Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'm not positive, but I think there's something in the air.  I'm on the edge of 30, flipping my decade in November, and it seems the cosmos wants me to change-it-up for this new era.  Last year, at some point in the Spring, I made the conscious decision to stir shit up, put myself out there, and be more open to new experiences.  Then, exactly one year ago this week, I met a pal named Sherman and things started shifting.  He opened the doors I was newly-willing to step through.  Synchronicity.  Fate.  Jesus H. Christ:  Whatever you want to call it, pieces started falling into place. 

I shot his bowtie collection, a few other fun jobs, met the folks over at Tommy Hilfiger, and have been building new relationships all year.  It's been thrilling and exciting and it's been on my own terms.  I haven't shot anything I'm not excited by, haven't put myself in any discomfort.  I've tried to conjure the confidence to say yes! more often than no! and it seems to be working. 

At one of the events for The Bay, I became acquainted with Go-To Fashion Guy, Tu Ly (a man of many talents, from designing clothes and image-consultation, to his role as Creative Marketing Director for Ports 1961) and he invited me to New York to shoot their Pre-Spring 2012 Lookbook.  

Now, in the interest of being bullshit-free, this job wasn't offered because of my incredible talents.  This isn't exactly creative work.  A million photographers in NYC could've done the job, but Tu offered it up to me with the (obvious) stipulation that they couldn't swing travel or accomodation. It could be a great experience and a nice way to see the city, and do a bit of work for a major fashion house.  Um, yes!

I spent a few hours crunching numbers and divising a travel-plan that wouldn't put me in the red.  While an experience like this would last a lifetime, I didn't necessarily think it was wise to lose money in the process.  A last-minute flight would cost more than I'd make, a train would take too long and sit idly at the border for 2 hours (snooze!) and connecting flights through Chicago would take for-ever!  It quickly became obvious that a 10-hour Megabus ride for $140-return was the way to go. 

And so it was.  Booked.  My dear friend John hooked me up with his dear friend Kelly who lives near Lincoln Center, where I'd stay for two nights.  I swallowed my fears, hopped that WiFi-enabled bus and hunkered down for a long day's journey into night.

Now, I'm skipping something.  Listen here: I pride myself on being organized.  Punctual.  Being late makes me anxious and sweaty and uncomfortable.  That's why I got to the terminal a full-hour before my departure.  It's where I bought this month's copies of GQ, Esquire, and Details.  It's where I wept privately over my first published work in The Globe and Mail.  And it's where I thought my good luck had run dry.  
It seems, you see, I misread the screen.  No sooner than the driver muttered, "Your ticket isn't for this bus," did I turn to see my actual bus pull out and away from the terminal.  I watched my bus drive away.

And I ran.  (I don't run.)  I started sprinting down the street, my roller bag bouncing behind me, in a futile attempt to catch a moving bus. (I mean, can you even imagine?!)  I was panicked, my brain laying out before me a series of unfortunate events that were sure to transpire.  This was a mere taste of what was to come.  In that split second I considered running all the way home, back to my bed, back to the warmth and comfort of Jeff.  Why did I think I could go somewhere without him?!  He's my best friend, my companion, my Travel Agent, for Christ's sake!  Instead, I swallowed all of it and spun all the way to the counter where I bought a ticket for that other bus, one that would take 12 hours instead of 10, stopping in several one-horse-towns throughout backwoods New York State.  I hurried back to the driver and slinked onto the bus, taking a seat toward the back and, for the first time in several minutes, breathed deep and swallowed a whole slew of tears and would-be guttural noises.

On the road again.

I have to tell you, 12 hours on a bus wasn't so bad.  The A/C blasted, the WiFi was super-charged, and between checking Twitter and taking intermittent naps, the time just flew by.  No, really!  It was no time before the Lincoln Tunnel gave way to that magic moment: New York City.

To be continued . . .

While I didn't take a single photo for personal use on this trip - the shame! - I did make good use of Instagram.  Top to bottom: Ultra-cool vert-de-gris fire escape in midtown; dinky cabs as seen from The Highline at 17th Street; more midtown architecture.


  1. Big congrats Jason, this is such a great post!

  2. Gosh I love this post, except the part where you didn't catch the bus. I would have been really impressed if you hurled your bag at the back of the bus at the last minute and got the thing to stop. But that is just asking too much, really happy you are getting to do the shoots that you want to be doing. That is the best feeling. Living the dream as they say.

  3. "I don't run."

    But you do write darn well. Can't wait for part two, mister.

  4. I think this is great, and I wish I had that chutzpah. I'm pushing 29 later this year, and it's sort of the same situation for me. I'm ready to shake things up.

  5. Oh my! I feel like Part 1 in itself should be a movie.

  6. This is absolutely beautiful and reminds me why I read blogs.

    Bravo! Can't wait for the next installment.

  7. For some reason I see you wearing heels as you're running for that bus. I dunno why, but I see you in heels.

  8. "say yes more than no"

    that's been my motto for 2011 and so far, so good.

    seems to be working for you too :)

    congrats on the shoot - i know there is much more in your future!

  9. Jason!
    I had no idea you were turning 30.
    I turned 30 myself last month and it has been powerful. I'm ready to stand up for myself - to stand in my own strength if you will. (and am flying to africa by myself in two weeks to prove it eeeek) OH, I don't know what to call it - all the words sound cheesy!
    I'm just saying. I like it. and I'm glad that you like it too. And I think there will be more and more of this not less as the years roll on.