Portfolio & Information & More

February 28th, 2010

45 Vick Park A | Addendum

I recently told some stories from a boarding house in which I once lived. As happenstance would have it, today I found the very 8×10 view camera images printed 20×24 that I made that one night so long ago, well, 5 of them. A torn red vinyl chair and burned table top from the burner plate communal kitchen, the view of my basement hallway from directly in front of my door looking left towards the exit, the shadeless lamp’s light bulb in my room and the area directly outside the back exit where I parked my car.

Stories From 45 Vick Park A

8×10 Deardorff, 180mm lens, 10 sheets film expired 10+ years, one Ricoh pocket flash

date unrecorded | 1994 or 1995

February 26th, 2010

The Bride Of Promise Lane

The Bride Of Promise Lane | New York City
Last September, I had a series of posts going up; one story every 12m for 24 hours, midnight to midnight. It was a beautiful story. Before this started, I had a week of posts counting down to this beginning, two posts a day for 7 days. These stories, these posts, told this way, were one of the most beautiful things I have ever created. About exactly half way through these posts every 12m, I stopped them. It was not to be.
This concept I had never quite done before, but felt familiar. When I got it, I posted them right away in one story in place of over 100 that were no longer. This was the story of Promise Lane. A roommate I had in 1993/1994 was about to be married. The week or two before the wedding in September 1994, I mailed a print, one a day, for 7 days, to her home where she was preparing for the day she was to be a bride. This home was on Promise Lane.
I lost touch with her in 1998. I told the story of Promise Lane on September 3, 2009. On September 8, 2009, only 5 days after the story was shared, I received an email from her. On February 24, 2010, 168 days after this email, almost 12 years after I last saw her and 15 years since I photographed her wedding,  I took her portrait.

February 25th, 2010

Second Grade Playboy’s

please press play for an audio story

February 24th, 2010

45 Vick Park A

45 Vick Park A – Rochester, NY

I used to live in the basement of this boarding house, I paid rent weekly as I never knew how long I could really stay. I lived in this room from August 1994 to March 1995. I worked at UPS unloading tractor-trailers from 2AM-8AM. I remember in the winter it was so cold the packages froze to the roof of the inside of the trailer, the trick was to unload the 53 foot trailer (by yourself in under 60 minutes) before they started to thaw and dropped on you. I was a drivers assistant running packages from the delivery trucks to the doors of delivery from 10AM-4PM a couple days a week and from about 5PM-9PM, I printed C prints for the professors. The time in between all this, I made my own prints, somehow. The other trick to surviving this was the 5 roast beef sandwiches for $5 special at the Arby’s® in between campus and Vick Park A. I would eat two before bed, put the other three in the fridge, sleep from 10PM-1:15AM and then eat the last three sandwiches cold driving to UPS to start the cycle again.

I only had a pager, no land line and no cell. I made calls from the upstairs hallway and spent countless quarters staring at this chipped tiled wall by the pay phone telling countless stories to whoever would listen. I was on the phone with a woman I admired the night I made that image above. I had seen her around campus for some time and never had the nerve to talk to her other then the time at the light tables I proved to her that I knew she used a mirrored telephoto lens to make the photographs she was editing. I had gotten her number at an event long after this, asked her out, gone for a walk with her and it was while playing with the school’s Leica M4 that I heard her say to me this night over the phone she was living with someone and had to go as he had just walked in. I told her goodbye, I made this picture and went back down to my room.

I made this image a different night with my back pressed into the corner next to the only light the room had, a shadeless lamp next to the fridge. I could reach all four walls from the bed and the only window was level with the small alley. When it snowed more then a few inches, which in Rochester seems daily, the few inches of snow would block the light entirely.

I only ever met, well, not met, but had a few encounters with other tenants. The first was an elderly woman next door out this door to the right. She was always in a night gown, all hours of the day and her room was filled with canned food. I only saw through her door briefly once and was stopped dead in my tracks as it was filled with canned food and almost only all canned food. The canned food was lined up wall to wall, stacked like pipes floor to ceiling, row after row, it was almost as if it was wallpaper.

– – –

The man above me on the first floor was maybe mid-twenties, thin with smooth light brown skin and always on the phone speaking Spanish. I was in the small alley between the buildings outside my window and just beneath his while I was making photographs with an 8×10 view camera at night with a hand held flash. I could hear him on the phone and smell smoking from his room. I had the camera set to go and knew once I popped that little flash, he was going to know I was there. I squeezed the cable release and before the flash even seemed done firing, there he was at his window.

“What are you doing, did you take my picture, who the fuck are you?”

“I am Jonathan, I live right there.” I pointed towards the ground and the sliver of my little window.

“No you don’t live there!”

“Yes, I do.”

“Get the fuck out of here!”

“Okay.” I picked up the Deardorff still on the tripod pointing at the ground (nowhere near his window) and walked to the back of the building, down the stairs and back to my room. Only then did I take the film holder out of the camera.

– – –

It was late, maybe 10PM, I had just eaten one of my Arby’s® sandwiches and was listing to my CD walkman with headphones on. All the sudden there was a furious and loud banging on my door. I removed my headphones and waited a moment. Then, BOOM BOOM BOOM again against my door. Angry more then scared, I jumped up, threw down my headphones and answered the door. When I opened it, I almost laughed as there was a very short, small man holding a pizza staring back at me. I couldn’t believe that knock came out of this man. He tried to hand it to me and I tried to explain that I hadn’t ordered it. He did not speak English and kept pointing at the receipt demanding almost that he was at the correct door. I took the receipt, the pizza too and led the poor little man all the way to third floor to the number that matched the ticket. A woman answered the door in tight jeans and white wife beater who was talking on the phone while smoking and playing with a lone curler in her hair. She saw me and the little man and turned around to get her purse, as she did the door started closing and I stuck my foot in it then stepped in more to let the transaction happen. She paid the little man who then turned and left and let the door slam. I stood there a moment not realizing what had just actually happen but I was now standing in her little room with her door shut holding a pizza. She was sitting on her bed, still on the phone, still smoking, still futzing with her curler and calmly looking at the television that was on entirely too loud. I stood there a few moments trying to figure out why I wasn’t still in my room listening to my CD’s. I stared at her for a few moments, dumbfounded she would let some strange man stand there in her room and without even an acknowledgment just to see what she would do. What seemed years and was surely just a few seconds passed then she got up from the bed, walked towards me, took the pizza and sat back down on her bed and started eating a slice. She never got off the phone, she never stopped watching television and she never seemed to notice I was in there with her. I watched her eat a few bites, stared at the television for a few moments as I hadn’t watched television in months then I turned around, open the door, made sure it didn’t slam when I shut it, went down all those stairs back to my room where I had left my own door wide open, put my headphones back in, reached from the bed to turn off my lamp, got under my covers and pressed play on my Discman.

– – –
It was the day I was moving out. Walking to the left of that door in the photograph of my room, down the hall to the rear of the building, there were several doors to rooms I had never seen open. This day, the last one on the left was open. I peeked inside as I walked by. There, in the middle of this room that was awash with light from its two windows, was a man with his back to me sitting on the floor in front of a typewriter perched upon an upended milk crate. There was nothing else in the room except a mattress also upended and leaning against the wall. That’s all that was in there. As I walked back and forth from my room to my little green Escort wagon I could hear him in there banging away on those keys, never once breaking his rhythm.

February 24th, 2010

FIVE STAR® – In A Class By Itself

The Notebook
I use to spend hours in darkrooms. Some of the happiest and most painful moments of my life were spent here. If you have never punched a wall, screamed with joy or sat on the floor crying under the sink, this won’t mean much to you… Or maybe I am just unique this way, yet I really doubt it.

please press play to start 75s video – best results in full screen, scaling off

At some point, I started keeping a random log of every print: the color settings, exposure times, darkroom number and which of the 2 enlargers I used as I always printed on two enlargers simultaneously. The last time I ever printed black and white fiber prints in San Francisco, my last prints in F series at school and some of my last days printing color at Print Space, its all here and wow, are so many more simply unrecorded. From the old notes I can vaguely understand I myself wrote there are 1042 just from one 9 week stretch in the summer 1997. I used over 5 cases of 11×14 C print paper that summer for 2500 sheets. I was trying to understand the math of this as I wrote this story and wondered why it was basically 1000 prints off. It only took a few seconds to remember… After I was done printing that summer, I gave a duplicate set of one of the portfolios of almost 700 prints away as a gift and the others are being stored still to this day, mostly unshared.

I found two prints in this notebook, several 5×7 of someone once very close now married to another and an image I made for TIME on assignment just after 9/11.

I don’t think I have open this notebook in maybe 7 years until tonight.

February 23rd, 2010

The Blue Woman

The Blue Woman concentrates in corporate internal investigations, white collar defense, securities enforcement, and other matters of state and federal regulation. She advises companies, boards, audit committees, special committees, and individual officers and directors on issues of corporate governance, compliance, and risk management.

Experienced in both state and federal prosecution, she served as an Associate Independent Counsel in the Whitewater investigation, Assistant United States Attorney, and a Deputy New York Attorney General. She has conducted close to a dozen jury trials and briefed and argued several federal appellate cases. She clerked for the Honorable Thomas Penfield Jackson (D.D.C.), and was the Global Head of Compliance at a major New York financial services firm.

(for TIME Magazine)

February 22nd, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today I saw something unexpected in the basement of a basement in the middle of midtown Manhattan.

Today I did better on my second attempt at success then my first.
(8 spares, 1 strike in 10 frames)

Today I had my iris’s scanned.

I don’t know where these scans went.

I don’t know the legality of who owns them.

I don’t know what can be done with them.

I don’t know why I gave away this part of me.

Today my iris’s were quietly accepted, cataloged and archived among countless unknown others.

February 21st, 2010

Other People’s Girlfriend’s Necks

February 20th, 2010

Dear Camera Maker

I tried to make a double, no triple exposure recently on my fancy camera, it turns out, it’s design will not allow this. I consider this a pretty serious flaw.

Dear camera maker, please only add features and stop taking them away.
This Polaroid got shot and never pulled out of the back, sat there for days only to get shot again, pulled through the rollers and then not peeled apart for what I would guess now was a week or two.
Dear camera maker, thank you, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart.

February 19th, 2010

Ongoing Story | Part H

February 18th, 2010

#1RN | 2/17/10

The older I get, the less I actually see the people I know.
I’ve known John H 18 years, it had been 287 days since I last saw him.

February 17th, 2010

I Wish I Could Write A Song For Michael

Townes was signing his Dollar Bill Blues to me and no one else could hear it as I did tonight through the plugs in my ears. I wasn’t watching where I was going, I was lost in my thoughts and the beer washing around in my stomach was not comforting.

I walk this spot on 51st Street everyday, most days, several times. Tonight, a man had returned again for this spot is his and his without question. Since before I can remember, he’s always been here, then one day very long ago, I noticed he was gone. This is what I always assumed was his home, his small spot of comfort here on this tiny spot so close to my tiny spot. Sometimes he is selling things pulled from the garbage, sometimes he is practically nude, shadow boxing the air around him, sometimes he is screaming at the passerby, sometimes he is sleeping next to the cardboard on the sidewalk instead of on it and other times, he just stares at me, through me and along with me staring back at him. Eyes on eyes as I walk by him, I would often nod never having it returned or even my very presence acknowledged.

He’s tall, very tall, he’s skinny, very skinny, his skin is dark as a starless night, his teeth are mostly missing, his hair is often in various states of erratic, his clothes never fit the season. Coats in the summer, threads in the winter. I often wonder where he is when not here, where he went and the history of his story altogether. Once, he stopped me and refuse to let me pass. He held up a small piece fabric he had, “$50, $50?” I said, “$5, I can buy it from you for $5.” He took the $5, I took my fabric. I was never acknowledged again. This was over 10 years ago.

Tonight, not moments ago, there he was again. I noticed him confronting all those walking in front me, approaching them in the cold and watching as each one, one by one, parted in extreme avoidance.

“My friend, my friend. It’s been too long, it’s been too long.”

“What’s it been, 10 years right? Ten years, yes? I’ve known you ten years?”

“I am Michael, I am Michael, I am Michael.”

Townes was still singing in my plugged ears. “If I had a dollar bill, yes I surely will, go to town and get my fill, early in the morning.”

He outreached his hand, I took it and we shook. He did not let go. His hand was warm, his hand was strong, the textures of his hand felt brittle yet had no frailty. He was not letting go.

“Can you help me, can you help me, can you help me. My friend, we’ve known each other so long, can you help me. I am Michael.”

“I am Michael, I am Michael.”

“I am Jonathan.”

Townes in my ears, “Little darling, she’s a red-haired thing, man she makes my legs to sing, gonna buy her a diamond ring, early in the morning.”

“You remember me? You remember me?”

“Yes, I remember you, I bought the fabric from you.”

“Right, right, right. Can you help me, can you help me? Anything, anything, anything?”

He was still holding my hand.

Townes in my ears, “Mother was a golden girl, I slit her throat just to get her pearls, cast myself into a whirl, before a bunch of swine.”

I reached into my pocket and felt the wad of ones from when I had taken them off the bar as my change and handed them to Michael without thinking or counting them all.

“Thank you my friend, thank you my friend, thank you my friend.”

Michael let go of my hand, stood straight up and opened his arms and stepped closer to me. I did the same in return. There, on his tiny spot of comfort so close to mine, I was embraced with Michael.

Townes in my ears, “It’s a long way down the harlan road, busted back and a heavy load, won’t get through to save my soul, early in the morning.”

I told Michael to take care of himself as we broke our embrace. He nodded.

“Thank you Jonathan, my friend, thank you Jonathan.”

“Take care of yourself Michael, take care of yourself Michael, thank you Michael.”

I then continued walking back home. I could still hear him as I was walking my way and he was walking his.

“I will, I will. That’s my friend Jonathan, that’s my friend Jonathan.”

Townes in my ears, “I’ve always been a gambling man, I’ve rolled them bones with either hand, seven is the promised land, early in the morning.”

February 16th, 2010

Debris | 1995

This was the second photo book I ever made.
I had made many albums and boxes of images before now, but this was book two.

Digital capture, color copy output, cardstock, glue stick, wire binding.
16 “Still Video Images” | Rochester, NY 1995 | 8.5″ x 5.5″ | 1 of 1

February 16th, 2010

My Brother’s Lawn | TX

My Father | My Mother | My Father’s Mother

(a long time ago)

February 15th, 2010

I Share So You Will

From 1997 to 2005, I used this unfolded cardboard box as a desk protector while I wrote in my journal or when I wrote letters. From 2005 to 2010, it sat underneath a pile of things to put into whatever journal I would write next, about 20lbs of scattered change, stacks upon stacks of prints and all the other little things that collected in my life. On one side today I noticed at some point over these 8 years from 97-05, I wrote, “Tell me a story.” On the other side I noticed at some other point in these years I again wrote, “Tell me a story.”

My words it appears sometimes repeat themselves. This for me is not always a pattern or something I am really conscious of as my love inside them, why I have written them, what I have written them on, who they were and weren’t for and why you received them or why they are here is always endlessly different, new and true. This is why I tell stories and why so often words aren’t all I use to tell them.

I first started a site in June of 2006 after more than a year without journals or letters. Exactly one year later and after 403 stories, I took them all down and started again here in June 2007 calling this site what I do now. It has been at least 5 years since I wrote these phrases, “Tell me a story” on that cardboard and part of that old site that is now no longer was titled:

February 14th, 2010

50th St. 1/2 | #1RN Samantha W

dob: undecim julius

February 14th, 2010

Love You, Mom : )

February 14th, 2010

On Clyde

Los Angeles | The End of Summer

September 19, 2009 – September 20, 2009 – September 19, 2009

February 13th, 2010

2/13/09 | 11:39:52 AM

One year ago within 8 seconds of this moment now, I made this image.

February 12th, 2010

A 2068s Tour – (For Alexander [Lee])

November 26, 2009

February 11th, 2010

#1RN | $0.50 Rose Tattoo

I Am


February 11, 2010 – 2:43:42 AM

please press play for 9s audio

February 10th, 2010

Night Of The Blue Sky

Night Of The Blue Sky
February 9, 2010 | 6:30:11 PM – 9:50:57 PM

Tonight I went to a place in Brooklyn I had only been once before. When I left this place, I walked to the train only I went the wrong way while lost in my thoughts and ended up not at the station that was my target but one even further away. So I climbed those stairs and waited on that platform in the sky, the snow had begun.

When the train came, I boarded, I found a seat, I turned up the music in my head and I waited for my stop. Stop by stop went by, I knew I had a very long way to go so I got lost in my thoughts, again. The train stopped, I hadn’t really been sleeping but I wouldn’t describe myself as having been awake either. I had boarded the wrong train. I was now in Queens. Now I was not only lost in my thoughts, but just plain lost in one of the three boroughs I would now visit tonight.

I checked the map, found my next target and waited. This time when I got to my goal, I noticed and left that platform in the ground. The sky was still spilling its white love from above and now the ground below me was screaming its white love right back.

Tonight the sky and the ground are in a battle of white.

please press play to start video – best results in full screen, scaling off

February 9, 2010 – 10:46 PM | February 10, 2010 – 4:07 AM

February 9th, 2010

#1RN | Sam R

February 8th, 2010

#1RN | Invisible String


February 7, 2010 – 11:32:48 PM

I Taught Myself To See Invisible String All Over My Face

February 7th, 2010

#1RN | 2/4/10 & 2/5/10

Evan | Sondra

February 6th, 2010

I Cannot Fly

February 5th, 2010

7th Ave. & 28th St.

February 4, 2010 | 6:47:21 PM

February 5th, 2010

My New Scar

This scar I just received has no start and has no end.

It is a horizontal and a vertical line that also goes in a circle. Deep is this ocean of this circle that has two surfaces, one that faces the light and one that faces the dark.

This scar stretches beyond the edges of these frames.

February 5th, 2010

Summer Nights, Walking | {In Winter}

February 5, 2010 | 1:01:34 AM – 1:50:36 AM – 1:47:46 AM & 6:42:30 PM

Today I went for two walks and it was not a summer night but a winter one. An exhibition I had been looking forward to opened tonight and when I arrived the only other visitor was leaving. I was there alone for the entire time it took to view these prints on the walls and no one else arrived until I was leaving. It was the best opening in New York I have ever been to as it may as well have been for me alone and alone I was.
Tonight for the first time in my life, I started the purchase process for a photograph.
This decision is undeniably the correct one.

February 4th, 2010

Everytime I Visit Martha

12/22/09 – 1/1/10 – 1/8/10 – 1/15/10

I photograph this flower each time I visit my grandmother.
I only tonight realized I have now done this for over 10 years.

4/22/09 – 4/25/07

February 3rd, 2010

December 25, 2009

February 3rd, 2010

La Cantara | 12/22/09

It’s been 20 years since my mother saw me quite like this…
…and that was only after major physical trauma.

La Cantara

February 3rd, 2010

Site | Kerrville, TX

U.S. Olympic Training Site | Kerrville, TX

February 1st, 2010

The House Of Saunders

please press play to start video – best results in full screen, scaling off

The Land Of My Blood | The House Of Saunders

January 17, 2010