Guerilla News Portfolio:

December 12, 2008

1st video:

2nd video:

3rd  video:


Photo Slideshow:


Q+A (II):



One Final Journey….

December 5, 2008

To Tower Four:

If you haven’t seen attempt 1 of 2, please read/listen to that first, then continue:

I made that beat with my friend Benjamin Julia over the past few weeks. It was a ton of fun, I learned a lot, and after hearing several speeches about new ways of distribution/incorporating media…I thought it was a damn fine attempt.

On to a more realistic podcast:

I wanted to attempt a podcast in the form of a mixtape that could be played in the background while reading the content of my website. This was inspired by FADER Magazine’s similar endeavor that they distribute along with a .pdf version of their magazine every month on iTunes. 

What I did was peruse my library of music (almost 10,000 songs) looking for any sort of beat that reminded me of the feeling of being on the site of 9/11. 

What did I feel? A grinding, loud, churning machine that made me uncomfortable, yet sparked my sense of adventure and wanted to explore more. 

So, one almost-blown speaker later, I found some songs who beat reflected my thoughts and emotions at the time and I thought I could combine them into some sort of reasonable sequence:

Nine Inch Nails, “Closer” (Instrumental)

Nosaj Thing, “1685”

Flying Lotus (ft. Dolly), “Roberta Flack”

Muhsinah, “Millions”

Gaslamp Killer 

+ some other random quick beats.

OK, play it now, and continue reading (mike take a minute to buffer..its 10+minutes):


Note: Yes the first transition is kind of sloppy…this was my first attempt at a mixtape! (did I mentioned I’m an economics major?). Also I have to mention that I mixed in some other transitions and mixtapes from FADER and other sources, but it should sound pretty streamlined. Thank you Garageband!

The impetus of the track order:

As I said previously, I wanted to express, through music, how I felt the first time I stepped on that construction site. The first two songs reflect the uncomfortable feeling I got while trying to take pictures, capture video and audio, and not get killed by a swinging crane. The tracks are not pretty–but neither is a construction site.

As the podcast/mixtape (podtape? mixcast?) continues, we move into more of a grooving sound (about 4:30min in). After a couple of minutes taking some really awful B-Roll (it was also my first day using a videocamera), I calmed down, told myself basically not to mess up this incredible access, and get some good shots. This is the point where I got most of my B-Roll for my first video…I had hit my groove!

From about 7min to 9:20min, I feel as though this section represents the portion of the day I spent trying to record my first interview with Joe Bradley, the crane foreman of Ground Zero. A little abstract, yet upbeat. My lack of interview experience could have beena huge problem, but I remained confident, and got a pretty damn good quick  interview out of him.

Now, the rest of the podmixcastape reflects reality setting in. I knew I had this great footage, but all of these questions immediately set in: Did it come out right? Did I screw up a camera setting? Did I get enough B-Roll? Is the audio clear? Will I be allowed back onto the site? And so on…

I had been sitting on this particular podcast for a few weeks…I couldn’t decide if I wanted to publish it, or just go with the one Benjamin and me did, or neither, or both–I couldn’t choose.

Then I realized they are two pretty different attempts at the same thing–using a familiar form of media(audio) in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable way (podcast/mixtape).

And, this was exactly why I signed up for the course. I had never shot video before. I had barely even interviewed a subject for a story. Audio AND video? Seriously, who cares? Photography rule!

Well, now I care. About both. And photography. And the combination of all of them. And the fact that they each have strengths and weaknesses that can be used to tell a great story. 


Working on each podcast was an incredibly rewarding experiment in testing my comfort zone, creative abilities, ambition, ability to rebound from failure (you should have heard the first version of both podcasts), among other things.

I hope that the podcasts provide something for you–good background music for my blog, hopefully insight into my emotions and thoughts while being at Ground Zero, or even some new artists to listen to. 



N.B. This track is long. In case you are down here and the music is still playing (and you like it!!!) here are some photographs that I took this week while shooting my weekly column for The Washington Square News (if not blatentely obvious, I was playing with sunset light and people coming in and out of the shadows…all taken within the same hour or so on two consecutive days):



It took me a long time to figure out what kind of podcast I was going to do. After having conducted a ton of interviews for my video projects, I really didn’t want to hear a bunch of people talking about 9/11 or Ground Zero or construction sites. So, I decided to think outside the box a little bit.

Probably my biggest challenge this semester was paying attention to capturing clean (or as clean as you can get on a consctruction site) audio when I was shooting. As a photographer, sound is simply not an issue.

So, while shooting my first segment, I picked up on something while capturing B-Roll. The audio I was hearing was very loud, booming…yet industrial…and reptitive…kind of like a hip-hop or dance beat. 

Well, something clicked under the hard hat that day, and I realized two things:

1. The music sounds industrial…and there happens to be a whole genre of music called industrial.

2. The repetition of the beats wouldn’t be that hard to mimic in the recording studio.

I also happened to have about 8 years of guitar lessons under my belt, so I was no stranger to building simple arrangements that are cohesive and have rythem. 

So, I decided to try two podcasts.

The first is inspired by the podcasts that FADER Magazine distributes on iTunes every month. They are meant to be played while you either flip through a physical copy of their magazine, or browse the .pdf that they provide with the podcast. What I did was find about 5-10 songs that I felt had an “industrial” vibe to them…that reminded me of the audio coming through my headphones while I was inside of Ground Zero for the first time.

I  teamed up with my study abroad roommate Benjamin Julia to produce a short industrial beat. He happens to be a senior in the Clive Davis School of Recorded Music at NYU, so we had plenty of access to a recording studio.

Some pictures from last session:

It took us about two weeks in total to finish, but here is our track (looped’s only about 1:30 played once):

One note: Yes, the motorcycle sound is cheesy, but he refused to be apart of the project without at least one engine rev in it. Seriously. 

Read the next post for attempt 2 of 2, and a little bit more explanation about why I went the music route with the podcast…

Q+A with Andre Constantini

December 4, 2008

I had the opportunity to speak to Andre Constanini this week about working with various forms of media and how they contribute to his freelance business. Andre is a photographer and artist currently residing in New York City. A partial client list includes: American Repertory Theatre, Boston Early Music Festival, Constellation Center, Criterion Collection, Dynalite, L’oreal, Rainbow Media and Tamron. He also photographs modern dance companies and musicians. Assignments have brought him as far west as Prague and as far east as Japan as well as throughout the United States. He has taught photography seminars throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean and has written articles for Shutterbug and Studio Photography and Design.

I had the opportunity to work with Andre about a month ago when he edited the first video shot with Canon’s new 5D Mark II camera, a 21.1 megapixel DSLR that also shoots HD 1080p video. The video was shot by my boss Vincent Laforet, a former New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer who now shoots commercial and editorial work. Vincent was the first artist in the world to get his hands on this camera, and he produced, shot, edited, and distributed a short video within 72 hours. It was viewed by 1.5 million people in 10 days. See the video here.

B: Can you talk about what different forms of media you’re using, and how frequently you use each of these mediums?


A:  I would say this is the first year that it’s about 50-50 with video and photography. Prior to this, video was maybe 10 or 11% two years ago, 25% last year. It’s been a growing segment for me, and the photography business has really been consistent in terms of growth, so all the video has been an add on to my business.


B: Have you been pursing video more, or has the market shifted in terms of more demand for video? 


A: It’s definitely more demand, especially because of things like youtube and vehicles where people can display their work. Because we have a vehicle for it, that’s one of the reasons why the demand is so high


B: What kind of stuff have you been doing within video? Has it been a specific task, or all over the place?


A: It’s pretty much all over the place to be honest with you. [For example] I have one client that’s an NGO called Doc 2 Doc… I have a couple of other clients in the photo industry and for them its creating endeavors like “How-To” content or product demos. Basically being used as a vehicle for advertising.


B: Specifically within advertising, do you see these clients going to the same person for both photography and video? To perhaps save money, or streamline the process?


A; Possibly. There’s still kind of separate in a lot of ways. Obviously you have to take stills, but most of the clients who hire me aren’t like, “produce this print ad, and do video stuff.”


B: Are you trying to appeal to any sort of niche market? Or do you find yourself getting more work by being a “generalist”


A: Well, there’s some work I turn down because of lake of interest or budget, but anything that keeps it interesting for me, different types of work, like traveling to Africa with an NGO this week and then shooting an instructional video or podcast the next keeps it interesting.


B: Do you think the era of the niche market artist is over?


A: Not particularly. I think there will be a need for people that are good at doing their niche market stuff, but I do see, in terms of print advertising budgets decreasing and online budgets increasing…the cost of a full page ad in a magazine, single insertion with no deals, is about $25,000 a page, plus the cost of the photographer and all the rest of the stuff that goes along with it. The cost to produce a couple of small videos is way cheaper than that. I run things on pretty tight budgets, but its profitable enough for me to be able to grow my business and give my clients what they need and make (video) a reasonable alternative for them.


B:  How to balance the needs of your business with your creative strategies?


A: For now, it’s been a pretty nice balance. It’s been a little more on the commercial side than the creative, but ultimately, with the content, the clients I have are giving me the ability to make it more creative and exciting and a little less dry, and that makes it more challenging and exciting for me.


B: I was speaking with a regular New York Times photographer, Robert Caplin, the other day, and he said to me, “We are entering the era of the freelancers market.” What do you think about that?


A:  I totally agree with that. In a lot of ways, especially if you’re running as a freelancer and not in a business and you don’t have a lot of overhead while still maintaining a reasonable price for clients…I still think there’s an element, when it comes to photography and video, where you really need to know what you’re doing. There’s still an art to taking a picture and telling a story with video. In that way, it’s not the type of job where things are completely automated or replaced…yet.


B: How do you think people are going to react to the fact that, on top of having to be very well versed at various forms of multimedia, also have to have some sense of entrepreneurial-ship, and be able to take on other factors such as self-promotion? Do you think they’re teaching it in schools?


A: Well, I went to school at Rutgers, in their art school. There weren’t really any business classes, it was very art-based. They gave a lot in terms of theory and design…totally useful stuff…but when I got out of school, I had to kind of figure out how to make my own business. So, the way that started, I had a lot of [regular work in the] photo industry…while at the same time developing freelance clients. What I’ve found is that by being consistent at doing good work, the word of mouth, contact marketing…is definitely in my business model…if you do quality work at a good price for people, they will recommend you, and my business has basically been built off of that.


B: And advice for the fresh out ungrad/grad school, budding multimedia entrepreneurial freelancer?


A: [laughs] I think the one thing that people sometimes forget to do is their own projects that keep them excited about what they do. As a freelancer, if you can have a project you do on your own, one that you’re excited about, and then you get it out there, that just winds up being a vehicle for promotion for your own artistic gratitude.


B: Thanks very much, Andre. 

Heeding advice from Matt, I will refrain from endlessly blabing about my video and how hard it was blah blah blah.

Many thanks to Issie from the WSN for helping me out with the interviews.

Renderings vs. Reality

November 25, 2008

After the photographs in the previous post, it’s probably pretty difficult to imagine what the new buildings of the WTC are going to look like.

Here is a link to the virtual renders of the site.

Lots of progress to be made by 20122013…2014…

World Trade Center Gallery

November 21, 2008

UPDATE 12/1: Captions added, tighter edit on photographs


Here is a gallery of photographs I took from the past week in and around the WTC site.

It kind of takes from outside the site, all the way to the site of Tower 4. Because of the noise and workplace restrictions, almost no worker would talk to me, let alone give their name, but I feel like I got some decent shots out of the day.

To make things easier, here is a link to a slideshow of the same images.

WTC visits this week.

November 21, 2008

One of the reasons why this blog has not been updated in a little while is because it has been an incredibly frustrating few weeks of trying to gain access again to Ground Zero. If I were to make constant progress reports to the blog, they would literally all look like this since my last post:

“I called and emailed the people at Silverstein Properties today, and from the VP who brought me in, to the photographer taking me around, they told me to call them back later on, when things ‘aren’t as busy.’ How am I supposed to know when things aren’t as busy, however? Ah well, ill try again in three days.”

Copy and paste that about 25 times, and you have the progress that I have made the last few weeks…up until this week.

After getting the suggestion from Matt last Friday, I went down to shoot and interview people around the outside of the site. What did the memorials look like? What crappy t-shirts and snow-globes were the vendors selling this week? And so on.

What I found was relatively surprising. there were almost no memorials around the site. I literally walked around the whole thing, spending about four hours shooting and taking the scene in, and I barely saw anything. All that was clearly visible were the computer-generated renders of the new WTC site.

The best one was a render of the entire complex, with the phrase “World Trade Center 2012” across the top. 

While making more headlines earlier in the year, the completion of the new buildings has been pushed back…way back…and now ranges from 2013-2016, depending on who you ask.

Here is a recent NYT article talking about the delays

I talked to a few folks, from tourists to workers, and while no one, out of about 20, agreed to be interviewed on camera but a very nice woman from the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the reactions were about what you would expect. 

I’ll post some photographs in a bit, and talk about what happened yesterday, when I was finally granted access to the site once again. For now, the above link has good, recent background information on what is going on with the delays.