The J’ouvert festival recently unloaded itself unto our weary Brooklyn and it now stands firmly, surely, as my favorite annual cultural event. Starting at 3am, its hypnotic, rhythmic procession of steel drums and motor oil covered revelers snake their way down Flatbush to … Continue reading
Photographing in the darkened city of Lower Manhattan was one of the most exhilarating experiences in my 8 years in NYC. It started as I made it half way across the Brooklyn Bridge around 10pm and had a great vantage point to … Continue reading
“I would see more black people with mohawks than I’d ever seen my entire life. You see people who you thought you were the only one of.” -P.O.S., musician The Afropunk fest, (“The other black experience””) an incredible, progressive event … Continue reading
I had reservations this year. Almost none of the neighbors I hang with go on account that its too dangerous, waking at 3 am is strange and I went last year. J’ouvert, the before dusk until you can’t stand, West Indian folklore … Continue reading
Last April, I was in Detroit for some varied work. During one assignment profiling a huge city park there (possibly designed by Frederick Olmstead) for HOUR magazine, I met Kathy Makino, a woman who is single-handily helping to bring about … Continue reading
I just made this epic tome of my images from Peru. I built it as a book dummy and portfolio piece. Its about 160 pages and is being printed on high quality, Ilford Pearl Lustre paper with archival end pages, an oatmeal colored linen cover with this cool, wrap around cover sheet. You can view it here and even order one though its damn expensive. My concept for the book was to show different vignettes and photo stories from my 9 months of travel in Peru in 2009 and have fun, colorful chapter breaks with grids of various cultural items. Some examples below.
During the Passover holiday’s of the Jewish religion observant Jews go thru the laborious but important task of cleaning out all and any trace of “Chametz” (or leavened bread) from their home. And they get VERY intense about it as its one of the greatest religious transgressions if one ingests any bread during the holiday (All of this bread business relates to the story of the exodus of the Jews fleeing Egypt with Moses and not having time to wait for their bread to rise so only unleavened bread of “matzoh” can be eating for the entire holiday). I attended a passover seder in a Lubavitch family home whose kitchen was covered in tin-foil so I made my way back a couple of days later and shot in the homes of four families. They cover the bookshelves the entire kitchen cabinets, stove, etc., to make sure any sort of crumb doesn’t mix with their food. At first what I mistook to be some sort of alien radar transmission set up turned out to be yet another modern day incarnation of ancient tradition.
In October I went to China to visit family and during my two-week trip there my mother and I ventured into the South Eastern province of Jianxi, a rural area full of farms, the city that originated blue painted porcelain ceramics to the world and of 1000 year old “postal roads”. These trails, in-which mail was delivered, meander thru and over lush mountain valley’s connecting isolated ancient villages. We did a 9 mile hike (uphill by mistake…sorry mom!.) and ended in Big Liking, one of a handful of hamlet style villages surrounding the small city of Wuyuan. I was struck by the architecture, the serenity, the simplicity, the human shit used for fertilizer. We walked around this tiny village and others nearby for two days and these are my images.
Inside an 800 year old Hall.
Antique barber chair.
The “English breakfast”.
I went to Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice in search of Neo-Druids and I was not let down. As there is no public transportation there I opted for a 3 mile hike in the dark on a confusing public footpath which went thru farms and fields. Thousands of pantheist, pagan, neo-druids and hippies arrive in mass before sunrise on this day, one of the four during the year in-which people are able to get in amongst this giant, 6000 year old monument, touching, communing and praying with the stones. Epic photos of this to come soon.. film being souped!
Child of Neo-Druid.
And after a day of photographing and communing amongst pantheists of all stripes and visiting some other ancient sacred sites and doing an epic sound healing ceremony with multiple gongs working male and female energy while holding a tiny stone lingam, what else was there to do but partake in the oldest of English traditions, Fish and Chips. Those are “mushy peas” on the bottom right. Fish was tasty and I must say, they do have some damn good “chips” (french fries in the US) in the UK. Our “chips” are their “crisps”.
After waking up in my new hippie friends RV in Glastonbury I had to hustle back to Brighton but not before a sunrise hike up to an ancient “Tor”…This tower, which used to be part of a monastery, and had once been surrounded by water, has been a pilgrimage spot for Christians for 1000′s of years. Its steeped in celtic mythological lore and is said to be a possible burial ground of the Holy Grail. From Wikipedia: “Gwyn ap Nudd, who was first Lord of the Underworld, and later King of the Fairies,.. The Tor came to be represented as an entrance to Annwn or Avalon, the land of the fairies”.
The roaring, loud winds sent ravens buzzing around the tower and I and lent the atmosphere a welcome Hitchcockian ominousness.
Back in Brighton, a seaside English town that people once used for beach escapes but are now, in greater numbers, choosing to live in year round as a respite from London’s hustle and flow ($$) and commute to work via a 45 minute $23.00 train.
My first European Football game. The Brighton and Hove/Albion Seagulls. Was a huge thrill. Splurged on a ticket out front of the game paying around $50.00 With two red cards against the home team in the first 5 minutes the audience was out for referee blood but not forgoing their English niceties, the crowd chanted, in perfect unison (a practice unheard of in the U.S.) “What a loooaad of rubbbish, What a looaaadd of rubbbbish”. It was a bloody good game and I was completely knackered after.
Here is a video of them complaining about the terrible refs in a very mannered way.
Refreshment stand at the stadium.
Loved this happy bloke though I couldn’t understand a bloody word he spat out but as far as I could tell, he was a mighty good chap.
On the menu I spotted a “Gammon Steak” and thought I deserved a bit of an indulgence after a couple of days of roughing it. This funky dish appeared in front me after about 30 minutes. The perfect Guinness helped wash it down.
No idea. Didn’t try either. Did have the originator of the “Egg McMuffin” which was delicious.
The sign reads, “commit no nuisance”. Was a non-working 400 year old public drinking fountain and the locals, the heathens, had not heeded their English manners.
This guy scared me into photographing him at a local Brighton mall of sorts.
Off to London.. And the first thing my brilliant, thoughtful girlfriend does is take me to this bit of tasty history, down in Brick Lane, one of the hipster/bohemian parts of town. As it used to be the Jewish Quarter there was “beigel” place from 1855. Has a synagogue from 1701! Living in the Lower East Side of NYC for a couple of years I was fiercely protective of my local old school bialy/bagel shop Kossars, loving the fact that it had been around for what I thought of as ages. Turns out only 65 years ?? What? Feels like 100.
And, they pile mounds of “smoked meat” into the pillowy middle of the delicious, simple and semi-small bagel. Corned Beef. Unreal. Line was out the door. Mustard was like yellow wasabi..had crazy brain burn.
Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds at the Tate Modern. The piece is one million hand-made porcelain sunflower seeds made in Jingdezhen, where I passed thru with my mom travelling a couple of months ago. Photos.
Julian Stancza at the Tate Modern. His work.
I loved the design and really appreciated the simple formality and functionality of these railing/benches in the Underground, London’s clean, rat free, easily marked, running on time, mass transit system. BUT, its spendy as hell and does shut down at midnight so if I had to choose, I would take our decrepit, filthy, unreliable, laborious to use, NYC Subway anytime.
Grannie brigade in search of christmas bargains.
Side trip to Canterbury. This is the Cathedral, built-in 597 A.D., the oldest in the UK and where Christianity first landed in England . Been a Pilgrimage spot for a 1000 years. The Archbishop of Canterbury calls it home, the main dude in the Church of England.
And then, we finished up with some nature taking in some of the English walking paths. The country is littered with trails that connect hamlets and villages. At 500 ft., this is England’s most favored spots for suicide. They have an emergency chaplaincy team who hurry out to the site to thwart poor tortured souls plans.
We did the “Seven Sisters” hike, a 10 mile hike along the cliffs just 20 miles East from Brighton. I hadn’t experienced a similar topography before and its rolling hills, short natural grasses and mud, its grazing animals and views of picture perfect hamlets was something to behold. We timed it for great weather and Radioheads new album had me running up the last mile uphill doing weird little side stepping dance moves. Calves locked up for two days after. Totally worth it.
The Sea, France lying just 2o miles off in the distance.
Thanks for a great trip baby.