Monthly Archives: April 2009
The Met

I love museums. Architecture for most means fixating on the outer form of a building. For me the quality of the interior space defined by this form is paramount.

These spaces can be such quiet mazes, winding through somber, reflective rooms.

the metropolitan museum of art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art © Doug Kim


This is a Graf-Martinez solea, only a beginner’s piece and only the first half at that. I am trying to learn to be better at properly finishing pieces. The mic was much too close so there’s a bit of distortion box going on.

I am not a clean player, I am not a pretty player. Every time someone else plays my guitar, I am so surprised to hear how delicate and sweet it can sound.



jesus bellido blanca

Warren Zevon | Enjoy Every Sandwich
warren zevon

warren zevon, unknown photographer

In 2002, Warren Zevon had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. His phobia about doctors meant that he did not receive the news until his illness was in the advanced stages.

He was a regular guest and occasional substitute band leader for the David Letterman show. On October 20, 2002, he was the only featured guest on the Letterman show. Warren admitted, “I may have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years.”

When Letterman asked if he had any insights to offer on life now with the perspective he had gained, he replied, “You’re reminded to enjoy every sandwich and every minute of playing…”

Chris Buck | Portraits

Celebrity photographers in general do not do much for me. Many times their images are technically astounding, perfectly lit, and handsomely styled, but the results can be dead and unimaginative. There are also those photographers that are overly clever and much too conscious of their own style and their efforts are contrived and feel false. In both cases, the viewer ends up focusing on the clothes more than anything else.

I really like many of Chris Buck’s images, however, and his stellar use of props.

Bil Buford by Chris Buck

Bil Buford by Chris Buck

Steve Martin by Chris Buck

Steve Martin by Chris Buck

Philip Seymour Hoffman by Chris Buck

Philip Seymour Hoffman by Chris Buck

Graflex Speed Graphic

Walking the streets in New York, you see a lot of cameras: iPhones, point and shoots, prosumer Nikons and Canons. I saw a Rollei in the Flatiron on Wednesday and last weekend in Harlem, I saw a girl with a Contax 645 on the street.

The best sighting so far has to be Louis and his workhorse Graflex Speed Graphic. This was taken outside of the Strand on Broadway where you can find him on some weekends. Go talk to him, admire his beast and get your photo taken.


Louis, taken with a Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron © Doug Kim

Fuji Pro 800Z

I rarely shoot color because I always visualize things first in black and white. If I do have to shoot color, it will almost always be Fuji Pro 800Z, formerly NPZ. It is a lush, saturated film with good mid-tones, and fine grain especially for its high speed.

It is not a subdued, restrained film which was the dominant look before the rise of digital. It has a painterly feel and a riotous palette. I normally pull it a full stop, sometimes under exposing it a quarter stop.

Click on the images below to see larger scans from the negs.


pillow fight, LA 2008

pillow fight, LA 2008 © Doug Kim

wren & xique, huntington gardens, pasadena

wren & xique, huntington gardens, pasadena © Doug Kim

cheryl, downtown LA

cheryl, downtown LA © Doug Kim

the tree with the lights in it

“Many newly sighted people speak well of the world, and teach us how dull is our own vision. To one patient, a human hand, unrecognized, is ‘something bright and then holes.’ Shown a bunch of grapes, a boy calls out ‘It is dark, blue and shiny….It isn’t smooth, it has bumps and hollows.’ A little girl visits a garden. She is greatly astonished, and can scarcely be persuaded to answer, stands speechless in front of the tree, which she only names by taking hold of it, and then as ‘the tree with the lights in it.'”

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

francis & noelia, los angeles; Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Tri-x

francis & noelia, los angeles; Nikon F5, 35-70mm, Kodak Tri-X © Doug Kim


I normally do not care enough to take photos of landscapes or city scenics and my resulting photos are poor efforts anyways. Portofino, however, is something else. This tiny fishing village on the Italian Riveria is so perfectly quaint that it borders on the ridiculous. Nestled in a little cove next to Santa Margherita Ligure, this village is so color-coordinated and is such a hyper-idealized rendering of the Mediterranean aesthetic that one feels confident that the team of Disney set designers and painters had just left that morning.

Go there and eat and walk and eat again.


Portofino © Doug Kim


Portofino © Doug Kim


Portofino © Doug Kim

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918 | Amedeo Modigliani

My favorite Modigliani is in one of the great gems of Los Angeles, the permanent collection in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena. Many times I would pay the eight dollar admission, ignore the rest of the museum and just sit in front of this portrait with its tragic caption:

This work depicts Jeanne Hebuterne, wife of the artist, whom he met in 1917. Modigliani died of tubercular meningitis in 1920. Despondent over his death, Jeanne committed suicide the following morning. She was nine months pregnant with their second child.

Now that I am in New York, there are many more Modigliani’s, especially at the Met. But none come close to the one in Pasadena, the one with the slate grey eyes.

Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918, Amedeo Modigliani

Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Jeanne Hebuterne, 1918, Amedeo Modigliani