Escape to Catalina

I had the pleasure of sailing off to Catalina on a 27′ Catalina sailboat with my good buddy, and outstanding commercial producer Ely Siler. In my life, it’s hard for me to totally let go of work and the worries of life, yet the rest of my world seemed to slip away staring at the ocean and sky while swaying back and forth atop the Pacific. The ocean has a way of making me feel both at one with nature and in awe of my smallness in it’s presence.
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Patagonia Lunch Break for The Washington Post

Patagonia employees in Ventura California
You think your work environment is unhealthy? Well, then, it probably is. Might I suggest pointing your employer to the workplace practices over at Patagonia. And if the boss bites on that, maybe point him or her to Patagonia’s 1% For the Planet campaign, or heck, even just the company’s policy of corporate responsibility. I mean, c’mon, don’t they look happy working for someone doing the right thing? Did I mention they have a chef preparing delicious healthy family style meals every day (with a vegetarian option!). Check out the Washington Post story here.
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Colm Toibin for The New York Times

It’s not every day your portrait subject is an acclaimed novelist. What’s even more rare though is an acclaimed novelist who has been photographed by Richard Avedon, twice. While I would imagine such a situation to be wrought with anxiety, my shoot with the talented Irish writer was anything but. Toibin had a delightful witty personality paired with a powerful presence verging on sinister yet landing somewhere closer to mysterious wisdom, as though he alone holds the answer to some ominous truth. Not only did I have a great subject, but I also had the pleasure of photographing him in a couple of my favorite neighborhood bars, the dim window-light spilling across the dark interior somehow perfectly befitting. Check out the article here. If only all my LA photo shoots could be walking distance. Evidently I had a favorite pose that day. Can you tell?
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Kate Mulleavy for The Wall Street Journal


Without a doubt, my idea of ‘news’ coverage has changed since moving to Los Angeles to include a whole plethora of interests that would in most cases slip quietly past my personal radar. New haircuts, for example, as was the case with my recent Wall Street Journal shoot with Rodarte co-founder Kate Mulleavy. That said, Mulleavy was sporting an effortlessly slick new style, designed by the the incomparable LA hairstylist Cervando Maldonado, and the two were very pleasant to work with at Rodarte’s downtown studio balcony.
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Dan Bilzerian for The Wall Street Journal

What could I say about Dan Bilzerian that the photographs do not. What could I say about Bilzerian that his own instagram account does not (seriously follow it, and then follow smushball’s). Well, plenty, but fortunately that is on the writer’s shoulders and not my own. I will say that I was surprised by the intelligence and strategy in his speech, but I should have expected brains in a man who has amassed the fortune he has and the strategy from a gambler of his level. I will also say that I always appreciate authenticity when I see it. It’s something I can sense, and I can always smell the bullshit when someone is pretending to be something they are not. Bilzerian is not pretending. He is the kind of guy that will drag race his own car in the desert for half a million dollars. He is the kind of guy who loves guns, girls, fast cars and working out. He isn’t pretending to be something that so many guys think they need to pretend to be. He simply is that.

To read the article on Bilzerian’s life and exploits, click here.
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Karen de la Carriere: Ex-Queen of Scientology

Karen_la_Carriere_001Karen de la Carriere, former Sea Org Class IX Supervisor and ex-wife of the former Scientology president Heber Jentzsch, turned whistle-blower on the organization. I would write here more, but quite honestly, those people are terrifying and I have little interest in their wrath. I will leave that to the writing of Laura Collins at the US branch of MailOnline. Check out Laura’s story here. Oh, and she is the largest collector and dealer in the paintings of Thomas Kinkade.
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A Fevered Dream


Soul searching pulled me West. Once here, the desert snuck in through the back door of the recesses of my mind, where imagination reins, subservient only to an unflinching curiosity. The desert piqued this curiosity, and planted a seed that required no water to grow.

She beckons me like a cruel beautiful lover, burning with passion, malicious with scorn, impossible to comprehend, harder to leave. Her voice speaks in two tongues, one soft sensual and raspy, shrouded in a worldly magic, the other a shrieking battle cry, embodying everything that is war and death.

This burnt earthen expanse, defined by absence, desirous of nothing, disguised in endless irreproachable void, yet demanding exploration.

I heeded the call West in hopes of finding a place to belong. I journey into the desert not for answers or belonging, but to experience for myself and tell a tale, a fictitious tale of my own creation. For non-fiction has no place in the search for magic, and the attempt to explain the pull to this unforgiving land. No, for this journey, facts would be fruitless. So, while my tool remains as documentation through glass and emulsion, my story is one of fiction.

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Pam & Gela for The Wall Street Journal

Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, the unlikely duo who created the fashion giant Juicy Couture go back to their roots with a new venture, and hopes to chase their dreams once more. Here’s a look behind the scenes in the living room headquarters of the new Pam & Gela. Check out the story here.