• How To Photograph Your Kids…Fashionably


    Childhood is over in the blink of an eye. Take a picture—it certainly lasts longer. Modern parenthood practically corners you into taking up photography. You might as well learn to do it well given the one-upmanship landscape of Instagram and Facebook. Photographing your kids is no walk in the park though. They’re often unfocused. Poorly composed. Unruly. And that’s just your pictures. Here, a few personal tips on how to photograph (and tame) your kids.

    Have a Plan: pull tears from magazines, scour Tumblr, thumb through coffee table books of your favorite photographers' work in it. What you're looking for here is inspiration—ideas for posing, expressions, styling, concepts, etc. What's that? You’re into taking pictures and don’t have a favorite photographer? Find one. In fact, find several. This shot is likely the culmination of countless Peggy Sirota portraits I’ve pored over the last seven years.

    Style the Shoot: No one wants to look back on photographs of themselves 15 years from now wondering, "What was I wearing???" Your kids won't want to either...because they'll be 25. Aim for timeless and classic. Drop in to Ralph Lauren, Crewcuts, and GapKids for shrunken takes on grown-up classics. Just ensure the clothes fit your kids right now…not 6 months from now. Some kids’ clothes designers make this as challenging as possible. The boys and I cut over five inches off these Old Navy chino shorts just so they would hit a handbreadth above the knee.

    Little Bribes: I prefer the more civilized term "incentive" since that is how the world actually works. And your kids are better off knowing that the sooner the better. If you do x, you will be rewarded with y. When my boys were 4 and 5, it was candy—instant gratification candy. Toddlers need that in order to comprehend the arrangement of being rewarded for the request made of them. Now that my boys are Tweens, it's "I'll drop $15 into each of your iTunes accounts after we nail this shot.” Just don’t show your entire hand upfront. They learn to negotiate eventually.

    Sink to Their Level: Some of the best portraiture is shot around eye level of the subject. Kids are no exception. Get down on their level. You can ice your knees (and lumbar) afterwards.

    Get Wide, Get Close: Reach for a wide angle lens and then fill the frame with your kids. A wide angle lens practically forces your hand to get up close and personal with your subjects. Here, in the backseat of my ’87 Bimmer, I opt for a 20mm…yet, I’m still filling the frame with my boys.

    Work Quickly: No matter how incredible your bribe incentive, the law of diminishing returns quickly erodes its perceived value. In other words, you have 30 minutes (tops) to nail your shot. Go!

    Jul 28, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • The Debonair


    When we caught up with Jason Pollak almost three years ago, he had just given life to Deja Vu Refinery. The pièce de résistance? The Debonair sunglasses. We immediately fell head over heels and have been basking in the sun in them since. Pollak is a product guy. His voice gets pitchy when he starts talking about his glasses’ 45 degree arm joints, historically accurate flat lenses, and custom lens colors (like beer bottle green and polarized beer bottle brown). In a previous life, he was a men's vintage clothing and accessories dealer with a penchant for iconic eye-wear.

    Deja Vu Refinery’s Debonair frame, smartly inspired by vintage Tart Optical Arnels, are handmade by master craftsmen from cellulose acetate (a high quality plastic that lends itself extremely well to coloration). They boast seven barrel hinges (not just five or, Heaven forbid, three), functional rivets, and rounded arm ends—an improvement on the Arnel.

    "What I'm doing is essentially vintage reproduction. It's something you've seen before but better."

    One need not be an eye-wear connoisseur to appreciate the meticulous attention to detail though. It is readily apparent Pollak has created something special. Each frame presented in a time capsule case wrapped in brown butcher paper adorned in idiosyncratic skeleton art. Pollak's personal wax seal finishes it off. The fact that it glows in the dark only confirms what we've known since discovering Debonairs—Pollak embodies an early 90s old-school cool.

    The Debonair ($135) is offered in 36 frame and lens combinations, polished to a shine or in a matte finish. While the translucent blonde hue isn't for everyone, the tortoise shells are as inspired as the iconic frames that came before. You can pick up your own pair for a limited time at 25% off with the discount code “CASTLEBERRY”. Each pair comes with a lifetime warranty and a grip of envious looks.

    Jul 15, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • The Leadbelly


    by Tucker Chet Markus

    A heavy yellow glow, the tear of a harmonica riff, fresh oysters on ice. Peel off of Orchard Street, number 14, through the doors at The Leadbelly—a Montauk surf shack and gritty speakeasy simultaneous. Inhale.

    The place is hand-drawn—the childlike Garrett "People" Wasserman profiles of boys and girls greet you as you enter—and the rest is wedged between spinning vinyl and cracks in the plaster walls. Sit. Order a dozen on the half shell (selected weekly, the next seven days hold Shigokus from Washington, Ninigret Cups from Rhode Island, and Barcats from Virginia). Sip a Cucumber Julep or a Whiskey Ginger. Relax. Feel. The rhythms around you move on the ride cymbal of a Sonny Boy Williamson tune.

    Opened in September of 2012, it feels part mid-century Europe, part Americana. The interior was designed by Phil Winser and Kate Dougherty—the latter’s work includes set decoration on Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. Happy hour is nightly from 6pm-8pm (Barcats are a buck-a-shuck) and if your appetite stretches into dinner, The Fat Radish’s kitchen across the street is at your service. It gets better. A rotating group of local DJs and musicians lay the vibe Thursday through Saturday night. Captured here by Winser and Dougherty is the brackish meeting point of an August breeze and the blues of Bourbon Street.

    Savor the senses. The weight in your chair, the music, the company. Have an oyster. Allow place to happen to you at The Leadbelly.

    Oysters are a buck-a-shuck every night from 6pm-8pm. It's the perfect time to split a couple dozen with friends while having the place mostly to yourselves.

    Jul 9, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • The Vineyard with Kiel James Patrick


    Preppies love nature and trekking to remote locations. As a rule of thumb, the farther and more inconvenient the locale, the more gratifying the experience. If you're driving, it has to take at least three hours. Have to take a ferry? Even better. We secretly wear this degree of difficulty as a badge of honor.

    By these standards, Chappaquiddick Island is the preppiest place in New England. Eagle Scout merit badges should be awarded upon one's arrival. And that's exactly where I end up after a seven hour bus ride and two ferries. That's right—two. See, Chappaquiddick, or Chappy to the regulars, is an even smaller island off the small island of Martha's Vineyard. It is only when I arrive that I realize I'm standing on the edge of Heaven.

    Once I shake off the nine hour journey with the help of a Del's Lemonade, I'm ready to catch up with my old pal Kiel James Patrick. I'm here for the holiday weekend because Kiel thinks I need a respite from the city. I think he's right. My back shoulders a 50 lbs. pack with enough supplies for a week (be prepared!—Boy Scout motto). I'm sleeping outside for the weekend.

    The Chappy compound is teeming with the young KJP team, summer interns, and guests of guests. My tent proves to be my only reprieve from the hive of activity buzzing well into each morning. It comes at a price though. Friday night quickly turns into me versus the fringes of Hurricane Arthur. The following morning proves me the victor but Arthur's howl and spit affords me little shut eye.

    Me: 1 Nature: 0.

    The intoxicating wild innocence of youth instantly teleports me back to when that floral crown graced my own head. Eighteen, nineteen...years of wonder, naïveté, and endless hope. Years no one will ever be able to give back to them (or myself), it is at the same time bittersweet and a gentle reminder to seize every day, every moment, for what it truly is. With that revelation, I pull everyone into the outdoor shower to capture just that...a moment, wild and innocent.

    Jul 7, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • Happy Fourth!


    Jul 4, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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