Friday, July 30, 2010

nyc: "a three hour tour"

i had an assignment on wednesday night to photograph a boat tour for the municipal arts society (i'm a member there). it was a hudson river tour, but to be geographically precise, it was a tour of the harbor islands, brooklyn's shoreline--sunset park into gowanus bay and through buttermilk channel (love that name)--and the upper bay.

perhaps it doesn't sound exotic, but after the harsh weather trifecta of last weekend (tornado, heatwave, monsoon), we enjoyed the mild sun and the river breeze. i invited my friend (and fellow MAS member, becky) to join me. we agreed that more time on the water--even in your own town--isn't a bad thing. it sort of refreshes your eye, your appreciation of the islands, and your energy for the city.

my friends (and fellow MAS/urbanist members), alexis and becky.

this is giles ashford--he's a professional photographer who shoots for

giles in action (catching good light, i'm sure).

i love this lady...

ahoy, coast guard (with big guns. patrolling to protect the president...)

all photos © anita aguilar

Thursday, July 29, 2010

food: on thinking about lamb...

as I was lying around this morning, debating the precise moment to pull myself out of bed, I started thinking about michael psilakis.
not thinking about him thinking about him, though he does appeal...

i was remembering yesterday’s lunch at anthos, with allison. (is the lamb burger different now that he’s no longer a partner? i have no point of reference--I have to go back to kefi…maybe I should read “how to roast a lamb...” what is it about greek food, it really is so...fresh and bright and good, like sunshine...) and then i thought about all the really good greek places that i've been to: avra, ithaka, snack taverna, uncle nick's...

you see how this can go on and on.

i eventually came to a notion that greek food might be the comforting, rustic, exact opposite of the food I grew up on:

both use root vegetables, but greek roots--beets, for example-- have more water, crunch; filipinos use starchy cassava, maybe some taro, and a lot of purple yam (which I have never even seen in it’s raw form, only as a dehydrated powder or a robust, un-real purple “jam” –which is actually a paste made with grated yam, butter and condensed milk).
they dress with olive oil, citrus; filipinos season with highly fermented, intensely salted pastes and sauces (salted shrimp fry, fish sauce, soy…)
they roast a lamb; we roast a big pig.
they use yogurts and fresh cheese; our pasteurized cheese comes from a can or as sliced singles, wrapped in cellophane, or “queso de bolla” (a big ball of gouda, encased in red wax)...

maybe i was on to something? but then it was time to get up.

anyway. ANTHOS.


elegance is in the air at anthos. light and the city filter in through full- frontal windows. the light, when you first enter and stare out from the bar is cool; it warms up as you proceed back to the dining area. it was a full house yesterday.

and there was full menu (including a tempting "raw" meze first course) , a 3-course prix fixe for $28, and a 3-course menu hold-over from restaurant week, for $24. there was no question for me--i was going with the lamb burger, the $28 deal.

these sheep milk ricotta dumplings must have been lovingly coddled in micro-batches--it's impossible to imagine how they could otherwise turn out perfect bites that have such body and substance under the fork but fall to pudding in the mouth? delicately salty, they are well-matched with leeks and contrasted with crispy fried onions and snappy fresh peas.

and this is it, what i came for: the lamb burger. i ordered it medium rare, and it arrived medium. but it was still juicy and well-seasoned. in an interview on eater last year, psilakis mentioned that his lamb burger had feta and spicy pepper hktipi and was wrapped in caul fat. i had to look up "caul fat." i noticed red specks in the burger--safe to assume the recipe is the same? also that the red pepper puree is also the base of the sauce that dressed the bun? in any case, it was top-rate. (and: no ketchup required)

dessert options for me were an ice cream sandwich cookie (which i jumped at, at first) and goat cheese panna cotta. but how often do i have the opportunity to try a goat cheese panna cotta? that was obviously the real way to go.

when our server brought this out, i believe my exact words were "everything here is so cute. can i take home that jar?" which i retracted right away (but still hoped he'd say, ok). it's a charming presentation, yes?

but the eating is a little challenging, jamming the little jam spoon in there, and fishing out a little bit of fruit and a little bit of panna cotta. it requires a lot of patience for a few little bites. i don't see many guy friends of mine enjoying this exercise...
but the goat cheese panna cotta was very nice: strong notes of vanilla, and the light tang you enjoy from a fresh greek yogurt.

last, not least: a little cookie with a powerful lemon curd

all photos © anita aguilar

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ht: bit part...

ok, here it is folks.

my small screen debut as imelda, the pregnant cleaning lady.
i wasn't sure i was ready to see this--the tagalog, the no-make-up face--but it's not as bad as i thought it could be.
(is it funny? jury's out.)

but it was a really fun little line to shoot--the whole day was a hoot (hence the dancing).

have a handsome tuesday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

in the studio: ready for the close-up

i'm always a little tightly wound the night before a new freelance job. tuesday was no exception, which is a bit surprising since i've known matt mcmullen smith for over ten years (he's the partner of my cousin, josie). and i wasn't even to be the photographer on this shoot. i was just going to be the assistant.

but there were a lot of firsts involved: first time assisting a photographer, first time on a beauty shoot, first time working with matt...the stakes seemed as high as the payoff--so many things to learn, i was hoping that i'd learn by doing well, and not by "failing" on the job. (i think i did ok. definitely picked up a lot of valuable advice from matt.)

and the day was a wonderful reminder of all the things i love about photography:
that creating shots is both physical and creative; that, especially with lighting, there's an elegant addition and subtraction, but no single formula; that it's instinctive but demands thoughtfulness; that it can be wonderfully collaborative. oh, and that everyone loves a beautiful shot of themselves--or in the case of these makeup artists, their work.

i brought my g10 and took quick snapshots to share:

this was the first model we saw. she made a good latisse joke.

the palette...

head gear, but without the braces.
tim burton-esque

i love this autumnal theme

i would like to wear a flower in my hair...
drama, drama

i took these shots of matt's computer hoping you could better appreciate what he achieved with the lighting. my g10 automatically adjusted for the ambient light, but matt's shots have drama, depth and detail. he was very deliberate in lighting each model, according to each make-up artist's vision, to dazzling result. hopefully, he'll share them on his site soon...

the balancing act didn't quite come off, but i love this moment