weather report: get spooky and give thanks

ooooo-eeee, november (shorter days <> longer nights) is creeping in like a ghost. this october, we chatted up our friends htet gyaw, james katsipis and leanne staples. our on-loop flick sent us back to late sixties woodstock lore – and then we cranked the haunted beats on rockaway radio

so: turn on, tune in, sip well (might we offer — coastal immunity for flu season)!

check it : burmese-american filmmaker + photographer htet gyaw.

ROCKAWAY: Where are you from?

HTET GYAW: I was born in Burma and grew up in Ithaca, NY since age nine.

ROCKAWAY: When did you start taking photographs and what caught your eye from an early age?

HG: I grew up on comic book art, artists like Jim Lee, Joe Mad, Marc Silvestri, the Kubert brothers. I fell in love with filmmaking at the end of high school and got influenced by cinematographers like Chris Doyle, Roger Deakins, Lubezki, and many others. I didn't love taking photos until I lived and traveled in Thailand after college. That's when I fell in love with candid street photography.

ROCKAWAY: What do you love about photography -- and how do you get into the flow?

HG: Photography in its nature is abstract because it freezes time. You can dissect a moment unlike in a motion picture. To get into the flow I look at the works of photographers whose work inspire me and I go out and shoot.

ROCKAWAY: What do you love about shooting around New York?

HG: It's the street photography capital of the world. So many ranges in location, mood, people, cultures, lighting, you name it.

ROCKAWAY: Talk about your spaces and places series— and how it felt shooting emptiness?

HG: There is something calming or eerie about imagining a world empty of people but the architectural remains are left. In the moment I don't think of that though, I shoot purely based on intuition. Usually it's the lighting that guides me.

ROCKAWAY: What's your fall motto?

HG: I don't have one.

we really can’t get enough of the sick shots of montauk native, james katsipis.

ROCKAWAY: Where are you from?

JAMES KATSIPIS : I was born and raised in Montauk N.Y. But I split my time in NYC now.

ROCKAWAY: When did you start taking photographs and what caught your eye from an early age?

JK: I started shooting for fun back in high school. I would shoot all my friends surfing at our local spot Atlantic Terrace. I was always drawn to the ocean and loved the way it was always changing from day to day. It was a clean slate to shoot. Back then everything influenced me : Matt Clark, Mike Nelson, Walter Looss, Peter Beard. Even a lot of local artists like Peter Ngo. I was just trying to absorb as much and learn as much as I could.

ROCKAWAY: What do you love about photography -- and how do you get into the flow?

JK: I love light and how it hits different objects and the sometimes overpowering effect it has. And those subtleties that you have to look closely for. You know when something is clicking (no pun intended). I’ll get super excited and think yes this is it. We’re onto something right now. All pistons firing.

ROCKAWAY: What's your advice to someone who wants to learn how to take a picture?

JK: Find something you’re passionate about and focus there. For me it was surfing that really turned me on. It’ll always evolve into other things but a good starting point is choosing a subject matter you want to study closely through a lens and tell a storyROCKAWAY: How does surfing and being in the water inform your photos?

JK: It’s such a double edge sword. When I’m shooting surfing I wish I was on a board and when I’m surfing and watching my buddies get amazing rides I wish I had my camera. I need both!

and uber talent, ny-based artist and photographer, leanne staples.

ROCKAWAY: Where are you from?

LEANNE STAPLES: I'm originally from the Detroit area. That said, I left there many years ago and first moved to New York City in 1979. NYC felt like home the first minute that I stepped foot on the ground here.I wouldn't trade it for any other city in North America.

ROCKAWAY: When did you start taking photographs and what caught your eye from an early age?

LS: I began photography at the age of 12 when my father gave me a camera. I didn't really know anything about the world of photography. It became a method of exploring the world around me and an important tool for communication. I had no idea that it would become such an important part of my life.

ROCKAWAY: Where are your favorite places and neighborhoods to point a camera in NY?

LS: People ask me this question all the time. There are so many neighborhoods: Hell's Kitchen, Soho, the Lower East Side, Coney Island and Brighton Beach are just a few of them that you can find me shooting on a regular basis. I never tire of shooting the streets of New York City. It is a wonderful muse.

ROCKAWAY: What do you love about photography -- and how do you get into the flow?'

LS: Photography for me, is a form of communication that is perhaps no different than writing or spoken words. The beauty of photography is the ability to express ideas that aren't always easy to do so in words and reach people who don't speak the same language.Having a good night's sleep and good coffee is a start.

ROCKAWAY: What's your advice to someone who wants to learn how to take a picture?

LS: Shoot often, experiment and don't be afraid to make so-called mistakes. Mistakes are an important part of the creative process, Also, it's important to view the photography of others whether they are famous or not and identify the elements that you like. Like rap music, art is always about sampling other works of art.

ROCKAWAY: For someone who has never been to NYC, where would you tell them to visit?

LS: Spend a lot of time in one neighborhood and see it slowly and deeply. New York City is like a tale of two cities. There's the surface which many tourists see and then there's the real New York that you only see when you slow down. The independent businesses are an important part of it.

ROCKAWAY: What's your summer mantra?

LS: My mantra for years now is a quote by Marcel Proust "The real act of discovery is consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes." Seeing with new eyes is how I'm able to shoot the same neighborhoods over and over again and not be bored.

bonus track: surf’s up halloween style!

in honor of mexico’s day of the dead and our stateside version of all hallows eve - we dug up some legit whacky wild costumes from the fall surf waters.  



@djtanknyc feeling spooky…




"They come here to dig what's going on. All over the country they're coming together. We’re everywhere. We're taking over man." -Woodstock Fan

For three days almost a half a million music lovers, hippies and hitchhikers descended on Bethel, New York for peace, love, hot dogs, skinny-dipping and an insane line-up: Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jimmy Henrdix, Jefferson Airplane and Joan Baez. Luckily, filmmaker Michael Wadleigh was able to document it for us in grand fashion (Scorsese also did some editing).

founder freestyle flow :

trick or treat! my childhood memories of halloween in rockaway are nothing short of wonderful. especially my adolescent years. my mom is a lot of awesome things — successful business woman, holder of 2 masters degrees and a phd, former professor, rule breaker, etc. but, on halloween when my friends and i were in jr high she’d let us run wild with shaving cream and eggs all over the outside of the house and street. when the police would come to the rescue she would politely tell them its under control, the kids are having fun and shell clean up the mess… which she did after ordering us pizza.

oh, and shes legendary for giving out full size candy bars (iykyk) - its the little things that bring so much joy. shouts to you ma! happy halloween everyone — stay having fun! its just so important.

rock on. x b

where the streets meet the beach. @drinkrockaway