Sunday, January 31, 2010

Diptych and Triptych

These shots were from the day I tested out the Brownie Starmatic. It has a light meter that automatically adjusts the camera aperture, and mine was still working. Not bad for a 50 year old camera. I didn't plan these as dip/trip-tychs, they just sort of came out that way as I pivoted around and shot.

Maybe if I had planned this one a little, I'd have had the fountain edge lined up better in the right hand side shot.

I was happy to capture the snowball in mid-flight in the left hand shot, even if I didn't get the other party in the center shot. Like the diptych, I wasn't planning this out, I was just spinning right round baby right round while shooting. Though I think there's definitely more symmetry going on, especially with the pathway curving around the Mens room in the center. I'd like to think I've made it look just a little bit statelier here (I have no idea what I'm talking about).

I'd like to say I've never had to use the Mens room in Washington Square Park...

I dragged the YashMat 2EB out to a social function last night. Shot nearly two rolls, hopefully the results will find their way here. Well, of course they will, but I hope they're they engender, "I really like this shot," from me, instead of "I really screwed that one up."

Oh, I know you're all on pins and needles...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fountain in a Pinhole

This is from those early days of last summer/late spring, before the rains came and took Mr. Blue Sky away for almost a month straight. This was a 45 second pinhole shot taken with the Lomography Diana F+.

To keep the camera steady I was sitting on a bench with the camera shoved into my crotch.

I must have been a sight.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Test

I recently acquired a Kodak Bantam Special. It's a pretty nifty camera, and apparently (from what I've heard) the Ektar lens that it came with was beyond compare, and can hold up even today. When I get a "new" camera, I usually unscrew all the lens elements and give them a good sprucing up. The lens on this one wasn't very giving, and for once I actually thought the better of something and decided not to force things and take it to the repair guy, so a "professional" can potentially break it. But I figured I'd still put a roll through it to see how things would come out:

This was the view yesterday morning. Not the ideal conditions to test a camera, but I had to see how the snow would come out.

Things aren't quite as sharp as they should be, but I think we might have some serious potential here. And of course, the post-tuneup results will end up right here.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Or was it just "Ben?" I don't remember. I do remember that he was Marc's cousin, and was down visiting from Boston to see our little show. He's in his early 20s, handsome (I mean, look at that nostril shot!), fit...He's at that perfect age, and a nice guy too.

I remember being somewhere between 23 and 25 (maybe I was 24. that's between 23 and 25) and thinking that I wanted to remain that age for the rest of my life. But I think I took it for granted. Somehow I get the impression that the younger generation ("younger generation?" How old am I exactly?) kind of knows that they're younger but doesn't lament it so much. Maybe they see it as something to be enjoyed and filled with activity.

When I turned 20, someone had labeled my demographic as "Generation X." There's a positive spin for you. I know I took it all for granted. Maybe we all did. Or maybe enough of us did to the point that the whole "Generation X" thing stuck. I never read the book. That was a book, right?

No, I wasn't a complete bum, but I wasted a lot of time. I've half-assed way too much in my life. Generation X indeed.

I think that's part of the reason why I've been doing this site (I hate calling it a "blog." I hate that word, but we'll table that for another post), to push myself. To keep with something that's been a positive experience for me. I don't mean the site itself, but this whole getting back into film photography has been extremely fulfilling, more than I was expecting.

I guess that and school have been the only things I haven't half-assed lately (though I seriously slacked with doing schoolwork today). I just have to keep adding to that list.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Billy Venom

At the end of the 1999 Recess Tour, we rolled into San Pedro to find that everybody had been made a personalized jersey. Sure, it was only ironed-on letters, but I was flattered, as I'm sure Billy Venom was too.

The field was in Rancho Palos Verdes, up on the mountain (well, I think it's more like a really big hill. What's between a mountain and a hill exactly?). It was a beautiful day, and could see Catalina in the distance. I didn't think to take a picture of that. Or maybe I did, and just don't remember. I don't feel like looking for it right now. I still have to eat dinner. Hell, I still have to eat lunch. No, I didn't sleep until 6pm, I just had a busy busy day.

Oh, here we all were at the end of the day, probably the last time all of us were in the same place.

I think Chopsaw needs a belt.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1974 Buick Century Regal

I didn't take this picture, but I did develop it. It was a from a roll of 127 film that was in a Brownie Starmatic I got off ebay. In fact, when I was developing it, I didn't even know which film it was, since I had four separate developing tanks all loaded up with film. When I hung it up, I realized that I hadn't taken any of the shots I saw. Unwittingly, I finally did it. I was able to release some images after they had lain dormant for over 35 years.

The other pictures were various views of the house in the background. No people.

The film was Kodacolor-X (for mature photographers only). It was discontinued in 1974, though that doesn't mean this picture was taken right then. Though the car does look pretty darned new and shiny. I was unable to make out what state the license plate was from, despite all of my photoshop contrast finagling.

For those who want to know the really exciting technical stuff, I used Ilfosol 3, 6.5 minutes, 20 degrees celsius.

Since I've done this, I've now looked even more into what the authority I like to call the "internet" has to say about processing old film. Well, such as is the nature of the internet, I'm faced with all sorts of advice from all sorts of people who know they're "right." And then as I'm planning my next vintage process, be it with found film or some of my unused old stock, all of that sage knowledge will be buzzing around in my head, filling me with doubt, tightening my chest with anxiety.

This is now heaped onto the anxiety of getting a shutter tester and finding out how way off all the speeds on my cameras really are. Mo' info = Mo' problems. Now I understand why all the pros have gone digital. There's so much less bullshit, but I'll continue as I have been, with anxiety by my side.

I need to go back to using The Force. Or maybe I can use one of my favorite words here, "Fingerspitzengef├╝hl." I learned it in a class called "Weapons, Strategy, and WAR" (the caps and bold were my addition). It was a word the Germans used to describe a certain quality a general must have in battle, to be able to feel the pulse of the action, as if with his fingertips, and to be able to make decisions accordingly, as if by instinct.

If that ain't The Force, then I don't know what am.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Alyse and Marc have been going out for a year, though this was the first occasion that I met her. Even though she's originally from here, she's been living in Philadelphia for 20 years doing printmaking stuff. At least that's what I think she said to me, I was way wiped out that day I met her. Though the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies did help me a little bit, and she's the one who brought them. That's why I'm mentioning them now. I'm also very tired now, come to think of it. Where the hell's a Girl Scout when I need one?

I always liked the idea of dating a girl in Philly. It seems like it would be the perfect distance. It's far away enough so you can live your life and have time and space for yourself, yet it's not too far that you can't not see each other every weekend. It's less than a two hour drive, and probably even less than that on the train (I have no idea, I've never taken the train to Philadelphia). And it's even close enough if you have to get down there in a jiffy.

I wonder, how long is a "jiffy," if we're to assume that it's a measurement of time?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Even bigshot TV chefs have taken a hit during these tough economic times. Emeril's business model that day didn't help much either. He was just giving away food, and if you wanted more, you only had to pay fifty cents (as you can see in the photo. say, I didn't even notice that until just now!). And if you didn't have fifty cents, you could still get some extra food. I had a hotdog with some mustard. Actually, it was more of a pig in a blanket. I do love pigs in blankets, though this one was cold. I had with it a miniature vanilla cupcake.

I took this with my Kodak Junior Six-20. I think I estimated everything here, and as you can see, it shows with the focus. I don't even know if I had my rangefinder with me that day. Of the three shots I took, this is the one that is the most focused (relatively speaking). And I do have to admit, I'm glad I caught the dude giving him some change.

Things are tough all over.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


This is Marc's boy Daniel. He was keeping a close eye on his dad during our rehearsal and dispensed some advice as to the timing of Marc's jumps. Daniel's a nice quiet kid. I was a nice quiet kid, except when I wasn't. He's always seemed pretty cool whenever I've seen him, yet from what I've heard, raising a child takes more than Girl Scout Thin Mints and Coca-Cola.

From what I can tell, Marc's doing a pretty good job.

As you can probably notice, the flash fired twice during that shot. I don't think this picture will end up on any mantlepiece.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Rawl and Hal (l-r)

"It's underneath a big K!"

Okay, that's the wrong letter from a movie that has no reference here, but Hal's head is under a big K. This was somewhere in Florida during the 1999 Recess Records Tour. I think I said a few posts down that I've been getting lazy with my writing lately. That's true. I also said somewhere recently about not making excuses for coming up short.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm talking about anymore, other than I really think I need to get some sleep.

I'll also say that both Rawl and Hal are awesome. Today, Rawl drums for Mike Watt's Secondmen and plays all over the world. And Hal...he's just awesome. I hope to see you again someday, sooner than later.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Michael has stared at my ass probably more than any other man I know, but that's his own damn fault for being a drummer. It's kind of sad, considering that my ass is nowhere near George Michael video quality. It's a good thing I'm always wearing pants — no, wait...that's not entirely true. There was that night in Erie, Pennsylvania. There was also that night at the Continental back in 97. I'm afraid to continue this line of thought further.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vintage View

Funny thing, I actually have people pictures ready to go, but I really wanted to put this picture up here. Maybe I'm just proud that I've been able to process this old vintage film with new images all by myself. Though I've yet to master the art of developing images on found film. So far I've tried twice and failed twice. But I'll keep trying.

This is the Brooklyn Bridge (obviously), taken on 828 film and it was the first roll (the first roll I used, I mean) through my Kodak Bantam F8. Even with the naked eye, I could tell the shutter was way, WAY slow.

Oh, and the extra mushy stuff in the picture is from the backing paper being stuck to the film, but I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I have a lot of fond memories of Marc, both distant and recent (as recent as the other night, where we absolutely killed it onstage if I may be so immodest). Though the memory I'll share for this photo goes back to Halloween, 1992.

We had spent the earlier part of the night in Bergenfield, New Jersey trick-or-treating with old friends, and were now bombing back into the city in the Vital Moving Van, which I was piloting. There was me, Marc, George, Wendy, Scot, Chicken John...Maybe some others, I can't fully remember. I don't remember who suggested that we go to Show World Plaza, but nobody objected as I looked for a spot around 42nd and 8th Ave.

Show World Plaza wasn't one of those small dingy peepshow joints. It was a HUGE dingy peepshow joint! They had movie booths, and multiple in the round peep booths which opened up into an inner circular area where overweight topless women would flop their deflated, defeated, ashy tits in your face and try to get as much extra cash as they could out of you before your quarter ran out and the window came down. They also had a literature department, but the only title I can remember was called, Teenage Fistfucking Confidential. The pictures were beyond disturbing, so I had to show everyone around me so the rest of their loves could also be ruined when it came to the tender act of burying one's arm in a woman's vagina up to the wrist.

At one point in our giddy amok-running through Show World, Marc and I decided to shimmy into a peep booth together, I think for no other reason than to be as cheap as possible and get the most for a single quarter. As we entered the booth, an older woman, a semen mopper-upper, saw us and yelled, "Hey, those are single booths! The buddy booths are over there."

Marc snapped back, "We are not buddies!"

"Yeah, we're just good friends," I added.

We still are.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Subway Violins

Okay, I'm aggravated. I drop off a roll of film today at one of my film joints. It's the one that I'm now the least inclined to use, yet it's the closest to where I live. The person there says I can pick up my negatives at 6:30pm.

I pop in at 6:30, looking forward to having some new shots to put up here and they tell me that their black and white machine was on the fritz again. I'd have to wait until 3:30 the next day. I'm pretty gosh darn miffed.

As I get older, I'm less inclined to make excuses if I come up short in life. My father told me a story about how when he was a young man, he was supposed to make some parts at his factory for a client. The machine broke, and when he told the client that the parts wouldn't be there on time, the client said, "That's not my problem. If you say you're going to get something done, you do it." I'm not sure if that's exactly what the guy said, but it really resonated with my dad and the story has resonated with me too.

Sometimes, people are shocked when you don't give them an excuse. I was late to something at school, and the person who was expecting me asked in a stern voice, "Why are you late?"

I looked at her and almost laughing said, "because I'm late, that's why." No obvious excuses about subways or some such nonsense. Hell, the reason I was late was simply because I didn't feel like showing up on time. People forget that the excuse doesn't change the outcome, and I wasn't going to apologize for my tardiness. I just didn't care.

I could have taken the film back from them. I could have taken it somewhere else tomorrow just out of spite, somewhere else that could also have it done in the same day. So why didn't I take it somewhere else in the first place? Well, somewhere else wasn't in the direction of today's wanderings, and even though this place is now the lowest on my list for joints to bring film to, they are nice people, even if I'm really perturbed at the moment. Like what if I was some kind of journalist and actually needed those negatives? Well, if I were some kind of journalist I'd be using a DSLR, so I guess that's a moot point.

Okay, enough venting. Here's a shot from circa 1999-2001. It's in the tunnel connecting the uptown Port Authority to the subway station. You know, I probably didn't even give the guy a buck after taking his picture. Today, at least I have a slush fund ready to grease people for taking their photographs.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Okay, I admit it...

Maybe I have been getting a little lazy with the writing. Yeah, I know, I know, I have to push myself. Though I don't feel I've been lazy with the photography (not entirely). There should be some new material in the pipeline (what does that mean exactly?) this week.

So until then, I'll milk the snowstorm for at least one more shot:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More From the Vintage Film Vault

Is it possible that your'e getting sick of seeing pictures of the Manhattan Bridge taken with film that expired over 50 years ago? Perhaps. However, I'm still not over the fact that I was actually able to develop the darned thing and have it come out reasonably okay (considering).

I'm not sick of it just yet.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I guess you can tell by now that I'm choosing to keep with visiting the past before getting back to the future. I mean, the present, which will be the past, which...oh, you know what I mean.

I think Sean looks rather stately in this photo, even if I could have used a bit less headroom:

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Tito was the road manager for the summer 1999 Recess Records Tour. It's a pretty thankless job, and I think Tito's face shows that:

I forgot that I had even more of these 1999 people shots. It feels good in a way, to realize that the last time I was dicking around with photography that I was interested in shooting people, and that it's not some recent revelation. You can forget a lot about yourself in 10 or 11 years.

Then again, some stuff I think we'd all rather be forgotten.

I'll stop now before getting into some pseudo-intellectual writing about how we're constantly changing and that we're not ourselves and that there is no such thing as the "self" and that reminds me I forgot to watch that show about India at the time of the Buddha on channel 13 tonight.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Met Life Tower

Here's another in the, "Uninteresting Pictures of NYC Architecture" series. It's also another in the, "CLEAN THE GODDAMN SCANNER" series.

Like the previous shot (and taken from probably the very same spot, but facing in another direction, obviously), this was taken with the Brownie 127.

But there's just something I like about this shot, even with the scanner dirt:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Sentinel

This was over by Madison Square. The light falling on the statue was a lot more impressive in person, though I took the shot where I was, as not to miss the moment. The only camera I had with me (or at least the only one that was still loaded with film) was my Brownie 127. This might be worth a high-res rescan and a crop. Je ne sais pas.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Caught on Avenue A

The kid ran right by me and ended up in a vintage clothing store that was closing up. The cops didn't have much trouble finding him, since the locals were willing to point out where the pursuee went. His reason for running was as much a mystery to the cops as it was to me. "Why did you run?" they asked him, but got no answer. He must have just seen them and bolted with whatever was on his guilty conscience.

I'm not sure this was even the best shot I took of them, but I like the way there's a crescent of light on the cop's face on the left. The damage on the bottom is from the developer. Why they ended up cutting it so close I have no idea. I'll chalk it up to "art."

Sunday, January 10, 2010


While I went out to Williamsburg to visit John, running into Mike was an unexpected pleasure. He's one of those people that always seems to be happy, with a smile on his face. I know that's probably impossible, or maybe (as I'd like to think), he's just always happy to see me. And who wouldn't?

Within a week or two before this encounter, someone (and I can't for the life of me remember who it was) asked me if I had heard anything about Mike. I'd say he's doing just fine.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Walking down Bedford Ave, I realized I hadn't actually physically set foot in Williamsburg in almost five years. I knew the place had changed (and it was already drastically changed five years ago), but I never expected to see two (count 'em, two)Bentleys on the main drag. But that has nothing to do with John, other than I ventured out there to see him.

I started and restarted this entry too many times already, as I see the clock getting closer and closer to midnight. I've said it in an earlier entries, but the better I know someone, the harder it is to write an entry about them. I'd like to think that can be taken as a compliment in some way. Or maybe it's just me not being able to allow myself to show emotions for someone I consider a friend (even if we hadn't seen each other for a while), lest I'm thought to be a sissymaryfaghole by that person, or the five or seven other people that bother to read this thing.

But that's my problem.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Scanner Still Survives

I think it just needs some babying. Some tender loving care. Or maybe I shouldn't leave it on constantly and let it go into sleep mode and instead actually turn it off every once in a while. I think that might have something to do with it. At least that's what I'll be telling myself until the darn thing starts acting up again.

So I'm not sure if this was worth the wait (not that I set it up or anything), but here's another shot from the Nettar using 50+ year old film. It's the Manhattan Bridge as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back in the Summertime...

Here's another of my favorites from last year, taken with a Lomography Diana F+, with the super-wide lens:

My scanner is being oddly selective as to when it wants to work properly and when it doesn't. In truth, I didn't really have much time to be screwing around with it today, hence last summer's shot.

Then again, considering the massive amount of scanning I've done in the past 8 months, and especially the past three or four doing multi-pass scans...maybe I've just pushed the old gal a bit too far. It might be time to take it out behind the shed and send it off to the happy scanning grounds.

Happy scanning grounds?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Or maybe he spells it "Raphael." I didn't ask.

He was hanging out at the optician's. Some people go to bars, some go to opticians. I wasn't there to hang out, I just needed my glasses adjusted. Raphael (or "Rafael," who knows) noticed the YashMat2EB right away. He, like everybody else who sees it, said, "Ah...a Rolleiflex!" and then related his own experiences with a Rollei (that's what the hip kids call them, a "Rollei").

I wish I had a Rolleiflex since I was only able to get two shots off with the YashMat out of the entire roll. I had been out and about, and it was working just fine. I didn't think it was that cold, but...well...the shutter wasn't tripping!. I'd crank forward, cock the shutter, push the shutter button, and get nothing. Then I'd wind forward again, et cetera. Hell, I was lucky just to get that shot. I tested the YashMat2Eb today here at home and everything seems to be just fine.

Of course, my "cheaper" cameras worked just great yesterday. I could say something here about quality and

In unrelated news, my scanner, has been acting a bit weird lately. Hopefully you won't soon be reading about my latest trip to J&R Music World and my time spent with a scanner salesman.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Results of Yesterday's Experiment...

I like how I forget to wind the camera forward even when I'm using film that expired over fifty years ago. You'll also notice the dark bottom, since I didn't put enough developer (et cetera) into the vintage tank. I thought I'd filled it up far enough...

But once again, two shots that individually may or may not have worked combine to form something that I think is really cool, especially the bird just to left of center, up a little:

I also...damn...I forgot what I was going to say I liked! Well, I do like the Manhattan Bridge poking up there, but that wasn't what I was going to say.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Shiny Sun Things

I could really be doing better. Funny, I've been on vacation now for nearly two weeks, and while I've been out a bunch, I really haven't gotten too many more people portraits. Maybe it has something to do with the weather. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm just getting over being sick, and didn't go out on New Year's Eve (which was my plan). It didn't help that today (well, tonight) I was supposed to go to a social gathering but instead got home in the afternoon and found my couch much more inviting. But at least the following shots are "new."

Didn't I say somewhere about not apologizing for this sort of thing?

Here's the Bowery, exciting and new!

I liked the tones of this one way more than the grayscale version.

This was on Broadway somewhere not too far above 17th. I like what's going on with the reflections up top. It's kind of like an argyle thing going on:

I'll eventually re-scan the upper part at a much higher resolution and see if I can't get a decent crop. Well, I can get a decent crop now, but I don't want it to be the size of a postcard.

Something smells like garbage in here, and it isn't my garbage. Yecch. In the meantime, I'm going to develop a roll of Kodak Verichrome that I shot today that expired sometime in the 50s (the expiration date was crossed out for some reason, maybe someone trying to sell it years ago), with the Nettar. If anything halfway decent comes through I'll post it (of course).

If you'd have told me last May that I'd be this way deep into this thing I'd....well, it probably would have made me happy.

Aw shucks, isn't that sweet.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Uptown and Downtown

Color and black and white...Ebony and Ivory...Hatfield and McCoy...okay, I have no idea how that last one makes any sense. Here's uptown:

As you can guess, I forgot to wind my film forward between my first and second shot. In the between time I went to the McDonald's at 125th and Broadway. I don't think it's a particularly stunning double exposure, but I don't think it's total crap either.

And here's downtown:

This was actually the first shot of the night of my 3200iso test. I think if I bothered to stand in the middle of the street and really get this head-on it would have been much better.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Can you call it a "nap" if it's at night? Like, in the middle of the night? I don't remember what time it was when I took this. It was the last shot of the night of my latest area of exploration — 3200iso film without flash.

Maybe she (I think she was a she) just wanted to be first on line when the pharmacy opened the next morning.

Friday, January 1, 2010


So this is how I figure it.

In a perfect world, I'd have all the time in the world to roam the streets and take pictures of people who say, "hey, nice camera," or people I get up the courage to ask for a photo, or friends and relatives who are willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of "art" (ugh). In that perfect world, I'd be able to put a different person up on this site every day.

But since I don't live in that perfect world, I have to put up what I've been calling "placeholders," or I'll say that we're in a "holding pattern," or whatever else I've said to say that the pictures I'm putting up that aren't of people are to keep the site alive (if you will), and not something that just stagnates. I'd like the few people who look at this page every day (if there's even a few) to have something to look forward to (okay, I think I'm getting a bit full of myself).

So I'm thinking that I'll no longer apologize for "placeholders," "holding patterns," and the like. I'm just going to keep on putting up stuff. When you see a person, you'll know the score. When you see some lame attempt at making a crushed coffee cup on the sidewalk look like some kind of political statement, you'll know that I don't have any people in the can (should I even bother making a joke on that line?), but hopefully I will soon.

I'll also keep in the tradition of putting the picture before the text if it's a person shot, and vice versa. I think I've been pretty consistent with that. Unless of course, it's an OG shot, and then it will be under the text.

Are you still reading? If you are, I'm pretty damned surprised.

Okay, two shots from the same neighborhood taken maybe just a week apart.

Iced over on St. Mark's:

These shots never come out as good as you hope them to. Or should I say, as I hope them to. Taken with the YashMat.

Tomkins Square Fence:

I took this with the Zeiss Ikon Nettar, which I've talked about in other posts. I was trying out this rangefinder, to see how reliable it would be to rely on it for focusing the Nettar. I forgot what point on the fence I was aiming the rangefinder, but I think the results are pretty darned good. My other experimental shots seemed to pan out as well. I'm hoping I can now start using the Nettar (in combination with the rangefinder) for more interesting, intricate, or at the very least closeandinfocus shots.