Portfolio & Information & More

June 29th, 2008

Hasselblad, Lisa.

Hasselblad and Kodak had a portrait contest while I was in college. A few days before the deadline, I decided it would be a good thing to make pictures for it, since I didn’t have any that fit the requirements. The only motivation was whatever the prize was. I cannot even remember at the moment what it was, maybe a camera and film. That would be about all I can gather that would of lit the small fire under my butt that got these done. I hadn’t really made portraits like this before, everything prior was captured versus made. So out I went.

Lisa was my roommate’s girlfriend. I thought she was beautiful and also quite kind, so I knew she’d probably agree. We met at the park and I shot two rolls. One, if not the first ‘portrait session’ I ever did that was not an outright silly class assignment. I even shot two more people after this, I really wanted that camera. I didn’t win and decided then I thought photo contests were stupid, but I still enter them, time and time again.

Then years later I bought my own Hasselblad. Then over those years I built my career on it. Then a few short years later, I sold it one day on eBay.


June 28th, 2008

George Carlin, part II, TIME.

He told me when he first stepped into the set, “I don’t want to do a bunch of those goofy comedian faces anymore.” I said, “Good, that’s not what I want either.” I shot a few safe boring frames then asked him to say his 7 words as fast as he can, he did, a few times. Then I asked him to just say FUCK, over and over again, and to really enjoy and take pleasure in the word. He did, I started shooting too fast instead of trying to just get one of magic, lost in the joy of saying FUCK back and forth with him. That’s when the circuits went and this set was done. They may still be odd or otherwise goofy, but that was not the goal.

TIME ran this quadrant of four below this week in a full page article devoted to our man George.

June 28th, 2008

Even When I Know Better

please press play for video, view mobile version here.

150 Meals | June 2008

This Is What It Sounds Like When I Forcibly Eat Reese’s Pieces® & Drink Coca-Cola® For 2m 38s

June 28th, 2008

I Miss Maryland.

June 24th, 2008

426 in 366. Up the River.

This is my 426 story in 366 days. I started here one year ago today. I abandon the goal of one a day or even that average a long time ago. Make something or tell a story as I needed to or wanted to was the only goal left anymore.

207 photographs made in 1h 43m 9s, here are 50 in 2m

I started with this a year ago today as well, after 3 attempts, the right audio was finally found.

June 24th, 2008

Today was S’s Birthday.

Today was S’s birthday. She invited me over last minute to her rooftop for a small party. She too does not enjoy her birthday although I think it is for different reasons then why I have a hard time with mine. She randomly drops in and out of my life a few times a year, I can never make a plan to see her, I just get calls for last minute ideas of needed or wanted company. I went tonight because I had been wanting to take her photograph again for some time, she let me, no real questions or explanations needed when I told her I needed to photograph her on her birthday. You may not know it from these images, but she was full of joy, it was beautiful.

I made small talk with the strangers, the gallery owner and then lied there in the dark, staring at the sky, waiting for a moment to photograph her again. Then, after I took these, I walked back home.

press the above image to play video

June 23rd, 2008

George Carlin.

My father called this morning, too early for it to be good news. I only remember him saying, “Did you hear about Carlin?” I hadn’t.

George Carlin died yesterday, he was 71 years old.

Carlin was a personal hero of mine growing up, I can remember seeing his famous HBO specials even before I really should of been watching. The sharp wit, piercing observations and sarcasm all poured out of the man with a brilliant point of view that seemed so obvious, you wondered why it took Carlin to point it out to you.

TIME called and needed him photographed for a 10 Questions article. I set up hours early and waited for him to arrive in the hotel suite. I left the door closed before he arrived, I wanted to see Carlin through the peephole. He was just like you would of expected, only kinder and happier. He went into a rant about hair care products when I asked him to take his hat off, that then descended into a wonderful moment of he and I yelling the F bomb back and forth at each other till I blew the circuits to that half of our hotel room. Thankfully, I had this second shot ready to go, it was a better photograph anyway. I am so happy I blew those circuits or this image never would have happened.

It was the best assignment I ever had, it was one of my favorite people and it was one of the happiest days of my life.

March 19, 2004.

“The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating…

…and you finish off as an orgasm.” ~George Carlin

June 20th, 2008

W + H, Mark.

I went to W + H’s party in Brooklyn. There was a moment that night where Mark looked like how I felt all night, all the way there and all the way back.

June 17th, 2008

K F.

when i was looking for a model for the shower project, i emailed a girl who had posed for me many times before who has since moved away. she sent out a great email to her friends for me, asking if anyone would be interested in letting me take their picture. in the meantime, i found and hired a model and proceeded with the shoot. the day of this shoot i got an email from K. she would model for me and was up for anything. we had never met or even known about each other until this email. i had no idea what she looked like, we didn’t even talk on the phone, just a few emails and then she was here, last night, to let me photograph her.

it turns out she is a picture editor. it also turns out she is the editor for a great friend i have known 16 years. it also turns out her sister lives 2 blocks away. it also turns out she used to date someone that lived in my building.

she is the 56th person in WithOutYou.

June 16th, 2008


i’ve known Baldomero for about 16 years, I hadn’t seen him in about 3-4 years. a week ago i ran into him and his wife and son eating bbq downtown. we met at photo school and all these years later we still both make and love pictures. turns out we have also lived just blocks from each other for about 6-7 years now i think too. we never run into each other.

June 15th, 2008

Camera Phone.

i kinda hate that my phone has a camera. sometimes i go out without a camera for a reason, but need the phone. then i get images that aren’t much good for anything but this.

i got the images off it the other day. these were the only two i had taken with it. because wherever i had been, i had no other camera and was bored, wanting to make something…

June 15th, 2008

Grandmother’s Home, Brother’s Home.

June 15th, 2008

A June Saturday.

June 15th, 2008

An Ongoing Story.

June 14th, 2008

630 AM Friday the 13th.

Reverend Dr. John W. Saunders Place – Harlem, New York City.

i made these all in less then a minute, in the midst of doing something i shouldn’t have done, a fools errand really. i do many things, knowing they are a mistake, yet i still do them, unable or unwilling to control the impulse. i do feel better having done it however, sometimes. this time, following up on other mistakes i cannot fix, this errand had to be done regardless of how i felt about it. i could of ignored it, in the big picture, it didn’t matter and made no difference, yet i did it anyway.

today a friend got a tattoo because it was friday the 13th, tim russert died in the midst doing of what he loved and i made a foolish errand that changed nothing as the sun came up on a street named after me, sort of.

June 13th, 2008

Clays = Woods.

M&M – Pennsville, NJ / Triple B – South El Monte, CA / LVSC – Coplay, PA

June 12th, 2008

Coincidence Over Metaphor.

i believe in the coincidence more then the metaphor.

it has been one of the darkest weeks that i can remember.

the other day i took an image of myself in my apartment in a direct beam of sunlight. direct sunlight or any daylight at all never enters my apartment, but the other day, a little sliver did. it wasn’t reflected, it didn’t bounce off anything, it was direct, i checked. i can only remember this happening once before, around the same time of year, but years ago.

the other day i saw a photograph in a book at a book store, in the picture i believed it to be an old love, wearing something i had given her. if this was true, it would mean that during the time many years ago that we were together, the truth of what i was told and what was actually happening weren’t connected. i made the mistake of asking and then the mistake of it possibly not being her in the photograph in the first place.

then today i had the cruelest conversation happen to me on the telephone, from the sweetest person i have ever met. even if i stretch my brain to understand why, it doesn’t change how it felt, i did my best, it wasn’t enough.

3 random events in one week and my life is on a path i don’t want and i cannot do anything about it to get it back.

i didn’t realize this till writing this, but i am reminded of the first photo assignment i ever had.

– make a self portrait, the artist as a young man, “invented by belief; each the author and hero of a real dream by which our own courage and cunning are tested and tried; so that we may wonder all over again what is veritable and inevitable and possible and what it is to become whoever we may be.” – that was my assignment, literally, exactly as worded by the 1st the professor i ever had.

this is my 413 story in 353 days here or 817 in 725 days total including the old site. i started thinking one a day, or at least that average, then the past few months, it became simply making a story better then the previous one or at the very least, make it the best effort i could on any given day on whatever was important to me in the moment because of simply how it felt to make something.

June 9th, 2008

I Stare at You.

I walked to the museum and back alone today, I stared at you over and over.

Visuals by Jonathan. May 23, 2008.

Audio written and then recorded by John. May 27, 2008.

Banjo by Cindy.


June 8th, 2008

Jonathan Saunders is not me.

to clear the air, and due to much confusion, even my own, this is not me:

Jonathan Saunders – beautiful women in dresses

Jonathan Saunders – beautiful women with swords

Jon Saunders – beautiful women in illustrations

June 8th, 2008

Less then 9 days before my birth.

Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
1973, less then 9 days before I was born.

Editing old Super 8 for my family tonight, I found this maybe 2 seconds at best as the camera panned across my mother. The reel was labeled May 1973, as I was born the 9th, this is less then days before my birth.

June 6th, 2008

Pinkberry Hates You.

Photography is Prohibited.

Everyone loves photography, everyone hates photography.

Everyone has a camera, everyone doesn’t want their picture taken.

Camera where they want you to take pictures = tourist.

Camera where you want to take pictures = terrorist.

Love photography, read a blog.

Love photography, start a blog.

Love photography, link other blogs.

Love photography, turn off your blog.

Your camera is a weapon, your camera is a witness, your camera is entertainment, your camera bores me, your camera bores yourself, your camera inspires you, your camera inspires me.

All true.

Photography is exploding like never before. Anyone can make images like never before. There are more images to see then ever before.

Love it, hate it, at the same time.

Pinkberry chooses to hate you and stamps it on the outsides of their stores.

I am okay with this, as 48h prior to seeing this sign tonight, I tried it for the first time, it was maybe one of the most disgusting things I ever put in my mouth, so that implies a lot.

UPDATE – 12/6/2008

So I will assume this is my doing, but Pinkberry no longer has the NO PHOTO icon in their windows.

June 6th, 2008

A Random Act of Beauty.

i am always surprised by the random things that leave me inspired or otherwise feeling different then i did about the world moments before i saw whatever it was.

i hadn’t watched the news all day today. i went out to meet people and look at pictures. walking down 10 ave, i saw a helicopter, way too low. i looked around, i saw another, then another, then another and then the last. 5 helicopters hovering over manhattan, something is happening. i called one person, they didn’t know, so i tried to keep walking. then i overheard a passerby, someone was climbing the NYT’s building. i laughed, awesome, i don’t care why, but the idea of free climbing a building in the middle of mahattan, again, awesome. all the security in times square, all the security on that building and 2 jackasses can just show up and climb it, that is just classic.

i didn’t think much of it. i walked a block or two more, a crowd had formed on the next block. everyone standing around, oddly enough, all together, yet in small groups broken up according to class or skin color, all transfixed on the lone figure in a white shirt and orange pants. i stopped and watched some more among the strangers, it felt good to watch with them in a way i cannot explain, even though i still stood there alone. the two parking attendants behind me for whatever reason had binoculars, they let me peek. the man was almost to the top, paused, just before i stopped watching, he started climbing again, so close to the top, no gear, no safety device, just climbing, it was fucking beautiful.

i gave back the binoculars and started walking again, never looking back. as the blocks went by, i saw more and more people watching, one guy had even just bought a long lens for his crappy little SLR at BH (after all, it was right there), you could tell he just bought it just to get a closer look.

a few blocks later, the helicopters came screaming over, he must of made it or they would of stayed for more shots of the results of a fall, i smiled as i got to where i was going, i was glad he made it, i was glad he did it, i was glad i got to see it.

seems the first guy today was a protester, does it all the time, the second guy, the one i saw, some say may be a mentally ill copy cat, some say it was easy as the way the building was made, it may as well be a ladder, both of these things maybe true and they may not, i don’t really care. from where i was and how i saw it, i thought it was beautiful.

June 5th, 2008

I Miss Happy Accidents.

with film and traditional silver printing, BW or color, there were lots of chances for mistakes to cause happy accidents. bad processing, light leaks, things wet and stuck together then peeled apart. the risks often lead to pretty interesting results, some even made careers of implying accidents or celebrating and recreating the look of them. with digital, so far, i have found only flaws, not happy accidents. this is not an argument against digital, just an observation. the main issue is dust, now easier to remove in post. the other is this new gem i had on a job recently, moire. that i didn’t catch until it was too late. shit.

moire is caused when the textures of a fabric or something are almost the same size as the pixels, or at least it has to do with that relationship. i hear the step to correct is either to change lenses or step forward or backward a little. once and a while it happens and there’s nothing else to do about it. i missed it this time, not good. i am sure there is a clever trick to do it on purpose, but doing it with intent and doing it cause you missed it aren’t the same thing.

the girl above, i forgot to reset the ASA from one situation to the next, so this, combined with water on the lens, got me an image several stops overexposed, so hit auto adjust, again and again, see if it starts to get interesting…. not as interesting or unpredictably beautiful as a good old fashion light leak, but i guess its something to watch software attempt to correct. play sometimes equals learning things, other times, it’s just playing.

June 5th, 2008

Smartest Guy in the Conference Room.

i photograph so many business guys, yet i have little understanding of what they do. sit in an office, have meetings, have multiple conversations and 4 monitors on your desk with seemingly endless information on whatever you need, the moment you need it. it really is an art onto itself, and i have met some of the best, even if how it all really works is a serious mystery to me. i understand, respect and admire what it takes to do what so many of these guys do and the gravity that lies with each decision they make, but that’s all i understand about it.

i didn’t know too much about the subject the day i made these. sometimes i look a ton, other times, i don’t look it all. we got to the location and were told this room and this room only. the PR did a good job in a way, many other articles were laid on the table for my reference of what he looks like and what he was about. it was clear right away, i should of known more about why i was there. in front of me in this room i had to shoot in, were at least 4 different portraits of my subject to be, all shot by a photographer i had heard of, that you have heard of if you’re reading this, all made in this very simple little conference room. now it was my turn, make something, make something better or different or more interesting then those that made his portrait before, in this very room. you have 1h to set up, and 15 min to shoot, GO.

so i made 3.

james was great. really nice, very calm in front of the camera, a good story teller himself as it turns out too. go rent Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room, give him a listen. he was interviewed throughout the film, on the good side, he spoke of the experience of being included and being a part of the film with great affection. i can safely say that of me, my assistant and james, he was definitely the smartest guy in the room that day i made these. we shared our stories of identity theft and $ stolen, as i had HSBC give away all my money to someone in romania that very morning, somehow, sharing this random inappropriate info with him, made my day better. thanks james. james chonos, president and founder of kynikos associates.

June 2nd, 2008

cab, JFK-home.


June 2nd, 2008

old loves get new homes.

today, i sold my colnago cyclocross, someone got a great deal. i built it in 03 and drooled over it on a hook in my apartment for years, yet never rode it. it was time to trade it in for $ for other passions.

it sold on ebay to someone from brooklyn. turns out he is a photographer too, imagine that. worked for more names then i ever could, that any photographer would admire and seems to be somewhat of a lighting genius from what i can gather about to head out on his own.

he picked the colnago up from my apartment at about 3:45 today.

after he left, i boxed up and walked the contax T3 and panasonic LX2 to fedex, sent them off and hit the deli on the way home. i always watch the bikes zoom down 9th ave as i wait to cross, there is always something to see. guys from the park heading home on $$$ machines of bike beauty or messengers dodging the traffic.

just as i started to cross 9th, at 5:05, i saw a guy come flying through my intersection, screaming through before the red light blinked on, it was my colnago, just feet in front of me, zooming on by, he looked quite happy…

it takes less then 10 seconds to go from 52 to 51 down 9th ave in front of my place, and i just happen to be there for those few seconds he rode by, 1h and 20m after i handed it over. this is why i tell stories.

for the first time in 11 years, i am bikeless. 5 down to zero, #1RN = bicycle graveyard.

June 2nd, 2008

Story of the Fat Raccoon.

As happen to Jonathan, as told by John.

(Red dot error courtesy Canon technology).