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The GORGEOUS Gaschke’s!

Rich bought a Portrait gift certificate for Mother’s Day, because Noreen had really wanted to do a family portrait for quite some time.  It took some months before all their schedules aligned and they finally came into the studio during the holiday season. We wanted to do the portraits outdoors at Kingland Park in Nutley, where the Third River cascades down a small waterfall. However, it was way too cold! So we moved the session inside (lucky I own one of the best studios in NJ!) and we did different backgrounds. It didn’t take long for everyone to get relaxed.

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Initially, I was worried about posing for our photography session and not looking stiff. Upon seeing the results, however, I was VERY impressed with the photographs. The whole process was very relaxed and Phil made our 10-year old feel at ease. Phil is very accommodating and creative and I would highly recommend a photography session with him!
– Noreen Gaschke

Karsh of Ottawa, Ethan of Verona

I photographed Ethan and his family a little while ago. His folks ordered his portrait in black and white and as I was working on it, I had this feeling of dejà vú all over again.  Ethan’s portrait reminded me of something and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Verona family portrait

Finally, it dawned on me… if I added about 60 years, 100 lbs, a white beard, wrinkles, wiped away the smile, added a grizzled look and a Nobel Prize… Ethan could be Ernest Hemingway, as photographed by the great Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh.

Karsh Hemingway

Yousuf Karsh (1908-2002) is one of the masters of 20th century photography.  His body of work includes portraits of statesmen, artists, musicians, authors, scientists, and men and women of accomplishment.  Karsh’s portrait of Winston Churchill is probably his most famous.  He always signed his work Karsh of Ottawa. Incidentally, my good friend, Washington-based photographer Rob Fraser, was his photography assistant.


And the Oscar goes to…the commercials!

McDonalds Oscar ad screenshotOverall, I thought last night’s Academy Awards were pretty flat. Neil Patrick Harris had a great opening line (tonight we celebrate the best and the whitest, I mean brightest) and a startling gag at the end (how’d he get the ‘predictions’ into the sealed box?), but in between he wasn’t very funny.

I’m glad that Birdman won for Best Picture and Director AND Cinematography (the great Emmanuel Lubeski), and The Grand Budapest Hotel won the categories it should have won (music, production design and a couple of others), though I thought Boyhood was an amazing idea and I wish Richard Linklater had won something!

I have a few questions: Why was the Sound of Music celebrated last night? Why was Oprah singled out as being rich by NP Harris…aren’t they all wealthy? Wasn’t John Travolta’s hair just way too black?

Having been disappointed with the commercials during the Superbowl, I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the commercials were during the Oscars. Samsung’s promotion of its tablet for making movies (iPad’s ad was very similar), the Cadillac ad was beautiful and mysterious (I didn’t get the tag line about Dare – I guess to be different), and the advert for Comcast about a blind girl ‘seeing’ the Wizard of Oz. My favorite was the very simple, text only ad for McDonalds


Josef Koudelka interview

As I mentioned earlier, I saw the recent show of Josef Koudelka’s panoramas at the Pace Gallery in NYC.  I just came across a wonderful interview with Koudelka from the Getty Museum from November.
Josef Koudelka in the Getty Center galleries, November 2014

My favorite quote from the article is, I think it’s wonderful that everybody can take photographs, just like I think it’s wonderful everybody can write. But there are very few writers and there are very few photographers.”  Josef Koudelka, November 2014, Getty Iris

The photograph of Josef Koudelka is from the Getty article.



Business Portrait Day is March 5th!

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Social media and your online presence play a huge role in the success of your business. Be prepared with a great first impression…a professional headshot that will help promote your message! See examples HERE.

On March 5th, I am having a special Business Portrait Day where you can get a fully guaranteed Business Portrait. As a BONUS, a professional make-up artist will be on-hand at my studio to get you looking your best for the portrait for ONLY $25! Make-up artists usually charge $75 to $150 for this service (…and men, this is for you, too!).

Contact us TODAY via E-mail or call 973-783-1065 to reserve 1 of the 6 sessions available, before it’s too late!


I love snow


I may be in the minority here, even my wife is tired of the snow, but I love the winter. No bugs, no sweating, no annoying sand between your toes. On Saturday, a bunch of us went to Fahnestock Winter Park.

It’s a New York State park located near Cold Spring, NY in Westchester County.  They have about 18 km of groomed cross-country ski trails surrounding a lake and there’s a small snack bar with an outdoor fireplace. It’s very pretty and cozy and the trails are just challenging enough.

I took the photograph above with my Android phone. Can you guess what it is*?

You can see more about Fahnestock on my studio manager’s website,  Unboring Exploring.

* snow collected on the side of a row of overturned rowboats, on the shore of the frozen lake.