Horsing Around

Yesterday's topic was Chuck Berry and today I chose horses. You might think that's a total 180, but you would be wrong. It's actually a perfect segue. When you reach the end of the post (no skipping to the end) I will reveal why they are a perfect fit.

I love horses. Always have. Always will.

These are three of my favorite horse photographs. The two color photographs were shot at the site where the Coachella Music Festival takes place. The black and white photograph was a few miles down the road at the horse show grounds.

 
 
 
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The photograph above was used in the short (very shot - 15 sec) film I made. See the film below, made from stills.

I am now revealing the answer to the relationship Chuck Berry has to horses. In 2008, a colt was born in Argentina to Wild Berry (mom from Argentina) and Grand Reward (dad from USA). His great great grandfather was Secretariat. 

Meet Chuck Berry

Tomorrow's post will be coming from another country. See you then.

Chuck E. Weiss

Another set of black and white negatives has been opened. The neg envelope says "184 - Eric Carmen" but I found so much more. I somehow managed to shoot three musicians, three different nights, on one roll of film. And that's only 36 frames, potentially giving me 12 frames each. I took 10 photos of Eric Carmen, 15 photos of Andrew Gold (who I will highlight tomorrow), and 12 of Chuck E. Weiss. Oops that's 39 frames...I was always really good at getting the most out of a roll of film. I'm just wondering why I called the roll Eric Carmen since he has the least number of photos. He was the last one on the roll so I think I was paid to shoot him and I have another roll kicking around that also has backstage pics. May post some pics of him when I come across the other shots.

The surprise on this roll of film - there's always a surprise - was the last frame of Chuck E's. He was the first one on the roll and when I got to frame 12 I couldn't believe it. I actually had to message Sir Weiss to ask him if this other guy had ever played with him or whether this other guy had a twin. He verified it was indeed the musician I thought it was. Damn. I really wish I had gone through all my negatives one-by-one when I was creating Everybody I Shot Is Dead because I could have added this photograph to his section. I was not happy that I only had one photo to represent him in the book. And this one is such a beautiful and happy photograph of both of them. Today, I am happy to unveil this special photograph for the first time. Chuck E. Weiss with the late, great Ronnie Barron. This and the other never-before-seen photographs in this post were shot at the Troubadour in Los Angeles in March, 1976.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Lastly, for those of you who missed out on the short film I made of Chuck E. Weiss and released last summer, hit the play button....

Jack of the Red Hearts

A few weeks ago I was called on to shoot production stills for an independent feature film, Jack of the Red Hearts, shooting in New York. Even though I was only there a handful of days, I bonded with some of the crew and also a couple of the actors.

One of those actors was young Taylor Richardson, who plays Glory, the autistic daughter of Famke Janssen and Scott Cohen.  If you're a Broadway fan you may have seen her during her one and a half year run as Annie.  On set, Taylor was the shining light.  Always happy and super polite.  I got to know her when the producers asked me to get some concept shots of her separate of her scenes.  

I had already done some research on autism because I wanted to figure out how an autistic child visually sees the physical world.  I wanted to capture some production stills that represented Glory's point of view.  During my research I found Carly Fleischman's amazing short film:

 
 

Unfortunately, I didn't get to realize the photographs I wanted to take from Glory's point of view, but I did get to play with Taylor.  My challenge in shooting her in character but outside of the scripted scenes was to capture Glory where the viewer might get a glimpse inside her head (not literally, of course).  And I also wanted Taylor to be a conceptual collaborator during the shoot.

After doing the general 'on the swing' and 'in the tree' photos, Taylor started rolling around in the grass.  Thanks to her choice, I came up with this idea, and captured the glimpse I was looking for.

 
Taylor Richardson as Glory

Taylor Richardson as Glory

 

The production team was also very happy with the image and are currently using it on the home page of the Jack of the Red Hearts website and Twitter.

Keep an eye out for the release of the film by following them on Twitter and check it out.

Today Is The Day

It's the official launch of my remodeled website (always a work in progress). And my return to the blogosphere after a very long absence. But most important event of the day is...

The World Premiere and Release of my new short film!

Click the photo to see the film.

Click the photo to see the film.

Way too long in the making, the idea for this 2:54min hybrid (aka my short documentary photo essay music video flipbook film) was semi-hatched when I reconnected with musician Chuck E. Weiss after not seeing him since the Troubadour/Tropicana days. He invited me to his show at the Piano Bar in Hollywood. I took some photos and was so inspired by the show and the energy of the crowd that I asked Chuck E. if I could do a photo essay on him. 

Not really knowing what a photo essay was myself, I told him I'd like follow him around for whatever time he could spare and take some candid photographs. He said yes! and invited me to meet up at his place. I spent a few hours documenting a day in the life (you may be surprised) and recording a couple of sound bites along the way for no particular reason. At this point I still had no idea what I was doing with all this but I knew I wanted to bask some more in the aura of Chuck E. Weiss. I took a friend to see him at the Piano Bar so I could turn her on to his brilliance (she was duly turned on) and brought my camera to shoot more photos I thought I might need for whatever this photo essay would become. That included Chuck E. arriving at the venue and some backstage stuff. And for no specific reason I pulled out my iPhone and recorded a song and some random banter. Again, there was no real plan. No script. No outline. No structure. Just my desire to shed some light on this very special person who was always nice to me back in the day when I transplanted from Vancouver to Los Angeles where I knew no one.

Then came the editing phase. I basically tossed all the photos into Final Cut and put a portion of the song on it. This process was without thought or purpose. I was just trying to create a photo essay, still not really knowing what a photo essay was. And in my judgment it was a mess, but I still went ahead and showed it to a few people.  And much to my surprise, they thought it was really cool. (Tip of the day: Make it black and white and people will think it's cool) At that point I decided I owed it to Chuck E. to make something out of this mess...something that would show how amazing he is as a musician and performer, but more important >>> how cool and authentic he is as a human being.

I'm embarrassed by the amount of time that has passed since I started this little personal project - it should have been finished a long time ago. But I also believe that every project has its time and, hopefully, this one is better late than never and it will find an audience and turn some people on to Chuck E. Weiss. Maybe if you are in Los Angeles or going to be there, this little film will entice you to see him play live. It's well worth your effort to experience him on stage. Or maybe you'll want to check out (and buy) his new album Red Beans and Weiss <<great title. It's available on the Tom Waits Official Store (choice of CD or double album vinyl!) and iTunes. It's also streaming, along with an interview at American Songwriter.

 
 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this post and watch my film.

And...

Please support the arts and artists.

(*special thanks to Aron for kicking my ass)