- Ted & Debbie (Photographers)
I still feel sand in my boots as I walk back from a studio shoot in NYC. Remnants of last Fridays shoot at Glamis sand dunes. Always an adventure when you meet the art director at the intersection of highways 86 and 78 and caravan from there. Passing the Salton Sea, Sam is riding shotgun, streaming music as we drive and assisting. We had a fun day in the desert. Quote of the day came from a guy in a dune buggy who hoped we were shooting nudies but when he found out what we were up to said, “The Eagles are bitchin’!”
There’s only been one job close to home this year so far but I’m not complaining. Just the opposite. I’m thankful to have a little bit of sand in my boots.
We are over Pittsburgh. I’m in an aisle seat. Seat 3D to be exact. I sat in the same seat going to New York. I usually fall asleep before the plane even takes off but the software salesman sitting next to me just wont be quiet. He’s showing pictures of his 3 daughters on his phone and keeps asking me if they could be models. I say they are all beautiful. In his Queens accent he says, “You’re shitting me right.” Next to the software guy, next to the insurance guy sitting in the window seat, outside the window there’s a lighting storm going on over Pittsburgh. Evey 4 or 5 seconds a big silent bolt lights up the clouds in a display that a bit scary. I’m thinking of getting my camera down from the overhead but the captain turns on the “Fasten Seat Belts” sign. It’s going to be a bumpy flight. The software guy brings out a open bottle of wine and says, “I got this Zin from duty free and it’s pretty fucking good. Bah tenda. 3 glasses see vu play!” The flight attendant says passengers aren’t allowed to pour their own alcohol on the flight. I’m thinking to myself that’s a great rule.Â Â Actually, he’s drank most of the bottle before he even got on the plane. The flight attendant brings us each a half glass of the wine and we toast to a safe trip as the lightning show continues over Pittsburgh. I think about seeing the Hale Bopp Comet in the northwest sky, a smoldering Ground Zero while landing at JFK a couple of weeks after 9-11 and seeing The Green Flash over Bora Bora from my window seat many years ago. The slide show next to me continues. Doesn’t this guy ever download his photos? I tell him I have 5 boys and he says to the guy at the window seat, “This guy has 5 boys. He’s gotta fucking basketball team!” I think to myself, this is going to be a long flight.
An alien landscape. A foreign film with no subtitles. Watching an English film with the volume turned down. Stills, shots, or clips. Walking around New York. People sitting on stoops- staring, sweating and smoking. A glimpse of a late night meal in a basement apartment. A delivery descending underground through red metal doors. A white poodle sitting in a window of a 3rd floor apartment barking noiselessly.
Legged creatures approaching you with bulging bodies and heads from Bed Bath and Beyond…Without talking they communicate to me the effort it took to consume and transport their goods back home.
Underground, under homes, pedestrians and lord know what else. I ‘m down in the subway, it’s hot and I start thinking about numbers and letters. The A,C, E line spellls ACE. I think of braille and Blackjack and the number 21. I think about helping my kids with their homework. There’s a certain chemistry here unlike anywhere else in the world. A tentative chemistry of chaos that works only to the extent that all must agree upon it working. The noise of the A train approaches. You are hit with it’s sound first, then its self generated wind hits you in the face. It’s cool refreshing breezeÂ is short lived as the car comes a screeching halt and doors automatically open and people are let off. You enter and take your place among the Gestalt going further downtown.
Having spent more time in the Pacific Ocean then on the streets of Manhattan lately itâ€™s only natural (for me at least) to make the comparison. Understanding not to fight works well here as it does in the water. Let them both take you. Youâ€™ll feel their energy and get a small glimpse of understanding what they are about. You canâ€™t overpower either. Enter their currents and try to fight them and youâ€™ll see what I mean. Fighting its pace, its coldness, its heat, and its noise isâ€¦ useless. Embracing and respecting them (however alien) puts you in a good place.
Langer’s in Los Angeles may have slightly better rye bread, but when it comes to the whole “Pastrami Experience” there’s not better place then Katz’s Deli on Houston Â & Ludlow. If you have lunch here (and you’re not a 250 lb. fireman or a petite SVA student who hasn’t had meat in weeks) don’t plan on being hungry for dinner. Oh yeah, don’t forget your ticket on the way out!