Thoughts on David Foster Wallace, 1962-2008

I started this blog with the intention that it would be strictly limited to my photography adventures… well, several days ago I found out that my favorite author, David Foster Wallace, had hanged himself on Friday, Sept. 12th. This news has saddened me immensely, and I find myself seemingly unable to stop googling for snippets of audio, interviews, readings, and rare short stories, etc that I can find of him. I shot a wedding on Saturday that I really should be editing (oh, I’ve started, don’t worry, it’ll get done by the saturday deadline for online proofing) but I keep going back in my mind to David Foster Wallace and the immensity of our loss, as readers and citizens, of the precious voice of this mammoth American mind.

He was the only famous person I’ve ever written a letter to– I couldn’t help it. I finished reading Infinite Jest and immediately began typing a letter to him. With it I sent several prints of my photographs, as a thank you. He wrote me back, indeed, we corresponded for some time– he asked me to send more prints as he had put a few over his desk for inspiration. I felt so honored thinking of him now and then glancing at a photograph of mine. At the time I hadn’t yet planned to become a professional photographer, but I’m certain that this small validation of the quality of my work made me take myself more seriously and aim higher.

I am not the first person to mourn him on a blog… but I feel I must join voices with the choir of his readers and say that we are all culturally poorer in his absence. I actually feel the world is a lonelier place without his brilliant and insightful commentary– however infrequently it was published. Reading his work made you feel like you knew him and he knew you– more intimately than any best friend. His capacity for communication of complex inner truths, his genuine kindness and deep empathy with other human beings, his endless curiosity and passionate observation of the workings and dysfunctions of our civilization– these qualities were unmatched by anyone I have read or known. I would recommend his writing to anyone who likes reading insightful, unbeleivably funny, painfully sad and true, minutely descriptive writing… I just can’t fathom why someone so clearly intrigued by experience– a fascinated watcher of the world– why he wouldn’t want to stick around to see what happened next. But the nature of fatal depression is, of course, something one can surely never quite fathom from the outside.

His books, for anyone interested:

The Broom of the System (novel, quirky metafiction-ish, maybe not for everyone)
Girl With Curious Hair (short fiction, amazing)
Infinite Jest (giant novel, worth the investment– his best work by most appraisals)
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (experimental fiction: scarily excellent)
A Supposadely Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (essays, amazing)
Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity (i don’t recommend unless you love math)
Consider The Lobster (Essays, also great)
Oblivion (short fiction, some real knockout stories among the collection)

A friend forwarded me a link to a commencement speech he gave at Kenyon in 2005. It is, sadly, wincingly good in its assessment of the value and true purpose of a college education to a modern american adult. I can’t imagine anyone not getting something of value from the thoughts he expresses here.

the link is here:

http://www.marginalia.org/dfw_kenyon_commencement.html

Timothy “Speed” Levitch, of THE CRUISE

As I was planning a recent trip to in San Francisco I made sure to buy tickets for a tour on the very bus that Timothy “Speed” Levitch now gives guided tours with… I rode for 2 or 3 of the legs of the double decker bus tour taking in the detailed stories and facts he so brilliantly bestows upon the busload, and I enjoyed making a few portraits of him along the way. I wish I could have taken his tour in NYC, as I’m sure it would have been amazing. Most well-known as the subject of the amazing documentary “The Cruise,” Timothy is also in several films, most notably as himself speaking poetically atop the Brooklyn Bridge at the end of Richard Linklater’s Waking Life, that you can see here on youtube… though of course he was animated in that, but it’s most definately him.

timlevitch_20

timlevitch_171

timlevitch_14

speedlevitchemailsize

timlevitch_18

Timothy "Speed" Levitch, of THE CRUISE

As I was planning a recent trip to in San Francisco I made sure to buy tickets for a tour on the very bus that Timothy “Speed” Levitch now gives guided tours with… I rode for 2 or 3 of the legs of the double decker bus tour taking in the detailed stories and facts he so brilliantly bestows upon the busload, and I enjoyed making a few portraits of him along the way. I wish I could have taken his tour in NYC, as I’m sure it would have been amazing. Most well-known as the subject of the amazing documentary “The Cruise,” Timothy is also in several films, most notably as himself speaking poetically atop the Brooklyn Bridge at the end of Richard Linklater’s Waking Life, that you can see here on youtube… though of course he was animated in that, but it’s most definately him.

timlevitch_20

timlevitch_171

timlevitch_14

speedlevitchemailsize

timlevitch_18

Camping in Upstate New York

For her 30th birthday friend Gwen had a group of friends join her on a weekend camping trip upstate by Lake Luzerne last weekend.  What a great escape from the city.  I did not sleep well on the cold ground without a proper mat under my sleeping bag, but the photos I nabbed of the relaxing scenery up there made my discomfort all worthwhile!

Bridal Boudoir Sessions Now Available!

Now that I have such a great studio I’ve been exploring the full range of portraiture I can do here… After shooting some ‘valentines’ gift portraits last year it occurred to me that instead of a traditional ‘bridal session’ there may be brides out there who’d love to give a private album of sexy portraits to their husband as a gift (on wedding day, an anniversary, as a valentines’ gift)… these sessions can be as classy and artistic (or not!) as a bride wants– get out that lingerie he gave you and show off the body you’ve been working on so hard for the wedding!

Here are a few blog-suitable favorites from such a session. Note: the portraits are shown with this bride’s permission– she got the session free in exchange for being my guinea pig! I think she looks fantastic and I can only imagine how excited her husband was.

055bridalboudoirrest_bysarahtewphotoFirst in the dress…

050bridalboudoirrest_bysarahtewphoto-copy

and the “american apparel” look, below… dudes love this, am i right?

062bridalboudoirrest_bysarahtewphoto

We turned the fan on to blow this sheer fabric (and her hair) out… a stunning look!

003bridalboudoirfavorites_bysarahtewphoto

016bridalboudoirfavorites_bysarahtewphoto-copy

018bridalboudoirfavorites_bysarahtewphotoretouched

We had to get out the lingerie of course… check out the pin-up looks on red background!
042bridalboudoirfavorites_bysarahtewphoto

033bridalboudoirfavorites_bysarahtewphoto

Some of my favorite shots were those that had too much skin for the blog, but this bride looked amazing and we made some gorgeous nudes that she and her husband will surely cherish for years to come.