Portraits

Millions March

A week ago people took to the streets in cities all over the US to protest the Mike Brown and Eric Garner verdicts and the unnecessary shooting of unarmed people by the police. The march in New York City was attended by an estimated tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators. The NYPD presence was small and respectful.

Sadly the story of this beautiful peaceful march attended by people of all ages and races has now been turned into another media fueled story about the hunt for 5 people who may or may not have punched members of  the NYPD on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Yesterday tragically 2 policemen were murdered in Brooklyn by a crazed former felon from Baltimore.

Although this horrendous murder seems to be casting a shadow over the peaceful demonstrations that took place all over the country last week nevertheless it is clear that our justice system is flawed and racism lives large in the USA. Captain Ray Lewis(pictured below) a retired Philadelphia police captain at the march said ” I will not stand by while law enforcement is administered only to the poor and disenfranchised while the rich flaunt their immunity”.

Grouper

The artist Liz Harris aka Grouper has a new album called ‘Ruins’ I shot this photo of her for the current Interview Magazine on a rainy afternoon below Canal Street.

ARTISTS AT BEMIS, OMAHA NEBRASKA

This year I was invited to be an artist in residence at Bemis in Omaha Nebraska. I spent almost seven weeks there over August and September. I was given a huge studio with a table, two chairs, a bed, kitchen and bathroom. My mission was to fill the white walls with photographs. I did workshops with the North Omaha teens, and photographed the Omaha residents at the Labor Day Parade, a black biker club picnic, a powwow, a three day rodeo, people on the streets, abandoned buildings, and much more. I became obsessed with documenting the other artists in residence there – we had bonded over pot luck dinners, drinks at La Buvette (the local hangout), Cubbies supermarket in the gas station, thrift store expeditions and art talk. Here are the portraits we made in the Bemis studios.

BALAM BARTOLOME artist

AUDRA WOLOWIEC artist, sculptor

DAVID HARPER artist, sculptor

KIRA GREENE artist

CEY ADAMS artist, creative director, graffiti artist, book designer

ANGELA DRAKEFORD artist

KENNETH ADKINS artist, sculptor

HEATHER HART sculptor

LEON JOHNSON artist, book binder, printer, chef extra ordinaire
SAMANTHA FIELDS artist, weaver

DEVEL CRISP spoken word artist

DI MAINSTONE sound artist

LAURA CARLSON painter , performance artist, punk, feminist

Swoon in New Haven

Site Projects brought me to NewHaven to photograph Swoon (above with Olivia and Josh)  installing a beautiful piece of art close to Yale. And hung the JB_MASHUP show at Manjares Cafe  838 West Rock Ave.

Don Was and Jose James

Jose James invited me to the studio to hear the mix for his new album due out next year. It is produced by the legendary Don Was who I have wanted to meet since 1981 when I first heard his album  Was (Not Was) a crazy mix of disco, rock, politics, jazz and everything else that said ‘America’ to me. So finally I got to make this portrait of the two of them standing in a jungle of vintage microphones at Sear Sound. Don is not wearing shoes – like another great producer Rick Rubin who I photographed in 2011 barefoot at the New York Library talk for the launch of the book Def Jam Records: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label. And btw Jose’s album sounds just amazing

Omaha Labor Day Parade 2014

Vietnam Veteran J Pestal on the float

Kids in Saints jerseys from the River City Reds

Girls from ‘North O’

The Rogers family from the Operating Engineers Union Local 57

The Labor Day Parade in Omaha starts early. People are gathering on Cass and 16th in downtown Omaha for the start of the parade. Floats, marching bands, unions of firemen, electrical workers, steel workers, a huge statue of a cow on a trailer, it seems like nothing has changed since the 1960′s here. It is beautiful sunny day and the people of the Great Plains are sitting expectantly on the curb waiting for the parade to start and to celebrate the flag and the idea of being American.

Omaha Intertribal Powwow

Umo^ho Indian Powwow “In the beginning our souls were like stars in the sky”

BBQ Omaha

George Perkins and his wife Ossy just happen to have the best BBQ in Omaha- they pull up their ‘Perk’s Bar-B-Que’ smoker on a Thursday in a mall on 85th and Center and stay until Saturday. The menu is simple: rib sandwich, pulled pork, hot links, slab of ribs, chicken all smoked with firewood from friends’ trees. George has been making BBQ for 50 years – he says “I’m not bragging. I’m the best I know”.

HIP HOP MASHUP


In July, on a hot summer night ,over 400 people converged on my studio to see the JB_HIP HOP MASHUP. From an idea curated by artist Cey Adams,  a list of his artist friends were sent a selection of my hip hop photos, they each chose an image to re-interpret in their own distinct styles. In true hip hop spirit the idea of re mixing and making something new from something old  - the MashUp came together.

We collaborated with the wonderful Juliet Silva Yee from Pop Up Art Event (PUAE) to make the event happen

Original artworks were created on archival prints by  Chino (Stetsasonic), Claw Money (Salt ‘n Pepa), Eric Adams (Flavor Flav), Faust (Afrika Bambaataa), Jester (EPMD), Morning Breath (Slick Rick), Revolt (Ultramagnetic MC’s), Trike (Dr Dre), Alice Mizrachi(Beastie Boys), T Kid (Fab 5 Freddy), Greg Lamarche (Big Daddy Kane),and Sharp (Donald D & Grandmixer DST)

I shot portraits of all the artists and each one gave a short description of why they chose the image and how they got their start in the world of graffiti.  Each one has a story, T Kid tells me ” I started writing graffiti at 12 years old when I was drafted into the neighborhood gang my first tag was king13 at 16 years of age (1977) after getting shot due to gang violence I changed my name to Tkid170 and became a king of subway graffiti I tagged the park I played in it was on Morrison Ave and Watson Ave South Bronx then it was nothing but subway cars”

José James

Singer Jose James has a new single out called  ’EveryLittleThing’ In true artist’s spirit of fearless experimentalism the new record shows his love for not only soul but rock and electronic based music. He grew up listening to bands like Nirvana, Jimmy Hendrix and Radiohead and later spent many late nights in East London Clubs hearing electronic music. .

To celebrate this we decided to wander the streets of  Brooklyn to shoot the cover for the single (above) – it was a sunny day and we found this rusty painted flag wall – it seems just right.

José James’ new album ‘While You Were Sleeping’ comes out on June 10 – it is electrifying!