I haven’t been able to look at the images I shot in Newtown, CT since leaving the place. I had been yanked away from a quiet and contemplative artist residency in upstate New York when the shootings went down. After the week or so of shooting (for Stern and Maclean’s) I raced back from Newtown as fast as possible to lick my wounds. A heart-wrenching experience, to say the least. And if it was that hard for me I can’t comprehend the pain of the families of the victims and the town as a whole.
Lifting the camera became a physically exhausting experience with the emotional weight becoming a very palpable feeling. It took a couple months to be convinced the insane media attention was worthwhile, although at the time seeing all the news crews made me sick. The government seems to have recognized we need gun control as a result, so let’s hope some legislation passes and we move toward a more evolved society. (Update: 4-18 – Senate minority has blocked the background check bill. Contact your representative and senator and tell them you won’t abide). Hard news photography isn’t my passion, but I’m grateful to have contributed to a collective response to this terrible tragedy.
Looking back now at the images, I start feeling like I did in the moment…Utterly depressed about the loss of beautiful innocent children, angry at the shooter and the culture that made him a possibility, spiteful of the TV crews with their bloated budgets and sensationalized storytelling, and intoxicated by the adrenaline coursing through my veins. Yet there were moments of elation and peace in the spaces between noise. These children were miracles, the community’s support was a miracle, the country’s desire to improve is a miracle, and the fact I was able to witness and possibly help in some small way feels like a miracle.
For the month of December I’ll be in-residence at The Wassaic Project. It’s my second go around after a last April when I started a project called Harlem Valley, about the strange rural area between wealthy Hudson Valley and Connecticut. There’s a good chance this work will be the subject of a solo show at Recession Art in March. Will keep you posted.Read More
In between volunteering shifts at Rockaway Beach where Sandy wreaked havoc, I made some iPhone pictures. This one was featured on Instagram’s weekly roundup. The new technology is no longer just a trend. With TIME magazine using an iPhone image on its cover it’s undeniable that being a contemporary photographer means embracing this new form of visual communication. Will be adding a gallery of iPhoneography to my homepage soon. Follow my Instagram feed here.
Karrin Anderson, a contributor to Bag News Notes had a whole lot to say about an image I shot for The NYTimes recently for a story on new mothers and maternity leave.
We’ve all heard of a pregnant pause, but for some women, childbearing no longer means pausing one’s professional life. After tech rock star and incoming Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced her pregnancy (and her intention to work through a truncated maternity leave), discussion ensued about the practicality and advisability of her choice. The New York Times, for example, profiled women like Maria Seidman (pictured above) whose professions and financial circumstances either require or enable the comingling of their maternal and professional responsibilities immediately after their babies are born.
The modern portrait of “supernewmomhood” seen here both replicates and challenges the dominant narrative about the uber successful CEO supermom—the woman made possible by the second generation of feminism but privileged enough to “have it all” in ways that her feminist foremothers could not. Ann Marie Slaughter’s much debated piece in The Atlantic sought to debunk the notion that even women who exist in the stratosphere of economic privilege can realistically “have it all,” and Rebecca Traister rightly pointed out that the “have it all” standard was unproductive—for women and for feminism. Nonetheless, the arguments in that debate are reflected visually in this photo……
If you know anything about Amanda Palmer, you know she’s a badass rock star. I got to shoot a couple of pretty spontaneous videos (with Nights in Ultraviolet creator Matt Cook) of her and the band for Gothamist at the South Street Seaport Museum. In other words, front row seats with only about 5 people in the audience! Check ‘em out!