That short trip turned into 5 years of living in New York
Have you ever had the moment of buying a new phone, but no numbers to put in?
I first moved to Harlem. Manhattan Ave, just across the street from the little Morning Side Park and five blocks from Central Park.
A friend of mine told me about a room there, which was the turning point in my decision. Since I had a room, I worked on a journalist visa and bought a plane ticket for June 2007.
Harlem was charming, but at the same time I had to get used to it. In my neighbourhood, I mostly met people from South Africa. Once a year they would dress up, wear their traditional clothes and celebrate the African Parade through the Upper West Side.
So when I went into business, I only had two contacts in my pocket that I hoped would get me somewhere. One was Akos, a beauty, [&] hair photographer. He wasn't working that much at the time and couldn't help me with an assistant job, but what he could do was give me two addresses to start with.
Pier95 - and Milk Studios. Go there and start working.
I went to Pier 95 Studios the same day to apply for an internship. They didn't really have much time, so I took my stuff and went over to Milk. Before I fully understood what was going on, they took my Polaroid, I filled out a form and had to be there at 4pm the next day to start the night shift.
I guess that’s how everything started.
How I met Marylene Mey, who became my dearest friend and partner in crime. You will hear a lot more from her.
Also Shaun Murdoch, the funniest guy with the warmest heart I have ever met, who got me drunk and stoned the last time we met in LA. I was also jet-lagged, having travelled from New York to Paris to LA and back to New York in just 5 days. At least Shaun got me a cab in time to catch my flight back. Also Devin Doyle, the night manager at the time, who pushed Mary and I to the limit by making us carry the heaviest shit throughout the night shifts.
Not forgetting Andy Boyle, my favourite Australian with a passion for concerts and music, who photographed his favourite bands live with a passion that often amazed me.
And of course Nico, who didn't actually work for Milk, but who brought me into contact with Christopher Micaud, a photographer who probably taught me the most about lighting. I couldn't stand him when we first met. All this young, superficial crap he was talking about, but he turned out to be one of my best friends and homeys.
We all started at Milk at the same time. We all started on the same journey and took different turns along the way.