The Spellout

Art, Culture & Unavoidable Spite

Category: Photography (page 1 of 2)

My Favorite Shots of 2009

They’re not necessarily my best shots of the year, but they are the shots I hold near and dear for whatever reason. Enjoy.


December 2008

The Dream of the Pocket Fisherman's Wife: Take 2

January 2009

RCRG S5 Bout 1 163

February 2009

Horiuci & Steinbrueck

March 2009

We change the picture by observing it

April 2009


May 2009

Solstice Parade 2009 (58)

June 2009

"Need to go to Disneyland just once"

July 2009

TV Eye

There Were Teeth

August 2009 (It’s my list; I’m allowed a bloody diptych)


September 2009


October 2009 (This is a stand-in only; I am contractually unable to show you my real favorite photo from this month. I took it, but signed the rights over to a friend. It’s a naked lady photo, so tough luck for you, pal.)


November 2009. And I’m still working on getting that December shot.

By the way, if you like these photos or any other photos in my stream, I’ll sell you an 8×10 print for $10. Three shots for $25. I need to raise money so I can go to Las Vegas to perform a monologue, which on its face sounds like such a crock of shit that it certainly must be true. Anyhow, send me a note if you want a print or three.*

*(I can’t sell any rollergirl shots. If you’re a rollergirl and want a print, contact me and we’ll make an arrangement that covers the cost of materials only.)

Story of a Shot: “Jayne and Sophia,” October 2009

Jayne and Sophia

There’s really not much of a story here — only an opportunity for me to recreate this iconic photo:

Sopia Loren and Jayne Mansfield at Romanoff's, 1957

I took the above shot in a shop at Disneyland. The placement of the figures was serendipitous. The bottom photo was taken in 1957, and yes, Jayne Mansfield’s nipple slipped out, much to Sophia Loren’s apparent … bemusement? Disgust? Delight? Photos are liars; appearances to the contrary, they really don’t tell you everything.

Nothing much else to report today. We are drinking wine and listening to Nick Drake and David Bowie, which is precisely how we got our jollies back in the 1970s. Before Disney made Tinker Bell into a shameless FILF.

Story of a Shot: “You Don’t Know That,” June 2008

You Don't Know That

As is often the case with my street photos, the story in my head is better than the genuine article. I don’t know what this bus was actually doing in downtown Seattle in June 2008, but I’m prepared to take it at its word. Whatever its purpose, wherever its destination … this bus is just plain wrong. And its driver knows it.

Story of a Shot: A Dancer in the 2009 Fremont Solstice Parade

Solstice Parade 2009 (58)

Here, if anything, is concrete proof of the law of averages. I took more than 500 photos at this year’s Summer Solstice parade, and of those I like maybe a dozen. (The full set is here.) They’re popular shots — it’s the only one of my Flickr sets to have garnered more than 10,000 hits — which I’d chalk up to the fact that many of the images contain boobies and peepees, rather than to the artistry of the shots. The shots have no artistry, you see; I just pointed and shot and shot and shot.

But that doesn’t explain what happened in this photo. This one is a moment. I don’t know who this dancer is and she doesn’t know who I am, but she recognizes that she’s in a frame and is actively helping to compose it. In actuality, all the dancers were fanning the crowd with that fabric, but in the context of this photo she’s working with me directly — creating a kind of intimacy in the middle of one of Seattle biggest, loudest parades, and painting the lens with a resplendent wash of color. It’s the best shot out of hundreds, and it proves something I’ve long suspected: You may stop trying to make art, but the world around you never does.

Story of a Shot: Margaret Doll Rod at the Double Down, February 2003

Margaret Doll Rod of the Demolition Doll Rods

That’s pretty much the whole story right there, in the title and image. The Demolition Doll Rods were a killer garage band outta Detroit; they “went on hiatus” in 2007. I took this shot in the middle of the band’s Februray, 2003 set at the world-famous Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas. Not pictured is guitarist Danny Doll Rod and drummer Christine Doll Rod, both of whom are rockin’ hard in their leather undies. Worth noting: The back of Margaret’s leather bikini briefs is stamped with the word “LUCKY.”

I was working with a tiny point-and-shoot at this time — a Kodak DC4800 — and I’d learned all kinds of tricks to make the photos that it produced more organic and interesting. In this case, I popped the flash and held the shutter open an extra second or so. Because, you know, a tough punk-rock babe in a leather bikini isn’t enough somehow.

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