Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Holidays Home and Abroad!

Jessie and James wish you the very best. Cheers to all and to all a new and fantastic year!
May '09 bring, among other things:

the magic bus
the enchanted tourist
the wishful thinking
and of course...many oysters and many cheers

Monday, December 1, 2008


As of this morning, our print sale "storefront" is open at our website.
Click on the tab "Print Sales" on the far right. We are offering 47 existing 11x14 prints for $40 each, including shipping. A holiday gift to our fans, while supplies last! Custom print options in several sizes are also available. We've put three pages of images up, so tool around and see if you see something you'd like, and we'll ship it out to you. I look forward to sending these pictures to their new homes.

Happy December!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It could be me

We've taken part in Paul Paper's global art project. Check it out
Here's how Paul describes the project:
"Could be me" is a project exploring possibility of one artist occupying another's space. It is a visual adventure and an interpretation of the same sentence by different artists worldwide .
Hundreds of artists created a piece which incorporated the sentence: "It could be me but it's actually Paul Paper." The website on the other hand, is named, "It could be paul paper, but it's acutally ____." The best way to experience the piece is to click on the names on the left at random to see how other artists incorporate this other identity into their work. Illustrators rule.

Paul, a photographer who lives in Vilnius, Lithuania, contacted us out of the blue, and sent us some gorgeous moody postcards. We shot our contribution in Kate's backyard, because it's looking a little Gothic these days, with the sudden change in season.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Print Sale!

Our portfolios change several times a year, to showcase our new work. We have four books of 40 pages each, and every couple of months, James spends a few days in the darkroom cooking up fresh images to show our clients. But we sigh that when a new picture goes in, and old favorite has to come out.

After four years of making pictures, we pulled box after box of prints off of the shelf, and found we had a seven inch tall stack of beautiful, archival prints stashed away! You'll notice some of these pictures still appear in our portfolio, but we discovered that we had more copies that we can use.

We saved one of each for ourselves and now we want to offer the rest of them to you at cost for $40 each. We have two or three copies of about 50 images available in 11x14. We will package and ship them off to you at no additional cost. We can even price having them framed and shipped by our local frameshop. Here's a taste:

We will be pleased as punch to see these pictures going out to their new homes!

We will launch a temporary online storefront where you can see and purchase pictures, just in case you want to add a little Morgan & Owens to your holiday shopping list. Keep an eye on this space announcing the opening day of the print sale, coming soon!

And as always, if there's a picture you love but don't see here, let us know by email and we'll print one up for you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

PDN video of the Jumbotron

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A bird, a plane? No, it's the Jumbotron

Kodak has our "names in lights" on its Time Square Jumbotron!

(Yep, those are our names there! Sorry, we decided to play it "cool" and not drag our Mamiya out to Times Sq. with us. This is taken from our phone.)

We, along with our fellow PDN 30, will be cycling on the screen until Nov. 10. The cycle script begins: Kodak Celebrates the New Faces of Photography: PDN's 30 (or something pretty close to that). As the names slowly march up the screen, each coming to rest in the center, the names span out, and three or four images from the showcased photographer slide across the screen. It's quite nicely paced and shows a little peek into each of our work. We're in excellent company up there! One photo editor wrote to me giddily saying " cool."

We've been down to check it out; we've watched from several angles: From the infamous Planet Hollywood third floor bar--not exactly sure what it's infamous for, but it does remind me a little of a Biloxi casino (no offense, Biloxi); from the second and fourth floors of TGI Fridays--I'm beginning to feel a bit sorry for those who come to town and go to these places (pull it together people!); from the street--the middle, the side, the across-the-way (does the Naked Cowboy really do that everyday? Oh wait, now the NYPD men are posing for a picture with those women too.); and, our favorite, from walking underneath into the Marriott, which reminds me of all those hotels we've stayed in to get here--no, not the lovely beach cabanas and yoga retreats, or the lovely mountain lodges, or the lovely spas, the lovely design hotels, the lovely city centre apartment, it's more like a giant airport hotel meets convention center.... Either way, it feels like adventure, and that feels good.

Below are the images we have gliding through Times Sq. as we speak.... I wonder if they can see it from space. :) The image in the upper left will be shown at a Kodak-hosted gallery show and reception on Thursday night as part of their PhotoPlus Expo. We've selected all of the images from our work with people. We love the places and things we photograph, but people make most of what we do happen.

Thanks, Kodak, for bringing us out!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Kodak Honors the PDN 30

Kodak Honors the PDN 30 and yours truly with a gallery show in Chelsea, a few pictures on their jumbotron! We'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Romantic Places

One of our favorite editors contacted us for brainstorming a story on "make-you-fall-in-love-locations" that we've shot (Romance on a shoot? Who has time for that? :) or just found on vacation. James and I reminisced long and hard about it, so I figure I might as well share our personal "top romantic places" with you.

I think Budapest wins hands down for gorgeousness and romance: the cafes, the steam baths, the cheap restaurants, the nightlife, the young designers, the opera. We rented a beautiful apartment with three close friends and all ate too much strawberry soup and had daily massages. We'd love to go back, just the two of us and our Mamiyas.

Boulder Utah, a tiny town in the middle of Escalante NP. Lots of hiking and off-roading, which I think is devastatingly romantic. Just dusty me and James, and no one around for 60 miles. A little scary too, but risk and romance go hand in hand.

For the New England Bed & Breakfast set, I'd go with Castle Hill in Cape Cod. Just what it sounds like. Shot that one for T+L.

For the Bed & Beer set I'd go with the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The delta town is probably too down on its luck for most, but you get to stay in a barely renovated tenet farmer's shack and sit on the porch all night playing the piano for the mosquitoes and cotton and go to sleep under homemade quilts. We like to stop there, eat catfish at Morgan Freeman's restaurant, dance at a jukejoint, buy some blues cds, before heading on to my family's place in Louisiana. A great place to acclimate to a slower pace. A little ways south of the Memphis airport. $50/night!

For the 18th century mansion set, I'd go with the Bellinter House in County Meath, Ireland we shot for Sherman's Travel. The redesign is sumptuous, with great huge wooden carved beds, a spa, a lovely, just slightly avant garde (think Oscar Wilde meets Bloomsbury meets Moss) bar in the drawing room, a Michelin chef's restaurant in the basement. Not a lot to do in the area, but fish and ride horses, but then, it's only 45 minutes drive to Dublin.

Amansala Tulum, and Tulum generally, are my favorite sit-around and relax white sand beaches. It's gorgeous, eco friendly, and cheap, if you like fish tacos. Who doesn't like fish tacos? Amasala's very yoga girl centric (i.e. not romantic). Most of the other women there were from NYC for "bikini boot camp." The downside is the long drive out there from Cancun.

I hear El Salvador's beaches are cheap cheap cheap, and we want to visit my family there asap. The South American Surf Championships are there at La Libertad this month. Dad and Kathy's new place is only a few hours from Belize, Honduras, daily flights to Costa Rica and Cancun. It would be a great place to base camp for shooting the area, so I'm researching the surf reports, working on my espanol.

Happy traveling!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Budget Travel Cover Shoot on Newstands now!

A while ago I posted about our adventure down in New Orleans shooting the October cover with Amy and Amy from Budget Travel. It's on newsstands soon--be sure to grab one so the publishers/advertisers get the message that NOLA tourism sells!

The magazine had the subtitle on its way to the publishers before this year's storms came their way: "You thought a hurricane or two could keep this city down?" Stet!

We worked hard to make the cover authentic enough to be shot by a couple of ex-locals. Our hometown had to look instantly recognizable, but not cliche. A hot red dress helps in that department.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

In T: New York Times Style Magazine this weekend!

If you don't get the New York Times, and you want to see our take on the new scene B.E.L.T. "below the elevated train" in the burg, go to the website's interactive map.

If you get the magazine, flip to "hipster replacement" ha!

We each got stylin tee-shirts on this shoot: I'm wearing my Frenchie's tank top right now. Frenchie of Frenchie's Gym on 303 Broadway, a 67-year old Puerto Rican body builder, deserves a story in the Times all his own. You can see the old school, no nonsense, no a/c gym from the B.Q.E. He's been in there coaching and cajoling giant young men from the neighborhood to "Do it with Love!" since 1976.

Maybe you need to spend an afternoon with the "community organizers" down at Frenchie's, Mr. Rudy Giuliani.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Upper Michigan

We missed the August issue of Travel + Leisure on the newsstands because we were shooting for T+L in Greece! But Wendy was kind enough to send it over on her busy last week at the magazine. So here you are, for us a blast from the past, our story on a tiny spit of land, the Keeweenaw Penisula, that juts into Lake Superior.

Our favorite memories from this trip are represented by these two photos. The clouds zip in and out of the sky at a trippy stop-action speed. Lake Superior is so large it creates its own weather. And the five monks who live at the Society of St. John's Poor Rock Abbey Jampot make the most divine wild strawberry jam. They bake breads and hunt for wild strawberries and make jams--even while fasting--even in the snow--and are by far the most joyous subjects I've yet to encounter.

PS: The Jampot has an online shop! Just a taste: here's what you get in Seasonal Selection #1: "Contains twelve jars, one each of Wild Thimbleberry, Wild Blueberry, Blackberry-Cherry, Apricot-Raspberry, Brandied Peach, and Black Cherry Jams; of Wild Apple- Chokecherry, Wild Crabapple, Pear-Cinnamon, Dandelion, and Wild Sugarplum Jellies; and of Grape Butter." $60.00

Tearsheets are bigger on the website!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pig Roast!

This weekend, Sean Stanton is hosting his fifth Annual Pig Roast in Great Barrington. We met Sean years ago when he let us borrow his dog for a cover shoot, then selflessly invited us (and the model) back to the farm for fresh blueberries, eggs, milk, and tomatoes of all descriptions. The Volvo broke down and he ferried us back to the hotel. Sean farms for Dan Barber of Blue Hill among others, and has a little chef cult following I'm happy to be included in. We attended in 2006:

So if you're going to be near GB next weekend, stop by and say hello for me! 205 North Plain Road, from 4 to 8pm. No piglets will be roasted!

Apple Picking!

Can you believe it's technically fall already? Last year we spent September in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma: places where fall takes time coming.

We photographed Susie Otts and her teens apple picking in Sharon, CT early last October for Everyday with Rachel Ray, and then joined a talented team in the studio in NYC to photograph the recipes.

Here's shots from the orchard:

We went to the Ellsworth Hill Orchard and Berry Farm twice last fall to stock up on apples and golden raspberries.

Here's the 6 page story in the magazine, on newsstands now. Click through to our tearsheets page on the "official" Morgan & Owens site to see bigger versions. James revamped the tearsheets page last month to make room for all these big stories coming out. Whoo-hoo! Look at how many photos they used! I think this story challenges the record holder, the April 07 Budget Travel Brooklyn feature, for most images per page. Everyday has great, photo-friendly design.

The recipes are pretty good too. Try the chili.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Sixth Borough?

I've just posted notes from our feature shoot last weekend in Philly at the other blog I write for occasionally A History of New York.

We were in Philadelphia for a few days while shooting a feature for Budget Travel. While we were there we did a little extra-curricular cheering for Obama at a gathering in Independence Park, test-tasted the local iced coffee, and imagined what it would be like if we lived there instead of here. My dear departed friend Peter Ryan used to live there, so it has a little soft spot in my heart. We used to repeat his refrain, "Philly's dope. Everyone just skates and hangs out" whenever he'd mention the name of his hometown. Needless to say, we had a great time shooting this feature, and look forward to seeing the story "25 things we love about Philadelphia" when it comes out April 09.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


On the other hand, the pound is falling....

I Heart NY

Today we rode our bikes from Brooklyn to Central Park and back again, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's latest trick, Summer Streets. Today from 7am to 1pm, Park Avenue was closed to cars, and packed with all manner of wheels. There were pedestrians too, but I think the freedom of riding up the avenue got the best of biker courtesy. NYC is a pedestrian's town everyday, but for a few hours on only three Saturdays, it was ours.

sir, can we have some more?

Maybe just one north/south avenue, all the time? OKay, I know that's asking a lot, but the cars get every road, every day. If we can't have a whole avenue, how about more lanes like the new one on Ninth Avenue?

We saw so much city. I finally saw the Bethesda Fountain. We rode bikes in Central Park. We rode down the West Side highway (which James does every time he takes film to Aporia, but it was my first). We stopped for a few minutes in front of James's old office on 32nd street, from the first year we lived here, and while there, ran into an acquaintance we haven't seen in a year.

The best part, by far, was riding straight up the face of the Grand Central Station, and then around the back, on the taxi route.

My usual bike commute has one tricky part, on Centre Street from the Brooklyn Bridge to below Spring street. The whole route was car free, and took half as much time, zero stress, and much joy.

My friend/academic adviser/bike mentor Bryan Waterman calls the experience "that gentle post-apocalyptic feeling." It was a trip.

Bryan and Cyrus R. K. Patell have invited me to contribute to the History of New York blog. I've written my first entry today, on Woody Allen. I taught the Writing New York course with them at New York University these past two spring semesters, and loved every minute (not spent grading). Now that I'm not teaching, I'm thrilled to have a new outlet for my New York crush. Check it out.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I'm starting to notice a pattern in our posts. I talk about food a lot.

We don't eat a lot while we're still working cause both of us get food coma sugar crash 45 minutes later and have to be mightily persuaded to go running after a shot. So it's a light lunch and coffees at four.

But dinner is another story: I love sitting down to dinner with James at the end of the day, to talk about all the people we met, and what we're going to shoot the next day, and all the crazy things that happened on location or on the road. Like that time the poor woman's suitcase started vibrating at baggage check--that really happened--or the time that rental car agent in Pula locked up his office and came with us to have a beer while we signed contracts and talked about global warming and the disappearance of the bees.

It's relaxing and makes sense, since there are two of us and we need to take some time out to confirm what we got, and what we don't got for the story at hand.

And then after dinner James takes me out looking for night shots. Romantic, right?

So I've got this rolling roladex in my head: where to eat in.... I get most of this information from magazines we shoot for, their shootlists, and I search the websites of budget travel (great printouts!) , travel + leisure, the new york times before we go, and I check chowhound on my phone if I'm really stuck on where to eat in say, Tulsa. I also keep a journal, so I know where to go next time, or if I happen to be in court (don't ask) and the guy sitting next to me waiting for his turn at the bench once lived in Budapest, and he's got tips for me. So ask me if you need a recommendation, or have one for me. I want to eat local everywhere we go, not because it's better for the planet (since, let's be honest, after the 12 flights we took last month, there's an an endangered ice shelf with our name on it) but because if you don't eat the food, you're not really there.

PS: here's what to eat if you find yourself in Istria --
Bottle of Malvazija
Grilled Squid to start
Bronzini, traditionally served with swiss chard and potatoes
Pasta with truffles
local sheep cheese plate

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Domino Loves Chicago (and so do we)

Tearsheets time: we've followed Domino's columnists to Chicago to check out the shopping and wine scenes. In last month's issue, we fought ice, snow and thieves (that subtitle: "Rita Konig suggests a GPS" is a little inside joke: hers was stolen from our car while we were shooting one of these locations. Avis rental car theft insurance does not pay for a stolen GPS, btw.) For this month's issue: we went back to Chicago a month later, and had another one of those lovely sandwiches at Lovely, and another cannoli at Pasticceria Natalina in Andersonville, oh, and shot a story on wine with Cynthia Kling. One page two: the photogenic staff of Domino!

One of the best perks of this gig was that we got got to sit in on Don Sritong 60-minute wine class too: "The best wine for you is the wine you like best!" I wish that were true (I have expensive tastes), but I learned to grow beyond my old method: to buy wines from places you've been only works so well. Case in point: Croatian Malvazija is absolutely delicious. But, they sell only one bottle at Astor Place Wines. So you are a little limited on choice there. Guess I have to go back.

Or figure out where the Croatians of New York hide the good stuff.

Pictures of us in Istria

I know what you really want to see: more pictures of us. Well here you go. Please vote in the comments section for your favorite contributors photo, just in case. At the base of the church above Piran, Slovenia:

Here's Jessie in Groznjan, a gorgeous artist and musicians village in the mountains. When the town was deserted in the 70s, the government gave it to the artists to use, for free. Now, a tourist destination. Ah, communism.

This one I took of James just after he came down from the tower of St. Euphemia church in Rovinj. The tower had just well-worn two by fours that wrapped all the way up. Thankfully, our next location was a lovely little restaurant.

Here's James again, at an ice cream parlor on the main square (an oval really) in Piran right after we wrapped the last roll.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Orleans

We're back, and we've just finished our laundry! And the captioning/editing should be all done by tomorrow. I wanted to keep you all updated from the road, but we decided that since the writers, especially the lovely Eleni Gage, had done such a good job researching and living these locations, to talk too much about them here would be an injustice, and of course, show up my miserable lack of editorial skills.

When we got back from Greece at Newark we stopped by home, dropped off our film, spent the night with our cats and turned right around and went to New Orleans for a cover shoot with Budget Travel. We had a great time comparing sweat patterns with the Amys while scouting, shooting, and eating eating eating. Our old friend Celeste helped out on set, we got to see Kat on her 35th birthday, and saw my brother as he left his home there for a new one in Belgium. Andy said with a big grin when he joined us at lunch at Cochon that I was "there in New Orleans when he got there and there when he left," "I've just been keeping it warm for you," he said, awhhhh (he's been doing a good job: it's got to be 100 degrees there).

It was funny being back in New Orleans again. It's been since New Year's 2007 since we've been back, and well, it's home only in the nostalgic, genealogical, and expositional tenses. To know us you have to know we're from there, but after eight years, I'm from New York too. I've almost lost the accent and become accustomed to the speed of life here in the Big City, but not enough far gone not to sigh and admire the easy place we're from.

We ran into people too: old bosses, classmates (shout out to Dick and Jenny's now run by Leigh Peters from photojournalism school and is just so fantastic), and got to hang with Leslie Parr and Ralph Adamo, our photo-mentor and favorite poet.

Notes on Greece

Speaking of Andy, while we were in Epiros, photographing a 14th Century monastery that perilously overhangs an endless gorge, I sent him a message, because as a backpacker I knew he'd dig the place. I sent him detailed coordinates of the hiking trail so he'd be able to look it up in google earth. No need. He was there with my dad a few years ago. They hiked the Vikos Gorge, stood just where we stood over the precipitous gap in the earth, and never told me about it. My dad was stationed in Albania at the time, so it's not a stretch geographically, but you gotta know that feeling when you look on a corner of the earth with awe, is a feeling too exotic for seconds.

James just made us an at home version of something we drank in Greece nearly continuously: the cafe freddo (which is Italian), but the locals drink a cafe frappe, made with nescafe and espresso, I think, blended like a milkshake with ice. Why don't we have these in New York!? The pitiful ice coffees from our local place just don't have that kick, or the cute straw. If anyone knows where I can get one here, let me know! James made a spinach pie that was good too, but it didn't have those 11 other herbs and greens from Epiros that makes a real pita. Thank goodness all our stores here carry Greek yogurt, or I might have missed my flight home.

In a meeting a few months ago I told a photo editor who asked us where we'd like to go, off the top of my head I said that we'd love to shoot a story on Greek food. The universe conspires... We keep a map of the world in my office, and a few years ago we started to put pins in the places we'd like to see next. We got five pins each. Out of those original ten places, we've already been to half. We moved 5 pins to new locations, and yesterday, we got to move the Greece pin to...Costa Rica. FYI: there's pins still in Buenos Aires, Mont St. Michel, Antigua, the Azores, New Zealand...

We learned a valuable lesson in Greece: another use for Polaroids. When there's a language barrier, we memorize the phrase: May we take your picture? (in greek, phonetically: Moo eh-pee-TREH-peh-teh na sass PA-ro fo-to-ghraf-EE-ah?) Everyone says yes, but it is a concession, a gift these subjects give us that allows us to do our job. We began taking an extra polaroid of the shot and giving it to them, the only thing we have to give as a gift to them in return. Never in my life as has something so simple been met with such joy! Giggles, smiles, profuse handshakes. It's fun to watch them pour over the shot with their friends, put it away carefully to take home. Medium format polaroid is gorgeous as most of you know, and not to brag, but the people we photograph seem pretty excited about how good they look. The beauty and generosity of these strangers who let us take their picture! It was a powerful daily reminder of the sheer power of the medium we have chosen to communicate through.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Istria, Bonn, Epiros

We're off on a summer shoot adventure: first to Croatia to photograph the Istrian penisula, then a weekend with James's brother Michael and his wife Rebecca in Bonn, Germany, and then an adventure in northern Greece (where Byron once lost a pair of slippers).

I'll be posting updates on our our adventures here. I feel I know what to expect, since we've been to Albania, right next to Greece, and on the same coast as Istria.

I should know better than to try to visualize a shoot before it is in front of me. Everywhere has its surprises.

Here's our dates: