digital vs. film

The first digital picture I ever took was of Michael Jackson and being that I am from the generation of kids that grew up with the two equally urgent and constant debates of "coke vs. pepsi" and "michael jackson vs. prince", I was thrilled to think of being in the same room with this legend (even though I always chose Prince).

Back to the story:  I was assisting a photographer who had been hired to shoot Michael in his hotel room in Manhattan and there we were, the photographer snapping away and me loading film.  We had heard of the digital revolution but neither of us had entered it yet so when this british PR agent came over to me and whispered "we are going to need a pic from this lickety split - did you bring your digital camera?" I said, "uh, no."  "That's ok, I have one that you can use." And he hands me this thing that looks like a polaroid camera on steroids.  I quickly snapped a picture and together we looked at the display screen on the back of the camera.  You could kind of tell that it was Michael Jackson. "Perfect," he said and he ran off with the camera to download it and send if off.

A little more than 5 years later I purchased my first SLR digital camera.  I had a point and shoot that was great for certain things but I hadn't yet gotten a camera that was good enough for assignment work.  I was and am amazed at how far digital photography has come.  I was not impressed with my first experience with it and I really didn't understand how much it would improve, or how quickly.  I have to admit that I also doubted the CD and youtube so I am probably not to be trusted in this area.

Recently I have had several jobs where I was asked to throw some film into the mix and to my eye, the difference is subtle but incredible.  Below is an example.  The comparison is not totally fair because I am using different cameras, different lenses but still, I think the film has a buttery quality that digital hasn't matched...yet.  


barnard ads

Here are a couple of ads I shot recently for Barnard.


the natural world

The last month or so has been devoted to putting together new books.  Working with editing genius Melissa McGill, we put together various categories - portraits, lifestyle and still life/interior - but we also did this book: the natural world.  I love this book.  It's about nature but from my particular point of view and with human touches throughout.  Here are a few sample pages.


new video

Here's a little video about family, seasons and circles.


not dead yet

It's been quite an 8 days.  Last Thursday I took our little Ashtabula in for a routine spay and got a call 2 hours later that her heart had, unexplainably, stopped during surgery.  The vet was able to restart her heart after about 5 minutes but she wasn't sure what the prognosis would be.  If she lived she might be blind, etc.  When I brought her home that night and she could barely lift her head, I thought for sure she would not make it through the night.  Miraculously, after being home for about 10 minutes, she stood up and proceeded to bump around the room and fling kitty litter everywhere with her 'cone of shame'.  Things were looking up and she seemed even better on Saturday, purring and playing, but Sunday morning she seemed bad again, not moving much and breathing with an unnerving clicking sound.  Again, I thought this was it.  A trip to the vet revealed that she had developed pulmonary edema from the CPR so we medicated that and hoped for the best.  Today we went to the vet and she has been given a clean bill of health.

I hate to be labeled a cat lady but I do love my cat.  In truth, I have always loved all animals; insects, too.  When I was young I kept cats, dogs, beetles, turtles, birds....whatever my mom would agree to.  The comfort that these creatures have given me over the years is really immeasurable.  I remember reading in an Alan Watts book a long time ago about how we tend to envy animals because they don't  have to bear the burden of the past or the future the way humans do.  I think there is so much truth to this.  There is a real grace to the immediacy of their lives.  Something to admire.  Something to imitate?

For right now, I am just glad to watch Ashie doze in the sun.