still working on them tables

tablesThis has been quite a week for Tina and me.

We learned some bad news. We lost two accounts that made up about eight jobs, two of which were in New York City.

It appears, at least for now, that our NYC work has dried up. It’s my goal to land a bigger and better client to replace this one. Said and done, we weren’t making too much off the work trips to NY. We love that city and love seeing Luis V. and Becky F., so it was always fun to go.

We’ve been raising our rates lately, and are declining lower-paid work in exchange for jobs with higher price tags. As a financial conservative, this is tough for a guy like me.

But the quality of our work is improving, and with that, we should chase higher-quality customers.

On the heels of bad news, there has been a flood of positive words. A local magazine will be publishing the images we took of the tables above, and the response from our client was that the magazine “complimented your gorgeous photos.”

We attended an event with a national luxury interiors magazine last night and received, quite possibly, some of the highest praise from their publisher I’ve ever heard. She introduced us as a high-quality, photography team with a portfolio of amazing work as well as two of the best personalities in the business.

The stars are also aligning with strong possibilities of landing a beautiful studio space soon. Stand by for details.

And the mother of one of the models we’ve worked with a few times sent us a note this week that read:

Lauren has worked with several other photographer teams since the catalog [for our client]. To date, I think your set-up/shot plans, energy and direction, and brilliant finishing are not to be duplicated.

All I know is, I should be re-broadcasting those words with bullhorns from rooftops.

We continue to attract attention from bigger and better clients. I can tell it’s taking it’s toll on this blog. Day to day hits have plummeted.

It’s fine. I’m directing more energy — positive energy — toward creative efforts.

Tina and I hope to roll out our new brand soon. And I’m going to be dedicating much more time to social media and marketing to drive traffic to us.



Did Andy Kaufman prank his death?

Found at this article in Gawker:

Rumors of a faked death have been just as much a part of Andy Kaufman’s legacy as watching him turn from Foreign Man to Elvis, but if what played out at this week’s Andy Kaufman Awards in New York City are actually true, the comedic genius may have pulled off his biggest hoax of all: not just faking his own death, but secretly spending the last 29 years raising a family.

Read on. 


It’s nice to visit a place where all are welcome


On my morning commute to pickup coffee and breakfast, I passed by the Answers in Genesis billboard.

I had to get a shot!

This is a city of so much diversity. Rarely do you hear your native language spoken around you. Yesterday we rode in a cab with buddhas on the dash. The day before, there were hindu gods.

So which god is it, Answers in Genesis, that you’re thanking?

On the same billboard, it rotates to a Julia Sweeney ad for It reads “OMG, there is no god.”

I’m guessing it’s some kind of answer to Answers in Genesis.

Anybody have more info?





Saying goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013

Twenty twelve was a great year.

It was great for Tina and me, both personally and business-wise.

It was a year when we finally relinquished the urge to have children, even though it hurts the hell out of us to think we won’t have biological children.

We haven’t ruled out fostering and adoption. It’s just not something we want at this time.

We started the year in Bali celebrating her birthday and experienced some major firsts and landmark events within our business.

We had our first major commercial photo shoot.

I started shooting concerts and shot Lollapalooza for the first time.

Other events include:

We shot Luis V.’s and Beck F’s wedding.

We shot runways in New York and monkeys in Indonesia.

We traveled to several states. We saw way more clients than I ever imagined we would.

This blog increased hit counts year over year by 200,000 hits. That was more than double.

What attracts people to this site is often the content that doesn’t include discussions of religion or non-belief. Photography has become a major draw. I know a lot of you enjoy the stories I tell about daily life in Chicago.

I love that kind of feedback, and I hope to get it more.

Over the year, I found myself censoring my views as the family that reads this blog have reverse-incented such behavior. There has been a decline in readership from active disbelieving readers. I imagine my self-restraint is a part of that.

Perhaps that is a bit egocentric, but whatever.

One fact that stopped me in my tracks was on the Le Café Witteveen year in review generated by WordPress. It said,

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2012. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

I refuse to write about the Cure for Tourettes T-shirt … thank you very much.

The most pleasing part of keeping this blog was forcing an existing restaurant in the Netherlands called Le Café Witteveen to rename itself to Brasserie Witteveen, as we were getting their hits when folks googled their name.

Not kidding.

I’ve felt a Death Star gravitational pull toward bettering my business blog, its web site and content. If I could make this blog a 377,000 hit blog, why not make that same effort to make my photography blog that successful.

Twenty thirteen may be a year where we let this blog be that field. You know, the field that the farmer doesn’t plant too many crops in paying attention to another one more for a while.

Don’t rush off. I’ll continue to post here. Just not as frequently. Maybe 10 times a day rather than 50. 

I’ll still post photography and personal stories. But my efforts to keep the blog filled with jokes and videos will take a back seat.

If that’s why you visit, well, I can give you all the sites I go to to find that stuff and you’re welcome to frequent them.

I already started making this transition during 2012. I’ve been spending more time learning the craft of photography, improving my photoshop skills and spending much more time networking within the industry.

I don’t imagine this place dying so much as I imagine it becoming my drafting board for my company. It’s what I started to do last year. I wrote posts here that I altered and edited for my professional blog.

This isn’t so much of a goodbye as it is a redistribution of resources. Plainly put, I’m going to spend more time pushing my company’s brand, and less time letting this blog be a distraction.

You can update its status to somewhere between back burner and red-headed stepchild.


If you liked the photography and stories, please consider subscribing if you aren’t already. If you liked the jokes, go see my favorite spots: I have seen the whole of the Internet and Tastefully Offensive Tumblr.

If you’re interested in other aspects of my blog roll, please feel free to contact me.

Bring on 2013, bitches.

Sandy brings us three steps closer to the apocalypse!

The above photo was taken at Avenue C on the lower East side in Manhattan. Wow, right?

See the original on Instagram here.

If you’re like me, you’ve been watching the Internets with great curiosity as Sandy unfolded its powerful arms and unleashed the giant storm onto the northeast.

As she used her fire-hose powered water cannons protruding from her mile-wide nipples and sprayed water and winds over the northeast.

I’m no bible scholar, but I get the feeling — from an ignorant reading of biblical text — that the apocalyptic end of the world is coming soon.

Every second. Every minute. Every hour. Every week. 

Every month.

Every year.

Every two years.

Every decade.

Every … shit … what comes between decade and millennia?

Centurion ski boats?

All I know is, the more time that passes between Jesus’s promise and a cataclysmic storm like Sandy … excuse me … a providentially-predicted storm like Sandy … we get closer to the almighty return.

We don’t know the hour. We don’t know the place.

But we do know that “this generation” — this one right now! — will not pass before Jesus returns.

Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it[d] is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Keep in mind, it might be the next generation, just in case this one passes and the next one starts.

But be ready!

It’s coming. And perfectly natural disasters are ushering us closer and closer to the pending apocalypse.

By the way, I am not relieved that Cindy Jacob’s prayers were unanswered.

That means only one thing.

We are alone.

While Jesus is trying to beat Ba’al’s Angry Birds score.





Image via JMG

Thanks for standing by

As most of you know, Tina and I have been busy as hell.

We have a full-day shoot tomorrow photographing sexy, sexy architecture. It’s five or six distribution plants and one church. It’s a Lutheran church, so it’s not as bad.

I’ve turned down four concerts over the past few weeks including Morrissey, Norah Jones, R. Kelly and Regina Spektor. And somehow I’m sad I had to say no to each one.

I mean, R. Kelly. How crazy is that.

One story I wanted to tell you about was that on Saturday (the 13th) that we were scheduled to be in NYC (a week and a half ago), we had inadvertently bought plane tickets for P.M. arrival and not A.M. We got to the airport before figuring out our mistake.

Fortunately, we landed a standby seat on an earlier flight.

No problem.


Once we arrived in NYC, we had lunch with Becky F. and Luis V. that day. We talked about all the ways October the 13th was wreaking havoc on our lives. Becky had suffered an injury while running that morning. And there were a few other (super) significant trials we all had to deal with.

That evening, Tina and I wanted to take it easy. We checked into our hotel and ordered food from what we thought was a restaurant about a block or so away on 10th Ave. We were on 11th.

When I arrived, they didn’t have my order and said, you must have called restaurant number 2. They called number 2, but they didn’t have my order either. “You must have called number 1.”

Sure enough, it was number one.

I called Tina, and she called them to cancel. But the guy on the line gave Tina a load of October the 13th hell, so off I went to pick up our order another four or more blocks away in the other direction.

So much for saving my feet for a long day on Sunday.

Be wary of October the 13th, no matter what day it falls on.

You never know what kind of luck is going to wreak havoc on your sweet little day.


Phew, they’re gone … now we can run around in our underpants again!

Our visit with Luis V. and Becky F. over the weekend came to a close on Sunday. We had an excellent time, and despite the heat, we were able to pack in some solid sightseeing.

You can read about the first couple days here.

On Saturday, Becky asked if we wouldn’t mind driving out to Oak Park to hunt for some rascally Frank Lloyd Wright homes. It ended up being easier and more fun than I thought.

Wright homes are gorgeous and inspiring to look at. Becky found a sweet iPhone app that helped map and identify the homes. It also gave similar descriptions to ones you might hear if you paid for the tour.

On our way to Oak Park, we drove through some of the roughest looking neighborhoods I’ve seen.

At one point I said, “I’ll let everyone know when you have to duck from gun fire.”

It was shadyland.

Becky’s and Luis’s hanging meal — if you will — was dining at a restaurant called The Pump Room located in the Public hotel of Chicago’s uppity Gold Coast. The restaurant and hotel were recently renovated under the creative eye of Interior Designer Ian Schrager, whom Tina and I recently heard speak at one of our jobs.

Schrager is known for many accomplishments, but Studio 54 is one of the most impressive.

Note: hanging meals are what Tina and I call the meal before leaving each other for a while. While other people believe heaven is supernatural, we believe heaven is together. So while we’re apart, it’s hell. Time apart is a metaphor for an execution of sorts. So the hanging meal is the last major meal before temporary separation. It also applies to good friends.

After dinner, we unbuttoned our top pants buttons or loosened our dress straps, drove back to our place, leashed up Talulah and walked to the lake front, where Talulah desperately wanted to go for a dip in the water.

Should she have escaped my white-knuckled grip on the leash, I would have gladly pushed Luis in after her.


We got back to the house, talked till the Great Yawn Coup d’état of July 7, 2012 and called it a night.

Sunday, we sent the New Yorkers packing, said our adieus and cried the rest of the day.

Not really.

Great visit and memories made. Now that’s a way to spend a weekend.




Stumbling around in NYC

Tina and I arrived in beautiful NYC yesterday. While waiting to check into our hotel, we grabbed a bit at one of our favorite diners, met a self-described clairvoyant medium who also works as a life coach.

We walked around a bit, and I snapped some photos.

We met friends Becky and Luis for dinner last night at an excellent Cuban restaurant called Calle Ocho. I had a skirt steak that the chef is so cocky about, he serves it with a butter knife.

But I didn’t need that either.

Tina and I will be shooting today and nursing our feet tonight from walking around. Here are some shot that I took around the neighborhood yesterday.