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New Image: Rope-a-dope, San Diego, CA

Another image shot last year….

I had arranged with a police detective to go shooting in the San Diego area. I have never shot alleys at night with a cop, and so it seemed like it was going to be the most carefree shoot since I started this series in the early 90’s. Unfortunately he bailed on me at the end, and instead it became another night of constantly looking over my shoulder.

Alley no. 124, Rope-a-dope (2008, San Diego, CA, 11pm)


Leaving on a jet plane

I’m off to Chicago for the 57th Street art festival…………….


Web site changes

My web site is getting a thorough re-do.

The new blog section needs some tweaking to its layout. Also, as a result of the new site architecture, most of the older blog images are not viewable. This will eventually be repaired, but will take some time.

My many Alley stories will be uploaded to a new section: “Mobile/Alley Text”, which will also serve as a way to view the alley images on a mobile phone. Eventually the Crystals and Bugs will be accessible with mobile phones. The current slideshows use Flash, which don’t work on these phones.

And I’ve added a Price and Press section, which will get fleshed out in the coming weeks and months.

Sorry for any glitches you may encounter for now… but I’m excited about the many changes!

  1. Mel 6.7.09 / 8am

Xavier, I loved your stuff yesterday @ the fair…I didn’t spend too much time @ your booth, so I didn’t notice if you had any insect pictures w/you but I love these even more!! I’m an animal lover & a bit of an animal rights activist, eat mostly vegetarian, and yet I think nothing of ruthlessly slaying any insect that dares to enter my home. The last time I went to kill a spider, I really saw for the 1st time how it was running in fear from me, and it got me thinking…Your pics really brought these lovely critters to life (even the dead ones were so solemn & dignified). There IS beauty everywhere. Thank you for doing what you do!

  1. X6.7.09 / 6pm

Thanks Mel! My bug series had a strange affect on me too… when I started shooting these extreme close ups of mangled bugs, I would have horrible nightmares. This went on for a while but I persisted and eventually I, like you, started feeling great empathy toward these little creatures.

  1. Lucky Camargo6.9.09 / 8am

I had the opportunity of meeting you breifly in Chicago at the 57th street Art Fair. You are my favorite artist. I was so taken aback by your photography. I think what excited me so much about the images of dilapidated areas you captured is how I grew up in not so picture perfect places like those in your pictures and have found a different way of viewing them…as an artform. Your work is striking.

  1. Tom 6.11.09 / 12pm

It was nice meeting you here in Chicago last weekend. I’m Mark from Milwaukee’s friend. I do a lot of shooting in abandoned places as well, I’d love to share some of my work with you sometime.

Again, it was a pleasure meeting you and I hope our paths cross again soon.

  1. X6.15.09 / 4pm

Hi Tom, I’d be happy to see your work…

  1. Ian Bines Photography6.4.09 / 11pm

love the natural element to your photo’s and just love your work in general, enjoyed looking through your page, your use of light is amazing…keep up the great work. ian

  1. X6.5.09 / 7am

Thanks Ian!

  1. Tatjana 6.7.09 / 1am

LOVE it! It almost reminds me of the Mare Island shot.. like, if it were taken from the other side.


New Image: Lower Wacker, Chicago, IL

This was shot last year with my friend John Keith in Chicago’s Lower Wacker Drive, a massive cavity that runs under the city like the batcave. It was built in 1926 largely for commercial traffic and as such is brimming with old loading docks, business back doors and other interesting architectural details. In recent years, the city started cleaning up, fixing up and modernizing most of this underground street, as it had crumbled significantly over the many years of heavy use. John and I parked and explored this fascinating area, finding there’s still much that is untouched.

Alley no. 123, Lower Wacker (2008, Chicago, IL, 11:30pm)

  1. randall grant5.30.09 / 10am

when I was a kid I used to like this movie called cooley high which I think was made in the early 70’s. I think a car chase scene in the film is set in wacker here’s the pertinent clip:

  1. X5.30.09 / 10am

Thanks for the post Randy. I’ve never seen Cooley High, but heard great things about it…. I looked at the video but it doesn’t look like Lower Wacker Dr. It looks like a big warehouse, followed by them driving on the tracks of the L Train. Definately Chicago!

  1. randall grant5.30.09 / 11am

I think you’re right. I’m confusing it with the final car chase from the Blues Brothers. That warehouse in cooley high is so huge. mind you in chicago they do everything on a big scale. did you know that in 1856 the entire city was raised 4 feet using jacks and that they reversed the flow of the chicago river ? it used to flow into lake michigan. now it flows inland. huge engineering feats.

  1. X5.30.09 / 11am

WOW!! no didn’t know that. I’ll have to read the details.

  1. Tatjana 7.20.09 / 2am

When are you in California again? I totally need a print of this in my bedroom. Lovelovelove it.

  1. X7.20.09 / 7am

Thanks Tatjana! I’m in CA now, in the Bay Area, but I have no shows scheduled for here or LA. Sorry. I’ll let you know when I do…


Point Reyes National Seashore

Mark Twain once famously said: “The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.” I went to Point Reyes National Park, 30 miles north of San Francisco, for 4 days of hiking and camping with Pam this weekend and damn was it cold!! with temperatures dropping into in the 40’s!! Nevertheless, the sites were stunning. The mountains along the coast are shrouded in fog much of the day this time of year, creating a mossy enchanted forest with incredible views of the ocean. Here are a few of the pictures from the trip:


Good times, Bad times

In the morning, CBS news in Indianapolis, WISH-TV, interviewed me about my Alley images. Ironically I told the reporter, Jill Ditmire, that although I went into some dangerous places around the country, Indianapolis was a peaceful place for me to work. Ha, Ha! Then later in the afternoon, the show judges at Broad Ripple presented me with an award, which was great. Last year at the Broad Ripple show, I also won an award, but a bizarre (and this time comical) series of events got me into a different kind of jam leading me to almost show up late for the festival.

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