Looking for America

I’m honored to have an image I created included in The New Britain Museum of American Art’s exhibition  – Looking for America.

This image reflects my notions of America today as we navigate a sea of information and disinformation where lines and laws are blurred by abuse and discrimination and we hold tightly the goal of bringing into focus clarity, truth and justice.

For this exhibit, images were requested that convey what America means to you.   Looking for America is part of a non-partisan 50 state initiative organized by For Freedoms and involves hundreds of American artists and art institutions to spark a national dialogue about art, community engagement, and politics. The exhibit offers a “kaleidoscope of photographs that represent myriad perspectives on America’s values, people, history, past and future. While some images address current social and political events, others capture well-known American landmarks or figures, or convey personal experiences and observations of American citizens. As a whole, Looking for America reflects a nations that is diverse, complex and ever-evolving.”- For Freedoms.

This first image below is included in the exhibition followed by additional images I feel are pertinent to the subject matter as well.

Clarity

“Clarity” image © Lou Russo Photography

TheSearch

“The Search” image © Lou Russo Photography

Balloons_web

“Conflated” image © Lou Russo Photography

“Chapter 1. He adored New York City…

nitecab2017

© Lou Russo Photography

“Chapter 1.
He adored New York City. He idolized it all out of proportion…no, make that: he – he romanticized it all out of proportion. Yeah. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of George Gershwin.’
Uh, no let me start this over.

Buckets of Rain-11

© Lou Russo Photography

‘Chapter 1.
He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle bustle of the crowds and the traffic. To him, New York meant beautiful women and street-smart guys who seemed to know all the angles…’.
Ah, corny, too corny for my taste. Can we … can we try and make it more profound?
‘Chapter 1.
He adored New York City. For him, it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. The same lack of individual integrity that caused so many people to take the easy way out was rapidly turning the town of his dreams in…’
No, that’s going to be too preachy. I mean, you know, let’s face it, I want to sell some books here.

 

AllMyLittleWords

© Lou Russo Photography

‘Chapter 1.
He adored New York City, although to him it was a metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture. How hard it was to exist in a society desensitized by drugs, loud music, television, crime, garbage…’
Too angry, I don’t want to be angry.
‘Chapter 1.
He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Behind his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat.’
I love this.
‘New York was his town, and it always would be.”
― Woody Allen, Manhattan

The Quest for Clarity Through the Fog

seek-clarity

Through the manufactured fog born of spoken-word mist and the rain of spit dripping from the mouth’s of insatiable monsters, there IS clarity. Continue leading forward with strength and seek the truth that exists beyond this veil. Look also beside you and behind as there are many who are with you on this quest. Offer your hand to others as the path may not be as visible for them and do not judge, as in time many who mashed their hands together in great applause of all that was promised will find themselves on an even darker road with a precursor of stubborn illusion to move through first. Where once they eagerly boarded what seemed a glossy rocket with the promise of a great destination they will find themselves heaving on the darkened road as if punched in the gut and thrown from what turned out to be a cardboard facade, painted gold, with only insatiable monsters and circus clowns behind it.

BEST FRIEND + SNOW

SnowBear_w

This is Coney.

She is the most loyal and loving dog ever. She gives me the saddest eyes in the world when I leave for work but how she greets me when I come home is one of the coolest types of happiness you can experience.  I wonder how I went most my life without it. I’m lucky to have her. That’s all. Just felt like sharing that. Oh yeah..and she LOVES being out in the snow, just like me.

“Every Love Story is a Ghost Story” – David Foster Wallace

Fire-and-Time-3 The third image in the series “Fire & Time” where long exposures soft focus on fire thru glass to present a reality that exists only as illusion.

“On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.” – Rodney Dangerfield.

Fire and Time II – A War Inside

Fire-and-Time-2

Fire and Time II ©Lou Russo Photography

Standing Proud For Good Reason

Every crew member of Life Star plays a vital role in their goal of saving lives.

They are truly inspirational.

Jamie Cowie, CFC, EMT-B has been a communications specialist with LIFE STAR for 5 years. Jamie comes with a strong background in EMS and public safety. When not studying for her Paramedic degree, Jamie spends her time working as an EMT in her home town of Cromwell.

Jamie Cowie, CFC, EMT-B has been a communications specialist with LIFE STAR for 5 years. Jamie comes with a strong background in EMS and public safety. When not studying for her Paramedic degree, Jamie spends her time working as an EMT in her home town of Cromwell.

 

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Albert Einstein

Fire-and-Time-1

Fire and Time – 1

One of the images from some work I’ve been messing around with seeing how long exposures can alter what we see, creating a separate reality.

Life Star – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

I’m so thankful to be working with the crew of Life Star at Hartford Hospital for their “Meet the Crew” program. I keep hearing such heartfelt stories from people who say they owe their lives to these folks and each time I’m with them I’m so impressed with their level of modesty, caring and professionalism.  I’ll continue to post images as the program moves forward and checkout the Life Star Facebook page to find out much more about this amazing crew.

Jeff Heath, RRT, EMT-P, FP-C has been with the LIFE STAR team since 2000. Prior to then, Jeff was a Respiratory Therapist for 7 years and a Paramedic since 1986 in the state of Washington. He served in the US Coast Guard and was a commercial diver in the Gulf of Mexico prior to his healthcare career. Jeff is the proud father of two daughters and is an avid outdoors man.

Jeff Heath, RRT, EMT-P, FP-C has been with the LIFE STAR team since 2000. Prior to then, Jeff was a Respiratory Therapist for 7 years and a Paramedic since 1986 in the state of Washington. He served in the US Coast Guard and was a commercial diver in the Gulf of Mexico prior to his healthcare career. Jeff is the proud father of two daughters and is an avid outdoors man.

Dear snow, You do know that it’s spring? Don’t you?

The Snow Man

Photo © 2015 Lou Russo Photography

As a child, nothing would beat waking up on a snowy winter’s day filled with the prospect of no school and sledding. Sorry snow bro, but that’s the best I can do at saying something positive about you right now so that we leave on good terms. Sure, I can go on and on about how much fun it is to shovel snow off a roof. I can describe the intense joy experienced when trying to steady a car that’s sliding towards a ten-car pileup but hey… I don’t want to get sidetracked here, I mean after-all, these gutters aren’t going to repair themselves. So listen, let’s put a little distance between us and take it day by ever-warming day. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Well, I’m going to be so f*!king full of fondness when you make a late winter arrival next February. It will be like you never left. But let’s be clear on one thing though…you do have to leave now. Like, right now.

Do not despair of life. Think of the fox, prowling in a winter night to satisfy his hunger. His race survives. I do not believe any of them ever committed suicide. – Henry David Thoreau

NightWoodsWinter

What’s in store for 2015?

psychic medium I’m not into predictions but I would say… watch out for this guy.

Play With Fire

I saw something looking back at me in my wood stove the other night.

My first response was “wow, that’s pretty cool” but then my dog left the room and I started thinking about a fire extinguisher.

Something's Burning, baby

I woke up on the roadside

Daydreamin’ ’bout the way things sometimes are. Dylan – “Idiot Wind.”

Hartford Advertising photographer,Bob Dylan, Milton Glaser,reflections

Milton Glaser

 

the reviews are in…

James Kuslan

James Kuslan

James Kuslan – New York City Artistic director and voice scout in the U.S. for German classical recording giant Deutsche Grammophon is the smartest looking person I met in 2014. Oh, and he’s amazingly talented and a lot of fun to work with too.

Pile of leaves attack two people in parking lot

Leaf-Attack-East-HartfordBystanders were shocked when a seemingly harmless pile of leaves decided to rise up and attack two people walking through a parking lot on their way into work this morning.  We’ll have more news on this breaking story as fall continues…

 

Looking Back

Looking BackIn shared stories of how you touched us all, and in silence, you are forever in our hearts.

No really…how do you feel?

Trust me, the winter of our discontent is eerily intense when it takes place at this family occasion.

Richard III Act 1 Scene 1…from the perspective of a mob boss.

Glad I could grab a few stills in-between takes.

You can view Wynter Woody’s monologue here   http://vimeo.com/theateroftheear/richard

TheatreoftheEar_02

NYC…even better at night

City_Nights_01

Maybe the night begins here…bottles floating …

Then some guy in a cape shows up…

City_Nights_05

Best Friend

Coney

Coney_1

The Snow Show

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trouble

Philip Seymour HoffmanWhenever I hear of an artist dying, somewhere within those first few moments of disbelief my mind takes me straight to the fact that they will no longer be able to do “their thing” and we will never see them in another movie or play, hear another song, see another photograph etc. Every time I see something about Philip Seymour Hoffman’s passing it’s hard for me to grasp that he is gone. I took these photos of him while covering the 2009 Writer’s Guild East Awards Ceremony where Mr. Hoffman was presenting John Patrick Shanley, the author of Doubt, with an award.  Before presenting Shanley with his award, Hoffman stood at the back of the theater about ten feet away from me. I’m never interested in meeting famous people but I remember wanting to quietly tell him that his performance in Synecdoche, New York was brilliant and that the movie made quite an impression on me, (the type of movie you think about for days after seeing).  We exchanged glances a few times but ultimately I decided to be respectful of his space and not approach him. Regardless, out of all of the celebrities there that evening it didn’t matter to me, as far as I was concerned I was in the presence of one of the greatest actors of all time.  We are fortunate to have had him for the few years we did  but I must say that it is so fucking sad to think of someone so talented and so loved dying alone, ultimately killed by the demons he’s battled for many years.  I keep thinking of the song “Trouble” by Cat Stevens and the 2008 New York Times Magazine profile of Hoffman where he said, “and I put on the Cat Stevens song, ‘Trouble.’ You know, ‘Trouble set me free.’ What a great song! I had forgotten. A lot of times, a song will let you down halfway through, but that song is great to the very end.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman

What caught my eye…

Even though I was probably a bit rushed when placing my order at Starbucks these images really caught my eye, and I guess off the top of my head I would say personally it’s because I love portraits and color, but there is also a sense of a true moment being captured in the work that sparked my interest. So much so that I decided to contact the artist to see if she wouldn’t mind talking about her work a bit so that I could share it on my blog. The artist is eighteen-year old Lexi Karafelis who just graduated Conard high-school in West Hartford, CT and is now attending Pratt Institute on a presidential merit scholarship in graphic communications.

Amy2(1)

Lou Russo: Why do you paint?

Lexi Karafelis: “I guess you could say the reason I create is because I love the complicated individuality of each person and how it is shown on their face and in their body language.”

Matt(1)

LR: Tell me about these four portraits.

LK: “The four portraits are a small series I decided to create in my spare time this summer, they’re all actors, but it was their characters that persuaded me to draw them. All of these characters are facing a dilemma in these moments, each person portrayed is dealing with them in individual ways.”

cumby(1)

LR: Talk about your use of color and light in these portraits.

LK: “The colors of each portrait contributes to the portrayal of each individual. I used warmer colors to convey passion, and cooler hues to portray levelheadedness. The larger the spectrum of colors, the more complicated the emotions of that person may be.”

john2(1)

LK: “Lighting was also important. In these four portraits one side of the face is mostly illuminated with natural and opaque while the other remains dark, or is subject to unnatural tones. This is where I wanted to illustrate that everyone has their armor, but only certain people will let some of those dark tones leak through.”

Revamped Website and New images from The Hollywood Portrait Project

Cool news for a hot summer day….The new website for www.LouRusso.com is up and now features the ability to fit the screen you’re viewing from to optimize the space and of course, the experience! Also, here are new images from The Hollywood Portrait Project.  So many people to thank for their amazing work, a truly talented group!  Makeup, hair and styling executed stunningly by Valerie Gengras and our models are Rachael Shaw Lamphier who works over at the Pita Group and her husband Dan. My wife Priscilla is an asset to any shoot and her eye for details and posing is priceless. This shoot was challenging and very rewarding, I love the process of shaping light to create just the right look. None of this would have been possible this time around without the perfect wardrobe from Vintage Lorry In North Branford.  Lorry was instrumental in helping us find just the right clothing and accessories and her suggestions made all the difference. Enjoy the newly revamped website and I’ll be sure to post more portraits!Hollywood-Portraits-Lou-Russo-4fin Hollywood-Portraits-Lou-Russo-5fin- Hollywood-Portraits-Lou-Russo-8 RachaelDan_3

Independence Day and George Washington the Egg

The 4th of July weekend here in Connecticut was hot & humid.  How hot you ask? You could fry and egg on the sidewalk….not this one though.  Here’s another one of my Aunt Netti’s awesome egg creations.

In 1778,  General George Washington marked July 4th with a double ration of rum for his soldiers, and judging by the sounds coming from across the street at 3 a.m., so did my neighbors.

George Washington Egg

George Washington Egg

George Washington Egg

George Washington Egg

Coney Island Love Affair – Mermaid Parade 2013

Although I was only at the Mermaid Parade for a few hours this year, it seemed to be the perfect amount of time. I don’t go for the actual parade, I arrived hours after the parade. The idea of photographing people “parading” down a street doesn’t interest me at all. But afterwards, as the worlds of spectacle and spectators intertwine on the boardwalk and side-streets, that’s when the true magic of  the day happens. I never ask  anyone to look at my camera and if they do, I rarely like it.  I prefer to be invisible during my time there. That’s always been how I preferred it and how I did it when I first started photographing Coney Island 12 summers ago when I lived in nearby Manhattan Beach and would spend every weekend on the boardwalk listening to the soundtrack of Requiem for a Dream and shooting film.  It’s great to see Coney Island back in full force after Hurricane Sandy and along with it being preserved I hope that it continues to grow and never loses its distinct mix of seaside excitement, artistic expression and the awesome people who make it what it is.

Mermaid-2013-02  Coney-Island-Russo-Mermaid Mermaid-2013-4Mermaid-2013-1 Mermaid-2013-5 Mermaid-2013-6 Mermaid-2013-07 Mermaid-2013-08 Mermaid-2013-09 Mermaid-2013-10  Mermaid-2013-12 Mermaid-2013-13Mermaid-2013-11 Mermaid-2013-14

Of desire and patience. Images from the Hollywood portrait project.

Taking the time to know yourself and follow your instincts leaves you open to many positive experiences. One of which is the path to creativity, a path that allows you to create for yourself and to shut out the second guessing voice that may otherwise  limit your abilities. I’ve always taken great interest in the classic black and white films of the 30’s, 40’s and on. To me, the lighting plays the biggest role, helping to tell the story, creating the mood and shaping the experience that the director of photography and director want to convey to the viewers. The beautiful portraits of actors and actresses from Hollywood’s golden era captivates me equally as much, and perhaps in some ways even more since I love the experience of being able to sit with stills and take my time seeing all the details that help create the experience of that scene. I sometimes feel like a forensics investigator looking over the images for clues as to how things were done. I couldn’t be happier with the first few images from my current project which pays homage to the great Hollywood photographer George Hurrell, and many others. Studying their creations and paying attention to their lighting technique is like taking a trip back in time where I’d like to believe things where a lot less rushed.  Many many thanks  to the beautiful hair and makeup created by Amanda Russell and our wonderful model volunteers. More to come!

Hollywood Project image #1

Hollywood Project image #1

Hollywood Project Image #2

Hollywood Project Image #2

Hartford Denim Company

Stepping into Hartford Denim Company‘s workshop felt like taking a step back in time. Vintage Singer sewing machines everywhere I looked, lots of thread and of course stacks of denim.   The owners: Dave Marcoux, Marshall Deming & Luke Davis are driven by old-world craftsmanship, taking great pride in their products and the process. And btw…lifetime repairs are guaranteed!

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My Aunt’s Amazing Easter Eggs

Growing up we always went to my grandparent’s house in Brooklyn for the holidays. Easter was always one of my favorites for one simple reason, my Aunt Netti’s Easter Eggs. Every year she featured a different theme and would arrange dozens of her egg creations on display. I was and still am fascinated by them. I recently spent some time with my Aunt at her home  in Leonia, NJ and photographed all the eggs that she has, although sadly she does not have all of them. As a child, the best thing about her egg creations was that I’d get to choose and keep one, now what also interests me about them is hearing the stories behind them, like how some themes were inspired by her travels to Spain and China and how she would find all the small parts for them. These planes were made in 1980 while she worked for TWA airlines, the engines are electrical wire connectors.

Netti_Russo_TWA_Egg-aNetti_Russo_TWA_Egg-b

More favorites from my shoot with Fatima

We did some great looking head shots, then we got into a zone for the sophisticated classic shots, but we had the most fun towards the end of the session with these…Again, my thanks to Amanda Russell for her awesome hair and makeup!

fatima_main connecticut advertising photographer

The Look

I’ve always been drawn to classic portraits of actresses of the 1930’s and 40’s made by the great Hollywood photographers like George Hurrell. Fatima was looking to do some head-shots and this is definitely one of my favorites from her session. Amazing hair & makeup done beautifully by Amanda Russell. We did a few funky ones as well which I’ll share later on…

Fatima_ClassicBW1

The Grand Illusion in Children of Paradise

Children-of-Paradise

Well, I’m just playing with movie titles a bit but I do like the sound of it…One of my favorite things to do in my spare-time is going to Trinity College’s movie theater Cinestudio here in Hartford, CT. Having studied cinema in college, there are classic movies I’ve seen before but rarely on the big screen. Seeing Casablanca on a big screen is of course a totally different experience as seeing it on a TV, no matter how big a screen you have. Last year, I saw two films that I’m amazed I never saw before. Both are from French directors that were key figures  in the poetic realism movement. First, Children of Paradise. Marcel Carné’s classic film has been touted as the French answer to Gone With The Wind. The film has been restored from the decaying original negative to ultra high-definition 4K Digital. Called the greatest of all French movies, the story is equally as interesting as the production itself, which was filmed in Paris during the German occupation of France during World War II. The story revolves around a beautiful and charismatic courtesan, Garance and the four men who love her. The costumes, the sets, the acting, everything about this film draws you in and holds your interest.  The writing is poetic, the characters are unforgettable. It speaks volumes about love, desire and self-truth and the ways in which those emotions are honestly expressed and dealt with. The cinematography, and here I really mean every frame,is beautiful! Okay, I guess I like the movie..a lot.

Grand-Illusion

The second film is Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion. And this time, the thought kept crossing my mind while watching the movie… “I can’t believe I’ve never seen this film before!” Grand Illusion is considered one of the best films ever made and it’s certainly one of my top five. The story follows French aviators who are shot down, captured, and plot a dangerous escape while being held in a World War I German prison camp. Although the story is captivating and it’s commentary on class, race and war strikingly poignant, for me the draw is the depth of the characters and their dialogue, which effortlessly presents us with the notion of our universal humanity which transcends national and racial boundaries. “Grand Illusion is a story about human relationships. I am confident that such a question is so important today that if we don’t solve it, we will just have to say ‘goodbye’ to our beautiful world.” Jean Renoir.

Life in Slow Motion

I’m not much for lists beyond the “to do” list that helps add some sense to my days, just thought I’d share some things from the past year that inspired me, made me think, laugh etc… throughout the next few weeks. All my following posts will only update to my blog at https://lourussophotography.wordpress.com and Facebook Photography Page at https://www.facebook.com/LouRussoScenes so follow or like!
First off, James Nares STREET at The Wadsworth Atheneum. STREET is an unscripted 61 minute high-definition video filmed on the streets of Manhattan that is simply amazing to watch.  Shot using a camera normally intended to be stationary while shooting fast-moving objects (Phantom Flex) the camera was mounted on the back of an SUV while it roamed the city streets.  When played back in super slow motion, every facial expression and movement of the people on the street becomes, well, beautiful.  One of my favorite pastimes has always been people watching, STREET brings it to an entirely different level. The typical intensity and determination of the city street-walker is slowed down and presented as mellifluous dream-like movements.  While some slowly move, others are motionless, frozen in time while on a cell phone or waiting to cross the street. The normally unseen flicker of fluorescent lights seem to strum the guitar played by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, an original piece which was composed for the video.  A man stands on a street corner and with eyes closed, rubs his forehead with his hand.  What’s his story? Money problems? Health?  And then you realize that this image you’re staring at is most likely just a second in time, just some guy who blinked while rubbing his forehead. And that’s what interests me. Taking an everyday action or idea and presenting it in a way that strips it of its reality and redefines it. The hour-long video is actually just under three minutes of footage. You have to check it out! Here is a link to two short clips. http://www.thewadsworth.org/street/Image

Helping Hands On Staten Island

“Are you with the news?” a young man asked me as I took photos of the volunteers in action. “No, I’m from Staten Island and I want to document what’s going on here and share it on my blog.”                                                                                                  “Good, because It’s becoming old news, and when it makes the paper I think people are wrapping fish in it,” he told me, referring to what he views as a decline in news coverage and apparent lack of interest by those not directly affected by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy.                                                                                                                Last Saturday, November 17th, almost three weeks since the storm made landfall here on Staten Island and here in Midland Beach, it is hard to turn your head in any direction without seeing something that makes you take a deep breath. I think back to all the times I have driven down Midland Avenue as a teenager, making my way to the beach at night to meetup with friends and hangout usually until the cops would come and make us leave. A woman has a massage chair setup with a sign attached to it that reads “Spa Sandy”.  I watch as she approaches a volunteer and asks them “Would you like a quick massage?”  They smile and politely decline.  “Come on, five minutes!” She says, in a mom-like fashion. The volunteer agrees to it but has to finish a task first. “Is it tough getting people to relax for a moment?” I ask her.  “They just keep going and they don’t realize that they haven’t had a break.” She tells me how important it is to feel the touch of another caring person and I realize that just as I can look in any direction and see devastation caused by the hurricane, I also see people everywhere helping each other. Volunteers delivering and dispersing meals, people sorting piles of clothing, handing out cleaning supplies, helping in any way that they can. Perhaps news coverage of the relief efforts and rebuilding is tapering off, but since the hurricane hit I have been so inspired to see just how many groups have formed utilizing social media to organize and communicate their plans and needs. Every person I spoke with that day gave me the impression that there was no place they’d rather be but right there amongst all the other people doing whatever they could to lend a hand to those in need in the community.

A bit part on MTV’s Made

It was awesome to get a call from the producer’s of MTV’s Made to see if I’d be interested in doing some portraits for a local aspiring fitness model they’re featuring for an episode. Why not right? We had a blast! My wife (also a photographer) finds great comfort in being behind the lens and does not like…well she hates… being in front of any camera, still or video, so it took a good deal of convincing to get her to help out on the shoot but I’m glad she did. I’m sure when all is said and done, we will at best occupy about 8 seconds of airtime, it is MTV after-all.
Oddly enough, I used to work at in – of all places – Sales & Marketing at MTV Networks when I first graduated college. I was writing a lot and starting to think about trying my hand at stand-up comedy. One day in passing I had mentioned to the President of MTV Networks that I was thinking about doing stand-up and he asked me to do some of my jokes for him…right then and there… in his really big office on the 23rd floor of 1515 Broadway. Awkward? Sure. But with only one audience member, you greatly reduce the odds of being heckled. He was gracious and I remember him encouraging me to go forward with it, which I did…for a bit.  Working for MTV lead me where I wanted to go which was TV Production, which then lead me (and I’m abbreviating heavily) to follow my true passion for photography. Ah the circle of life…I’ll post the air date once we know it.

Oh Brooklyn…

“You are a splendid butterfly
It is your wings that make you beautiful
And I could make you fly away
But I could never make you stay”

All My Little Words by The Magnetic Fields

It feels like a day doesn’t go by without me being inspired by someone’s art. Music is such an integral part of who I am and I often find myself feeling so thankful for the musicians who did and continue to do whatever they need to do so they can express themselves and share their talent. Perseverance is a necessity and believing in yourself and your abilities is paramount to accomplishing your goals.  I’m not talking about success in any traditional sense but simply the enjoyment and fulfillment that often will accompany the act of creating or performing & sharing your talent.

I took this picture recently while traveling through Williamsburg Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.  I try to always have my camera with me and when I’m fortunate enough to capture a scene like this one, I consider it a gift.  I’ve joined it with lyrics written by Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, one of my top five favorite bands. The song is from their 3 volume concept album “69 Love Songs”. It is brilliant. I’ll never forget hearing this album for the first time and how the songs seem to mesh so fittingly with the chapters of my life.  I highly recommend it. Checkout the beautiful  song “All My Little Words”

A preview of my upcoming book, “Plants from my Nightmares.”

The plant spent the summer on the deck, and grew tall. Then a squirrel knocked it over and the cracked pot revealed all the root growth that had taken place.  I could get philosophical about how true growth comes from within and that without firmly planted roots…but I’d rather just simply say that this plant is creepy…and therefore it is my new favorite.

“The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.” Edmund Burke

I grabbed this shot while on a recent location shoot for Nordstrom as an onlooker tried to get a glimpse of what was going on inside. Where would we be without our inherent curiosity? We push ourselves because we are curious as to how far we can go. Then we push further.  Curiosity is what keeps me motivated and aware of the fact that there is always so much more to see and learn and share. To me, it is the core of creativity. As yesterday’s fortune cookie stated,”Curiosity kills boredom. Nothing can kill curiosity.”

Fire and Fall Back

Working through the process of creating the main image for singer/songwriter Richie Kaye’s new website proved to be a truly collaborative effort.  Richie knew what he wanted the image to express but was also very open-minded, which in my opinion opened our possibilities and put us on a very creative path. Styling by Priscilla Russo.

His new album “Fire & Fall Back” is out now and getting some great reviews. Album cover concept and styling by Priscilla Russo. All images created on location at Lyric Hall in New Haven.

Lyrics Project

I’ve been shooting for my new project based on song lyrics that have in any way moved,inspired or intrigued me and the further I go with it, the more I find myself motivated with new ideas and possibilities for it. I don’t know what will be included in the final body and I don’t immediately marry lyrics to images.  It’s been very interesting so far so it may be an on-going endeavor.  My first night out was during an electrical storm.

Somewhere I’m not
Scatterbrain
Lightning fuse, power cut
Scatterbrain
                      ‘Scatterbrain” – Radiohead

You Enhanced

 

A favorite from my session with Leslie Polgar, the owner of You Enhanced image consulting in West Hartford. Leslie is a natural at what she does and was a pleasure to photograph!

“Offshoot” of the shoot

 

I met Will while shooting a job for Triple Frog design over at Hall’s Market and asked if he was up for being part of my photo project “Fear Isolation & General Discomfort”.  The project theme was comical and featured him with an empty ornate bird-cage, but this was one of my favorites from the shoot not related to the project. He’s  wearing a vintage leather jacket that my dad used to wear in the 70’s or as I like to call it, “The Donnie Brasco” jacket.

No Day at the Races

“Despite his attempts to make a few extra bucks to put towards the new bicycle fund, little Freddy’s luck with the horses that day had run dry.”

I took this photo last summer at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

Moonflower

This is the cover of my cousin Gianna’s new book Moonflower featuring my beautiful wife.
Ingredients: One public park after-dark, a million mosquitoes, two photographers and two cops that approached us with flashlights to question our “shady” activity.  Good thing I had a few flashlights of my own,,,like four.

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My Kind of Town…I think

When work requires travel, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I get to “see the town.” Sometimes, there’s just no time for anything beyond a quick bite and rest.  I have yet to actually see Chicago, but the hotels have been very nice…

Was I tired? – you ask.  I was out like a light…

 

Baby Be Mine Maternity

I love working with other local business owners in the Hartford area.  Helen Tekce & Isabelle Gartner are the owners of Baby Be Mine Maternity; an innovative company that has successfully fused function & fashion, offering a full line of maternity wear and hospital gowns.  Our shoots are always high-energy and creative, our models have such genuine enthusiasm it would be hard not to have fun!

Compass to the Northern Sky

I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph some amazing star maps made by the Municipal Prints Company in Brooklyn, NY. They are printed beautifully in either black or navy and aside from shooting the maps themselves I had a blast working with the company’s creator Sheldon Yeager on an environmental shot we did in my studio.

My love for astronomy has been totally renewed!  Congratulations to Sheldon for having his star maps chosen by Wired Magazine for their holiday wish list!

Lois…Louis…What’s the difference?

While packing my things for the move into our new home, I came across this nameplate that my parents bought for me when they took my sister and I to Disney World when I was very young. How young?  I guess I could be rationalizing, but young enough to be terrified by someone who approached me in a Big Bad Wolf costume. I’m told there were tears.

He just didn’t fit into my plans. I had expected the usual for a young boy’s day at an amusement park: ice-cream, fun rides and meeting a checklist of characters I had been writing letters to for sometime then,,,or I guess at that age my mom was taking dictation.  My encounter with Mickey Mouse that day was met with just a minimal amount of fear which was quickly overshadowed by the excitement of meeting such a superstar in the world of cartoons. I’d finally be able to ask, “Did you get my letters Mickey? What’s your favorite type of cheese?”

Other than my run-in with that wolf I enjoyed my day at Disney World… But now every time I see this nameplate I wonder if my parent’s bought it before or after my crying fit brought on by the Big Bad Wolf. Who invited him anyway?

Mightier than the sword

I recently purchased an app for my i-Phone which allows you to use your finger to write notes on your phone screen. Strange things tend to happen to me all the time but this may be the strangest.  I couldn’t sleep last night so I decided to come to my studio to do some work.  I don’t think I was expected because when I turned my office light on I found all my office pens, pencils and markers congregating on my desk.  They seem to be forming some sort of alliance…which truthfully didn’t worry me much at first… then I noticed the pair of scissors lurking just outside the circle.

A single bluebird

Recently I was reading about the current Elliot Erwitt exhibit at The International Center of Photography.  He is one of my favorites and I hope I get to see the exhibit. Last fall my wife and I went to see the Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand exhibit at the Met and although the prints are breathtaking, it was pretty overwhelming to take on in one day. A small issue I have with exhibits is that I will often find myself wanting to spend much more than just a few moments of time with one piece but having to move forward to see more and more and by the end of the day or exhibit, I feel overwhelmed.  When I look at a photography book at home or in a library I very often will look at one image for a great deal of time, taking in the over-all story and feeling that accompanies it and then enjoying the moments involved with looking at the various details that make the image what it is.  Often I will  open a favorite photo book of mine, currently Elliot Erwitt’s Unseen and just enjoy the photo that I’ve opened to and not look at another image from the book for the day.  I do the same with a book of quotes I have by Thoreau, I’ll open the book and my eyes will be drawn to a specific quote and I’ll just take my time and let the words truly sink in and it sort of becomes this unforced guidance for my day by simply allowing myself to not take on too much and enjoy a specific perspective that another artist has shared with me. A gift.        “A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of the fauna and flora of a town.” Henry David Thoreau

So fitting that I begin with The Mermaid Parade

I’m so happy to have my blog up and running!  The timing seems perfect; just moved into the new studio, it’s the first day of summer, my wife Cill and I are celebrating our 3rd anniversary today and the first photos I’m posting are from this weekend’s Mermaid Parade in Coney Island.

I honestly don’t know if I’d be where I am today if it weren’t for Coney Island and my love for documenting it.  I’m sure I’ll tell the story behind it sometime but for now, here are some images of things that caught my eye Saturday at Coney Island.

Was I tempted to straighten his shirt out to see the text better?  No….

I have very little interest in photographing the actual parade.  What truly interests me are the individuals when it almost seems as if they’ve forgotten that they are in some sort of costume or outlandish makeup.

This might just be one of my favorite moments of the day. Seems like just another day at the office for the guy behind the counter.

How often does a cup match your makeup?

And then there were bubbles…lots of them.

                                      The pin at the top of the tower is going to pop that big bubble.

           A truly great day.  Thank you Coney Island and thank you to all the amazing people who make this day one of the most interesting things to be part of and photograph every year.