Jillian Janson Under The Boardwalk

If you watched the 2017 AVN Awards on Showtime you saw this segment featuring Jillian Janson. You might also have noticed that I am in that segment. In fact we did a whole photo shoot for Showtime to film. In the segment Jillian talks about the first time we shot and a handful of the photos were featured in the video, but weirdly enough I never published those photos myself. This was clearly a mistake and I am making up for it now.

I actually met Jillian in an elevator I think. Someone else introduced us and I honestly don’t even remember what porn convention it was but I remember I brought her one of my zines on the floor the next day and told her I would love to shoot with her and at some point when I was in LA it actually happened. I met her in Santa Monica and shot her under the same boardwalk  where I had ended my epic Route 66 road trip that resulted in my first book. I got some good feelings about that place even if it’s also a complete tourist nightmare.

There are a ton of photos of Jillian in this gallery and most of them aren’t naked because people were watching us shoot and honestly it was a little too cold to be shooting and she was freezing. It was nice outside, but the wind under the boardwalk was fucking up her life. Still her bikini is one of the smaller articles of clothing I have photographed and I don’t think anyone is going to be too mad about these photos. She did get fully naked for a few minutes but most of the other nudity is just the random flash here in there, including a couple slightly too graphic shots that are available only on Girls of Driven By Boredom because I am a monster and want your money. 

Speaking of wanting your money, Jillian signed some original Instax photos for an award for the Kickstarter for my book Instaxxx. The Kickstarter is way over, but I found a few extra signed Instax that didn’t sell and I put them up for sale with the book for the same price as they were on Kickstarter. There’s only one Jillian Instax left so hurry and buy it!

Okay I am done trying to sell you stuff, just go look at these photos of Jillian because she is a babe. I can’t wait to shoot Jillian again when we aren’t in public so I finally have the time to catch her off guard and get some photos of her that aren’t super posed and fancy AF.  

Click here to see all the photos I shot of Jillian Janson under the Santa Monica pier!

Jillian Janson

Jillian Janson

Jillian Janson

Jillian Janson

Jillian Janson

 

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Meet Emily

I met Emily a little over a year ago when I was working on my Instaxxx book. I had Tinder at the time and I was using it as both a dating app and a way to find girls to photograph. When I would see someone who looked really cool looking I would check to see if they had an Instagram posted and then I reach out that way instead of via Tinder. I actually found a bunch of models that way and Emily was one of them.

When I reached out about doing something for my book she had never really done any modeling, much less nude modeling. We met up one evening and walked around my neighborhood until we found this construction site and shot a handful of Instax photos in there. It actually ended up as a full page spread in my book.

Shooting her that first time went great but with first time models it’s great to have more time to shoot them in a place they feel comfortable. A few weeks later we took photos at her apartment and we took our time and got some really nice stuff. Since then Emily has done more modeling and moved out to LA. We talked about shooting again next time I am out there, but there’s something I love about these slightly awkward photos from someone who isn’t used to the camera. It just feels so much more real. 

As much as I like these photos they are not the reason I will remember this shoot forever, it’s what happened after the shoot. Emily told me she was turning 23 at midnight and was trying to figure out what she should do to celebrate. Jokingly I told he she should get the words “Today is my 23rd birthday” tattooed to her. She told me I should get it since I have so many stupid tattoos, so I told her if she paid for it I would get a tattoo for her birthday so I called her bluff and that’s how I ended up with the number 23 inside of a balloon tattooed to my leg at 1am in one of the sketchier tattoo shops I’ve ever been tattooed in.

So yeah, go buy my book to see a bunch of Instax of Emily, or go to Girls of Driven By Boredom to see these photos in high resolution or I guess you could just click the link below to see a bunch of photos of her without spending any money but that doesn’t really help me out does it?

Click here to see the NSFW photos of Emily!

Emily

Emily

Emily

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Syd Vicious

My girlfriend is visiting today which means I am gonna not do anything for a week, so I just wanted to get this last update before I disappeared for a few days. She lives in Detroit so I don’t get to see her too often. I mostly mention Detroit because it’s a good segue into these photos of Syd Vicious who happens to live in Detroit. See? It all makes sense. 

Before I talk more about Sydney that I want to be clear that I tried to get her to go by Sydney instead of her absurd stage name “Syd Vicious” but she wouldn’t have it so here we are. So go look at her Facebook page so she doesn’t get mad at me for making fun of her name. 

I met Sydney at the Gathering of the Juggalos where she was performing with Mike Busey and the Busey Beauties. The first year we met we talked a handful of times, but after the Gathering we made plans to take photos one day. That didn’t happen until the following Gathering where we did this shoot behind a bunch of port-a-potties, which is the ideal Gathering location for any photo shoot.

I am posting these photos now because, hopefully to everyone’s great excitement, I am slowing working on my juggalo book and I found these. I think I had them saved for a pre-2017 Gathering post and then just forgot, but it’s one more old shoot that’s finally up on Driven By Boredom.

Oh, I should mention that because we were at a music festival tons of people were watching our shoot so Syd didn’t quite get fully naked, but I got a few shots that might appeal to people who enjoy such things as vaginas and just to be a dick about it, I put those shots exclusively on Girls of Driven By Boredom. I mean how else am I gonna get you creeps to pay for it?

Okay, time for me to go hang out with my girlfriend and you to enjoy a bunch of naked photos. Let’s do this.

Click here to see the photos of Syd Vicious naked at the Gathering of the Juggalos!

Syd Vicious

Syd Vicious

Syd Vicious

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Best Of 2014

These “Best of” posts keep coming as I slowly get all my images organized. The 2013 best of gallery was a bit of a turning point though because at some point during 2013 I got a little more organized and so a lot of the work is already done. It goes a lot faster. I am actually done with 2016 too but I will wait to post the best of 2015 first. But, not one bit of this is interesting so let’s start talking about the reason we are here: 2014.

I think I peaked as a photographer in 2014. I lost my favorite client in the middle of 2014 over some shit that I had very little to do with, and then my life sort of detonated in 2015. I have shot a bunch of stuff that I am fairly proud of since then, but looking back at the first half of 2014 I really shot some stuff I loved. My shoot with Raven Rockette at Rock-a-Hoola and my shoot with April O’Neil and Shay Laren at Murphy’s Ranch were two of my favorite shoots of all time and they happened in the same week! 

Some other highlights of 2014 included following Hannibal Buress when he opened up for Aziz Ansari at Madison Square Garden, hanging out with Iggy Pop in Miami, and watching Joey Chestnut propose at the Coney Island hot dog eating contest. I got to shoot Motley Crue from a million miles away on their “last tour” and I got to shoot Miley Cyrus which was surprisingly enjoyable. I shot MIA and a hologram for a tequila and a ton of fun stuff for Sailor Jerry including the Sailor Jerry House at SXSW

I shot a ton of stuff for the Village Voice including two of my favorite assignments of all time, Antiques Roadshow and the Westminster Dog Show. I shot some festivals for them as well including 4 Knots, Fool’s Gold Day Off, and of course the Gathering of the Juggalos. The girl I was dating for a bunch of 2014 was a writer for the Voice and we covered a bunch of stuff together, but the one thing we did together that didn’t end up in the Voice was our trip to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It was so fucking insane. 

I feel like I got a couple more things left to mention before I let you guys get to the 300+ photos. 2014 Art Basel was the last time I went down there after I managed to somehow lose money. It was still a great trip though and I got to see a Dolphins game so I shouldn’t complain too much. I got to shoot John Amos for an article that I don’t think ever ran, but it was great to meet a legend like that. Speaking of legends I also got to shoot Robert Rodriguez, Robert Duvall and a bunch of other actors and directors not named Robert during the SXSW Film Fest including the cast of Silicon Valley. Oh, also I should mention that I shot this Rockabilly convention in Vegas incase you are wondering what all the insane haircuts are all about. Fair warning. 

The one thing I hate about looking back on all these photos is seeing the people I will never see again. The last photo I ever took of Dust La Rock is in this gallery. My really good friend DJ Jess died three years ago this week. I feel like I don’t have a ton of photos of Spam because he was usually behind a bar working but I found a couple and included one in this gallery. My brother from another mother Denny is in this gallery too. Too many people gone.

Lastly, I  should mention that I only found one naked girl gallery I hadn’t published. That’s a good thing because I have way too many that I still need to publish. The one I did find was of a girl named Alison Faye who left the adult industry shortly after we shot and I just never got around to posting them. The set was fairly small anyway, so I just decided to upload the whole thing to Girls of Driven By Boredom so it’s there if you want to see it. 

Okay, now click here look at this massive gallery of the best photos I took in 2014.

Miley Cyrus

Westminster Dog Show

Chelsea

Diarrhea Planet @ SXSW

Alia Shawkat

Nina Hartley At The AVN Awards

Gathering Of The Juggalos

Hannibal Buress & Chris Rock

Raven Rockette

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NYC Caps Crew Fundraiser – 4.7.18

 The NHL Playoffs begin tomorrow which means my life revolves around hockey until the Washington Capitals inevitably disappoint me. If you read this blog fairly regularly you probably know about my obsession with the Miami Dolphins and about the non-profit organization that I started with my friend Michelle called Dolfans NYC, but you might not know about my hockey problem. 

I’ve been a Capitals fan since I was a little kid but it wasn’t until I became a full time freelancer (almost 1o years ago!) that I started caring about hockey anywhere near the same level as I do football. I used to just watch the playoffs but when I started working from home I found that hockey games were the perfect thing to work to. I could put them on in the background and with 82 games in the season no one game is that important. I would look up if there was a power play or a goal but mostly I would just listen while I worked. 

I started watching the playoffs with some people but it wasn’t until 2010 when a combination of the Caps playoffs and the Winter Olympics led to a more organized group. Over the years these people became friends who I started hanging out with outside of hockey games which is something I’ve never really done with my Dolfans NYC people. But then things really stepped up another level when in 2015 we had an incident at a playoff game on Long Island that ended up going viral after I wrote an an open letter to the New York Islanders. Being in the national news attracted a ton more people to our watch parties and the group of us who went to that game started a Facebook chat that is still going strong 3 years later and has become the backbone of our “New York City Caps Crew“.

One of the issues I wrote about in my open letter was about the racist treatment of my friend Fatou. Fatou is a black female hockey fan which is unfortunately fairly uncommon at a hockey game. She also happens to be one of the loudest (and if you happen to be a rival fan – one of the most obnoxious) people I have ever met. This has led to some really disgusting experiences where people have made these coded racial comments to her. At the Islanders game it was comments about her hair and at a Devils game last year someone accused her of being on welfare. These certainly aren’t the only examples but they bring us a little closer to the point of this post.

The Capitals have a player on the team named Devante Smith-Pelly who happens to be black and during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks some Hawks fans started chanting “Basketball” at him. It was the same kinda gross coded racial insults that Fatou has faced. He was noticeably upset about it and talked about it after the game. The incident made national news and embarrassed Blackhawks fans decided they would try and turn the negative into a positive and ended up raising $20,000 to a charity in Smith_Pelly’s name. The charity he chose was the Ft. Dupont Ice Arena.

Ft. Dupont is a skating rink in DC that gives inner city kids a chance to skate that they might not normally have.  Unlike most sports where you can just get a ball and play hockey and figure skating requires a rink and unless you live somewhere very cold with a bunch of lakes you are going to have to pay to have access to ice. On top of that skates and hockey equipment are quite expensive which means  there are a lot of kids who grow up without ever having the opportunity skate, but Ft. Dupont’s helps level the ice so to speak.

Fatou was really inspired by this fundraising and she knew about all the charity work I do with Dolfans NYC and she reached out to me about doing a fundraiser for Ft. Dupont as well. I gave her some advice but she really took it and ran. We decided to do a fundraiser on April 7th at Jojo’s Philosophy, during the last Caps game of the year, but Fatou also wanted to do an online fundraiser and it ended up raising $3000 before the event even happened thanks in part to a great profile of Fatou in my favorite sports blog Russian Machine Never Breaks!

At our Dolfans NYC events the most money we make is via merch sales so I knew we needed to do a t-shirt or something. We always refer to Devante Smith-Pelly as DSP and so quickly “You down with DSP? Yeah, you know me!” became a chant referencing the Naughty By Nature song “OPP”. The Naughty by Nature logo is so iconic and features a baseball bat so I was thinking it would be a great idea to do DSP’s name in the style of that logo with a hockey stick instead of a baseball bat. Fortunately NYC Caps Crew member Justin is a designer and cranked us out an amazing logo and we made a bunch of t-shirts. I also broke out my old button maker from my punk rock days and made a bunch of stupid buttons to sell. On top of that we asked people to bring in Caps stuff for a raffle. 

The party was a blast and we ended up raising another $1000 and our final gift to Ft. Dupont was over $4000! Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and almost scored a third which would have given him his 8th 50 goal season. Unfortunately he didn’t hit 50 but he still scored more goals than anyone else in the league for an astounding 7th time in his career and it gave an otherwise meaningless game something to cheer for. I took photos of the party for Russian Machine so you can either look at them there or look at them on here. Whatever works. 

Anyway, this post is over 1000 words and it features no nudity or celebrities holding puppies or anything like that so I am going to wrap it it up, but wish me luck in the playoffs because I am about to lose my goddamn mind rooting for this team that has ripped my heart out time and time again. 

Donate to Ft. Dupont Ice Arena here.

And click here to see all the photos from our NYC Caps Crew fundraiser at Jojo’s Philosophy.

NYC Caps Crew

NYC Caps Crew

NYC Caps Crew

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Missy Martinez

When Missy Martinez and I finally took some photos together I had been chasing after her for a while. I tend to like to shoot stuff that is more “real life” and Missy looks like a cartoon character, but Missy also happens to be one of the funniest people on the internet, so I really wanted to photograph her. The first time we tried to shoot I got to LA right after she decided to make her boobs larger than her head so we had to wait until they healed, but eventually she let me come over to her place and take some photos on her couch dressed as Pikachu for some weird reason. I wasn’t going to argue.

I rolled over to Missy’s place with my friend Selina who is also a big fan of Missy’s Twitter account and we both quickly became fan’s of her in real life too. I had left one of my cameras in my rental car and by the time I got back to Missy’s she had given Selina all her old bras that no longer fit her inexplicably large chest. She tried to give me her signature fake vagina too but I felt like that would be one plastic vagina too many in my life. Still, I appreciated her warm hospitality.

We banged out the photos real quick and then I took a ton of Instax photos of her because I was in the middle of the Kickstarter campaign for my instant film book Instaxxx. I had offered porn star signed Instax as a Kickstarter reward for the campaign and they sold out immediately so I shot a bunch more and released them weekly throughout the campaign. The ones Missy were the last ones available and because of that last minute drop only one of them sold. Since I am putting up these photos now it seemed like a great reason to sell the other four.

If you click here you can get original Instax photos signed by Missy Martinez (and me)! I also have one Instax available of Jillian Janson and Gabriella Paltrova but it’s first come first serve so if you want either of those I would get em now. They are on sale for $100 which is the same price as the Kickstarter reward tier and you get a copy of the book as well. I will sign that shit too cause I am a wonderful human and I need your money. Speaking of money, if you sign up for Girls of Driven By Boredom you can see these photos in high resolution plus a handful of photos of Missy’s vagina because she is far classier than this website can handle. And now for the photos…

Click here to see a bunch of NSFW photos of Missy Martinez dressed as Pikachu!

Missy Martinez

Missy Martinez

Missy Martinez

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Isle Of Dogs Portraits

I’ve had some amazing opportunities presented to me over the last decade of my professional photography career, but without a doubt the best gig of my life happened last Wednesday. I reached out to my friend Sarah who is the director of national publicity for Fox Searchlight to see if she could get me into a press junket or something because I am working on my first portfolio in years and I wanted some newer celebrity portraiture. I thought she was kindly blowing me off when said “I’ll let you know if I can think of anything” but then a week or two later she texted me “Would you want to shoot the cast of the new Wes Anderson movie holding rescue puppies?” and suddenly I had the best job any photographer has ever had.

In the end we ended up doing two completely different photo shoots at the same time time. Best Friends Animal Society met us at the dog friendly Peninsula Hotel where we had two rooms set up. One for the puppies and one for the photo shoots. I don’t usually use lights, but I bought some cheap LED video lights because I knew we had a ton of setups and I basically had to build photo booths for the puppies.

The first shoot was dressing up puppies in Wes Anderson costumes. We knew this was going to be really tricky so we had some ringers. Fox Searchlight organized a group of six “Instagram famous” pups that we knew would be able to pose well with costumes on. The rescue pups would be much trickier. I spent the morning trying to get these adorable rescue puppies to sit still long enough to get a shot of them in these two little puppy photo booths I set up. Luckily I had the help of the Best Friends volunteers, my assistant Steph and Sarah’s boyfriend Snake (don’t ask). We found that the puppers wouldn’t eat their costumes if they were already eating treats so Steph and Mike kept the pups distracted with food while I kept shooting.

Later in the afternoon the rockstar dogs showed up. They were so happy to be in these costumes and they would just sit there posing for photos. It was so incredibly easy to get them to pose, especially after dealing with wild puppies all morning. We had Quincy Fox dressed up as Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mad Max Fluffyroad dressed as up as Max Fischer from Rushmore, Muppet’s Revenge as Steve Zissou from Life Aquatic, Menswear Dog as Richie Tenenbaum, and Walter Cronkite & Iverson the Labradoodle dressed up as Monsieur Gustave & Madame Céline from Grand Budapest Hotel. Plus Sarah’s dog Cricket Jean got to play Chas Tenenbaum and his kids with a couple tiny rescue pups. All of this was so goddamn adorable and they were so easy to shoot until we did a group shot. All the dogs have different commands to get them to sit still and suddenly it was chaos, but we managed to pull it off somehow.

While we were doing all the doggy dress up I was taking breaks to shoot the Isle of Dogs cast whenever they were ready. I had several shots planned by the windows of the hotel room, knowing that I wouldn’t need lights for those. Liev Schreiber and and Bob Balaban came in and we knocked their shoots out in under five minutes each. I might not be the greatest portrait photographer on earth, but I am very good at getting something usable, very, very quickly.

Jeff Goldblum showed up earlier than planned so I photographed him by one of the windows as well. I had another shot planned for him but shooting him was incredibly easy. He was every bit as Jeff Goldblum as one would expect and sang to the puppy the entire time. I actually got a video of him singing and I have been sending it to my friends all week because it’s so good. Go watch it.

After that I had to switch to my lighting set ups again. I actually shot my favorite Law & Order ADA Courtney B. Vance in one of the dog photo booth set ups. We just raised the lights and we were good to go. The only shot I didn’t have planned out was for the Isle of Dogs human star, Koyu Rankin. I decided I would just figure out when he showed up because he’s 10 and all 10 year old’s love puppies. I was right and I just shot him in this random chair in the room and the only reason it took more than three minutes is because he wanted to play with the puppies so I just kept shooting.

Finally we moved up to the hotel bar. It was the best lit room in the entire hotel and I knew it would be the perfect place to shoot Wes Anderson with his c0-writers Jason Schwartzman and Kunichi Nomura. Wes just wanted to do the group shot and I knew I could shoot all three of them without any lights on this couch right by the window. What I didn’t really consider was how hard it was going to be to get three people and three puppies to pose for a photo. I ended up getting some useable shots but this was the only one I wasn’t really happy about. I also used the same couch to shoot all the Instagram dogs together which I thought would make for a funny Easter egg for anyone who saw both shoots.

All I can say about shooting Tilda Swinton is that she is the most unreal looking person I’ve ever met. I saw her walking down the street a few years ago and she was like this glowing space alien. She is so stunning looking that she had no choice in life but to be famous. She plays a pug in Isle of Dogs and one of the Fox Searchlight crew has an adorable pug named Elvira so we had to shoot them together. The difference in skin (fur?) tone between Tilda & Elvira was so drastic, but it ended out working perfectly and I kinda want to make this photo into a greeting card or something.

When I first saw the bar on the roof of the Peninsula Hotel I saw it I knew I wanted to shoot Bill Murray sitting there with a puppy next to him drinking out of a bowl. Unfortunately all the bowls we had were way too big so he ended up with a shot glass of water. Bill Murray was one of the first big celebrity portraits of my career. I had shot plenty of celebrities before but it was mostly out at parties so when I shot him with Robert Duvall and Sissy Spacek back in 2010 for their movie Get Low it was the first time I had ever really been star struck at a shoot. This time I was too stressed out about the shoot to be nervous but Bill Murray easily the greatest person who ever lived. I asked Sarah to clear the room because everyone was in the shot at the back of the bar, and she was trying her best, but Bill decided he would get shit done. He just started screaming at everyone to get out as if he was this petulant star like that famous Christian Bale rant, but he was completely joking about it. Still, it worked and I had an empty background to shoot him and the puppy. Every second of shooting him was entertaining and we got probably the greatest photo I have ever taken.

Anyway, this is a crazy long update, but it was my favorite shoot of all time so what are you gonna do. I just wanted to thank Sarah and everyone from Fox Searchlight for trusting me enough to do this thing. Thanks to Steph and Snake for help on the job and of course thanks to Best Friends for providing all the rescue pups. I have actually photographed a benefit for Best Friends before and I hope I can work with them again.

Now here’s the result of all the hard work:

Click here to see the Isle of Dogs cast portraits on Vulture.

Click here to see the puppies in Wes Anderson costumes on Buzz Feed.

And click here to see a bunch of outtakes from both shoots plus a handful of red carpet photos from the dog friendly Paw Prints screening of Isle of Dogs at IFC Center that happened right after the shoot.

Jeff Goldblum

Maxine As Max Fischer

Tilda Swinton

Cricket As Chaz Tenenbaum

Courtney B. Vance

Menswear Dog As Richie Tenenbaum

Bill Murray

Moonrise Kingdog

Bob Balaban Wes Anderson Dogs

Jason Schwartzman, Wes Anderson & Kunichi Nomura

 

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Sammy’s First Shoot

My friend Sammy hit me up the other day about doing another photo shoot with me. We have done a bunch of quick shoots for projects like my Instaxxx book (she has her own two page spread) and we spent a day shooting 35mm photos that turned into a pretty fun post but we haven’t done a proper digital shoot since the very first time we met. She had never done a nude shoot before, but she found me on Instagram via a mutual friend and we shot her first ever nude shoot.

She was pretty awkward at first but we just hung out in her first NYC apartment and by the end of the shoot we had some pretty nice shots. Since then, she moved into a proper place and she’s someone I absolutely love shooting. So when she hit me up to shoot, I was all about it and hopefully we will get around to that soon.

But a weird thing happened when she texted me… I decided to go back and look at that very first shoot and I realized I had never published it! Once again I lost another damn photo shoot. I sort of know how this happens… I shoot a model digitally and when I get back from the shoot I post a photo or two, and then archive it. Days or weeks later I get the film developed from the shoot and I start posthing that on Twitter or Tumblr or Instagram and then I just move on. In my brain I think I have published the shoot because I’ve posted a bunch of photos from it, but then I find shoots like this from 2015!

The good thing is that I am going through all my old photos and now every time I do a shoot I write it down. This way I won’t lose any more damn shoots. I have gone through everything up through 2013 and I have gone back through 2016 and 2017 looking for missing shoots, but I still have 2014 and 2015 to go so we might find some more lost shoots!  I have more than two dozen shoots waiting to post so hopefully I don’t find too many more!

But anyway, Sammy rules and I am glad to get these photos up now so I can shoot some more and get those photos up! It’s all fucking madness. Oh, and I should mention there are a handful of fully nude photos of Sammy that are only available on Girls of Driven By Boredom. You probably want to sign up for that…  

Now click here to see a set of photos from Sammy’s first ever nude photo shoot!

Sammy

Sammy

Sammy

 

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March For Our Lives – 3.24.18

I went down to the March For Our Lives rally in DC to protest gun violence with my mom. I grew up upper middle class in living in the suburbs of DC and still gun violence was a part of my life as a kid. DC was the murder capital of the United States in the crack cocaine era and violence was on the news every day growing up here, but it wasn’t just on TV. Shortly before my first birthday one of my neighbors was shot in the head during an attempt on Ronald Reagan life. His name was James Brady and the bill that requires gun background checks is named after him. When I was six years my pediatrician opened his front door and a hit man, hired by his step son, shot him in the face. While I was on the way to school in the 7th grade a man named Mir Aimal Kasi walked up to the front gate of the CIA and fired 10 shots with a semi automatic rifle into the line of cars waiting to get in killing two CIA agents and injuring three more. The CIA was right down the street from my school and my school bus had to park a few blocks from the CIA while they searched for Kasi. Eventually we arrived at my school and were locked down for the rest of the day and spent recess indoors for a week. Just recent one of my friend’s who had been sober over a year, fell off the wagon and got in a fight with his girlfriend. While she went upstairs to sleep he took out his handgun and shot himself in the face.

If it were up to me, guns would be illegal everywhere, but it’s not up to me. Despite what you may believe I am a proud American and I love this country. Even at the worst of times, seeing this country stand up to it’s abusive leaders is inspiring. I know the vast majority of this country believes that guns should be legal and I am completely fine with that. Let people hunt, let people shoot insane guns at gun ranges and let people own a gun if they think somehow it’s going to protect them and their family. But most people in this country also think background checks should be stricter and modifications that make semi-automatic weapons automatic should be illegal. There are a lot of steps we could take in this country to make things safer and our government is not doing anything about it, and that is a bigger problem to me than the guns.

People talk about politicians being bought by the NRA, but it’s not just about the money. In red districts around the country, politicians know that if they don’t have an A+ rating from the NRA they aren’t going to be able to win a primary election. The NRA holds more power as a voting block than it does as a campaign contribution. Gun owners vote and the only way to fight the NRA is to be just as organized and just as likely to vote. The NRA uses fear to sell guns, but they also use fear to win elections. The best way to get bills passed is to scare these bastards even more than the NRA does. And that’s what today’s march was about.

When my mom and I got to the Navy Memorial/ National Archives Metro stop, several blocks away from the march, we couldn’t even get off the escalator because there were so many people there. I heard estimates of as many as a million people took part in the march. Over 700 marches around the country, including at least one in every state, brough millions of people together to stand up for not just the children involved in mass shootings but the children impacted by gun violence everywhere.

Because my mom is getting older and because it was so crowded we only stayed for about two hours and didn’t get anywhere near the stage or the kids of Parkland, Florida, but it was still pretty inspiring. I used to go to protests all the time when I was in high school but it was usually just a bunch of punk kids mixed in with mostly older people. This march had so many kids of all ages. It also had a ton of people my mom’s age. We met a Vietnam Vet who was a the first protest of his life. He said he wished he was in DC in 1968 instead of Vietnam. My mom told him she was there protesting the war. He thanked her and told her it was because of the anti-war protesters that he got home 45 days early. He thought it saved his life if not his sanity.

I didn’t take a ton of photos or anything because we didn’t really go anywhere and I was mostly just spending the day with my mom, but I still got a small gallery for you guys, mostly just of signs. This day wasn’t really about photos, it was about spending the day with the woman who helped instill in me a belief in the power of activism and the hope of progress. When we got home we sat and watched the rest of it on TV with my father who would have marched with us if he wasn’t recovering from surgery and it just made me really proud to have parents who actually give a fuck about the world and want to see it a better place even if they won’t be around to see it.

Click here to see my photos from the March For Our Lives in Washington, DC.

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

March For Our Lives

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