Remembering My Hero: Doug Sakmann

When I found out my friend Doug died, it didn’t fully hit me right away. I have lost far too many friends and when I first found out I though that maybe I was just permanently broken. The sadness I felt was more about the pain of life, how unfair it was for another one of my people to be gone, than it was the pain of his death. Later that day I found out another, less close, friend had died and the sadness I felt was compounded by the guilt for not feeling more.

That night I went to dinner with my girlfriend and this pressure of sorrow was weighing me down. She wanted to talk to me about Doug, who she never got to meet, but I didn’t want to talk about anything. I didn’t even want to eat. But I couldn’t not talk about Doug and I started telling her story after story about our friendship and how much he meant to my life and I broke down in the restaurant, crying into my food. I was just glad to be feeling something. 

I found out that Doug died a week ago, but I couldn’t write this post for so many reasons. I didn’t want to break down again of course, but I also had just so many things to tell you about Doug, so many stories, so many ways he impacted my life, I didn’t know how to do it. I wrote over 1200 words and deleted almost all of it because it just felt like a review of our friendship, just a list of things with links to old blog posts like footnotes in a research paper. It didn’t feel right, so here I am starting over again. Doug deserves that, and our mutual friends reading this deserve that. I have sadly become known for posts like these, and it helps me process, but I know how much these posts have meant to other people and I need to get this right. 

So let’s start at the beginning, skip to the end and then just write some more.

RIP Doug Sakmann

My friendship with Doug starts more than 20 years ago during the very early days of this website. I started it in 2001 and very quickly it became popular enough that I realized I could get free stuff if I blogged about it, so I would reach out to companies I loved and often would get sent products. One of those companies was Troma, a low budget, b-horror film studio that I am going to assume you are familiar with if you are reading a post about Doug. 

In 2002 Troma sent me a VHS screener copy of a documentary called All The Love You Cannes. The movie was about the Troma team trying to get the word out about their company at the Cannes Film Festival by any means necessary. They caused absolute chaos and the star of the film was a man named Doug Sakmann who managed to get kicked out of his hotel room and piss off (and on) his own coworkers with his insane behavior. It was so goddamn funny and 22 year old me was obsessed. After I wrote about the movie I emailed the link to Troma and I realized the guy I had been emailing with was the same Doug as the one in the movie. I told him he was my hero. 

From then on we stayed in touch, but it wasn’t until 2006 when I moved to NYC that we met at a Halloween party where he was hosting his “world’s most dangerous game show” Strip for Pain. By that point he had left Troma and moved to Philly to start his own company, Backseat Conceptions, but he would come up for events all the time and I made sure to see him pretty much every time he was in town. Never once did we live in the same city but we became very close and he impacted my life in so many huge ways despite the distance. 

Doug & Me The Night We Met

Doug would come up at least twice a year to throw the NYC Zombie Crawl and as long as I was in town would photograph it, most of the time for free, despite hating it. The first few were a blast and I got crazy photos, but how many times can you photograph the same thing before you hate coming home sticky and smelling like pancake syrup from all the fake blood. Still, I would do anything for Doug and it was a chance to see him and we always talked about doing a zombie crawl book together.

After the pandemic Doug stopped doing zombie crawls. Events were canceled for a long time and by the time they came back he was dealing with his own losses in life. I injured my back, got wifed up and stopped going out so even if Doug was in town I am not sure I would have made it out. I still kept in touch with Doug via social media and the occasional text but I hadn’t heard his voice until a few weeks ago when he called me to tell me the Zombie Crawl was coming back and he wanted me to send him a bunch of photos for a gallery show around the event. He told me he was finally getting out of his depression after losing his brother and wanted to start doing things again. We talked about new Troma movies and a touring gallery show and finally doing that zombie crawl book. It was so great to hear from him and we talked for a really long time. 

It took me a while to go through all my zombie photos but I sent him an edit of a few hundred. It took him a while to get the selects back to me and it took me a while to edit them and send him the high res photos. I finally got them back to him almost exactly one week before he died. On June 23rd, three days before his death I landed in NYC at 9am. It was the day of the Mermaid Parade, an event I somehow never photographed in all the years I lived in NY. I was gonna go with my friend Mike but he had an emergency and couldn’t make it and I was exhausted so I just took a nap instead of going all the way out to Coney Island. The next day I saw Doug posted on Instagram that he was at the parade. If only I had seen it I would have been there in a second, spending one last day with my friend I hadn’t seen in way too long. But I didn’t see it and I cannot tell you how much I regret it. Tears are bouncing off my keyboard just thinking about it.

Doug Sakmann & Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD

In my early days of living in New York I called Doug while he was on his way home from the AVN Awards where he got kicked out of another hotel for chaotic behavior. He had drunkenly punch a slot machine and they kicked him out even though he paid for the machine. He decided to come back wearing a fake mustache and they arrested him. It seemed hilarious to me at the time. I was really jealous of someone who could just be so punk rock and not give a fuck. He didn’t have a care in the world about any of it. I turned that phone call with him into an interview I titled Doug Sakmann: American Hero.

Doug really was my hero. When we first met it was because he was an absolute maniac and I loved that. I have so many great Doug stories from those days but as crazy as Doug was, what made him my hero was his ability to get everything done in the midst of all that chaos. I remember the exact moment my whole view of Doug changed. It was 2008 and I came to Philly for the Basckseat Film Festival he was throwing. We spent all night partying with porn stars and doing god knows what. At some point Doug passed out and I was a little worried because he had a film festival to run. I was totally sober but he was the one who woke me up the next morning and he was a completely different person. I spent the morning with him and just watched him run the festival like a goddamn professional. He was so impressive to watch, commanding an army of volunteers despite being on three hours of drunken sleep. 

Late during zombie crawls one minute Doug would be swinging off a light post spraying fake blood out of a Super Soaker on to the crowd below and the next minute he would be inevitably be talking to the police, assuring them that all of this was absolutely normal. I have never met anyone so out of control and so in control at the exact same time. He invited me to be in a Troma movie in 2018 and I couldn’t make it on the dates they needed me, but I did spend a day as an (unpaid) extra just for the experience. Doug was running the show, making Lloyd Kaufman’s job as easy as possible, while also setting off insane special effects. It was this ability to create order out of chaos that made me hire him as a produce for every ad campaign I have ever done.

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If you knew Doug, you don’t need me to tell you this but Doug wasn’t just fun, he wasn’t just a good producer, but he was also about the nicest friendliest dude you could imagine. He would literally give you the shirt off his back. Every post I have read memorializing him has talked about how wonderful of a fucking human he was. His last ever text to me was wishing me happy birthday and telling me that he loved me. I was on a midlife crisis, self loathing birthday shit and didn’t even bother to text him back. We are almost the exact same age and his birthday is coming up and I won’t even be able to repay the favor, but I hope he knows how much I loved him. Fuck, there are those tears again.

This post is almost 2000 words at this point and I still want to drop you guys a bunch of links so you can go back and look at all the fun times we had together. I documented almost all of it. I just want to tell you how much he impacted my life. He introduced me to one of my first friend groups in New York even though he wasn’t even living there. He’s the reason I went to the AVN Awards for the first time which completely changed my career. He introduced me to Lloyd Kaufman who is another hero of mine, and because of that connection I got to shoot my only Village Voice cover despite freelancing there for a decade. I partied with Jackasses, movie stars, porn stars and professional eaters with Doug. We got our logos tattooed to each other. He snuck me into Comic Con, he booked the best show of my short lived musical career, and he even convinced me to go to a fucking baseball game. I should also note, that my website is deeply broken so many of the galleries don’t work, but at least you get the stories and some of the pictures. 

It took me almost a week just to get started with this post and then four more days to finish it. I spent hours just looking for photos of Doug, trying to find a handful without zombie makeup on him. I have so few photos of him when he wasn’t “on”. I think part of that was the nature of our relationship, 90% of the time we hung out it was at some big event, or we were working. I guess I just wasn’t shooting photos during the downtime. I only found a couple of photos of him and I together. He was always in front of the camera, and I was always behind it. I fucking miss you so much man. I am so fucking sad your gone, and I am so sorry I didn’t text you back telling you how much I loved you too. 

Click here to see over 100 photos I have taken of my brother and hero Doug Sakmann over the years.

RIP Doug Sakmann

 

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Heidi V & Nova Hawthorne

Hello! I am back with some “new” pictures that I took back in January during the AVN Awards week. I am settling nicely into my new North Carolina life but between the move and getting the new place together I really haven’t taken very many photos. It’s a super weird experience for me but I have recently come into some dumb crypto money so my priority has been on getting used to my move and not working, but that’s not really a long term situation so hopefully I’ll get back to traveling and taking wild photos and all that shit. Meanwhile, I have some photos of my old pal Heidi V and her friend Nova Hawthorne. 

I met Heidi years ago and we have taken photos a few times now and she’s always an awkward joy to photograph. She’s very fun and for the second time brought me a pretty friend to take photos with as well. Nova Hawthorne was staying with Heidi during the AVNs so one day I went up to their room to take photos. The light sucked so we pulled out one of their webcam lights and made it work. They are pretty bad technically because that’s kinda my thing, but you can tell the girls are having a blast and capturing actual fun is also kinda my thing.

All the photos below are very cute, but there are also some pretty sexy photos as well, but you gotta go to Girls of Driven By Boredom for those. Sorry but those are the rules. Anyway, I am gonna get back organizing my office, watering all my plants, feeding my fish and whatever else I do in my new weird life. 

Click here to see all the NSFW photos of Heidi V and Nova Hawthorne!

 

Heidi V & Nova Hawthorne

Heidi V & Nova Hawthorne

Heidi V & Nova Hawthorne

 

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Jade Baker @ The Chelsea Hotel

Last summer I photographed Jade Baker for the half dozenth time. I love taking her photo and when she told me she was staying at the Chelsea Hotel I got over there as quickly as possible. We shot a ton of photos and I was really happy with them and was ready to put them up, but she then was going through a rebrand to “Rosie Jones” so I waited to upload them for a couple of weeks.

By the time she had announced her new name I got the 35mm back and I loved it, so I abandoned the digitals and I uploaded the film photos with the announcement about her new name. So months go by, I get busy, I upload other stuff, I plan a move, I move, I spend a month unpacking and during all of this I end up completely forgetting about these digital photos and they just languished on my hard drive until now!

So we have a ton of really fun photos of Jade, who is once again going by Jade, in an absolutely iconic location that I am so glad I got to photograph in before I moved. It wouldn’t have felt right.

On some quick housekeeping notes, I have now been living in Wilmington, NC for five weeks and I still don’t have my office fully set up, but the last piece of office furniture is being delivered today and then I will get my printers and my postage scale and all that boring shit set up so I can start shipping stuff again. A lot of my merch is still hard to get to at the moment as my closet is just full of garbage but by next week I should be ready to go. You can stuff order now, and it should ship early next week. 

Also, these photos of Jade and the 35mm version of this shoot and hundreds of other shoots are all available on Girls of DBB. I don’t have an OnlyFans anymore so that is the only place to get my NSFW content. I am not really working right now as I get my life together, so signing up for that site helps me a ton. It’s pretty cheap, especially if you sign up for a few months at a time. 

Now click here to see all the uncensored digital photos of Jade Baker at the Chelsea Hotel.

Jade Baker

Jade Baker

Jade Baker

Jade Baker

Jade Baker

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Dylan Moore

Okay, this post was supposed to go up in January. I had it all ready to go and then I just ran out of time before I went to the AVN Awards. And then when I was in Vegas I ran into Dylan again and we did this mini shoot in a parking garage that I posted in my last update and so I didn’t want to post her back to back but then this move happened and I have been swamped and don’t have a working office and long story short I just needed to get something up and this was the next in line. As I mention below, we did a second shoot on the same day as this one, but we also did a third shoot in Vegas that is probably great but honestly I haven’t even looked at the photos because my life has been a mess since I got back. Give me two more weeks an I should be back in business. My desk comes this week so that’s a start… anyway, here is your post from January:

Back in October a model named Dylan Moore reached out to me. She was coming to NYC and wanted to shoot. We had a mutual friend who connected us but she apparently followed me back in the Tumblr days. I was down of course and I showed up at her hotel and we did a pretty quick shoot on the bed in her I <3 NY shirt.

When we were done shooting in the hotel room we went out on the balcony area and took a few more photos. She seemed comfortable with public nudity but I didn’t want to get her kicked out of her hotel room. I did have an idea… I had wanted to shoot at this secret spot in my neighborhood since I found it in 2016 but for whatever reason I had never done it. I also had a second spot in mind but you had to be crazy to do it. Dylan was down for both and we got on the train and headed to Brooklyn… but that’s for another post….

Anyway, Dylan is a great model and she really liked the photos we took so I hope we get to shoot again soon (Spoiler alert: we did). Honestly I don’t have a ton more to say because I have a whole second part to this day and I am about to head to Vegas for the AVN Awards and I want to get this up before I leave (Editor’s note: lol). 

All these photos are paywalled cause that is the world we live in now, so the link below will take you to Girls of Driven By Boredom which has probably over 100k photos on it so you might as well sign up for decades worth of NSFW photos. 

Now click here to see all the photos of Dylan Moore.

Dylan Moore

Dylan Moore

Dylan Moore

Dylan Moore

Dylan Moore

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AVN Parking Lot Photo Shoots

Back when the AVN Awards were at the Hard Rock Hotel I did so many mini photo shoots on the parking deck roof or in my rental car in the parking lot or wherever I could find a place to spend five minutes shooting photos with a model when she had a quick break from signing autographs or partying or whatever else people do in Vegas during a porn convention. The AVNs recently have moved to Resort World and I didn’t know any of the good hiding spots yet, but when I parked my rental car near a stairwell I realized it was the perfect place to shoot. 

I tried to shoot several people in that stairwell but it was in a lot that was adjacent to the hotel and you had to go outside to get there which means a) they had to go outside in the cold wearing skimpy clothing b) they had a ten minute round trip walk in high heels. So pretty much everyone flaked, which happens at lot at AVN anyway.

On Friday night I ran into Dylan Moore, who I recently shot in New York. (I have two NYC shoots with her to publish already.) The convention was about to end when I ran into her and she mentioned she had a hotel with a great room we could shoot in, so we drove over there, but before we did, I finally got to shoot someone in that stairwell because I had once again parked my rental car right next to it. Dylan immediately hung herself over the 4th floor railing which scared the absolute shit out of me given that I once was sued by Larry Flynt and an Instagram famous douchebag over a girl breaking her foot “falling” off a roof on a shoot I did for Hustler. Once I got her to stop that we shot a bunch of film and Instax and didn’t really shoot much digital, but I still have a handful of photos for you. (Plus a full hotel shoot with her still to come.)

One of the people I talked to about shooting in that stairwell was a model I met at the convention named Michelle Masque. I had tried to shoot her during the day on Friday and it didn’t happen so on Saturday when we finally met up I figured we could just go to the main parking garage and shoot on the roof. The problem was it was so bright out and the shadows were so harsh. I took some daylight flash stuff with my point and shoot 35mm camera so that might end up being cool, but a lot of the stuff we shot was pretty harsh. Still, we got some nice stuff I think. Plus she got to try on an outfit she had just bought and found out it was a little too big, so she was able to return it right after the shoot and so it worked out for everyone.

Shortly after my shoot with Michelle I went to the hotel Starbucks to get a coffee and I ran into my buddy CJ and his wife Sania Mallory who I really wanted to photograph. They were just going home so I said why don’t we do something quick on the parking garage before they bounced. Fortunately, in just the half hour between my shoot with Michelle and my shoot with Sania, the sun had gone down enough and the light was absolutely perfect. I photographed her and her and then her and CJ together and then I ended up shooting her with this dude Tiny Smallz who was staying with them. And then finally I shot them all with their other friend David for a nice family portrait.

Lastly, a few hours later I ran into my old pal Goldie Fawn. She was one half of what was maybe my favorite AVN shoot of all time and is in my new zine Off The Hook. I don’t think I seen her since we shot back in 2018, and I really wanted to take her photo this year but it hadn’t happened yet. Fortunately when I ran into her in the hotel lobby she had just finished walking the AVN red carpet and she had a few minutes before she had to go back into the awards show, so once again we went to the parking garage. I had to get some cameras out of my rental car so we ended up just shooting her on my rental car in her incredible gold red carpet dress. This shoot was so quick and we got so many fun shots. Goldie rules and I am so glad we got to do this quick shoot right only an hour before I went to the airport to head back home. 

Lastly, before I leave you with links, I should mention that my book Instaxxx which has NSFW instant film photos from hundreds of photo shoots is on sale right now. I am moving at the end of the month and trying to get rid of some stuff before I go. It’s 25% off right now. Just saying. 

Okay, so a bunch of these photos are tame enough to post on Flicker but like, it doesn’t make a great gallery so I am pay walling everything. Sorry. All these photos are exclusive to Girls of Driven By Boredom, but just a reminder that there are tens of thousands of high res nude photos on there all for one low price, so like, get it together and throw in a few $ and go look at the 100 parking lot photos and then go look at everything I have shot for decades. 

Now click here to see all four shoots I did in the Resort World parking garage during the 2024 AVN Awards week in Las Vegas.

Sania Mallory

Michelle Masque

Sania Mallory, CJ Linde, Tiny Smallz & David Hener

Goldie Fawn

Dylan Moore

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Assholes Live Forever AVN Party – 1.24.24

If you aren’t familiar with Assholes Live Forever, you’ve still probably seen one of their t-shirts in some viral post. The “edgy” clothing company has blown up in the last few years and I see it everywhere. Normally I am probably a little too woke to be associating myself with a company that posts sexist memes as a marketing strategy but the company happens to be run by my buddy Kirill, the former party photographer Kirill Was Here, who I have known since our nightlife days in NYC fifteen years ago. Kirill took what we were doing in nightlife and turned it into a TV show, a Vegas residency and now a hugely successful fashion brand and I am proud as hell of the dude, even if I would probably hate his internet persona if I didn’t know him. 

When I knew I was heading to the AVN Awards I hit him up and he told me he was not only gonna be in town but he was throwing a party. When he sent the link it was being thrown by Jardin, a cannabis company in Vegas. Last time I went to one of their parties they had mermaids in the pool and super cars parked in the driveway and was like the cheesy mansion  party vibe you only really see in movies. That last party you could pay to get in, so it was like 20% hot girls and 80% rich bros so it was not where I wanted to be, but I knew and ALF party thrown by Kirill and adult film star Damon Dice would be a lot more fun and I was right. 

I took a party bus to the party with another edgelord friend of mine, Charlie Classic and when we got there it was already popping off. The party was as expected, mansion, pool, step and repeat, backyard yurt filled with pillows, you get the idea. They had a chef cooking up waffles that looked like dicks and Flava Flav was hanging out. The party was mostly porn stars and I had a bunch of friends there so it was a lot of fun, but maybe the best part was Kirill walking around introducing me to girls as the “photographer who inspired my career” which is only a little true but shows you what a good dude Kirill is, and of course it lead to way better pictures. 

Now speaking of pictures, about 1/3 of these photos are too NSFW for this site and are behind a paywall. That’s mostly Kirill’s fault so blame him, but between the girls flashing me, a mini photo shoot on a basketball court and Sabrina Nichole walking around mostly topless all night, I had to post a ton of this site exclusively to Girls of Driven By Boredom. But if you go over there, not only does it have the 20 extra NSFW photos, but they are in a slightly higher resolution AND you will have access to nearly every nude photo I have ever taken which is an absolutely enormous amount, hundreds of galleries, tens of thousands of photos. 

Anyway the party was fun, I took a lot of photos (can’t wait to see the 35mm stuff when it gets developed) and thanks a ton to Kirill for having me. So proud of you man.

Click here to see all the tame photos from the Assholes Live Forever AVN Slumber Party in Las Vegas.

Click here to see all the NSFW photos from the Assholes Live Forever AVN Slumber Party in Las Vegas.

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2024 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

I covered every AVN Awards week from 2008-2020. It was the last big event I did before the world ended. In 2021 they didn’t have the event and 2022 I had just hurt my back and I couldn’t make it. In 2023 I was going to attend but the event was in early January for the first time instead of late January and by the time I realized it, it was too late. But I returned and took a bunch of photos.

I will probably have three galleries from this week that are specific to this week and then two proper photo shoots that you will see eventually, but for now I am gonna hit you guys with the photos from the convention that leads up to the AVN Awards. The event was held in some sort of tent at the Resort World casino. It was a lot smaller than it had been pre-pandemic, but I heard it was even smaller last year so maybe things are headed in the right direction. This was my first time ever covering it without a client and I don’t really need to be losing money on work trips, so maybe I should have gone out on top. I guess we will see if I can find a proper job for it next year.

The convention is just people standing around in line waiting to meet porn stars and I have covered so many conventions and adult conventions and honestly I have nothing to say about it other than I gotta drive to North Carolina tomorrow and I have way too much to do right now to write a whole post. Just enjoy the photos on this one okay?

I didn’t shoot a tremendous amount because I wasn’t working for anyone so I was kinda just wondering around talking to friends and gettin shots here and there, but there’s still 110 photos in this gallery and then another 40 photos that are just on Girls of Driven By Boredom. Ever since I have started hosting my galleries on Flickr I have had to keep my NSFW shots behind a paywall which is tricky for a gallery like this, but we tried our best.

Also, I should mention that at the end there are a few random photos of people waiting for the AVN Awards to start. I was hanging out with a friend in the lobby before the awards and I took a handful of photos while we were hanging out. He took some photos too. I didn’t shoot the actual awards because I had to leave for my flight during them and they don’t let people shoot inside the awards anymore, just red carpet which is the worst so yeah. 

Anyway click here to see my 2024 AVN Expo photos.

And click here to see the uncensored AVN Expo photos!

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

Buy My Zine!

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo

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On Leaving New York…

Remember that time Moby wrote a letter about how he was leaving New York and everyone on the internet dunked on him for days? Well thankfully social media algorithms are so broken that no one will even read my version of that letter. But here we go…

In 2006 I was living in Richmond, VA after graduating college about a year earlier. I went to school for photography but I didn’t have any interest in doing photography as a career. I had wanted to work in the music industry since I was a kid and I decided to study photography because I thought it would be a good skill to have. I picked up a camera to photograph punk bands that were on the label I started when I was 15 and bands were 90% of what I photographed before moving to New York. I had always planned on moving there, but I was managing a band who were still in school so I decided to stick around a little while. I was working a temp job and they offered me a full time job. It was for $36k which seemed like a ton of money given that was paying $500 a month for a two bedroom to myself and I had this sudden realization that I might get stuck in Richmond forever if I took that job. Around the same time I ran into a friend of mine in NYC who was looking for a roommate. Two weeks later I had broken my lease and moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

As “cool” as Williamsburg was in those days, I still couldn’t afford to live on the Northside which was the hipster capital of the world those days. I had always wanted to live in the Lower East Side and I figured living two stops away on the J Train was my best bet, so I moved to the Southside which had somehow resisted gentrification outside of me and a handful of other white 20 somethings I would only see on the train platform after 11pm. Nearly 18 years later I am the one being forced out of the neighborhood by 20 year old white kids who can somehow afford to pay $5000 for a two bedroom. In 16 years my lease went up a total of $600 and then last year it went up $800 and now it’s about to go up $400 more. I could maybe afford it, but that is an untenable situation. I will continue to be broker and broker living in the same apartment I lived in in my twenties as a middle aged man. It’s unfortunately time for a change. 

I love this place, it’s my home. I’ve lived here significantly longer than anywhere else in my life and I am so fucking heartbroken leaving, but most of my work I don’t need to be in New York for and I am not hungry enough to deal with the rats and roaches and human shit on the streets and I used to wear like a badge of honor. My girlfriend does high end hair color and has made an amazing career here and she hates to leave herself, but we are just ready for an easier life even if it means giving up our home. 

It’s hard to admit that so much of your identity is tied up in being a New Yorker, but I think it’s impossible to live here for decades and not feel that way. I think it’s going to take a very, very long time for that feeling to go away. I really feel like I am giving up and that New York beat me. Everytime a friend leaves NYC I am a little judgmental about it, but when I talk to them after the fact they feel so much happier for it, that a weight has been lifted of them. I am hoping I feel the same weight lift off of me, a weight I might not even know exists because it’s so a part of me. When I moved here I loved the grind. I was working as a busboy in a hotel restaurant working a shift that started at 5:30am. I would go out and party and at four I would go home, shower and immediately head to work. I would sleep from like 5 to 10pm every day.

I would bring my camera out to parties, just because I loved taking photos but I was just there to have fun. At that time sites like Cobrasnake and Last Night’s Party were blowing up and everyone would ask me what my website was. I started Driven By Boredom in 2001, but by the time I moved to NYC it was mostly just an ad for the band I managed with updates coming whenever they would release a new record or go on tour or something, but since people kept asking I redesigned the site and started uploading my photos there. Just months after moving to NYC I was doing working as a photographer every night and working mornings four days a week. By the end of 2008 I was a full time photographer after grinding so fucking hard trying to live this new dream, as the band had broken up and my music industry goals slowly disappeared. 

From 2007-2011 I worked pretty much every day as a photographer. I was killing myself for a couple hundred dollars a night. But by 2011 party photos were becoming less of a thing and I was getting better paying jobs traveling, working event branding and shooting music festivals.  In 2012 I got into a serious relationship with a woman who lived in LA and when I wasn’t traveling for work I was traveling there, photographing models for adult magazines and the occasional event. By the time we had broken up a couple years later I had published my first book, had a ton of regular clients and was rarely working in New York, but my rent was so good I had no reason to leave. At times I felt like I was a prisoner of my own good housing situation. 

A few years ago my landlord sold the building. They fired our amazing superintendent and replaced him with someone who didn’t live in the building and was never around. My old neighbors were bought out or kicked out and the place got worse and worse. The giant corporation who bought it then sold it to a second corporation who according to their website are a”data–driven Multifamily real estate investment and services firm”, whatever the fuck that is. Apparently their analytics decided I should be paying 50% more rent and boom, I am no longer able to afford to live in my home.

Okay, so 1000 words into this post, where am I moving? Well, I could move to Ridgewood or something and live in a smaller apartment for what I am paying now, or, I could get the fuck out, move to some small city and live in a nice ass building and then actually be able to afford to buy a house in the future. My girlfriend is from North Carolina and lived in Wilmington for years. We visited her friend’s down there last summer and had a great time. The beaches are incredible and it’s a fairly progressive city for southern town and I always wanted to retire at the beach so why not start now? 

I can still travel for photography, and we are keeping my office her as a crash pad so we can visit regularly. My girlfriend will be back every month to take her old clients and I am sure I will be back a ton for work and to run my non-profit Dolfans NYC. Meanwhile we just signed a lease for a huge, nice apartment, that even with keeping the office is still $500 less than our current rent. We have a god damn balcony that overlooks a park and closets the size of New York bedrooms. Maybe I will get a boat and learn to scuba dive or something. Maybe I will start making my own hot sauce or like start wearing shorts. I have no idea, but I am ready for my weird retirement life, even if I have to get some shitty part time job to make up for the work I do get in NYC. Maybe I can take family portraits or something. Who knows? It’s gonna be interesting. 

I cannot tell you how mad I am at New York for allowing landlords to run this place and not protecting tenants. I cannot tell you how sad I am to be leaving my home for nearly twenty years and the city that completely changed my life. I feel like I am in mourning. Everytime I do something I think about how I might be doing it for the last time. But, even with all that I am so excited for my future. I am so ready to have hobbies and to relax a little and just be able to finally breathe. I am excited for my future with my girlfriend and seeing what is next for us. It’s such a weird experience to feel so sad and excited at the same time.

Anyway, this post is so much longer than I thought it was going to be and I am not even sure I said half of what I wanted to say, but I just started writing as soon as I signed my lease and here we are. I am moving at the end of February so if you want to see me or shoot with me before then let me know. I will miss you all, come visit me at the beach. 

New York I love you, but you’re bringing me down.

Goodbye NYC

Goodbye NYC

Goodbye NYC

Goodbye NYC

Goodbye NYC

 

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2023 Miami Art Week

Two weeks ago I went to Miami for Art Basel/ Miami Art Week and a Dolphins game on Monday Night Football and the entire thing was a disaster so let’s break that down, post a handful of pictures and then let’s never speak of it again. Honestly I wouldn’t normally post any of this but I didn’t spend a bunch of time and money on this trip and come back with zero content, so here we go. Enjoy.

There have been a bunch of times in my life where I have gone to Miami with no plans and ended up having a great time, coming back with a ton of great photos and ultimately making some money. It’s been so consistent in my life that when I saw that Basel was happening the same week as a Monday Night Football game I was ready to book the trip and then figure it out later. Problem is I didn’t exactly know my dates. Ideally I would show up Friday and leave Tuesday morning but I had a new client who didn’t know the details of their event yet and so I couldn’t book the trip quite yet. Meanwhile I had a meeting with a second possible client who seemed to want me for a several day event and the only details we needed to work out was how long I was going to work for how much money. That gig started on Thursday afternoon so I finally confirmed my other client for Friday so I booked the trip, Thursday to Tuesday and got a non refundable hotel pretty close to one of the jobs because I am an idiot.

Shortly after I booked the trip my first client, the one that had confirmed all the details pulled out. Fortunately they gave me a kill fee that still pretty much paid for the trip but it went from being a money making trip to a break even one real quick. As we got closer and closer to the week it became clear that the second client had just ghosted me. I have no idea why or what happened but suddenly I was in Miami for four days with no jobs and nothing planned. I also happened to be busy as hell with a trip to NC for my girlfriend’s birthday, the big Dolfans NYC event I was throwing and then a trip to DC to see my folks since I missed Thanksgiving. Suddenly the Miami trip was on top of me and I had nothing planned. 

A few days before I left I went into panic mode, sending emails to old clients, friends I hadn’t seen in years an a bunch of models in Miami. Figured if nothing else I could do some photo shoots. I managed to plan two shoots, but wouldn’t you believe it, they both flaked. There was a third model who was visiting that I was trying to work something out with but that never happened either. Perfect.

On Thursday my flight was super early so when I finally got to my hotel they didn’t have a room ready for me so I just sort of sat in the lobby for far too long. I had barely slept so I tried to take a nap and after failing at that I ordered some food and started texting some friends. I got invited to the job that I didn’t get hired for and to a nightclub and to a dinner way too far from my hotel room. It was great to see I had stuff to do, but I just didn’t want to do any of it, and I had a long week so I just stayed in and watched a terrible football game. 

The next day I had a bunch of things I wanted to do. The first one was my buddy Deeze’s party. He had released a toy and some clothes with a Web3 company called Goonz and they were throwing a party. I went down there and had a good time. I met a few people I knew just on the internet and met some new folks and took a few 35mm photos. It was a very chill couple of hours and I had no idea it was going to end up the highlight of the trip. From there I went over to the legendary dive bar Mac’s Club Deuce for a bit and hit the always fantastic Sandwicherie which I hadn’t been to in years. And that’s where the trip peaked. I got stuck in such bad traffic that I just sort of gave up and went back to my hotel and eventually took an Uber over to Wynwood. I figured I would check out the new Graffiti Museum but it was closing when I got there so I ran into my buddy Sean and walked around with him for a bit and then stopped by the job that I got the kill fee for. I have no idea why I went but they invited me and I figured I should try and say hi. I wasn’t there long before I went to the Fool’s Gold party which I was also only at briefly because I am old and tired. 

On Saturday I had a bunch of stuff to do, and I managed to do almost none of it. It was so god damn frustrating dealing with Miami traffic that is so much worse than it was even a couple of years ago. It is so much worse than LA which is everyone’s favorite traffic to complain about. The one thing I did do was go see my friend Noah who had a piece of art in a gallery not too far from my hotel. When I got there, there was a pop up custom Miami Dolphins t-shirt event where they had graffiti artists designing shirts for you which I thought was cool and they told me the wait was 30 minutes so I figured why not. I was gonna go see my buddy Buff Monster talk on a panel at the Museum of Graffiti at six but it was only 4 so I had plenty of time. Two hours later I was still waiting and the sunk cost fallacy had broken me and I wasn’t leaving without a t-shirt I will absolutely never wear. I tried to go back to Wynwood to meet up with Buff even if he was speaking but traffic broke me and looking for a parking spot was absolutely hell and after 45 minutes in the car I just completely gave up and went back to my hotel and for the second of my three nights in Miami I just hung out in my hotel room.

By this time Basel was pretty much over and I hadn’t taken a single photo with my digital camera. I wanted to give you guys content so I figured the easiest thing to do would just be to once again go back to Wynwood and just take some photos of the murals there. It’s not the first time I have done exactly that. I don’t know why anyone would give a fuck about these photos, but it’s something and you get to look at them. I also finally went to the Grafitti Museum which was cool but way too small. So many important artists barely got a mention if they did at all. Once I got enough stuff I drove up to Delray Beach where my Dolfans NYC co-founder lives and watched the 1pm football games until it was time to meet up with her at an ice skating rink where her beer league team had a game. I watched some bad hockey in a freezing rink in a t-shirt and then accidentally went on a toll road on the way back to her place which cost me $45 because car rental places love to rip you off. After having dinner with her and her family the two of us went to Target and bought $700 of toys for needy children with some of the money we raised for charity this season. That was so much fun and honestly that was the actual highlight of the trip. It was so rewarding seeing all those toys piled up in the back seat of Michelle’s car, knowing so many kids would have a better Christmas because of our little fan club.

The next day I just hung out at Michelle’s house and did some work and then it was time for me to watch one of the most disappointing football games I have ever witnessed, and I have been to some bad ones.  The night started out well because we delivered all the toys to the toy drive and the people who ran the toy drive rolled out the red carpet for us and showed us around and hooked us up with food and drinks and all that. They hooked us up with some incredible seats as well. It was a great VIP experience all the way up until the game started. The Dolphins had one injury after another and were barely keeping up with a team that is much worse than them. A guy behind me puked and when someone washed the vomit up, the vomit water rolled under my seat for the rest of the game. Eventually the Dolphins made some big plays and were up two touchdowns with about two minutes to go. They then managed to somehow lose the game in embarrassing, humiliating fashion. 

When I finally made it back to Brooklyn I realized I had left my iPad and ear buds on the plane and no one ever found them. Just an absolutely cursed trip, but wait, there’s more! I had this idea that would wait until I got my 35mm film developed from the trip to do this post. That’s why this post wasn’t up a week ago. I finally dropped off all my film and in absolutely incredible fashion I got six rolls back and it just happens that two of the three rolls with Miami stuff on it didn’t really come out. Turns out the auto focus on my point and shoot seems to have broken at some point and 75% of the photos on those two rolls were a blurry mess (including my 35mm juggalo boat photos from the other night).

TLDR: I went to Miami, made no money, had a miserable time and managed to lose and iPad and break a camera. But hey, I have a few mediocre photos for you. Merry Christmas, I should be back with a big update before the end of the year.

Click here to see some 35mm photos from my trip to Miami.

Click here to see some digital photos of street art in Wynwood. 

Miami Art Week

I Don't Know Who Any Of These People Are

Miami Art Week

Miami Art Week

Miami Art Week

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