Posts Tagged documentary
i’ve always been fascinated with the concept of beauty and why people feel attractive or unattractive. one might feel attractive for having a particularly strong facial/bodily features, and another might feel unattractive for having the same features. as styles and fads come and go, the light by which we perceive ourselves is constantly flickering. it’s so wild to think about. in 2007 i decided to post ads on craigslist and some other online classified ad sites searching for people who felt ugly or unattractive who would be willing to let me interview them and take their photo. i interviewed and shot 4 people, but i ran out of free time and the project got buried under the massive pile of everything else in my brain. now, years later, i was digging through the mountain of stuff in my head and found the project. i changed the art direction a little and added video to the mix. now, finally i give you i am unbeautiful.
so my friend monte isom is a photographer and he’s always got something up his sleeve. dude kills it behind the camera and his hustle skills are just as strong. on thursday the 8th of july i got a call from monte saying he had a plan in the works. the next day i was on a plane bound for the netherlands. after hanging with customs in amsterdam for six hours or so, and after BARELY making it through with our gear (that’s a crazy story within itself), i rendezvoused with monte and hung for the night. we chilled with some of monte’s rad amsterdam peoples and afterwards got some waves, winks and kisses blown at us while on a walking tour in the red light district.
instead of hookers, we got french fries. they were a lot cheaper and less likely to have STD’s. by that time it was like 2 am, and the women of the night would stroll in and out of the deli in-between clients to order their usual meals – and it totally made me giggly when one of the ladies ordered a hot dog. i got two hours sleep that night and the next morning i was on a plane to madrid. monte’s plan was to photograph the world cup fans in the public viewing areas. he would shoot in amsterdam, i would shoot in madrid and we’d put the pictures side by side to have a fans showdown. my plane landed in madrid and i went straight from the airport to the hotel – and then straight to the plaza de colonone of the many public viewing areas packed with excited futbol fans. i was kinda loopy from no sleep, but the energy of hundreds of thousands of people crammed together kept me goin. here’s what we got: at the end of the second half, the score was 0-0. when overtime kicked in, tension was thick. the ball would get close to spain’s goalie and everybody would start freaking out – then the ball would get close to the netherlands’ goalie and everybody would scream at the top of their lungs. it was back and forth for probably 10 minutes until spain scored. the crowd went totally bonkers. it was insane. completely insane. for the last few minutes, the tension got thicker and the responses got more excited. when overtime ended and spain was still in the lead, the whole city of madrid LIT UP. it was spain’s first world cup win and the most important futbol victory in spain’s history. consider this: in america we have baseball, we have (american) football, and we have basketball. some like one, some like another, some like none. we have no unified sports pride. but in spain (like a lot of other countries) the elderly, the middle-aged, the teenagers and the kids all have a dedicated love for futbol. so you can imagine that when spain won, the city went bananas. TOTALLY – BANANAS. people were yelling, people were jumping, people were hugging and crying, and everybody was happy. i ended up in the middle of a public fountain dance party with about 20,000 happy spaniards. it was an unbelievable night and i can’t believe i was there to watch it all go down. the noise that tore through the city when spain won was the same noise that was still blasting when i went to bed at 5am. i got up 2 hours later and was pretty delirious, but managed to fumble my way to the airport to catch my flight. i must have been in a time warp because i got to nyc 5 days before my checked luggage.
yesterday’s freak heat wave almost broke a 130 year record. it just kinda snuck up on us. a humid 95 degrees is no joke – especially in this brick-oven of a city.
i like to imagine the weather reporter talking about the size of a storm by the amount of crappy umbrellas that will be littering the streets the day after. they’d be like, “well john, you can expect tomorrow’s storm to bring a minimum of 5-6 UPB’s (umbrellas per block – you know how T.V. people like to “abbreve” things) then the following day will calm down to about 2-3 UPB…” last night we had a pretty gnarly storm, so this morning i walked down 9 blocks of broadway (almost a half mile) and back to document the carnage. during that 9 block round trip i counted 86 umbrellas. so that makes last nights squall a 9.5 UPB storm.
more shots of my hood
over the last couple of years i’ve been collecting cool pictures of inwood. there’s so much life here and so much… idunno, man.. you just have to be here to feel what i’m talking about. it’s loud, it’s social, it’s dirty and it’s beautiful. kids play in the streets till the wee hours of the mornin while the adults play dominos or chill around the stoop or on lawn chairs or couches they drag into the street. instead of sitting in front of a tv all night like an idiot, the people in my hood hang out and actually communicate with each other. it’s hard for me to take pictures around here because people usually think i’m a cop or for some reason they don’t want their faces in front of a camera. but people are usually cool with me shooting their kids, so i start with the kids and sometimes they’ll warm up to me. many more to come…