The Ride

 

I was sitting in a cafe upstate with my wife and a beautiful view of the Hudson river when I saw these guys. It was the Rock-a-Billy look that caught my eye at first. Then there was a certain sense of solidness to them, as if they had great confidence in their purpose. Now when I think about it I wonder if they had rode a long way, I know from experience that it can change a person’s state. It’s like you’re walking around without the bike but you still have the vibration and concentration from riding.

Ann Belch

I had my 5D with an old school nikon F2 35mm on the front of it when I asked them if they would sit for me.  I bet your saying he never shot Ann Belch with a 35mm lens and
you’d be right to think so, but it was the only lens I had. I’ll give you another clue there is loads of detail.

Every time I shoot these days I am becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of the look on the face of the person and finding ways to reach it has become a pastime. I think it has marinated in my long time love of Joseph Karsh’s work and is now cooking in what i’m reading from Paul Ekman a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. I’m just trying to get my 10,000 hours in of neuroscience:-)

Mitch Belch

Here it is all about the road, the ride and the person. I took them on a psychological ride of my own. First down the road of how important a photograph can be, especially in what it can convey. Then I leveraged myself into the bargain letting them know of my experience. That put them both right inside my camera and once they were there they were asked to think of the road stretching out in front of them. The ride itself and everything of that unfolding moment, of you, the road and the ride.

When they were being shot together after I asked them to go back to that place where they were only to think of each other and the ride they experience together. 

 

JACK LENOR LARSEN

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Larsen was born in 1927 in Seattle, WA to Norsk-Canadian parents. I caught up with him out at his place in Long Island. At the Long House reserve. An extremely charming man with a great sensitivity to beauty and style. I ended up staying over night and shooting in the early morning. The whole evening was like being held in a great appreciation of nature and the finer things of life.

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Since the 1950s he has designed thousands of fabric patterns and textiles, many associated with the modernist architecture and furnishings popular with post-1945 American consumers. He told me that his inspiration comes from nature and the natural patterns and textures he finds in the landscape.

In 1952, Larsen founded his firm, Jack Lenor Larsen, Incorporated. In 1951 the interior designer Florence Knoll turned down his textile designs as too “individualistic”, but by 1953, she was commissioning olive-green and orange colored Larsen textiles for furnishings. From the beginning, Jack Lenor Larsen’s distinctive hand-woven furnishing fabrics with random repeats in variegated, natural yarns were popular with clients such as Marilyn Monroe.

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In 1958, he designed his first aeroplane upholstery, for Pan American Airlines.[1] His passion for international weaving and textile crafts made him familiar with techniques such as ikat and batik, which he introduced to the American public, and by 1974, Larsen’s company was manufacturing fabrics in 30 countries.[4] Since the 1950s the company has commissioned textile designs by artists and designers including Anthony Ballatore, Sari Dienes, Yoshiko Kogo and Timo Sarpaneva.

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In 1968, Larsen designed the interiors and fabrics of Braniff International Airways innovative Terminal of the Future at the Dallas, Texas, carrier’s Dallas Love Field hub. He also designed the textiles for use in the interior of Braniff’s new Boeing 747 in 1970.

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Jack Larson and partner Peter Olsen

Boogie Wipes

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1IMG_3249This must have been the all time shoot of cuteness. Shot in Salt Lake City under a 16×16 silk.
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I had forgotten how much fun you can have on a shoot like this.

IMG_3609 Except when they get tired like this one above. A simple distraction works every time. Wow I like your shoes when did you get them, and it all changes.IMG_4810IMG_3702 This little guy was brought to me screaming with fake buggers hanging from his nose. I quickly got on his side and made a joke about it before long he completely changed. IMG_4664

Tania Burguera

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This is my favorite shoot from 2015, Tania Bruguera (born 1968 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cuban installation and performance artist. On January 2, 2015, she was freed after having had three back-to-back detentions, and after over a thousand artists worldwide signed an open letter to Raul Castro, Cuba’s president, calling for her release. She was detained for 8 months. She is in New York and has been named the first artist-in-residence for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), established to raise awareness and foster engagement with immigrant communities.

I wanted to include other people in the shot because it is all about immigrant communities. So where would be the best place? Times Square of course and I can’t show a ton of faces since I’d never be able to get the releases. So off I went to meet Tania with 2 white plastic compound buckets I got from the hardware store that morning. In order to rise above the crowd, with a minimal footprint, 18 inches of bucket is perfect. Shot right in the middle of the crowd trying to get thier faces on the L’Oreal ad:) 

Next thing of course to make it work, how do I completely isolate her from the crowd to create the contrast. That comes down to my ability to immediately build the trust and rapport with the subject to raise the quality of engagement to a compelling point and deliver authentic emotion under any circumstance. From first meeting her in the middle of Times Square this picture was taken 20 minutes later.

One Night in New York with the Real Life Super Heroes

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4pm, Staten Island, New York 
After checking into a hotel which was described in one review as being “Not as bad as everyone says,” I finally meet my mentors for the mission in a blustery car park in Staten Island, the third largest and least populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Dark Guardian is an unassuming, softly spoken young man of 25, with gel-spiked hair, a pronounced nose and the wiry build that comes from hours of training. We’re at Constanzo’s martial arts, where Dark Guardian aka Chris Pollack is an instructor in everything from kickboxing to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
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Standing next to and slightly behind Dark Guardian is a short, barrel chested man in a NY Yankee’s hat, grey t-shirt tucked into his heavy cargo trousers and big steel toe cap boots. I offer him my hand and say with a falter in my voice, “Deaths Head Moth?” “Nice to meet you,” he replies, I’m not offered another name.
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Behind Deaths Head Moth, stands a taller, harsher looking man sporting a grown out Mohawk and arms dotted with tattoos, this is Z, a hero I wasn’t expecting. “Z came down at the last minute and DHM has come ten hours on the bus from Virginia,” the Dark Guardian tells me.
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I say thanks, and get little reply, they’re clearly unsure about me, I try to engage in small talk. “How was the journey?” “Fine, I slept for most of it.”
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Okay… “Shall we train?” Says Dark Guardian. They visibly perk, “Lets do it.”
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8pm, Washington Square Park, Manhattan

As we all pile into Dark Guardians Mazda, and head for the ‘hot zone’ in Manhatten proper, the atmosphere is heavy. A passing couple stop to stare, “weirdo’s” mutters Death Head Moth. The only talk is of the game plan for tonight.
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As we all pile into Dark Guardians Mazda, and head for the ‘hot zone’ in Manhatten proper, the atmosphere is heavy. A passing couple stop to stare, “weirdo’s” mutters Death Head Moth. The only talk is of the game plan for tonight.
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We enter Washington Square Park through the North East corner of the park we walk past an annoying, but technically law-abiding samba band. Then a series of loud whistles echo through the park, it’s the dealers signaling like sportswear clad meerkats that something is amiss. As we reach the South West corner, it becomes pretty clear that we’re outnumbered, the dealers sit around like crows.
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They’re in attack formation when the gigantic drug dealer, comes steaming over, “Who the fuck are you! Why you gotta fuck up my world?” Dark Guardian coolly replies “you have to leave. This park isn’t for you.” Outnumbered, and potentially outgunned, the decision is made to leave the battle for tonight.
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As we climb back into the car, the mood isn’t subdued, it’s charged with frustration. Dark Guardian’s soft American accent has been replaced with a proper pissed of New Yorkers accent, “that motherfucker. I’m gonna get that big motherfucker. I had my torch ready to smash him in the fucking throat if he made a move.”
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10pm, Midtown
 
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The car falls silent as we race through Time Square just as a thunder storm breaks over the city. I ask what everyone is thinking about, “I’m thinking about how we’re going to get them next time” says Dark Guardian ominously. “I’m thinking I need a piss” says Z. As they drop me at my hotel, we shake hands, I press once more about what will happen next. Dark Guardian has calmed down a little. “Look, we lost that battle, but this is a war and we’re going to win it.” I ask Death Head Moth why he took his mask off, “ I wanted to show them I wasn’t afraid,” he looks at his mask for a moment, “In hindsight that was when I lost the psychological advantage.”
11pm, Mid town Church
 
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Bowed, but far from broken, the heroes make a detour to a nearby church which acts as a meeting point for some of Manhatten’s homeless community. But far from looking for trouble, the heroes are here to do some real good. Dark Guardian pops his trunk and the team start handing out water and energy bars. It’s a simple, heartfelt gesture, and it seems to make them feel like they’re back on top, making other people’s lives better.
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After that, the heroes down tools (or at least stow them in the trusty Mazda), pull on some civilian friendly clothes, and head to the pub.
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They’re not the Avengers, but they’re more than we deserve. 
Words by Josh Woodfin

Standins

Stand-ins sometimes make as good a picture as the talent

A lot of the editorial jobs I do go something like ‘go and shoot this person on this day in this area’. Normally I like to scope it out the day before at the same time that I will be shooting, very often I use available light. It is about working out the technical details but it is always from how it feels. The light, the environment, color and what the story is. I always use stand-ins. Sometimes it’s the assistant, but usually I like to use someone from the situation. I like to integrate as much as possible with the environment to get a better feel of the story. 

So here are some my favs of those pictures.

 Bernard Hopkins

A young professional Russian boxer at Joe Hand Gym in Philly. I think that is Bernard in the back. I don’t know what I did to upset him but…

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The shots I took at Bernard Hopkins where right when he first walked through the door, he never saw it coming. Right off the bat I told him the light was perfect right where he was as I raised the camera to my face and started shooting and he didn’t really know what was going on. Maybe it was that that did it, but, after waiting for an hour while the writer took his time doing the interview while under the impression given to him by Bernard that he had all afternoon. The manager was telling me something completely different after telling me quite colorfully how he was from the streets. They all were. It was a weird one. Lucky I got the ones of him when he first walked in. 

Bernard Hopkins, shot by Tim Knox, at Joe Han gym Philly.

Shane Smith
 

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Shane Smith’s assistant told me the story about the bear. It was the bear that was hunting Shane and his shooting party up in Alaska on the way to the location. 

I knew he had the bear, it had appeared in at least 3 sets of pictures that I found with him. But I wanted to use it without being obvious about it, I mean it is such a good story. The final picture you are not quite sure what it is but it is something big and hairy. This one was the one that ran in The Guardian.

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Savion Glover
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I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this little lighting situation. As Savion’s assistant showed me around the second floor of his NJ tap dance school. 2 long skinny windows either side of 5’ of white wall. With loads of room to shoot in. 12 feet away, facing the windows, was a shiny red wall. You can see it if you look. I’m close to the subject, I don’t remember what was said but they totally went with it. It was a great location for these intimate portraits

 Savion Glover, Shot in Newark NJ at his studio space. By Tim Kno
Alicia Glen
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It was a great pleasure to meet Marie and be taken all over City Hall by her. After about a 30 minute tour, when it came time to shoot I only had 15 minutes in total. But it was fun 🙂 On the setup for Deputy Mayor for Housing Alicia Glen.

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Quest Love
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My assistant Josh Kerns. Every time he stood in he looked like a super star. The next blog could just be him. Setting up for the shoot with Quest love, a giant human being. Not his physical size but his inner size. It was an honor to have time with such a giant. 

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Henry Bloget

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Julie Hansen President & COO of Business Insider thought the curtain was way too out there and Henry Blodget would never do it, but she did it anyway and this was the result.We did get Henry into the curtain, but not for long. That was fine, but l really like the picture of Julie in it.    

Henry Blodget, CEO of Business insider. 11th June 2014, NYC news