Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ride 'Em Cowboy

I love shooting the rodeo. I've shot Indian rodeos in Wyoming back in 1980 and a Globe, Arizona rodeo last year. My relationship with my new friend Jim Nintzel led me to suggest we shoot the rodeo together. He went after credentials and was quickly included- as quickly as I was excluded. The rodeo PR department googled me and thought my work didn't include such things as rodeos. Granted I have done plenty of girlie pieces but I also have done just as much non- girlie work. ie for the New York Times Sunday magazine, NY Times travel section, Vogue, Ellie and Der Spiegel, the German Time magazine. As regards sports, I edited probably the best baseball bk ever done- Neil Leifer's "Ballet In The Dirt". My `girlie' work remains an albatross around my neck but fortunately Jim persisted and we got shiny orange media passes for Saturday 23rd. It listed our access as "Photo Pit", "Chutes" and "South Viewing". Everyone knew Jim and one guy when I got introduced said "I thought you were in San Francisco". (I did live there 7 yrs ago).
I then met young Zach who had been a student of Jim's and now worked in media.

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros is huge. We were lead up to a raised shooting area and below us was a pit of tall lean men in chaps. I kept thinking of Brokeback Mountain, though I had never seen it. The cowboy hat motif and the wash board stomachs reminded me of being a transfer student at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1966 where my friend Sam Bruskin kept exclaimingthat  the blonde girl students in short shorts and flimsy tank tops were trying to kill him. 
Below me was a passion pit of young men for men and women to enjoy (the visuals) but no one seemed to notice.

A rodeo princess came along with her mom and I got to shoot her.

Jim made brilliant action shots of all the events. He had a Canon EOS with a long zoom lens and if one went to the you'd see his shots. I knew immediately my cameras couldn't reach the action. I concentrated on portraits.

a security guy

his first rodeo

the fellow who had the same job as Marc Benecke at Studio 54. He let us in and out at the "soouth viewing".

the hands of one of the members of the Rodeo committee

the back of one of the crew that brought out the bull ring.

some beautiful dude walking past me.

some beautiful cowgirl walking past me

One of the contestants that snapped his elbow on the first event.

the ladies rode like a bat out of hell carrying banners for like standards as Wendy's 

the folks 

afterwards Jim and I hit Taqueria Pico De Gallo on lower 6th avenue for the chile and lime fruit cup including coconut. I used to bring my mom there. Its the first place I got to know through my friend filmmaker Danny Vinik before I moved here and used to just visit.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Commercial Photography Without a permit from National Park Service". Pay $500 plus $25 service fee

Only God knows how little money I make but most people know I haven't made a dime from photography for decades. I make my money from selling parts of my collection and editing books. But try and tell that to a straight backed National Park Ranger. Sunday, for the third time, I was busted by
a Ranger. The fine gets bigger. The last was for $350 (I was innocent and could prove it) and the first time was a warning.
I will digress. Last year I met the fabulous Robert Villa, violinist, turtle chaser and counter, snake man. He brought his gila monsters to my art installation at the Monterrey Court. Once one spends all nite moving red holy dirt into a small room ...the two people bond. We bonded and he brought me to Serge Jnoun, a French fossil man from Versailles, France who spends most of his time in Morrocco.
and two weeks at the gem show every year. I was excited to see him again and appeared at the Mineral and Fossil Co-op at 1635 N. Oracle. Last yr his piece filled a large room. This yr he had a room sized fossil fish. I kept thinking about its tail of vertabrea and how a beautiful woman would look with a similar tail. Out from the back room came one of the most beautiful young women I have ever laid my eyes on named Katelynn Charron (French pronunication) from Boston. She 

made me think of Robin Wright who I have always coveted. I asked Serge if he could find some fossil tails and I'd like to shoot Katy and Katelynn in the desert. He went to his crates and pulled out two delicate tails. I brought over black dresses and corsets and wire. We realized we could attach the tails through the dress to the corset.

Serge is a terrible flirt (something I have also been accused of) and there was evidence of that as the men with cameras came by the room to see Katelynn no longer the tomboy she is.

Once the photo began to jell I phoned my new friend Jim Nitzel, senior writer for the Tucson Weekly and he came over to the Co-op between shooting basketball games. He asked questions and Katelynn began to puntificate, listen and laugh.

I got to watch Serge work the room. He is a teacher, a talker, a man who wants to share what he knows and his partner is the seller SO Serge surges into the abyss explaining what is.

the family cross species resemblance is uncanny. We realized that the cast tails couldd be attached by thin wire to the hidden corsets the women would be wearing. I became the "designated corsetor" and gladly laced her shut into a very vintage corset I had bought in Burbank, CA many yrs ago.

Ms. K tried on several black dresses but we settled on one that could take crinoline.

Serge kept repairing...

how to attach and exactly where?

such delicacy and percision...not wanted to injure Jamie's valentine.

it looked as though they were deciding who would go to bat first.

they have important employer/employee relationship

Serge took a minute to demonstrate the `fossil two-step'

we waited for Katy to come try on clothes

Serge went back to pontifcating

had I just stepped inside a Jane Austin novel (whom I have never read)

when Katy arrived from work Serge gallantly offered to help her dress

and 2 pose with the two ladies


part 2
the shoot is pre arranged for two o'clock at the end of Mica View trail on the eight mile loop of Saguaro East National Park.I stuff my Toyota echo with dresses, heels, wire and tequila (and water of course and fruit of course) and my Mac for music. Earlier in the day, Katy in curlers, and I meet for b fast and then to Savers for jeans for the two of them for a second concept. 
I hang the dresses and cowboy hats, line up the cowboy boots, then put film in my cameras.

note the fake buck teeth which will factor into the shoot soon enough.

Katy arrives and tries on the vintage gypsy tuxedo I bought in Aix En Provence, France in 2007. She towers over me in her masculine `look' and shows me her new tattoos.

Robert Villa, the true Tucson Renaissance man arrives with Serge, Katlynn and two vertebra castings. 
I've invited Jim Nintzel, senior editor for the Tucson Weekly, to come witness (and assist) at one of my shoots. He also arrives. The three principles begin to dress after greeting one another.

Franco American relations

There is something to be said for youth and Katlynn is screaming it

as does Katy

THe corsets the two beauties are wearibng come from the resale prop shops in Burbank and have the actresses names written in the underside of each garment.

I always like the off set shots

The first spot I choose wasn't right but it took me a bit to realize that. I brought the planks of wood in the foreground to place below the dirt surface so the women in heels wouldn't sink it but Robert Villa convinced me that that would disturb the environment.

What has three vertabrae and a French accent?


that's Katlynn cartwheeling while Robert serenaded the universe while Serge was.

Serge makes repairs

Robert Villa and Serge Jnoun converge

Serge thinks to the east

Katy Awful and Robert Villa converge

beautifully dentally challenged Katy pointed out...

Things began to rip. 

Katy was more comfortable with the inconvenience of changing, the flash of nudity...Katelynn was not as every effort was made to see nothing!

someone on facebook saw this photo and exclaimed "look at those mountains!"

Katy switches to a vintage corset workn by Arizona Alice in the making of Girdle Gulch for HBO's Real Sex #6.

meanwhile I had put my friend and writer Jim Nintzel of the Tucson Weekly to work moving props, etc from the picnic table/car area to the site for the photo. Walking together I spoke of the importance of the process. That the final image is secondary to the process of making the photo. Sometimes the final shot is never realized. Prophetic. I also mentioned that I enjoyed being the `bad boy'. Being the middle child I had to scream my photographs to be heard.
I found a better site and we began to move the operation over a few important saguaros away from where we began. The girls debated which would wear the third rubber single breast I had been given many years before at the AVN convention in Vegas when I was there with Helena doing shots of her in the shark tunnel tank.

THE attaching of Katlynn's tail

Katlynn's piercing `look'

THE second location as the sun began to wane

being a magician Robert knew how to handle her tail

the barefoot Boston girl and the Sonoran

to create something out of nothing- out of an special. to paint with a camera

I'm certain Jamie, katlynn's bf, thinks I've fallen in love with Miss K. Not so. I just recognize beauty. That I refuse to live without

a woman and her tale

THEN Katy had to be fitted

note the angle of inclination

the hands of a surgeon

why is this woman smiling?

Just as things were jelling , just as I got back to the site, I noticed a big tall Park ranger. "Who is in charge here?". I thought I was `safe' so put the faux buck teeth in my mouth and walked over and said I was. He said I was breaking the law by doing commercial photography in the National Park and had to have a permit from the Park. I still thought I was ok and said that I wasn't doing commercial photography and didn't need a permit since I wasn't using a tripod. (which was the rule in NYC when I lived there from 1971 to 1994). When he persisted I removed my buckteeth and pointed to Jim Nintzel, saying he represented me. I hoped he would confirm that this wasn't a commercial shoot and that he was doing an article on me. Our silent signals didn't work and my goose was cooked. I got one or two hurried 35mm shots off without affixing the vertabrea properly or getting a shot off with my medium format cameras. Officer 999  ( Later I couldn't read his name clearly) declared "This shooting is done!" Resigned we cleared the site and trooped back tot he picnic area. When I asked for my license and National Park pass back he refused until we were about to leave the picnic area.

It became more a Marx Brothers movie as Serge needed help removing his cowboy boots.
The greatest archeologist/uncoverer of fossils couldn't find his car keys! Finally Katy found them in the pocket of his borrowed tux. Off we drove in three cars followed at a distance by Officer 999.