Air Rescue, Meigs Field- Chicago

I have a degree in photojournalism. In my early years in Chicago I shot a lot of freelance photo stories.
This is from a summer I spent flying with the Chicago Fire Department - Air Rescue Unit; based downtown on Lake Michigan.

bending Time and Space

Having lunch with Albert. This is a photoshop elaboration on an advertising project shot some time back. The original was the immediate area around Einstein and chalkboard. It had some sort of a corny cut line like "you don't have to be a genius to use our [product]" The character actor was Jan Leighton. Jan specialized in doing historical characters. He had all his own wardrobe and did his own makeup for over a thousand persona's. I think we shot about six characters for the client. It was a lot of fun. He enjoyed "staying in character" and during the shoots I kept a running banter with him, pretending I was a reporter prying out the real story behind each famous figure. His Albert Einstein kept telling dirty jokes.
" zen she sayz, datz no Cucumber!"

...that which inspires

The movies that I saw when I was a child had a huge impact on me and shaped the artist I have become. 
When I was ten I saw "Doctor Zhivago".

Before there were DVDs or cable, when wide-screen flat HD/TVs were only science fiction,
a very big movie like this had a major influence on popular culture. Everyone saw this movie.

By that winter we were all wearing Russian great coats and big furry hats.

Julie Chistie, the young British actress, who played the central character of "Lara" became forever etched in my mind as the ultimate heroic beauty.

Unfortunately the movie also became a template for my future romantic life. Zhivago, the poet and doctor, spends a large part of this four hour masterpiece wandering through the frozen wastes of Siberia in search of Lara- only to meet a tragic end when he finally finds her. It's Russian.

As I said I was ten and it was 1965, so my concept of romance didn't go much beyond deep soulful gazes and quick stolen smooches. My adoration of Julie Christie was pure.

The point is that Julie Christie's beauty, David Lean's cinematic genius and Maurice Jarre's soul stirring soundtrack planted a yearning in my little boys heart. A yearning that later would only find solice thru art, photography and especially fashion photography. Perfect and un-obtainable women. Ah- the exquisite heartbreak!

Frostbitten and weary, I am still clutching my frozen camera as I stagger the Siberia of my soul, looking for my "Lara".
Oh my god, that last part is so corny I am going to have to move and change my name!

links to Dr. Zhivago here- and here

My Favorite Mannequin

I forget that everyone doesn't have a mannequin in the front room of their house.

She's stands in a corner and startles some people when they see her out of the corner of their eye. At night I will sometimes notice a passing cars' brakelights as
it comes to a sudden stop at the sight of what seems like a tall naked women
visible through the large front windows.

I have a mannequin because I am a photographer. It makes sense to be prepared as much as possible before the subject shows up for a shoot. For years I have used a mannequin as a "stand-in" while setting up and adjusting lights in the studio.
Even in a large studio like mine, moving around big stands and light booms can be awkward and dangerous. A mannequin can stand in for the subject while lighting adjustments and tests are made. She is infinitely patient, and never changes her pose. The set is at stand-by and ready to go "hot" hours in advance.

There are two mannequins. The first one was acquired while the studio was being built. Selecting her was a long and strange process of pouring through online catalogs- literally looking for the perfect woman. Some websites had small grainy black and white photos of dime store dummies. Others had lush scenes from the exotic and wonderful life of the high fashion "femme d'les plastere". Choose a face, choose a hairstyle; choose a pout a sneer or a pucker. It was like an old Twilight Zone episode!

For months after being unpacked she stood in a corner of the living room -reception area.
Friends and visitors inspected and poked her. One man insisted she needed a name and called her 'Nora'. Others felt she should be clothed, which I considered... until I realized that worrying how to dress-up my mannequin was much stranger than leaving her in a "natural" state.

When the studio was finally ready and it was time for Nora's big move I found
that I could not part with her. She had become the central fixture of the modern decor of the house. Never smiling, never batting a long eyelash; only asking for an occasional dusting- she had become a fixture of my life.

I had to order another mannequin. The second one is not as pretty. I will not let her be named. She was un-crated in the studio and has never seen or shared the life of her more glamorous step-sister.

She has never had a chance to wave from the picture windows at the cars passing in the night.
here is a link to a wonderful man who will take your old, dull worn out mannequin and give her a new life of health, vitality and inner peace
another link to Burgess Meredith reading Ray Bradbury's Marionettes Inc.

Roll Out by Robert McCall 1964

Everyone has been saying it- but it does seem unreal that we went to the moon for the first time 40 years ago!
I am not surprised that we stopped going. It was a far and hard reach for the technology of the time. People forget that it was a "race". Real space is nothing like "Star Wars" or "Star Trek". Real space is very cold and very, very big.
This is a wonderful painting by Robert McCall which appeared in Life magazine when I was a kid. I carefully cut it out [both pages] and put it in the center of my bulletin board in my room. I was nine.
In 2000, when I was finally learning about computers and scanning, I tracked it down at the Cuyahoga Falls library.
Robert McCall did a lot of high-profile work for NASA and the aerospace industry. He did the posters for Stanley Kubrick's "2001". Today, I am very disappointed by the cheap computer cartoon style of illustration used by NASA and many science publications.