tests & outtakes

Firecrackers – Outtakes from Men’s Health

I made these photographs a few months back when my nephew Miles was visiting after his tour in the mid east. We had a couple of full days scheduled for Men’s Health magazine. And if you’ve never witnessed a still life photo shoot, I can tell you right now, it’s not exactly ‘exciting.’ Fortunately one of our assignments was to blow up chili peppers. And what better to do with a black hawk door gunner returning from Afghanistan, than blowing stuff up?

We did have the technical hurdle of acquiring fire crackers off season. I mentioned the idea to my cousin Sterling who was having drinks at my house. He asked how many I needed. Just one pack should be plenty, I said. Oh no problem, he told me, I have a bunch of fireworks in the trunk. You have fireworks in the trunk of your car? In Texas? In the heat? Yeah, he explained, you never know when you’ll need some.

The following images illustrate what happens when you load a Serrano with fire crackers and connect your camera to a sound sensitive trigger. Enjoy…..

OBEY

Growing up in California during the late-eighties-early-nineties graffiti art was everywhere. Through highschool seeing an ‘Andre The Giant Has a Posse’ poster or an ‘OBEY’ sticker was a normal thing. But honestly, it wasn’t until I moved to New York years later that I began to understand how widespread Shepard Fairey’s work had become. I saw the same stickers, the same posters. Everywhere.

A few months ago Fairey was in town for SXSW. He pasted up a huge Obey poster East Austin near my studio. I smiled every day when I drove past. Still the same posters. Everywhere.

The OBEY message has always resinated with me. I think it’s become lost in the art, but the message in John Carpenter’s 1988 film ‘They Live’ (this is where Fairey ‘appropriated’ OBEY. But you knew that, right?) seems just as relevant now as… well… anytime. Ever.

In the film a wealthy controlling class dumbs down the minds of the masses. You OBEY the television. You OBEY the radio. You OBEY what you are told. Money, THIS IS YOUR GOD. MONEY IS GOD. OBEY. DO AS YOU ARE TOLD.

Luckily, in the film Rowdy Roddy Piper found out that the wealthy controlling class was actually space aliens. So he put a stop to their crap pronto. But that’s another story.

Here in 2011, when it feels like the House of Representatives has betrayed us, and lunatics rage across the country campaigning for election, what’s a guy to do but make this photo? It’s the best I’ve got.

Rocket Man

I was doing a light test with my bulldog Catfish. Super famous writer Alex Hannaford showed up to drink my coffee and steal my pens. His dog Scruff was with him. Catfish has a man crush on Scruff. You can tell. This is what was going on while Alex was stocking up on sharpies.