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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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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Best Of 2013

So, I am headed to Austin, TX tomorrow to cover something like my 14th South By Southwest in a row so I wanted to get some stuff up before I left. I think I am gonna try and get one more post up before I leave because my flight isn’t until 6pm but if I don’t here’s fair warning that I might not update the site much until I get back.

As I continue to slowly crawl through every photo I have ever taken we have reached the end of 2013 and I bring you another Best Of update. I have now gone through every single digital photo I have taken since I got my very first digital camera in 2001 up to December 31st 2013. The good news is that since 2013 I have been way more organized so 2014-present should go a lot faster. 2013 was also the last year before my life completely fell apart in April of 2014 so I was working my ass off and there’s a ton of stuff for you to look at here.

Let’s give you guys a little run down of some of the highlights of 2013. Since I am headed to SXSW tomorrow that seems like a good place to start. I got to shoot SXSW Film portraits for the LA Weekly & Village Voice. I always loved doing this and my favorite shot that year was of Brie Larson and John Gallagher Jr. for the movie Short Term 12. The picture got even better when Brie won a Oscar a few years later. I also got a really fun group portrait for the launch of the YouTube channel JASH featuring Sarah Silverman, Tim & Eric, Michael Cera and Reggie Watts. I had the opportunity to meet Paul Walker before he died and talked cameras with him which was surprisingly cool. After the Film Fest ended I covered a big week long party for Sailor Jerry and got some really fun stuff as well.

In 2013 I got to cover some other really stuff like the Indy 500, Hannibal Buress’ 30th birthday party,  Friday the 13th tattoo fest in Dallas and another music festival in Austin, Fun Fun Fun. Fun Fun Fun is probably my favorite festival of the year and I got to see Flag and Body Count and Sparks and a bunch of other stuff I actually wanted to see. I covered my usual stuff too like the AVN Awards, Gathering of the Juggalos and Fool’s Gold Day Off where I shot some great stuff of Migos before they took over the world.

I obviously shot a ton of babes as well. I started shooting for Hustler in 2013 and shot some great stuff of Stoya and Charlotte Stokely for them. I also shot some hilarious portraits of Chuck Palahniuk in a sex shop. But more importantly than all of that was my Route 66 trip that started out as a small Kickstarter to pay for some of the trip, to a 31 day adventure that ended up as my first book, a web series, and my first LA solo art show. That trip and the resulting book was a big life highlight.

Okay, I am gonna stop talking now and pack for Texas. Enjoy the gallery.

Click here to to see the HUGE gallery of my best digital photos from 2013!

Hannibal Buress Turns 30

Trash Party - RIP DJ Jess

Brie Larson & John Gallagher Jr.

Slayer At Fun Fun Fun

JASH

Migos

Route 66 With Theresa Manchester

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2017 Tisch Gala – 4.3.17

I am headed out of town this week to the Galapagos Islands of all places and I have no idea what my internet situation is going to be like. I hope to get another update up before I leave but if I don’t update for a while you know why.

Anyway, I just wanted to get up some photos I shot a little over a week ago. Every year since maybe 2008 I have shot the Tisch Gala for NYU. It’s a big fundraiser for Tisch School of the Arts scholarships and they always honor some alumni or someone associated with the school. I don’t always post the photos on here because it’s not really that kinda party but this year was pretty fun so I wanted to post some of the images.

The Gala honored actors Danai Gurira and André Holland. André gave one of the best speeches I have heard in nearly a decade of shooting these events and Danai seems to be one of the most impressive humans on the planet. Seems like Tisch made the right call honoring them.

It was also Alec Baldwin’s birthday (he is on the Dean’s Council at Tisch) and his wife surprised him at the end of the evening. I have photographed him several times at Tisch events and he is always been nice to me but I know he doesn’t have a great love for photographers. I am very careful when it comes to photographing him but I got some really fun shots of him getting his birthday surprise. He seemed genuinely touched.

After the awards I went to dump images for press and when I came back down a dance party had broken out with a lot of the students that were there and let’s just say if you put on Beyonce’s Single Ladies you will probably get more enjoyment out of the photos.

So yeah, check out these photos and I hope to be back with an update before I leave (and maybe while I am there?) but if not I will be back on the 24th with lots of photos of turtles and iguanas and things like that.

Click here to see the pictures from the 2017 Tisch Gala at Cipriani.

2017 Tisch Gala

Alec Baldwin's Birthday

André Holland

Danai Gurira & Her Award

Randy Jackson

2017 Tisch Gala

André Holland & Danai Gurira

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French Montana – 3.16.17

I had plans right now but she’s apparently hung over and moving slowly so it looks like I have time to get up some more SXSW photos.

Thursday I didn’t have any actual work to do so I took it pretty easy. I started my day by seeing a movie. The SXSW Film Festival is pretty wonderful and I have covered it several times in the past, but this year I only got to see one movie but it was a good one. The Big Sick is a new film by Michael Showalter of the State & Stella. His movie Hello, My Name Is Doris was at SXSW a few years ago and I loved it but not nearly as much as the Big Sick. The movie was written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon about a real life incident where she got really sick and ended up in a coma. Kumail plays himself and it is so god damn funny and sad and amazing and I spent 80% of the movie either laughing or crying or both. I met Kumail about a week after he moved from Chicago to NYC after seeing him to stand up. He did one of the funniest sets I had ever seen and he was just in the audience of the show. One of the comedians was running late so the host Seth Herzog put him on and he killed it so hard. After that I saw him probably a dozen times before he moved to LA. For a time my two favorite comedians in NYC were him and Pete Holmes and Pete now has an amazing show on HBO and Kumail is in one of the best movies I have seen this year. Amazingly both of those projects came from a SXSW live podcast taping with Judd Appatow who produced both projects and told the story about that meetin in the Q&A.

Speaking of the Q&A one of the people to ask a question was fellow Chicago comedian Hannibal Buress. I didn’t even realize he was in town so I hit him up and he told me to come by the MTV Woodie Awards because he was giving out an award. I took forever to get there and I got there just in time to see him give the award. I got to see Rick Ross play too which was not awful. I went with Hannibal’s crew to Mohawk for the House of Vans party and saw a handful of rappers that were all from Chicago (to continue on the theme). I got to see the Cool Kids for the first time since probably 2008 and finally French Montana played.

So yeah we finally get to the point of this meandering name dropping post. French Montana (who is not at all from Chicago) headlined the Vans party. I was sort of near the stage so when he stared playing I took a few photos. Then A$AP Ferg showed up which was kinda funny because the day before I shot Playboi Carti and A$SAP Rocky showed up. Seemed like A$AP Mob was following me. Then the next song Rocky showed up again. After they left I shot one more French Montana song before calling it a night.

Don’t worry this post is almost over. I didn’t shoot a ton of photos yesterday but here are a handful of photos of French Montana and friends. The end.

Click here to see the photos of French Montana, A$AP Ferg & A$AP Rocky at Mohawk. 

French Montana & A$AP Ferg

A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg & French Montana

French Montana & House Of Vans

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2017 AVN Awards – 1.21.17

I am back from my two week LA & Vegas trip and ready to get you some photos. I do this trip nearly every year around the Adult Video News Awards. I think I have shot the AVNs or at least the events around the AVNs every year since 2008. The trip is how I got started photographing people in the adult industry and now it’s become a good way to see friends, meet new models and make some money… plus with only a few hour drive to LA it’s a good excuse to hit up LA for a week without having to pay for a flight.

Given that the AVN Awards happened over a week ago I am clearly a bit late on these photos, but I shot them for the LA Weekly and posted that link everywhere so I figured that if you really wanted to see my AVN Awards coverage you had plenty of opportunities to do so. That being said, my edit is much bigger than the LA Weekly gallery and of course you don’t get to read a long, pointless, poorly written blog about it.

This year’s AVN’s were pretty cool because a lot of my friends won stuff. Adriana Chechik won Female Performer of the Year, Greg Lansky won back to back Director of the Year awards and my friends cleaned up the acting awards. Best supporting actress went to Joanna Angel and Xander Corvus won best actor. Best Actress went to Kleio Valentien who I actually helped get into porn many years ago after sending this 2009 photo shoot to Burning Angel! (Update: That gallery is broken for some reason but you can find it on Girls of DBB!)

Also it was hosted by Riley Reid (and Aspen Rae) and a bunch of other friends won awards too like my LA landlord Abella Danger who won best Star Showcase. Holly Hendrix won Best New Starlet and we aren’t friends yet but we talked about shooting soon so hopefully we will be by next AVN.  Oh, and Sgt Kabukiman NYPD was there and he’s pretty much family.

Okay, let’s get to these photos. My shots from the Adult Entertainment Expo will be up ASAP too.

Ps. Donate to my Kickstarter. Many AVN Awards winners are in the book.

PPs. Did I mention Flo Rida performed? He did. We got low.

Click here to see all the photos from the 2017 AVN Awards at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, NV.

Adriana Chechik Wins Performer Of The Year

Flo Rida

Annika Albrite & Mick Blue

Doug Benson & April O'Neil

Kendra Sunderland

Carter Cruise & Spencer

Kleio Valentien

2017 AVN Awards

Broques & CobrasnakeBroques & Cobrasnake

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Unrealized Projects Zine Collection!

The New York Art Book Fair is this weekend and I always try and do something new for it. I am not actually selling anything at the NYABF but my new zines will be available from the Bad Books table at the new offshoot art book fair, the Independent Art Book Fair. I realize that is mildly confusing but the majority of you don’t live in NYC anyway, so you can just get my zines from the Driven By Boredom Etsy store. Anyway, let’s get in to it….

I am constantly coming up with bad ideas for projects or art shows or zines or websites or whatever it may be. Often those ideas are just collections of images that I pull together when I realize I have a few similar shots. For example my book Dinner With Igor came about because I just would take photos of friends when we were out to dinner and when I lined up a bunch of these things together they made for a pretty interesting body of work.

Unrealized Projects is a series of zines that didn’t end up being quite as interesting… or maybe they did but there just weren’t enough of them. I also wanted to do some old school black and white photo copied zines like I used to make when I was a punk rock kid in high school so I decided on making several black and white zines and packaging them together.

Each package comes with three black and white zines and an insert explaining the project with a photo on the back. Each insert is signed and numbered out of 50 and each package comes in a black envelope with a sticker designed by zine and button maker Emma Karin who also did all the titles to the zine. Also she helped me assemble all of these things and apparently now I owe her a ton of free food.

This series will hopefully continue with three more zines in the future but these things ended up being oddly expensive so you guys gotta buy them first… so let’s talk about the first three.

Unrealized Projects Volume 1: Who’s In My Rental Car?
This zine is the longest of the three zines and is a collection of photos taken in my rental cars over the years. Whenever I travel I book the rental car even before I get a hotel because worst case I can crash in the car. After a decade of traveling all over the country as a photographer I have taken so many photos in rental cars. The zine is a good mix of nudity, musicians and just way too many people crammed into a tiny car. I also made a randomizing website for these images with my friend Justin. It is incredibly stupid.

Who's In My Rental Car?

Unrealized Projects Volume 2: Fuck Yo Couch!
Remember this Dave Chappelle skit with Rick James? Well realized I had a handful of weird photos of people on my couch (technically it’s a futon) and decided it would make for another really dumb website. I didn’t actually make that website yet (mights still happen?) but I did make this zine. This zine is mostly just photos of naked girls on my couch but there’s also some not naked girls on my couch and some other weird surprises. Still, I like to think my couch has more fun than your couch, so fuck yo couch.

Fuck Yo Couch

Unrealized Projects Volume 3: Celebrity Selfies
This zine came about because I wanted to submit some stuff to a photo magazine that was doing a “Selfies” themed issue. I knew I had a bunch of photos of celebrities taking selfies so I figured that would be some sort of interesting commentary on vanity and celebrity and this culture of trying to impress people via your social media… but then I decided that was fucking stupid and just turned it into a really short zine. All of the photos in this one are digital so that’s a first for me since most of my print works are 35mm.

Celebrity Selfies

Now normally my zines are $10 each but you get all three of these, plus the signed/numbered insert for $12. The margins on these suck so I have to sell most of them just to break even, but I am pretty into these things and I hope you guys are too. Buy them on Etsy or swing by the IABF this weekend!

Ps. Thanks to Ricardo from Subdrive for helping design the zines!

BUY UNREALIZED PROJECTS HERE!

Unrealized Projects Zines

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Jeff Hardy & Juggalo Championship Wrestling

One of the things I spent extra time on at this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos was the wrestling element. I have covered it in the past (I really enjoyed doing behind the scenes at Bloodymania 6) but it’s never been a main focus of my coverage. This year was a bit different because one of the guys covering the Gathering for the LA Weekly (Art Tavana) is a huge wrestling fan and that seemed like a good angle for me because mainstream press hasn’t really covered it and there are infinite wrestling fans out there.

One night we headed down to “Strangle Mania” which was the all hardcore Juggalo Championship Wrestling event. That means lots of barbed wire, thumbtacks and a lot of real blood. I didn’t stay all night and I didn’t really have an appropriate lens to cover wrestling but I got a few decent shots both back stage and in the ring.

The second night was our main focus. Former WWE legend Jeff Hardy was going to be part of the main event at “Bloodymainia” Which is like the Wrestlemania of the JCW. This is the big event of the year. Jeff is not only a pretty big star in wrestling but also happens to be kinda an eccentric guy who wears make up while he wrestles and also just happened to have made this amazing viral video called Final Deletion that was the talk of the wrestling world. He seemed like the perfect person to profile for this juggalo wrestling story.

Jeff is apparently a bit reclusive and doesn’t do a ton of interviews but fortunately for us I met Jeff’s sister in law Reby Hardy at the Gathering of the Juggalos a few years ago. The Gathering is a seriously bonding event and Reby and I have become pretty good Twitter friends. Her husband Matt Hardy is one half of the Hardy Boyz with Jeff and all three of them made Final Deletion. For those of you who care about wrestling all of this is probably super obvious but for everyone else it’s probably mildly confusing. Long story short, Reby hooked us up with Jeff and we got the interview.

Art and I drove out to the Columbus airport to interview Jeff (and his wife Beth) in their hotel room. They were super nice and it was actually a really fun interview. Listening to Jeff talk about wrestling made me kinda miss watching it. I was a pretty big fan in high school right around the time Jeff was huge and the Hardy Boyz were involved in one of my favorite matches of all time. It was great to talk about all that stuff and to find out that Jeff was only a couple years older than me when he was doing it.

Anyway, from there we all drove down to the Gathering. I took my rental car and they all drove in the car that JCW provided. We got there at pretty much the same time and Kevin Gill who runs the wrestling picked us up in a golf cart on the way in. Juggalos were freaking out about Jeff and he posed for picture after picture and signed autographs. I got to take photos of him trying out the ropes and working things out with a wrestler named Hero who was a huge fan of Jeff growing up. He told us later went back stage and cried he was so overwhelmed.

I got to shoot back stage at Bloodymania and of course I shot some of the matches. The event actually had some pretty amazing moments. My long time Gathering buddy Colt Cabana played his cop heel character and started yelling about Blue Lives Matter until a midget (he wanted to be called midget) named Swoggle who we had met earlier kicked the shit out of him which was great. There was also a pretty bloody hardcore match that ended with kinda an emotional passing the torch moment where JCW legend Pondo made everyone in the crowd chant for the other two wrestlers involved in the match.

But the real highlight of Bloodmania was actually a low light. Violent J’s best friend The Rude Boy is a JCW legend himself and was apparently diagnosed with dementia. He was inducted into the JCW Hall Of Fame and both he and Violent J gave speeches that had the entire crowd crying including myself. It was such a weird thing to be crying at a juggalo wrestling match. I was not expecting that. Rudy announced his retirement and the crowd went crazy for him and he finally made it back stage after several walks around the ring thanking fans.

Right before the final match Violent J came back out an announced that he was going to be wrestling for the first time in 8 years. He had been in WWE back in the day and was a wrestler in JCW before he gained a ton of weight and quit. He ended up losing something like 200 lbs in the last year and somehow not only wrestled, but wrestled well. It was impressive. But not only did he wrestle but he brought out 2 Tuff Tony and the Rude Boy for Rudy’s final match before retiring. The crowd went crazy again. The match ended with Rudy winning it but after it was all over Violent J did a moonsault which is essentially a black flip off the top rope. It was pretty fucking insane and I missed the shot because I thought the match was over.

The whole thing ended with the big three way JCW Championship match between Jeff Hardy, Kongo Kong and Willie Mack. The match was a bit of a mess because so many juggalos had thrown beers and Faygo at the ring and the ropes were wet. Jeff slipped on them and then moments later took a serious hit to the head from Willie Mack’s ass. Seriously. Apparently Jeff really hurt his neck in the process and I am fairly certain he was concussed as well because after the match was over he stayed after and just started breaking shit. I think he wanted to give the juggalos a show since he didn’t perform to his standards but it was a little weird and juggalos were reporting he was on drugs or something . Honestly he seemed fine after the match was over but I am sure he was really dazed after that hit. He told us his neck was killing him but otherwise he was good.

Anyway the day was a pretty cool experience for me because even though I don’t watch wrestling now I was really into it as a kid. I loved WWF Superstars when I was little and then again I got into it in the late 90s when the WCW/NWO storyline was warring with the Rock and Stone Cold and Degeneration X. It was a pretty awesome time for wrestling and the Hardy Boyz were the best tag team in the sport.

Now, if you made it this far it’s time to look at stuff.

Go read Art Tavana’s profile of Jeff Hard in the LA Weekly.

And then check out my photos from Juggalo Championship Wrestling at the Gathering of the Juggalos.

And finally click here to check out my photos of Jeff Hardy.

Jeff Hardy's Entrance

2 Tuff Tony, The Rude Boy & Violent J

Strangle Mania

Jeff Hardy & Beth

Violent J Off The Top Ropes

Tommy Dreamer & Swoggle

Jeff Hardy @ Bloody Mania

Bloodymania

Jeff Hardy

 

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Sailor Jerry Fleet Week – 5.29.16

I spent my birthday at Pier 84 photographing the Sailor Jerry Fleet Week party. It was the culmination of a week of Sailor Jerry Fleet Week events honoring sailors (Navy, Marines & Coast Guard). They gave out free drinks, hair cuts and tattoos and then threw this huge free party with a live performance from Cage the Elephant.

I didn’t make the other events but I saw Cage The Elephant at Lollapalooza in 2011 and they blew me away so I figured this would be a pretty good way to get paid to have fun on my birthday. I have shot thousands of bands over the last 20 years and Cage The Elephant are one of those bands that really sticks out. I went out and bought one of their albums after seeing their live show

Aside from the Cage show there was a lot going on. For some reason there were a couple Playboy Playmates hanging out and arm wrestling sailors. No one seemed to mind them cheating for some reason.

Ink Master judge Oliver Peck was giving sailors free Sailor Jerry tattoos all day. I have photographed a lot of Sailor Jerry tattoo events and it was awesome seeing the right people getting the classic tattoos for their original meanings. Last time I saw Oliver he was tattooing my knee so it was nice to see him without wanting to pass out.

They were giving out on site silk screened shirts and my friend Myles was sewing Sailor Jerry patches on the shirts or whatever you wanted. And did I mention the free drinks? There were a lot of free drinks.

Shortly before Cage went on, the Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus drove a custom Sailor Jerry Harley Davidson on stage and gave a toast to the troops and the proceeded to take hundreds of selfies with sailors and other fans. It was pretty impressive to see him spend over an hour taking photos with people and signing autographs.

Finally Cage went on and after shooting their first few songs I decided I had taken enough photos to just enjoy the rest of the set. I had a couple of drinks and they got right on top of me because I hadn’t eaten or slept because I am terrible at life. So I ended up staying late talking to US Navy guys about the nature of war and service. Pretty intense way to start Memorial Day.

I finally left and met up with some friends for dinner and ended up sobering up a lot as soon as I got food in me and then started to get drunk again and ended up at some punk show and on a roof in the rain and talking hockey with some fucking Penguins fan at a metal bar and then went home and ordered $40 of delivery food before passing out while watching Game of Thrones. Did anything important happen?

Oh right, photos, sorry… let’s do this.

Click here to see all the photos from the Sailor Jerry Fleet Week party at Pier 84.

Norman Reedus

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

Cage The Elephant

Norman Reedus & Oliver Peck

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

Norman Reedus

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

Sailor Jerry Fleet Week

 

 

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