Best Eleven Portraits of 2011

2011 was an exciting and fruitful year. In between shooting regularly for The New York Times, I made portraits for a local yoga studio, started a project about alternative sexuality, and exhibited my award-winning project from Poland. This year I collaborated on several video projects, all premiering in the coming months. They include a ten-webisode dark comedy (see the pilot trailer), a promotional music video for an urban farm, and a pilot episode for a hilarious new sketch comedy. I've also had great opportunities, including new gallery representation by Recession Art, collaborations with the Goddamn Cobras Collective, and new editorial and commercial clients. Below are some of my favorite photos from 2011- a year that allowed me to delve deeper into my personal style and recognize my fascination with spontaneous portraiture. While I enjoy photojournalism and creative problem solving, I am most drawn to wandering and observing freely. Noticing a character at a distance and approaching quietly until they accept my presence is a priceless jewel.

Treasure hunter, Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Sisters, Lake Ontario

Kosher vending machine, Queens

First day of legalized gay marriage, Manhattan

Riley Kilo in her bedroom, Bronx

Lana in her apartment, White Plains

Katie hoola-hooping in a gorilla suit, Brooklyn

Plaza Hotel spa owner, Manhattan

D.C., in Taunton, Mass

Richard Phillips in his studio, Manhattan

Smurfette at NY Comic Con

 

Wall Street's Unemployed for Bloomberg Businessweek

From the article in Businessweek: For Michael Reiner, being let go by Société Générale was his second job loss in four years. He worked at Bear Stearns for 14 years until the firm collapsed in March 2008 and was taken over in a fire sale by JPMorgan Chase. When he began looking for work after that, he says he “wanted to find a place for the next 14 years.” It’s harder to talk about losing a job the second time, he says: “There are a lot of people I haven’t told.” Now he spends his time going to his daughter’s field hockey games and managing his investments. He plans to pursue his hobby of making maple syrup from the trees in the backyard of his home.

My editor, Jamie Goldenberg, wanted me to make an image of Mike that conveyed the job loss without going overboard on the sadness factor. Fortunately he was a gracious host and gave me plenty of time to roam around with him on his property. I found him to be a sympathetic character with a certain innocence in his eyes that I tried to emphasize in the images. Wall Street workers are so often portrayed as aggressive and heartless but Mike clearly did not fall under that stereotype. He and his wife seemed down-to-earth, and their home in Briarcliff Manor reflected  their accessible style. Here is the chosen image as well as some others I liked from he shoot.

 

 

Yotel Hotel

My friend, curator Risa Shoup , gave me a shout to fill a spot in a promotional event for the innovative new Yotel near Times Square. A hundred "performance" artists filled hotel rooms that VIP guests visited as they walked through the halls. I was tasked with photographing guests however I wanted, so naturally I had them pose in the bathroom area. A whole cast of colorful characters appeared and fortunately they were willing to let loose and have fun (it helped they had a few drinks in them). The best part was I didn't have to give much direction, people just went for it!

Irrational Exuberance - Exhibition and Interview

 

Opening reception on April 30th - 6pm-Midnight

The Invisible Dog 51 Bergen Street Brooklyn, NY

More info and schedule of events: recessionartshows.com/current Check out my interview on their site! The Facebook invite

Irrational Exuberance deals with seemingly rational systems of mass belief or delusion, and their relationship to values, whether economic or moral. The show is curated by Bradley Bailey and features work by Paloma Crousillat, Tate Foley, Nikita Gale, Danny Ghitis, James Gillispie, Ani Katz, Sam Keller, Ely Kim, Conrad Kofron, The Ladies’ Auxiliary, Alma Leiva, Azusa Murakami, David Needleman, Johanna Povirk-Znoy, Jay Peter Salvas, Holly Streekstra, Gabriela Vainsencher, and Anusha Venkataraman.

I get by with a little help from these Goddamn Cobras

Goddamn Cobras Skillshare Portraits

A couple of weekends ago I traveled to the town of Taunton, MA with a big group of friends from the Goddamn Cobras collective for a "skillshare" retreat. We exchanged the basics of boxing, African dance, pinhole photography, foraging for sea salt, blind contour-line drawing, music theory, making seed bombs, knife wielding and we even made a Fraggle Rock tribute video. I shared my basic knowledge of capoeria, a Brazilian martial arts form that looks and sounds like a tribal dance. Here are a few portraits I made of the folks against the lovely old-school wallpaper in our friend Justin Johnson's home.

AFAR Magazine

I'm pretty excited to have a clip in this magazine...Really beautifully edited and designed work in here, and focuses on "experiential travel" rather than "consumerist travel." I highly recommend picking one up at a newsstand if you can find it.

Caption reads: "In Krakow, I found a local family enjoying their Friday afternoon in the grassy courtyard of the city's Old Synagogue. I waited patiently until one of the girls drifted to the side and threw her ball in the air. The 15th-century synagogue houses a museum with relics from the former Jewish quarter. When I touched the building's old stone walls, I could almost hear the echoes of prayer services held here long ago."