Friday, December 31, 2010

My favorite photo from 2010

This isn't a photo I'll be adding to my portfolio or entering into this years contests, but it holds a special memory for me. It was my second or third day in the Sunderbans forest in Southern Bangladesh. Its the most beautiful place I've ever been.

We came to this village to photograph and interview an older "tiger widow", a woman whose husband was attacked an killed by a tiger while he was fishing in the forest. I was trying to shoot her in the road in nice sunset light and the entire village came out to watch. Any light skinned westerner who has traveled around South Asia has experienced this staring phenomenon. Adults and children follow you around, mesmerized. This makes life for a photographer especially difficult.

So there I was in the middle of the road trying to take pictures of this tiny woman with a crowd of 30 behind me spilling into the peripheral of the photo. Rajib and Nicol were trying to perform crowd control but the children just weren't having it. I was biting my tongue, getting really frustrated because we were losing light but finally yelled out one of the few Bangla phrases I know "aak ta ta por dibo!!!" (I'm going to slap you!) Which only amused the kids more. I finished with the woman and started wandering the small village to make some photos while Rajib and Nicol interviewed her. To my annoyance, this wasn't possible. The children trailed me everywhere, getting in all my frames, peeking from behind the huts then running away laughing 10 paces ahead to hide again. They were having the time of their lives but I was ready to throw up my hands in frustration. Our project was not going as planned, my visa was set to expire in ten days, I just burned my leg on the motorcycle and dammit, I can't even set foot in a village here to shoot without being the center of attention!

Then it started to rain.

And all at once I found the whole thing incredibly funny. I was in the middle of this tiny village, surrounded by jungle and UNHCR huts worrying about boyfriend drama and story woes. My bourgeois problems seemed so ridiculous at that moment. So I threw down my bag and one of my cameras and ran after the kids, playing tag, chasing them through the village. More and more showed up and one of them brought a ball. By that time the rain had turned the field into a small muddy lake but we ran right through it playing soccer, chasing each other and laughing for a good hour. By the time my friends found me I was having a blast, soaking wet, covered in mud from head to toe and praying my 5D hadn't drowned. As we headed down the road back to the hotel the kids followed us a good half mile chanting the two English words I taught them; "hello!" and "starbucks!". It was my favorite day in South Asia.

Right now I couldn't feel further away from Bangladesh. I'm sitting in my newspaper office in New York City, loading up on coffee and hand warmers, about to head down to photograph Times Square and ring out what has been without a doubt, the best year of my life.

Happy new year everyone.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Art Basel in Miami, December 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Recent work

New York's Village Halloween Parade is rehearsed upstate in Red Hook.

A revitalizing Fruit Enzyme facial is seen at Jurlique Spa on Madison Ave.

Loredana Jolie is releasing a memoir titled "The Real Diary: Lessons from the Good Time Girl to Champion." about her affair with Tiger Woods.

Adriana Lima promotes a new bra at the Victoria's Secret SOHO, New York.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alana and Landon in Bedford, New York

I shot the wedding of Alana and Landon last weekend upstate with the talented Chris Joriann. I decided to start to shoot weddings because I seem to be getting into that scary age where my friends are getting engaged, and asking me to be their wedding photographer, so I need the practice. But shooting Alana and Landon I realized I really enjoy shooting these events. It's such a beautiful time, everyone is happy, smiling and glad to have you there shooting. It's an honor to be a part of the biggest day of their lives.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New York City Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and House Speaker Christine Quinn speak at City Hall about the recent spree of hate crimes in New York.

* Oct. 3: Three gay men, including two teens, are beaten and sodomized by a wolf pack of gangsters in The Bronx after one of the teens tried to join the gang.

* Oct. 3: A gay man is brutally beaten allegedly by two Staten Island men in a bathroom in the famed Stonewall Inn, the West Village bar where the gay-rights movement was born.

* Oct. 1: A group of men hugging and kissing on 25th Street and Ninth Avenue in Chelsea is accosted by another group of men, who yell anti-gay slurs, tell them to go home, punch them and toss a garbage can at them.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Burlesque shows in New York City and New Orleans from the past two weeks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Snapshot of my friend Sam from the other night in Manhattan.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Reporter Jacob Resneck, was forwarded this press release today:


STOCKHOLM and SAN FRANCISCO (September 8, 2010) — As a commitment to the health and safety of workers across the apparel industry, Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) and Levi Strauss & Co. today announced plans to implement a global ban on sandblasting in all of their future product lines. The two companies are encouraging others to join this ban in a move toward eliminating sandblasting as an industry practice.
Sandblasting is one of a number of finishing techniques used to create a worn look for denim and other apparel. When sandblasting is performed, proper safeguards, such as those used by H&M and Levi Strauss & Co. suppliers, must be in place to protect workers from potentially serious harm resulting from exposure to crystalline silica (a compound found in sand). But there are some factories in the apparel industry – often linked to counterfeit operations – which do not apply the same safeguards, putting workers’ health at risk.
"H&M has had health and safety requirements for sandblasting for several years. Like all other Code of Conduct requirements, monitoring of sandblasting practices has been part of our extensive Full Audit Programme. At the same time, securing that these standards are being observed by all of our suppliers and their subcontractors has proven too difficult. In order to make certain that no worker producing denim garments for H&M risks his or her health, we have decided to quit purchasing and retailing sandblasted products," said Karl Gunnar Fagerlin, Production Manager at H&M.
“At Levi Strauss & Co., we’ve implemented rigorous standards for sandblasting in our own supply chain but we decided that the best way to help ensure no worker – in any garment factory – faces the risks associated with exposure to crystalline silica is to move to end sandblasting industry-wide,” said David Love, Senior Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Levi Strauss & Co. “We’re proud to join with H&M today in a commitment to apparel workers world-wide and we urge other companies to join us in ending this practice.”
– more –

Effective immediately, H&M and Levi Strauss & Co. will not place any new orders for sandblasted product and as of December 31, 2010, H&M and Levi Strauss & Co. will no longer have any active production that uses this finishing technique. The ban includes, but is not limited to, the use of aluminum oxide, aluminum silicate, silicon carbide, copper slag and garnet for abrasive blasting.

A quote from Aron Cramer, President and CEO, BSR, about this announcement: "I applaud the step that LS&Co. and H&M have taken to phase out sandblasting globally. The move they are announcing today builds on their legacy of leadership in ensuring that their products are made under safe and fair working conditions."

Andrea Roos
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB

Amber McCasland
Levi Strauss & Co.

It was also featured in the Financial Post

Our recent piece on Sandblasting in The Caravan:

"About 24 kilometres from the centre of Dhaka, in the gritty industrial suburb of Savar Upazila, down a narrow path, a small sign reads ‘Latest Washing and Blasting Industries.’ It’s not much more than a large corrugated metal shack with room for three young men, who work shoulder-to-shoulder. In the centre of the shed is a waist-high mound of white sand from the nearby Jamuna River. The young men are armed with pneumatic guns that shoot the sand onto the denim jeans, their hands protected by heavy gloves. A few spurts on each side are all that’s necessary to give the denim that worn, softer look that the fashionistas crave.

There’s no ventilation, save for bullet-sized holes in the metal roof where rays of sunshine look like tangible cylinders from the fine dust and sand in the air. As the men work, there is a cacophony of noise and dust and it’s nearly impossible to breathe—with or without a flimsy cotton face mask that is supposed to provide protection to visitors....."

Read the rest of the article with more photos in The Caravan here

Thursday, July 22, 2010

'eight miles a minute, for months at a time'

I'm back in New York working daily assignments again, drinking Starbucks, appreciating first world amenities, catching up with friends, moving apartments and trying to get back on my feet. While it's a relief to have some paychecks coming in, I'm missing Asia alot. I miss riding around on the back of motorcycles, sleeping under mosquito nets, living out of a backpack, the crowded smelly trains of Kolkata and shooting the pictures I really care about. I'm counting my days and dollars until I can make it back to Bangladesh again to continue the tiger project with Rajib.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunderbans, Bangladesh

I've spent my last month in South Asia traveling and photographing through the Sunderbans in Bangladesh, working on a story and multimedia piece about tigers. It should be put together in the next 2 or 3 months. Here are some snapshots from the trip in the meantime.

Tigers attack from behind so we bought Halloween masks in Dhaka before taking off

Fresh honey from the hive.


More staring.

After the rain.

There are baby goats everywhere.

You can't be a real photojournalist without a Leica, Afgan scarf and hat.