Posts tagged ‘robert caplin’
About a week ago I was asked to swing by a new Filipino restaurant in the East Village for the New York Times Dining Section. I love shooting food assignments as I enjoy meeting the chefs, seeing the cool restaurants, and of course the amazing culinary creations they create!
This particular restaurant, Jeepney, was really cool…and like many NYC restaurants, was very tight. I shot my usual interiors, exteriors, and was set up at a table in the back to document various dishes the critic asked me to shoot. They brought out adobo chicken wings, a dish of pancit malabok negra, Bulalo, a short-rib and vegetable soup with a marrow bone riding on top, and finally the balut: a hard-boiled duck egg with a fertilized duck embryo encased inside.
I’ve never seen anything quite like balut, so in order to take proper photos, the owner gave me a demonstration how the hard boiled egg is served and how it’s cracked and eaten. After cracking open the large hard-boiled egg with a fork, she dug within the yellow yolky interior and came out with fertilized duck embryo (I’ll call it a fetus).
At that point she asked if I’d like to try the balut. Ok, sometimes I find it hard to turn down an offer to taste the food at these sort of assignments…but I had no problem respectfully declining this particular offer…
About three weeks ago I was assigned to photograph an exercise “bootcamp” class for a New York Times Styles story. For those of you who don’t know, a bootcamp class is a short, high-intensity workout led by an instructor, sort of like a military bootcamp. Though I’m certain a real military bootcamp is much more difficult both mentally and physically, this class is intended for people who wish to have the same sort of high-intensity workout a trainee would in the military.
Anyhow, this particular bootcamp is called The People’s Bootcamp and is led by Adam Rosante and is a “pay-what-you-can” 45-minute workout. with a warmup and cool down. He had the idea to start his own bootcamp and when researching competition and found the prices of these classes were super expensive (some topping $50/class). Adam’s philosophy is that “effective lifelong fitness should be accessible to everyone regardless of what you have in the bank.” Awesome.
I was so inspired when I visited his class for the shoot that decided to begin taking the class myself and have since been to 5 consecutive classes since my original visit. I played sports all in my adolescence through to the varsity level in high school. Since then I’ve tried to keep in shape mostly by jogging in the park on a regular basis. I’ve tried various classes (yoga/spinning/boxing) and different gyms, but they were never my cup of tea…they also they were pricy. But when I was exposed to Adam’s bootcamp it brought me back to those days in high school when I was a football player and wrestler training. I knew this was something I wanted to do. There’s something about having a coach yelling at you and the camaraderie of executing difficult tasks with classmates all going through the same agony.
So, I highly recommend Adam’s class if you’re in the NYC area…if not, look for similar classes near you…they’re great because it’ll push you to your personal max no matter your fitness level or body type.
Thanks Adam for whipping me back into shape…still a long way to go!
Whenever I visit my wife’s family in Barcelona, we always spend a couple of days in Vila-Sana, Catalonia with a group of friends and family in a large country house that can host all 17 of us. It’s in the nearby village of Linyola that they’re known for its living nativity scene.
Now, when I say scene, that’s a bit inaccurate. It’s more like an entire village from, well I guess around the BC/AD time, in which you’re totally immersed the people of the time. There are farmers, bread makers, craftsmen and woman, angels, devils, real farm animals, and of course the baby Jesus.
As you enter the nativity scene it’s a bit jarring the silence and the stillness of the actors who are posed, like a statue frozen in time. Occasionally you hear one of the many farm animals go BAAAA, oink oink, etc which is pretty funny. There’s also a few characters like e stone man who, though frozen in time, will slam down his axe to give kids a funny little scare…ok, he got me too.
The nativity scene takes about 20 minutes to walk through and honestly I feel like I didn’t get a chance to fully take it in. If I wasn’t with a large group I probably would’ve walked through twice.
The experience ends with some comedy too. In Catalonia there is a unique character in every nativity scene you simply don’t see elsewhere in the the world, the Caganer. Simply put, the Caganer is a man squatting down and taking a poop. His bare ass is showing and there’s even a pile of do below him, though his bare ass and poo were about the only part of the scene that weren’t real.
They take this character so seriously in Catalonia that as you exit the scene you’re confronted with the largest Caganer figurine in the world, 20ft tall with a plaque boasting its inclusion in the Guinness World Records.
Anyhow, I highly recommend the scene if you’re ever in Catalonia, you won’t be disappointed!
A few months ago I had an assignment to photograph Fabrizio Freda, the CEO of Estee Lauder, whose offices are located in the General Motors Building, a building which now is most well known for being just behind the Fifth Avenue Apple Store.
The shoot was for the New York Times Business Day article about the company developing a new brand for China.
The assignment was pretty strait-forward in that I was simply tasked to take a portrait of Mr Freda in the lobby which was decorated like the late Estée Lauder home. ie old school wealth.
As with any portrait of a high-profile subject, my time was limited so I arrived early to figure out a handful portrait setups.
Whenever I’m in an office building with a view, I always try to get a nice photo from the window. As I looked north from the 47th floor over Central Park, one building dominated the foreground, the Sherry Netherland Hotel. I even mentioned to the publicist how awesome it would be to have a balcony iin that building. It wasnt 24 hours later that I got a call to photograph a $95 million listing within that very building. Crazy coincidence.
Most corporate shoots are boring and involve photographing stiff executives speaking at a podium and shaking hands. But that wasn’t the case a few weeks ago when I photographed a special event held at The Harvard Club in New York City. The event was a fundraiser for Cinema For Peace, a worldwide initiative promoting humanity though film and has events all over the world with big celebrity backers. I was shooting the event for one of the sponsors, a bank based out of Berlin.
My task was to photograph the CEO of the company interacting with the celebrities and other business executives in attendance. This particular event was a fundraiser for the organization and raised money through auctioning some amazing prizes that ranged from Sting’s autographed guitar (sold for $20K), guest starring in upcoming movies, official after-party tickets to the Golden Globes, to yachting adventures around the world.
The experience was quite fun for me…I’d never been in The Harvard Club before. It’s a members-only facility that offers hotel rooms, dining rooms, athletic facilities, and more….and of course you have to be affiliated in some way with Harvard University to be a member. So that might be why I’d never been invited in the past! The entire place screams wealth and old school luxury. Think leather chairs, libraries, reading rooms, animal heads all over the walls, chandeliers, and so on.
So there was a red carpet situation set up for all the attendees of the event to get paparazzied during a cocktail hour before a fancy dinner with speakers, an auction, and a private performance by Sting, who is a big supporter of the cause. Sing ended up playing 4-5 of his classic songs. He was a good sport and let me take a few portraits of him while he was at his dinner table too.
All and all it was a great experience.
There are times as a news photographer that I cringe when I get an assignment from an editor…and this was one of them. Let me back up….a few days ago I received an email from my mother linking me to a news report about the awful rape and brutal beating of a 73-year-old birdwatcher in a secluded area in Strawberry Fields in New York. Truly horrible, especially being my neighborhood and the fact that it took place in broad daylight near a very popular tourist attraction, the John Lennon Imagine Memorial.
The next morning I got a call from the NY Times asking me to head into the park to take pictures in the more secluded areas known as The Rambles, which are especially popular among birders and nature photographers….and apparently shady sexual encounters according to the article.
I arrived at the entrance of Strawberry Fields where the rape happened and found police tape marking a wide parameter around the popular tourist destination. I made some pictures of the detectives and crime scene unit working before I walked around the entire parameter in search of photos to illustrate the story.
Now, I’m quite familiar with The Rambles in Central Park as I’m and avid walker/jogger and even got married on the north side of The Lake. Normally I hike the paths with enthusiasm, but as I walked the paths on this day, it was a bit haunting given the events of the previous day.
After making some pictures of folks walking through the most isolated areas, I made my way back to my apartment to transmit the photos.
Soon after filing my pictures from Central Park, my editor gave me a call to see if I could rush up to the Special Victims Unit in East Harlem to take pictures of the rapist who was arrested hours earlier. It’s typical for high profile cases that police departments arrange a “perp walk” in order to show off their arrest to the media.
I arrived on the scene and there were already numerous news crews, both stills and video, network satellite trucks, reporters, and many locals (including school kids) waiting for a glimpse of the rapist. There was a lot of anger building among the locals…and they all yelled at him as he was led from the SVU to the awaiting patrol car. I took some audio of the crowd reacting to the man.
As he was led out, he immediately looked like one scary dude. He quickly glared at the news media waiting to take is pictures and spit in our direction before being promptly placed in the car. Locals cursed and jeered at him as he was driven off…
Such is a day in the life of a NYC photographer…
Every so often I’ll get a call from an editor asking me to shoot an assignment that just makes me laugh. Tuesday was one of those days. Fresh off a plane from a two-week shoot in Hawaii, a metro editor at the NY Times rang me asking me to hop into Central Park (always my favorite assignment location) to photograph a “Bad Elmo”. Since I was off the grid from a full day of travel, I hadn’t heard about the recent news of a hate-spewing Elmo who was yelling at people the day prior. I’m talking about the silly people who dress up like characters and pose with tourists for money. Think Times Square or Hollywood Boulevard in LA.
Since I live right on Central Park West, I often get called for last minute assignments in the park, like this one. Apparently the reporter was doing some investigating and found the Bad Elmo in the same spot he was the day prior, posting with tourists and collecting $1 and $5 bills for his talent. Turns out these guys can make a pretty decent living doing this. He said his suit cost $300 off the internet and he can make around $200/day.
As he continued to speak with the reporter the story turned more and more disturbing and I was shocked to hear him be so candid, explaining that he was just let out of a psychiatric ward at the local hospital where he’d been held since the altercation that put him there a day earlier. He went on to give the reporter his background which involved both running and being an actor in a PORNOGRAPHY website based out of Cambodia he created called “Rape Camp”. That’s right parents, the Elmo that is on his knees embracing your children ran and acted in a website called Rape Camp.
So anyway…I just found it amazing how this creepy dude who was candidly talking about his disturbing past to a reporter was continually interrupted by parents so that he could be paid to hold their innocent little children. Hopefully the NY Times article gives you pause next time you see a random person waltzing down the street cloaked in a furry costume.
Today I decided to wake up early on the weekend and head to midtown on my bike with my wife and photograph some of the activity around the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. Normally I try to stay as far away from Fifth Avenue parades as possible, but I felt motivated this morning. Also, this was not for an assignment, rather just for ourselves, so there was no stress with deadlines or editor’s expectations. We decided to concentrate on the activity around the parade because in order to get a good spot, we would have to stay in one place and not move…this way we got to roam and see all the participants of the parade warming up for the before the parade started.
It was fun, but as the start time approached, more and more highly intoxicated revelers began pouring out of bars, which wasn’t so fun. Anyhow, I hope you like my take on the parade!
I’ve shot a lot of concerts in my days as a news photographer….especially in 2010 when I shot 85 Justin Bieber shows (yeah, seriously) when I was touring with the kid making his book. But rarely do I shoot a single concert that makes all my (older) family members envious. Last night I shot Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for the New York Times as part of a VIP concert for Serius Satellite subscribers who were celebrating their 10 year anniversary.
I was tasked with not just shooting the show itself, but also to try and get a sense of who was attending this VIP show being held in one of the smallest venues Springsteen has played. I arrived around 6:30 to the Apollo and there was already lines of folks waiting to get in, as well as many people just loitering around in hopes of snagging a loose ticket.
I don’t come to Harlem all that often, but I think it might be safe to say that there were more white folks in their 60s than this venue sees in a month…not to stereotype a Springsteen fan…
Some of the more famous VIPs that I saw there included Michael J Fox, Tommy Hilfiger, Brian Williams, Coach Tom Coughlin, Harry Belafonte, Ben Stiller, Elvis Costello, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and a host of others who I didn’t personally know.
The set list was long and consisted of early hits and tunes from his newest album. It was my first time seeing The Boss in concert and I must say I was impressed an old white guy could rock a stage like he did.
On top of simply being a fun night at work, I got to see an old pal from the Bieber tour, Adam Courtney, who was my busmate for 6 months while I toured with Justin Bieber, and is now touring with Springsteen. Good seeing you bro.
I was approached about six months ago by the father of an extreme Justin Bieber fan who, along with another girlfriend, had written a book entitled Got Bieber Fever? about the varying degrees of “Bieber Fever”. After discussing the project with her father and working out the arrangements with management, the book was a “go” with 100% of the proceeds going directly to Pencils of Promise, an charitable organization that raises money to build schools in the developing world. Just the first print run alone will build TWO schools! How awesome is that?
With the designing expertise of my beautiful, graphic designer-wife Laia Prats, we put together a super high-quality, coffee table-sized book of my photos and their story.
The book is available on Amazon for $17.95 and includes an amazing, oversized, glossy, fold-out poster behind the dust jacket (below), alone worth the price of the book! Get your copy today and support an amazing charity!