Erica Mena for Fuzion Magazine

Erica Mena photographed by John Ricard

Erica Mena photographed by John Ricard

Erica Mena photographed by John Ricard

Erica Mena photographed by John Ricard

Erica Mena photographed by John Ricard

Erica Mena photographed by John Ricard

My wife loves Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum.  It’s a free evening of art, performance, dance and debate.  The wine is expensive, but since a glass of wine is so well suited to museum gazing, it’s worth the expense.  This Saturday, I used the visit as a chance to experiment a little more with my Fuji XE1 -a camera that I bought for $250 as a supplement to my beloved Leica M9.  

There are times -mostly any situation in low light, where the M9 just isn’t up to the task.  I got the Fuji to fill in whenever my M9 is inadequate.  I’ve also had my mind on shooting black and white lately.  The Leica Monochrom M is on my radar, so until I secure one of those, the Fuji XE1 will be set to black and white most of the time.  

This evening, there was a presentation on natural hair.  More and more African American women are embracing their natural hair these days.  Photographer, Michael July, who recently published a book called “Afro” spoke.  There was also a hairstylist who styled some of the ladies from the audience who had natural hair.  I don’t know the name of the young lady pictured above, but she was beaming with pride after the hairstylist worked her magic.

With Mariah Huq of “Married to Medicine”

We were about halfway through a shoot with Mariah Huq last week when everyone involved sort of realized, it just wasn’t working.  Who was to blame?  Hair? Makeup? Styling? Hell, I’ll even take the blame and say it was the photographer’s fault.  But does it matter?

My father was a bricklayer.  He could absolutely guarantee that he could make a perfect wall or staircase each and every time.  I’m an artist and there’s an element of what I do that isn’t under my control.  Shouldn’t periodic failure be expected?  If art were something repeatable, Michael Jackson would have made another “Thriller” instead making “Invincible”.

Often, my team and I create something beautiful. Something amazing.  Something that is greater than what we put into it.  Other times, as was the case with Mariah last week, we put our 100% into it, and the art we create is less than our skill and our dedication to the task would suggest it should be.  And at that point, its best to do as we did -cut our losses and call it a day. 

The shoot has been rescheduled for next week were we will once again try to control that which no one can control -the creation of art.

My Jiu Jitsu instructor, Marcelo Garcia being interviewed for a documentary. He’s considered one of the best to ever do jiu jitsu but his response when asked how he feels about having a “gift” for the art of jiu jitsu, his response was interesting.  He said something to the effect of, “I don’t like when people call it a gift because I know how hard I worked for what I have accomplished in my training.”

Linda in Times Square

#Leica

I shot Linda for a fashion test with stylist Carmen Lilly.  She arrived at my studio at 10am and this image was taken at 8:41, about 15 minutes after the shoot ended.  Long day, but we were both all smiles when it was over.

Save Our School

#Leica

There’s nothing my wife likes better than a NYC street fair.  And there’s nothing I find less interesting.  This time we found ourselves at a street fair associated with the Tribeca Film Festival.  It was the usual offerings: overpriced face painting, free photo booths alongside corporate logss and free popcorn for those willing to wait on long lines.

About the only thing that was even mildly interesting was a rally to “Save PS 150”.  They sang and they held signs but never actually explained what they needed saving from.  Maybe they were like me and just needed saving from the street fair 😉

Erica

#Leica

I met Erica at BET, where she came to network.  She was rather bold about it.  She spoke to everyone on the set…including me.  I kept her information just in case something came up.  It did.  Within 24 hours I got a call for a stock photo image of a couple kissing for a Zane book cover.  I asked the art designer if I could show her something in a couple of days.  I quickly put together a shoot with Erica and a male model, Robert.  We shot for about 45 minutes and the art director chose the shot for the cover.  I think this makes my 3rd Zane cover.

The image here was taken at Dave and Buster’s in Times Square where Erica met me to receive payment for the shoot, once it was confirmed that the shot was going to be licensed for the cover.