We’ve launched a new monthly series called B-Sides as a way to generate awareness and revenue for New York Cares, the grassroots nonprofit that has sourced, trained, and placed volunteers throughout the city since 1987—almost as long as I’ve called this city home.
B-Sides is what I call the photographs that almost made it—the shots that were a beat away from being on the cover of Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair; the ones that almost landed in the fashion campaign or the album liner notes. These images are the unseen personal snapshots I’ve taken of my heroes: David Bowie after the photoshoot is over; Patti Smith right off the street; a slightly different view of Keith Richards’s vaudevillian act.
B-Sides come from the contact sheets I’ve had in my archive, in some cases, for decades. This past year of quiet reflection amid great strife has provided the right circumstances to revisit these contact sheets with the context that the passage of time provides. The images that made the cut back then were selected by councils of editors, producers, and all sorts of collaborators at a specific moment in time—soon-to-be icons and legends at the height of fame documented during the golden age of magazine-making. The images that have made the cut for B-Sides represent a more solitary editing process for me, one full of analysis and memory.
In 2021, the stories of how these photographs came to be are imbued with a different energy. I’m happy to share that every photograph will be accompanied by a snippet of those stories—from the time George Harrison took off with a rental Martin ukulele and told me to bill it to Jann Wenner to the time I thought Kurt Cobain was going to get me fired.
The story of how B-Sides are being printed and sold, and to whom, also represents a different energy. Unlike my traditional prints—which are processed in a tray—
B-Sides will be printed on archival pigment paper, a process which allows us to sell fine art prints at a price point that lowers the barrier of entry to buying art while still raising funds for New York Cares. Few people know this but, long before I was a photographer, I was the guy that made the photographer’s prints. The dark room has long been my chapel, but printing B-Sides has taught me there’s an infinite number of ways to interact with past work.
And that’s what B-Sides is. It’s a time machine to different moments in my career and a meditation on the questions of what if things had gone differently; what if this had been the shot. It’s a check in with old friends and stories. I love that I can go back and see the magic of who the subjects of my portraits were at that time—not just as they were immortalized on a cover but how they lived across every frame.
I’m excited for B-Sides to see the light of day.