Sunday, December 31, 2006

Longwood Gardens in Kennett Sq. Pa Christmas Display

I was having blog withdrawl and needed a fix so here I am with another Happy New Year Post. I first/last went to Longwood Gardens about 10 years ago. Mike was spontaneous and said he wanted to check it out again. The best time to go is in the evening when the trees are filled with lights to mimic their summer blossoms and others their evergreen spirit. These trees remind me of the Spanish Moss trees one would find in the Southern States, similar to the photo on my new friend from Louisiana's blog Bald is beautiful, I love how these trees look without their leaves. As you stroll the grounds on your way to the Musical Fountain Show, or to tour the many Horticultural Houses, you come across acres and acres of evergreen looking trees decorated in the brightest holiday colors On closer inspection you can tell that they are just regular ole' trees and the lights hanging on them are in the evergreen triangular shape. I've changed my mind, I won't be starting my book online for a bit, I still have more things to say about life in NYC and celebrities. When I wasn't shooting celebrities, I was shooting the mayhem that went on around them and I was photographing everyday life in NYC; which resulted in about 12,000 photos, all of which I now must review and edit for future use. So come with me along the journey. HAPPY NEW YEAR again, and again. I must now clean our house to welcome our guests tonight.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A Few Things that Made my 2006 so Awesome, and a look towards the Future

One of my most proudest accomplishments this year was finally having two of my photographs published by Vision Graphics, which is a publishing company of significant photographic images of Philadelphia and other cities around the country. It's fairly hard to have your image picked to be published as just three people make the decision. I had always been a huge admire of the images that were picked, and then when they choose this image of The Betsy Ross House and another of the Liberty Bell, and just recently I got noticed that they will be printing a run of a B/W of the Philly City Skyline, I was really excited and honored. WOW I GOT TO LIVE, WORK and PLAY in NYC FOR A YEAR. A DREAM COME TRUE FOR ME!! This is my favorite shot, from Pier 23 near Battery Park. Its now under reconstruction as a recreation pier.Flat Iron Building to the rightNaked Cowboy in Times SquareI walked through Central Park as often as possiblePoet's WalkI saw the hustle and bustle of the crowd, which sometimes grated my nerves... My 15 Minutes of Fame (See sidebar for explanation) This is the last picture of Reese and Ryan together. This year my sister moved to Boston with her husband, and then they got pregnant. I went up to visit and we compared pregnancies. She's due to drop a few pounds and a baby Jan 24, I on the otherhand intend to succeed in dropping about 50 lbs over the next 7 months. Look for the updated photo in August as I loose my NYC+ weight .
I saw over 33 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows in 15 months After not knowing a soul for the first 7 months, I began meeting the nicest people who would become my friends and who I saw almost everyday for the next 9 months. Simon and Katie at the July 4th fireworks display on Roosevelt Island. Who knew I would discover a subculture of people who had similar interests as I (who would have known these people existed [this is us waiting outside the Ritz for Hilary Duff to return from dinner, eventually one of the girls called the hotel to see if Hilary was in [the girl who must be a huge fan, knew Hilary's secret name, which escapes me at the moment], they connected her to the room where Hilary answered the phone herself and told the girl she went in the backdoor and wouldn't be coming out for the rest of the night - LOL]) Some of the people I hung with the most, Nick, Dee, Cara and Kenny. David Letterman with Rebecca Romjim and the "Fans", crazy out of control "Dealers" who I will talk more about in the new year...(This is the side I would normally stand on as I was not "Press" yet) (Poor Rebecca whats that bump on her bum?)I also met a lot of photographers/paparazzi along the way who after they learned I wasn't a reporter befriended me and taught me a lot about the business. I am really grateful to Fernado who told me that most publications are only interested in photographs that are verticle, the long shot, as it fits on the page nicely next to the written word, it was great to meet Janet, Luis (who gave me a photo of Oprah and Me that he took), Luisa, Rick, coutless others whose names I didn't know, but faces I did, videographers David and Jonathan, Willem DeVries , AND Especially MARGARITA AND CARMEN who taught me more in the 3 months that I knew them then anyone who befriended me in the entire 15 months, Hughie Get the FASHION SHOT. (I am irritated that I can't find the 3 photos I took of them in the midst of the 5,000 I took since meeting them) The shot below is outside of David Letterman's stage Door, in the background posing is Felicity Huffman.I also met a lot of "Tourists" who I spent a few hours waiting for celebs with and felt I had known them forever. It was really an amazing experience with Jane, Janet, Shea, Mike from England, Julie from Austrailia, and so many other people I met while out shooting celebrities. Here is Jane and Janet with Sam Rockwell at the 24hr Play also starring Jennifer Anisten.
Everyday I got to walk by the Library on my way to work. It's a beautiful building, with beautiful artwork inside and a storied past.
There's no doubt about it....Now I am back at home... enjoying the beautiful view from my balcony looking towards Center City PhilaNYC was an amazing adventure, a great work experience, I was wondering about my life in Philly, and really missing Mike (we often spoke 5xs a day). Now that I just spent an amazing three weeks getting to know my old life again, seeing friends, relatives and neighbors who all told me how nice it was to see me again, and that they missed me, it was an easy decision to make and I won't be persuing a paparazzi life in NYC. When the occassion arises I will persue it in Philly, I plan to continue to shoot for exhibititions, and as most of you don't know, my greeting card business, but I am most excited about getting the chance to wake up next to Mike everyday. I don't want to spend another day without him. My blog will still be live and I will utilize it to begin writing the draft to one of the two books I am working on (Frannie do we still know a publisher?). I have covertly interviewed dozens of photographers, dealers and celebrity stalkers and I took fairly good notes. +++++++++ We'll see how it goes, I think after a few entries everyone will be bored with the shallow vapid life of celebrities and their admires, at least that seemed to be the case for the presentation I put on last night at my apartment building for some of the residents (although truthfully they didn't know half the people, but seemed excited that I saw Sophia Loren)- LOL
Happy New Year 2007 -HughE2030

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown is Dead

James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73. I shot this after the VMA's in August. I remember thinking, loudly "OH MY GOD I CAN"T BELIEVE THAT I JUST PHOTOGRAPHED JAMES BROWN, he's a legend!!" I was so incredibly honored that I got to see him up close and in person. I was waiting until his birthday in May to post the photo, as I had so many time relevant shots to post of the VMA's that early September. Sadly I post this photo on Christmas Day when I awoke to the shocking news of his death.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rachael Ray and the "Dealers"

The other day when I was taking my photos of Rachael Ray's book signing in Philadelphia, I noticed there were other people working RR too. Whenever you see a guy carrying a USPS envelope there's a good chance he is an autograph dealer, collecting (or racking as they call it) to either sell on Ebay or to sell to a reseller who will sell them. As I mentioned before, Rach announced to her fans, and there were handouts that stated "NO PHOTOS WITH RR, but she will pose with CHILDREN", if you wanted a photo you had to take a candid one where Rachael wasn't going to look up. The dealers would have none of that, as persistent as they are getting their 'graphs, they are equally persistent if they want a "photo with". During this series of photos the guy leaning across the table is constantly saying, Rachael just look up and smile. C'monShe replies, with head slightly up, but with her eyes still looking down and with her best Mary Poppins polite, but firm tone. No photos, just candids, I am not looking up, I have a lot of books to sign, another signing tonight and I was late. They were still persistent as he continued to lean in, and she continued to sign the books stating "What's your name?", their reply "Oh don't personalize it, I don't know who I am going to give it to yet"
Finally Ratch looks up, look guys if I give you the photo I have to give it to everyone else who askes. And the guy missed the shot. RR knew what she had to do to get rid of them and gave them the picture. As they were packing up, I noticed one of their girlfriends waiting for them in the wings. I noticed she was holding photo paper signed by Rachael Ray. With this close up you can see the sheets. The dealers get the sheets signed and then they print out the celebrities photo on top, and the signature still comes out perfect on top of the photo. Most of the "in the know" celebrities refuse to sign blank photo paper as they would rather choose which photos are put with their signature.I am not opposed to "Dealers" as they are providing a service to the fans that don't have access to the celebrities, what I am disturbed by is how some of them can be rude and disrespectful. Yesterday an incident was posted on regarding Taye Diggs stating he was rude to a fan, but in actuality he wasn't a fan but probably an aggressive dealer as Taye had already signed 2 things for him. The guy wanted more signed and Taye called him a parasite. See the video at the link below.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Celebrity Sightings Continue in Philadelphia - Rachael Ray

At the Rocky Premiere someone mentioned that Rachael Ray was having a book signing the next day at Barnes & Noble. So after my 4 hr nap I just trekked over there. Having no press credentials, but a persuasive talk and my Rocky Press Pass and that big camera I just bought, they granted me access. I was the only photographer there, which was great practice for me when the fun started. RR was about 45 minutes late, did a little TV interview, didn't pose for me when I asked for a quick shot, saying there were a lot of people waiting. She apologized to the crowd, and sometimes thank each one for waiting for her. Occasionally she would sign the wrong thing in a book and yell out "Gravy!" or "Oh my lucky stars", channeling her best Samantha Stevens from Bewitched impression. She mentioned her mother and how much she loved her about 1000 times, and mentioned her husband and her love for him about 200 times. She still can't believe she's married, and its been a joy. She's making lasagna for Christmas. She believes her fans are devoted to her because they are all in this cooking thing together, they discover new recipes together and they all want the same things from life. She's the new Gidget, Katie Couric and Rosie in one package (and look what happened to them).
Rachael Ray does not pose for photos, except with little kids. Here I shot my friend David F (a photographer that I admire greatly), remember I wrote about him two weeks back how I ran into him out of the blue in NYC when we were both shooting the moon, wait that doesn't sound correct, when we were photographing the full moon over the ESB. Well I ran into him again yesterday, he was among the 200 people waiting to meet RR and get a few books signed. She never looked up once from signing. But she does a cute picture with kids. (I wish I had this kids name, I think it would've have been the shot to make me millions, or er a hundred.) After shooting RR for an hour, I guess she got tired of me. Had she gave me more than a handful of decent shots, I maybe would have left earlier, do any of my friends believe that, nah I didn't think so? I had to leave to get ready for a Christmas party last night at the Westin, la de dah!!See some of my best images at I mention that RR loves her mother and told the crowd over and over again, and emphatically told this women after the women asked about RR's mom. Today she missed her mother a lot, and hoped that she wasn't suffering any pain at the dentist as she had an appt.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

YO Adrian, One More Time - ROCKY (VI) Balboa Premiere

Last night the Prince Theater in Philadelphia held the East Coast Rocky Balboa movie premiere!! For me it was an awesome night as it was the first time I attended any event as a "credentialed" member of the press (I finally reached the goal I set out to do when I arrived in NYC Aug 2005). I was unbelievably nervous, imagining all sorts of crazy things happening, especially someone in authority (or not) saying or yelling, "You don't belong here, get out of the press pit." Thankfully that didn't happen and instead I made a lot of new acquaintances. Very few photographers in Philly do this as a full time gig, like they do in NYC. I met the Phila City Photographer who shoots Council people, broken water mains and other problems the City has, I met a guy who is an accountant by day and in the evening and on weekends shoots sporting events for his local small town NJ newspaper, I met the Phila Inquirer newspaper photographer and the AP news guy photographer who didn't really care about shooting celebrities and didn't even know who Sly's wife was (Jennifer Flavin). He wasn't even born the year Rocky came out (1976). He thinks shooting car accidents and kids on their first day of school is more exciting than a Red Carpet event. Geeez this town really is small. Another thing bizarre about shooting on the Red Carpet in Philly that none of them are very aggressive and some of the best shots escaped us as the celebrities just breezed by because 1) no one called out any names even after the PR people told us who they were. 2) Some of the Phila. photographers, even the photographer representing the meanest, most underhanded, stalkerazie photo services in NYC "WIRE IMAGE" who is based in Allentown PA, said they she was too polite to yell at the celebrities and didn't want to bother them if they didn't want to pose. (OH boy am I gonna change that I thought), and then I preceded to use my best trained NY Paparazzi voice to tell the celebrity to stop and look my way and smile. I had some of the finest teachers in NYC, thanks Fernado, Luis, Carmen, Margarita and even James Devaney from Wireimage 3) I was glad I bought a little plastic ladder right before I got to the event. 4) I think my images came out fairly well since I had just bought my new semi-professional Nikon D80 10.2 Mgpxl the day before. Oh my darn flash kept hitting the guy to the side of me and these series of photos were very dark. I had to photoshop the heck out of this one to make it decent of the Stallone's heading for the Red Carpert. Sly is talking to one of the PR people. Unfortunately for me I thought the best place to shoot would be the center carpet. I was wrong, The Stallone family got to the first set of Photographers ( 4 of which were from NYC, 2 who I knew and I think they were shocked that I decided to turn pro after I told them I never would - oops) After the shot, the kids got antsy and Jennifer took them closer to the entrance of the theater. Oh well. Next time I will know where to stand. I have had a crush on this women for years and years. In fact if you looked up my name on Yahoo or Evite it says in my profile I have a secret crush on her. She looks like Meg Ryan, but she is much more confident. It's our film commissioner, Sharon Pinkenson. Ms. Pinkenson markets the City of Philadelphia and the surrounding tri-state region to the film, video, and television industry, and coordinates every aspect of production with personnel, businesses, community relations, locations and government services, while enhancing the region’s reputation internationally on both the big and small screen. OK her comes Burt Young and taking a page from Kevin Costner's book is dating his daughter, er I mean someone young enough to be his daughter or granddaughter I think.
Burt was one of those celebrities I successfully got to stop and look at me.even wave, although a wave and a look at the same time would have been nice. This is a reject Sly Stallone. If only my flash was working properly I would have gotten rid of that shadow. Oh well, I just bought the darn thing yesterday. I ran into some Rocky fans at the after party at the Phila Art Museum near the famous steps and in front of the Rocky Statue recently placed there. I got a photo of Sly's costar Milo Ventimigulia there too and its better than this one, but I submitted it to the agency and you can't see it, sorry. But here's Milo Ventimigulia, he plays Rocky's son. He's been in a lot of TV shows and movies. He was on the Gilmore Girls (Maybe my friend Philip can tell us more about that!), currently he is on a show called Heros.OK this is one of my all time favorite pictures. In another photo Sistine Rose shuts her eyes to sleep, but Sly turns to look at her and all we can see is her one eye shut tight and his head of hair. So I choose this one instead. (Ugh its almost 4AM, gotta sleep for the big Holiday Party that I am going to tonight.) Thanks for all your support and your continued readership.
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