Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Another day, another weary but joy-filled gunfighter who works at keeping the peace amongst the good, the bad and the ugly in a rough and tumble prairie town with the help of a cripple, a drunk and a young gunfighter who dances with wolves...

Another day, another weary but joy-filled gunfighter who works at keeping the peace amongst the good, the bad and the ugly in a rough and tumble prairie town with the help of a cripple, a drunk and a young gunfighter who dances with wolves, passes the time waiting for a long overdue stagecoach carrying his one true love by watching cattle drives with his pet dove (who always seems lonesome) and his seven magnificent border collies (named Shane, Butch, Sundance, Josey, Maverick, Tonto and Mongo) and perfecting his prize-winning "muy loco" bacon-wrapped Rocky Mountain Oysters recipe (despite the "blazing saddles" that follow the day after).

Editor's note: do not think of the theme song from "Bonanza" (http://youtu.be/IsypUGOyhz4) now. Seriously, don't do it.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Yorkers aren't always in a hurry.

New Yorkers aren't always in a hurry.
(And if they are, it might be to get someplace off the beaten path so they can be still for a bit.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Can you hear it?

Can you hear it?
The two ladies arguing across the street in Xiāng about who sells the freshest ginger (yep, I asked)
The clacking of dominoes and gutteral laughter with a background foreground soundtrack of the Chinese Opera being played out in the park.
The polite requests to "Save Nina" (who has 2 months to live) by a group of her sorority sisters asking me to get swabbed for a potential bone marrow match.
Can you hear it? The wail of the ambulance stuck in city traffic, the sizzling of noodles hitting a hot wok, the squeals of children running in and out of the open fountain, the street vendors offering watches and handbags...
I heard all of the above; the quiet cacaphony of a city in motion. And then I heard none of it as it was engulfed and drowned out by this man (Liang) and his overwhelmingly loud inner thoughts.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Love(?) on the Brooklyn Bridge

Him: She loves me. I am the best thing that's ever happened to her.
Her: If I break up with him now and he jumps off the bridge, am I responsible?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Another day, another man battling with the earth

Another day, another man battling with the earth by alan shapiro photography
Another day, another man battling with the earth
Malcolm isn't just a gardener. He is a Knight on a crusade. Each day he battles with the earth; fighting vile, disgusting creatures and the elements themselves, cruel as they can be, to make his kingdoms the most beautiful in all the land. Fortunately, Malcolm and I are really good friends.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This bad photo could be my favorite photo ever

This bad photo could be my favorite photo ever
It's terribly grainy and not as well composed as I'd like but this photo taken two days ago speaks to me more than just about any other. Rocco Moretto is a WWII Vet that I've known for years from my frequent shoots of the Veterans on Veteran's Day. When Lockheed Martin approached me to shoot their new ad campaign featuring Veterans, Rocco (or Rocky as we all call him) was one of my first submissions for casting. We began shooting the campaign several weeks ago and Rocky and I got to know each other even better. I adore him and we speak quite often if only for me to hear his voice and thank him again for being a new hero in my world. Rocky was in Company C comprised of 220 soldiers that landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D Day. Of those 220, only 2 made it to the Czech border for VE Day. Rocky called me a week or so ago to tell me that his VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Post in Queens was being renamed in his honor and would I be his guest. I gave Rocky a large print from our recent shoot (and also one for his post) and he cried. Which made me cry. And then I hugged this 90+ year old man and thought of all the unsung heroes living amongst us.
I took in the event and watched as an aging hero was celebrated. This particular moment had a truly incredible singer recreating a USO show (for one) and I can't look at it without smiling and getting kinda mushy because I have a true hero in my life and he is as humble and gracious and magnificent as I could imagine (and then some).
So here's a bad photo that could be one of my greatest photos ever.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

So whattya think it is, Liv?
"Uhhh...hmmm, it's not an elephant"
"Nope. Too small. And it's not a pig. Kinda smells like a pig, though."
"It's not an anteater"
"Yeah...not with that stubby snout. And it's not a hippo"
"Seems friendly enough. Hey look; it's a girl. Let's name it Prudence"
"No...that's a stupid name. Let's call her Ethel."

Excerpted from "Adam and Liv; Two Gibbons contemplating Darwin's Theories of Adaptation and Natural Selection" a very short film (Actually, more like a single frame. But if you move you're head fast...) presented at the Briarcliff Manor Society for the Creative Deconstruction of Creationism on December 20, 2012. All Contrarians, Dysfunctionalists and Dyslexic Agnostics (wondering if there really is a dog) are welcome.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This is Malik. He asked me if I believed in reincarnation. I said I wasn't sure but hoped so as I wanted to "come back to get it right next time." This led to a whole long conversation about his past life as a hunter and a warrior. 
And led to my processing him as one of his ancestors. Can't wait to share these with him.

Finer Feathered Friends

Friday, June 1, 2012

I love meeting new people. Talking with them. Hearing their stories. Sharing with them in hopes that they'll share back.  Watching the transformations from wary to friendly. From cynical to approachable. From closed to open.
Approaching people is not as hard as it seems and is so incredibly rewarding.
My friend +Mike Shaw and I talk about this a lot.
Stay tuned for something special he approached me about that I think will be meaningful, transformational and wonderful.
In the meantime,
Stay inspired.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A creative exercise regimen: One flower; multiple ways.

It's not about which you (or I) like better. 
It's about looking at all the opportunities a single image provides.
It's about experimenting, 
honing your processing skills 
and studying composition, framing and texture.
Most of all, it's about seeing what's possible and having fun.

Stay inspired.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Okay, I just really wanna KISS you

You show us everything you've got
You keep on dancin' and the room gets hot
You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy
You say you wanna go for a spin
The party's just begun, we'll let you in
You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy
You keep on shoutin', you keep on shoutin'

I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day

You keep on saying you'll be mine for a while
You're lookin' fancy and I like your style
You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy
You show us everything you've got
Baby, baby that's quite a lot
And you drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy
You keep on shoutin', you keep on shoutin'

I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day
I wanna rock and roll all nite and party every day....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another day, another person fighting off more than the cold

When we look at portraits, what happens?
Is there an instantaneous spark of recognition? 
Or a sputtering flame of empathy?
Do we make an immediate call whether to linger and somehow get to know the photographer's subject or quickly move on based on our mood at that very moment?
Do we tell ourselves stories pulled from our own experiences and world views? Or do we rely on the photographer to provide context and substance?
Is the power with the subject or the viewer?
And what is it about certain images that seem to leave an indelible imprint in our mind's eye.

This image is of a gentlemen named Chris and the more I look at him...look with him...at his reality, the more questions I have.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another day, another vet recounting too many battles and nowhere near enough victories.

I met Richard this morning on my morning walk to my office. He had set up a small oasis and was napping. I was across the street and saw some youths approach him with questionable intent. He woke as I was telling them to leave. He looked at them, sprang to his feet and started a hobbling slow motion run at them. They laughed and walked away. I stayed.

Richard is 87 years old (last Tuesday was his birthday, which he spent in a New Jersey VA hospital). He served in WWII under Patton (way under Patton...but the pride never left his voice as he talked about their victories). We spoke about his life in the military. His new life in the shelter. And the girls at the Hooters in Times Square who bring him chili and soup late at night after their shifts are over. We talked and talked and I took picture after picture while too many people walked by wondering about the interaction. Not sure whether it was the moments of boisterous laughter or the painful moments of silence as he shared the more tragic parts of his life in short story form while I fought the waves of despair. At one point he asked whether I needed to get to work and I told him this was far more important. I was not lying.

I have a special place for Veterans. I never served but I do have a profound appreciation for those that did and do to this day. I remember hearing a fact at last year's Veteran's Day Celebration that a full one quarter of all US Veterans are homeless at one point in their lives. Perhaps that number has changed in the year but I am not an eternal optimist.

I am now in my office but quite distracted. By our conversation. By the sad reality that touches me so deeply. And by the positive thought that Richard agreed to have dinner with me this evening. I expect there will be lots more stories. And with his permission, I intend to not let them go unheard.

Don't spare change. Make change.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The lambs weren't silent.
Nor were the sheep.I walked in on what sounded like the most disharmonious, dischordant, cacophonous soundcheck imaginable complete with Sheena, the snow white sheepdog barking furiously as if to organize her anything-but-symphonic flock.Then a large cloud passed overhead throwing the barn into darkness and for a moment, everyone got terribly, ominously silent.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Here kitty, kitty...

Here kitty, kitty
Nice kitty, kitty

My what a deep and resonant purr you have. 
Oh hey, that got loud fast.
And what perfectly sharp teeth you have. Why, they're as long as my fingers.

What a pretty, kitty
stop looking at me that way
and...and...and licking your lips

Yo, when was she fed last?

I know I look delicious and well marbled 
but I'm really quite bland
and tasteless 
(go ahead everyone...have a field day)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another day in Chinatown

Another day, another attempt at diplomacy rebuked.

Another day, another King Crab reveals a small glimpse of what's under his tough exterior shell
Another day, another walk through a distant, smoke-filled and mysterious land
Another day, another family too far away
Another day, another fishmonger who sells mackerel, tuna and crab all day long but keeps the dried shrimp and oysters all to himself (to go with his stash of ginseng, velvet deer antler, ox and goat penis)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another day, another woman who knows why the caged bird sings...(and will do everything in her considerable power to let her children, her grandchildren and her soon to come great grandchild know as well)

This is Dorothy. She is an artist. A writer. A retired freedom fighter (although you never really retire from that avocation).

We talked of Maya Angelou (her hero) and life for her as a young child and now; as one with many, many young children in her life. This was one of those moments as a photographer where it was more important for me to listen than to take pictures. That my 12 year old daughter was with me listening as raptly as I was made the connection that much stronger. And left another indelible mark on us both.

She ended our conversation with this
"Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone."


Monday, October 3, 2011

Just had a small epiphany:

For me,
Every picture is a small prayer.
each one different and heartfelt and important (in it's own distinct way)
Something to be thankful for,
Something to be celebrated
Something to be corrected,
Something to be sorry for,
Something that makes us feel big (in a small way)
Or small (in a big way)
Something that needs to be thought about
over and over and over
That needs to be shared.
That needs to live on
That needs t
o be heard.

An acknowledgement
A reminder
A plea
A thank you

Something that makes us feel at peace
Incredibly, profoundly moved 
Part of something huge 
And magnificent
And connected.


Just thought I'd share something incredibly personal 
Never really articulated why I love photography so much. Now I know.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another day, another squirrel to welcome to the neighborhood

This is Victor. He takes care of Madison Square Park (at the base of the Flatiron Building in Manhattan) the folks like myself who love to hang out there, do a little people watching and just enjoy the day. Victor can tell you the latin names for all the flowers planted there and has named all the squirrels in the park who seem to regard him as one of their own and seem to look forward to his daily rounds. I have walked with him on several occasions where they would eye me warily but come right up to him. Then he would introduce me to them. This has yet to help with their attitudes toward me. (Sigh)

He told me his boss at Public Works refers to him as the black Forrest Gump. To which Victor immediately replied, "well that's fine but you still ain't gettin' a box of chocolates no matter what."


Just a thought...

Just a thought...
A sort of spiritual "what if" to stick in the back of your head and wonder next time you're walking by some nameless, less fortunate soul...

Don't spare change. Make change.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled show.