(Originally posted June, 2012)
Admittedly, what follows is a rather scatter-brained, inconsistent visual sampling of my personal time, shot over the course of about 14 months. And while I don’t feel totally confident that even one of these images could stand on its own, I do feel, that on personal level, the entire series is incredibly honest. And that was my goal when I began.
It all started in late March of 2011. The concept of me being a productive working member of society was just starting to sink in. After spending about 6 months working fulltime in New York, my body and mind were rejecting this reality with every fiber of my being.
I was in a basement bar with some coworkers, sipping on gin and tonics--at the time, my drink of choice (soon I would move onto dry martinis)--seeing off an intern I had never before met. At some point, the company-sponsored tab was closed off, and coworkers began to slip away into the humid Manhattan night. Soon it was just myself, American Photo editor Scott Alexander, and the mysterious intern (whose gender at this point I don't even recall) left sitting at the bar.
Scott, who had, like me, presumably only come out to down the free drinks, was starting to get fired up. I too was beginning to feel the sweet nectar of the luscious juniper berry affect me. It was at this point that the conversation, as it so often does when I'm enjoying alcoholic beverages, turned into a discussion of my future as a photographer. At the time, I was hung up the idea that I had somehow failed myself because I studied photojournalism in college and was not actively practicing it. I explained these feelings to Scott, who promptly slammed both of his fists on the bar, startling the entire room, before breaking down for me all of the reasons that I was wrong.
As the conversation continued, fist slamming quickly turned into jumping up and down by both parties, as well as a liberal use of the "outdoor voice." All the while, the intern of mystery sat quietly watching and likely contemplating whether or not they had made the right decision trying to break into the marvelous world of magazine publishing.
At some point, Scott said something that really stuck with me. I don't recall his exact words, mainly because we were jumping up and down screaming but it went something like this, “You are 23 and in New York City, THE CENTER OF THE WORLD, make every single day here your photojournalistic project--everything you do outside of work, that is your story, THAT is what you need to document."
At this point, Scott informed myself and the intern that it was time to leave.
What happened during the rest of the evening I can only sum up as Scott's way of teaching the lesson he had just preached. Needless to say, that evening got me thinking and ultimately led me to brushing off my Canon AE-1 and embarking on my longest, most personal, and surely most ambitious photo project ever. (Note for the sake of nerdiness: about 1/4 of the images were shot on a Mamiya 645p).
Analog proved to be the perfect medium for the project as a film camera is both inexpensive and inconspicuous. This meant I could carry it with me everywhere, and go relatively unnoticed while shooting. Ultimately, the year I documented, proved to be an important one, as I was greeted with some of the highest points I’ve ever experienced in my life, as well as some of my absolute lowest. Thankfully, as this series proves, I spent the year in the good company of friends and family.
That said, in the past year, I spent 3120 hours working and 2548 hours sleeping. What follows is how I spent the rest of my time...
I don't live in New York City, but it sure does feel like home.
The very first time I set foot in the mystical land know as Brooklyn.
Weehawken lies before the "Welcome to New Jersey" sign.
The first thing I see when I leave work.
It helps to spend all of your time inside an object of beauty (portrait of the office).
Colin and Ted.
The vast majority of everyone I know graduated college by the end of this series, including John.
Summer nights are best spent goofing off.
This is the only photo in the series I have of Kristin. We ended our 3 year relationship in August off 2011 in a misty, empty, Asbury Park parking lot after a Bob Dylan concert. We then drove off our separate ways. That said, she's a great girl and certainly a person I hold no animosity toward.
I spent a lot of time the past year losing myself in New York City. Walking great distances is a great way to clear one's mind.
Sometimes it's hard not to be spiteful.
I love rainy summer nights in the city. I think it's New York at its most beautiful.
People watching on the subway is another one of my favorite pastimes.
I'm not sure of my feelings on karaoke.
I meet infamous rock and roll photographer Mick Rock this night. He gave me a noogie. This image was shot shortly after.
Cooper does not like his photo taken. It's a shame because he is one handsome gentlemen.
Mr Cocuzza's neon sign collection.
C Mack. What an evening this turned out to be.
Lonely evenings and rooftop bars.
I took a long trip to Virginia to visit an old friend, the timing couldn't have been better.
Like walking, driving too clears the head.
Mike, whether he knew it or not, helped me through a very difficult point in my life.
We meet a guy with a parrot. He agreed to pose for the photo.
I spent a lot of time in great company and learned to appreciate the moment.
Many mornings I feel like this. Man was not meant to sit at a desk under fluorescent lighting.
Portrait of Port Authority.
The "Ghetto Bus".
I walk by this gentlemen every single morning, and pass him in the bus every single night.
Things that are centered #1.
Things that are centered #2.
Things that are centered #3.
This is my favorite image of the set, and also where I get my haircut.
Portrait of my bosses. Left: John, Right: Stan's beard.
Queen Mary Dodge.
I know nothing about the circumstances displayed in this image.
This series was originally going to end around here with the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but it didn't feel complete, so I kept shooting.
It was a smaller Thanksgiving than the year before.
Sometimes you unintentionally hurt another person. That person is not depicted here, but I still feel terrible.
Halloween blizzard, 2012.
Galo (and Josh).
John and Lindsey.
Luke. As the winter rolled in we began exploring the city and shooting.
What a terrible place.
Colored Squares #1.
Colored Squares #2.
Colored Squares #3.
As I've gotten older, it seems my head needs clearing on a more frequent basis. So I went to Vermont.
Snowboarding with homies is most excellent.
I got pretty bummed out for a while. Nobody deserves the right to make you feel a way you don't want to feel.
New York can also be a dark place.
I prefer the authentic. No Instagram for me.
If this doesn't make you laugh, we can't be friends.
Shawn and Brian. Great dudes.
The Front Bottoms. Great band.
Rock and roll. Great Googly Moogly.
John and Debbie. Great parents.