What a strange couple weeks it's been. Been somewhat trying to keep on the down-low but that hasn't stopped me from some rad shoots. Last week I traversed outside of Los Angeles to Victorville (home to lots of meth) to shoot a new set with the returning Rose. If you remember correctly I actually met Rose in Victorville at the abandoned George Air Force Base while shooting with Liza. Rose was there hanging out with a friend and we immediately hit it off eventually shooting together in Los Angeles. This time I met up with Rose in Victorville and got a chance to shoot at a rad new abandoned spot: a formerly lush house atop a nearby hill overlooking the entire area. Rose and I also hit up our original location for a bit before getting some delicious Mexican/Salvadorian food.
A few days later was quite the exciting day with Rockwalk/the soft opening of the new Arqade Studios aka Jade Apothecary. The new Arqade has reopened as Jade Apothecary on Saint Vincent Court in Downtown Los Angeles. I got to display my piece "Call of The Scorpion Warrior" and do some shooting. I decided to focus on shooting mini sets with a grip of muses including a couple of new ones! This might be the biggest group muse set I've done to date with some art and bands thrown in. So excited to welcome back Arqade!
Kept the Arqade train going shooting an additional mini set with my man Balloonski. Balloonski and I happened to both be hanging out at Jade. He wanted some shots with his art, I wanted to show off one of my new hats from Graffiti The City so it all worked out.
My Balloonski shoot was one part of a three part shooting day that was actually a very strange day for me. I received a text earlier in the day from artist Sarah Sitkin. I photographed Sarah in her studio for Amadeus Magazine back in 2015. Sarah told me she going in a different direction with her look away from beauty (we did not shoot anything beautiful, just a normal studio visit with minimal editing) and asked that I take the photos her off the site. At first I declined and wished her luck on her journey. She told me she found this shocking and pleaded with me to remove the images, potentially just remove her name, just see her point of view. I told her I would think about it but that I was hesitant because this was something I did for free, was very proud of, and was not being offered anything as compensation. I also mentioned to her that I was feeling threatened as she suggested legal action for not signing any kind of model release. In all honesty I have dealt with this a few times. Some artists like to control every aspect of their representation.
My feeling is that this is my work, an article was done about her that was very complimentary and promoted her and her work. I didn't photoshop her, glamour things up, or anything. I purely represented her the way she looked at that time. Conversely I also wanted to take in what she saying since I was not looking to upset her, but also wasn't looking to simply roll over either as she was putting me in a no win situation. For all of these reasons I wanted to sleep on the decision. She proceeded to tell me that it was in my best interest to remove the photos. I told her I wanted to put a pin in it as I was about to do a shoot and this was getting stressful and upsetting.
I left for my shoot, an impromptu shoot with my friend Lisa Caraway, who happened to be in town visiting from Las Vegas where she moved to in recent months. I met Lisa as a studio in The Arts District where she was assisting her roommate Emily who was being photographed by a talented photographer. As I sat waiting for Lisa I was tagged in an Instagram story where Sarah posted our entire text conversation, called me a creep and an amateur, and told people to avoid me as well as contact me to take down the photos. I then began receiving a number of highly insulting, aggressive messages and comments on my photos from her fans. At that point I couldn't take the photos down quickly enough (the ones that had been up since 2015) as it was not worth the fight. I don't normally like to put people on blast but I've also never been on the wrong side of cyber bullying before and it was quite unpleasant. I think Sarah is a very talented artist and I'm sorry that whatever it is about my photos caused her to feel so much distress that she needed to go to such lengths to erase them from the public sphere, but I am also really shocked and disappointed with the approach she took and that's the last I'll say on that.
After dealing with my situation Lisa and I actually weren't left with too much time so we headed to Saint Vincent Court and shot a quick mini set that I think you'll enjoy.
After my cyber bully situation, and my short shoot with Lisa I really needed to get out some more creative juice so I hit up with my friend Phoenix Askani since we hadn't shoot since October. Phoenix just got a haircut and was ready for a little adventure. We did some night shooting around West Hollywood and found some spots with street art, marijuana, and more just in time for 4/20! Phoenix and I took some killer photos and had a wonderful time catching up.
Finally we conclude our week with a collection of polaroids I've taken over the recent months. I'll probably add more photos to this set but I got a chance yesterday to scan months worth of polaroids from various sets and other random situations so enjoy!