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I love coffee. Sometimes people try to switch my coffee to decaf when I’m not looking. I can always tell the difference. I also like Pringles, but only the reduced fat kind because they crunch better when you bite into them and they don’t leave grease on your fingers. I’m…

About Me
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As part of our quest to support women’s issues, Katana Photography is excited to announce our first ever Celebrating Survival contest!
Having any kind of cancer is frightening and confusing. In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Katana Photography is welcoming all survivors from all forms of cancer to participate…

Weekly Photo
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When I was looking to buy my wedding invitations (back in April), I found a lot of designers on Etsy. After narrowing it down to a couple different designs/companies, I contacted both for their pricing list. One was pretty significantly more expensive–almost $2 per invitation more. Which I think all…

Weekly Style
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When talking to people about photography, I hear one phrase over and over again: Kids and dogs are the hardest subjects to photograph.
I, personally, don’t have this problem with my clients…kids and dogs are among my favorite things to photograph. Maybe it’s because I like to have any excuse…

Weekly Puppies
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Last week, Sean and I had our morning coffee on the balcony and watched as the Enterprise shuttle was pulled down the Hudson on a tug boat. It’s on its way to the Intrepid and I can’t wait to see it up close at the museum!

Weekly Coffee

Frittata Mayhem

Sean: What is this?

Me: It’s dinner.

Sean: This? Is dinner?

I glare at him through my narrowed eyes.

Me: Yes.

Sean: Ok. I require more of an explanation.

Me: It’s a frittata.

Sean: It looks like you screwed up an omelette.

Me: No. It’s a FRITTATA.

Sean takes a bite and chews slowly, swishing the eggs around in his mouth.

Sean: (long pause) You sure you didn’t just screw up an omelette…?

I just glare at him.

Sean: Ok, fine. It’s a good frittata. (another pause) Also–why are we eating eggs for dinner?

Me: Oh, just eat your messed up omelette and shut it.

Envy

People in New York envy weird things. For example, someone who has more than 600 square feet of apartment is living in luxury. Anyone with a backyard will no doubt have me showing up at their doorstep every weekend with a fold-out chair and tanning oil. And godforbid you have a rooftop pool, you better believe I’ll be moving in with you for the next month. Do you have a gym in your building? Well, that’s a guarantee that all you’ll see of me is the could of dust after I ran away.

Bottom line–it doesn’t take much make a New Yorker feel envy. My building’s super isn’t the best at keeping our building tidy. The floors of our lobby and elevator always seems a little grimy, our lobby plants never live longer than a couple of weeks and I swear our front lock has been broken since the day I moved in. But I love my apartment so much that none of these things tend to bother me. However, our garbage situation is, in a word, horrible. I never know where to throw garbage bags vs. paper recycling vs. glass and plastic recycling. Next to our building, you’ll just find a giant pile of bags and glass and boxes and paper.

I never thought in my life I would ever envy someone else’s garbage. But our neighbor’s super does such an amazing job at keeping their garbage clean, tidy and separated, that it makes our building look like a landfill next to it. The neighbor has trash cans clearly labeled for TRASH, PAPER and PLASTIC. The receptacles are separated to lessen any confusion. They always are lined with clean, not-over-flowing garbage bags and once a week, I see him out there bleaching the empty trash cans to eliminate germs.

Yesterday morning I had Bebop out for a walk and as I left my building, I saw my super outside doing his normal pre-trash day routine of separating the landfill that had built up around our building. It usually takes him most of the day to do from what I’ve seen in the past. I couldn’t help but think of him as I got my croissant and in an effort to improve his quality of life, I bought him one as well along with a coffee. I already felt better about our trash situation–I mean, of course a happy super will be more willing to keep our trash area tidy! I was certain that my gesture would single-handedly solve our trouble. The entire building would have to shower me with thank you gifts. As I walked up to my building, I saw no super. I just saw a trail of half-finished, half-separated garbage. I went down to our building’s basement and when the elevator doors opened, a rush of smoke puffed into my face. Not cigarette smoke–but THAT kind of smoke. I coughed and entered the cloud, calling out his name. Within moments, his wide red eyes appeared before me looking shaky and nervous.

“Here,” I said, “it looked like you could use some of this.” I handed him the croissant and coffee and he took it saying a quiet thank you.

It’s no wonder it takes him so long to separate the garbage–but then again, if that was my job to go through everyone’s trash and make sure they recycled every last bit, I’d probably have to get high before going to work, too.

Moving

The other day, Eliza asked me this question:

“If you could move anywhere, where would it be?”

Just as I was about to answer with something exotic–like SANTORINI or PLAYA DEL CARMEN or SINGAPORE or SAN FRANCISCO, I had a thought: This is Liza. What starts out as a hypothetical question could very well turn into a reality with the snap of a finger.

So I asked her…”Is this a hypothetical question…or something you’re starting to ask around about because you’re close to graduating?”

She thought for a moment. “I guess a little bit of both.”

I nodded. “In that case, Hoboken.”

Portugal

I love shooting with my film cameras–namely the Holga and Hasselblad. The holga and hasselblad both shoot with 120 film (medium format negatives), but the look of the images are totally different. The holga is completely unpredictable and tends to have funky light leaks and very little ways of constructing the image. It’s sort of a “whatever happens happens” camera. The Hasselblad is much more particular–hard to focus, the lighting has to be metered just right and its hard to compose an image. Overall, it’s two completely different ways of photographing, both of which produce awesome photos making the extra effort totally worth the reward.

However, the one MAIN downside to this is that getting these images scanned in takes FOREVER. Like, think FOR.EV.ER. in the way the kid in The Sandlot says it. Over and over. FOOOOOOR.EEEEEEEEV.EEEEEEEEEER. And, not sure if you know this about me: I’m not a patient person.

Why is our sushi not here yet? (because I just hung up from ordering it). Why haven’t I burned 800 calories yet? (Because I’ve only been on the treadmill for 2 minutes). I also turn everything into a contest–but that’s a whole other issue.

So, basically if any task takes more than a few minutes, I get very impatient and it becomes a game to see how fast I can finish (without sacrificing quality, OF COURSE). Although, ok, when scanning these negatives, it takes SO LONG and is SO TEDIOUS, that I definitely don’t mind sacrificing quality a little. Mostly because I don’t print them from the digital scans–only prints come from the negative.  That being said–here are a couple of my favorites from the first few rolls:

Hasselblad:

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Holga:

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Portugal

Perspective

It had been a frustrating day. My earphones were in and I was knitting on the subway ride home. I had a long trip and it was rush hour, so I was of course thrilled when I saw the subway car wasn’t all that busy. I grabbed a seat and a woman who had been standing next to me on the platform sat down next to me. She stared at my hands as they went to town on the baby blanket. I ignored her–like most of us in the city. That’s what we do…we ignore each other.

I saw her lips moving, but with my headphones in it just looked as though she were singing along to some Toto–that’s right, TOTO! Old school. I took out my headphones out and raised my eyebrows at her. I was all prepped to be annoyed, come out swinging. But I looked into her soft gray eyes, little wrinkles around the corners and I felt my body relax. I recognized her–she had been on the train a week before and she had asked about my knitting then, too.

Me: I’m sorry. What did you say?

Her: It’s coming along nicely…fast, too.

She had an accent of some sorts–Spanish was her first language I could tell.

Me: Thanks. It’s a surprisingly easy pattern to follow. It just looks fancy.

Her: It’s just lovely. May I?

She gestured to the yarn, asking to touch it. I nodded and she closed her eyes as she felt the soft alpaca yarn on her fingertips. She kept her eyes closed as she spoke.

Her: I used to know how to crochet and knit. My mother taught me such a long time ago but I just can’t remember.

There was a sadness to the way she spoke. It was a hollow whisper even though she was speaking at a normal volume. Something caught in my throat.

Me: I could show you sometime. It really is easy. Are you on this train a lot?

She nodded.

Her: Depends on what you define as ‘a lot.” I used to live in the homeless shelter in Park Slope. I go back to visit friends and volunteer still.

I had never known anyone–truly known or had a conversation with anyone I knew had been homeless.

Me: Where do you live now?

Her: They placed me in a home in the East Village. I can’t afford a television and I was thinking that knitting would be a cheap form of entertainment.

I nodded. What else could I say? Just as I was about to ask her her name, she jumped off the seat, wished me well and hopped off the train. I kicked myself for not getting her name. Not giving her my card. Not thinking of anything else to say to her.

Every day that I travel into the city, I look for her. I have bags and bags of yarn at home and I would love to give her some of it. In my head I call her Rosa–I don’t know why. She just seemed like a Rosa to me.

Uncomfortable Silences.

Over the summer, I met up with an old friend from grade school. It all began ok…until this:

Her: Wow, you look so beautiful! So different from back in the day!

Me: ….Oh…thanks. You look great, too. (Long Pause) Well, you know–I guess that’s what 30k dollars worth of plastic surgeries and botox will do for ya!

Her: Ohhh. Yes, that must be what’s so different! Don’t worry, I’ve had my nose and eyes done already, too! Who did you go to? Someone here in the city?

Me: Oh! Oh my God, I’m so stupid…I was just kidding. My weird sense of humor–I haven’t had any work done. But, wow, yours looks amazing. Can’t even tell.

Her: Really? You haven’t had any work done? (She looks me over from head to toenail)

Me: No…though I think I could use a new set of boobs for sure! (hahaha…ha…….ha. Awkward laughter.)

Her: (Flips her hair over her shoulder) Yes, well…I haven’t had any work done either. Just said that to make you feel better.

We left shortly after that. I highly doubt I’ll be hearing from her again any time soon.

Long Ago, On an Island They Call Manhattan…

Long ago, on an Island they call ‘Manhattan’ I had a date. This date was with a guy…we’ll call him Ted.

Ted and I got along pretty well. He was cute, funny, nice, easy-going. All qualities that I enjoy in company. I was pretty excited to see him again in the future. Until…

Ted: I don’t want to embarrass you…but you missed a belt loop?

Me: I what?

Ted: A belt loop. On your pants…you missed it in the back.

Me: People actually get embarrassed by that?

At this point, I started running through my head. Should I be embarrassed by that? It seems a weird thing to get embarrassed about…and now that he pointed it out that I SHOULD be embarrassed, now I’m embarrassed that I’m not embarrassed.

We stared at each other blinking.

Me: Well…do they?

Ted: It probably means you’ve been walking around like that all day.

Me: Right. And that’s….embarrassing?

Ted nodded.

Me: Hm. Ok, if you say so.

That made me wonder…did Ted ever miss a loop in his belt buckle? Did he have some horrifying experience where everyone in middle school pointed and laughed the day he walked into the cafeteria with a chunk of his black leather belt bunched over the loop in his jeans?

It’s just such a stupid thing to get embarrassed about.

Ted: So…you’re not going to fix it?

::blink:: ::blink, blink:: Ok, yeah. This guy definitely has a traumatic belt loop story somewhere in his past.

Me: Sure.

At this point, I took off my belt and strung it through the one loop I had missed, but left it out of all the others. Then buckled it at my zipper.

Me: There. Happy?

I smiled at him.

Ted: Um, not really. You missed them all.

Me: Nope. Not this one.

I turned around showing him my backside.

Ted: But that looks intentional. And weird.

I knew then that he was not the man for me.

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

I don’t know why this keeps happening–the falling behind on blogging. It’s pathetic. There’s no excuse. I’m a terrible person, etc, etc. That being said, I have (quite literally) 10 shoots or more that I have not blogged yet. And because I’m sort of OCD, the thought of those unblogged, unorganized thoughts makes my insides twist into knots. I mean…there are STORIES. THOUGHTS. IN MY HEAD. THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ORGANIZED. Unorganized thoughts–is there anything worse?? Answer: No, there is not–except maybe for an unorganized office.

Sidebar: My office really needs to be organized.

So, to avoid my head exploding all over my recently mopped floors (yes, I spent a good two hours sweeping, mopping, dusting and vacuuming the furniture. If I had a dustbuster, I would have vacuumed my vacuum) I’m going to just blog some of the more recent shoots I’ve had and then work backwards as I have the time.

In the past month, I’ve had a ton of newborn sessions–there must have been a full moon because ALL my newborn clients who had reserved time slots went into labor within the same 5 day period. Below is one of the earlier born clients, beautiful Miss Madison. Nadine (mommy) originally came to me wanting maternity photos as well, but soon after our initial conversation, Nadine was admitted to the hospital for bedrest until birth. She spent months (literally MONTHS) in her hospital bed until just a few weeks ago when Madison decided she was ready to join us. Welcome to the world, little lady! Your mama is way stronger than I am–one week in a hospital and I would have been going stir crazy! Every year for your birthday, you should get your mom a gift, too!

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

Madison Naomi | New York City Newborn Photographer

A Quick Explanation of Copyright

I get this question a lot from clients, other photographers, friends, parents, etc. Who owns the copyright?

And it’s a very touchy subject–because a lot of times, clients think that it’s a studio’s policy to not release a copyright or to retain it. In actuality–it’s not our choice. It’s the law…it’s just the way it is.

My understanding of the laws (which I’ll admit, even for ALL the research I’ve done, I still learn something new everyday) is that the person who creates the art, be it painter, sketch artist or photographer, owns the copyright. In copyright terms, it doesn’t matter that the photograph is of you–it matters that I am the one who took the photograph.

And it doesn’t quite work as easy as “releasing the copyright” to another person. The only time I’ve ever heard of that is in a work for hire situation in which case the pay is very, very high. However, there is an option to allow printing rights on images–this is what most photographers do. But it’s still not the same as releasing a copyright. With this license, you have the ability to print your own images, however you could not turn around and sell that image to Coca-Cola and make a profit off of the photographer’s work.

For this reason, be cautious of the photographer who is easily willing to “release the copyright” of all their images to you. It’s likely that if they’re doing this for little or no money, they probably don’t understand the business that they’re in very well. When I just began my business, I did allow printing rights for all the images, but I’ve quickly learned that you can’t earn a living that way. Like I said, I’ve been doing this for years and there’s still a lot that I don’t understand. I even WORKED in a licensing department at both a publishing house and a television studio and I still don’t have as firm a grasp as I’d like on copyright. It’s such a complicated system.

So, to sum up:

1) Copyright belongs to the photographer. The “release” of said copyright is not a single studio’s or photographer’s choice–it’s simply the law.

2) This copyright allows the photographer to use any and all images taken to be used on their websites and in advertising (but not necessarily sold, ie to stock agencies)

If I’m incorrect on any of these points, let me know! I’m constantly trying to learn and hopefully this helps us all have a clearer idea of the laws.

Toxins. And Other Bull.

Yesterday, I was sitting in a health food cafe waiting for an afternoon meeting to show up. Sitting next to me was a girl and guy. Each were eating carrots, celery…and some other things.

In classic New York form, I was listening to their conversation while pretending to read. I dunno why…it just gets dull sometimes sitting in a cafe, waiting for your appointment to show up!

So anyway, the girl was talking about her vegan lifestyle. About how even the best treated, free-range animals don’t deserve to be eaten. And about how they are full of toxins and when you eat these animals you’re bringing said toxins into your body. She also went on to discuss how when you eat an animal’s energy, you carry a piece of that creature around with you as well.

Essentially, she had a few points that made sense and had me thinking–and some that sounded rather ridiculous. More than anything, I just found her perspective interesting and after I watched FAST FOOD NATION the other day, I had been considering becoming a vegetarian again.

After my appointment, I stepped outside of the restaurant and saw the same girl with her friend sitting on a bench. They were still babbling on about being vegan (I mean, really–is there NOTHING else to talk about?) and in one hand, she had a bottle of Coke (not even diet coke) and in the other hand, she had a cigarette.

Wanna talk about bringing toxins into your body? Sheesh. The lean, organic cut of steak my dad and I had last week is way healthier than either of the items in your hands.