YPA 2012 Mentor Program Awards & Exhibition!

Be sure to check out this YPA Awards Presentation and Exhibition next Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 @ Calumet from 6 to 9pm! From the press release:

The Young Photographers Alliance invites you to join us at our Awards Ceremony and Mentoring Exhibition Opening on Wednesday, February 27th at the Calumet Gallery, 22 W. 22nd Street, NYC, where we’ll share in the celebration of this past year’s mentoring program titled “Hometown”.

Also in attendance at the evening event, will be our 2012-2013 scholarship recipients, whose awards will be presented to them by industry giants Barbara Bordnick, Roberto Dutesco and Stephen Mallon.

Thanks to generous donations from ASMP, YPA was able to create a unique mentoring program which pairs talented college students and recent graduates with leading photographers from throughout NA and around the world.

YPA 2012 Mentor Program Awards & Exhibition!

Be sure to check out this YPA Awards Presentation and Exhibition next Wednesday, February 27th, 2013 @ Calumet from 6 to 9pm! From the press release:

The Young Photographers Alliance invites you to join us at our Awards Ceremony and Mentoring Exhibition Opening on Wednesday, February 27th at the Calumet Gallery, 22 W. 22nd Street, NYC, where we’ll share in the celebration of this past year’s mentoring program titled “Hometown”.

Also in attendance at the evening event, will be our 2012-2013 scholarship recipients, whose awards will be presented to them by industry giants Barbara Bordnick, Roberto Dutesco and Stephen Mallon.

Thanks to generous donations from ASMP, YPA was able to create a unique mentoring program which pairs talented college students and recent graduates with leading photographers from throughout NA and around the world.

River Gambia Expedition Completed!

Ironically (or not), not long after I had posted this Jason emailed me to say that he had enjoyed reading the February newsletter (especially since he is an Aquarius) and that on this particular trip, he was actually shooting more “groups” – what a surprise! And since he sent me a few, how could I not show you?

© Jason Florio
© Jason Florio

Mission Accomplished!Photographer Jason Florio and his wife Helen Jones-Florio and The River Gambia Expedition team finally reached the Atlantic Ocean, Banjul, The Gambia after over 1100km road and river! Welcome back guys!

Mercury Retrograde

Say or think what you want, but Mercury Retrograde is a very “real” planetary phenomenon and is with us from February 23rd to March 17th. This aspect occurs several times a year when our Planet Mercury appears to be moving backwards, although in actuality is it not. And since Mercury is connected with all sorts of communications, short-term travel and so on – you may notice things going “wrong” with your computer or other mechanical devices during this period. You could find delays with the traffic, trains and transportation in general, and your messages may be miscommunicated or simply never received! It is what it is. So click here or on the image below for a hilarious video on YouTube with British comedian Ronnie Corbett in a sketch about his own particular problems with modern technology. It will make you laugh and take your mind off your own craziness!

Ronnie Corbett “My Blackberry Is Not Working!” – The One Ronnie, Preview – BBC One

Two Articles in Winter Issue of The Picture Professional

Newsflash! I’m very excited to announce that I have 2 articles in the current Winter issue of the ASPP Picture Professional Magazine. So be sure to check both of those out on pages 50 & 51 of the magazine.

The first one is a write-up on the ASPP NY Chapter’s visit to Building 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And the second is a synopsis of the ASPP “Copyright and the New Economy” presentation and panel event which took place in New York last October at Scandinavia House.

Groups – ChatterLog February 2013

Greetings everyone – welcome to the February ChatterBulletin and the sign of Aquarius! Last year we focused on the topic of “light” because Aquarius is ruled by Uranus, the Planet that is connected with the “ether,” and therefore “light.” And prior to that in 2011 it was all about “individuality” and the Aquarius’ need for space, which is why many of them love to fly! As I’ve said before, the sign of Aquarius is often mistaken to be a Water sign, when it is in fact an Air sign. As you can see in the illustration above, Aquarius is pouring the waters from his urn down onto the earth. These are the “Spiritual Waters” and it is the job of the Aquarius to deliver this higher level of thinking to the general populous. They are the “Captains of the Spiritual Ship” since they are the most spiritually evolved signs of the zodiac. They’ve learned what they need to know, and they find it somewhat annoying when the people around them don’t appear to know what they know as well. But let’s look at how they deliver their spiritual messages – through groups and social activities. So our theme for this month is simply Groups.

Royal National Lifeboat Institute, Cromer, Norfolk, UK  Neal Slavin

My father was an Aquarius and it would have been his 88th birthday this week as I am writing this. Some of you may recall the story of his dramatic rescue and ride in a medical helicopter a few years ago, which is why I chose this first image from photographer Neal Slavin. When I decided to write about Groups this month, Neal was the 1st photographer that came to my mind, so I am particularly honored to be including some of his work. My dad loved the ocean and flying, both the Air and Water, so here’s an admirable group of guys that embrace both those elements in their daily rescue activities. But what is it about Groups and why do we seek them out in the first place? We are not put on this earth to walk completely alone, our challenge is to find the right Groups to belong to that best suit our inherent needs and desires – and they may not always be the ones you thought they’d be! It is the sign of Aquarius who is associated with and more importantly, “identifies” with and “relates” to the Group more so than the individual.

My father was another classic example of an Aquarius – in a group setting, he was definitely the life and soul of the party, he was very social, loved a good story, and was a brilliant mimic, but if you asked him, he would tell you he was quite shy in many ways. He certainly rarely divulged what he was feeling, nor did he indulge in talking about others’ feelings (especially yours). He was happiest propping up the bar at the local pub, talking about his dog, the cricket or the rugby, his women and what he had for dinner last night (though not necessarily in that order)!

Marina Women's Bowling Club, Eastbourne, Sussex, UK  Neal Slavin

This natural identification with the Group is why they make such great leaders – they need to be able to reach the masses, but keep a sense of distance at the same time. Oprah Winfrey is a great example – look at how many millions of people she has reached and touched and yet she remains quite private when it comes to her personal life. Even though they are the most Humanitarian and Social sign of the zodiac, interestingly there is still a certain emotional detachment to the Aquarius, because they are also ruled by the Planet Saturn. Saturn is not known for being “warm and fuzzy!”

One of the first Groups we encounter in life is that of our family. But what if you don’t feel like you fit in to that first group? What if you don’t feel like you belong? Then what? From home, your next group setting is going to be school, where you are now thrown into a much larger group environment for most of the day! What if you find this to be challenging? Perhaps you don’t do well learning in a group setting and you need more help, or maybe you’re simply not one of those “clever” or “cute” or “cool” kids – then what? From school, you go to your after-school activities and sports, where you learn how to play on a team, and what that’s all about. But it is sometimes these group activities that allow the misfits to feel a sense of belonging they may not find elsewhere. Look at the success of the TV show “Glee” – the Glee Club is all about empowering the kids who are often the odd ones out.

St. John's Brigade, Northampton, England  Christopher Lane

The 2nd photographer that came to mind when thinking of group photography was my buddy, English photographer Christopher Lane, whose portraits have a wonderfully quirky humor to them, so I knew he would have some great group shots in his archive as well. There is something I find particularly endearing with a group photograph. Perhaps it is that sense of belonging fulfilled? For the photographer, the challenge is also interesting – how to make each and every person in the group look good – how to make sure they are all looking in the right direction, or whatever it is that is required of them. And yet, often, it is the one person who is doing something different from the rest that makes the photograph!

Old Fife and Drum Corp, Virginia  Christopher Lane

In closing I wanted to share with you an unexpected Astrological partnership, that of Stanley & Livingstone. I discovered this duo when I was writing a paper on “sextile” – an aspect in which the two signs concerned get along, they are compatible and have a mutual appreciation of one another, in fact, more of a co-dependency. One was an Aries and the other an Aquarius – Fire and Air – can you tell which was which? Well, the Fire sign of Aries is the pioneer, the explorer, and David Livingstone was both an explorer and a missionary – which was most apt, since he was born on the cusp of Pisces and Aries. Thus it was Henry Morton Stanley, the Aquarius, who launched the expedition to Africa to find the “lost explorer.” Fire needs Air to burn, and without Mr. Stanley’s insistent rescue mission, Dr. Livingstone’s Fire might have been extinguished forever instead of refueled!

And before I forget – Happy Birthday to all you social Aquarians out there!

In particular I have to send out a special birthday greeting to my surrogate grandma Gladys, an Aquarius, and someone I love very much, and who turns 90 years old on February 16th!

Gladys on her terrace, September 2012  Louisa J. Curtis

Montalbetti+Campbell – A Glorious Gathering Down Under

How perfect was this for timing – I received this email from husband and wife photography duo Denis Montalbetti and Gay Campbell literally as I was preparing this month’s newsletter – and the theme is Groups – so feast your eyes on this gorgeous group image , and read the story:

“When WHO Magazine envisioned a complex, celebrity laden party scene – a special, double gate fold insert for their 20th Anniversary issue, one photography team came to mind. “Nobody else could do it!” said Lainie Shean, Photo Editor for WHO, Australia’s best selling celebrity magazine. And so, Montalbetti+Campbell were flown from New York, their stylist from Germany and the elaborate three week long photo shoot began! Celebrate the star-studded result with us!”

A Glorious Gathering! © MontalbettiCampbell

Tips for Healthy Circulation – ChatterTip February 2013

A couple of years ago in the Aquarius newsletter we gave you some tips for healthy blood and circulation, but this time I’m concentrating more on Tips for Healthy Circulation. Simply put, the body was made to be in motion, we have flexible limbs and joints that need to stay lubricated, but we have become a sedentary species, spending far more time sitting on our backsides than ever!

© Bill Lusk
  • Lack of Exercise!

I know it sounds obvious, but it really is important to remember that we need to Exercise on a regular basis. The engine of the automobile was fashioned after the human body, and if that motor is not maintained, and “run” on a regular basis, it will seize up. It needs fuel, oil and water – and so do we! We live far more sedentary lives than ever before, sitting in front of these computers all day… so even if it’s a walk around the block on your lunch-break, or walking home instead of taking the train – get those legs moving! Many thanks to photographer, and my client Bill Lusk for allowing me to use this perfect “running” image! Cayenne Pepper can be added to any Herbal Tea to stimulate the circulation and warm the body. Ginger also improves the circulation and Mustard baths can help if you suffer from cold or icy feet. Notice these are all “hot” ingredients!

South American Bushmaster Snake © Pete Oxford / naturepl.com
  • Blue or Purple Skin

When a person suffers from poor circulation or a disorder such as Raynaud’s Disease or Acrocyanosis, there may be patches of blue or purple skin, often worse after sleeping. One of the recommended Homeopathic remedies for this is Lachesis, taken from the Venom of the South American Bushmaster Snake. When you are bitten by a venomous snake, the poison enters the bloodstream, and again we are talking about Aquarius and the blood. The Homeopathic remedy Lachesis is used to treat (amongst other things) irritability – I’d be pretty irritable if a snake had bitten me too, so that makes sense… And ironically, on February 10th, 2013 we enter into the Chinese New Year, and the Year of “guess what?” – The Snake! A big Thank You to Giles Manning for providing us with this fabulous image of a South American Bushmaster Snake from the stunning Nature Picture Library!

Beets  Lisa Adams
  • Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins are swollen and twisted veins found most commonly in the legs, and are caused by a weakness in the veins’ valves. (Hemorrhoids are essentially the same thing, just found somewhere else!) Raw Beetroot is said to help Varicose Veins and should be eaten daily as a powerful tonic. Many thanks to photographer Lisa Adams and to her agent Holly Neumann at RepGirl – I was literally preparing this month’s newsletter when I received the RepGirl Valentine’s Day newsletter, in which was Lisa’s beautiful image of – guess what – Beets! So how perfect was that? It also recommended that you increase your intake of Vitamins E & C to help improve blood vessel health. From my precious copy of the Reader’s Digest “What Our Grandmothers Knew” on Improving the Circulation: “If you lead a sedentary life and have a tendency to Varicose Veins, draw up your toes as far as possible several times a day.” Sitting with your legs and feet elevated is another option!

Roasted Potato Leek Soup – ChatterRecipe February 2013

Roasted Potato Leek Soup

Leek and Potatoes in Ladle  James Jackson / Food And Drink Photos Ltd

I know, I seem to have a thing about “roasted” vegetables right now but I really do love the way “roasting” brings out the flavors of each vegetable. Last month we gave you oven-roasted vegetables to accompany your roast, and this time, I’m going with a Roasted Potato Leek Soup. For one thing, it is bitterly cold right now in New York as I prepare this newsletter, so the most natural thought was to have a recipe for something warming, like a nice hearty soup. And then, it’s also the month of February, and Valentine’s Day, and my father’s birthday, and as I reflect I find myself thinking back to my parents… In their younger more “happily married” days, they were quite social creatures – Aquarius is the most social sign of the zodiac after all, and my father certainly was that, while my mother was a Cancer, who are literally the homebodies. And, since we lived in the countryside, we didn’t eat out much at all, that was a rare treat. So it was more commonplace to stay at home and have dinner parties.

Now I’ve told you before that my father loved his food, he came from a food-obsessed family, and it drove my mother crazy! He could be very critical and wanted things done “his” way, especially when it came to culinary execution. Thus my mother was quite intimidated by him in the kitchen and cooking was not necessarily the pleasurable pastime that it might have been for most Cancers. And for some reason, I find myself flashing back to my mother making Vichyssoise, the good old-fashioned way, before anyone had blenders or food processors! In order to make a perfectly smooth and creamy soup, you had to pass it through a sieve, or a hand-mill! A very laborious task and not one that my dear mother particularly enjoyed! This slightly updated recipe comes courtesy of one of my go-to-girls, Ian Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa.

And many thanks for this month’s image which comes courtesy of Mark Butler at the UK-based stock agency Food and Drink Photos, one of the world’s leading suppliers of food and drink images. Be sure to visit their website to see their extensive range of images!


2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled 7 cut into ¾ inch cubes)

4 Leeks (washed thoroughly of all the sand, drained and chopped both white & light green parts)

¼ cup Olive Oil

Salt & Black Pepper

3 cups Baby Arugula (lightly packed)

½ cup Dry White Wine (plus some extra)

6-7 cups Chicken Stock (homemade if possible, could substitute with Vegetable Stock)

¾ cup Heavy Cream

8 oz Crème Fraîche

¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the Potatoes and Leeks on a sheet pan in a single layer, and then add the Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon Salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper and toss with your hands to coat the vegetables evenly. Roast in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, turning them with a spatula a few times during cooking, until very tender. Add the Baby Arugula and toss to combine. [Now, I happen to love Arugula, but if it’s not your cup of tea, leave it out and maybe add a little Spinach, or simply use a few more Leeks and Potatoes. Certainly a classic Leek & Potato Soup doesn’t normally include Arugula!] Roast the vegetables for a further 4 to 5 minutes until the Arugula is wilted. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and place on top of the stove covering 2 burners. Stir in the Dry White Wine and 1 cup of the Chicken Stock and cook over low heat scraping up any crispy roasted bits sticking to the pan.

In batches, transfer the Roasted Vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade (or a blender if you don’t own a food processor) adding the pan liquid, plus about another 5 cups Chicken Stock to make a puree. Pour into a large pot or Dutch oven, and continue to puree the vegetables in batches until they’re all done and combined in the large pot. Add just enough of the remaining cups of Stock to make a nice thick soup. Add in the Heavy Cream, Crème Fraîche, 2 more teaspoons Salt and 1 teaspoon Black Pepper and season to taste. When ready to serve, re-heat the soup gently and whisk in 2 tablespoons Dry White Wine and the Parmesan Cheese. Serve hot with extra grated Parmesan Cheese and some Crispy Shallots (optional), which are really simple to prepare.

For the Crispy Shallots (optional):

5-6 Shallots (peeled and sliced into thin rings)

1½ cups Vegetable or Olive Oil

Unsalted Butter

Paper towels or a sheet of brown paper

Peel and slice about 5 to 6 Shallots and cut into thin rings. Heat a combination of 1½ cups Vegetable or Olive Oil along with 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter in a saucepan and cook the Shallots for about 30 to 40 minutes until they are golden brown. Stir occasionally to make sure they cook evenly, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or a sheet of brown paper. Once they have been dried and crisped, they can be stored at room temperature, covered, for several days.

Jack Lemmon – ChatterQuote February 2013

It’s hard enough to write a good drama, it’s much harder to write a good comedy, and it’s hardest of all to write a drama with comedy. Which is what life is.
Jack Lemmon  Abe Frajndlich

This month’s quote comes from a much-loved American actor Jack Lemmon, an Aquarius born on February 8th, 1925 in Newton, MA, and who died June 27th, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA. One of his best and perhaps most iconic roles was in Some Like it Hot with Marilyn MonroeTony Curtis. They pretty much set the stage for the later “drag” roles of Dustin Hoffman’s “Tootsie” and Robin Williams’ “Mrs. Doubtfire.” But back to Jack and some of his other classic movies, such as The ApartmentDays of Wine and RosesThe Great Race, and The Odd Couple followed by Grumpy Old Men, both with Walter Matthau.

A big “thank you” also goes to photographer Abe Frajndlich for kindly allowing me to use his wonderful “lemony” portrait of Jack Lemmon! Abe also asked if he could share his story about taking this particular portrait of Jack Lemmon, and naturally I was delighted to do so:

“I had the distinct honor and great pleasure to meet and photograph the actor Jack Lemmon on January 15th, 1996 for an assignment for the Weekly Magazine of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a well-known German daily newspaper.  Jack Lemmon was about to get a lifetime achievement award from the Berlin Film Festival.

Before any of my shoots I would try to do my homework, and before flying to L.A. watched a number of Jack Lemmon movies at home with my then three and half year old son, Lucas. Of course we saw Some Like it Hot together and Lucas had an immediate crush on Sugar, the character played by Marilyn Monroe, and then without my son, The Apartment, Mister Roberts, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Great Race and a few others. When I got to Los Angeles and had to shoot in an all white studio in Hollywood, I brought my own props, including a bag of beautiful lemons, figuring, “why not?”

Jack drove himself to the shoot in a stunning Rolls Royce Silver Cloud convertible, and was running almost a half hour late, and when he got there the first thing he said was, “Can you please park this thing for me, since if I don’t find a bathroom immediately, pee will start gushing out of my ears.” “Of course, Mr. Lemmon.” But I was nervous moving that very expensive set of wheels into the cramped parking space behind the rental studio.

After a half hour in the bathroom where he had put on his own makeup, he comes out and starts to shake hands all around with my assistants and others in adjoining studios and introducing himself, and wanting to know who each of them were. Then as we start the shoot, and he asks what I have in mind, I tell him about my film research and the fact that in Mister Roberts there is that wonderful scene where his character is looking appraisingly with binoculars down on a deck of a smaller boat filled with bikini clad girls, and that I had brought lemons and maybe he could use them as binoculars.

He turns to me and says, “In the 55 years that I have been an actor and been photographed endlessly, no one has ever brought lemons to a shoot. Please do whatever you like.”

This image turned into the cover of the article in the FAZ Magazin (German spelling not a typo) and of my book, Portraits, published in 1999 by Prestel Publishing.”

To see more of Abe’s fantastic work, be sure to visit his website!