Thursday, December 5, 2013

13th DIMENSION ARTICLES


I've recently been contributing articles to a new comics/pop-culture site called, 13th Dimension, founded by Dan Greenfield of the NY Post and cartoonist & convention organizer, Cliff Galbraith.  My most recent piece was "Seth Kushner's Hanukkah 1978" where I reminisce about my favorite holiday memory of my father taking me to see Superman: The Movie for Hanukkah.


I did a one-on-one interview with cartoonist pal, Nick Bertozzi about his recent works and our recent collaboration on my SCHMUCK Comix series.


"Communal Creation: A Day in the Life at Hang Dai Studos" was my chronicle of the studio where I work and an intro to all the artists who share the space.

Finally, I did a "What I'm Reading" where I discuss my current favorite comics.

PATRICK STEWART FOR OCEAN ALLIANCE

I was recently asked by the Ocean Alliance for usage of my photo of their supporter, Patrick Stewart for their website.  I happily agreed, given the worthy cause, and I've long wanted the photo to be utilized in a more high profile way, since I'm quite proud of it.  I hope to be able to photograph my favorite actor again someday.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium covered by The Rumpus

Gregory goes over his layouts for B+F, and I look excited about being introduced by the great cartoonist, Ben Katchor.
Gregory Benton and I  had a great time speaking at The sixty-sixth meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium (hosted by Ben Katchor.) last Monday night at Parsons. Gregory spoke about his process of making his new book, B+F and I gave a talk about the history of Fumetti/Photonovellas and on my own history of making Photocomix.

Keren Katz wrote up a thorough and compelling piece on the event for The Rumpus, complete with a plethora of images for the presentation. Highly recommended reading.

Artist, Chelle Mayer (granddaughter of the legendary cartoonist, Sheldon Mayer) was in attendance and drew this wonderful interpretation/distillation of my presentation.
The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Monday nights at 7-9pm EST in New York City. Presentations vary weekly and include everything from historical topics and technical demonstrations to creators presenting their work. Check out upcoming meetings here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

COMIC ARTS BROOKLYN

CAB

Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel and I had a fantastic time at Comic Arts Brooklyn this past weekend. Our day was filled with looking at inspiring work, having great conversations and being surprised by all the old friends who showed up at our table, out of the blue. We were thrilled about the interest folks had in our new imprint, HANG DAI Editions. Thanks to everyone who came by and supported our efforts. Thanks to Hannah Menzies for covering our debut for Bleeding Cool, and to Beth Scorzato and Calvin Reid for focusing on us in the Publisher's Weekly article on CAB. This all went a long way in helping us build a buzz for our new imprint. Thanks to Gabriel Fowler for organizing an excellent show. Thanks Christa Cassano for helping with the booth and to her and Jess Ruliffson for bringing us dumplings. Can't wait till next year!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium at Parsons

Image

The sixty-sixth meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held Tonight, Monday, November 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Parsons The New School, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Presentations: Gregory Benton will discuss his new book B+F, winner of an Award of Excellence at this year’s MoCCA. Seth Kushner will be presenting his Photocomix work and discussing his fascination with fumetti and how he plans to use sequential photographic narrative in the future.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

HANG DAI Editions launch

HDE_PRphtoo

Benton, Haspiel and Kushner launch HANG DAI Editions.

HANG DAI Editions was founded in Brooklyn, NY by Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, and Seth Kushner over their mutual dedication to comix art. The imprint focuses on limited edition comix, graphic novels, and art books, with an emphasis on personal interaction at events, conventions, and signings.

The three principals each have long histories with traditional publishing venues and have now decided to take on the challenge of publishing independently, under the HANG DAI Editions imprint, in order to retain full ownership and control over select personal creations.

The HANG DAI Editions line will debut at Comic Arts Brooklyn on November 9, 2013 with three limited edition comic books. Benton unveils his man vs. nature tale, FORCE OF NATURE, Haspiel brings forth his one-man anthology, PSYCHOTRONIC COMIX, and Kushner collects three shorts from his autobio web-series in SCHMUCK COMIX.

The three New York City based creators, who share a studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn, plan to evolve the line into self-financed and crowd funded hardcover books, and are actively seeking distributors with which to partner.

HANG DAI Editions - creator owned, independently-produced signature works.

Read an interview with Benton, Haspiel and Kushner about the new imprint at Bleeding Cool, by Hannah Means-Shannon

www.HangDaiEditions.com
Follow us on twitter: @hangdai_comix

Gregory Benton has been making comix since 1993. He cut his teeth on the political anthology World War 3, moving on to writing and drawing stories for Nickelodoeon, Vertigo, DC Comics, Disney Adventures, Watson-Guptil, Entertainment Weekly, as well as contributing to numerous alternate-press comix anthologies. A graphic novel, Hummingbird, was published by Slave Labor Graphics in 1996. Gregory has also produced numerous limited-edition mini-comix. Hopefully you have some. His illustrations have appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice and Fortune, among others. Most recently, his book B+F was awarded the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art’s inaugural Award of Excellence at MoCCAFest 2013. An expanded version of B+F has been released through Adhouse Books (USA) and Editions ├ža et la (France). GregoryBenton.com

Emmy award winner and Eisner Award nominee Dean Haspiel created BILLY DOGMA, and THE RED HOOK, illustrated for HBO's "Bored To Death," was a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, is a Yaddo fellow, and occasionally teaches comic book storytelling. Dino has written and drawn many superhero and semi-autobiographical comix, including collaborations with Harvey Pekar, Jonathan Ames, Inverna Lockpez, Stan Lee, and Jonathan Lethem. He's currently collaborating with writer Mark Waid on THE FOX for Archie/Red Circle Comics. DeanHaspiel.com

Seth Kushner is an award-winning photographer and writer.  His photography has appeared in The NY Times Magazine, Time, L’Uomo Vogue, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker and more.  His published books include Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics, (2012, co-authored with Christopher Irving) The Brooklynites (2007, co-authored with Anthony LaSala) and the recently released, self-published fumetti anthology FORCE FIELD FOTOCOMIX VOL.01. and his semi-autobio comic SCHMUCK Comix #1. Seth's comics work can be seen at TripCity.net and for more info, visit SethKushner.com.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

SPEAKEASY SURPRISE 40th BIRTHDAY



This past Saturday night, My lovely wife Terra concocted an elaborate scheme to surprise me for my 40th birthday.   I'd been feeling kinda bummed about my birthday for a while because I was trying to think of something different to do this year, but couldn't come up with any ideas.  Also, it'd been a bit of a tough year and I hadn't been great at keeping in touch with many of my friends, so I wasn't sure everyone had such positive feeling towards me.  So, I was truly touched that so many frineds, some of which I hadn't seen in a long while,  traveled from far away, got sitters, came pregnant, dressed in 1930s garb and devoted their Saturday nights to surprising me on my birthday.  I've never felt more loved.


Thanks to Cynthia Von Buhler for opening her incredible Speakeasy Dollhouse to us and pretending to hire me to take press shots as a ruse to get me there.  I highly recommend seeing Cynthia's fascinating family history played out as immersive theater.  We saw the show once before, last year and it's brilliant.



A special thank you to my wife, Terra, who somehow planned this whole shebang in secret, got me the best and schmuckiest birthday cake ever, (thanks for the awesome image, Gregory Benton!) feigned an ankle injury on the way there so we wouldn't arrive too early, and for just being an all-around wonderful wife.

Thanks to Carlos Molina for taking photos.  A full gallery of photos by Carlos Molina can be seen here.
 

Also, thanks to Hannah Means-Shannon, who will be reportied on the event for one of my favorite websites, bleedingcool.com in her beautifully written article, "New York’s Immersive Theatre Speakeasy Dollhouse Wows Comics Folks on Seth Kushner’s Birthday."
Here's an excerpt: "I run up the subway steps with only two minutes to spare until my appointment. Turning the corner, I start looking for some indicator of where I’m going but don’t expect to find any since the place isn’t really on any maps. But then I see an unusual number of people on the street trying to look casual about a block away. I mentally “tsk” them—not very subtle. If we get raided tonight it’ll ruin Seth’s birthday. The one he doesn’t know he’s having. Unless he sees all these people. I thought everyone was supposed to go around the back.  But the problem, I realize as I get closer, is that there are too many people. Seth has too many friends. And they are all here being unsubtle. Thankfully, his wife has noticed too, just in time, and faking a sprained ankle, has slowed things down. I cut the line to ask a bootlegger in the know what’s what. A fine lady in a very pale lace gown with an even paler complexion asks if my name’s on the list. I say some magic words, jumping the list. Suddenly everyone’s moving quickly. I keep getting pulled by the elbow, come this way, come that way. It’s getting confusing already until I’m not even sure how we got inside. It’s dark. We try to be quiet, but every so often there’s a solid metal thunking on the door and someone has to open it or Cynthia, who’s trying to keep us all in hand, says, “Don’t open it!” in sternest tones."
 Read the rest of the article here.
 


 
This past year had its challenges, but I've got lots of good things in the works for the upcoming one, so I'm feeling positive and looking forward to making 40 the new 39!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

WRESTLER PORTRAITS

Sgt. Slaughter
I was a huge wrestling fan when I was a kid. I even wrote an essay about it recently, called Wrestling With Big Fat Freddy.  I spent many a Saturday morning following the colorful, soap opera-like antics of the larger-than-life men seen in these photos.

Throughout my photo career I've always try to photograph the things that interest me, whether it be comic book creators, people from Brooklyn or indie film personalities.  This modest series of mostly close-up portraits of wrestlers has been something I've been pursuing these last few years whenever I've been at an event like Comic-Con or Chiller Theater, where wrestlers are appearing.  I took the photo above of Sgt. Slaughter and the one below of Mick Foley at New York Comic-Con this past weekend.  While I've posted the others in various places previously, I though these new addition gave me a good excuse to present the series all-together.  

My concept for this series is simple.  I want to take photos of these cultural and familiar icons from the past and present them as they appear today, in an honest way.  I'm hoping to shoot more soon.

Mick Foley
Bruno Sammartino
Ric Flair
Iron Sheik
Jerry "The King" Lawler
Nikolai Volkoff
George "The Animal" Steele
Greg "The Hammer" Valentine

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DES COMICS ET DES ARTISTES

The French edition of LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS is here! Christopher Irving and I are proud to have our book published internationally. Thanks to Nicolas Forsans and Muttpop for doing a great job.

Great review here:
http://www.bedecine.fr/2013/09/coup-de-projecteur-comics-sur-des-comics-et-des-artistes/

"From Google translate:
This is the French version of Leaping Tall Buildings, a book of 240 pages written by Christopher Irving and portrays fifty major artists Comics universe and to discover or rediscover those who did and continue to the American comics.

More than just a compilation of interviews and portraits quickly brushed the author is here accompanied in his work by photographer Seth Kushner, and quite honestly his work gives a real character to the whole.
Whether portraits of various artists or iconic New York City, Seth Kushner manages to create a real atmosphere and it is more than just
"Big Apple" (birthplace of Comics) in either case.

Christopher Irving then narrates a History of Comics through the ages and distilled to our delight many revealing anecdotes with privacy, modesty and enthusiasm the report Comics encountered by different authors.

No need to sugarcoat it is neither more nor less than a Great Book.
In summary it is a beautiful and essential for all lovers of the great writers and Comics at large book.

A great success and a real favorite in our case!"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

WADE DAVIS FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRARED

Back in July I was assigned by Sports Illustrated to photograph former NFL player Wade Davis for the article, "Gay in the NFL."  I wasn't given a whole lot of direction other than to "make a beautiful portrait."  

I met Wade in Astor Place in Downtown Manhattan at the end of the day when the light is beautiful and golden.  I was glad when Wade arrived a stylishly attired and willing subject.  The published photo was highly cropped to fit layout, so I'm happy to be able to show my favorite images from the shoot here.







Friday, September 6, 2013

HDE  
Dean Haspiel and I will be at Baltimore Comic-Con on Sat & Sun, Sept. 7-8 at the Baltimore Convention Center. We'll be tabling with cartoonists Reilly Brown and Christa Cassano at table 2207. Come on by and get our new comix! 

  1239017_10151709490976056_1464924474_n  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aunt Rose on her 100th birthday


The photo above is very different from the work I usually post.  It's stripped bare of lighting, retouching and any and all artifice.  It's shot completely with natural light.  It's a very personal photo and I wanted nothing to get in the way between photographer and subject and photo and viewer.

The woman in the photo is my great aunt Rose and it was taken this past Sunday on the occasion of her 100th birthday--a momentous occasion, which my family and I were honored to attend.

I hadn't seen my great aunt in over a year. The last time, she was noticeably frail but still walking and still basically herself.  When I first approached my family's back porch, where she was sitting surrounded by loved ones who were all there to celebrate with her, I wasn't sure it even was her.  Maybe it was another older women attending the party?  But as I got closer, I knew.  I was a bit shocked at first because she now sits in a wheel chair and she is totally blind. 

Aunt Rose is my father's aunt and my grandfather's sister.  They're both gone, but I'll always remember how close my grandfather was to her, and how much my father loved her.  I was basically hardwired to love her, but regardless of my programing, as I grew up and got to know my great aunt, I got to love her on my own for the the kind, patient, creative and remarkable woman she is.

At one point during the day, I sat down with my Aunt Rose and talked with her.  I was so happy and relieved to find she is still relatively sharp, especially for 100-years old.  She clearly knew who I was and we talked about my father and grandfather and about how much she misses them.  She mentioned the extreme heat of the day (92 degrees, still less degrees than she has years) and about how in her day there were no air conditions and people slept on their fire escapes for relief.

I was upset when I arrived at the party, but my great aunt Rose made me feel better.  After we talked for a bit, I told her I wanted to take a beautiful photo of her.  I came prepared with my "real" camera, not just the iPhone I usually use at family events these days.  I snapped about 40 frames quickly and I chose the above image to show because it looked and felt the most like her to me.  Other frames were caught moments, but in this one she is aware of me and the camera.  She was being a subject and thanked me after I was finished.

I like to think I caught something "real" in the photo of a beloved family member on her 100th birthday. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

CITY POINT EXHIBITION


This past weekend, I wad tipped off to the fact that there is an exhibition of my work in Albee Square, in downtown Brooklyn. The photos are all a part of a campaign I worked on during the spring of 2011 with the award-winning branding agency, Co-Op. The project was to brand the soon-to-be developed City Point, a high-end mall in downtown Brooklyn.


The concept of the campaign was to cast real Brooklynites to represent the future shopper at the mall, and to shoot them in real Brooklyn locations. The project was right up my alley, since I co-authored the book, The Brooklynites, where I photographed over 300 real, live Brookynites, and having worked on several Brooklyn-centric projects over the years, I can confidently refer to myself as an “expert” on the borough where I was born, raised and proudly reside.


After several rounds of casting, the subjects were narrowed down to 24, including; singer/songwriter Maya Azucena, poets Caits Meissner and Tishon Woodcock, stylist Belinda Martin, DJ Jason Jinx and many, many more great subjects including some old friends and even my god-daughter.


I love that my photos are being exhibited in a very public space in Brooklyn. I’ve long believed art should be available to everyone--every man and woman on the street--and this display does just that.
If you happen to be in downtown Brooklyn, please have a look at my work in Albee Square, at the edge of the Fulton Mall, on Decalb Avenue, just off Faltbush Avenue.
Get a closer look at the photos here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Jay Leno - Hollywood Reporter

I'm proud to have my photo of Jay Leno grace the cover of the current issue of The Hollywood Reporter.  I made this photo about 6 years ago, and I say "made" because I consider it a "photo-illustration.  Yes, I took the photo, but the photo I took does not exactly resemble the final product.  I initially photographed him in very ordinary surroundings, and the concept of the final image was something I dreamed up.  It's been on my website for years, but it's never been published, until now.  I always knew there would be a place for this image I created, but I never knew where.  So, the fact that it ended up on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter feels very satisfying.

FOREVER DUSTY: A FOTOCOMIX EXPERIENCE

Just a quick note to draw your attention to a cool new project I just completed.  I teamed up with writer Jonathan Vankin to make a photocomic out of a "deleted scene" from FOREVER DUSTY, the new musical theater production about the life of Dusty Springfield, which he co-wrote with Kirsten Holly Smith (who also stars and sings 20 of Dusty's best tunes).  We photographed Kirsten and the cast of the show acting acting out Jonathan's script, and with cartoonist's Dean Haspiel's help, we laid it out into a photocomic.  See it now at TRIP CITY and please go see the fantastic stage production here in NYC. 
FOREVER DUSTY: A FOTOCOMIX EXPERIENCE

Written by Jonathan Vankin, Imagery by Seth Kushner, Layouts by Dean Haspiel
Starring Kirsten Holly Smith, Christina Sajous, Ashley Betton & Michael Thomas Murray
FOREVER DUSTY is a 90-minute musical packed with 20 of Dusty’s most memorable songs including “Son of a Preacher Man,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “The Look of Love” and others that still resonate today. The show tells the story of how a shy, awkward Irish-Catholic schoolgirl named Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien transformed herself into the first great female superstar of the rock and roll era. Without Dusty slashing a path through the music biz jungle, there would be no trail for Adele, Lady Gaga or even Madonna to follow.

Dusty’s journey was never easy. She not only took on the male-dominated pop music establishment, she faced down the apartheid government of South Africa by refusing to perform for segregated crowds until the authorities arrested and held  her for three days. She put her reputation the line by conceiving and hosting the first Motown TV special in the UK, at a time when soul and R&B were taboo forms of music by the powers-that-be. And later, she was the first major celebrity to “come out” about her sexuality.

But her greatest struggles were always against herself.

Read it here> http://welcometotripcity.com/2013/03/forever-dusty-a-fotocomix-experience/

FOREVER DUSTY runs through April 7 at New World Stages, 340 W. 50th St. For a special TRIP CITY discount, use the code FDHVOLT12 at BroadwayOffers.com

In addition to co-writing the book for FOREVER DUSTY, Jonathan Vankin has written numerous comics and graphic novels for DC, Vertigo, Image, IDW and others. He is also the co-author of the popular GREATEST  CONSPIRACIES book franchise.

See more of Seth Kushner's Fotocomix in his new independently-produced and self-published FORCE FIELD FOTOCOMIX VOL.01

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN project


I was recently contacted by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to work on their latest campaign advertising my home borough, Brooklyn.  I've worked with them previously, two years ago, and I was happy they thought of me again.  

The assignment was to photograph the owners of two companies who recently moved their offices to Brooklyn.  I was excited when I heard one of the subjects would be of Bre Pettis of Makerbot, (above) since I've long been interested in his company and I've wanted to photograph him.  When I arrived, I knew the beautifully designed space and stunning view of Manhattan would work well.  The item on the left is Makerbot's amazing 3D printer, which we of course had to incorporate into the shot.

The second shot of Bob Blumberg, of Blumberg (below) proved to be a bit of a challenge because his space was still under construction.  We decided to shoot by a window to showcase the view and downplay all the exposed ceiling, beams and rubble.  I also cleaned up the surrounding a bit in post.

Thanks to Vivian Liao and Luis Gutierrez from Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for being such hands-on clients and to Katie and Kristy of K2 Creative Management for all their help with arranging the shoot.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

FORCE FIELD FOTOCOMIX Vol. 1


I’m very excited to announce my brand new independently-produced, creator-owned project, FORCE FIELD FOTOCOMIX Vol. 1.  It’s a deluxe, oversized book, 8.5×11, 32pp on heavy stock matte paper, limited edition of 300 copies.   This was designed to be a unique art object, and something that could only exist in print.
My “Photocomix” have roots in the Fumetti on Europe, the Fotonovelas of Latin America and in Harvey Kurtzman’s “Help” and Robert Crumb’s “Weirdo” in the US, as well as the “Photo Sequences” of artist/photographer Duane Michaels.
I first cut my teeth on this format with my long-running online profile series CulturePOP Photocomix, and now I’ve turned my attention to telling fictional stories told in a unique and cinematic style, using photographic imagery and the language of comic books/graphic novels.
FORCE FIELD FOTOCOMIX Vol. 1 is an anthology of five short stories, all photographed by me. The book features:
COSTUMED CHARACTERS in ‘The Hall Of Just Us.”
Written by Kushner and Dean Haspiel
Featuring Katelan Foisy, Christopher Irving, Ron Scalzo and Haspiel
A comic book superhero parody with two low-rent male heroes, Fission and Duplicato, vying for the attention of The Tarot, who’s super-powered cards help her decided which costumed character to go home with.
4 pages.
SPIDERS EVERYWHERE!!
Written by Chris Miskiewicz
Featuring Cat Cabral, David Blatt and Miskiewicz
A horror tale of a young woman terrorized by an outbreak of millions of creepy crawling spiders.
6 pages.
UNDERSTANDING PHOTOCOMIX
Written by Seth Kushner
Kushner’s memoir of how he first discovered comics and photography and how he came to meld his two loves into the photocomic format. Featuring a plethora of work from Kushner’s career, including photos of; Michael Moore, Jonathan Ames, Moby, Marc Maron, Harvey Pekar, Neil Gaiman, Martin Laundau, Woody Harrelson, Jena Maone, Miranda July and more.
8 pages.
COMPLEX: Luv_Underscores_You
Written by Kushner, Chris Miskiewicz and Dean Haspiel
Featuring Katelan Foisy and Miskiewicz
A sci-fi drama about a reporter and a superstar DJ where everything is not what is seems.
4 pages.
THE PERFECT WOMAN
Written by Kushner
Featuring Darlene Elkanick and Christopher Irving
A noir tale of one man’s obsession over “The Perfect Woman.”
6 pages.
UNDERSTANDING PHOTOCOMIX originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of American Photo Magazine and COMPLEX originally appeared in Creator Owned Heroes #7 from Image Comics. All other stories are making their print debut in this book.
FORCE FIELD FOTOCOMIX Vol. 1 is available for $10 now at Etsy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mayor Ed Koch R.I.P.


As a child growing up in NYC during the 1980s, it's hard not to think of Ed Koch as a celebrity.  He was a staple of the 5 o'clock new that played on a 13" TV during my family's weekday dinners.  I remember being at a community board meeting with my parents when I was around 7 or 8 years old and Mayor Koch spoke.  I sat and drew a portrait of him from my seat and ran up and handed it him on his way out and he thanked me.

I took the above warts-and-all portrait in 2008 for a project I was working on for the non-for-profit organization, CAMBA.  I only had a few minutes with him in his Midtown Manhattan office, so I hardly got to know him, but I found him engaging and affable.

Mayor Ed Koch was more then just the Mayor, he was a true New York character.