I met Paddy Boom at an art gallery opening about the teenage years of Basquiat in one of my favourite meetings of all time. I had no idea who he was and was playing a guessing game of who was probably famous in the room, and he mischievously told me later he’d been the drummer for Scissor Sisters. I was mortified but he thought it was hilarious. He invited me to shoot his band Faith at their rehearsal studio a few weeks later and we ended up becoming friends. Paddy is a great guy, and a very enthusiastic and supportive person. I ended up photographing him and his various music outfits a lot since. I shot these photos on the roof of his apartment building in Chelsea to promote one of his shows.
Nora is a dancer I met when I shot a Fringe performance rehearsal at Westbeth one evening. It turned out we had a few mutual friends and we hit it off. I did a series of her doing some dance movements around Greenwich Village, as well as testing out my fisheye lens. I found the fisheye to be a lot of fun with dance and movement. Nora was a joy to work with and incredibly expressive, so I took a chance on a different approach and ended up using her as a model for a fashion shoot with IQ Test later that month.
Courtney Yates, whom millions know from Survivor, has been one of my models and besties in NYC after we met at a protest in 2016. We share a love for skeletons, politics, the stars, and philosophy. A couple of years ago we did a series in her home to promote her work as a physical therapist. True story: she literally saved my back. Years ago I was hit by an SUV and had suffered from back problems for years as a result. She calmly said “I can fix it.” And she did, using cupping and massage. I am so grateful to this amazing woman for giving me back my full mobility and proud to call her my friend.
Wes, who I had met at some political rallies, wanted to do portraits in Green-Wood Cemetery. One pleasant November day we made the trip down on the R train. The weather was perfect and we had a great time exploring the place, talking about metaphysics and enjoying the day. A lot of changes have happened since we did this shoot – Wes is trans and had yet to go through the metamorphosis of physical changes. One of the nicest humans I’ve ever had the pleasure to photograph.
One of my early portrait shoots was done on iPhone with Francesca, who at the time was contemplating a move into the NYC improv comedy scene. Francesca’s love for unusual fashion and character impressions made for a terrific jaunt around the East Village.
During a very tumultuous time in my life I often crashed on the sofa of my old place in Flatbush. That summer was particularly brutal and we all went up on the roof in the early evening to do a photo shoot. It was…probably a very dangerous idea. A few months after this shoot the ceiling of one of the flatmates caved in during a thunderstorm. This place needed to be condemned. I don’t know who lives there anymore. But it’s fun to see these photos now that they seem forever ago.
Adrian’s stunning Celtic beauty, reminiscent of Maureen O’Hara, were inspiration for this series of portraits, shot in my old Harlem apartment.
I happened upon an encampment of WWI re-enactors on Governor’s Island one afternoon. I thought it would be fun to do portraits of them in a tintype app. The results were quite stunning. These caught the eye of Jerry Saltz on Instagram!
My cousins Winter and Bella modelled for me in their backyard in south Philadelphia a couple of years ago. We had a lot of fun playing dress up and I let them use their imaginations to play pretend. They were such amazing little models. These were all shot on iPhone.
One of my more unusual shoots came about by chance when I was heading back to Central PA for Christmas. I happened to be on a bus with Serge, a musician who was returning from NYC. (He currently lives a town over from my parents.) I asked if he wanted to do a shoot and he asked if I could do one with his ex-wife Monica for their podcast about co-parenting after divorce. They remained friendly and were both a blast to both photograph and chat with. It’s funny how these portraits look more confrontational than the subjects actually were! Side note: Serge told me a couple months later that I photographed him smoking his last-ever cigarette. Hope he’s still holding up!
Another group of fun images from my old Harlem apartment. The previous tenant left all her knickknacks when she passed away, and I used them extensively as props. She even had a collection of liquour that was pretty ancient. Heather, who is a comedian, came over with her amazing collection of darling 1950s dresses. The bizarre knickknacks accentuated her look perfectly!
It’s always such a treat working with Leah. We did these portraits in my bedroom in my apartment in Harlem. I had the good fortune to live for 9 months in a place that served well as an indoor photo studio, and could do some more conventional portraits. Leah, who’s trained as a dancer, brought some great fabrics and outfits for the session. One of my favourite models to work with!