Headed back to my 14th straight South By Southwest in Austin, TX this week. I wasn’t even going to do an update about it because I ran out of time and I don’t have any actual content to share with you or anything but my flight got delayed and I missed my connecting flight and now I am bored in the Delta Sky Lounge and it seemed like a good time to update you guys on some random stuff.
Firstly if you want to follow my SXSW trip check out my Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. Should be updating all that stuff. Snapchat too. My name is predictably “drivenbyboredom” on all of them.
Next up I figured I would update you guys on my Instaxxx book. After raising $20k on Kickstarter I have quickly found out that’s not really enough money to do a hardcover book. My first estimate came back at $22k. $20k after fees and taxes and shipping costs and film costs is suddenly like $10k. Not ideal. So I am going with softcover but it’s gonna be twice the size of my last two books so that should be pretty awesome.
I have pretty much finished shooting for the book and I have scanned all the instant film that I shot. Next up is laying out the book which I will be starting on pretty much as soon as I get back.
Lastly I should mention that I had some stuff fall through at SXSW so I have a bunch of free time if anyone needs a last minute photographer… or perhaps you live in Austin and are a super hot babe and wanna be in my book. Just saying… If either of those things are the case hit me up!
Just wanted to get on here late and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I posted it on Instagram already but I feel like you guys need to see my Christmas card. I sent out about 100 of these in the actual mail but you get the digital version. Actually, if you still want one in the mail I can still make that happen. I got like 100 cards left still and a couple dozen stamps.
Anyway, this Christmas card is actually a Polaroid that was shot at Exxxotica NJ back in early November. I had this idea that I was going to launch my naked Polaroid book Kickstarter December 1st and then people who backed would automatically get a Christmas card but the video wasn’t ready to go by then and I would rather hold off until it was ready. This book is gonna be a big one and I need to do it right. Look for it in early January.
The Christmas card features (from left to right) Dahlia Sky, Cassidy Klein, Cadence Lux, Samantha Rone and Stevie Foxx. The actual photo was taken by Cadence’s boyfriend Nick. I think seeing a bunch of naked girls evened out the fact that he pretty much had to see my balls. I hope you guys feel the same way.
So yeah, Merry Christmas everyone, happy various other winter holidays and New Years and whatever. I am in DC for a few days but I should be back to NYC on Wednesday and back to work getting ready to launch this book.
Just months before Leonard Cohen died he wrote a letter to his muse Marianne Ihlen who was dying of cancer. He ended the letter “Goodbye old friend, endless love, see you down the road.” Two days later she was gone.
Reading this letter days after the election I can only feel this for my country. I spent a week driving down Route 66 with less of the nostalgia I felt the first time I drove the Mother Road. The first time I drove it I thought about this great America where people went on vacations where the trip was as much of the adventure as the destination. This was the America that existed in the decades after World War II where the men had come home to a heroes welcome and women left the factories and had kids and America made things!
This is the nostalgia for America that Trump supporters have when they want to make America great again. But they don’t think of the cost of that greatness. They don’t think about the destruction of Europe that led to the booming American economy, they don’t think about our current medicare crisis that has been caused by the baby boom, they don’t think about black and brown people being second class citizens… well maybe they do think about that last one.
Whatever the case I feel like we are saying goodbye to America, our endless love and handing her off to Trump and collection of white nationalists and just hoping we are going to see our country again down the road…
All of this is to say that the Road Trip Blog is now open while I am out of town for two more weeks. Click through to read hopefully regular updates from my trip. I am in LA for another week and then to DC and Miami. Will keep you as up to date as possible.
Sometime in the next week or two I should be launching a Kickstarter for my next book. I am going to be doing a nude Polaroid book (technically Instax Wide) and I am pretty excited about it because the rough edit I made is really solid. After publishing my recent zine and getting for the next book I decided it was time to organize all my old books and zines and get a good inventory of everything. I found out I am nearly out of a few items and have way too many of a few more. So here’s your last chance to get a few things and a chance to get a few other things cheap. Let’s go through everything!
Get Your Kicks – GYK was my first book and it sold out in a month. It’s been long gone and has sold for $100. If you had donated to it’s crowd funding it would have been yours for $20.
Dinner With Igor – My second book is all but sold out. There are 18 copies left and I am pulling a few of those for the Kickstarter so get yours now while you have the chance.
Food Tattoos – Food Tattoos was a stretch goal for the Dinner With Igor Kickstarter. Everyone who funded that Kickstarter got a copy for free. I only have 6 copies left so get yours now!
Fuck LA – I only made 50 copies for the LA Art Book Fair and it’s long gone. Although I do have one slightly damaged copy that April O’Neil signed if anyone is interested…
Same Old City– I made this NYC themed zine for the NY Art Book Fair last year and there are only 5 copies left. This is probably my favorite zine and the best thing I have done since Get Your Kicks. I would get it while you still have a chance.
Arts– Arts is a collection of black and white portraits of artists with their art on the opposite page. It includes a ton of amazing artists like Molly Crabapple, Buff Monster, Lamour Supreme, Nick & Penelope Gazin and a ton of others. But (I assume because of the lack of nudity) it didn’t sell very well. I was really disappointed because I am very happy with the zine. You can now get it 25% off.
Public – My public nudity zine has sold pretty well but it’s fairly new so I have plenty of copies left. So no rush getting one of the last copies and no sale either. It’s a pretty fun zine though.
Unrealized Projects– This is my newest effort. Three black and white zines, limited to 50 copies, with a signed/numbered insert packaged in a black envelope for just $12. I have about half of these left after the NY Art Book Fair.
Limited Editions On Sale!
Same Old City might be almost gone but the Same Old City special edition is signed/numbered and comes with a 5″x7″ is not. I have about a dozen left still so it’s now 25% off!
Same deal with the Public special edition. I have about a dozen left and would like to get rid of a few of these. Signed/Numbered plus April O’Neil/Shay Laren print. 25% off!
10 years ago today I moved to New York. I had planned on moving to NYC a year earlier but I was managing a band called the Gaskets at the time and decided to stick around until they graduated. Eventually I made plans with a friend to move with a friend but it didn’t work out so I signed another year lease in Richmond and figured maybe I could try again later.
Two weeks after I signed that lease I was in Brooklyn for a Gaskets show and I ran into a friend at an after party. He needed a roommate and could probably get me a job at the restaurant he worked at. I went in and met his boss the next day and they hired me as a bus boy. I broke the lease I had just signed and a couple of weeks later I had moved to Williamsburg Brooklyn into the same apartment I live in to this day.
For the entire first year I lived in NYC I worked as a bus boy in a hotel restaurant. I still had dreams of managing bands and working in the music industry but The Gaskets were on the verge of breaking up and there weren’t a lot of music jobs available believe it or not… I started going to parties in NYC to meet people and hit on girls and I would always bring a camera. I was a photo major in college but that was more just to have a useful trade while I did my own shit. I never thought I would be a photographer but I knew I would always take photos.
In late 2006 party photography had just blown up. Cobra Snake and Last Night’s Party were all the rage and when I would take photos at parties people would ask me what website it was for. I had started Driven By Boredom in 2001 but I rarely updated it but apparently I needed a place to post my photos so with the help of some friends I redid my website and became an accidental party photographer.
I would go out around midnight every night and shoot until 4am. I would come home, dump photos, and then shower and head to work. I had to be set up by 6am so I would get there around 5:30. I would work until 3, head home, upload photos, update my website and sleep for a few hours by doing the whole thing all over again. I hated being a bus boy and being broke constantly so every hour I had I free I spent working on photography.
Almost one year to the day after I started I quit my bus boy job. I really thought I could make it as a photographer and I did… for about 8 months. When I ran out of money I ended up getting a job digitizing books for Archive.org. It sounded like a cool job, working for a tech non-profit, and I got to work with cameras, but it was really closer to an assembly line factory job than anything else. I would turn the page and press a button and two cameras would fire and then I would do that again and again, thousands of pages a day.
When the economy crashed in 2008 a massive amount of Archive.org’s funding was cut and they had to lay off the night shift. They said I could re-interview for the day shift or take 6 weeks severance. So on December 23rd 2008 I worked my last day at a “real job” and tried once again to make it as a full time photographer.
Right around the time I got laid off I got a freak advertising gig. A Swiss ad agency saw one of my photos and asked me to re-shoot it for them. They paid me $2500 which was probably way less than I should have asked for but it was way more than I had ever made taking a photo before. In January I decided to go to LA as a little severance vacation and while I was there I randomly got hired to work Sundance for the main liquor sponsor. It turned out that because of the economy crash the company couldn’t afford to hire a real photographer so they paid me $3k to work five days. Again, it was not nearly enough but more money than I had ever made as a photographer before.
Within a month of being laid off I had nearly $7000 in my bank account and was on unemployment. I kinda looked for a job but mostly I was just trying to find as much photography work as possible. I was hoping I could make it longer than 8 months this time. When my unemployment finally ran out I didn’t have a job but I still hadn’t run out of money and many years later I still haven’t.
To this day I have no idea how I haven’t run out of money yet, but somehow I keep paying my bills. I still live in the same apartment and I have rent stabilization so my rent has only gone up about 10% in 10 years. The rents in the neighborhood have basically doubled so basically I can never leave.
And that’s my New York story. NYC isn’t nearly as inspiring as it was for the first few years, and I certainly have a lot less fun than I did in my 20’s but I still love it here and haven’t made that move to LA yet despite thinking about it all the time. So here’s to my 10 years in Brooklyn and to the next 10 years wherever I end up but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was still in this same god damn apartment.
To celebrate my 10 years in NYC my friend Betty Rose hooked me up with a New York City tattoo. Someone once told me when I first moved to NYC that if you make it 10 years you can finally call yourself a New Yorker. Not sure if that’s true or not but I guess I finally made it.
Leaving town tomorrow morning for the rest of the month and I am breaking open the Road Trip Blog again. Over there I post daily updates from my travels as it’s a lot easier doing that than clogging up the main page.
I am headed to LA for five days to see my family, friends and of course take photos of some babes. My parents are out there visiting my brother and they offered a free plane ticket if I came with them. I doubled down on the free plane ticket and picked up some work and turning my parents weekend trip into a two week road trip.
I will be Instagraming, Tweeting and Snapchating a lot. I have no idea how to link my Snapchat because I barely understand how it works but my name is drivenbyboredom on there like on every fucking thing.
Now to find out more about the trip and check out my daily updates…
Hurray! Today is the one year anniversary of the worst day of my life so I feel like we should write about it as some sort of therapeutic exercise and then maybe I can move or something like that. Maybe I should just write this and delete it but I won’t because I have dedicated the last 15 years of my life to oversharing… why stop now?
I wanted everyone to know about his memorial service so I posted on Twitter that it was going to be at Webster Hall and that I would be there. This might have been a mistake because as I was walking into the club a woman tapped me on the shoulder. She said “Are you Nate Igor Smith?” I told her I was and she said “I am a huge fan of your website. I have something for you…. You’ve been served.” She handed me a stack of papers and then ran full speed away from me.
Before I even could comprehend what happened a sheriff tapped me on the other shoulder and told me I had to sign something saying I received the notice that I had been sued. The whole thing was like a scene in a move. I asked the sheriff “Who the fuck serves someone at a funeral?” and he was actually weirdly apologetic.
So I go inside Webster and I start reading this lawsuit. I am not really going to talk about the details of it but basically I was being sued by a former client and another person for something that I had almost nothing to do with. I spent the entire memorial service going back and forth between trying to mourn my lost friend and thinking about how fucked up this law suit was. I don’t think I ever really had the opportunity to mourn Jess but it was one of the most painful hours of my life.
From Webster a bunch of us went over to Beauty Bar for a drink and then eventually we ended up at another bar. When I decided I had to go home I mentioned that I had to go to my girlfriend’s apartment and move my car over to my place. My friend told me to be careful because he thought I was drinking. I explained that I was totally sober and my girlfriend lived walking distance from my place I just mostly needed to move the car across the street so it wouldn’t get towed.
(Quick sidebar about the car… I didn’t actually own a car. It was my parents car that I borrowed because they were moving and I had to get a ton of stuff out of their basement. The car was still half filled with boxes of stuff from my childhood.)
As I was parking the car a man who had stolen a SUV was being chased by the cops. He tried to make it around me but he hit an idling car bounced off it and crashed into the driver side rear of my car. It turned the wheel 90 degrees and snapped the axel in two. He then proceeded to hit several more cars before being caught by the cops a few blocks a way.
The side air bag was the worst part. It felt like I had been punched in the head. I couldn’t hear out of my right ear and I don’t think I noticed how bad the whiplash was. I wouldn’t notice that until three days later when I couldn’t get out of bed. After the ambulance came and the police came I had to get the boxes out of the car before it could be towed. Right as I started getting the boxes out it started pouring rain. I actually started laughing which confused the hell out of the cops.
Two days later I was feeling pretty shitty but I had playoff hockey tickets and a bunch of friends and I went out to Long Island to see our Washington Capitals take on the Islanders. We lost the game in overtime which was pretty awful but we had an even worse experience. I wrote about our shitty treatment at the game and sent it to a few friends and within 45 minutes it had gone viral. ESPN, Sports Illustrated and every local outlet picked up the story. I was getting, no joke, over 100 Tweets a minute at some point that very night. I got death threats and people talking shit to me non stop for a week.
The next morning I woke up and my back had completely locked up. I couldn’t really move. I was supposed to work that night but I had to cancel. I just stayed in bed. Luckily my hockey team was winning so I had a reason to suck up the pain and go watch with my friends.
Less than two weeks later my girlfriend broke up with me via text.
A few days later the Capitals lost in overtime of game 7 against the other local team the New York Rangers.
I am a pretty passionate sports fan, but with everything in my life going so horribly wrong the hockey playoffs were the only thing I had that was positive in my life. When they lost it hit me like no other sports moment ever had. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and I no longer had a reason to get out of bed.
I spent the next six weeks or so barely leaving the house. Between my back and my depression and the looming lawsuit I sunk into the worst depression of my adult life. Coincidentally that time period was also really slow for work and I wasn’t exactly making an effort to find any new jobs. I gained probably 15lbs and I never really dealt with any of the shit I was going through. I didn’t really have anyone to talk to. I am still not sure I ever got over my ex. We are friendly but to this day we have never really had a real life conversation about the break up.
Now it’s a year later and my life is finally back on track. It took over 100 hours of billable legal hours but I got out of a lawsuit that the judge agreed I had at worst “minimal liability”. 2015 was the worst year of my life financially but 2016 has been a lot better. I just this week paid off my credit card debt that had climbed close to $10,000. I am still in a wild amount of debt from my lawsuit but that is manageable. My hockey team is in the playoffs again and while it will be disappointing if they don’t win all the games, I think I will be able to function as a human if they don’t. I lost most of that weight, I joined a new band, my last zine did really well and I am pretty sure Donald Trump isn’t actually going to be our next president.
So yeah, happy anniversary worst day of my life. Here’s hoping today is a good one.
I am home after two weeks away so let’s do a second straight contentless post featuring another video that I had nothing to do with. Really I just wanna update you on some stuff and try and hit you up for some cash cause that’s how I manage to pay my rent which is coincidentally due today. Let’s go.
So yeah, I am back which means I gotta deal with an unreasonable amount of shit I ignored for the last two weeks. That includes a few hundred unread emails and some real fun stuff like trying to fix/ buy a new air conditioner. Party forever. Long story short is that I probably will spend the next three days in front of my computer screen in a slightly too hot living room/ office. Once again, party forever.
So while all this really fun stuff is happening I wanted to hit you guys with some photos from my trip. I have a full exclusive set of Raven Rockette that I uploaded to Girls of Driven By Boredom. Raven is one of my favorite models and so fucking hot. I shot her on top of the Superchief LA roof once and we also shot one of my favorite sets of all time at an abandoned waterpark. When I was in LA we were supposed to shoot on the last night I was in town but we had to deal with an insanely drunk girl neither of us had ever met before and by the time we started shooting it was 2am and Raven was super tired and fairly stoned. So instead of taking good photos Raven just showed me her apartment and we spent about 15 minutes shooting photos of her hanging out on her bed naked. The photos aren’t very good, but they are really fucking hot and amateurish looking which is extra hot. So instead of posting them on my site I decided to post them all on the Girls of DBB
Now that that’s settled DBB Etsy. I shot The Extra Ones I Shot Before I Left… while I was in LA and it costs about $300 to develop and scan them all so go buy some stuff cause I don’t really make any money off my analog work so if you like all the film stuff I put on DBB Tumblr you should go buy a zine or something.
Also in my Etsy store I now have a cheap option as far as buying Instant film for me. For $20 you can now get a random nude Polaroid from me. Actually, you could get a non nude one too, but come on. We know why you are here… Anyway, I have a ton of Fuji Instax laying around and if you order one I will sign that shit on the back and send it out to you ASAP. Everyone wins or something.
Lastly let’s promote some shit I have nothing to do with. The first feature length movie Benjamin Moses Smith edited is Two Step On iTunes. It’s called Two Step and it’s an insane thriller that I really think is going to go down as a classic cult film. It’s honestly fucking amazing and I am only being slightly biased. If you like really fucked up movies, you need to watch Two Step. It’s also way better than the trailer.
Normally when leaving town for two weeks I would throw mini updates on the DBB Road Trip blog and not update the main page but my motel’s internet sucks and other than Ho99o9’s release party I didn’t shoot a ton of photos the first few days I was here. So I decided I would just throw up a little update on life and a music video that people I like a lot made. Seems reasonable…
So far in LA I have photographed Ava Dalush who you guys just met, an old favorite Ivy Diamond and the insanely babetastic Chanel Preston. I also shot a babe that was roommates with my friend Juanito Blanco named Jade Nile. I took some weird 35mm shots of her and her boyfriend which might see the light of day eventually. They are all having a party on Wednesday so hopefully I can get some more weirdness. I also got to see Kimberly Kane (and her dog!) who I hadn’t seen in over a year. I think the only photo I took of her was at a diner but perhaps we will shoot something before I leave town.
Now on to this music video. My friend Teddy Blanks directed his first music video. He is a graphic designer who has designed all my books and zines and he did the design work for the band Tanlines new album Highlights. During the design phase they had a conversation about how Teddy’s friend and actor Alex Karpovsky looks a lot like one of the guys from Tanlines. A few months later Alex and Teddy were directing a video for the song Palace starring Alex and Natasha Lyonne with cameos from Leo Fitzpatrick and that dude from High Maintenance. On my first night in LA Teddy showed me the video and it finally came out yesterday. It’s pretty rad.
Also my brother, who is a tremendous editor, cut the video so it is extra amazing. But then again he’s letting me sleep on his couch this weekend so I guess I would have to say that. Seriously, go watch this video because anything that Teddy and my brother do together has got to be awesome. Plus Alex and Teddy hired me to shoot the poster for Alex’s movie Red Flag which Teddy designed and art directed. So everyone rules.