Happy Weekend Update: Finally, it’s Friday. It being the first one in August, accordingly, it’s super-crowded here in Montauk but there’s a good reason for that. This year we are experiencing a glorious season that is providing ample and welcome respite from the many current woes of the world. My jaunt last Sunday out to George’s Lighthouse Cafe to hear my friends @lynnblueband encapsulated this. Montauk Music gleefully entertained Montauk People (whether residents or visitors, whether young or old, or somewhere in between) under the protective presence of the Montauk Lighthouse as Montauk Surfed’n’Rolled below. I wish everyone could get a taste of this. There are many challenges ahead for all so let’s enjoy the good times when and wherever we can. Respectfully and responsibly, of course, but: Keep rockin’!
GREETINGS FROM MONTAUK . . .
Welcome to Ric’s online journal - the latest, greatest images, excursions, missions, musings, projects, updates and products. To view the portfolios, contact and get additional info, please search the menu bar.
It was a long week. There was the stress-filled prep to launch the new website; there was a weather-dependent commission to photo the lighthouse at dawn on a particular day (in two weeks of foul, wet weather THAT day turned into on the of the best ever); and, yes, there was the weather to contend with. That light on that one way was so exceptional, however, that a little extra effort could not be denied. So, I eased my old friend out early from winter hibernation and we went on a jaunt to chase down the sun on the Lost Highway. It was a gem.
And if you have time today, please check out the new site -- it's not only about portfolios, etc. I've got a neat new ecommerce section "Hat Trick For Sale" where you can get an early start on your Holiday Shopping and save $$ doing so since I've got a New Site Celebration Discount going on.
Having been more marathon than sprint; more patient persistence than snap/slap’n’dash -- the dawn of my new site launch is finally here. It has all the bells and whistles: a Blog, several Portfolios, and, absolutely key, the very thrilling ECommerce section complete with my Grand Opening Super Duper New Site Celebration introductory 10% discount, and more. Aside from completing the architecture so that people can actually visit it, however, the truly exciting part for me is that it is actually less “the finish line” than the “starting line.” Hopefully, the launch is more a beginning of the new mission.
For a bit of background, the concept behind the entire endeavour is for it to be organic. In the past, there was “me working,” or “me looking for work” while the site existed as a kind of electronic portfolio. This, at first, was a huge plus. When I first began seeking work as a professional photographer the initial task was to have a portfolio. It was a classic Catch-22 -- how could you get work if you didn’t have work to show you could work? These portfolios were huge, heavy physical tome-objects that kept many a bicycle messenger in business. Further their weight was exacerbated by the fact that they also were very very expensive. The resultant limitations were obvious -- there was only so much work you could physically or economically afford to show. Ah, but times were changing: websites offered the possibility of both affordability and flexibility. Yet, they, too had limitations. Sites required entirely new skillsets, there was only so much they could do outside of whizz/bang design and, if you couldn’t do it yourself, there again was that “expensive” factor in the form of costly designers. But times indeed were rapidly changing. Along came platform services that offered adaptable templates where you could have cool design while making stamping it with your own look. This was great, yet there remained a shortcoming. Namely, these versions still felt like a static proposition -- the digital equivalent of a book that focused on the ‘greatest hits’ and sat there until the next time an image was worthy of being added. For up to the moment stuff, it was much easier to post something on Facebook. One could get easily lost in a new form of the Tower of Babel. Additionally, I never wanted to be only an assignment photographer but also an art photographer. and to be able to offer my efforts for sale meant another huge and separate effort requiring, curses!, an entirely different online platform.
Fortunately for me I stumbled onto the work of a guy by name of Austin Kleon (if you are in any way associated with our new “gig” economy, I highly recommend you check him out). He describes himself as a “writer who draws” and he has a couple of super-cool, best-selling little books out entitled “Steal Like an Artist” and, especially, “Show Your Work.” Reading his essays, following his blog, and closely studying his output totally opened my eyes to a brand new way of approaching all that I was doing. This charted a path to bringing it all together. His point of view de-emphasizes the idea (and accompanying pressure) of trying to be an authentic “genius.” Instead, he promoted becoming more of the Brian Eno-coined environment “Scenius”. In other words, we’re all influenced by others, all ideas are “stolen”. Therefore, he said, stop worrying and procrastinating because you think you should make yourself into the “one and only”. What’s key is to put a personal tweak on whatever influences you; share and credit your influences; and, most importantly “show your work!” He emphasizes doing this by setting up an all-functioning website of your own and, rather than sharing blindly on Facebook, he encourages blogging. It’s a direct path to informing/entertaining friends and followers with what you see along the way. Significantly, it provides a direct and immediate path to where there can be active participation in and support of your output. It’s a kind of home-grown, support-your-local-artist process residing in the global cloud.
After digesting all of this, here I am with my new site. The intention is that it not be a static representation of me. Rather I’ve designed it to be an active, changing, growing organic part of who I am and what I do. Therefore, it’s a place that someone can drop in from time to time and at any time to find something new and different. To be honest, it’s thrilling to have taken all this in and to have acted on it.
So, welcome to the new blog, welcome to the new site. I hope that if you’re looking for original photography you’ll check out my portfolio and get in touch. If you’re looking to decorate your home or office, please consider my Hat Trick Studio photo art output which is now available here for sale. Addtionally they make awesome gifts as well! Speaking of ‘for sale’ let me remind you that for my “Grand Opening” everything is also ON SALE -- 10% for 10 Days. Enjoy!
"These developers came in and built almost an entire new city seemingly overnight, right under our noses, without any prior approvals or even filing a plan. We tried to fight them but they had deep pockets and delayed every effort until it was too late. Don't think this can't happen in your neighborhood.!
Truthfully, the first part of the above 'quote' is a joke; the last sentence not so much. About ten years ago I was almost literally dragged into meetings by my neighbors that made me aware of just how much effort and money is being spent behind the scenes by certain entities to transform the natural beauty of this area into something quite different. The Montauk area is a fragile ecosystem that already is showing signs of strain under all of the recent development. Fortunately, it historically has had a fairly strict and practical zoning system. Technically, though, we are a hamlet and part of East Hampton. Yet there are always constant, ongoing motions by a small handful who would like to see Montauk as its own corporate entity which would therefore allow for major rezoning. You can guess where that would lead. Local taxes would skyrocket as those looking to make a big quick buck would seek to overbuild in an area already vulnerable to the surges of global climate change.
This is one reason I very proudly support the efforts of the great folks led by Laura Tooman over at The Concerned Citizens of Montauk. They're knowledgeable people who spend great effort to inform the citizenry and to keep a watchful eye on our beautiful natural resources. Power to them! Please check them out and support them if you can.
Crossing the tracks, stuck in a fog, traveling on the Lost Highway does not mean that it is not an interesting ride.
The term "Lost Highway" is one of those talismanic phrases that resonates mysteriously across our spread out culture. This tiny stretch of road running through the marshes and little canals in the Napeague strip, with its vintage telephone poles and concrete road's edge markers, has always stuck me as one of those spots. The Muse woke me up this morning at 5am & the call went out for me to be here. I was still so asleep at the time that I barely remember pressing the shutter button. But there it is. On the Road. Into the Dawn. In a Dream. Lost Highway Found.
It was a hectic week in the City with voice-over auditions, corporate portraits, Apple software workshops, a fantastic mini-reunion with old college friends AND, of course, a very nice dinner with my Valentine. Additionally, there was molehill-turned-to-mountain car repair to manage that required my trusty old 4Runner to be auto transported to CT -- that informational little story-for-all will be worth it’s own post. Such are some of the not-so-easy issues encountered when one lives on the East End of Long Island. Yet it's good to return & walk to my favorite coffee shop. It was a power walk today, though, as now it's time to return to the Hat Cave and my website remix! Time's getting close for the launch.
To some who have seen my photos, this news may come as a shock but it is not always sunny in Montauk. However, not unlike the fog I’ve often found myself in while assembling and arranging the ‘remix’ of my website, there is actually quite a lot of interest and beauty residing within all that sturm-&-drang
So it was Sunday. Even as I was gaining clarity on the website with the help of a crack crew of experts I’d reached out to for the site’s beta review, while also rushing to pack up the car with all the studio gear for some corporate portraits in the City, I still found it a must to quickly cruise to the Lighthouse and document the Icon adrift in a sea of mist and fog.
Working on a deep-channel update of a website is not for the faint of heart. However, it can be done. Indeed, the platforms available online these days offer a clear path as long as you stick to it & have faith while adrift in what at first appears to be a total whiteout of nothingness. But that’s why lighthouses exist -- to help wayward sailors steer clear of rocky shoals. So it was that a select group of friends were able to help guide me in the right direction to the safe shores of website launch.
It was in that spirit that I chose to squeeze in some adventure time out at the easternmost point of Long Island. Was it comfy/cozy? Absolutely not but it provided some beautiful contrasting imagery to the normal views and was totally worth the trip.
You can see a few more images from this jaunt over on my Instagram gallery -- please 'follow' me while you're there. And if you would like to see a few examples of the type of projects I’m working on this week in the City just click on over to my "Business Pros" gallery.
Meanwhile, the haze is lifting and the official launch of the site is coming into view.
With the Website Remix beta-launched, remainig kinks being massaged; with resultant drama building and tension mounting . . . there was no better time for a photo mission. A quick check of the forecast Thurs night informed me that it would be a clear sunrise on Friday. Accordingly, I took the long way home to my favorite coffee shop. The skies did not disappoint (they rarely do) and there was a true tequila sunrise as I edged down to Old Montauk Highway before heading east. Though the real-feel temps were again in the slap-your-face teens, I still encountered others. On the northern side, a young Japanese man with his sister and father (I’m guessing) thought it exciting that I was there to photograph (I would’ve photographed them but I was equipped for landscape only). He was very enthusiastic to be there himself and I mentioned he should come again on New Year’s Day as he would have many fellow Japanese to celebrate with. Meanwhile, on the other side of the lighthouse I arrived just ahead of a young photographer there to document the same setting as I. And why not? It was a stunning, crystaline sunrise with a red-fringed horizon. In addition to this, I’d wanted to swing by the southern side in order to check the Montauk Totem People’s rock tower dwellings at waters edge -- their architecture is incredible and they added a fantastical textural and spatial contrast to the sea and sky. After about 45 minutes it was time to head on to the coffee shop . . . and back to the grindstone. Admittedly, it takes some effort to drag myself out of bed at 5am, but why it takes such effort remains a mystery: this particular dawn patrol resulted in the Twin Towers image shown here. "But wait! There's more!!" To see this and the other six keeper images I'm really happy about please check out my gallery over at Instagram
THE FAR HORIZON
Winter Adventrures in Montauk
I am here. I am freezing. BUT that was all the more reason to walk to my favorite coffeeshop -- heck, New Year's Day was 9 degrees. Today's 18 makes it feel like summer! Along the path today, I was reminded of some of my town's best features. For instance, did you know that Montauk's beach has an ever-changing art show where you can find some of the finest sculpture anywhere? It of course has a fantastic running track (who could guess I'd have company today?!); and it is one of the best cathedrals I've ever had the privilege to be in, complete with several mini-chapels for solitude and reflection (I only paused for a moment today -- too much to do). Not bad. At any rate, back to work: the new website is ALMOST complete. Just some last noodling to do. Stay tuned!