Why I Take Pictures

Earlier this week, my youngest son played in his middle school basketball championship game. I got there early, and was setting up my camera. The JV game was finishing up, and it got pretty dramatic.

The game was tied at 26. The visiting team— a set of sixth and seventh graders from a small league that contains no stars, no powerhouses, with no one but their families and stray parents like me watching them— brought the ball up the court.

A kid— I do not know his name— went down the lane and lifted the ball in the air.

I was standing up, at the top of the bleachers, with my camera on my chest. Without looking, I fired off about a dozen shots.

Screenshot 2014-12-18 18.08.47

One of those shots was a moment that mattered:


They held on to win. I was privvy to a moment of consequence for a set of humans congregated in a particular place at a particular time. This is why I take pictures.


New Conceptual Art Project for 2015: COLLABORATION STOCK PHOTOS

Stock photography is abysmal.


Over the last decade or so, I have attempted to change this fact in a couple of concrete ways:

Now I have a new way: my COLLABORATION STOCK PHOTOS project. The first thing you need to know about this project is that it is always capitalized. The second thing you need to know is that you have to take part in this project in order for it to be successful!


The goal of this project is to recreate and propagate as many stock photos representing the word “collaboration” as possible. Here’s how we’ll do it:

  • We’ll find stock photos that are sold to illustrate the word “collaboration”. Here’s some at iStockphoto, Getty, and Shutterstock. The Internet is lousy with shiny happy collaboration
  • Then we will shoot re-creations of the photos on our own. Joining hands, pointing at computers, whatever it takes
  • Along the way, we might even be collaborating!

Let’s do this. Fave this tweet if you want to be a model for COLLABORATION STOCK PHOTOS.

Collection of Newspaper Box Inserts, 1991 – 2014

Ever since I was 11 years old, when I had my first paper route, I’ve loved newspapers. To this day, S-L and I have The New York Times delivered directly to our door. It’s a daily joy to receive it, even if the contents are not joyous.

I’ve written before about my newspaper collection. I also have collected newspaper box inserts– the slide-in paper/ plastic sheets that are placed underneath the newspaper display on a newspaper vending machine. Here’s what I’ve got, going back to 1991:

And here’s a video of me explaining each one:

Newspaper Box Slide-In Insert Collection from Daniel X. O’Neil on Vimeo.

This is some documentation of 65 newspaper box inserts that I’ve collected from 1991 to 2014. I buzz through them, giving short narrative, context, and date for each one.

Some notable items:

The insert from the Chicago Tribune on the day we invaded Iraq, in January 1991:

Newspaper Box Insert: Full-Color Strategic Map of War Zone, Chicago Tribune, January 1991

Jordan’s comeback from retirement:

Newspaper Box Insert

The OJ Verdict (I actually have three different ones of this):

Newspaper Box Insert

Bulls set the record for most wins in a season:

Newspaper Box Insert

U.S. Bombs Baghdad in 1998:

Newspaper Box Insert

Patriotism after 9/11:

Newspaper Box Insert

And my most recent, the Pride Guide outta Portlnad:

Newspaper Box Insert

There are many more. View!

Remembering the B-Thing in Light of White Flag Brooklyn Bridge Confession

Now comes the New York Times, with word that it was German artists who removed American flags from the Brooklyn Bridge and replaced them with hand-women white ones.

But the artists, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, say the flags — with hand-stitched stars and stripes, all white — had nothing to do with terrorism. In a series of phone interviews, they explained that they only wanted to celebrate “the beauty of public space” and the great American bridge whose German-born engineer, John Roebling, died in 1869 on July 22, the day the white flags appeared.

That this lame commemoration lacks verve and complexity is annoying to me.

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