NYC. Oct 2017. 475 Kent Ave rooftop. Historic spot for many photographers. This during my last workshop. I’m working on a rough layout for a zine of this building which was the home of so many artists.
Jobos, Puerto Rico. Shot for my BeachGames project/zine. I haven’t been back to PR since the hurricane, yet hope to go soon. One of my favorite places for natural beauty and where the people just love love their jewel of an island. #jobos#fujixpro2
This is my contribution for the last day of the @magnumphotos Square print sale. Magnum partnered with Aperture Foundation this time around offering small signed iconic prints for $100. These small print time limit one of a kind sales have given entry level collectors and print lovers an incredible deal. I’ve been buying them myself as have my colleagues at Magnum. I only wish I’d bought the whole set at the beginning since for sure by now they’ve all gone up in value. I made this photograph on Kodachrome film at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala back in 1976 when I was totally immersed with the Maya culture in Mexico and Guatemala. This led to 20 years of work resulting in my book “Divided Soul” (Phaidon). This photograph is in the book. I’ve since witnessed evolving cultures all over the world , yet none as resilient as the highland Maya. This Maya boy playing with his homemade hoop on the ridges of Sololá in the early morning was a fast one shot image. I remember the moment well and I prayed I’d gotten the picture. With Kodachrome film I wouldn’t actually see my pictures for weeks after I shot them if I was on assignment outside the U.S. A small price to pay for the magic of Kodachrome. Paul Simon song quite fortuitous.
Well this is my last day in the Kibbutz. Sad? No. Poignant yes. How can I be sad about any incredible experience or adventure? A sweet adventure only leads one forward. We might open up for a couple of hours this evening for those who have been writing me about books and prints. Sunday’s “garage sale” was rather amazing, yet left many missing the chance to stop by for a last cold beer etc. Send me a private DM here if you are interested in a book or print. I drive away in the morning. All good
One of my guests in the loft last night for our final workshop show was Australian filmmaker/photographer @mishkusk. She’s on an @instagram lecture tour throughout the US. It was a pleasure to meet you Michaela, I will look forward to your work upcoming.
I always have guest presenters in my workshop. Today my friend Ruddy Roye @ruddyroye graced our class. The man is a self described “human activist” and I can’t think of a better description for Ruddy who is rocking photoland . Ruddy has just finished a photo essay for NatGeo Magazine to be published in 2018. His work is also often in Time and the New York Times Magazine. Ruddy champions #blacklivesmatter and is a proud dad of two sons. Watch his IG Stories as he drives his kids to school the music blaring. Yea Reggae he’s Jamaican. Thanks for joining my workshop Ruddy. You are an inspiration for all.
I continue my series of portraits of both students and pro photographer friends who are stopping by for my last days at the Kibbutz. I shoot them all in the same place just outside my loft door. It’s the perfect studio. Here author Alia Malik, Magnum’s Peter Van Agtmael and war photographer Adam Ferguson. I’m also shooting each and every student who is here with me these last 2 weeks and giving each a signed print of their portrait. Mementos. The most valuable photographs of all.
Goodbye Yelena @yelenanoah . We rarely see each other yet always the super bestest vibes. Yea like 10 years my neighbor. You now a new mom yet super pro super model all these years. Remember our rooftop hangs? Sweet right? Wine weed pictures your mom dreams both of us always with new stuff happening. The creative buzz in our building was palpable. The New York good enough for a movie dream was our reality. Seinfeld and Friends times ten. We are both moving out this week. Damn. End of an era yet surely the beginning of another. You are a lovely intelligent get it done young woman. I’ve always thought so. My best wishes always to your mom your son and you. Catch me this week and I’ll do a family portrait. Big hugs big love David
My good neighbor Guy @ck6bguy just stopped by. He was in the Kibbutz long before me. Guy is a writer and one of those individualistic souls who grace this building. Times change. Building sold. I’m out. I’m doing too much of my own work now to muster the psychological energy to fight a real estate war. But Guy is in for a long legal battle . “They will have to drag me out” says Guy. I’ve got two workshops going and I’m shooting all over the building. Snapshots. A lot with my phone. Sweetest vibes ever .
475 Kent Avenue. I will continue to shoot right up to the last minute my building in Brooklyn. The Kibbutz. A book or zine will come out of it. My 2 workshops upcoming will be the last in this space I've had for 12 years and soon to be gone. End of an era, yet we will leave in style.
At "home" has been my assignment for the last few weeks. My sweetest commission ever. Why? Ahhh because I fell in love not far from here as a young boy. In love with using my little plastic box camera as a way to live. A way to experience life. I saw early on the horizon had no limits. Through the viewfinder a world could be created that somehow enhanced reality. My friends and family have teased me forever that I tend to embellish a story when I tell it. It's true. There's no intent to mislead others. I'm just reporting what I see. All to me just seems enhanced. Always has. Right now I'm having my morning coffee and soaking up the morning light and smells and sounds. There's a list on my desk of all that I must do before heading off to New York next week. I'll avoid looking at that list for as long as possible. The red cardinal flitting from tree to tree is more compelling than checking my email. The "ding" sound on my phone interrupts the mocking bird. Yet to get my fantasies that are my realities on paper in a book on the wall to show others that what I saw was not exaggerated after all forces me to work to do so. It's a process. By some miracle I figured it out as a kid. When I see works of art of any kind, then I know I'm not alone. Fuel. Inspiration. Knowledge. I'm very aware of the chaos just over that dune. From personal experience and from reports of reality from the media. I'm overwhelmed with reality. Still I'll always look for the sweet slices of my "embellished imagination". To me it's a true story. Believe it or not.
Old San Juan , Puerto Rico. I've one more picture after this to publish here honoring my friends in stress in both Puerto Rico and Mexico. I'm as attached as a gringo can be in both countries. Deep love and respect. When I work I get inside. I don't pretend to be anything other than myself, yet I think I get inside because they can see I'm just seriously interested and will cause no harm and I like to dance!! This picture was taken on Semana Santa and I anticipated the kiss. I always wait for kisses. I always wait for those moments of ordinary human connection. Because with all the death, destruction , and chaos in the world today I just personally have to be drawn to the little moments when everything is just, well, ok. We need to know about the dark side. Absolutely. Calls to action. At the same time we might just need to be sensitized to the up side of human nature. The good things we do for each other. This has been the spirit I've seen coming from Mexico and Puerto Rico in the last week. I'm still figuring out the best way to contribute. I have to to think. I can only make a token contribution so no need to rush. After all, help will be needed for a long long time.
The sweetest music I've ever heard was right here at this famous music school that I can't think the name of right now. I'm sure location had something to do with the perception of perfection. Far into the highlands of Oaxaca's indigenous Mixe region come young music talents from all over Mexico as students in residence. Mexico City has made most of the earthquake headlines yet Oaxaca has had several killer quakes this year. Oaxaca is where I've spent most of my time in Mexico. Lots of shooting over several years and a few workshops as well. So I'm working on a creative way to get some quake relief funding into to the hands of the people who really need it in both Mexico and Puerto Rico. Rich experiences and good friends in both. The teacher teaches, the student listens, and the music flows to those in the valley below.
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. I don't think these lights are on right now in OSJ. On this night the lights were magic in the light rain as my new friend Liaryz @neverlovers ran to meet her boyfriend. We'd been shooting for my BeachGames book and he'd been waiting. Liaryz is an accomplished photographer in her own right, yet has been a frequent subject for my work. Anyway happy times all around in PR such a short time ago. Yet tonight Puerto Rico suffers. The few friends who are responding to my texts, tell me it's not good. Some of them are shooting and we will feature their work on BurnMagazine. My young friends in Mexico City are doing the same thing and their work will be featured as well. These are all young people I've mentored over the last couple of years and by horrible coincidence were all struck by hurricane or earthquake. Yet I've told them to make their eyes and hearts go to work. This photo of Liaryz in the rain has been exhibited a bit around the world. The mood when I took it was just as appears here . Somewhere between romantic and melancholy, ahh the source of poetry forever. Honestly it just doesn't seem like a fair twist of fate that this jewel of an island should be suffering. This is number 5 in my series of 6 pictures from Puerto Rico and Mexico. Not news pictures. The opposite. Daily life slices. It's what I do. A bit idealized, but that's who I am. Puerto Rico will bounce back no doubt. They will need a lot of help from US govt. As a US taxpayer I'm happy if my money goes to help people in need. I want PR back like it was. Puerto Rican's deserve their sweet isle.
Oaxaca, Mexico. I fell in love with Oaxaca long ago. The land and the people. One of Mexico's poorest states economically, it is rich in culture and a sweet innocence. I've photographed all over the state and did a photo essay for NatGeo beautifully and appropriately titled "Song of Oaxaca"..written by my friend Sandra Dibble. She and I collaborated as I always try to do with magazine writers. We made a very conscious effort to have the words and pictures flow with neither text nor photos stepping on each other's toes. Very often magazine pieces are either text oriented or photo oriented, yet this one was as symbiotic as you can get. With social media there are no space limitations, but with print magazines space is prime real estate. You can't always get what you want. The challenge. For films it's time for print it's space. Having finite parameters isn't all bad. Painters must choose a canvas size and find their freedom within. My visual Mexican heroes are Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Graciela Inturbide, Maya Goded, Marcela Taboada and cinema genius Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki. They are of the land. I'm just passing through. Yet my heart is broken too by the tragedies that often befall Mexico. Mexicanos have always welcomed me. I'm usually the only gringo in the crowd. My Spanish isn't so great, yet they smile and make me think it's ok. I can always hear a Mexican song of one type or another in my head. Yes, Song of Oaxaca works.
Skaters in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This skate and swimming pool is in La Perla , a unique neighborhood right on the oceanfront of Old San Juan, and slammed hard this week by hurricane Maria. I'm pretty sure this recreational icon no longer exists. Hard to imagine it could survive the storm surge. You can see it's right on the water. Not having a skate bowl anymore is of course the least of San Juan's worries at the moment of course, yet I'm publishing this week my photos from both PR and Mexico of everyday life. We can see the current apocalyptic horror on tv and social media. Awareness now is most important so aid can come. Why show everyday life when power is out, flooding , and houses ripped to shreds? My work has never been about current events but about seeing who lives in these places of either political turmoil or natural destruction. The kids in this picture are WHO have been affected. I remember this day well in 2015. A beautiful afternoon. Music blared. Laughter all around. My family was with me and it was just one of those most joyous moments when we the outsiders got a feel for the mood and spirit of the residents of La Perla. About skateboarding? No. About connecting. About connecting with people who have a different culture, history, and lifestyle. If I had never immersed myself in the daily life of Puerto Rico, then maybe I would be like many who watch in horror, yet maybe then flip the channel or tap the screen to another topic. So my job has always been to "sensitize" people to other people. I know photographers cannot save the world. Yet maybe we can save or help one person . Make a difference to one family. Change the vote of one senator. Puerto Rico is not a little island on the map. It is beloved home to 4 million people. These kids deserve another moment like this one. Flying in the sun. Wind in their hair. Kicking out at the top. Free.
Oaxaca, Mexico. Street fiesta band. My first out of the US assignment for NatGeo was to dig into the Maya culture in Yucatán and Chiapas. That led to years of working in Mexico mostly in the indigenous regions. Bands like this are everywhere all the time since there are dozens of fiestas everywhere all the time. There is nothing like a Mexican street band. Usually part of a small callejoneada walking around a town with everyone following. Just makes you feel good. Now people are crying. Loved ones lost. Such a beautiful country yet often shaken by earthquakes as now. Most not fatal, yet sometimes horrific. I've spent my morning texting with my friends in México City all of whom are out in the streets trying to help with rescue and cleanup efforts. I've seen some amazing heart wrenching rescue videos. Tragedies like this bring out the best in human nature. A common will to help. I'm working on a plan to do my bit. Everybody should find a way. The death toll is rising by the hour. Yet the music won't stop. It can't. It's an integral part of the cultural fabric. El alma.
Retro from my book "Divided Soul" of San Juan, Puerto Rico. I will in the next couple of days publish work from both Puerto Rico and Mexico. Both places suffering now from epic natural disasters. My heart goes out to my friends and their families in both countries who are suffering so deeply right now. I've been a welcomed guest in both places for extended periods of time from long ago until the present. Warm cultures to be sure and absolutely my home away from home. I'm just trying to figure out what I can DO. I've never been a "news" photographer, always preferring to capture the little slices of everyday life. Yet I study the history, culture and current events of every place I work. Matter of fact I work in countries where I'm particularly interested their history and development. Puerto Rico was already in deep shit with a 75 billion dollar debt and mis amigos there telling me the economic crisis was getting very very real. Now this. Now no power for months. Try to imagine no electricity for months. Sure on a camping trip you desire being off the grid. Yet on a small island of almost 4 million people dependent on gas and computers and refrigeration and jobs etc etc. this is catastrophic indeed. I was pleased to see non partisan support from US govt for aid to Florida and Texas after Harvey and Irma. I just hope that PR, a US territory, will receive the same , as well as aid for all the Caribbean islands so tragically affected by this totally abnormal string of hurricanes. Even from a distance it seems almost apocalyptic. We are now seeing thousands of photos of destruction and pain. We need to see them for sure. A call to awareness and action. So two boys at a public beach rinse off have no news oriented consequence given the current clime. Yet being aware of the "everyday" also gives context for everything else. I am right now thinking of a way I can somehow help. I can't do much, but I must do something. After all my neighbors suffer.
Photo today taken by my good neighbor Frank Brown @obxhomepage. Frank was my assistant today as I finish my HOME project . We started in the early morn with a storm and ended with this rainbow. Frank made this after I pulled off the road to shoot. Yet Frank was thinking way out of the box to go b&w. It works.
Cape Hatteras, NC. These days in the Outer Banks everybody with 4wd is heading for Shelly Island, newly formed off " the point". A storm last spring with just the right combo of wind and currents brought this new island to us. At low tide you can wade out to the island for both amazing shell collecting( hence the name) or go surfing or just hang. This island may wash away with the next big storm which is of course the very nature of barrier islands. They all move all the time. In the meantime it's a beach Disneyland with something for everybody. Quiet shallow water for the kids, good winds for kiteboarders, well shaped waves for surfers, and a myriad of subjects for photographers. Look at Google maps and you can see Cape Hatteras sticks far out to sea. If you are in the outer banks, go check it out. You may not have another chance. #fujigfx#capehatteras#outerbanks
Dune surfers on one of several kite fest days in Nags Head NC. This most popular set of dunes, Jockeys Ridge State Park, has hang gliders, bird watchers, kite flyers, weddings, funerals, church meetings, school trips , sunrise/sunset watchers, deer, coyotes, foxes, rabbits, snakes, turtles , bald eagles, osprey, and tree frogs. As a young boy 11, I fell in love with photography about 75 miles north of here and my darkroom door opened out into dunes like this. So the smells and sounds are in me. This scene is literally straight out my front door now. You always meet nice people up on this dune. There is a hyper magnetic power coming out of this dune. I'm not joking. It's often a melting pot of cultures up on that dune. Maybe they aren't holding hands and singling " We Are the World"... yet the vibe is a bit like that.. an oasis in the current political desert...personally I have always lived my life assuming the best in people. Curious always what makes an individual tick. Going for what we surely must have in common.Everybody is interesting one way or another. All have a story to tell. My darkroom door of yesteryear opened out onto a world larger than I thought.