Concert Artists Guild

The Concert Artists Guild celebrated it’s 60th anniversary last week with a concert at WQXR in NYC. Sarah Wolfson (below) sang a piece from Kurt Weill that was just amazing. I have been photographing their classical musicians for a few years. Everyone from Phylis Chen who plays classical music on toy pianos,  the violinist Michi Wiancko and  her indie rock alter ego Kono MIchi, classical pianist and snow boarder Alpin Hong (above), Jenny Koh with her  Stradivarius on Delancy St and Sebastian Baverstam who played cello for me on a street in the East Village. Rock on CAG.

Pam Hogg

Fashion designer Pam Hogg and a guy from the hood posing on Bowery a few years ago. Pam always had more rebel street style in her tattooed little finger than most.

It is Fashion Week in NYC, I’m excited about working on a new project with an eye wear company tomorrow.

Def Jam, LL Cool J, Rick Rubin

Just got the book  ‘Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label‘.  I’ve known the author, Bill Adler, since he walked into my studio in 1985 with a young LL Cool J for LL’s first promo shot. The book’s is designed by brilliant art director and artist Cey Adams.

To compare Def Jam to Motown seems right to me – I grew up with Motown it changed my life – just as Def Jam introduced hip-hop, a new kind of music and lifestyle to the 80’s generation.

I remember meeting Lyor Cohen, who started Rush, the management division of Def Jam, in his scrappy office on Broadway back before Def Jam was on Elisabeth St. He was yelling at someone on the phone, smoking a fat cigar, sneaker clad feet on his desk.

Rick Rubin,co-founder of Def Jam, was working with the Beastie Boys when I took this photo for Rolling Stone around that time – I love his style -beyond cool – powder blue puffy coat, sunglasses, holding a drink from Blimpie’s sandwich shop and a gun


We just survived an earthquake and Hurricane Irene in NYC – high winds and floods but we escaped what could have been a very serious disaster.

I shot this photo of a soldier below Canal Street a couple days after 9/11 – the city below 14th street was closed except for army, police, firemen and medical services. The air was polluted, stores shuttered, life as we knew it had stopped. Those of us that were in the area volunteered to do what we could, from making sandwiches for the responders on the West Side Highway, to collecting medical and clothing supplies from stores. But there was a feeling of unity in the city, people were actually helping each other. Since then we have seen corporate greed destroy a lot of what we had built

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 marks the start of another time that years later has had an aftermath but not an end.

Bleech sisters

The Bleech sisters : singer guitarist Jen and bassist Katherine  lounging in the pub dressing room off the Pentonville Road during a Kangol shoot


I shot this photo of NWA outside their recording studio Torrance, CA in 1990 for a book called ‘Rap Portraits & Lyrics of a Generation of Black Rockers’. The co author and writer was my friend Bill Adler.

The photo will be in a museum exhibit in New Hampshire opening in the fall.  Asked to record an audio description for the exhibit – I described the shot as being of a ‘band called NWA aka Niggaz With Attitude who had released a song called ‘Fuck tha Police ..’ and tell the story of how I flagged down a. LAPD cop car to get the photo.

In these politically conscious times I have been asked to remove the ‘N’ and the ‘F’ word from my audio – ‘in an effort to avoid potentially making visitors feel uncomfortable’ ,  and re-record without identifying what NWA stands for, explaining the song rather than provide the title.

That seems to miss the point of NWA’s documentary realism of the song and the album  ‘Straight Outta Compton’. I somehow don’t think Eazy E would have approved. The song is one of Rolling Stones’ 500 Best of all Times.

Benjamin Brafman

Attorney Benjamin Brafman came to my New York studio for a shoot for YRB Magazine six years ago. He was a small man, impeccably groomed, wearing the most beautiful suit and cuff links. Powerful and charming in person, his clientele includes Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, Jay Z, mafia hitman Antony Senter, nighclub impresario Peter Gatien, Michael Jackson, and Dominique Strauss- Kahn.

Strauss-Kahn hired Brafman three months ago after his arrest on sexual assault charges and today the Manhattan DA has decided to ask a judge to dismiss the case.

Brafman, a self described “White, Jewish lawyer’ was immortalized by Jay-Z in “Welcome To New York City” : ‘Got Brafman defendin’ me / ‘Cause NY will miss me / If I’m locked in a penitentiary.’

Arkitip Newspaper

Arkitip produced a newspaper of my photography – black in white on 22 x 11″, broadsheet newsprint, a limited edition of 1000, packaged in re-sealable bag. It is available at Project Space in LA and also from me for $7.50. Arkitip made a lovely movie directed by Felipe Lima of the newspaper production http://vimeo.com/4393048arkitip makes a newspaper

Johnny Cash

Sometime in the 1990’s I went to Nashville on assignment for a British magazine to shoot ‘Fan Fair’. The hot and dusty Nashville County fairground was filled with cowboys and cowgirls, rhinestone outfits, beer and BBQ ribs. Billed as the festival where fans get autograph sessions and pictures with the stars, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, a young Clint Black and many more graciously signed autographs for lines of fans – and I met one of my idols Johnny Cash who sang ‘I walk the Line’ to me as I photographed him at the Johnny Cash Museum.

Dr Martens

Everyone from the Clash to the Sex Pistols bought their Dr Marten boots at Holts. Located around the corner from Camden tube station it was the place for London punks, mods and skinheads  to buy footwear.  Now called The British Boot Company it is still owned by the same family and looks just as it always did – piles of shoe boxes, boots signed by Madness and other local bands hanging over the counter, band flyers on the wall and great service.

Years later I shot the Brazilian Girls outside Nublu on Ave C for Dr Marten -Sabina Sciubba and the band had their own personal style which fit perfectly with the classic boots.