SHINOLA 2015

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My photo from the Shinola shoot in Detroit is a billboard in Los Angeles (above). Shinola hired me to make portraits of all the people that work in their Detroit factory making the watches. I spent four days photographing people at work, staff members with Shinola products on the street, on Shinola bikes at the ‘Slow Roll’, wielding baseball bats at the site of the old Tiger Stadium. Shinola is deeply invested in the Detroit renaissance.

We came back to New York City to shoot jazz singer Jose James on the street and at Rockwood Music Hall (below). Last night Jose played a brilliant full set at the Shinola store in Tribeca.

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Bronx graffiti

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Wall opposite the old Bronx courthouse is a timeline of hand style signatures from 1960’s to present day.

Tribe Called Quest release limited edition 45’s box set

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I ran into Jarobi from Tribe Called Quest at Streetbird, chef Marcus Samuelsson’s latest spot in Harlem, a few weeks ago. Heard that they are releasing a limited edition box set of 45’s to commemorate the’Tribe’ 25th anniversary of the 1990 debut “People’s Instinctive Travels & the Paths of Rhythm”. Fun, funky and infectious songs: I Left My Wallet In El Segundo” and “Can I Kick It”,  social messages: “Push It Along” and “Pubic Enemy”  and much more soul and jazz inflected, great beats.

 Above is my photo of ‘Tribe’, with Jarobi’s little brother taken in 1990, at Chelsea Flower Market which was the closest we could get in NYC to a tropical vibe. Love their afrocentric style mixed with true hip hop vibe.  Yes I am still a big fan. You can catch Jarobi hosting down at Mobile Mondays! December 14  for the official release party after 10pm.

PARIS

Marco

 

My great friend Marco in Paris emailed me today : “I did this painting today with the help of my crew ( Grim Team ) helping me out on place de la Republique! Its Paris motto : float don’t sink! “.

I was in Paris with him in January weeks after the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ bombings and in April for a show at the Musee d’Arabe. It’s a beautiful city with so much heart and soul. It will rise above this shit again. Art fights senseless violence and destruction.

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Paris January 2015

Company Freak

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Jason King is the coolest- I took photos of the ‘disco king’ on his gold throne on the street – his band called Company Freak brings together live horns and strings with spectacular vocalists and a desire to get you moving. Featuring fabulous divas like Dawn Tallman and Cassondra James Kellam, you can’t help but dance dance dance!

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Stretch & Bobbito

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Went to see the Stretch & Bobbito movie in Harlem and take a photo of the legendary duo.

The Stretch and Bobbito Show started on WKCR-FM (Columbia University’s student radio) in 1990 and ran for eight years. They introduced the world to unsigned artists such as Nas, Biggie, Wu-Tang, Big Pun, Jay Z and Eminem. The late-night program had a cult following everyone from music lovers to guys in prison tuning in for the offbeat humor, interviews and the exclusive tunes.

Bobbito says that he realized while making the film : “300 million-plus records have been sold by the unsigned artists that came to our show. The first time I added it up, I was like, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.” Those huge celebrity musicians all turned up to be on screen for this movie, showing love and respect for Stretch and Bob and the radio show changed music forever.

Their movie Stretch and Bobbito: Radio that Changed Lives is a must see for any hip hop music lover. It will make you happy.

 

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Iceland

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Just came back from having an exhibition in Iceland. Took a trip to the countryside. The scenery is beyond amazing, hot water geysers spout hundreds of feet high from the ground, black volcanic sand beaches, they say the weather changes every 15 minutes which make rainbows, small horses in a field (they eat them), Icelandic folk believe in elves, there is a pagan Viking spirit, no wonder they filmed Game of Thrones there.

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And the view outside my hotel window of the ‘Slipperin’ boatyard. Iceland is all about the elements, weather, fishing, extreme landscapes.

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Ledfoot

 

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Ledfoot aka Tim Scott Mcconnell is part Cherokee, part Irish, he grew up in the Appalachians, learned to play guitar and joined a band. We met in Reykjavik couple of weeks ago and did a photo session on a roof in the wind and rain. He plays 12 string guitar with with porcelain slide and steel finger picks,  performs self-written songs he calls ‘ Gothic Blues’. Springstein is a fan, he recorded his song ‘High Hopes’. Ledfoot is an original, the real deal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSHTml9KHJc

 

 

Tracy Chapman

Tracy Chapman has a greatest hits album coming out. She is using some of my photos from the shoot I did with her in 1988 in the CD book and press. When I shot this photo of her in 1988 the record company had been searching for the right photographer to shoot press pictures. They had already done three photo shoots with some big name photographers but Tracy didn’t like the images and the record company knew she was going to be important. They needed someone who she would get along with and that turned out to be me. She arrived at my studio unaccompanied and we decided to take a stroll through the East Village – stopping at various spots to grab a couple of shots, talking about politics, music, racism in America – I was shooting Tri X film so there was no way to look at what we were getting but I think she felt at ease.We stopped for a coffee in the local diner before going back to the studio to shoot a few photos with her guitar one of which ended up on the 12″ sleeve ‘Talkin’ bout a Revolution’. Tracy grew up  poor in Cleveland, her lyrics on that first album touch on lazy, cops, race riots, wife beating and escaping poverty : “poor people gonna rise up and take what’s theirs” In spite of telling uncomfortable truths about the America she saw, her debut album beat out the likes of Def Leppard and Guns and Roses and rose to #1 in the charts that summer.

DETROIT

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Met these two stylish gentlemen, Cleadus and Kevin outside the menswear store “Broadway’, in downtown Detroit .

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