Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I ran into David immediately after taking Jeff's picture.

Like with Jeff the interaction was short, but not unpleasant.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Jahmaine was the last picture I took in Union Square Park that day (but not the last of that day to be posted, for sure). We had a very nice talk on the steps about photography.

I think this photo is a perfect example of what a little bit of flash fill could have done.

You know, whenever I write these things, I always want them to be profound in some way, so when people read them they'll say, "Gee, that Evan is so profound. It seems that he puts hours of thought into every single word he puts on the page!"

If only!

Eh, maybe an overabundance of profundity is overrated, or perhaps pretentious. I think using a word like "profundity" is pretentious. I think I revel in the idea that people might see me as pretentious.

What the hell am I talking about?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Adele, or Why I Don't Call Myself a "Photographer"

Adele noticed the YashMat while I was asking about the project laid out on her table in Union Square Park. It's called Other Places, and the site explains it better than I ever could.

She didn't balk when I asked her for a photo, and I began to make shutter and aperture adjustments since she was in the shade.

"Do you want me to do anything for the picture," she asked.

"You know, maybe it would be better if you got into the sunlight, since god knows if I'll get the exposure right."

I took three sunny shots, finishing out the roll. Then I noticed something. "Oh shit. I forgot to readjust for the sun. The shots are going to be totally blown out. But have no fear, I have this with me," I said as I produced a circa 1953 Zeiss Ikon Nettar that my father gave me. It's a funny thing...since I've been using the YashMat, people have been just giving me vintage cameras, but more about that some other time.

Now the thing about the Nettar (for the uninitiated) is that there's no through the lens focusing. You just guess how many feet the subject is away from you, and turn the focus ring on the lens to whatever you think it is. I figured she might be 1.2 meters away, adjusted my settings, and took the shot:

Oh yeah, there's one other thing about the Nettar. You have to remember to advance the film by hand after every shot, lest you forget and get a double exposure staring back at you when you get your film back from the developer eagerly wondering if you were able to correctly judge the distance on those close-ish shots and hoping that you got them in reasonable focus.

Good thing I took one more:

Sunday, September 27, 2009


It was an average day at school for me. I was killing time before a class when I ran into my friend Ashley. She told me there was a reception going on for the Prime Minister of Nepal. I asked, "Will there be free food?"

Less than ten minutes later I was choking down as many apple chutney pastries as I could while standing in a group of people all trying to get a photograph of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. Nicole was scrunched in next to me when she said, "That's an awesome camera."

"You know," I said, "I have a project where I take pictures of people who compliment me on the camera."

"Is that so," she responded.

"Here's my card."

"So you really do have a project!"

"Of course! What did you think, that I was some kind of pervert?"


"Well, that goes without saying, but I really am doing this project."

Nicole was gracious enough for me to take her picture and hope that it would come out reasonably well, given the indoor light. I'm a big fan of 100 speed film. Grain is for the birds (oh, that's terrible). Though I realized that as much as I love 100iso for my outside shots, you never know when you might end up having to go inside somewhere and take a picture of a prime minister. Such is my life.

So I got a flash the other day, and I'll be prepared the next time for just such an emergency. Though looking at some of the work on this page, I could have used it in my outdoor shots too, especially as fill on half-lit faces.

You know, I might be learning something after all.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Jeremy noticed me as I was walking out of McDonald's. I wasn't trying to draw attention to myself, but the YashMat was slipping off my right shoulder and somehow I was able to save it from eating pavement while gripping my medium Diet Coke in my left hand.

He is an Englishman in New York, but that's where the similarity to Sting ends. No, I lied. He's also a musician. That's where the similarity to Sting ends (as far as I know).

You know, I was just thinking that someone reading this blog might thing that I frequent McDonald's a lot. That's not really the case.

I much prefer Burger King.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Goofy Pose

I forgot to ask his name, but he was one of the many photographers selling their art in Union Square Park last Saturday. When I first told him about the project he declined, saying that he was more comfortable being behind the camera than in front.

I said, "that's okay," and was about to walk away when he changed his mind and agreed — only as long as he could make some kind of goofy pose.

I said, "It's your picture."

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Shadow was walking towards me on Avenue A and just as we were about to pass each other he pointed a finger at me and said, "Hey, take a picture."

I swung around and gave him a card.

"Are you a professional?" he asked.

"No, it's just something I like to do." As I lined up the shot, I tried making conversation. "So, do you live in the neighborhood, I asked." He said absolutely nothing. I really am a tool.

It's a funny thing about the YashMat. When people see it, they automatically assume that since you have such a "fancy" camera that you actually know what you're doing. I point, I shoot, I hope it comes out okay. I'm not completely ignorant of the "rules" of photography or the "how-tos," but I've got a ways to go. No doubt.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I don't remember exactly how we got to talking, whether Jeff said something to me about the camera, or if I saw him admiring it or some combination of the two. I really should remember, since it was only a few days ago.

It was a short, but pleasant encounter.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I met Sam and her boyfriend (I forgot your name, I'm sorry!) in front of Grace Church, and they were more than amiable when I mentioned the project.

Like my friend Emily, Sam claimed that she, "wasn't photogenic."

LIke my friend Emily, Sam was wrong.

ADDENDUM (here we go again....): Something with this scan just doesn't seem right. It seems a little pixelated, but better when you click on it. This was my first time scanning negatives with this new software (as opposed to slide film), so I might have to re-learn this whole process of getting the pictures in the computer and then on the internet in some fashion where they still look decent.

I'm sure I'll figure it out, but the process will be many more times complicated and time-consuming than need be.

I think I got the whole negative scan thing down. We'll find out soon enough, when the next additions go up.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Okay, so I lied.

I didn't mean to, but that's what they all say, right?

It turns out that even photo developing places have a Monday rush, so my two latest rolls won't be in until tomorrow night. So in lieu of pictures of strangers (strangers to me, maybe not to you, if you or your loved ones are looking at this site), I present another diversion.

The following picture was taken earlier this year with an Ansco Rediflex. I wound some 120 film on a 620 spool and finally used this camera I bought "new in box" (well, it was new almost 60 years ago) at a Tennessee junk shop some time in the 90s.

It's the second picture I took with it, and one of my favorites (if I do say so myself).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

And Now, A Word From Our Sponsor...

There will be a short break in the, "Hey Nice Camera" series, as I've posted all the people that have said, "hey, nice camera" to me so far. This was inevitable since:

A: I started this project in late August
B: Schoolwork has a way of keeping you from wandering around the city all day with a YashMat hoping people will say, "hey, nice camera."

HOWEVER...I had a good day today with the YashMat. I got at least six new portraits in the can (that's shoptalk I picked up in film school, "in the can"), and hopefully since it's Ilford Delta Pro and not my usual Ektachrome VS (ooh, look at me being all cool and pretentious, mentioning just the name of the film, assuming people know what I'm talking about...yech), I should have the results tomorrow night.

Of course, the simple solution to this would for me to not use a YashMat, and just walk around with a DSLR. But EVERYBODY and their dead uncle has a DSLR, so nobody is particularly going to single me out and compliment me for buying something available at any store that's been "Going Out Of Business" for the past 20 years.

Another solution would be to get a digital medium-format camera. Hasselblad has a really nice one for only $29K. I have some change saved up, so look out CoinStar!

So here for your viewing pleasure, is an arm's length self-portrait of the artist as a younger man, taken with an Ansco Shur-Shot in Washington Square Park way back in 1992.


Saturday, September 19, 2009


I think the first time I met Reina was when we were addicted to crack. Then again, it might have been the time we died from an overdose of heroin. Or maybe it was when we were homeless and waiting on line outside a church for alms.

These were just a few of the exciting days we had on the job as film/tv extras in New York City. The NYC extras community is pretty small, so after a few gigs you're always running into people you know. I'd run into Reina a lot because we'd always get called for the same kind of scumbaggy roles, or "rock and roll" types.

Reina and I became fast friends because we both had the same attitude towards doing extra work. We'd rather get paid to sit in holding eating craft, talking, joking around, than walking back and forth in some scene like a shooting gallery duck. Contrary to popular belief, extra work is not where acting careers begin, it's usually where they end, or just languish for years.

I got out of the extra game in 2005. Even though Reina and I had spent countless hours on sets together, and never failed to have something to talk about, neither of us took the effort to stay in touch, and went on with our lives.

It was through a Facebook accident that I found her again. I should say I'm not big on Facebook. My profile is 100% hidden and unsearchable. I only have 15 "friends" and I could probably cut a few of them loose. Not because I don't like them or anything, just because we no longer talk, no longer have anything to say to each other.

That said, I saw Reina's profile making a comment on a friend's page. It turns out she ended up back in school, at the same school as me. I kept my excitement to myself, hoping to run into her someday, and that day came pretty soon after.

I saw her sitting at a table and without any introduction said, "You know, the last time I saw you, you were putting whole unopened Entenmann's cakes into your tote bag on the set of The Sopranos."

It's good to have you back, Reina.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Jeff and Beth

I met Jeff soon after I moved to the city and I immediately rubbed him the wrong way. I don't exactly remember what I said, or why, but I got under his skin. Unfortunately for him, we would run into each other a fair amount over the next seventeen years. Fortunately for me, I always got along with his girlfriend, Beth.

Sometimes I thought it was funny that Jeff seemed ever annoyed with me. Sometimes it really bothered me. Though I eventually came to accept it. Again, I always got along well with Beth.

Jeff was at Jimbo's barbecue (wow, I'm mentioning it a third time!). I knew he would be there, and wondered how we'd get along in a relatively enclosed space.

It went great. Everyone got along. I'd like to think I'm in Jeff's good graces now. People like to say that they don't care what other people think of them. Do I? It depends on the person. When the person is a close friend of your close friend, and someone you run into every so often, I'd rather they liked me. I'll admit it.

However Jeff felt about me, I always liked him.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kostabi, Follin, and Friend (right to left)

It was my first night out with the newly-fixed YashMat when I ran into some old friends on the street. Paul (right) recognized it immediately, and said that he had one too, or used to have one until he gave it to his girlfriend Heidi's (center) son (not shown). But Paul has a Rolleiflex in reserve.

Paul is a musician and an artist in his own right.

Heidi is president emeritus of the Follin Gallery. Among others, they exclusively represent Angel Ortiz aka LA2.

I forgot the name of the person on the left. I only know that she is the girlfriend of Heidi's son.

This picture deserves better words than what I've given it.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I first met Mary three years ago, though it seems like I've known her for a much longer time. I don't mean that in a bad way.

On my last day of summer vacation, I saw Mary for the first time in a year and a half. We had lunch, caught up, sat in the park, and had dessert. It was a great way to end the summer.

You know, between a peaceful day of park and food, and Jimbo's chilled-out barbecue the day before, I couldn't have asked for a better two days.

I'm getting dangerously close to cliche territory here, so I'll post another picture of Mary from that day before I let one slip.

After looking closer at these pictures, I'm not sure I like the quality of the scans, even though they're at a higher resolution and with supposedly "professional" software I downloaded because my old stock HP software wouldn't work with my fancy new computer. There's like this chunky blurry square thing going on. It's subtle, but it's there. Or maybe I should just really be getting to bed.

I'll fiddle around with this later.

I think I got this figured out. More passes by the scanner = more gooder. I'm still working out the details...

Okay, a comparison test. Here's today's scan:

Yeah, much better. See, I'm getting it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


It was 20 years ago at the Lismar Lounge. New Republic was playing with Ed Gein's Car. All the local notables were out including Bob Z, Jim Testa, George Tabb, and I'm sure many others I've forgotten about (Mykel Board? Donny The Punk, maybe?).

I never really got to know Bob Z too well (though I still have my "Fuck The Sanitation Nazis" sticker) or Jim Testa (but I still have all my copies of Jersey Beat), but George and I have had quite the ride since we first met that night.

May we keep on riding.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I had never really given it much thought before the party (and why would I), but when I was asked the question, "How do you know Jimbo," I didn't have an answer.

I racked my brain and tried to think if I could remember the exact moment I met him, and just couldn't. Though that surprsied me, since Jimbo was never one to fail to make an impression.

It was like he was just on the scene one day, this hyperactive insaneo Korean kid from Trenton who loved punk rock, and put out a zine called "Creamy Fist." He just naturally fell in with all the other people playing around at that time.

I ran into Jimbo on the subway almost a year ago. That was the first time I had seen him in probably about two years. I didn't see him again until a little over a week ago. He was having a Hell's Kitchen backyard barbecue. It was a small, sedate crowd, and actually one of the most pleasantest times I've had out in a long time. It was "chill" as the kids say (though I think the kids who used to say "chill" are all grown up now).

Jimbo was master chef. I was stunned by the spread he had out. Salsa, guacamole, cole slaw, barbecue sauce, these filo dough things with cheese in them, and chips....ALL MADE BY HIM (yes, even the chips). And it was all pretty damned good too, not to mention the burgers, and some other big hunk of meat that came straight off the cow.

Where was I going with this? I don't know. Maybe it's a paean to Jimbo. Or maybe it's a paean to maturity, and appreciating quiet afternoons in an urban backyard with good company and no pressure to be anything but yourself.

I wish I had more afternoons like that, past and to come (hopefully).

Sunday, September 13, 2009


No stories here. Just a pleasant young woman with good taste in cameras.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


When she walked into McDonald's I thought to myself, "I know that person!"

It was my old friend Emily. I'd probably known her for maybe ten years, at least, from a dump we both used to hang out at downtown. I was surprised to see her, since I knew she had moved back to Philadelphia to become a veterinarian, and was now continuing her studies in the Caribbean.

She wasn't staying in the city too long, and mentioned her plans for the following night, which included a sojourn at the usual dirty-watering hole. I told her that I hadn't gone out at all over the summer, and that I'm really completely over going "out" at all. I'm through with hanging out in bars and watching other people get drunk.

I told Emily I'd try to get out, but I think we both knew that we wouldn't be seeing each other the next evening.

Emily, you said you weren't photogenic as I lined you up in the viewfinder. I tend to disagree. If you think the above picture is proof that I'm wrong, then there's definitely something at fault with the photographer.

And that goes without saying.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Down on the Street

As they were passing me on St. Mark's, the one on the right said, "spare change?" Before I was done muttering some version of, "can't...sorry," under my breath, the one on the left said, "That's a great camera."

As I took their picture, I talked to them, asking about how long they'd been downtown and how they'd been managing. I'm sure I came off as sincere as a social worker late on a Friday afternoon before summer vacation.

Of course, I didn't think to ask them their names, or even introduce myself. Hell, as we parted ways, I think I might have even said, "hang in there."

Hang in there? God, that's awful of me.

But in the end, we all got what we wanted. I got the picture, and they got more than just a few coins out of my pocket. A dollar bill. Like I was a grandfather giving a whole dollar to a little child. I'm feeling dirty all of a sudden.

But we all got what we wanted, right?

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Sam indulged me that day in the park.

She allowed me to spew forth all sorts of recollections of adventures I had in the days of yore (1993). She asked questions, and I had answers.

I've been trying all day to think of something really insightful to say here. Maybe now that I'm actually back in school again, my brain isn't quite used to being quite so overtaxed (though I'm not sure it really makes a difference).

Maybe all the insight I should share is that I had a really pleasant time chatting in the park with Sam.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tic and Tac

I've been thinking a lot about Washington Square Park lately. Maybe because I spent a fair part of my summer vacation taking pictures there, but also because I go a long way back with the park. Maybe not as long as some, but I realized something recently. With the exception of Tic and Tac (pictured above), there are no longer any entertainers plying their trade in the park.

Sure, there are plenty of buskers. Too many buskers if you ask me. There's usually at least two different jazz bands playing on either side of the fountain (on the Washington Place axis), and on weekends a Dixieland combo shows up with stand-up bass and trombones in hand. There's also any number of solo guitar players, cellists, and a doo-wop band that materializes underneath the arch to utilize the echo.

I'm not saying these people/combos aren't bad at what they do, but they're just playing. They're not entertaining the crowd. They're not putting on a show. Now hold onto your hats while I go into a, "back in my day," rant.

Back in MY day, we had people who actually cared about entertaining the crowd. Who could forget Joey Joey swallowing swords atop his unicycle? Or Master Lee who would break those three flaming boards in half with his bare hands..."BUT FIRST!" There was this guy whose name I never knew, but he wore a dress shirt, tie, and suit vest and would jump his skateboard over ten garbage cans. For some reason I was more entertained by his preparation, dragging all the garbage cans from where they were supposed to be into a big long line. There was even a homeless standup comedian, and god knows who else I'm forgetting.

There was a camaraderie between them all (at least it seemed that way to me), as they took turns using the fountain (empty of course), to entertain whoever was there.

But that's all gone now. It's all about, "watch us play, be impressed that we're young white kids playing old-timey jazz and being ironic and give us money."

Except for Tic and Tac.

I feel like I've watched them grow up, and in a way I have. They're 34 now (twins, of course), and have been working the park since they're teenagers. They're acrobats, comedians, and definitely take the effort to make sure the crowd is engaged and involved (especially if they pick you to be a "volunteer" for their finale).

Some party poopers might ask, "if they're so great, how come they're working the park?" I say just go and see their show. Allow yourself to have a laugh and be impressed. If one thing is evident to anyone, it's that they are clearly enjoying what they do.

How many of us can say that?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


It's always a little disconcerting when you're walking around, minding your own business, and then you notice three people pointing and laughing in your direction. You look around you to see if these strangers are pointing to someone in your vicinity, but no, it's you they've singled out.

You approach them somewhat cautiously, and they say that they're pointing out your camera to some nearby woman, who is also a photographer (though I have never referred to myself as such). The woman is walking away almost ashamed, and the whole situation is weird.

I took the picture of these three Englishmen (maybe they were from Wales, who knows, I didn't want to prolong my time with them), and scurried away.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cutting Corners and Making Demands (or lack thereof)

When I first saw her, she was leaning back with her legs up on the seat. I thought it was a great shot. When she saw me eyeing her, she sat up straight and said, "What are you taking pictures of?" we talked for some time after that, and once she commented on the YashMat, I asked for a photo.

"How would you like me," she asked, "I have notecards in my lap."

"That's okay, this is your photo, present yourself as you'd like," I responded, even though I really wanted to tell her to put her legs back up on the seat, but just couldn't pull the trigger on such a simple request.

As I backed up into the middle of the street to take the shot, I also knew that I didn't quite have it framed up as well as I'd have liked. But for some reason or another I took the picture anyway, knowing it wouldn't be one of my better attempts.

I really need to work on that.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Whenever you say to a woman, "you look like someone I used to know," it's always perceived as a line, no matter how sincere you really are and even if she truly does look like someone you had a French class with a few years ago and hadn't seen since.

And of course, the more you protest that she really does look like said girl from French class, the more you just entrench yourself with your words.

Alexandra was one of the many people selling their art in Union Square Park last week. Hers just happened to be these beautiful travel photos she took in India. Each one way better than anything gracing this website.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Exhibit A:

There's been some talk lately among those familiar with this project that the only people who seem to say, "Hey nice camera" to me are shirtless men.

To an extent this is true, but I present the above picture as evidence that even men with shirts aren't so shy that they can't express their appreciation for a fine-ish piece of machinery.

Look at him with his "Ohio Track" shirt, thin unassuming metal-rimmed glasses, sensible shorts, and Crocs. He isn't some New York City "character," he's just a boring white guy, which isn't such a bad thing to be sometimes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

He said,

"Wow, I haven't used one of those in years!"

He was willing to stop taking pictures for a "formal" portrait, but I encouraged him to keep on, lest he miss some Pulitzer Prize-winning shot of kids playing in the fountain at Washington Square Park.

Then again, he's probably been taking pictures long enough to know that there's always going to be the big ones that get away. But he also probably knows that there's always another big one out there.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mutual Admiration Society

I was admiring their Bolex in the bottom right hand corner.

The guy in the center was admiring my YashMat, but only because he first thought it was a Rolleiflex.

Ultimately, I admired the guy on the left most of all, who defied all social conventions and proudly walked around with his fly open.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

By Judson Church

A lot of the conversations start the same way, "How old is that camera?"

"Well, this particular model was made between 1959 and 1971, so it's somewhere between 38 and 50 years old."

This man was just standing on the corner, much as you see him above.

I really have to start asking people their names more often.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This is Jim Power.

For the past twenty-five years he's been turning downtown lampposts into works of public art at his own expense.

The next time you see him at work, stop and say hello. He'll be more than happy you did, and you just might be too.

Here's more info straight from "The Mosaic Man."