* the camera roll *

little snaps from my iphone, among other things

Archive for the ‘sea change’ Category

i might be a bit late on this one, but funny anyway

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Written by John

July 8, 2012 at 7:52 am

my buddy cary

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Photo by Cary Conover

here is a blog posting by my old friend cary conover about his 9/11 experience:


cary is a dear and old friend of mine who i luckily met back when we were scrub college kids participating in the finals of the hearst journalism awards back in the mid 90s.  he is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet, and one of the most amazing street photographers i’ve ever seen.

the photo above is of the crew of guys that cary ran with back in his nyc days.  at center opening the bottle while standing next to the 1990s boom box is jamal wilson, behind him with the cup is andy cutraro, the guy with the glasses sitting to andy’s left is aris economopoulos, and the guy with the mutton chops at far right is patrick witty.  the rest of the guys look familiar, but i’m not too sure who they are.

Written by John

September 12, 2011 at 6:52 am

love it

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i love it.


did i say already that i love it?

the lines between stills and video are blurring.  this, from the behind the scenes look into the project:

This is the first time that video has been as significant as the print portfolio.

Ms. Ryan (Kathy Ryan, NY Times Magazine photo editor) said she knew from the beginning that she did not want this year’s performers simply to sit for a portrait.

“Celebrity portraiture demands reinvention,” she said.

Written by John

December 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm


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so my first full cookbook officially came out today:


"tyler florence family meal: bringing people together never tasted better"


now, when i mean first “full” cookbook, i mean that this is the first cookbook where i shot 100% of the photos.  i’ve contributed to cookbooks in the past, but they were always a few pics here, a few pics there.  this book weighs in at 304 pages.  hard cover.  no idea how many pictures are in there.  i haven’t sat down and counted yet.

we shot this back in january and february of this year.  12+ hours a day, 6 days a week, for 3 weeks, plus intermittent pickup shooting days here and there.  i would guess that it took us a total of 5 weeks of shooting.  my initial edit of images came to around 790 or so pictures that i delivered to badass book editor pam krauss over at rodale.

tyler is very involved in his cookbooks.  unlike most of the other celebrity chefs who leave the cookbook cooking to stylists, tyler’s in the kitchen each day we’re shooting, sweating over the stove for 12+ hours.  while other celebrity chefs glide in for one afternoon to chop some onions in front of a camera, tyler is covered in panko and grease, the same “mill valley fire department” baseball cap that’s covering his sweaty head.  day in and day out.  with the exception of the dishes in a neighborhood potluck chapter, every recipe in the cookbook was made by tyler and his kitchen team.

gotta say, i was kinda nervous handing over this big mess of photos to pam and designer ruba abu-nimah (also a badass), both which i have yet to meet in person.  for about two and a half months, i lived and breathed these 790 images.  i spent weeks editing them, toning them, fussing over them.  they were like my 790 little babies.  and then poof, one day i just handed them off to pam and ruba 3,000 miles away in new york.  for several months i didn’t hear a peep from them, beyond the occasional email asking, “do you have a picture of this?”  otherwise, it was pure nerve-wracking silence.

then about two months ago, i was over at tyler’s house, and his wife tolan shows me a big stack of loose papers bound together by either a giant paper clip, or a rubber band, or something i don’t remember.  this was the rough proofs of the book.  i sat in tolan and tyler’s dining room, quietly flipping thru each page.  first it was this smirk growing into a smile, then into a chuckle, then into a full blown giddy laugh as i made my way thru the book.

needless to say, i was blown away.  not from anything that i did, mind you.  my role in the cookbook shoot consisted of waving the camera around like a trained monkey and pointing it at really beautiful food.  the part that blew me away, was that pam and ruba were able to make sense of my mess of 790 images and dig around for the nuggets.

during the cookbook shoot, i would periodically shoot random pictures of things that caught my eye:  the side of a dirty copper pot on the stove, or the remnants of a pile of chopped asparagus on the cutting board, or a plate of half-eaten food.  i shot these pics mostly out of amusement, assuming that i was just shooting for the sake of shooting because they would never get into the book.  kinda my cheap imitation of william eggleston.  but of course, pam and ruba finds these pics and sticks them in the book as full-page photos.

back when i was a newspaper photog, i had gotten accustomed to being disappointed by how the photo editors there handled my pictures.  poor cropping, simplistic literal edits, tiny postage-sized reproductions on shitty newsprint with runny ink.  quite frankly, i got used to shitty editors.

but now as a result of my experience with the editing of this book, it’s really nice to know that there are some great editors out there.

oh, here’s a promo vid that my buddy michael coleman shot for the book:

Written by John

October 12, 2010 at 9:12 pm

pretty damn cool

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the ole missus pointed me to this very cool ipad cover HERE called dodocase.

here’s some pics of it in our possession:

dodocase opened up. steves at right.

dodocase closed with elastic band.

dodocase side view of the bamboo frame holding the ipad.

inside cover of the dodocase.

it’s designed to look like one of those cool moleskin notebooks that smarties in turtlenecks and tweed sportcoats carry around.  the ipad slips snugly into this custom-made bamboo enclosure that seems to hold it in nicely.  it’s a pretty interesting marriage of old-time book binding with a 21st century print killer.  kinda ironic, doesn’t it seem?   i think this is by far the coolest ipad cover out there.  so many of the other ones being sold are boring mass-produced plastic sock things.  what i love about the dodocase, is that it takes the company 4 weeks to get one to you.  as exhibited in this video, it’s definitely not a mass-produced thing made in a chinese sweatshop:

walking around the house with the ipad in the dodocase, it feels surprisingly like a book.  when i first put the ipad in it, i found myself instinctually trying to turn pages.

$60 for one of these.  and no, i have no personal reason to pitch these guys.  i have no idea who owns this company.  i just think it’s a good product.

oh, on a side note related to the ipad… interesting tidbit the past couple of days about maneuverings within the print publishing world and their eventual migration towards pad-like devices.  this today about rupert murdoch and news corps’ possible launching of a team dedicated to ipad news content:


also, here’s some stirrings a few days ago about time inc’s apple bartering woes, about their tug-o-war with apple over revenue:


just figure this out, damnit.  i refuse to spend five bucks per issue for a digital version of their mags.

Written by John

July 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm

john the social hermit

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goodbye facebook.

i did it.  i deleted my facebook account yesterday.  just got sick of it.  got sick of having to constantly navigate the ever-shifting land mine of privacy policy updates and terms of service changes that facebook makes in the dark of night.  there’s just something shifty about that company.

also, there’s something about mark zuckerberg that makes me want to punch him in the face:

i found the image at right on fellow wordpress blogger fracas’ site.

yeah, if i was to really step back and think about it all, it’s pretty random and probably unfair to isolate facebook for something that just about all websites do these days.  call it web 3.0, but it looks like that’s where our world is heading.  when i think of our future, i keep thinking about this little clip from that spielberg/cruise goodie:

oh what a luddite i am.

but i’m not a luddite.  just about everything i do these days revolves around the internet.  i bank online, 50% of what i buy is via online, i probably email with family/friends more than i talk over the phone with them (god forbid i actually SEE them in person).  i’ll even email the missus when we’re sitting next to each other on the couch at home.

i should just give in.  barcode me.

can i admit something to you tho?  i had this weird sinking feeling when i finally deleted my facebook account.  honestly, it felt kinda lonely.  i’ve gotten so used to corresponding with friends from all facets of my life via facebook, that deleting my profile does feel a bit like i’m saying “so long!” to everyone.  facebook is/was a really great way for me to keep up with people that i normally would otherwise not give much effort to keeping up with.

but perhaps those random high school friends/acquaintances that i haven’t spoken to in 20 years were never meant for me to stay connected with.  i’ve only really stayed in touch with one person from high school, and that guy is pretty much like a brother to me.  but perhaps there’s a reason why i haven’t kept in touch with the random people from high school.  their 20-year absence from my circle of existence is probably life’s little way of telling me to “move on.”

Written by John

May 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm

amateurs vs pros

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so seems like this recent nytimes article had been making the rounds within the photo community:


yup, all us pros are worried about the death of our livelihoods because these suburban hobbyists are more than happy to give away their images because it’s fun to see their pictures appear somewhere beyond their computer desktops and refrigerators.

but you know what?  i’m not all that concerned.  because in the end, the difference between an amateur and a professional is the ability to negotiate with trigger-happy teenage soldiers at checkpoints, to deal with third world bureaucracies and airport customs, hiring fixers and finding one that actually speaks english, traveling 18 hours a day on a shitty dusty road in the back of a beat up toyota pickup, not stepping on a land mine, staying healthy while eating rancid weeks old goat meat, not drinking the local water, triple and quadruple backing up camera/computer gear, dealing with the sat phone in order to deliver an image on deadline, being away from family and friends for months at a time, hoping your family will still be around when you do finally come home, knowing which bullet-proof vest will protect your from a 7.62 NATO round, hoping that you won’t die when you go down this alley while chasing the bangs of gunfire…

or for us stateside: being able to deliver on a $100k ad job, obtaining proper city permits for location shooting, dealing with craft services and to make sure that the art director on scene gets his/her special triple vanilla skim latte, to organize 10 cases of lighting gear, have the available cash flow to pay your subcontractors, have double backups when your tethered camera won’t tether while the client looks over your shoulder, to deal with uncooperative models/subjects, to deal with delivering a sunny photograph while shooting in a downpour, to make sure that what your shooting fits into the ridiculously awkward design hole that the art department demands you shoot for…

and on top of all this, shoot a damn incredible portfolio-level picture every time. oh, and now shoot video too.

so in the end, i’m not too worried about the amateurs.  let the amateurs shoot on spec.  and they can have that $1 microstock sale on that sunset pic.

Written by John

April 1, 2010 at 7:21 am