Kevin Warnock

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Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA

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Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA - picture 2

When I was 23 years old and a student at Brooks Institute, the scam for-profit photography college in Santa Barbara, California, USA where I spent three wasteful years, I had the incredible fortune to be photographed by one of the few students I thought was a good photographer.

Alice Marie Smith was not only the most attractive woman at Brooks, but her work stood out.

I had a crush on Smith, but I was too shy to do anything about it.

My how my life has changed over the years — my shyness has evaporated, and I can now approach even the most beautiful women wherever I encounter them, even at the grocery store or on the street or on public transportation.

I don’t recall how Smith asked me to model for her, but I do remember it was her idea — I did not ask her to photograph me. I was actually very surprised to be asked, since she was not in my class and we didn’t know each other well.

We did the shoot one evening in one of the deserted on campus school studios. That the studios were deserted in the early evening should tell you something about Brooks Institute and its students. A real educational institution would have been humming with activity well into the night like I routinely see at University of California Berkeley, where I volunteer.

Smith used a 35mm camera with infrared film, something I never tried, and something Brooks should have insisted every student try.

Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA - picture3

Smith gave me three lovely signed 11 x 14″ fiber based gelatin silver prints. I have kept these prints safe all these years, and yesterday I scanned them to present to my readers. The images are in perfect condition. I scanned these prints at between 300 and 600 dots per inch. Click on the pictures to see them at full size. You can see the distinctive grain pattern produced by 35mm infrared film.

In the second picture above and the picture below, I am wearing a green wool army surplus trench coat. My head is nearly completely shaved, as I was going for the punk rock — but not skinhead — look at the time.

In the first picture above I am wearing a Burberry brand tweed trench coat. This coat was surely quite costly new, probably over USD $1,000 in today’s dollars, like this one sold by Bloomingdale’s department store. I bought my Burberry coat at a thrift store for pennies on the dollar.

While at Brooks I took a self portrait of just my legs and feet, with a wingtip shoe on one foot and a combat boot on the other. I still have my feet in two worlds as you can learn from my writings on this blog. See that self portrait at the bottom of this post. This is also a scan of a silver gelatin fiber paper print. I still have the original 4 x 5″ negative, but I don’t have a film scanner. I do plan to scan many of my negatives once I get a scanner — I have hundreds of publication ready shots from when I shot film, and since many of my best shots were taken with a large format view camera, I will be able to present some very high resolution images.

Keep in mind that infrared film produces a dramatic but inaccurate rendition of subjects. These pictures make me look severe, but in reality I was not. I was fresh faced and cute back then, which was a good thing or I wouldn’t be so youthful looking today.

If you are considering attending a private for-profit art school, I implore you to forget it!

If you are already a student at a for-profit art school, drop out today without giving them another penny, and consider your already paid tuition the cost of a valuable life lesson.

If you have no idea what art school is like, watch the movie Art School Confidential, written by Daniel Clowes, who went to Lab School a couple of years ahead of me. I didn’t know Clowes while we were both at Lab, but I have met him several times, since he’s married to the cousin of my friend Mariana Cartwright.

I dropped out of University of California Los Angeles to go to Brooks — perhaps the biggest mistake of my life. It was such a mistake I periodically consider resuming my education there. Since I withdrew following the rules, I can resume classes at any time by filling out a one page form, according to a University of California admissions employee I am friends with. What’s keeping me from going back is that I am busy starting a new Internet company, and I just don’t have the time to spare right now. Once I establish my new company and I can turn over¬† management to employees, then I will probably go back. I hope that I go back. The energy I feel when I am on the UC Berkeley campus is infectious, and I am sure I would now appreciate UCLA far more than I did as a painfully shy 17 year old.

I did make some good friends at UCLA, including Jennifer Babineaux, who asked me to be her roommate our second year. I sure wish I had taken her up on that kind suggestion, for she probably would have talked me out of Brooks. Babineaux earned a 3.96 grade point average in high school, and is exceptionally smart. Babineaux got an MBA and later became Dr. Babineaux once she completed veterinary school at University of California Davis.

While I think of myself as a smart guy with a fair amount of wisdom, I know little compared to both my parents and my brother who got solid liberal arts educations and then went on to earn advanced degrees. My few years of education from a poorly regarded art school is laughable by comparison.

I believe I turned out shockingly well given my curtailed studies, and for this reason I can say conclusively that college or university is not a requirement for success.

Peter Thiel may be on to something — time will tell.

Kevin Warnock photographed by Alice Marie Smith in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA - picture-1

I have become a moderately good photographer, but that is not something Brooks may take credit for because my major was Color Technology, not portraiture or fashion. I taught myself how to photograph people well by taking tens of thousands of pictures after the per exposure cost of photography dropped to near zero with digital cameras. You can do the same. Taking good pictures of people is more a function of communicating with people, not technical details. Brooks spent almost no time emphasizing the interpersonal aspects of being a photographer. Frankly, their education was shameful, and I am glad they have had to pay millions in fines for their transgressions.

My neighbor Kevin Lee didn’t go to art school but he has established himself as a well paid and competent professional photographer, with an elite client list and a collection of camera equipment that is world class. He’s in his early 30s and has a long career ahead of him, without the crushing cost of an art school degree.

Self portrait by Kevin Warnock in 1986 at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California USA

Peligro plays The New Parish in Oakland, California, March 2, 2012

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Peligro playing at music venue The New Parish in Oakland, California USA, March 2, 2012. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Peligro playing at music venue The New Parish in Oakland, California USA, March 2, 2012. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

My good friend Willy Lipat used to play in Jungle Studs and in Sluglords, two interesting punk bands from San Francisco, California USA.

Lipat got to know many musicians in the punk scene.

Steve DePace and D.H. Peligro were two of the other four members in Jungle Studs, along with Tony Chatham and Freddy.

Unfortunately, I have been told that Chatham got too deep into drugs and alcohol and ruined his mind so severely that the last time I heard he is living at Laguna Honda Hospital, which I can see at night only when its lights are on through the trees outside my living room window, about a mile away. I’ve been told Chatham doesn’t remember even his own wife and two children, so I have not been to see him. I would like to visit Tony Chatham, so if his family finds this, please let me know if a visit would be appropriate.

I got to know DePace and Peligro in their Jungle Studs days because I was studying (aka wasting vast amounts of my family’s money) at Brooks Institute at the time, and photographed Jungle Studs for a class assignment. One of these days I will drag out my old 4 x 5″ Kodak Vericolor negatives and have them scanned so I can illustrate a post about Jungle Studs.

Chatham was fond of telling me that he had framed the photograph I took of Jungle Studs and displayed it over his bed.

Lipat is still friends with DePace and Peligro, and DePace even came to my house for my birthday in 2007, with Lipat.

I just learned last week that Steve DePace went to high school at St. Ignacious, an elite and costly private school in San Francisco. This makes perfect sense to me because DePace is a sharp guy who writes well. DePace seems to have taken on a leadership role in the vintage hard core punk rock scene. He organized a great concert March 2, 2012 at the Oakland, California music venue The New Parish. The other musicians thanked him over the public address system several times throughout the four band event. DePace was the only organizer thanked, so clearly DePace is the guy.

Steve DePace is the drummer for the influential punk band Flipper, founded in 1979. I wrote a blog post in February, 2012 about Flipper.

D.H. Peligro was the drummer for Dead Kennedys, my favorite punk band, during its heyday in the 1980s. Peligro briefly was a member of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, according to Peligro’s WikiPediA entry.

D.H. Peligro has his own band now, appropriately named Peligro. Peligro means ‘danger’ in Spanish. One word cool band names are rare these days, so I suspect Peligro is glad to have Peligro.

Peligro played March 2, 2012 at the DePace organized show at The New Parish. I was there with my good camera, at the invitation of Steve DePace.

Peligro has produced three recordings. Sadly, I am not familiar with any of them, so I can’t comment on them.

What I can comment on is that on March 2nd, Peligro looked healthy, strong, lean and powerful, both on stage and off. He appears to have the same physique he had when he posed in a loin cloth at Powell and Market Streets (the tourist center of the City) in San Francisco for the cover of their Jungle Studs debut record over 20 years ago.

By my calculations, D.H. Peligro is 51 years old. He’s just as bold with women as I remember him being years ago. For his Friday night performance, Peligro wore a Coca-Cola red t-shirt emblazoned in the Coca-Cola font in white that read ‘Enjoy Cock.’ What I wouldn’t give for Peligro’s supreme confidence. Peligro used to date gorgeous and frequently published models, and I would not be surprised if he still does.

Playing in a punk rock band looks tiring. Whatever position one has in a punk band, the intensity is generally at the top end of the spectrum. Frankly, I am in awe that Peligro still has the physical energy for this. At the Friday show, he was on fire, as you can see in these pictures, which I took with my Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 80-200mm L zoom lens on a tripod from the balcony.

Peligro has two other strong musicians that were also on fire on Friday.

I’m including video I shot of one song, to show you their musical energy. I spoke with D.H. after the show, and he remembered me which was flattering since I haven’t seen him in perhaps two decades, but I forgot to ask permission to post this video. I had permission from Steve DePace to capture video of Flipper. I had permission from the concert venue to be there capturing video. I simply don’t know if I had permission to capture video of the opening bands. D.H., if you’re reading this and would like me to remove the video clip, send me a message on Facebook. If you want me to photograph your band or just you, I would be honored to help out. Have a look at my work photographing people,¬†here.

Peligro playing at music venue The New Parish in Oakland, California USA, March 2, 2012. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Peligro playing at music venue The New Parish in Oakland, California USA, March 2, 2012. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

As is usual, I posted these pictures at full camera resolution of 21 megapixels. Click on them to see them at full size.

Here are two Peligro music videos I discovered while researching this post. Powerful stuff.

Peligro was nominated for a Grammy Award for his rendition of Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix, which you can see D.H. Peligro singing in the second video below.

Written by Kevin Warnock

March 4th, 2012 at 8:43 pm