Sunday, July 31, 2011

Don McLean, Vincent and Karma


I was listening to ‘Vincent’ from Don McLean’s American Pie album again today. I probably listen to it at least once a month. All things considered – subject matter, mood, lyrics, music, and performance – I still regard it as probably the most perfectly crafted song that I have ever heard.  It still gives me goose bumps. 

Later, I again pondered the Don McLean mystery. One stupendously brilliant album, and very little else of note. Why? I turned to his Wikipedia bio, mining for insights.

At the end of that article, there is this curious tidbit: “McLean had a series of conflicts with Saturday Night Live writer Andy Breckman, starting when Breckman opened for McLean on tour in 1980. Breckman and McLean have penned competing renditions of the origins of this feud, both of which are available online.”

Here are those duelling articles:

While I’m not sure that McLean’s ten year late rebuttal does much to settle the score, or to set the record straight, if he truly was secretly paying Breckman out of his own pocket while touring, that does add a quite a head-scratching layer of irony to the tale.

McLean is still a frustrating, intriguing mystery to me, but at least now I can appreciate that there may be some karmic rhythm to it all. Could the man who crafted something as perfectly beautiful as ‘Vincent’ also be an insufferably obnoxious a-hole of legendary proportions?

Footnote #1: The page about ‘Vincent’ on McLean’s website,, is well worth reading.

Footnote #2: Every yin needs a yang. If McLean’s version is perfect, then the cover version of ‘Vincent’ by Josh Groban is perfectly vile. Some songs don’t lend themselves well to being covered, but Groban’s overwrought abomination desecrates a masterpiece. It’s like pissing on Michelango’s Pieta. The only good thing that I can say about it is that it nicely demonstrates by counter-example what I enjoy about McLean’s performance on the original version. McLean seems to knock it off in a matter-of-fact, workmanlike fashion, like it’s nothing, making it so approachable that when its power ultimately hits you, it stings all the more. It shares a characteristic of many of my favourite artworks. In some respects, they can appear deceptively simple.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Burlington BOMBA PeeWee Baseball


My son Matt’s game last night made for some exciting entertainment. In the final inning, his team, the Athletics, lost their first play-off game to the Phillies, 16-17.

As usual, you can click on any image to see a larger version.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Commercial Photography Promo Postcard


The above illustration shows the front and back sides of a postcard.  I am printing these now.  All of my favourite commercial clients and prospects should find one of these in their mailbox in the coming days.

Monday, July 18, 2011

“Models in the Park”


As a member of PPOC Central Portrait Branch's executive committee, I helped organize the "Models in the Park" event for our members on June 27.  My role did not leave me with a lot of time for making photographs. But having arranged such an interesting mix of eye catching models for the event, I could not resist making a few portraits of them myself.

Our makeup and hair stylists were Virginia/Beauty on the Go and Tamie.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Our New Studio Location!


We are excited to announce that, effective July 1, 2011, we have relocated our studio to 270 Sherman Ave. N., Hamilton, ON. Our new studio has a beautifully photogenic interior, provides incredible natural lighting possibilities, offers convenient customer parking, and is situated in an environment that is loaded with photographically interesting niches and vistas. The new location is 2km from our previous location, and is easily accessible from the QEW.

For those familiar with the previous studio, the new studio has about the same generous dimensions in terms of shooting space and ceiling height. Its storage area and washroom/change room are much improved.


UPDATE: 8-Aug-11 .. In response to some questions that I have received, yes, photographers can still arrange short term rental of my studio, with or without strobe lights.  Details are provided on my web site, in the For Photographers section, under Studio Rental.  The photo and a few minor details shown on that page still refer to my previous studio location and need to be updated.  All the key points and the rates that are shown still apply.