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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Giddy Up-Intro

As far as cities go Salt Lake City’s reputation amongst quite a few New Yorkers is pretty bad thanks to the fact that it’s the capital of the (certifiably) strange Mormon universe. Of course New York’s reputation is quite similar with quite a few Mormons except you have to exchange the words “Mormon universe” for “liberal-socialist-chardonnay-sipping-brie-eating-universe”.
But in the spirit of the new American civility let me tell you: SLC is actually quite nice.

It has coffee shops, movie theaters, espresso bars, clothing boutiques, cafe au lait outlets, dive bars, latte purchasing stations, bowling alleys, cappucino factories, restaurants and-did I mention?- coffee shops. It’s kind of like Brooklyn only smaller, almost completely white and with very large mountains right next to it.

For a ski trip it’s awesome. You can stay in town and pay very reasonable prices for hotel, food and drinks (Utah’s liquor laws are not nearly as bad as rumor has it), get properly caffeinated in the morning and have your pick of a whole variety of great ski resorts within a half to one hour car ride. It also has a great Austro-German restaurant named Vienna Bistro. The chef/owner’s name is Frodi and he definitely knows how it’s done.

So in early 2009 I was planning a ski trip followed by a stock shoot in the fair state of Utah.

For photo shoots Utah is hard to beat because of it’s great scenery, good photographic infrastructure (lots of movies and ads are shot there) and accessibility. It’s also pretty easy to find good models. A lot of people out there are really into sports and you can hire plenty of good looking athletes.

Most importantly Utahns, Utahrinos, Utahlitarians, people from Utah are very friendly. On one ill advised hike in Zion National Park, a friend of mine and I ran into a very large group of young Mormon hikers going the opposite way on a very narrow path full of switchbacks. After every curve we ran into a new gaggle of nice people. By the time we reached the top of the mountain we had heard “Hi there-where are you from?-Germany?-well, Guten Tag then” so many times, it almost made me cry.

A few weeks before I was scheduled to fly out there I did a magazine shoot with the lovely stylist Jenesee Utley. I told Jenesee about my travel plans and it turned out that she herself is a Utahrette from Salt Lake City. I told her that I was planning a stock shoot which at that point was to be “a little bit of this and a little bit of that”. We chatted and she strongly recommended to call up her brother Jordan for local help. Jordan is a videographer that shoots BMX videos and Jenesee thought he might be able to put me in touch with some local riders if I wanted to shoot some BMX pics.

So, the misses and I flew out there and got the skiing part out of the way without doing too much damage to limb and ego. In that time we also met up with Jordan who turned out to be as nice as advertised. He showed me some videos he shot with local riders and the skill level of these kids was just amazing (so were his videos). I immediately knew that I wanted to work with them. I also immediately knew that I had to come up with a different angle to shoot these guys. BMX is mostly an urban sport and the videos were usually showing the riders turning typical city features like stairs and handrails into a playground. There are also a lot of really good photographs of them doing that. I knew it wouldn’t make much sense for me to do what a lot of good BMX shooters do all the time. The more I thought about it the more I was sure that I had to get these kids out of the city to do their tricks.

So when it was time to work my assistant came out on flight that I had bought with my frequent flyer miles. We started off with a location scout, which is always a highlight out west.

I pretty much knew that I wanted to shoot at the Bonneville Saltflats. I knew from prior trips that a lot of times they’re under an inch or two of water in the winter and the effects are just surreal. There is also a very interesting rest stop along I-80 that borders the flats. The water level turned out to be perfect and off we went to our second location Antelope Island which is situated in the Great Salt Lake. One of my favorite places ever.

We started the permit process, rented some gear (one Profoto 7b with 2 heads to go with the 2 kits I brought), bought a bit of unlogofied clothing at the Gap and Old Navy and put a call out for 2 female models on craigslist, for the romantic element.

Here are some of the landscapes I shot during location scouting (in their unspotted glory).

There will be more about the actual shoot in the next blog post.

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As the great philosopher and part-time musician George Harrison once said “all things must pass”, and last week was the time of another passing. The great green beast, my Volvo station wagon is no more.

On a trip down to Philly, halfway between New York and the City of lovely brothers, near the end of the NJ Turnpike, Susie and I were cruising along, minding our business when the car emitted a foreboding screech. A little bit later this was followed by a blinking transmission light and a little after that the car started slipping pretty seriously. We pulled over and called my friends at AAA. After their customary “Oh no, not you again” they arranged for a tow truck which got us to the nearest service station in Bordentown, NJ.
The mechanic after a brief diagnosis gave us the bad news, the “tranny” was shot. The tranny is kind of like the reproductive part of a car, and any problem down there is complicated and expensive. That, combined with other problems that needed fixing like a sagging bumper, a dubious timing belt, an exhausted car freshening tree, would have pushed the repair costs way beyond what the car was worth. So we decided to empty the coins out of the ashtray and say fairwell to our four wheeled friend.
I can’t say it was a dependable car, as a matter of fact it was somewhere between a lemon and a grapefruit. It’s volvnerability to all sorts of mechanical and electronic failures stranded me in some interesting places like Whitefish, MT, Death Valley, and a Walmart in Wisconsin. But we also traveled the country from New York to San Francisco, from Duluth to Savannah. We climbed the peaks of the Sierra and drove the Road to the Sun. We went to Montreal in -400 degree weather and crawled at 3 mph through a biblical rainstorm in Oregon. We drove the prairies of North Dakota and explored many a pothole in Brooklyn.

Good times, good times.

Rust in peace swede ride.

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To everybody’s relief the great Sultans-Spam of 2011 is nearing it’s end. All in all there was an accumulation of over 40 inches in Facebook entries, blogposts, postcards and emails in January alone. More than 3 times the average.

The good news is that the exhibit finally opens tonight. The images are hung (hehe), the white wine is warmed and the red wine is chilled, for that authentic art opening feel. I even had my prerequisite nightmares about another blizzard tonight or nobody showing up just for the heck of it, in which case I hereby solemnly swear to never be on Facebook again. Never. Ever.

The production of the show turned out to be more fun than I had expected. A big part of that was the help of dedicated professionals like David and Hashem at Printspace (printing), and George and Eric at Digital Plus (mounting). Another big part was the help of friends like (fellow photographers) Myriam Babin who schlepped and advised at pretty much every stage of the process, and Neil Beckerman who flouted every child labor law and made his seven year old daughter Lindsay help us hang the show for free.

I’m also thankful to the bloggers (always lovely) Julie Grahame at a.Curator, Stefan Falke, Fotocare, and the mighty Jackanory for spreading the word, alongside all the good people who sultanized Facebook with reposts and such.

In any case tonight’s the night. Be there, near Washington Square.

The Sultans will be on show at NYU’s Deutsches Haus from January, 28th to February, 25th, 2011.

The opening reception will be on Friday, January, 28th from 6 to 8 pm.

Deutsches Haus at NYU
42 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003
212.998.8660

http://deutscheshaus.as.nyu.edu

Hours of operation:
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

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“Come to the NY opening of Dirk Anschütz’ new solo exhibition of his fabulous portrait series The Sultans: Turkish men of a certain age in all their patriarchal glory. As I’ve mentioned before, Dirk is a most entertaining photographer and story-teller, as evidenced on his blog. You can read the back story on The Sultans at TheHeavyLight.com ” – Julie Grahame, aCurator.com

“Dirk’s work is wonderful. Be sure to come to this event.” – Stella Kramer

“I couldn’t have said it any better.” – Dirk Anschütz

The Sultans will be on show at NYU’s Deutsches Haus from January, 28th to February, 25th, 2011.

The opening reception will be on Friday, January, 28th from 6 to 8 pm.

Deutsches Haus at NYU
42 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003
212.998.8660
http://deutscheshaus.as.nyu.edu

Hours of operation:
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Dirk Anschütz

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First things first before it’s too late: Happy new year to all you faithful readers (and of course to the faithless ones, too).

The Heavy Light is getting a slightly tardy start into 2011 partly because I’m still a little comatose from eating a ton of Janet and Joe’s christmas cookies (mmmh) but even more importantly because The Sultans are getting their own show at the Deutsche Haus at NYU.

Visitors can admire the glorious geezers in spectacular printed matter and in majestic sizes up to 30×40 inches; jaws will drop, i-phone affected minds might get blown!!!(!)

This will be my first solo show and as I’m writing my own hyperbole (any PR person looking for an internship?) I’m also a wee bit nervous about figuring out the whole process, especially about recouping the costs of the show or (dream big alert) turning a profit with it.

Over the years I’ve purchased a nice little collection of art but my continuing problems with buying other peoples’ work are that I have limited real estate for it, that it’s hard to come up with the money for something striking, and that I’m not sure what to do with it in the long run.  I have some paintings, drawings and photographs on my walls that I dearly love (the art, not the walls) but after looking at them for years and years I wouldn’t mind a change.   It’s pretty much impossible to sell the pieces since most of them are not collectables from big name artists, throwing them away would make me a bad person, and storing them (which is what I do) is a drag in New York.

So, here’s what I’m thinking:  Renting art work.  I know it’s done on a corporate level, so maybe it could work on a private level as well.  Instead of selling a framed and mounted print for let’s say $1200 you could rent it for the first year at $400.  If you really like it you rent it for another year ($350), if you really really like it you extend the rental ($325) and after 4 years and $1400 it’s yours.  It’s a little more than buying outright but this way you can be sure it really goes well with the sofa.  For the same price as purchasing one image you could also exchange it after one year for another Sultan and then for another.  After that you could hang up a picture of a naked lady and look at that for a while.

So, now my question to you dear reader is:

Does renting art sound like a good idea to you, or more to the point, would you (yes, you) personally ever rent a piece of art for your home or as a gift?

Please respond via the comments on this site or if you’re the shy and private type I would love to get an email, a call , a letter or a visit, too.

Thanks for helping me out with this.

Mark your calendars.  Remember:  Jaws will drop.

The Sultans-recent photographs

Deutsches Haus at NYU
42 Washington Mews
New York, NY 10003

Opening Reception: Friday, January 28th, 2011, 6 to 8 PM

on view:
January 28th, 2011 – February, 25th 2011

Hours of operation:
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fri: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

The Sultans-Part 1
The Sultans-Part 2
The Sultans-Part 3
Coda: The Sultans get their Name

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Merry and Happy

Meery, merry. Happy, happy. See you all again in the new year.

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Dr. Pfeil, a general practitioner, has been a medical institution in my German hometown for as long as I can think. I never really knew him though since I went with my troubles to Dr. Ertz, the other local medical institution. Like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones or Michael Jackson and Prince, it was one or the other. My mom took me to Dr. Ertz when I was a little boy and that was that.

In one of my early works I photographed Dr. Erzt and the mother of all desks.

A few years ago though I started to get to know Dr. Pfeil, through a common friend. He is a passionate hunter and has a great dog (always a good sign in my book) named Quitte. The Doctor and his family including the dog modeled for me on a few occasions and Quitte (which is the German word for Quince) actually ended up on the cans and boxes of a line of German dog food with this idyllic shot.

In any case I wanted to shoot a somewhat formal portrait of Doc and Quitte and after picking his best looking rifle we walked to the edge of a nearby field. We positioned 2 heads on a Profoto 7b and 2 heads on a Hensel Porty around the two, but made sure we didn’t overpower the lovely evening light. We shot with a Rollei 6003 with an 80 mm lens on Kodak Portra NC 160.

Both were a pleasure to work with and I really enjoyed our time together, but then again I might feel different about them if I was a forrest dwelling quadruped.

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