Thursday, January 26, 2012


"It's My Party (And I'll Cry If I Want To)" (model: Stacey Q)
Here are some of my photographs for the tv commercial for Warner Bros. "Supergirls" collection of classic 50s/60s girl groups on LPs, audiocassettes and 8-tracks(!) Yes, it was the 1980s, era of K-Tel-type infomercial sales overkill on television, and Warner Special Products wanted something a little classier.
Above, "I Can't Stay Mad At You" (models: Kirk Henry of Christopher Milk and Mary Kay of The Dogs)

The visual theme encompassed biker and rocker types. I appreciated the chance to photograph this; however, they said to get models who look like musicians without giving me a budget to do so. Instead, I got musicians who looked like models. My UCLA chum Kirk Henry (see LINK and read pp. 18 - 46) was a natural and had been in films. He introduced me to Stacey Q before her "Two Of Hearts" single broke and she graciously agreed to model. By the time the advert aired, Warners were gobsmacked to discover photos of a #1 hit single artist in their own tv ad for girl groups.

"He's So Fine." Seen above are members of The Wild Hairs, Ten Tons of Lies, Crickette Lum (The Diamond Dolls, also an actual model,) and a statue of Myrna Loy in front of Venice High School, Venice CA. Yes, actual onetime Venice High student Ms. Loy indeed posed for same.

Crickette Lum (far left) and members of The Wild Hairs and Ten Tons of Lies all want to be "Bobby's Girl."

Above, "Please Mr. Postman" (models, Crickette Lum and members of the bands The Wild Hairs and Ten Tons of Lies.)

Below, Stacey Q and Kirk Henry go to the "Chapel Of Love" and are gonna get married in the song. We all agreed looked this church looked like a tacky Big Box mall store of the era, hence its photogenic presence. It has since been torn down, like everything else in L.A. older than two months.

Unlike Kirk and Stacey, models Crickette Lum and George Oswald
(who played with David Swanson, formerly of The Pop, George remaining unseen here but in another ensemble model location shoot at Hop Singh's Club in Marina Del Rey for this ad) genuinely had the look of love when they posed, as they later married and remain so to this day.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

PEACOCKS at the horse ranch

A peacock couple (peafowl, technically) moved in behind my horse's pipestall where he boards, and are seen here within same and giving me the evil eye, even though I give them extra horse feed and water them. Like Gaston in "Beauty and The Beast" who decorated with antlers in every room, I utilize peacock feathers in our abode, despite the supposed bad luck to theatre folks, because one doesn't have to off any birds to obtain same.

Christopher from AZUR

His name was Christopher, he had a winning smile, and he sang for a band called AZUR. That's all she wrote (meaning my notes on the session...)

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Above, inventive, influential and now venerable British folk-rockers Fairport Convention, known for spawning guitar great Richard Thompson and the late, seminal singer Sandy Denny, underwent numerous personnel changes throughout their still continuing career. (Inception of same: a tragic band van crash claiming the lives of their original drummer and Thompson's American girlfriend, a rock and roll stylist [see LINK] in 1969.)

The rarity of my photo draws from where at UCLA the band performed in May of 1973. The early 1970s found the outdoorsy '60s festival spirit still rampant, so the group played on the sprawling Janss steps landing out in the quad/park area of UCLA's older red brick buildings (recognizable in the background to all as many movies have been filmed there.)

Unlike most Brits, the drummer complained of the blazing sunlight so I gave him my own umbrella to shield his kit area, as I had one on hand for the same concerns and his need was greater. The lineup was as follows:

Dave Swarbrick: vocals, violin, mandolin
Trevor Lucas: vocals, acoustic guitar
Jerry Donahue: guitars
Dave Pegg: bass
Dave Mattacks: drums

Above, Steve Earle during his self-professed "Axl Rose" phase at a venue familiar to both, the Hollywood Palace, May 1989. The skull and crossbones motif behind him is not borrowed from any co-billed hair metal bands but adorned the backdrop, cover and zeitgeist of his Copperhead Road release of the same era.

The politically outspoken, compassionate Earle has ridden a rollercoaster of career ups and downs: 7 marriages, heroin, incarceration, and eventual redemption through the multifarious styles of his music and anti-war, anti-death penalty activism.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DEPECHE MODE LIVE 1993 Think Piece

In the pre-digital Pleistocene, I made the above test strip in my darkroom, a maneuver we photographers did to guarantee a complex exposure would turn out as we'd planned. I imposed Dave Gahan onto the Anton Corbijn-designed special effects screens to simulate the stunning stagecraft of the performer fading in and out of his own image as seen during the Depeche Mode performance somewhere in America circa 1993. The resultant photo (with more of the singer and screens and better composition but otherwise the same) appeared in the magazine which had assigned me this gig to shoot.

But this is a think piece, and, based upon the contract shown below given to American media, you're going to have to do the mental heavy lifting yourself regarding the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Click and enlarge.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

STRAY PHOTOS 1.9.12, rock and not

Crispian Mills (son of actress Hayley Mills) in his tres popular-in-the-90s BritBand Kula Shaker (which my better half Mr. Twister wants to equate with Tupac Shakur as separated at birth twins. He also thinks Ray Charles and Prince Charles were separated at birth. This household lives a whimsical existence sometimes.) Crispian and crew idolized George Harrison-style retro-psychedelia, and even provided apropos additional music in the same oeuvre for the re-release of "Wonderwall" (the original, arty 1960s film with Jane Birkin and The Fool scored by Harrison.)

Above, Tairrie B and Acacia for the cover of their alt-dance-pop duo Bardeux. The singer on the left made her entrance by handing me a business card proclaiming "Tairrie B, Girl Extraordinaire." (I was impressed. Hey, she had me at the business card gesture.) She later punked out with a band called Man Hole. The stylists took longer than my photography session.

Above, pre-digital era proof sheet including my submitted pick encircled of the late singer/songwriter Luther Vandross, possibly at the Sports Arena, Los Angeles, 1992? It was pushed fast film: now Kodak itself is in its death throes.

Above, a superb singer, American-born Erin Perry, currently Germany's best hard rock female vocalist with the band Rad Pack amongst myriad other projects. (See LINK). This is an oldskool color xerox (since I lack a decent print) of an early '90s L.A. performance wherein she wore this cool leather jacket obtained from Loren Molinare of The Dogs.

The above were a Bomp Records' signed band called... Ten Tons of Lies or Ten Tons of Sobs or something similar. Yes, it's all my 1960s magazines as props, but I was impressed with their attention to retro-details. In the 1980s no less!

Below, the late Danny Sugarman, he of The Doors' legacy promotion, reading some of his work at a Spoken Word performance probably produced by Harvey Kubernik. Memory-wise, I did an do have need of an amanuensis for personal photographic timeline archiving's sake, don't I?
Below, Steve Winwood performing 1991 (copyright was stamped on the back of this print.)

Some non-music-related work below: I not only upped the color vibrancy but also selected a slower shutter speed for panning blur to get the effect of motion for this graceful Arabian gelding in a Los Angeles Equestrian Center all-Arabian Horse show. This was one of my first times shooting digital, the idea being to get used to the sea change by photographing fun things in low light (it was an indoor arena) that weren't commissioned therefore leaving room for experimentation.
At bottom, our now 100 year old house as of last autumn (yes, we occasionally sport fall color in SoCal and our domicile is indeed green and purple, it's not Photoshopped TM.)

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On 1.7.12 the capacious Gallery 800 of North Hollywood hosted another show of its talented Art Directors Guild (film and tv production art professionals) members featuring Mauro Borelli (see life-sized elephant painting) Jim Fiorito and Patrick Janicke. Yes, the chopper was part of the exhibit.

Jimmy Recca (his story here LINK) entertained on guitar and vocals with rather a few recognizable Detroit hard rock classics such as MC5 songs finding their way into this one time Stooge's repertoire.

Art critic at right: "I may not know Art, but I know what I like."

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Sunday, January 1, 2012


Many short essays by Don Strachan with his unique P.O.V. about Donyale Luna (Richard Avedon iconic photo of her in a Paco Rabanne minidress of metal rectangles, above left illustrating a gallery exhibit, image photographer unknown,) the international high fashion world's first black supermodel remain online at LINK . You'll find them all very good reads but they're a bittersweet coda to 2011 as Don, my UCLA-era friend and occasional work colleague who wrote it, passed away mid-October of that year.

Yes, he knew her personally from their mutual school days in Detroit, Michigan, dated her even. A six foot tall beauteous teen, Donyale Luna (born Peggy Ann Freeman) was ebullient, theatrical, ambitious from a young age and sensitive according to Don. She'd lived through the horror of her own mother shooting her own father dead, and the nascent, arson-inclined Black Power scene in 1960s Detroit. She'd dated assorted Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s even appearing in Michael Lindsay-Hogg's The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus film, graced multiple Vogue magazine covers in her extensive pro modeling career and starred onscreen via Federico Fellini and Otto Preminger.

Left, Donyale with Rolling Stone Brian Jones, photographer unknown; right, Donyale far left as Ariel in Shakespeare's The Tempest, Detroit Civic Centre Theatre, 1964.  Fair use photo by Karen Roscup.
Nothing seemed enough and she died of a drug overdose at age 33. Don tried to delve into why, so many decades after the fact. Regarding one mutual incident with Donyale, Don wrote that his new realization of the personal fallout of same for her prompted him to burst into tears.

The second portrait at the top is of beguiling Jeanne Hubeterne, muse and paramour of Amadeo Modiligliani, he of the gracefully elongated, painterly but modernist portraits a century ago. In 1920 three years after meeting him and co-habitating with the artist, Modiligliani died of tuberculosis, whereupon the inordinately distraught Jeanne threw herself off of a building, 8 and 1/2 months pregnant with their second child, aged but 20 years old herself.

I'd been hoping that the biography Modligliani: A Life by Meryle Secrest would elaborate on this truncated life. The author tried, constrained as she was by Jeanne's and Amadeo's surviving daughter's great nephew, a lawyer who promised a lifetime of litigious misery if photos of Ms. Hubeterne or her own artwork found their way to print via this bio.

The author did convey this: apparently this pretty young woman with that very sultry gaze was a talented art student, somewhat quiet but opinionated and forthright when she so chose (her parents recoiled at her arguing with the local abbott.) The couple lived the Boho life in 1910s Montparnasse, Paris, France wherein, one is reminded, women had no rights prior to vote suffrage post World War II. The muse herself was emotionally strongarmed to sublimate her own desires to those of her handsome if dissolute and ailing Italian artist boyfriend, 15 years her senior.

And her parents ...didn't ...exactly ... approve (can we say subjectivity boys and girls?) In the aftermath of Modigliani's death they'd insisted she move back in with them at once although child # 1 wasn't deemed welcome. Forsaken by all those she'd once loved, she then leapt out their 6th floor window to her death and child #2's death. Child # 1 was raised by the paternal grandparents, needless to say.

The painting below delineates the oeuvre of the work of the teenaged Ms. Hubeterne, not that of her famously enduring lover. A portrait of him, it shows great artistic confidence, sadly not mirrored in her own personal life.


First photographs taken in 2012 of our Art Deco pirate couple amidst my Scottish Deerhound trophies and assorted sighthound/canine antiques atop the living room piano...
...and below, the last photos of 2011 taken at a New Year's Eve party, chez sporting pals of Mr. Twister who noted, "This is my favorite house of all my friends." It is indeed happily whimsical, with fossils and opaque rocks lit from behind built into its vintage California Craftsman stonework.
Above, Shaka the hosts' Malinois and Mr. Twister. Below, Mr. Twister and yours truly at selfsame New Year's Eve party, only too glad that there is to be a 2012 for us both. Note heavenly rays of light descending on our heads confirming this.
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