Archive for the ‘Projects’ category

The New York Fighting Scene

_MG_4550Recently I met with the photo editor at Harper Magazine and showed her my recent shoot of the New York fighting scene.  She asked me “why are you drawn to this project?”.  That was a very good question, I am not a fighter or a boxer and why would I want to document fighting?  I replied to her, making an analogy with the first Corrida I watched in Spain.  I am an animal lover and I didn’t really want to see a bull get played to its death.  I wanted to witness it as a cultural experience, to do it once and say I did it.  However when the bull fighter entered the Arena, I felt the energy, the intensity, the history and the pride surrounding bullfights.  You could feel this energy pulsate through your body.  It turned out to be an unforgettable experience and gave me a whole different perspective on bullfighting.

These are the same elements that I wanted to capture and that drew me to this project.  Intensity, history, pride and the energy surrounding the fighting scene. And in New York, I knew I was going to get both history and the real people.  I researched for classic NY GYMs with lots of history and came up with John’s GYM in the Bronx and GLEASON’S  in Brooklyn.   _MG_6288Not being a fighter made this project a little more challenging.  When I contacted the people involved the first question was “who in the hell are you?”.  The unfriendly, intense attitude continued until I took some photos and brought back some pictures to show them.  After seeing the first pictures things changed and I was welcomed into this somewhat raw and intimidating environment.

I wanted to capture the training of the fighters as well as the coaches and the environment.  I let them do their  thing and just danced around them.  On the fight night the goal was to show the intensity of the moment before, during and after the fight. Check out the three galleries, John’s GYM in the Bronx, Gleason’s GYM in Brooklyn and Friday Night Fights.  If you enjoy this blog don’t forget to like me on Facebook


JOHN’S GYM in the Bronx


Meet Joe Stone

Last week I had the chance to photograph Joe Stone for An Ironman’s Journey and Colle McVoy.  Joe was like anyone of us a few years ago, but after crashing while speed flying in Montana, was diagnosed as an incomplete C7 quadriplegic. What would I do if that happened to me was the question that kept arising in my mind while photographing him.  Joe didn’t give up or lose a beat.    With his hands strapped to special pedals to something similar to an upside down bicycle, rubber gloves for friction on his racing wheelchair and a special wetsuit to keep his legs contained and his body rigid, he has been training to become the first known wheelchair using quadriplegic to compete in a full Ironman triathlon.  Watch him this November the 2nd at Ironman Florida. Go and kick some ass Joe!

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I was driving down a desolate Montana road watching snow blow sideways across the pavement.   Still painfully thinking about the job for Saint Lucia Tourism my producer and I had been bidding for two weeks but never got.  We were so sure we had it we ordered a life supply of sunscreen.  I had envisioned leaving snowy and cold Montana to photograph the tropical world.  Part of the job description was photographing beautiful women bathing underneath waterfalls, hiking lush mountains, swimming in turquoise waters, not a bad option from the snowdrift accumulated on the side of the road.  As I drove by what appeared to be a frozen cow Jeff Martin calls.  “I have a cool job if you are interested”. “Cool” and “if you are interested” don’t go together, usually means there is a catch.  The catch was that it happened to be a Pro Bono job but it sure was cool. This was the job description.
January 22, 2013 marked the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision protecting every woman’s right to abortion. Forty (40) prominent advertising, fashion, editorial and fine art photographers from around the country will all shoot a single female subject. To create this project, each photographer will shoot multiple consecutive frames (60-80) of their subject, which will then be edited together to create an empowering, stop-motion video. Forty faces back to back, beautifully executed moving portraits and creative visions woven together to create an empowering message of choice.”

Not only I thought it was an amazing creative endeavor but I also feel very strongly about pro choice. What women do or not do with their bodies should be their choice, especially when talking about a pregnancy.  I was for sure in.  The only guideline was that the background had to be black or gray and as I watched a snowy white landscape I realized shooting outside was not going to be an option.  Had to be done in a Studio.  Studio?  I am a location photographer, my studio is for computers, printers and file cabinets not for shooting.  I remembered years back, at the beginning of my career, when I shot entire catalogs in my living room with a stylist and an assistant.  It was time to go back in time and move those couches around since renting a photo studio in MT was not going to happen.  I didn’t want to photograph one woman and call it good.  I wanted to give Jeff a few options and photograph a few different women so I spent the following month “livingroomless”.

Women live with the reality and consequences of a pregnancy.  They are vulnerable to what happens to their body.  In those 60 frames I wanted to capture a sense of vulnerability, the moment of realization, and the moment of choice.  The frame was to start with the woman with her head down (vulnerability) raising her head and opening her eyes (realization) and then flaring to white in a flash(Choice).  Thinking I was in Sweden I also did what we called a “rated R” version that showed skin and nudity.  As expected the “rated R” version didn’t make the director’s cut.  Clearly we are not in Sweden and I am not sure what I was thinking.  In the rated R version, I wanted to emphasize even further a sense of vulnerability.   The message was simple and that’s how I wanted the lighting.  Simple, classic and clean (see lighting diagram).


I used hot lights because to create the flair to white I placed the back light on a remote dimmer.  Unfortunately because of time constrains and space limitations, on the final stop motion project, my images could be not be edited fully as I had envisioned them.  Still turned out to be an awesome project and I am thankful and honored for having been chosen to be one of the 40 photographers.   I thank you Jeff and thank you to all the women who helped me making it happen.  Ashely (Model/Assistant), Kezia (Model), Laura (Model), Jennifer (Model), Crysten (Model), Aspen (Model), Yvonne Reddy (Make up and Hair for Jessica, Laura and Kezia), Deirdre P Quinn with Indulgence (Make up and hair for Ashley) and all the the other women who offered to be part of the project or helped.


We sure had fun! Ashely having a fit.

Down below are the final images.  If you enjoyed this BLOG and want to stay updated on what I do please LIKE ME on facebook by clicking here.  If youwant to see the full video this is the link