Meditation and Ceramics in Japan for RISD

I'm spending the month of January documenting the Rhode Island School of Design's ceramics program abroad. My challenge is to help them create a social media presence that goes beyond the literal aspects of the course and translates the students' contemplative experience for a wider audience. Here are some examples, but follow along on to see the work in progress. 





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Brooklyn Half Marathon for Runner's World

The wonderful Anna Schulte gave me one of the best assignments I've ever had. AND I was able shoot the whole thing on a medium format rangefinder. It's a good thing I've been doing some exercise lately because covering the Brooklyn Half Marathon was physically grueling. I rode my bike along the runners, darting in and out of the crowds (think: Frogger), and somehow managed to be in twelve places at once before the finish on the Coney Island boardwalk. The best part was grabbing a beer and hot dog at MCU Park for the after party and laying on the spongy turf watching Donny Vomit swallow swords.

Psychic Twin

Last night my friend Erin who leads the band Psychic Twin called me up to ask for a spontaneous photo shoot. 

Disney odyssey with family

I was raised in South Florida by immigrants, which means Disney World was the holy grail. We memorized the movie lines, sang along to the tapes, and piled into a minivan and journeyed to the bizarre capitalist Mecca countless times. I wonder sometimes how my identity would've been shaped without the influence of Disney. Click through for some snaps from a recent family trip to Orlando. 


Exhibition on May 17th in Oswiecim, Poland

It is an honor to be exhibiting my Land of Oś images at the renovated Kluger House at the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oświęcim, Poland. In 2010, I journeyed to Poland to confront a past that haunted me. I spent five months in the country that I had once perceived as a mass graveyard for the Jewish people, and through painstaking work found light at the end of the tunnel. Read/see more here

Click through the gallery below to view mock-ups of the show. 

Remember Newtown

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.


Harlem Valley, continued

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.

Superstorm Sandy

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.


Analyzed by the Bag

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......

Read the rest here



Amanda F-ing Palmer

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!

Gothamist House Presents: Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra, "The Killing Type" from Gothamist on Vimeo.

Gothamist House Presents: Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra, "Lost" from Gothamist on Vimeo.


Strange, familiar Fort Lauderdale on CNN Photos

Read the story below, and visit the gallery here.


At age 10, Danny Ghitis moved with his family to a suburb just outside of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He relocated to New York after college but still heads south to visit his parents a few times a year.

On a trip in 2009, he started taking pictures at various spots along the city’s seven miles of beaches. The ongoing project has allowed him to rediscover a familiar place.

"Being a guest in your own home is a strange feeling," Ghitis says. “But in my case, it helps me let go.”

It led him to a slower kind of photography than the “run-and-gun approach” he learned shooting for newspapers. Now he often uses his vacation time to explore life along the Atlantic shoreline.

Fort Lauderdale gained popularity as a spring-break destination in the decades after it was shown on the big screen in the 1960 film "Where the Boys Are."

“I was not around in the ‘80s to party with the spring-break crowds or hang with the bikers,” Ghitis says. “But I have seen the boardwalk change over the years.”

By 1985, the city had passed a strict ordinance against public drinking to help shed its image as a mecca for college students. The strip where most of the shops, hotels and restaurants are congregated has gotten more upscale since then.

Ghitis says the culture and nightlife of Fort Lauderdale has always felt just outside of his reach.

“As a teenager I looked on from a distance, not being old or perhaps bold enough to be fully involved,” he says. “When I reconsidered the city as an adult, I felt my opportunity to dive into the debauchery had past and I was once again an observer.”

When he’s cruising the beach with his camera, Ghitis isn’t looking for anything in particular. But he likes to have a “balance of sincerity and awkwardness” in his images.

After years of redevelopment, tourists still flock to Fort Lauderdale. Despite the down economy, the area hosted a record 11.1 million visitors in 2011.

“I find the supposed paradise concept of the beach amusing,” Ghitis says. “Because to me it's just home, beautiful but imperfect.”

– Brett Roegiers, CNN