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Gallery of the Week: Retro Update

“Retro” is a personal project that I’m rather fond of – it’s open-ended, I’ve been working slowly on it for a few years, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s also a lot of work. To take these photos, I use a Sabre 620 camera – a plastic box camera manufactured in the 50’s and 60’s. As Kodak hasn’t manufactured 620 since the 1990’s, I have salvaged 620 reels from garage sales and other 620 cameras in my collection. In a light-tight changing bag, I take 120 film off of the 120 reel and re-roll it onto the 620 reel. The film, a paper-backed roll film, is the same film, it’s just that a 120 reel is slightly larger than a 620 reel, rendering it near impossible to use it in an old 620 camera.

So why all of this trouble? Well, I noticed that when I took pictures of classic cars with the Sabre 620, the resulting photographs reminded me of the pictures of my family and their cars from my grandparent’s photos that I saw when I was a kid. My uncles were car nuts and one uncle started racing on dirt tracks when he was 16 or 17. In short, sentimentality. And I think it looks cool. Do you like Instagram? This is the real deal. (For the record, I started this series before Instagram existed.) I decided to continue shooting and create this series with this old camera – record the retro people that love the classic cars and rockabilly culture that goes along with it. Enjoy!

(The rest of the series can be found here.)

Gallery of the Week: Details

Some cars are just so cool I want to shoot every single part of it. This custom that I saw at the Rumble in the Country in Terryville, CT, is one of those cars. The owner was off somewhere on the fairgrounds and I unfortunately couldn’t get the stats on it! I took as many shots as I could; the whole car from many different angles, the motor, tires, seats, steering… so many pictures one of the other car guys teased me, “Why don’t you take another picture of that car?!”

Well, if you insist. That’s how you get the great shots. Don’t rely on taking just one or two, practice, and experiment.

Gallery of the Week: Ratty

When I go to classic car shows, cruise-ins, and other retro events involving cars, one of my favorite cars to shoot are rat rods. They are highly customized, rusty, DIY, and sometimes so thrown together you wonder if it can be driven without collapsing into a heap of junk. Last summer at Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, I found a huge Caterpillar rat rod, and a few weeks ago, I saw a rat rod grille with an assortment of dead bugs freshly stuck in it from driving to the show. I’ve included both of these favorite finds in the gallery, as well as some more from other cars shows including Viva Las Vegas in 2011. Later this week, I will make several photographs available for purchase. Thanks for looking, and please enjoy the gallery here!

Gallery of the Week: Green

I want to circulate a variety of photographs on my website, so I’m going to start doing a weekly themed gallery. I will pull from automotive as well as personal work, depending on the them For the inaugural week, I started with my name: Green! So mosey on over to the Gallery of the Week and check out ten shots of green-colored cars.

NYC Photo Exhibits

Many of my fellow car shooters will be coming to New York City in a few weeks for the 2012 New York Auto Show. Since I live here, love playing tour guide, but realize my own limits in that I can’t show everyone around, I thought I’d make a list of some of the great photographic things happening in NYC outside of car show duties. The list is by no means exhaustive, it’s just a few highlights:

  • If you can get in town the weekend before NYAS press days, there is the AIPAD – Association of International Photography Art Dealers – exhibit at the Park Avenue Armory. It’s not just an exhibit; there are panel discussions and other events going on. See the website for details and ticket prices.
  • Cindy Sherman, one of the most well-known contemporary fine art photographers, has a big show at MoMA, about a 10-minute walk from the Times Square area – head up 6th Ave. to 53rd St. (Admission – $25)
  • The International Center of Photography (ICP) has a great show of Weegee’s infamous crime photos up. Murder and mayhem! ICP is on 43rd St. and 6th Ave., right near Times Square where, no doubt, many of you will be staying. (Admission – $12, voluntary contribution 5-8pm on Fridays)
  • Francesca Woodman’s vaunted self portraits at the Guggenheim; 88th St. and 5th Ave, take the 4-5-6 train to 86th. (Admission – $18)
  • The last few days of Martin Roehmer’s mega-city photographs at Anastasia Gallery, dedicated to photojournalism. High quality work on the Lower East Side (166 Orchard St., F train to 2nd Ave.) (No admission.) If you do go to this gallery, be sure to be hungry, and check get some Asian fusion tacos -especially the umame taco – next door at Snackdragon. Make sure to get the special Thai coffee too!
  • If none of these interest you or you just want to discover something else, head west on 23rd Street between 10th and 11th Ave. to Chelsea and wander around the galleries
  • There are New York-specific photo shows at The Museum of the City of New York  (Leonard Freed, similar to Weegee, 103rd St. and 5th Ave., $10 suggested admission) and The Queens Museum of Art (Oscar Larson, 1950’s street photography, $5 suggested admission, 7 train to Mets-Willets Point.) One plus to visiting the Queens Museum of Art is that it’s located on the grounds of the 1964 World’s Fair with the iconic Unisphere, and also houses the Panorama of New York. And I can’t forget to mention the Whitney Biennial, 945 Madison at 75th St. (Admission – $12.)

3.30.12 EDIT: Here are a few additional gems:

  • Grand Central Station, lower dining concourse – Jim Dow: EAT. Photographs of roadside stands (Americana.) Grand Central Station is along the 7 line from Times Square, and the station itself is rather impressive. Free.
  • South Street Seaport Museum/Museum of the City of NY – quite a few gems here, actually, all for $5. I went to see Edward Burtynsky’s Shipbreaking series. In addition, there is another gallery showing a short film following a suitcase JFK Airport by Ben Rubin, an exhibit of large panorama prints by Silvia Plachy and Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao, films of NY by Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand, and a huge gallery of photographs of Occupy Wall Street protests in NY. I had never been to this museum until this past weekend, and was really impressed with the high quality work and exhibits. Subway: 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C to Fulton St.

Inadvertently, my list has become somewhat exhaustive!

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Out of Town

Three large boxes sit in my hallway, unopened. Inside there are a total of twenty framed photographs, returned to me in the boxes from a gallery in Chicago. My Out of Town series was displayed this past January with two other female artists, one of whom – Dawn Diamantopoulos – is a friend from art school days and organized the show, and local artist Lee Heinsen-Ligocki rounding out the triad. Titled Decompression, each artist created our works outside of our various careers or roles, to relax and escape into our art; escape from the world by submerging ourselves in our passions.

Out of Town grew from several different paths I was pursuing in early 2009. On January 1, I started a self-portrait-a-day exercise; it’s a great way to be mindful of practicing photographing/artmaking daily, and teach yourself to push beyond the perfunctory shot and really, truly see. I was also on my first “tour” of photographing professionally at auto shows, and everything was so new – like anyone whose camera is an extension of their arm, there was that strong compulsion to document everything I faced along the way.

January 2009, I found myself in a stark, empty downtown Detroit, -10* outside, in a hotel that had just opened two weeks earlier. Still new to the client’s team, I was as yet a bit of an outsider and had a lot of free time to myself outside of my freelance duties. As I sat in my huge room watching Law & Order on tv, bored out of my skull, and not satisfied with the half-hearted self-portrait I had already taken to fulfill the daily series, my mind started to wander. Most likely, I was the first person to ever stay in this hotel room. And what do people do in hotel rooms? Sleep, eat, work, have sex, watch Law & Order – then my mind wandered to the macabre. Sometimes things go wrong in hotel rooms. Sometimes people get dead in hotel rooms. Wouldn’t it be funny if… and I started laughing to myself. Wouldn’t it be funny if I took pictures of myself as if I were dead in this perfectly staged room? So I pulled out my dSLR and did it. Staged several “murder scenes.” No blood, no gore, just snippets of “What’s going on there?”

As I traveled to other cities after Detroit, I eagerly anticipated entering every new pristine, orderly hotel room. Every room contained new possibilities, not always for my fake deaths, but observing the staging, sitting where I’m not supposed to be, inserting myself in the perfectly placed pillows, or catching compositions out of the corner of my eye reflected in mirrors. I was studying Francesca Woodman’s* self portraits fairly intensely and sometimes even wrote notes to her as I meditated on her sense of space and placement of self within it.

And so in January 2012, three years after embarking on a journey of self-portraits and auto shows, twenty of these photographs amazingly ended up in a university gallery in Chicago. What next? Keep pushing? End the series? Are they getting repetitive or stupid? I don’t know. What I do know is that the next time I arrive in another hotel room, it’s inevitable that I will sit, relax, watch tv, and suddenly jump up laughing to myself, set the timer on my camera, and run in front of it until I get a shot that makes my inner Edward Gorey well pleased.


* Note: The Guggenheim Museum in New York City will feature an exhibit of Francesca Woodman‘s work March 16-June 13, 2012.


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NAIAS 2012

I’m heading to Detroit early Sunday morning for NAIAS 2012. I’m very excited, it should be an interesting show.

Sunday afternoon, I am going over the “The Gallery” at the MGM Grand to see the luxury  cars, including a McLaren MP4-12C in the supercar line-up of the usual suspects. Sunday evening kicks of with the Cadillac ATS, and the media frenzy begins Monday morning.

If you need photos from NAIAS, I will be making the photographs that I shoot outside of my reporting duties available for sale online at, an easy-to-use website similar to flickr. The shots, once uploaded, will be organized under “NAIAS 2012 – [Automaker]”, and an entire gallery of a particular car can be purchased, or individual images can be purchased a la carte. All of the image rights are taken care of on the SmugMug website during purchase process at the following URL:

Should you need to purchase a photograph of a particular car and don’t see it – or want to be sure that I get the shot you need – shoot me an email and I will do my best to get it for you.


New Website Layout

After struggling with Dreamweaver, CSS and Lightroom galleries (and never updating my website), I’ve switched over to WordPress using Photocrati templates. I’m really happy with how easy the software is to use and update! Not only that, my blog (formerly on Blogspot) is now moving here, integrated into the site.

I’m still working on a few galleries of personal work that will be updated very soon. As I was editing shots tonight, I came upon this photo of a Packard that I took at the Scarsdale Concourse d’Elegance. I used a Holga panoramic pinhole camera on 120 Tri-X.

Please, Kodak, don’t go away. A true classic (Tri-X) will die with you.