Monday, April 1, 2013

New Blog Location....

I Have now combined my blog into my website...so everything is in one place now... please go to www.nathanielwelch.com and the homepage is my blog with galleries of my portfolio listed over to the right..Love it, hope you do too....nw my new blog location is current and up to date, with all of the older posts from here ported over..this blog will no longer be updated...nw

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

ESPN ODOG LSU

Out this week in espn mag is my gallery from another one of their ODOG (one day one game) issues. Basically they take one sporting event, for this it was the college football matchup of LSU vs ALABAMA, and dedicate an entire issue to this one game. They've done three of them now, and i've been lucky enough to have shot for them at all three. There was myself, about 10 other superb photogs assigned to different assignments, and a bunch of editors and writers that come down to write about it. A great time to hang with other photogs and writers. Each time I've done this I do a take on a white seamless. This time I was to focus my lens on the fans. We werent sure exactly what that meant, but we decided to set up outside the stadium near the student entrance and I and my assistants and editors would corral whomever we found or saw walking by that we deemed interesting. I was confidant we would have no shortage of willing subjects and we didnt..I grew up in florida as most know, and have a very sweet spot for the florida gators and SEC football in general, so I was very excited to be going down to shoot this, if nothing else to be able to go to the game! SEC football truly is the best, most intense and competitive college football division there is, and I will gladly argue that fact with anyone on the planet. It's just another level. We setup around 9am (game time was 7pm) and instantly we started seeing great subjects as the partying started early and lasted all day before this super rivalry. Assignments like this truly are some of my lifes great moments. I just love meeting the people and talking to them while I'm shooting and after. It still shocks me I get paid to do stuff like this. Anyway, the day was full of good times and good pics, but not without some tough moments. Number one, we did a tech scout the day before to map out where we would setup, find power, etc, but we were there early and I was concerned the afternoon sun would shine on us, which I didnt want. I asked our LSU laison if the direct sun would hit the plaza at all during the day, and he assured me that no, it would not. And he was very sure about it. But of course, around 4pm, sun shining right on my set! We improvised a little and pulled some large flags over to block it out. We also had circuit breakers going out sporadically. But again the pre planning paid off as I had the main stadium electricians # on me and he was a lifesaver. But the real moment that tested our wits was around 6pm. The line to get in the student entrance over took our whole area, I'm talking tens of thousands of drunk college kids anxious to get in. There girls passing out from the crush, frat boys starting to fight, etc.. We had barricades around us, but the swelling mass was pushing us in and we all knew a disaster was about to happen. We could all feel it in our bones. In one of lifes decisive moments, I jumped up on a chair to see over the crowd, yelled to 2 cops out in the distance in a seriously panicked voice, and they made a beeline just in the nick of time to control the crowd before we were a statistic. The cops got seriously aggressive with the drunk belligerent mass and pushed back hard to keep our set and 50k of lighting gear in tact. I had already made the executive decision that if we were overtaken, to just go with the flow and dont worry about the gear or set, that would assure our safety. The gates opened, the kids got in, we struck the set, and I watched 90 minutes of the most intense football game I've seen on a long time. If only I could convey the energy and noise inside that stadium..tv doesnt do it either. LSU almost pulled it out, a true heartbreak in death valley. attached are the tearsheets, and a couple of fav shots including a special cameo by Mr. John Korpics the photographer...and this gallery online at ESPN.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

a boy and his dog..

this out now in Mens Health magazine football preview story...I went down to nashville to shoot Kamerion Wimbley and his beloved pitbull Yogi...the story was about training with your dog, as kamerion works out with Yogi regularly..on this scorching hot july day though it was all we could do to get yogi to stand up let alone run with Kamerion...but we tried and tried, let him rest and drink, and then tried some more...i got about 15 frames of him running through the frame and then yogi decided he had had enough of this nonsense and just plopped down..we shot it at the titans practice facility on the edge of town..the best part was when yogi decided to take a dump right in the middle of the field....everybody just kinda looked at eachother like "whos gonna pick THAT up?" And then yogi jogs to the other side of the field and take ANOTHER dump...at this point we all just kinda laughed it off..the titans PR guy had somebody come out with a plastic bag and remove the offending poop. one more dog defecation story....I once had a dog walk up to me and pee on my leg while i was shooting on assignment on an indian reservation in new mexico...i was mortified and embarrassed at my now wet jeans, but a tribal elder walked up to me and told me it was a very good sign to have a dog pee on your leg, as it meant you were a very wise man. I'm sticking to that story...enjoy.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Miami Sweet

Winter shoot in Miami for ESPN magazine....my favorite sentence....I shot the day in the life of a football game for ESPN back in the fall at a houston texans game (see blog 3 posts down), and i was asked to do the same thing, but this time it was a Heat game in miami..again the concept was to do a whole issue of the magazine all about a miami heat game, with about 30 photogs, writers, and editors scrambling to cover every aspect of a pro basketball game and all that it is and entails...again my assignment was to set up a white backdrop and photograph people...whereas at the football game i was photographing all of the people that "work" at a football game, from the hotdog seller to the quarterback, at the Heat game they wanted see the "fashion" that the fans wear to pro basketball game...from the extreme, to the tacky, to the trendy...another very cool gig...again it was one of those really great dream jobs..so much fun hanging with fans (who were usually drinking and in a good mood) and shooting them in their "look"...writers and editors were scouring the stands and skyboxes looking for people that had a look and would convince them to come backstage for a 5 minute shoot...the hardest part was hearing all of the action and cheering but not being able to see the game..it was a nail biter that came down to the last shot, which the heat won..i did see the last 2 minutes standing courtside, which was really awesome..i shoot alot of athlete portraits for different magazines, and i tell people it always amazes me, whether its a football player, basketball, tennis, baseball, golfer, etc., at how GOOD pro athletes are at what they do..really blows me away at the level and intensity of their skill and talent...basketball is no exception..to see it live down courtside is like watching the most intense testosterone fueled aggressive battle, but with the perfection and delicate nuance of the NYC ballet...i never take it for granted when watching pro athletes...anyway, the shoot was great, the layout was great, very happy overall with the way it came out..after the shoot, instead of going back to nyc i headed to key west for 2 days with my brother to fish and dive..he came to the hotel to spend the night after the game before we left in the morning, so i told the front desk (very fancy snobby hotel with bentleys and ferraris in the driveway) to give my brother rob welch a key when he arrived, knowing full well my brother would be arriving in his beat up diesel pickup truck (he's a commercial fisherman) full of fishing gear and god knows what else....its always fun to force the issue with people and keep them in check. Lest they start to believe their own press..ROb said they seemed a little "annoyed" by him..oh well..had a great time in the keys, caught a bunch of lobster, caught some barracuda, snapper, and jacks..tooled around on the jetskis, etc....but mostly just hung on the dock of my bro's friends house and sat in a chair, drank beers with him, and watched water while listening to the jimmy buffet statio on pandora on the iphone...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How I got that shot....


Out now in the new issue of PDN magazine, my shoot with James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers is featured. Basically, it's a Q and A with me about the shoot, what went into it, the politics, technical issues, etc that happens on a shoot like this. It was cool to relive the shoot during my Q and A with the writer of the piece, Holly Stuart Hughes. It highlighted for me just how tenuous and uncertain alot of photo shoots are..There are no guarantees on a shoot like this, only your resolve and sometimes subtle force to see it through and make it happen. Especially on a shoot like this that was politically sensitive, with a notoriously prickly pro athlete, and to top it off, involving guns..But the stars did align and I did put on my best hat and I did indeed get the shot...click on the title of this post and you can read the story on the PDN site....it's an interesting insight into a shoot like this....nw

Friday, January 20, 2012

The TV Cop...






In December, I shot this ad campaign for the 100 Club of Chicago, which is a non profit org whose mission is to provide for the families of Police and Firefighters that lose their lives in the line of duty. When an officer dies, they come in, write a big check right off the bat, and help take care of the family and the kids of the fallen officer. The concept of the campaign was to photograph actors from Chicago, who play cops on TV. The copy was very simple tag lines like "Real first responders have more to worry about than low ratings", and "real first responders dont get body doubles". It was cool to do a very well written, simple portrait campaign like this. And very cool that it ran in black and white. It wasnt supposed to run black and white, but on set between actors, i was editing and messing with my selects and converting to black and white as i felt thats what would make them graphic and strong. The creative director, Joe Stuart from Downtown Partners in chicago, was on set and loved it so they went that direction with the whole campaign. The actors i got to shoot were Gary Sinise, Dennis Franz, Joe Montegna, and Dennis Farina. These guys are all friends in real life, and the best part was listening in to them all catching up and gossiping as they dont all get together like this very often. It was like the rat pack, very quick witted, giving each other a hard time, and the language these guys were using made even me blush. Farina in particular was one funny dude, giving everybody a hard time and having a good laugh all day. These will be running in local chicago mags and on bus shelters this year, so hoping to get there soon and see them on the bus stops...

first published of the year..





Here's some assorted tear sheets from jobs I did in late november/december....lots of good shoots to round out the year...the fisherman shot was for Money magazine, to illustrate a story about new strategies to increase your investments...the idea was that while in the past we would put lots of money into one big portfolio (hence the marlin on the wall), nowadays you must be more nimble and spread the money around for good returns (hence the group of small fish). It was a blast shooting and concepting this. We had a set built, and styled to look like a stereotypical fisherman. I got to work with creative director Neil Jamieson again, which I can honestly say i've never had a bad shoot for...the next job was for Runners World magazine of marathon runner Desi Davila, shot in detroit...Desi came in second in the boston marathon recently, and was getting ready for the olympic trials for the games in London this summer. It was a great day hanging with her on the shoot..the concept was an homage to the old Rosie the Riveter posters from WWII..SPent all day with her, shooting her training and also portaits. The hardest part of this job is that it was the coldest day of the year. Shot in early december, it was 19 degrees in the morning when we started. For this opening portrait we had to shoot for a minute, let Desi go inside to get warm, shoot for a minute, etc. until we got the shot. Desi is not glam like some of the other women runners, and she kinda came out of nowhere on the elite scene, but in the last year she has been kicking but..and I am very happy to say that she did indeed qualify for the olympic team last week at the trials in Houston. I will be watching for sure this summer crossing my fingers for her...The corporate portrait was for Bloomberg Markets magazine. shot in November in my favorite place to shoot, Central Park. The particular spot in the park I have shot at before, its a favorite for sure. the cool thing about this spot is that you can make it look like its out in the woods, middle of nowhere. Its pretty easy to shoot without showing the skyline in the backround, but for this shot we left a little bit of it in. I love this shot, definitely one of my more fav corporate shoots last year..And the last tearsheet is from Outdoor Life magazine, of bass fisherman Gerald Swindle, shot in Dallas in november. Again, cold, windy, hard conditions, but had to make it work. And make it work we did. Never come home without a great shot, no matter how bad/tough the conditions are, because honestly, your editor just doesnt want to hear it!! heres to another awesome year, 2012....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day in the life of a football game.




This story for ESPN was definitely one of the highlights for 2011 for me. The assignment was simple: go to an NFL football game, set up a backdrop, and photograph as many people that were there working that day as possible. ESPN was devoting a whole issue to one football game, The houston texans vs. the pittsburgh steelers. The were sending about 50 photographers and writers to cover the game from all angles possible. Nancy Weismann gave me what i think was the best assignment that day. We set up early in the hallways underneath the stadium, and basically just grabbed anyone walking by and took a super fast portrait of them. I photographed about 75 people that day, from the quarterback for the texans, to a guy that sells beer in the stands during the game. Cheerleaders, cameramen, bomb sniffing dog, policeman, janitor, etc.. so much fun....the highlight of the day is in the video attached to this post. At halftime there was a college marching band that entertained...after they came off the field, we had THE WHOLE BAND march across my backdrop while i shot. So much fun and so cool..after they all went by, I looked at my assistant and remarked how much i love my job... video

Redemption....


Plax. That one name conjured up so much sadness and pity when I got the assingment to shoot him for Mens Journal magazine. Plaxico Burress was one of the highest paid, best receivers in the NFL when he carried a loaded gun into a manhattan nightclub, where it accidentally fired while in hist waistband, striking himself in the leg. NYC has the toughest gun laws in the country, with a mandatory 3 year prison sentence for having a gun in the city. Even you or I, if found with a gun, even if legal outside manhattan, would face a 3 year prison sentence if found with it. I remember when i got the assingment, i remembered very well all the press when he was arrested back in 2008, thinking "what a bummer, from catching the winning touchdown pass in the superbowl, top of your game making millions, and a simple stupid mistake takes it all away." When I photographed him in July, he had only been out of prison for a month, so he was still enjoying all that he lost. His daughter, now 2, he was bonding with, as she was born while he was in prison. No amount of money could ever bring that back...we spent the better part of the afternoon on a football field doing portraits in the 100 degree heat for the story opener, then went inside to do a studio shot on a background as a backup. When he was changing his shirt for the inside shot, i saw the big tattoo on his back, "everything happens for a reason", and instantly knew that that was the picture. I asked Plax if he got it after the gun incident, and he said no, he had had it along time. I really liked him and our time together that day. I fully expected to meet a thuggish guy, with the gun incident and everything, but he wasnt like that at all, just a normal dude that made a major mistake and paid his price, no ready to move on. I've been watching him all season, as he signed with the jets, and have been so happy for him that he had a great season and is climbing back to where he was. video

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If I had a dime for every billionaire I've photographed...



The October issue of Forbes with Ronald Perelman and his father on the cover....it's was for the Forbes 400 rich list.shot on location at Ron's office on the upper east side. So cool to shoot a father and son that obviously love each other. I was a bit nervous, as was everyone on set, before they arrived...but when they walked in, Ron and his pops really put everyone at ease because they are so close. It was like shooting a father son comedic act..they were going at it the whole shoot. A real highlight shoot this fall...Its always a bit surreal to photograph people that are worth BILLIONS...literally these guys can and do buy anything that they want. We shot this in late summer early fall, and Ron was talking during the shoot how he had to catch a flight to Venice italy later that afternoon. I was talking to his publicist about it later, and it's nowhere near the same experience that you and I have. He was taking his chauffered black escalade to the airport, where he would not wait in any lines, but walk up the steps to his jet, where his pilots had done all the fueling, planning etc. and his assistants had the trip planned and scheduled once he arrived...then they would take off in the early evening, he would have dinner on board with his family, maybe read or watch tv, then go to bed in his stateroom in the back in his king size bed. He would then wake when they landed, and go look at art (he was going to the biennale) for the day...then he was getting on his gigantic yacht, again all prepared and ready to go with his crew, for a sail around the mediterranean...We shot this on a thursday, so he was leaving that thursday afternoon, and he was going to be back in nyc the following wednesday! Only 6 days! When you roll like that, and the stress of travel and cost are taken out of the equation, I guess it is easy to do super cool extravagant stuff like that for a few days at a time. For the next 6 days my assistant johnny and I during the course of that weeks work would sometimes just look at each other and say "I wonder what Ron is doing today".....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I dont even know where to begin...



What can I say, the surreal life of this photographer continues to get weirder...but when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro as someone once told me...Herman Cain, shot in Detroit about a month ago, during the height of his popularity when he was #1 in the polls. I love shooting politicians, because they are definitely the wackiest show on earth. I've shot so many of them, from al gore, orin hatch, john kerry, rick santorum, sarah palin, so many of them. And people always ask me what i think is the dumbest question you could ask "was he nice?" And my answer is always "of course, thats his job, was the most popular person in high school nice?" So yes he was nice, i did like him, and if was a fun shoot. We didnt have anything conceptual planned when we left for detroit. I talked to chris, the photo director at people, and he said, "He's part PT Barnum, the ultimate showman, show that in the picture." The idea literally came to me on the plane as we were about to land. Although originally the idea was to get some birthday cake candles that were the #9, and put three of them on a pizza. That morphed into the pepperoni spelling 999, which i loved. And honestly, we made the pizza (we shot at a local pizza place), without telling him or his handlers we were doing it, but i really knew deep down he would do it. And actually he really loved the pizza when we brought it out. After photographing him and the many other politicians I've shot, my conviction that political jobs should be like jury duty just gets stronger. Because we all know that anybody that really wants to be a lawmaker, probably shouldnt be...

the corporate location portrait...



I was very lucky this fall to be a part of the Bloomberg Markets 50 most influential issue...it's always great to be a part of a best of package in a magazine...everyone from art directors, editors, writers, photographers, try to raise their game past the top for special issues like this..when i got the call from Amy, I jumped right on board and was very excited to hear who I would be photographing. I've shot a ton of business peeps at this point, sometimes its a great experience, sometimes its not. When its not, its usually not because the subject is difficult or mean, its really because it can be so hard to take an interesting, original picture at an office complex..I can tell you how many times i've sighed when the PR person leads me to a conference room and says "this is where you will be photographing Mr. _________ today." But, i get it, they are busy, not much time, etc.. so I always make a great go of it and more times than not hit a home run, even in a conference room...for these guys in this special issue though, we had a little lead time and I had some ideas. The first one was Martin Feldstein, an economist up at harvard in Cambridge. His assistant was very "you can come do it at his office", but I really pushed with the magazine and with him to do something a bit more iconic and interesting. I had shot in cambridge a couple of times before, and while i had never shot on the pedestrian Weeks Bridge, I had always wanted to. I had seen the bridge and kinda just bookmarked it a few years earlier as a photoshoot location wish. Plus the idea for the portrait of him was to photograph him in an academic environment, as thats what he was, up at harvard, and i knew the bridge was so iconic cambridge, and the background would be super clean and great for a full page. Permits were put in place. location scouted. we showed up for the shoot and crossed our fingers the rain that was forecast would hold off for a bit. When Johnny and I got to location, and got our gear all up on the bridge, I had one of my several panic attacks that day, when i realized the bridge railing was SO high, it would dwarf him if he stood against it with his head barely going above the rail. So i decided that he needed to sit on the railing, even though it was up high over the charles river, and he was a pretty old guy. This goes into the "dont ask, but tell the subject to do something." I didnt really give him a choice. when he showed up, pleasantries were exchanged, then i directed him over to the railing, where i had a couple of photo cases for him to stand up on, and i helped him get up on the bridge. He did it, but only because i told, not asked. Lesson #1 today, keep as much control of the situation and decisions as you can. Act like you've done it 1,000 times before..........................................................

My second subject for the issue was Ray Dalio, hedge fund billionaire. His people were much more controlling of location "you will do it at corporate and we will have a room set for you." Ok, got it. so we decided to bring a backdrop and shoot him in a studio setting as we didtn know what we would be getting when we got there. So we showed up super early, loaded in all the gear, set up the backdrop, lit it, and were waiting. I always have a calm nervousness on set and am always looking for photos, so I stepped outside of the room we were in, walked outside, and fell in love with this location by a little pond. Now Ray is scheduled to show in 10 minutes, but i love the location and really want to try an optoin with Ray here too. And the publicist has already told me Ray is always on time or early and wont give me much time. The location was literally a 30 second walk from our room though and i knew i could pull it off. I went inside, told the publicist my plan, again didnt really give him a choice, and had my assistants grab one light each and walk them out with me to this location. Super quick meter reading, test shots, etc. weather getting sketchy, Ray shows up..We chat, shoot outside for 5 minutes, then rush inside with my assistants dragging lights with us. Reset the studio shot, and shoot him there for 15 minutes...both setups looked great. Lesson #2, NEVER be afraid to change last minute, and never stop looking..

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

perfect




What can i say...surrounded by beautiful girls all day in a park in New Jersey...hanging out with favorite Photo Editor Andrea Verdone....great pics, great people, great food, great everything...it was a long day but so much fun...

who can you trust



This image was out last month in the July issue of money magazine. The concept was conceptual, we needed to shoot a half boyscout, half business man image for a story about finding financial advice you can trust. I loved the concept, but was very aware that if done wrong it would look hokey and silly. We spent lots of time doing tests of the model in different wardrobe setups and different lighting setups and backgrounds, trying to find that image that was great and not ironic or silly. The thing that finally sold it for me was when i put a heavy amber gel on the backlight thats lights up the right side of his outfit in the picture. When i saw that one of the computer screen, i knew it was going to be great. It gave the image a "vintage" feel and a bit more timeless overall. I wish i had one where the backlight wasnt amber, so i could put it up here for you to compare, but i dont. Great shoot, great to work with Neil Jamieson again since he left Field and Stream, and got to meet and work with Shayla Hunter for the first time as well. Of course we all wanted to put on the boyscout stuff and do shots of us as well...heres one of me doing my best scouts honor...

2 covers is 30 minutes...




Out now is the current Golf Digest with my picture of pro golfer Dustin Johnson standing on a poly ball swinging his club...this shoot happened back in march 2011 in Florida. The photo director there, Christian Iooss, told me we had to get TWO cover shoots done in 30 minutes, one for Golf Digest, and one for their sister publication, Golf World. I was super stoked to get the gig, as covers are always a good thing, but was definitely a little nervous to pull off two different covers in 30 minutes. I knew there wouldbt be enough time for two different locations or setups, so decided to focus on getting two different crops on Dustin, one tighter, and one full length..the Golf Digest cover was the priority, and the concept was set, which was Dustin standing on a poly ball swinging his club, as that is one of his workout techniques. I did the Golf World shoot first as it was less complicated, we shot for 10 minutes, then took a five minute break while i re-lit for the full length shot on the poly ball. One of my biggest strengths as a photographer is being quick, decisive, and focused while on set...no wasting time. Usually by the time the talent arrives on set I totally see the shot in my head and give very detailed direction to the talent. This shoot was the same, quick hello's, here's the concept, now lets start shooting. No small talk or wasting time. The shoot went great, all were happy, and we were done in about 40 minutes with both shots...One thing that stuck out in my head after the shoot was watching Dustin chip some balls between shots. We were shooting on a golf course in south florida on an unused tee box, and there was a green with a pin about 100 feet behind us. Dustin pulled a wedge out of his bag and a few balls while we were resetting the lights, and chipped all three of them very casually with no practice swing about 3 feet from the pin. It always blows me away to watch pro athletes do their thing and make is look so easy and flawless..

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Old Friends..







Old friend and collaborator Jesse James for people magazine. I’ve put the people story here as well as a bunch of other stuff from our long journey together these last 10 years. Jesse and I have a pretty great history of creative collaboration..I first met him on a story for GQ in 2000, he was just starting to blow up as his bikes were getting a lot of attention and the Discovery channel show “motorcycle mania” which was about him and was the highest rated discovery show ever, and I think it still is. That show had everyone, including GQ, trying to find out who this guy was..Jesse and I got each other and got along well then on those 2 days together, and the pics were awesome.. ..some subjects you just click with better…maybe it was our similar ages and middle class suburban background. So Fast forward a few years, we reconnected on a cover story I shot for Popular Mechanics magazine about a flying car he built for the show Monster Garage, a show that was created for him by Discovery as he was so popular, and it turned into a hugely popular show also.. When I met him again on that shoot, we caught up, chatted about the GQ shoot and I brought a few prints for him from that shoot. It was then that he said “we should do something together”, at which I responded, “cool, lets do it. I will have some ideas for you and will stop by your shop when I’m in LA in 3 weeks.” It was a vague gesture on both our parts, but I did stop by his place next time I was in LA and told him of my ideas for a book with him.. And that’s how our best body of work ,“Jesse James and his Beautiful Machines” was born. It was great working on that book as Jesse trusted my vision completely, and its still a creative highlight in my life and career. I’m sure even in 50 years it will still look timeless. During the making of the book, design, edit, writing, etc, I kept asking myself, “will I want this on my bookshelf in 50 years?” very simple guiding vision, but crucial. And the truth is that yes, I will be very proud of it even in 50 years..People always think it’s a book about motorcycles, and while motorcycles are all through the book, they are just the metaphor and object that serves as the real subject of the book, which is mans drive, ability, and determination to make things out of metal with their hands and some tools. That’s how I pitched it to jesse, not a boring book about you and motorcycles, but a book about what its like to bend metal into something beautiful and useful. Still stoked about it. And jesse and I became pretty good friends during the making of it.… So when Chris Dougherty from people called to ask if I would head down to Austin to shoot jesse for a feature, I said yes… he had a book coming out and people had the scoop…I was excited to see him again as I had talked and texted with him since the cheating on Sandy scandal happened, but hadn’t seen him and was eager to hang with him a bit again and just see him. I know he was eager to see me too as he was stoked I was shooting the story and wanted me to get there a day early and stop by his house… when I think about it, I think he was looking for pieces of his past that gave him good and pleasant memories, and I was that to him as our history was always about good stuff, and we did the book during his time with Sandy. I’ve gone through the same kind of thing after a love affair gone bad, and grasped at good pieces and memories of my past during the love affair for comfort, and I’m sure that was part of the reason he wanted to see me…to grasp at what was, and see that not all in his life was completely destroyed, that there was still good there. .the pain he must have been going through was certainly profound, and nothing that I’ve experienced…It was great to see him again when I got to his house. He gave a big hug letting me know he was glad I was still there for him. Our relationship has always been rock steady. We weren’t pals or best friends or anything like that, just a constant good thing. When the Sandy thing broke, I instantly contacted him letting him know that a. I was feeling for him and there for him and b. I wouldn’t throw him under the bus and release bad pictures of him for the tabloids to use (I was getting calls, believe me, as no one has an archive on jesse like me). Ultimately I could have made some money off of pictures I had of him when it all went down, but life and friendship and ultimately my work is just too important to sell it for the wrong reasons for money. I thought about it for a quick minute, but just not who I am… It was awesome seeing him for a couple of days, reminiscing a bit, and just hanging out and taking pics like the old days....He was definitely different than before the scandal, he seemed to lose a lot of the anger and edge that he had deep down, I guess all the therapy he went through and pain of it all helped him let go of it..I actually missed the old jesse a bit as that edge and intensity is what made him so good at what he did, and made you want to be around him and his world. At some point though he had to let go of it all and just try and re-ground, which is what he did..…it was great hanging with him and his kids and seeing him as a dad too, which I had never really seen. The shoot was great, jesse has always trusted me and done whatever I wanted him to do (which is hard for him), and generally just a couple of good days. It was great seeing his awesome spread in Austin, a far cry from Long Beach. We even talked about a couple of book ideas again…we said goodbyes, I headed back to NYC and even had a text from him the following day making sure I got home ok…I don’t think our history is over at this point, jesse is the ultimate phoenix, he will rise from the ashes of his self destructed previous life, its just who he is….at one point during the shoot, he said something to me that was so profound and pretty much summed it all up, who he is, why cheated on sandy, and where he will be again someday but a better version... As we walked around he showed me his new shop, which was his garage at his new house, he talked about the 40,000 square foot factory/shop that was west coast choppers in long beach but was now closed. That huge world and business totally gone at this point..He said “it’s funny but I’m back where I started. I started in my moms garage welding and building bikes, and now its full circle, I’m in my garage welding and building bikes, just me.” He never was comfortable with all that WCC had become, and deep deep down I’ve always known he was scared and uncomfortable with the success of WCC, you could always see it in his eyes and I had seen him all along the way and it was obvious…and he always made a point to tell me he was “just a welder”….

The Candy (wo)Man


What can I say…the gorgeous Dylan Lauren for the cover of Forbes magazine…I shot this at Dylans Candy Bar, her legendary candy store on the upper east side. Really one of the more brilliant ideas that in restrospect makes yo u think “why didn’t I think of that?” So obvious that a story like this will do great, and hers is doing great and growing to more and more locations and a truly global brand…sounds familiar for her family right? Her papa is Ralph Lauren, and I know I don’t need to tell you who he is. The cover story was about success, and is it learned? Or inherited in your genes? What made Dylan successful, besides the obvious, which is great connections, you still gotta produce and have the ideas and instinct..So it was a story about that, is success inherited. It was awesome hanging out in her store that morning before opening, we set up a studio downstairs for the cover shoot. And when it was all over she said “take whatever you want”. And of course we had sweets for the week. The funniest thing I saw were candy cigs…I had no idea they still made them, but they do. It brought me back to when I was a kid and I remember buying them and pretending to be an adult.. but now it seems so insane getting fake cigs for your kid. But it is a free country after all still isn’t it??

Glamour




This one is tough, and even hard to write about to be honest…it was for glamour magazine, a real people story in Denver about a woman named Kristen Stillman and her brother Will. Basically, they are twins who were born to a junkie loser mom, who ended up giving them when they were 8 to an aquaintance guy and his family who was another loser, mean, nasty person. She was raped her whole life, he was beat. She bore children by the man, etc etc etc. They finally ran away when she realized her kids were in for the same life as her.. It really is the kind of story that makes me deep down question being human and not just giving up on everything altogether. I just lose all hope when I hear about stuff like this.. Again, its about having my own child now. I see it all differently now that I have him. Before I would have thought yea, its awful, he’s awful, I hope he gets the death penalty or worse. But I could have let go after the shoot and moved on. Now I see henry and how could anyone do that to a child. They’re all so pure when theyre born. Not winners or losers, just pure. No hate, no racism, just pure. The real tragedy of this story is that the cops, child protective services, etc, were called many many times to the house by the neighboors, who knew something was up, but every time the system failed them. Makes me really upset and not trust the system even more…I honestly don’t even want to write about this anymore, but you owe it to yourself to read their story…I’ve posted the story here on the blog, so read it if you can, or google Kristen Stillman, read about her story, hug your kids, and wonder how in the hell stuff like this happens….