the beauty of the print. however, there are a couple of gems that i was happy to see again. like this one from....egads....how do the years just blend together?!.....2004.