of the one thousand three hundred and ninety five photos i shot today at the dnc protests this is my favorite. a little girl playing in fdr park in south philly directly across from where the convention was about to kick off. detached from the anger, violent rhetoric and divisiveness she found joy. we as humans experience this type of blissful innocence for such a short time. it’s a time of peace, love and happiness. i want to help create a world where my nine month old daughter can revel in this for as long as possible. i didn’t feel that love and happiness today. from the moment i arrived i felt anger, hate and rivalry. obama says we can do better. i agree. we say black lives matter and want food not bombs, a higher living wage, equality between the sexes and last but never least LGBTQ rights. but we can’t unite behind a candidate that can bring us closer those goals. i fear this lack of unity will lead to the election of a president that will make my daughters life more difficult. yours too. please think hard on this.
What do you do if you’re the newly sworn in mayor of Philadelphia? Well if your South Philly born and bred mayor Jim Kenney you throw a rager at the Pennsylvania Convention Center featuring Philly mascots, legendary DJ Jerry “Geator with the Heater” Blavat, food trucks serving up everything from fried chicken to korean tacos and of course free booze. You’re off to a good start Mr. Kenney now get to work.
Meet Derek (Bagel) Bakal and his puppets. They’re an odd yet wildly entertaining and very photogenic bunch. If you’d like to learn to make puppets you should reach out to Derek. He’s a brilliantly creative teacher/ mad man.
A couple months back, the photo editor of JUMP asked if I was available to gets some shots of The Dead Milkmen for the summer 2015 issue. I can’t remember what my answer was specifically but even If I was busy I would have cancelled whatever else I doing to make this happen. I was told that I’d be meeting with the band on a Tuesday afternoon after they performed an acoustic set at main branch of the Philadelphia Free Library. I put it on my calendar and set about my day. Fast forward to the Sunday before the shoot. It’s mid to late spring and I’m prowling around on my bike running random errands and wasting time. At around about 4pm while standing five deep in line at the Family Dollar I get a call from that very same photo editor. He frantically explains that when he told me Tuesday he actually meant Sunday. He begged my forgiveness and asked there was any chance I could get over to the library as quickly as possible. I really needed the crappy cleaner I was holding but dropped it where I stood and ran home. I originally had some big ideas for this shoot but there was zero chance of making any of that happen now as I was told they could only hang around for a few minutes after the show. When I got home I quickly grabbed my camera bag and a reflector and rode out to the library in about three minutes. Normally impossible but not on that day. With no plan I was ready to wing it and just cared about getting a decent shot and saying what’s up to Rodney and the boys. We met up in the alley behind the library and I did my best not to gush. They were gracious but indicated that they wanted to make this happen quickly. I scanned the area and caught sight of the Swann Memorial Fountain. It was pretty still warm out and there were kids swimming in it. I thought it would be amazing to get the band to hop on it but that idea was shot down immediately. With patience waring thin I suggested the courtyard of The Rodin Museum. It’s pretty and looks like Paris so why not. We hobbled on over only to discover that they like to close early on a Sunday afternoon. A common thought of ‘shit’ resounded. Since we had just walked all the way over here I decided to attempt some shots with them gathered on the steps in front of the gate. The light was garbage but the mood was jolly so we gave it a go. After a few funny faces and some killer jokes the foursome started wavering and wandered off the steps. I wasn’t going to bug them too much more but asked for one more shot on the way back to the library. As we passed by the Barnes Museum I asked if they could line up behind the long rectangular fountain. While setting up to take the shot they started playing in the water and were picking up the little rocks. In no time a security guard materialized and reprimanded all of us and threatened to kick us out. This put everyone in the perfect mood and we finished up the shoot feeling a bit more punk rock that when we’d started. Two minutes later and a whopping 15 minutes after we started everyone ran off in different directions and my shoot with The Dead Milkmen although rushed and rough around the edges was a success. The only thing left to do at this point was to head back to family dollar for that cleaner.
I was digging through my old tennis archives tonight and happened upon this incident which occurred during the finals of the 2012 Queen’s Club Tournament. The match was between Marin Čilić of Croatia and Argentine David Nalbandian. I’d been covering Nalbandian all week as I was shooting for a South American Magazine and the best way to describe his style of play was hostile. He was playing well but he was also playing with a rage that most players at least try to mask. During his matches he would predictably fly off the handle and capturing him smashing his racket onto the finely manicured lawn became routine. However, during that fateful final match his routine escalated. After having won the first set, Nalbandian was trailing 3-4 in the second. Čilić seeing a comeback in sight sent a rocket over the net that Nalbandian couldn’t handle. With his frustration no longer under control, he ran over to a plywood advertising hoarding and gave it a mighty punt causing it to break leaving a solid gash in the left shin of line judge who was sitting just behind it. I was armed with my 70-200mm lens just to the right of where the incident occurred. With my camera still fixed on Nalbandian it took me a minute to realize what had happened. I could see in his eyes that he had finally grasped the gravity of his actions and when I found McDougall’s leg through my viewfinder I realized why. Blood at a tennis match? Blood at a tennis match in London? How delightfully out of the ordinary? The head judge jumped into action with fans, coaches and players alike frozen in a daze of uncertainty. Did this mean Čilić would win by a disqualification? Was that possible? After a short deliberation that decision was made and the irate yet apologetic Argentine hurried off the court. The still bewildered and seemingly disappointed Croat sauntered over to the net and received the enormous championship trophy thus ending the bloodiest tennis match many of us will ever witness. Nalbandian was later quoted as saying “Sometimes you get angry, “Sometimes you cannot control those moments. Maybe you throw a racket or maybe you scream or maybe you do something like that. So many things happen.” Indeed they can. And occasionally those things include losing out on £44,000 in the blink of an eye and the clot of a blood drop.
And here’s a video of the kick heard round the courts. if you pause and squint at 2:02 you might catch my cameo.
Thousands of people gathered to march from the Philadelphia School District HQ on North Broad Street to Independence Hall in an effort to reclaim Martin Luther King Day on January 19th. The protesters formed a strong united front to address a laundry list of social concerns from ending stop and frisk and police brutality to increasing the minimum wage and education reform in Philadelphia and beyond.
The outer cape (wellfleet, truro and provincetown) has a certain romantic majesty that for me never seems to fade. This may have something to do with the occasional day dream I have of working as a lowly deck hand aboard an 18th century whaling ship. I’ve made the trek out to Truro countless times over the better part of the the past decade to visit Tasha’s (my wife’s) family and each time I come away feeling humbled for having the privilege of experiencing such a monumentally magical land (and sea) scape. so here’s a rather long gallery featuring eighty photos from my latest trip which took place this past late August/ early September.
My dear friend Chrissy came on by last night for a drink or two but let on she couldn’t stay as she had to wake up early the next morning to attend an implosion. I’ve heard a lot of early exit excuses, but none have ever piqued my interest quite as much. She explained that a 16-story uninhabited high rise apartment building in the Germantown section of Philadelphia was due to be razed at 7:15 am by the Philadelphia Housing Authority and as she’s in the archaeological preservation business she would be attending with some co-workers. Naturally I jumped on board. I woke at 6 am the following morning and headed on out to the site which was about twenty minutes from my apartment. When I got there, I discovered a wide radius surrounding the building had been closed off by the police. I played it cool and parked a few blocks away. I gathered my gear and proceeded on foot. When I reached the main blockade I was told I could not enter as I did not have a proper pass or hard hat. I miss my days as a credentialed member of the Philadelphia Press. It was early and I was feeling fearless so I decided to head down a street that ran parallel to the viewing area and cut through a yard that led to a wide open expanse with a clear view of the spectacle to come. The press at this point was already set up and not wanting to ruffle any feathers I found a spot behind a cameraman slightly shorter than I. (always a good tactic when you’re the last man on the scene) It was now 7:10am. Made it with five minutes to spare. I quickly noticed everyone else had ear plugs and masks. This worried me a bit as I had neither. I figured I’ve done enough damaged to my ear drums over the years and only concerned myself with the dust cloud that could potentially come floating my way. But with no time to deal I just hoped the wind would shift and begin to blow in the opposite direction. The countdown began roughly at 7:15. As the PHA employees depressed the symbolic t-bar that supposedly set off the charges nothing happened for about 5 second then an incredible booming started echoing throughout the corridor. Moments later a plume of smoke began to rise from beneath the building and it started to dip at the corner which led to a massive and rapid crumbling. All in it took only about 10-15 seconds for the entire structure to fall. Pretty impressive.
I stumbled upon some bugs (moths, beetles, butterflies and i think a wasp) binging on a buffet of some gnarly rotten fruit during a stroll along the delaware river in south philly. it was all things gross and beautiful. wish i had a macro lens but honestly didn’t want to get too much closer. it smelled much worse than it looked.