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Well, maybe not the attitude. But in testing out the new Leicas, there’s been some learning. The lenses have much less distortion, and so are less forgiving to a shooter who rarely holds the camera perfectly level.

Enhanced clarity in communication happens, in part, through this sort of technical clarity. One hopes. And if not, well, playing with new toys is always fun.


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The photos in the other post were all shot on a phone, these were shot on a camera. Though the distinction between the two capture methods continues to shrink, there is a difference in the kinds of images you end up shooting. When shooting with a camera that weighs several pounds, the intent of each frame tends to be more clear. Shots on phones can sometimes have a “right there” quality — the phones themselves fit into spaces that larger cameras can’t, the subjects tend to be less intimidated.

Whatever the intent, these shots from paradise ended up looking like they belong on the wallpaper of your computer desktop. And that’s what I use them for.
 

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Having admired Kehinde Wiley’s work from the web for so many years it was a revelation to see the canvases in person. They were larger than I expected them to be. Majestic. Looking at a canvas closely you can see technique. And there’s a moment I love as you back away from a painting that technique turns into the picture itself. With Wiley’s pieces I found myself backing up further. The other viewers themselves — often white — became a part of viewing Wiley’s black and brown subjects. I wonder if this is on purpose.


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My friend Zoran came out on one of the coldest nights of the year to capture these images of us working. I’ll thaw out in a couple weeks.


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"Black skin is not a weapon." #brooklyn #EricGarner #MikeBrown #BlackLivesMatter

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Hands up! Don't shoot! #nyc #mikebrown

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The twin grand jury decisions not to indict police officers for the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner roiled the city in November and December. Against this backdrop I began production on my first feature film, a lifelong dream. But if filmmaking is the act of creating a dream world, then raising one’s own voice amid a chorus/cacophony of others in protest felt both more real than anything else, and movie-like.

The footage above is from a protest that took place two weeks before we began shooting. Climbing the barrier to the FDR, stopping traffic both ways, then proceeding to “take” the Brooklyn bridge was surreal — the car horns blaring (some in support, some in opposition) were felt as much as heard. I took the photo below after a long week of production. Having missed a major protest in the city while filming that day, I was content to begin a weekend of relaxation. But from the apartment we heard helicopters, then distant chants. One branch of the march had reached our neighborhood and, well, history waits for no one.

The news that two NYPD officers had been killed in Brooklyn rippled through our film set another day — our location was not a ten minute drive from where it happened. Between takes small groups could be heard discussing the implications. But my mind was on the task at hand — we were filming a party scene that night, one of the most difficult on our schedule.

Our production finishes soon. It is a new year, but the jumble of emotions that is this moment in New York continues. The camera is one tool that sees both dreams and reality. I am learning to juggle the two.


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72hrs-keyart

I’ve been writing the film 72 Hours: a Brooklyn Love Story? for the better part of the year, and will be directing it soon. It’s been a tremendously rewarding journey to start with a few ideas and now find myself working with an amazingly talented cast and crew to bring the project to life. We’ve raised a lot of money so far, and are launching a campaign today to add the last few bells and whistles so we can really do it right. Please take a look, share, and support!

Longtime observers of the dotcom might make the connection from the artwork above to this photo I took nearly two years ago. Because everything really is a process. So, please, become a part of it. Thank you.


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brownsville-high

In preparing for The Film, nearly everything else has taken a back seat. Even the consideration that goes into a photo. Mainly it’s been snapshots, on the new, improved phone. Locations, rehearsal, that sort of thing. Ideally all the work unspools in one 90-minute sequence of uninterrupted beauty. But as a hedge, or to see how the sausage gets made there’s a lot of activity going on at #72hrsBK, so please follow Instagram and Twitter. Stay in touch, baby. I’ll keep making it do what it do.

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