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Merry New Year!

This image is from one of my most chaotic and fun New Years… The now defunct Montreal Daily News sent me and my friend Gerry Wagschal to Amsterdam in 1990 for New Years travel coverage. Needless to say, we had a blast (no pun intended)

Have a fantastic 2009!


moco loco

I just learned that my Alley series was selected as one of moco loco’s top ten art picks of the year.

moco loco is a leading web magazine of modern and contemporary art and design (up to a million hits monthly). They’ve been featured in Time magazine and The New York Times.

Happy Christmas!

A winter wonderland photograph (with bonus Christmas colors!!)… shot on a night of freezing rain in Montreal, 1985


Is this not Christmas Cheer?

December 23, 2008

Mr. Nuez,

I have been duped! In 2001, you sold me what I was led to believe was a rare print of alley #3 (shot in 1993).

Now I see from your website blog that what I really possess is in fact an almost worthless copy of alley #43 (1998): easily the most reproduced image in the world, available on millions of postcards, t-shirts, and souvenir mugs !

As North America’s foremost collector of early 35 mm Nuez I am outraged !!! All of London is laughing at me. But mark my words I will have the last laugh. You will be hearing from my solicitor ! I intend to recuperate every last centime of the 20,000 swiss francs I paid you when we met in St. Moritz. You can keep your medium format 120 mm print. Maybe you could turn it into placemat or a tacky tote bag.

And don’t try to contact me directly. I have entrusted the resolution of this sordid affair to the firm of Blythe, Winterbottom, and Paisley.

Good day Sir,

Randall Grant, esq.


Dear Mr Grant,

As the person responsible for what I had hoped would be a discreet fraud, I am now forced to fabricate some kind of elaborate excuse.

After my dog ate the original 35mm slide, I fell into a deep funk. The Viennese doctors who studied my case made it clear my life was in jeopardy. The solution prescribed was to go back to the same location (now 6 yrs later) and reshoot the image. Had I not done this, the doctors would have beat me up, and I feared this. How could I disappoint them after all the money I had given them? Do you now see the predicament I was in??

Yours always, Xavier Nuez


Mr. Nuez,

explanation accepted. lawsuit withdrawn.



In case you haven’t figured it out, Randy is a close friend


More early images

I’m in Ann Arbor, MI for the holidays, spending time with friends and the in-laws, and looking at some of the old images I scanned recently…

Before my Alley series began in earnest, in the early 90’s, I had already been shooting at night for many years. In 1984 (I was 19), this old, dead tree had piqued my interest for many months. One night I made a trip to the tree, which stood on someone’s front yard in a very wealthy neighborhood, and in front of a very busy street. The medieval-inspired branches were almost invisible in the night, against the sky. I had just started using my flash at night, and so I pulled it out. Running up the steps, I quickly flashed the branches, knowing the residents of the house might see me… It was the first time I had created an image that resembled something from the Alley series today.

Ere, 1984, Montreal



Here is another old street photo, shot in Morocco, 1991. I stayed with a family in this neighborhood for a week. There was a boy my age in the family, Safi, who I hung out with, but if we were walking down the street, he would walk on the other side, for fear of being labelled an illegal tour guide by the police. The penalty was time in jail and a beating. Of course it was impossible to maintain this distance at all times, and one day while we’re talking, an unmarked van squeals to a halt next to us and 2 police come out, grab Safi, and throw him in the back, where others “criminals” are sitting and waiting . Every one of them looks petrified. I had to scream and plead with the police, lying to them that Safi’s sister was wife to my brother. After an incredibly long exchange between all of us, they decide in the end to let Safi stay.


Street photography

I have hundreds of images in slide or negative format that I need to scan. These are images from 10-20 years ago. I finally sat down and scanned a handful of slides today…

For years almost all I did was B&W candid street photography. My most inspiring photographers are still the B&W documentary photographers from the 40’s and 50’s - Henri-Cartier Bresson and Robert Frank in particular.

But here’s one of mine (in color, since I’m scanning slides), shot in Paris in 1991.


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