Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Portrait of a writer

Usually, when I post my images I try to write a story or the events of that day. However, every once in a while the subject will give me something unexpected, a note of thanks detailing how the images were received. Those moments are a treasure to me as most clients either don't have the time to or are under the assumption that I know my images are good.

Perhaps, but it's impossible for any photographer to know how the client liked the finished project, and wether they valued the experience or not. Musicians have a direct access to their audience that I sometimes am jealous of. There is no applause for photographers to let them know their attempts were succesful. With magazines it was normal to only hear from the editors if there was a problem.

But recently I did a shoot for a friend. His reply at seeing the result was such that I asked his permission to include in my blog. And if you like the images and his reply, check out his most recent work at Which has excerpts from his new book, Losers Live Longer, and check out his facebook page at

Hey Harry, Absolutely too fantastic! You are too much of an artist though--you captured the truth! Damn you! It's so funny seeing my surroundings, if I didn't know better I'd think the person in the photo was terribly affectatious, cocooning himself in trash and antiques

--when the truth is I try to reduce my life down to the barest necessities, so I guess somehow all this dark wood is necessary. (Atwood Sherwood Darkwood Darkwing Duck--see it's all beginning to make sense). But you really captured the unvarnished truth--that's what I look like when in the throes of it (I especially like the one where I'm rubbing my eyes and my mouth drops open).
And there's a nice shot toward the end where I'm smiling that seems to acknowledge I don't take myself too seriously.
Oh yeah, and some cool pics which highlight my prominent arm veins. All masterfully wrought through your process. (I like the way the weird faces around me are gradually revealed through the sequence). Well done. If nothing else they will prove to be of some slight historic significance--the bear in his den, circa 2009. One day though we'll have to do a few glamour shots, i.e. photos in which I first splash some water on my face and comb my hair and maybe do a couple of sit-ups the day before. I'm reminded of that early episode of the Simpsons, where Homer gets this promotion at the Nuclear Power Plant and he's an utter fraud, but his personal assistant (played by Harvey Feinstein) helps to coach him and mold him--so anyway at one point they go to a tailors to fit Homer for a suit and Homer keeps holding in his gut and his assistant says let it out, let it all out, all of it! and Homer's gut bursts the dams, and then his assistant turns and points to the tailor, "You--Conceal it!" But seriously, outstanding work, very impressive, I'm duly humbled and in your debt. Best,Russell

Friday, May 1, 2009

The old stomping ground, Vinegar Hill/Dumbo shoot.

Recently I had the pleasure of working with Carolyn Kunkel, a young lady with a laundry list of coolness, among them roller derby and mountain board. I've been wanting to shoot with her for a few weeks now and finally got the chance. Part of the problem was that I contacted her right before the Passover holiday and it was almost three weeks later that I was able to put any thought into it. I've been reading a lot of Joe McNally's stuff (books and blog) and there was a lighting set up I wanted to try out. Namely putting green gels on my strobes and setting the camera's white balance to flourescent and shooting into a sunset. The subject should remain neutral, but the sky should go magenta and purple and all sorts of wonderful. With this in mind I called up Carolyn and suggested the Manhattan Bridge as a background, she was up for it --cool! On the day of the shoot I brought my brother Rodrigo, and my good friend Michael to help out holding the lights. Recently New York City changed it's policy for still photography permits. Gone are the days of just faxing it in. I used to be able to do it same day sometimes. Now the new policy is no permits are necessary as long as it's all hand held, but bring in even one light stand and you have to fill out a much more complicated form and show a certificate of insurance in person, at least 24 hours before the shoot. So enter the lighting equipment --all now hand held.

Carolyn brought her friend Kate Fryburg to do make up. Who was an invaluable help with her make-up artistry and great suggestions. We started off from Vinegar Hill, stopping close by to get a couple of motion shots of Carolyn on her mountain board

Carolyn was a great sport and kept making these jumps until I was happy we had a few good ones in the bag. Which wasn't long, we were losing light and had other shots to get. A few blocks later, Kate noticed a piece of graffiti that made a great background and spoke to Carolyn's personality. Concerned about the quickly sinking sun, we nevertheless stopped to take a few quick shots, coming out with one of my favorite portraits, which I put on the main site and in interest of not becoming too redundant here is the very close second. It was a tough decision, so I'm glad to include it here.

Moving on, we got to the spot I had chosen for the experimental lighting that started this all off. It's an old rotting pier, at one point not too long ago, it still had most of it's surface intact and people used to go there to sunbathe. Now all that's gone, leaving a fantastic bit of urban decay in DUMBO, which itself used to be a derilict neighborhood, but these days its undergone quite a makeover. Let's just say it sports it's own Starbucks now. We set up quickly and started shooting as the sun slowly disappeared. A work truck stopped by to see what we were doing, but left soon after. I guess we didn't pose a significant threat to the shoreline, and since all our equipment was hand held they left us alone.

Which was fine with me. We got some nice images and called it a day. Just in time too, it was getting dark, and my bags are black.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Papitooos!!! (file under music)

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to go out and support a friend's band. Papitooos!!! is a mix of Brazillian, funk, carribean, and hip-hop flavors that had everyone swaying if not out-right dancing. More surprising is they accomplished this immediately following the drawn out angst ridden should-be-on-suicide-watch crooning that was the preceding act.

Heavy on percussion they jammed out with their first number and kept the energy high , filling the upstairs of Pianos on Ludlow Street with an excitement that was contagious and soon had the room crowded as downstairs patrons followed the music up. Check out for more information and performance dates.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Princess (file under fairy tales.)

This is a story of a young woman who took a nap and was awoken to the faint sound of something tap-tap-taping. At first she thought it must be the sound of her heart beating in her ears, but toss and turn as she might as soon as she would start to drift off again, there the noise would be. Faintly tapping. always tap-tap-tap.

She sat up, to clear her mind. There, she thought, that did it. She waited a moment and couldn't hear it anymore. Thankfully she lay back down and closed her eyes. As her mind started to drift off she thought she heard it again. No, it can't be, she murmered to herself, it's just in my dream. No wait, there it is again tap-tap-tap. This time a chilling thought gripped her, what if there was someone else here? Someone playing a game on her ... or maybe, someone trying to make sure she was asleep! The thought alone gave her goose bumps and she grabbed her blanket closer to her. Oh please no, she begged of the dark corners.

But the shadows just seemed to get deeper, and darker as she stared into them. Finally she couldn't take it anymore. If something was indeed there, she told herself, it would be better to go find it then to wait scared and sleepless. She got up and rummaged around until she happily found a flashlight. A simple little thing, but it meant everything to her just then. Timidly she braved the dark recesses of the room, but as she knew there was nothing to find. She breathed a sigh of relief and thought herself foolish to have been scared. Really, it must just have been my exhaustion. Happily she congratulated herself for saving her sleep, she could have lay there sleepless cowering in her blankets. She smiled at the flashlight as she flicked it off, and faintly in the distance there came, tap-tap-tap.

Her blood ran cold. There, behind a door, another door. She had missed it when first she searched, but now she knew where the sounds were coming from. Slowly opening the door she found an old stair case, the flights spiraling down out of sight. She could hear clearly now the tap-tap-taping.

Her throat felt dry as she involuntarily swallowed. She took a first shaky, tentative step, her body rebelling against this foolishness. Clenching her fists she willed herself forward and down.

Flight after flight

she continued,

barely noticing each step,

as the tap-tap-taping

grew ever faintly louder.

Soon she was nearing the bottom with no sound

or sight of possible mischief awaiting her. The only evidence of anything out of the ordinary was the unceasing tap-tap-taping.

She began to relax, scared as she was and as creepy as the stairwell was, she was now confident that no one was waiting in the shadows.

She rounded the last flight, the tap-tap-taping was close now. Her flashlight's beam searched frantically for the author of the noise that had called her from her cozy bed and sent her down dark, chilly stairs. She spotted a shimmering gleam of wetness and let out a gasp. Followed a moment later by a frustrated yell at the sight of what had caused her such worry and trouble.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Georgia on my mind.

Today as I spent most of the day looking after my daughter, I couldn't help thinking of Hoagy Charmicael's Georgia On My Mind. My son had school this morning and my wife had many meetings today, trying to figure out his kindergarten future. I once was told that Hoagy wrote that song while he was babysitting his daughter Georgia. It seems Hoagy was so focused on his music that he had to write Georgia in order to keep her on his mind. I've always loved that story, but, unfortunately it's not true.
Seems a friend of his wrote the lyrics about Hoagy's sister. Which makes me think of other stories that have entered into the realm of urban myth. Like the photo by Robert Doisneau of a young couple kissing. Many people were convinced it was of them on vacation. One couple even sued him over it. Forcing him to finally reveal the truth in 1993 of a mystery he had kept secret since the picture was made in 1950. That he had posed the shot with models. A friend of mine was heart broken when she heard this and said she'd never look at that picture the same way again. Not me, I loved the picture before I knew, and still love it. I guess to me it's like reading a fictitious novel, or watching a horror movie. You know it's not real, but that doesn't matter, you enjoy it for what it is. The best part of the Doisneau story is one I just read, the lady in the picture received a print as part of her payment. She sold it at auciton in 2003 for 155,000 euros!
So now, even tho I know the truth of Hoagy's Georgia I think I'll still remember it whenever I
watch my little girl. It's such a cute story I can't help myself.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I have finally arrived

I was just cleaning out some e-mails from my aol account (apparently 1000 is the max) and re-read an e-mail I received Monday. This little bugger isn't going to get deleted anytime soon. Better than any of the dozens of penile or breast enhancement (that'd make for a fun evening) e-mails. Or the hundreds, maybe thousands, of prescription drug e-mails. I have finally received my first shamwow e-mail. I am sorely tempted to indulge the child consumer in me. With a subject line that says "You'll be saying WOW! Everytime with shamwow," how could I possibly resist? Ooh you clever little shamwow you knew exactly how to get me with your budding cult appeal.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First things first

I'd like to take a moment to thank the internet for this opportunity. It always seemed to me the only real way to make your voice heard was an op ed piece. With the internet and places like google, now anybody can. For whatever reason, whatever time of day. I can't promise that I won't ramble on, or make any sense. I will try my best to post at least weekly.

My name is Harry Pocius. I've been a photographer in New York City for a number of years. My specialty is photography. I've shot portraits, food, still life, babies, etc. The only thing I haven't tried yet is cars. I've worked as a photographer, second photographer, digital tech, and assistant. I was even, for a short time, an ARMY photographer. My goal as a photographer right now is to make beautiful and cool environmental portraits.
The above image is of MacheteLatte mm#895892 and is a perfect indicator of the work I strive for. She was wonderful to collaborate with and had plenty of fluid movements and poses. I firmly believe the more time you spend communicating with a prospective portrait subject the easier the shoot will go. Sometimes you don't have that luxury and it's easy to become anxious, especially if you don't have the lighting worked out. In those moments I rely on the words a cantor once told me. He said "most people tend to speed up when they are nervous, especially with public speaking. Don't do this! Slow down, take your time. It may feel slightly awkward but it's a million times better than triping on your tongue." I've found his words go beyond speaking or reading publicly. It works with anything you may have an audience for. Anytime you feel nervous in front of people, slow down just a little. Remember to breath. That should get you by.