My brother-in-law is getting married on Long Island this weekend, so we decided to get a head start on it and head for Montauk for a few days. I love the beach and so does my family but we have seldom gone to the Hamptons. I live in Westchester and that makes the Hamptons particularly far. As a matter of fact, it would take forever with the typical rush hour traffic. Even mid-day here on a Tuesday we came to a crawl several times. I guess the only way to get here is by helicopter. IÔÇÖll have to remember that next time.
Usually we like to go to lakes. We are all very active and we water-ski, wakeboard and I mountain bike. We have an old Sunfish that friends gave us, so itÔÇÖs a great vehicle for my kids to get wet. Flipping the boat over is the only reason they sail. On the 4th of July, we spent a lot of time with some friends who have a ÔÇ£campÔÇØ on Lake Piseco in the Adirondacks.
Back to Montauk. We had lunch at the classic Lobster Roll restaurant, also called ÔÇ£LunchÔÇØ, then hung at the beach. I saw this couple come by and they got very animated about something they were building or designing. The guy was designing something in the sand with his foot. Were they designing a house. Outlining their expenses. Stories everywhere.
Here’s what they were drawing:
My new office is almost complete (I moved from Spring Street after 14 years; my building was sold to a new landlord). I have a corner office on 28th street now with eight windows. So I wanted to take advantage of the light. Several of the walls are made of Lexan (Designed by Architects David Hacin and David Takenken of Hacin + Associates, Boston).┬á They distort the view in an interesting way. Going to have to do a shoot here.
On the way back we saw a Bank of America billboard I shot in Texas. I still get a thrill when I see a photo I did in itÔÇÖs final presentation (magazine, billboard, internet). It was a shot of an Hispanic dad and kid for B of A. The trouble was I donÔÇÖt think the media was right. It was in Chinatown.
Today I photographed Wangechi Mutu at her studio in Brooklyn. She does these amazing paintings and collages. I really love her pieces. You canÔÇÖt just glance at them; there are so many layers to them, so casual viewing is not allowed. Considering how violent and somewhat shocking her pieces are she was very soft spoken and kind to work with. Her space is a floor in a brownstone she owns. I photographed her as part of my artistÔÇÖs series. For several years, I have been randomly taking portraits of artists. The project started for me when I photographed, Kim Heirston, for Vanity Fair. She is an art consultant. She made some connections for me and we began collaborating together on who to take pictures of. But lately I have been building on the series by having the artists recommend other artists.
I have always enjoyed meeting the artists and seeing how they work. We always see art on nice clean white walls in a gallery but this grounds it more for me. Plus I get to find out more on their creative process. Talking about the different things that inspire them to make their art is inspiring to me.
ItÔÇÖs a double-header month with a story on IndiaÔÇÖs Lakshadweep Islands in Conde Nast Traveler in the August issue. I shot the islands after doing a story on the Maldives for them. The islands are a bit like the Maldives but totally undeveloped. The Indian government protects them vigorously allowing in only a few thousand foreigners a year. Traveler had to procure a special permit for my assistant, Joe Fornabaio and I. This series of islands have very white sands and pristine coves. ItÔÇÖs a diverÔÇÖs heaven. The locals either fish or make coconut rope. With the rope they bind and twist the hairs of the coconuts to make long strong ropes. The fisherman fish mostly for tuna using long lines with multiple hooks. In the morning they go out for bait fish by making a partial circle with netting. Then they get into the water and begin slapping the water to scare the bait fish into the nets.
The hotels there are quite basic. One hotel we stayed at Bangaram Resort(TK) is on it’s on island. Very basic accommodations but we stayed in the Gandhi suite. The water on the island is full of sulphur. Some people come here for the supposedly medicinal quality of the water. Personally showering in water that smelled of rotten eggs was not my way of waking up.
Leaving the island we had to take four planes to get back to New York including a stopover in Iceland for a sick passenger. Total return flight–36 hours! I was talking to my kids on the couch and fell asleep for 8.