Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's an Honor Just to be Nominated

This spam just in:

The Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) is pleased to announce that Joel Benjamin Photography has been selected for the 2009 Best of Business Award in the Commercial photography category.

The SBCA Best of Business Award Program recognizes the best of small businesses throughout the country. Using consumer feedback and other research, the SBCA identifies companies that we believe have demonstrated what makes small businesses a vital part of the American economy. The selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based off information taken from monthly surveys administered by the SBCA, a review of consumer rankings, and other consumer reports . Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great.

I guess it beats a $1,000,000 money transfer from Nigeria.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some Enchanted Village

My other title for this slide show was Enchanted Village of the Damned. I'm not sure which is more appropriate.

This group of pictures shows what was left of the famous Enchanted Village from the department store Jordan Marsh.

In another lifetime (or so it seems), I was the creative director there and worked, along with a number of people, to bring the Village back to the store . It had been shut down since the 40's and came back in 1990. Although there is some confusion about it's origin, this display was a recreation and not the original.

A few months ago, David Filipov, a reporter for the Boston Globe, did a story on the Village. It was now owned by the city, a gift from Macy's. They had decided not to set it up after they had taken over Jordan Marsh in 1998. The city had displayed it for a number of years and no longer had the money to do so. It was all warehoused in a huge space near the waterfront.

I was able to get permission to photograph it the day before it was auctioned off. I thought that the current setting and condition brought an appropriate message about the holidays, shopping, commercialization and sadness. Having been part of that machine, it resonated strongly with me.

The Enchanted Village now resides at Jordan's Furniture in Avon, Ma.

Special note: the music is 2000 Miles by Merrie Amsterburg. She is an incredible artist and I am proud to consider myself a groupie. Her album Season of Rain is incredibly moving and her latest album, Clementine and Other Stories, is a rich retelling of classic American songs.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Puppy's Official 2009 Holiday Portrait

Turn away from the screen if you have insulin issues!

Here you see Sonny, Logan and Johnny in their official portrait. Special thanks to Raphie and Evann for their help with art direction and puppy handling. It was the perfect holiday card because the experience of working on it together was as fun as the result.

It sort of reminds me of the cover of a 1964 calendar given away by a laundromat, before "cute" became ironic.

Monday, November 23, 2009

All That Glitters

It's beginning to look a lot like, well, you know. I always have mixed feelings about the holidays but enjoy them more as the memories of my retail advertising days fade. The make-up is by Debra Macki and the hair is my Krystal B. More images at the linked site.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kitchen Color

Recently photographed a Boston Globe Magazine cover and story and I'm loving the subtle Brady Bunch 70's style theme. I grew up in a Miami neighborhood filled with Avocado colored fridges, turquoise cabinets and burnt orange colored ovens and feel very nostalgic for these tones.

Friday, October 16, 2009

iPhone Photo Series #2

New FB Rocks!

I'm pretty excited about the new issue of FB, just out this week. It felt like a perfect combination of talent and we all had a great time making these pictures happen. Low tech tricks in a high tech world really made this stand out, I think. Plus, having a small budget to rent a lot of disco balls never hurts.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Designer Herbie Acevedo and Cape Cod Magazine

I met designer Herbie Acevedo through our mutual friend Jane (the same Jane that had introduced me to Steve, who I photographed and posted in the previous entry). He owns a great home furnishing store in Provincetown, Shor, and he has a number of clients he works with.

I had been looking to shoot more home interiors when we met, and once we did, the match clicked. I shot these photos last spring and it was great to see them on the cover and inside Cape Cod Magazine. The home was quite incredible, both as a wonderful historic renovation and as a design showcase.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stevie Jay Unretouched

After more than 20 years, I reconnected this week with one of my oldest friends, Stevie Jay. He's was touring with his one man show, Life. Love. Sex. Death... And Other Works in Progress, and playing in Providence. It was unexpected to hear from him and even more unexpected to be able to spend some time together. 

How to describe my relationship with Steve? Well, I'd say if you are very lucky, every once in awhile, someone will turn up in your life and have an effect on it that almost is greater than its parts. 

I met Steve when I was about 23 years old and freshly moved to New York City. I hardly understood how anything worked, from the subways, to winters, to life. I was a suburban boy from Miami (thus, no winter knowledge or warm clothing). We met through our mutual friend Jane, and became fast friends. I cannot underestimate just how many life lessons I learned from him during the years we both lived in the city, things I still reflect on today. 

To see him again, first on YouTube, and then in person, after all this time, was, well, it wasn't just overwhelming and it wasn't just intense, but it was both of those together. I felt compelled to photograph him, and he photographed me (see my new blogger photo) and I think these photographs capture some of Steve's warmth and honesty. From Steve, I learned that it's best to move in the direction of the greater truth, and that holds even for these photographs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vanished Author Joseph Finder

I was sitting on the Delta Shuttle to New York, reading the Times, when I saw this ad featuring a photograph I shot of Joseph Finder. It's always nice to be surprised at where your photographs go.

Joe is a great guy and a wonderful writer. His books keep you on the edge of your seat. Check out his newest one, Vanished, literally.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FB: Boston's Best Dressed

Hot off the press: the new issue of Fashion Boston hit the stands this week. It was another fun shoot with Alex Hall and her team.  We shot nine of the most fashionable people in town, over one day in my studio. Each person brought something to the shoot (in addition to several outfits!) and I think these photographs capture a side of their personalities, in addition to their great style.  

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Super-Heroine Monologues

I love my life in the theater. Well, in the wings, actually. Recently, I got an e-mail from Greg Maraio, an actor and director whom I had photographed for the Zeitgeist Stage Company. He was directing a new show and needed some publicity photos for it. I'm always up for helping out theater groups. I remember when I produced (along with the co-writers) our musical, The Paisley Sisters' Christmas Special, and help came from surprising places and was always welcome. You really have to love the theater to produce a show, that much I can say.

Anyway, when Greg and the cast came over to the studio for the shoot, I was blown away by the costumes. They were amazing. I've included some of them here. Greg designed and made them himself. They really capture the look and spirit of the characters. Here, well, you'll know all of them except for maybe Storm, unless you're at Comic-Con right now.

The show runs September 10 through the 26th at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Fashion Boston

Is two weeks too long between entries? Is a week on the Cape a good excuse? I was happy to return to find the new issue of Fashion Boston in my mail. Working with FB is always a good time. Alex Hall, the editor, is like a real fashion editor, gorgeous and a little larger than life. She brings a high energy to the set, great talent and a gaggle of cute assistants. I might almost think I was working in New York. 

This is the Summer Fun Issue and the challenge was to say warm weather while working in the studio. I used a large scrim as the backdrop, lighting it from behind, and letting the light wrap around the models. This gave them a lot of freedom to move and I really like the way the light comes softly from behind.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Comedian Bo Burnham for the Boston Globe Magazine

I photographed YouTube phenomenon, comedian Bo Burnham, a few weeks ago for the Boston Globe Magazine. Bo had just gotten back from a comedy festival in Australia and had to be a bit jet-lagged for the shoot, but none of us knew it. He really got into character and was fearless, as some actors can do, really getting into the characters . He turned out to be very funny and was very up for the idea of dressing up as high school archetypes. He didn't even mind wearing the singlet for the wrestler character or the grey lipstick for the goth. 

In setting up the shoot, we didn't quite realize how tall he was, and the pants for the band uniform character were quite short. That turned out to be serendipitous, because the length (or lack of) really worked for the character. What says "high school awkwardness" more than too short pants?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This Just In

Photographed writer Charles Pierce and his American made car for the Boston Globe Magazine. Both he and the car were good sports.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Then and Now

I think this is an appropriate and meaningful  start to the comments in my new blog. Here are two shots of my friend Mary Jean's daughter, Alexandra. The one on the right I photographed when she was about three, back when I was an art director and people used film. The second, taken last week, is Alexandra all grown up, now 21, and an aspiring actress (with star in her DNA). There is something I like about looking at this continuity in life and work. I hope this blog not only serves to document current work and thoughts but to reflect on the past. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009