Tag Archives: New York City

Johnlee Photography – Excerpt from “NYC II”

[] August 2013
[] Canon T3i
[] Tamron 10-24mm wide angle lens
[] Manfrotto tripod

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The Unexpected

I did not expect my idea for a book of interviews with DJs and producers to get any kind of serious attention; this was October of 2000. But it did. I did not expect to land any seriously successful interviews: my 1st interview was with Paul van Dyk. I now believe I should have started with some local DJs…PvD was like a god to me. I was terrified. But it went very well.

Johnlee photography © 2013 420_0559v2
Johnlee photography © 2013 420_0559v2

I did not expect that the string of interviews that followed were as good as I thought they were but apparently, they were. And then the whole thing changed when I got an interview I was certain I would not.

Mr. George O’Dowd is often known as the singer for a group but he was a DJ before and a DJ after. The interview went well – enough so that all of a sudden, I began getting calls from record labels and PR firms who sent me bags of promos. This was April/May of 2001.

Fast forward. November 2000 – my attorney and I sent out fifteen proposals…there were at least six rejection letters and then one of the unanswered called me at home to let me know his company was going to pass on the project but he had a friend who might be interested. I was doubtful.

Johnlee photography (c) 2013
Johnlee photography © 2013 0418

I watched all of season one of Game of Throne in two nights, a week before season two started. By the time season three started I had bought all five books. Then I met a girl and things were off for a bit. I thought she was unexpected – what eventually happened was enough to make the relationship emulate any number of (relation)ships that have ever been utterly destroyed. And Truly Unexpected.

Johnlee photography © 2012 1307
Johnlee photography © 2012 1307

 

And so, now I find one of my favorite books has some unsettling parallels to a short story from 1979. George RR Martin.

Last thought for tonight:

“Increasingly, modern science pursues powers traditionally reserved for the Almighty. But those who encroach upon the province of the gods realize too late that the price for entrance…is destruction.”

 

Johnlee photography © 2013_sunset38
Johnlee photography © 2013_sunset38

“NYC Book I”

Johnlee photography © 2012 NYC, Oct 2012_0559_ver4_FULL Funny thing about a book – it isn’t done until the author SAYS ITS DONE…and back in the day, it would be an editor’s job (among other personnel, I’m sure) to tell you, “Dude, enough – it’s done” but now? Now I am free – and simultaneously imprisoned – to edit and tweak until I feel like it it Done. Here’s a shot I removed, added back, edited then put back in as a two-page spread….thoughts, anyone…?

Building “Blackline” (2 of 2)

The other element to the foundation of “Blackline” was Research. A mind melting quantity of it. All the tech was mind boggling for a guy who never finished high school, even though I was reading Stephen King in 2nd grade. School was just wasn’t my thing….but that’s for another time.

I owe many thanks to many many individuals and institutions…universities as far away as Oxford and as close as George Mason, private research divisions for which I had to sign papers to even get a potential return phone call let alone a meeting which may or may not have led to participation…

But I wanted to drop a few proverbial crumbs…
— BIOLOGICAL IMMORTALITY—
[] 1881 August Weismann proposes that worn out tissues (basically, aging) occur because cell division is finite and that is the primary cause of the decline in organ performance
[] 1921 Alexis Carrel – a Nobel Prize winning surgeon – argued that Weismann was wrong
[] 1965 Leonard Hayflick explains the ‘memory’ of frozen cells; one extrapolation from this argument became (in my opinion) the basis for what we now know as Cryonics…which plays a crucial role in “Blackline”
[] 1974 Macfarlane Burnett coins the term, “Hayflick Limit”….that each mitosis – division of cells – reduces the telomeres on the DNA of cells

So, that leads into the argument that the cells Carrel used were ‘young enough’ to contain pluripotent stem cells which, if supplied with a supporting Telomerase-activation nutrient, would have been capable of staving off replicative senescence – aging – or possibly, reversing it.

Those were a few of the key ingredients to the theory I used in “Blackline” so my characters – the privileged elite anyway – could achieve Biological Immortality. Bullets, disease and knives and getting blown up would still kill you but a Nanotech based formula could – COULD – slow the aging process. I called it “PDL7” … Ponce De Leon was the French dude looking for the fountain of youth. One of them anyway.

“Blackline” is absolutely an action-heavy series – and I wanted, above all, to put my characters through some rather horrific experiences which would – ideally – get the audience to ask themselves about the ethics of biotechnology we are starting to see emerge today. Forget drones and satellites. This is a LOT smaller and more insidious…and in my story, it forces my characters to evolve both emotionally and physically into entities that…well, it’ll be up to the audience to decide if they’re more or less human. Humanity as we know it today is obviously the ‘soapbox’ these questions are being hurled from but it isn’t who listens that matters…it’s what they do with it.

GAME OF THRONES; LORD VARYS: “the contents of a man’s letters are of far more value than the contents of his wallet.”

Is respect borne of fear ‘set’ to become resentment? Must such a conflict result in revolution?

Has our expanded awareness of ourselves as a species amounted to anything if we do nothing with it?

Last note: the ‘elevator pitch’ for “Blackline” is something like, “The Godfather II” meets “Ronin” in the world of “Blade Runner”…but there’s several love stories that are absolutely crucial to events moving forward and coalescing into the story’s progress.

NYC – Oct 2012

NYC - Oct 2012

Two black and white shots from October 2012, headed into Manhattan on the last day of filming for my documentary – both are in my “New York I” photography book. The 2nd edit of ‘Posthuman’ is being shot (or, reshot) at this time. Lots of time in Final Cut Pro 7 and X. The finalized layout for the “New York I” book is at:

http://www.blurb.com/books/5000604-nyc-i-october-16th-24th-2012

NYC photography book (intro essay)

 

My 1st photography collection book is complete – I have two designed but may integrate them into one…but, for your consideration, here’s the introduction essay…

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On October 16th, 2012 at approximately 5pm, I arrived at the Jay Street Metrotech station in Brooklyn. The purpose of my trip was to conduct several key interviews for a documentary film project (then titled, ‘The Posthuman Condition’ and focused on Nanotechnology). The documentary’s subtext-point was to pose ethical questions about genetic engineering as presented in “Blackline” a series of feature films set in a dystopian near-future controlled by corporations.

 

Don Henley had forewarned me about everything changing in a New York minute (a lyric specifically referenced in ‘Blackline’) and I love improvisation but its easy to forget that improvising is what happens when something goes wrong. On the 24th, before catching my train back to Union Station in Washington DC, a five minute meet-and-greet at the documentary film department at HBO turned into a pre-production meeting which lasted for well over an hour. 

 

When I left the HBO headquarters, the rain, which had already been falling for a day or so, was coming down noticeably harder. Also, I missed my train back to DC and had to buy another ticket for the return trip (a problem I was destined to encounter again). When I arrived in DC, it was raining, the Metro was closed and there weren’t any affordable hotel rooms.

 

Thanks to a friend, I was able to spend the night on the ceilinged rooftop terrace of a luxurious hotel overlooking NW Washington DC, watching Dexter on my iPad until the Metro opened at 5am. I slept for a day and when I woke up on October 25th, the world had changed.

 

When I returned to New York for re-shoots in August of 2013, there would still be damage from Sandy. I suppose there always will be – but I also recall a conversation from the 23rd at the bar of the “W” hotel, nursing a third Jack and Coke. Don’t precisely recall how I ended up talking with a business consultant but I do recall that he told me the talk of the incoming hurricane was irrelevant because “this is New York.”

 

I didn’t know exactly what he meant but I believed him. We tapped glasses and he ordered another round and a New York minute had occurred. That was the first time I heard about Hurricane Sandy.

 

Like the city that existed before September 11th, the version of New York I experienced that week is a territory no road – or rail – can reach. Post-Sandy New York can be called stronger or taller but my interpretation is simpler. It isn’t that it’s a city capable of being renewed: it is New. 

 

That’s what New York is to me. 

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Hope you like – here’s a link to preview (and if you wish, to purchase) the book…

http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/4220039/6c94804b58ddf00665861c6ef8d0fc655461a174

Thanks!

Sincerely,

The Bass Meant Dude