This place is (unfortunately) being neglected. You’ll find a few articles over on my photography site, which I’m slowly working on beefing up (from a Flash portfolio to a richer, more powerful WordPress site) to make it more worthy of belonging to an actual Los Angeles fashion photographer. Hoping to pretty it up – and work out the kinks – in the coming weeks, when I’m not too busy dealing with frivolous legal threats from celebrities and their blustery lawyers.
The story that follows is long and a bit convoluted, but it’s necessary to understand the situation and my reasoning behind releasing the images herein.
On August 29, I decided to go shoot some breaking-news images of the Station Fire, a massive wildfire conflagration which continues to burn as I write this in early October. I spent a significant amount of that day inside the forest shooting. The forest was closed to the public and I was admitted as media – told I was “on my own” which was just fine with me. Late in the afternoon, as I was making my way back out, I came across a rather eerie looking scene at a turnout a few miles from the forest boundary. It just looked and felt weird – the fire hoses sitting there in a box (apparently staging by the firefighters), the gnarly blackened trees, etc. So I pulled in and took a couple photos of the site.
The Hollywood sign shot has been everywhere. It’s been really exciting. Thank you to all of you who saw it in your papers (Fargo! Tulsa! Edmonton! DC! London! Holy Moly!) and wrote to me. I feel really lucky this past week.
I was at the newsstand today to check the fresh Newsweek, because they finally ran the story on the John Hancock Tower for which they had licensed a couple of my shots. My shots didn’t make the final cut, so that was a disappointment.
But, knowing that TIME had featured my Hollywood sign shot in their weekly gallery online, I figured – just in case – I’d peek at their print edition. I dropped Newsweek, picked up its shelf-neighbor, TIME – and there was my baby, jumpin’ off the page! I was psyched.
[Apologize for the quality of the scan; the paper is so thin that it is hard to scan it well.]
I spent much of the afternoon and evening yesterday up in Angeles National Forest photographing the fires and general devastation up there. You can see some of the photos in my Station Fire photo album. The Associated Press has licensed a couple of them – and I’m pretty psyched about that. Let me know if you see them anywhere. (And, in the “dubious honor” department, my smoky Hollywood Sign image is on the front page of the Drudge Report as I write.)
Once past the police checkpoints, it got very eerie. The roads were debris-strewn and entire neighborhoods abandoned. I explored the neighborhoods briefly but decided to save that for evening.
Once up into the forest, I was prepared for the flames and the smoke – but not the sound. It was perhaps the oddest sound I’d ever heard. Not just the roaring-freight-train sound you’d expect a mountainside of fire to sound like – but a strange, squealy-popping sound – almost like a cackling scream. There were lines of fire everywhere. It was really touch-and-go and “intense” is understating it.
It was a humbling experience; I hope to write more later – but for now, check the images.
For years, ignoring the pleas of its customers, and seemingly unbeknownst to most of us, flickR has been stripping author, license, and other information from the resized versions of every image we upload.
To most of you, this probably sounds like pointless geekery, but it poses a serious copyright problem. This practice contributes massively to the developing “orphan works” issue and needs to be addressed by flickR, pronto.
Most cameras insert data into images when they are created, and many photographers insert additional data such as copyright information, author information, and so on. The idea is that this information follows the image as it travels the world, and hopefully helps people (who are curious enough to look) to understand who made it and how. It also helps honest people who, down the road, discover an image they like and want to find out how – and if – they can legally use it.
Before I get into this story I want to set the psychographic stage, because I’ve been through this enough now to know what kind of conversations these controversies stir up.
My 2007 incident in San Antonio [see An Accidental Interview With Lieutenant Phil Dreyer] – which was much scarier and more flagrant than the one I’m writing about today – made me realize how out-of-fashion standing up for your rights has become, and also how much it opens you up to criticism for being a troublemaker (and more).
People like Thomas Hawk and Carlos Miller have famously faced this as well. The assumption (often verbalized) is that we’re belligerent, in-your-face assholes who go to places sticking our cameras (and our laminated, marked-up copies of the First Amendment) in people’s faces, looking and hoping for a fight. Sorry, but that’s just not true. I absolutely hate these confrontations and just want to make my pictures and be left alone. For instance, I had a terribly embarrassing and awkward police / photography incident at LAX a few months back and decided not to write about it because of the rather sensational issues it would raise. So trust me, I am not in this for the fight.
I am sitting here in Dulles, stuck, thanks to this awesome weather (and being reminded, again, why I live where I do.)
I thought I’d take this opportunity to wish y’all – with words and a photo – a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Saturnalia, Yule, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day.
Enjoy, everyone. Have fun and stay safe out there.
ABC reporter Asa Eslocker was arrested today for taking pictures on a public sidewalk. One of the officers said to him, “you’re lucky I didn’t knock the fuck out of you.” I hope every one of the police buffoons involved is fired. See the video, then contact the Denver PD and tell them what you think.
Chief Bratton, who feels the Paparazzi Task Force is a waste of time (I agree with him), just said on MSNBC:
“Since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving, Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore – thank God – and evidently Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don’t seem to have much of an issue.”
Hey, man, don’t blame me for Linsday – I tried.