Sally & Nancy

Shortly before I moved back to Germany I photographed the inimitable Sally Spitz from French Vanilla for my project “False Awakenings”. We started out in Tujunga, where everything is still charred from last year’s big fire-  For the second installment of the shoot we went to the no-man’s land on the L.A. river bank, this time accompanied by Nancy, Sally’s pet python! Something about snakes I just find mesmerizing….







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Other People’s Xmas Trees

 

Driving home through the hills of South Pasadena I was drawn to these homes and their respective xmas trees…. 

 

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Replica Los Angeles

I had such a blast shooting the first lookbook for Replica Los Angeles, brainchild of designer and fashion maven Nathalie Saphier.
While paying homage to the keen style and unfuckwithable attitude of punk rockers and new wave kids posing outside seedy night clubs throughout the 70’s and 80’s, we rocked out to Nathalie’s superb play list during the shoot.  She cites David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed as strong inspirations for this collection as well as early 70’s glam rock, Biba, Pop Art and Jamaican Ska.
No one, I repeat, no one could have have pulled this off better than our model and muse  Annakim Violette Petty. The youngest daughter of Tom Petty and a true free spirit, Annakim is widely known for her unique sense of style and nonformist approach to life._smc4946

 

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Credits:

Design and Creative Direction: Nathalie Saphier
Photography: Sabina McGrew
Graphic Design: Alia Penner
Model: Annakim Violette
Make Up: Jessica Ahn

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Naia Izumi

My friend Julee and I first heard Naia Izumi play at the Hyperion Tavern in Silverlake last November and were both completely enthralled with her music, which consists of her rocking her Jazz Master electric guitar and her incredible vocal abilities as a singer. Her music is hypnotic and crazy beautiful.  Imagine how stoked I was when she agreed to a performance at my house for last new year’s eve, it was beyond magical…..

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The necessity of climbing trees

Climbing up the cherry tree in my grandmother’s garden every summer was a yearly ritual when I was a kid.  I remember a profound sense of power making it up all the way to the top. The cherries, ripened to a deep crimson were the sweetest reward for challenging myself to be fearless. As for these two tree lovers- they explore, play and dream on trees…SMC_9355

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Hawaii Part II

Jaws happened kind of unexpectedly while I was in Maui last year- Luckily I had rented a rugged Jeep, which turned out to be pretty nifty. Due to previous heavy rain, the dirtroad leading to the bluff overlooking the ocean and the break called “Jaws” was one muddy mess. The cops had blocked off access and allowed only fourwheel drives in. I passed a long procession of surfers, hippies, a few tourists and Maui locals who had come to party. The less fortunate had to make their way through the mud by foot in a forty minute walk. I was actually far less interested in the spectacle but the spectators. Obviously, people had come well prepared, there was plenty of food and beer to go around. Lots of spliffs were passed.  Supposedly it was the biggest swell of the decade. Once in a while the crowd cheered to another enormous break.

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Once I wrapped my shoot with Kula in Kailua on O’ahu’s eastern shore I noticed a couple of local fishermen casually going about their business. One of them went into the ocean and emerged about 30 minutes later with a bounty of freshly caught fish, while the other one looked on holding his young daughter.

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One of my assignments led me to Waikiki, a  shopping mecca with too many high rises and overrun by too many tourists for my taste. Not much to it really. I very much favored O’ahu’s western and eastern shore. I had come to Waikiki to meet Jeannie Chesser- a very sweet lady who had sadly lost her pro surfer son Todd Chesser to the ocean in big wave surfing in the late 90’s.
Out at daybreak we hung out later at her place where she unveiled a pristine 60’s Mustang given to her as a present for her 16th birthday.

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Just a couple of Waikiki Beach impressions…

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Back in Maui, I had to check one more person off my list: Garret Gisi, a physicist who had had an wild epiphany while surfing. Garret’s favorite surfing spot on Maui is La Perrouse Bay, a beautiful  lava formed shore, littered with white coral fragments, just breathtakingly beautiful.

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I made it to the Haleakala, Maui’s largest volcano for sunset, arguably the 2nd best after sunrise… It is a bit of a journey, driving upland and gradually climbing all of the over 10.ooo,oo  feet in elevation to the “house of the sun”. All the way up there it is freezing cold and otherworldly gorgeous.

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Hawaii Part I

Earlier this year I  shipped off to Hawaii for a sweet assignment for german Geo Magazine . My first time ever on the happy islands, and I loved every minute of it. I arrived on Maui, hopped over to the big island, aka Kona, flew to Oahu and back via Maui to L.A.!

Ever notice how time flows differently in different places? I always thought California was pretty mellow but Hawaii is a different story.  I now perfectly understand “island time”!

Scheduling the folks I was supposed to photograph was a bit of a challenge, everyone kept telling me to get in touch upon arrival, however I needed to book  flights, hotel rooms and rental cars on three different islands, which called for a lot of coordination.  In the end it all worked out and I am grateful for an amazing experience!

The people I photographed were pretty special in a way that everyone’s story was connected to water sports one way or another. There’s Jeannie Chesser, an elderly lady who lost her only son in big wave surfing- CJ Kanuha, an amazing surfer, who is also known for his beautiful long boards carved out of indigenous trees- Francisco Goya, a windsurfer world champion, who lives with his family on a beautiful estate on Maui- Garrett Lisi, with a PHD in physics who came up with a game changing theory in Physics while surfing- Kristin Boese, a kite surfer world champion who is building a house from scratch with her fiancee and Kula Barbieto, a competitive stand up paddler, artist/flight attendant.

Besides working, I watched giant seaturtles come ashore, saw Jaws break and a breathtaking sunset on Maui’s Haleakala.

Mahalo and Aloha!

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Kula  indulged me by taking me on a boating trip with some of her  friends.  The girls were skurving( water skiing but with a surf board) and the guys steering the boat were hauling ass.  Everyone was drinking beer. So was I, before I got super sea sick for the first time in my life. Next time we met we went Lei shopping and Kula took me to this beautiful spot close to Kailua on Oahu. The water was crystal clear, just perfect.

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I met CJ on the big island- we ended up shooting the photos on ancient burial grounds- the land of his ancestors. The board he is holdinging in the first image weighs a good 200 lbs and it blew my mind how he carried it barefoot across all the scattered lava rock. CJ spends a lot of time with local youth and teaches workshops. Clearly, the kids adore him. Later when we were hanging out by the beach, he scanned the water, announced that he’d just spotted some fish, went in the water with a net, and, I swear-  just as people pluck flowers from a field, he pulled several fish out of the water with his hands for a bbque with Kelly Slater later that day.

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Francisco Goya is pretty much the nicest guy ever- he lives with his lovely family on an amazing property, complete with a jungle like gorge, waterfalls and natural pools. Having won multiple world championships in wind surfing he is credited in revolutionizing the sport, making it look effortlessly elegant. His favorite spot on Maui? Ho’okipa!

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The day I met Kristin Boese, she couldn’t actually go in the water because she had insured herself while working on the roof of her new home. Hence the band aid. Next time we met, the roof was finished, just like that! I loved hanging out with her and her pet goat at her compound on Maui’s north shore.

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When I had a little downtime I checked out Baldwin Beach, located close to Paia on Maui’s north shore.  The light was amazing and this dog just killed me! I shot a whole series of him and a bunch of kids, his friends.

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Up next: Waikiki, Jaws and Haleakala!

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Mark Mahoney- L.A. Neon Noir

I met Mark first a year and a half ago when doing a story on him for german SZ-magazine. The godfather of the L.A. tattoo scene and owner of Shamrock Social Club on Sunset has always gracefully managed to navigate a social gamut ranging from gangbangers to A- listers.  Probably the most sought after tattoo artist in Hollywood and beyond, he hangs out with Johnny Depp, like, a lot.

The imagery he conjures when talking about his past is sinister and hypnotic. Knife stabbings galore, gang disputes, punk rock in NYC.  His voice drops down to a slightly hoarse sotto voce. Not a bad way to keep the pain at bay.

Someone needs to make a movie about this, I’m thinking while secretly admiring his blue-ish bouffant.  Italian tailored suits complimented by fancy purple ostrich leather shoes with even fancier socks. I see rings, cufflinks. Full blown dandy regalia. He’s the only person I know that drives an Avanti. They just don’t make them like this anymore.

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A selection of images appeared in “Ramp Style” magazine and AMG magazine’s “Driving Performance”

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Johnny Ramones tribute at Hollywood forever

So I grabbed my camera and went to the 9th Ramones tribute at the legendary Hollywood forever cemetery last night.
John Waters was there screening” Cry baby”  as well as  Dita Von Teese, Ricky Lake, Traci Lords, Linda Ramone, Joe Dallesandro and Steve Jones. Oh, and Johnny Depp showed up as a surprise guest. He definitely got the most screams. I might add.

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I just love this dude, can you tell?

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Thanks so much for tagging along Robert!

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Linda Ramone

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John Waters and Tracy Lord

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Tom Schaar, Skateboard Wonderboy

Honestly, I had no frickin idea what a “1080” was, until I met and photographed Tom Schaar earlier this year for NZZ.

A “1080” means three full rotations in mid air.  Tom Schaar is the first skateboarder ever to pull this off!

He is 13 years old. Cute, freckly, and um, determined!

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