I normally would not have gone to the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) conference and expo in Las Vegas. Living and working in New York affords me a great opportunity for education and networking, so it didn’t seem necessary. But I had the opportunity to go with a colleague, and I had always wanted to visit Las Vegas for a few days. I’m sure glad I went! I picked up a few new posing and lighting techniques I hope to use, and there were far more vendors I was interested in meeting on the trade show floor than at PhotoPlus Expo in New York. (I heard the reason is that many vendors who want to exhibit in New York can’t afford the steep prices at the Javits Center because of the unions.)
I got really lucky by entering a contest and winning a Profoto B1 light kit. Originally the prize was a D1 kit, but as I already own two, Profoto was nice enough to exchange it for their newest and most exciting product, which will nicely complement the lights I already have.
I have no interest in gambling, though I would like to have photographed in the casinos. However, there are strict rules against it, and as a professional photographer, I felt I needed to respect them. It bugged me seeing people taking snapshots with their smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras. But there was plenty more to photograph — Las Vegas is a photographer’s dream! Some of my favorite photos are below, from Caesar’s Palace, The Venetian, and Fremont Street.
I often assist my fellow photographer and friend, Steven Rosen, on his portrait and event shoots. In November he asked me to serve as second shooter at a wedding in Jersey City, New Jersey, and in March he asked me to work with him on a wedding in Maryland. I spent the morning primarily documenting the groom and his groomsmen getting ready and traveling to the church in a stretch limousine. After a beautiful ceremony, we headed to the Newton White Mansion for a lively reception complete with a Nigerian money dance.
My my mentor, friend, and fellow photographer, David Lubarsky, is moving his studio after more than 30 years in the same space. He found some old items he didn’t want to pack and move, so he offered me whatever I wanted. Now I have some antique but new-to-me light stands, a spare tripod, and some interesting background materials. I’ll start getting familiar with them in my spare time, and my first trial involved five yards of muslin and the desire to create moody lighting inspired by Tuukka Koski, a photographer I recently discovered through Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook.
I don’t do many still lifes, so the experimentation was fun. I hadn’t planned on this exercise, so I looked to create the still life from objects I had in the studio. In the refrigerator were the last four of the annual shipment of honeybells I received from my parents in Florida. The honeybell is a hybrid of a tangerine and a grapefruit and is only available for a few weeks in January. They’re delicious and exceedingly sweet and juicy. And they photograph really well!
The cookbook is total food porn, not only because of the photos, but because of the typesetting, the design, and the stories woven throughout the recipes. I’m making my way through the book, having already tried Cincinnati Chili and chocolate ice cream. Perhaps I’ll photograph the baked goods as I make them. I’ve got to burn off the calories somehow!
A few months ago, I photographed two rooms and a patio for 914 Interiors as part of an ongoing, large project. The designers completed more work in the home and invited me back to photograph the living room and dining room. Here are the results.
I’m conceptualizing a new personal photography project inspired by two brief experiences photographing tattoo artists (read about them here and here). I accompanied a friend to finish a tattoo in progress at East River Tattoo in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. My plan was to make some photos, but primarily to observe and ask a few questions to see if my idea had legs. During a chat with the tattoo artist, my thinking took a sharp turn, and I was inspired by something she said that was so much more coherent than the fuzzy concept I started with. Now I have a lot more thinking, researching, and planning to do, but I think the new direction will make a terrific project.
Match Day marks a dramatic change in the lives of graduating medical students. At exactly noon on March 21, each student of the NYU School of Medicine class of 2014 was handed an envelope containing a letter stating which hospital has accepted him or her for residency. It’s an extremely emotional experience for the students and their friends and family.
Normally the event is held in Alumni Hall at the medical school. Because of a scheduling conflict, this year Match Day was moved to Riverpark, a nearby restaurant large enough to hold everyone. To see the entire gallery of photos, visit my website.
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