Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tchunlo, MI

Tchunlo is a town like many in Michigan that will never fully recover after its collapse. Unlike most, however, it wasn’t just an economical downfall; it was also a plant meltdown.

Growth has come to a halt and although it’s winter the sky carries an odd hue. It hasn’t sat dormant long enough to resemble a post apocalyptic landscape and its former life is apparent. A worn basketball court. An empty park.

Due to contamination it’s unfit for anybody to spend extended time there. What’s interesting is the one population that’s not only remained, but grown: crows.

Scientists haven’t had sufficient time for their studies to show significant results, but the current plan involves a year of monitoring. In the meantime this town is yet another reminder of our impact on nature and how delicate life is.

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Video : Alone in 1,000 Square Feet at Pecha Kucha Night

A few weeks ago, N presented at Pecha Kucha, an event where people in the community come together to show a series of 20 images with 20 seconds to speak about each one. With his most recent project of capturing six characters in vibrant scenery and scenarios, N ran with the opportunity to show off some of his performance skills by acting out each character as the slides changed. Check out the full video below and see some of the images from the series here: Alone in 1,000 Square Feet.

N is already working on the next series of photos for this project with some slightly different guidelines. If you’re interested in being photographed in character, let us know. We can make it happen.

Upcoming Pecha Kucha themes and dates are as follows:

Wednesday, February 20, 6-8pm: Technology

Wednesday, March 20, 6-8pm: International

Wednesday, April 17, 6-8pm: Anything Goes

If you’d like to be a part of the fun or know someone that would, contact Emilia White at and help spread the word about this exciting event.

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L’Meese then and now

I’ve already had a stellar photo career with many great experiences. Along the way I’ve worked with some wonderful people. On occasion I’m lucky enough to work with the same subject at yearly intervals. Such is the case with L’Meese.

I first worked with her in 2008 when I exhibited in a two-person show with renowned fashion photographer Stan Malinowski in Chicago. From Fantasy to Fashion drew an incredible crowd of collectors and I was proud to show my interpretation of fashion photography with Stan’s photographs for such publications as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Playboy. From Janice Dickinson to Iman in Valentino’s atelier, it was a smashing success. More of Stan’s work can be seen here.

Catalog page from the exhibit. Images by Stan Malinowski.

Catalog page from the exhibit. Images by Nick Azzaro.

From left, Stan Malinowski taking a picture while I look on with Victor Skrebneski and his colleague. Photo by Art Azzaro.

I showed new work, inspired by Stan’s big budget shoots of yesteryear. L’Meese’s portrait below was included in the exhibit.

I recently had the chance to work with L’Meese again, this time in Ann Arbor. The only thing that’s changed is her elevated level of experience.

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Kenta: Hair Stylist, Musician, Astro

After an amazing photo shoot with friend, hair stylist and musician, Kenta, I had an opportunity for some Q and A. His band Locus can be seen and heard here.

N- How did you become a stylist?

K- After high school I was searching for a job and went in for a haircut at a local salon for my interviews. I gave such detailed order to the stylist, he said “you should become a hairstylist!” So I did. I still believe that moment was meant to be, this job is the only job I’ve never wanted to quit! (Kenta has been styling hair going on eleven years and currently works at Da Vinci’s in downtown Ann Arbor).

N- When did you get into music?

K- The 4th grade. I really liked this girl and she played flute. I wanted to be with her in music class so I begged my ma. I only played for four months or so… At that time I was very shy about being the only boy in flute class so I converted to trumpet! Since then I’ve played a little tuba, guitar, and drum. My friend taught me how to DJ but I was never good in any instruments… so I highly respect people who practice instrumental music.

N- Describe your personal musical interest and your bands interest.

K- I have very broad musical interests, but grew up listening to a lot of punk, ska, rock, hip-hop, J-pop, trance, house, and techno and was never good at remembering the bands name or the song title.Band mate Ajekt (DJ/Programmer) also has a very broad interests and digs deep on all types of music. It’s crazy how much he knows about the history behind a band or the songs. I call him the Wiki of Locus! He can answer most of your musical questions! Band mate Qp (Bass/Programmer) is deeply rooted in rock and J-pop and listens to everything he likes. His bass playing style is heavily influenced by what he heard in his youth. He has also produced a few Japanese Pop songs for local talents as well.

As a band all three of us comes from very different musical backgrounds. The first few years we were suffering to find a point of interest, but we’re now gradually finding a solid Locus sound. We’re still in search of “creating something new, something never heard before”. I know its a long journey but feel like we’re definitely on the right track. The energy and atmosphere Locus creates is something I’ve never experienced in any other music or shows.

N- Tell me about Astro.

K- I’ve wanted people listen to our music rather than judge us by our looks, so it was my idea to put a mask on at a show one day. I’ve asked the band members to wear the masks too, but we’ve had some clashes on this idea. Astro is like a messenger for me, he’s the one who shouts my thoughts and emotions through the microphone. He’s a little cocky, spiritual, and loves women. He’ll do things I can’t and thinks what I can’t.

Thank you, Kenta for a great session and for sharing your stories. To have your own portait narrative photographed, contact us here.

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What do you shoot with?

There are many things in life I’ll never understand, like texting while driving or fans of the Chicago Cubs. Equally confusing is this fascination with comic book heroes starring in feature length films. Don’t get me wrong I love comic books, but condensing decades of knowledge into a two hour slot, combining it with more CG than any mortal should endure and expecting action to look real because of quick camera motion is a tragedy. BUT there’s one thing I find more confusing: when other photographers ask what I shoot with.

The answer is: a camera. That’s all anybody needs to know and should already be implied. Why not ask what I drive (or ride depending on the weather)? Since the vehicle delivers me to the shoot, isn’t that equally important if not more?  Asking what I shoot with suggests my imagery isn’t entirely mine, but a result of how much I spent on gear. A photographer is someone who works with light. They’re problem solvers and comfortable working in any situation and with any image capturing mechanism (except phones).

This isn’t to say I don’t love my camera, because I couldn’t be happier with what I work with. It’s just that anytime I’ve gotten into this conversation with another photographer, it goes absolutely nowhere.

“What do you shoot with?”


“What do you shoot with?”


“Oh. Okay.”

If YOU have the answer, please join in.

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10 Terms that Should Be Banned From Art School Critiques | Print Out Poster*

Today’s post is for all the art students out there.

As an art student, I spent a lot of time in critiques, or what we called “crits”. My non art major friends couldn’t understand how I could be in class for six hours, three days a week and still have another studio class in the evenings. A lot of it was work time but toward the end of any assignment or quarter, we had to sharpen our arsenal of vocabulary and artist references to sound witty in front of our peers. At best we would ignite discussion. At worst people would sleep.

There were the crit virgins that would say, “I really like the shade of blue you used, it works really well in contrast with the background,” to which some professors would really nail them to the wall. You couldn’t just “like” something and slink away. You had to really challenge the creator and question why he or she made the decisions they did. Which brings us to the insufferable ones that absolutely relished in waving their art school card in the air. They frivolously used every art crit keyword possible and they made each minute feel like an eternity (insert eye rolls here). For all of you that are still suffering through this hardship, I’ve created a list of lingo that should never be uttered in crit ever again. It’d make a great gift for an art student or maybe it’d just be a fun drinking game (not during class, of course).

*Feel free to print but please be respectful of usage. Thanks!


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An Exhibit We’d Like to See : David Bowie Is

N is a huge fan of David Bowie’s. And for good reason. His name has been synonymous with imaginative thinking and music and art for over four decades.

dezeen_David-Bowie-is-at-the-V-and-A_1aAbove: album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane (1973) courtesy of Duffy Archive

tumblr_lgq06iLvAp1qdbfozo1_500A Bowie copycat for a children’s campaign.

On March 23rd an incredible collection of memorabilia, costumery, photography, musical archives and objects will showcase the life and work of David Bowie at Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The show, titled simply “David Bowie Is” will have over 300 items and only cover a fraction of the pop icon’s presence.

dezeen_David-Bowie-is-at-the-V-and-A_6Above: photo collage of manipulated film stills from The Man Who Fell to Earth (1975-6) courtesy of The David Bowie Archive and Studiocanal Films Ltd

dezeen_David-Bowie-is-at-the-V-and-A_3aAbove: striped bodysuit for Aladdin Sane tour designed by Kansai Yamamoto (1973), photograph by Masayoshi Sukita from The David Bowie Archive


Original photography for the Earthling album cover, 1997
Union Jack coat designed by Alexander McQueen in collaboration with David Bowie
Photograph by Frank W Ockenfels 3
© Frank W Ockenfels 3

 If we were closer, we would certainly be seeing this show. For now we’ll just listen to tunes on the record player and check out his new song and album, “The Next Day”. Tickets and full information can be found here.

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The cat’s out of the box.

Ever dream of making your cat happier than kid in a candy store? Me either. But I was interested in making something we could both enjoy. It begins with a box.

Then gather some simple supplies, like an exacto, a ruler, Mod Podge, a Sharpie and TV.

Then round up some *old comic books (old as in the ’90s and preferably wimpy characters like the Avengers, Fantastic Four or Silver Surfer).

The next steps are simple: remodel the box as you wish and begin gluing only the finest pages of the comics to the surface of the box.

Finally, make certain there’s plenty of litter in the litter box because your cat is going to plutz! PRESTO! A new bed that your cat AND your guests will find astonishing.

Bonus points if one of the comic pages illustrates former President Bush Sr. with Arab sheiks shaking hands with a d-bag.

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Value has Three Legs.

At the grocery store the cost of peanut butter has gone up and so has orange juice. Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Cream Pies haven’t gotten more expensive, but they’re smaller. What’s not only held its price but upped its value?


I give you snowy night time photography.

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