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Preview: Montage Creative

Montage Creative

Updated: 2017-08-18T08:31:54.070-06:00


Ladybug Luck


Ladybug luck: the moment you realize why we "stop and smell the roses."

ECCO | Instagram


These kind of churches were built to lift eyes and hearts towards an invisible idea. Whether the lifting happens seems to square equally between the performers and the audience. Have you been there, when it does—when the cotton ball thoughts float to the rectangular, masoned bricks of everyday?

I heard angels three days ago—angels with stringed voices and bodies of wood. They stood in a semi-circle with no conductor except their eyes, keeping balance and rhythm and time and essence delicately gliding from one string to the other. In the choir, we wept.

Please visit ECCO and hear/see for yourself.

Friendship | Instagram


Friendship is an open chair
Next to a hanging quilt
Of stripes and stars and polka dots.
Its table is topped with an empty cage
To house flocking wings
Near a window
Under a white-curtained sun.

Goldy-Olds | Instagram


Today I sat opposite a couple of men with shorn hair-crowns and dangling side-locks. We laughed about my recent tastes for Jewish pastries and religious feelings for them now. Before I saw these men, in black trousers and white-buttoned shirts, I walked around my neighborhood, imagining what they would look like, sound like and ask. Maybe I should have been home, thinking more, but my feet took me into the sub-30º Brooklyn air. How does light strike and hit with such force when shadow is inches and whispers away?

I should have shown them.

T.J. Studio Visit, Revisited


"I remember him moving in my belly while I listened to Neil Diamond," his mother stated. To say he's been doing it all of his life is more exact than pun. Three years and I never tire of watching him move. These were shot last April, just as I was losing my studio in Red Hook. Maybe there are two worlds to dance: the movement and the still.T.J. performs with Kate Weare Company.[...]

Biennial | Instagram


I heard Lucien's quiet, resonant French in my left ear, "Isn't it stunning?" I turned my head to see a remarkable view of New York's jungle, setting beautifully in this asymmetric point-of-view. In seconds, the room went dark except for the kelly-green, neon light sculpture of the choreographer's hair, hanging on the wall, twice the size of me, opposite the window we were gazing through.

The performance was 90 minutes. The dancers were experts in repetition, so much so that 20-something people left the performance. I dozed once to the beat, to the tock, to the hypnotic movement of circles and then my eyes remained open, almost entirely. "I think they are angels—the 2 on the right—and those others are Joseph and Mary," I whispered in confidence.

Looking above created more repetition—more patterns in light.

So often, we think our world—our perspective—is off the grid in it's originality when in truth, there's someone else across a globe, rowing up to the very same shore (I think these were some of your words, my dear, Sir Joshua Reynolds). That being said, I have never visited her continent... I was lost in wonder.

Go see Sarah Michelson's performance.

Pretty Valley Part 3 | Instagram


I shared this on Instagram last week and entitled it "Childhood." If you notice the parellel lines of grass, poking up through the snow at the bottom right-hand side of the image, you'll notice how they pull your eyes through the scene, towards the horizon. This is the entrance trail to Pretty Valley. No matter how much we despised them, we couldn't stop the four-wheeling bandits that would sometimes drive vehicles up to our magical sky.

These reminded me of the flower scene in the animated Alice in Wonderland: some little, dog/lion-barking flower trying to terrorize Alice.

The clouds always tell interesting stories.

This is the last of the series and does end on the note I always feel when I visit my childhood habitat: the same fascination, the same wonder, the same desire to reach up to the sky.

Pretty Valley Part 2 | Instagram


I never tire of this view. Growing up on a mountain side gives you a certain perspective of the world that is, well... it's otherworldly. These images of Pretty Valley were taken last week while I was visiting my parents' place in Utah. Pretty Valley is the place where we would camp and romp during the tall-grass summertime days. You are looking at Antelope Island, a large land mass situated in the Great Salt Lake. 

Intricacies and delicates make a hike more enjoyable, don't you think?

I entitled this "Determined" for obvious reasons: come rain, hail, sleet or snow, this little fella is not budging.

More to come. Thanks for visiting.

Pretty Valley Part 1 | Instagram


Like so many others, I've fallen for the fashionable filtering camera app, Instagram. It's only available on the iPhone,which makes my monthly bill soar a little like seagulls. On a recent visit to Utah—visiting family and friends—I tooktime to enjoy my childhood habitat. Some of my dearest friends have been to these places and I'm always amusedat the reaction I see when they come to see the same things I saw, growing up. Being raised on the side of a mountain was something I wish I could have in 5 more lifetimes. When you're a child,you don't say to yourself, "I am appreciating this natural beauty." You simply live in it. Breathe in it. And dont' realize,until you're much older, just how magical your normal was. These images were shot on a morning walk to Pretty Valley—our very own mountain campground that was about a 45 minutes hike from the front door. The sky, on this particular day, was perfect for moody imaging. The snow countering the yellow tufts of wild grass was ideal. The bare scrub oak and the sometimes-clinging leaves made the essence of story-tale.Thanks for visiting. More to come.[...]

Mary Martha & The Twins


This southern belle came into my life over a decade ago when my sister married her uncle. She was a teenager at a youth camp I directed in my 20s. Time has flown and a couple weeks ago Mary Martha called me up to tell me she was delivering twins and asked if I would document the last few days before their arrival. Luckily for us, she lives in Manhattan and I live in Brooklyn. Besides the family connection, I was curious and thrilled to document the transformation of this beautiful life-carrier.I'm always astounded by birth. Maybe it's because I'm a man and will never experience the feelings of carrying a life inside of my body; maybe it's the miracle of breathing and crying and late-nights-for-years that is still a hope and a dream and I'm not sure how to get there.When selecting a location to shoot, I ask my clients to choose a space they are comfortable in—where they feel at ease. Mary Martha chose their first home in Manhattan. Just a little rambler, on the 19th floor, in Midtown. Having recently moved from the premises, but paying a month or so left in rent, we were able to secure a bit of time in this beautiful space. As the pregnancy was hi-risk, she wanted a few shots in the pool area of their space, telling me this was her oasis to get some form of comfort in the 9 months of struggle. Oh... and let's not forget the balcony view.The stork came and the good news is the boys are doing wonderfully in the arms of this beauty.[...]

TJ in the studio


An Owl and Boxed Water


The puzzle owl is from Muji; the boxed water is from Boxed Water is Better.

Spanish Fork Canyon: Diptych


Shot on the same morning, on the same drive. The rolling hills leading into Spanish Fork Canyon.

Madonna Feeding Child


Unfortunately, I don't have the reference on this piece. Only that it's found in The Louvre and I intentionally photographed the hand gestures and the forms against the pattern with the robe... all exquisite.

Cockpit Instruments


With so many faces
And numbers
And chances to miss an educated guess,

The gauges rest
And the whirrings have stopped 
At Noon.

And nobody will be home for dinner.


I'm very uncomfortable putting this image up.

I have been to Guatemala twice. Both times I was connected with a humanitarian group that frequented this country, as well as 4 or 5 others. Both times I worked with a beautiful man and woman, Javier and Wolfred. They were employed by this organization as in-country directors, which means they took people like me from beginning to end of every point along the way. They were also husband and wife.

The image below shows the cockpit instruments of the small, 18-passenger courier plane we rode from Guatemala City into the highlands of the Polochic Valley. The planes sputter. And jostle. And dip. And make that put-put sound you hear when one is in the sky or you're watching a film by National Geographic. And you never feel quite at ease being seated in one. On one such trip, I decided to shoot this image to remind me of the faith I put in instruments.

In August 2008 my friends were in a plane that crashed on one of these expeditions. They were en route to bring supplies and helpers to communities too far into the mountains to reach by other means. My friends died. Miraculously, some in the party survived. This image represents all of those sad, melancholy unknowns I can't help wondering about: what was the end like? Did they hold each other? What did their hands do? Where did their eyes set and when did they close?

As the pilots struggled to maintain the plane, some of the survivors recalled singing by members of the small group. They sang even though they knew the plane was going to crash. They sang knowing those last few minutes may be their last. They flew into death and they sang.

This may or may not be the cockpit of that downed plane. I don't know and personally, I don't want to find out.

Rest in peace, beloveds. Your memory will rest on my eyes forever.



Sometimes when I think about where I've been
Or what I've seen,
I get stuck in the ditch—
Intent on the lapping sound
Of my tapping toes
Making rippling circles.


These images were shot on my first excursion to Africa. I was led and guided by a dear friend that taught me her view of the world, which just so happened to include these beautiful, wonderful children in uniform. These images are some of the hundreds of children we fell in love with. The girls' uniform pink does me in... and then I see the Maasai boys' forrest green shorts. I'm not sure the exact reason why I shot them blurry, but I still agree with my decision then. You can find out about these kids and my friend's brilliant life work here. Her husband's photography marries her vision perfectly. These two do the kind of good that is always being done, but never being seen.

I Was Followed


Once upon a time I was followed. Yeah. A friend decided to pick up my camera and follow me around for 1 hour. I was struck with what must be something my clients feel: Wait..! You're just going to follow me? Look at me? Really? Are you sure? "Just relax," I tell them. Easier said then done, right?

This is only one of the images. It was shot in Salt Lake City, entitled Dallas' Day. It makes my heart melt a bit–this friendly following by a friend. So try it. Especially if your friend is usually behind the camera's eyepiece. It'll startle them.

The other image was shot by my eye.
With my Holga.
It looks like my memories feel.

Ugolino & Sons


A dear friend visited last weekend. He's been working on policy at the UN (of course he has...) and was here for a couple of days. In order for his UN-brain to rub off on me, we ventured to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see Alexander McQueen | Savage Beauty. I took my camera as an act of faith... maybe there's a chance they'll allow no-flash photography in the exhibit..? No dice. If you can see it before it leaves (31 July), you should. It's worth whatever wait you need to schedule.Afterwards, we made our way to sculpture courtyard to visit a few more old friends of mine: Ugolino & Sons.This image was shot with my old film camera at Metropolitan Museum of Art a number of years back when I was doing some private study with the transcendent symbolist/figure painter, Patrick Devonas. Academically, his workshops were the best training I have ever received when considering the important arteries of study: the figure, light/shadow, drawing, memory, and imagination. He used to take me to see this sculpture, reminding me as only a mentor can, the importance and significance of well-represented human forms. This piece by Jean-Baptiste Carepeaux references Canto 33 of The Inferno. Now that I live here, I visit it each time I visit the Met... It's like coming back to an old friend that just so happens to have intentions of eating his children.I had plans for years to enlarge this image and make it a wall wrap. And then that idea changed to something that would appear on the ceiling of my condo. And then it never happened... C'est la vie.I'm kinda thrilled I can see it often, now. Maybe that's how art is meant to be enjoyed.Below the image you'll find the text associated to this piece.Enjoy.But when to our somber cell was thrownA slender ray, and each face was litI saw in each the aspect of my own,For very grief both of my hands I bit,And suddenly from the floor arising they,Thinking my hunger was the cause of it,Exclaimed: Father eat thou of us, and stayOur suffering: thou didst our being dressIn this sad flesh; now strip it all away.[...]



Shared by Sage

Leo is turning 5 this summer and she is named partly for her grandpa Leon who passed away 10 years ago and partly for Page McConnell from Phish, whose nickname is Leo.

My Pillow-View


I've been working on a children's book with Red Fred Bodoni. In it I explain how he came to be. It'll be a good dose of photography juxtaposed those brilliant and bizarre birds. This image was shot as a "maybe" for the first spread. I labeled it with notes regarding the misfits about my room: the decor, the found-objects that have found relevance with me. I don't think I'll use this exact image—maybe a variation of it. If you want to see the notes, click directly on the image to open it into a new browser window.

There you go. My pillow-view. In black and white.

Spring Dumping


I have few shirts. Enough few that throwing three out the other day made my dressing-selection process the next day easier, when trying to decide what to wear. Our place is pretty bare-boned since we moved here last September. We couldn't take much, so we didn't. Six boxes were all we could fit in the Fit. And we haven't accumulated too much "stuff" in the duration, making our spring cleaning a little less eventful than past years. Those past times were usually spent targeting certain key friends that could sit and look at what was in my closet and give it thumbs-up or thumbs-down (thanks, Matthew). So now, we just leave spring cleaning to the neighbors... er, rather, the recently evicted neighbors. A few months ago when our super told us she finally was able to get a tenant out of the building, I felt my brow furrow, wondering what kind of energy it was taking to kick somebody out—I remembered how my tenant in SLC did a number on me for a few months last Fall, literally leaving me in the hole $5K. I quickly registered and could understand the super's relief. When she told us he was moving out, we asked if our friend could take a look at the apartment, since she was looking and we were starting to enjoy this cusp of Carroll Gardens and Red Hook."No," the super said, "His apartment is going to take months to clean." Three days ago, the cleaning commenced. And true to her word, it has been months since we heard about the initial eviction. I had a notion to walk upstairs with my camera. Before you glimpse, here was my thought process:omgoodness... GRRRRRROSS!... HOW????HOW??????... >gag reflex<... >hand covering mouth (an act of protection AND amazement)... INCREDIBLE... >gag reflex<... I've only heard about these kind of conditions... Poor fellow... Dallas, you're really going to shoot images of this poor chap's personal living space, after he's been evicted?!... There should be a reality show about this—wait, there is... This is COMICAL.... HOW????HOW???? >gag reflex<... Suddenly, my spring cleaning doesn't seem so bad.Ready for the big one? It took 300+ black garbage bags to empty this apartment. 300+. I kid you not. They have been placed in our eye-sore backyard, adding another great gritty layer to the cusp we're on.[...]

Ernie and Ashton


Shared by Lisa.ErnieBoring story. Name was computer generated. I was going to rename him Calvin because I thought he looked like the tiger (Calvin and Hobbes) but my friends and family insisted he was "Ernie" and that they would keep calling him Ernesto/Ernsby... so I caved. The girl who adopted Ernie first returned him because he is too much trouble. He has a massive overbite and looks like a fox but the rescuers thought he was border collie/corgi mix. He may be a miniature golden retriever because that is his favorite kind of dog. AshtonI met a woman at a Phish show in North Carolina. Her neighbor had a chocolate lab puppy she didnt want. We picked him up the next morning on the side of the road. The kids in the van did not like "Shadow" and he had no leash or collar. We hated the name but liked the /SH/ sound so we changed it to Ashton. We knew a soccer player from our dorm with that name. A year alter Ashton Kutcher got very famous and people started buying me shirts that said "I kissed Ashton," "I heart Ashton," "I love Ashton." It stopped with the Ashton's wife luckily. Ashton's vet papers say Chocolate lab but he is some type of mutt. He hates swimming unlike most labs.[...]



Somebody gave me some advice once: try doing your "creative feeding" in the morning, just as you would feed your body. Good idea I think. I don't do it all the time. I shoot for it. Most of the time, I am resisting the urge to check email because that'll make me more effective, right? So yeah... lately I'm sidestepping towards the bleachers of those that prefer to open their email AFTER breakfast, but sometimes I get stuck at the kiosk selling nachos and I still check my email.Do you ever compare your current home to a past home? Something similar to what my brilliant cousin BJ was asking this week, getting some feedback on research he's doing: "Does seeing pictures of yourself in your youthful prime invigorate you or depress you?" I see where I live now, walk past the smashed cockroaches in the hallways, look out at The Golden Arches every day and often think of my "adolescent prime" East-facing condo in Salt Lake City. Seeing those mountains did something to me every morning, I'm sure the same way seeing Mickey-Dees does something to me now.I'm working on a new project and was needing to get my juices flowing. After my Brooklyn-bridge walk, chatting with some dog-owners, I made my way back to my "middle-aged" home. Nibbling on fiber-something, my glance shot towards a few DIY flower arrangements I made last week. I'm ashamed to say I don't know what type of flowers they are and more ashamed that I'm not going to take time to google them. But they are violet-ish and yellow-ish. They are being "vased" (I don't say /vaw-sed/ either) in some milk bottles and an old can of some crushed tomatoes that I couldn't part with, due to their labels and shape.My eyes got hooked on the branches in the back yard and then, while focusing, I kinda got lost in the mesh of the window screens. The depth of field created a beautiful merging of soft foreground and muted backgrounds. They are moody and broody and a bit like the weather, I suppose. They are here and they are the still lives in my windowsill. It's funny how sight works, isn't it? Your windowsill seems so grimey and dusty and the pathway to an eyesore of a backyard/graveyard, full of skeleton plastic water bottles and the spirits of vacuous grocery bags.  And then suddenly, within inches, the world blurs and purples... it blends green and mellowed yellows... and the delicate shapes of petals become giant wings of fantastical creatures of nature. All within about 3 feet of windowsill.[...]

Park=Pets & Petals


A few shots from this weekend. Sunday found some cherished and much-needed sunshine. I found some happy pet-owners whose lovely animals were as pretty as they were. The Magnolia tree by the zoo is incredible. And this first image has kinda got me eye-locked: I was waiting and testing some lighting. Low and behold: an old, beautiful, Asian couple opposite me, going the other way.[...]

Saturday Snap Shots


Bridges don't have gold at the end of them, but something very close: crocheted bicycles.

The second shot is the store front of my friend Nadia. She's an incredibly gifted modern dancer turned fashion designer. This was sitting outside on the side walk, admiring her "spring sale"-sewn sign. If I was a woman, I'd wear her close. Check out her collection if you have a moment. Wow-ee, Pow-ee.