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The living room of the bungalow at the Chateau Marmont where Rebel Without a Cause was put together. Nick Ray and some of the students ponder the problems of finishing We Can’t Go Home Again

Deep in an L.A. afternoon, I get a call from Wavy Gravy. “Gas, Nick Ray needs some help. Do you know who he is?” Nah, not really, I don’t have a clue. Well, Nick Ray is the guy who directed Rebel Without a Cause, and The Lusty Men, and Johnny Guitar. He’s a legend in this town but he’s a broken one. Plagued by demons, done by drugs he still has a few friends but he’s totally washed up. He’s staying at the Chateau Marmont in the bungalow where he rehearsed James Dean for Rebel Without a Cause. The management hasn’t heard he’s broke yet. His beat up phone book, rubber band fighting to keep the pages from spilling out, holds the numbers of the famous. A few of them will still take his call. …


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ASP110, the bus I used to live on

The Hog Farm Reunion, Wavy Gravy and the Bus I used to live on

I joined the Hog Farm in 1969, a long time ago. I left a year later, got back on the bus for a minute here and there, spent time hanging out with the family at Pacific High School, met up with them at other stops along the journey, but as a family member, I was gone. I left, but I never quit. I became an executive, an Academy member, a temple goer, I lived a hundred other layers of life, gathering identities as I went. …


The roads and towns of Central Kansas, and the people who live there

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The road that leads up to the Mount Mitchell Heritage Prairie

When I first told my friends I was going to Kansas, most of them said: “Why would you ever go there?” and to tell you the truth, I didn’t have much of an answer. The simple answer was to shoot some vintage motorcycles, but that didn’t explain taking five additional days to drive around central Kansas looking for pictures and stories. The more complete answer was because I didn’t know what I would find. I like being in new places, ones where I don’t know what’s around the corner. …


We’ve come a long way, and I’m not going back

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Me in 1960, when a mirrorless camera was a rangefinder

In 2018 with some trepidation I bought my first mirrorless camera, a Nikon Z7. It wasn’t because I thought it was better than the DSLR I had been using but because my old muscles were spasming with the weight of the camera I was using and I hoped that a package a pound lighter would help me keep on working.

Then slowly I began to learn what I had bought — a camera with major advances over any camera I had ever owned, film or digital. I hadn’t expected that. …


My ten top stories, the ones that keep finding new readers

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You guys surprise me, you readers. Looking at the stats for my stories what I see is that the stories you like are all over the map. You visit stories about crappy movies I worked on, tales of fast cars and bikes, childhood memories, thoughts about photography, a mixed bag for sure. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, I’m the one who remembered them, asked them what they were about, wrote them down. But now, seeing them all together in a list I wonder why out of everything they are the ones that call you over time.

I don’t have a ready answer to the question though, so let’s leave it for another day. Instead, here’s the list so you can ponder it for yourselves. Here are my top ten stories in terms of reader response, your favorites over time. If you haven’t read these stories already give them a try. …


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Liz — object of my blind desire

When I was younger, all I knew of women was of my overwhelming desire to possess them. Women were glorious creatures. Kissing and fondling them achingly important, sleeping with them, tasting them, having them with their arms around me on the back of my motorcycle or sitting snuggled close to them in my car beyond nameable. I did anything I could imagine to win their favor. I showed off, played smart, played my bad boy card, played whatever seemed most likely. What I didn’t have was much curiosity to know who they actually were. As far as I knew I already knew them — because I wanted them. It would be fair to say that the actual woman was not very important. The person way second to the pheromones and attributes that blinded me and the fantasies I lived in. …


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Looking up Powell Street from Market. See the Crane Hotel on the left? I lived there for fifteen bucks a week in 1960

In 1960 I left Chicago with two other guys and we drove across the country to Los Angeles. I’ve told that story already at … The first Place I Lived in LAso picking it up from there…

…Billy and I headed up to San Francisco in my tired old Plymouth. I was excited and ready for adventure but the long days in the car had left Billy with little appetite for more. Once we hit the city Billy told me he was done. He wired home for money and headed back to Chicago on the train. That left me with the car, a box of clothes, and a few bucks. It seemed ok somehow. I was eighteen, thought I knew the streets, and thought I knew the answers. I guess in some sense I did. …


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John Simmons, ASC — opening night at the Perfect Exposure Gallery

When this thing is over there will still be gas stations and liquor stores, and places to eat fast food. Doctors and grocers will survive, and a host of others, but I’m afraid a lot of the galleries will be gone.


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Looking East, Highway 108 near the Sonora Pass

What pleasure there is in being out in the world. I just came back from a week in the High Sierras, staying (carefully) with friends in their cabin and making pictures of mountains and desert towns and the roads that connect them. I was careful and stayed distanced but still had the exquisite pleasure of seeing new faces and talking with strangers, a fresh stimulation of all the human senses.


Sharing lies and misinformation even by accident is a good way to kill someone now

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A friend sent me a well-made video recently about breathing warm air to kill viruses in the sinus. It seemed plausible and the video didn’t look like the work of a crackpot, but oops! Once I checked out the guy (who claimed he was a doctor) it became clear he was not a doctor of medicine but rather a “Futurologist”! Want to trust your life to a self-proclaimed futurologist? Not me, and no medical professionals either. My friend who passed this information on meant well but reliance on it could hurt people or worse. I did what I do nowadays. I wrote him privately, told him he had been burned by bullshit, cited the correct information and asked him to take it down right away. He did. If he hadn’t, I’d have commented on his post and called the BS for what it was. …

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Stories I've Been Meaning to Tell You

Stories, pictures and ruminations about life, photography…

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