Sunday, May 31, 2009

brilliant haze

It was so humid on Sunday before memorial day it rained just out of spite. Lauren was so sweet and calm it put me at ease. Then I got amazing images through the thick of the hot air. Everyone was so happy and kind I made friends along the way.

Lauren's mom is an artist and appreciated my "acrobatics to get the shot". Lauren's uncle is a fellow Pratt grad, so I felt right at home. Especially at Bolingbroke, which I enjoy shooting from every angle. Leigh connects me with couples spring, summer and fall. There is always something in bloom and plenty of magical nooks so my images look different every time. Happy dancing thanks to Tom Barrett - check out the cute baby promo shot! The bold move to make seafood the main attraction was a winner - salmon, swordfish and scallops - what a treat from Perfect Setting.

Lauren and John were incredibly patient while I juggled several cameras - payoff! I love this image with the medium format camera, it has the ethereal light that makes you feel the love.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

that was then

dumbo (down under the manhattan bridge...overpass - redundant)
circa 1997

I first came upon this place on a bike ride when I was still living in ft. greene and had no idea where I was. That summer I had the fortune of staying in the Heights for 2 weeks while I looked for a new apt. I found a sign on a wall for a roommate needed.

looking out from our roof to an empty lot now filled with fancy condos where busta rhymes lives (according to a source). I used to cool off up here on hot summer nights and listen to the din of distant traffic before passing out in my room on the second story of our huge space with no windows or a/c

probably a yoga studio where tires once lay

heidi came to live with me (and mike who was rarely in shared spaces) and brought a retro kitchen table and chairs from a "tag sale" (she was from massachusettes). I miss Heidi, she disappeared into boston...

have roof access, will make art


in 2009, 65 jay street is too rich for my blood

Friday, May 22, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

text only

I had a fun and heartwarming weekend in New York for a self-directed 10 year reunion for Pratt Institute. Some kind of magic came together so that I could see all of my friends within the same weekend and take long walks in charming weather. Thanks for the drinks, meals, special discount, and best of all - lodging! I laughed so hard at Alex's stories of the freshman dorm that my eyes teared and my stomach ached.

The $1 bus dropped me off in chinatown, close to the brooklyn bridge. There are so many helpful signs now to direct you to the bridge, which probably explains the dense foot traffic I don't remember from the past. Or, it could be that I was the nut job flying by in the bike lane chastising meandering tourists to stay on their side of the line.

My first shock upon descending the bridge to dumbo was seeing a friendly map of the area. And people walking the streets. I used to be able to stuff all my laundry into the duffel bag I got as a high school graduation present, sling it over my back and bike up hill to the laundromat in the heights. Now it takes an hour to get into the unmarked posh restaurant of the moment.

This was only the second year of the dumbo photo fest, so they're still working out the kinks, but it was still impressive to descend upon new york's new photo district. Soho and later Chelsea, never appealed to me - especially b/c the photo exhibits were few and far between. In fact, once I got through the photo exhibit at MOMA today, Lynda and I used the other exhibit spaces for portrait sessions - I knew she wanted her photo in front of the pink wall and I had to get her next to a sculpture with fluorescent lights that made a reflection on the shellacked gallery floor (the guard didn't notice I backed into "art" by accident as I was framing Lynda in the camera).

After one of the artist talks on Friday, Carey and I took in the late day glow over the river. As a student and resident of new york, I never walked around with a camera. a) I thought I'd get mugged b) I was too shy to do anything. As a visitor, I gleefully accepted my role and in shooting around the park came upon the cutest red heads. One was 5, swinging from a tree, and the other was 3, wishing he could do everything his big brother could do. Their mom was gracious (and flattered) as I egged them on to goof off for the camera.

As I like to remind Alex, long gone are the days we walked these ghost-like streets only to be approached by a lone merchant selling stolen cds in a small cardboard box. This is certainly a better reality, however it could not prepare me for finding a reclaimed-wood furniture showroom where the entrance to my old warehouse used to be. It used to have a shaftway with a dangling cord to operate the crude pulley system. On late nights I'd toss my bike in the wooden crate on a chain so I wouldn't have to haul it up four flights on my shoulder. In 1997 I paid $300/month. Those were the good old days.

I even got an unsolicited critique of my blog over dinner from my friend Rick (excuse me, Professor Richard) so I'm trying his suggestion of all text or all photography, rather than mixing the two. I agree that words and images should be separate, especially since the photography should speak on its own. It seems easier to take a photo than write a story; however, come to think of it - viewers go off in their own directions when they look at a photograph, whereas words give an author more control to direct the audience. Rebuttals welcomed.

The following evening, Alex and I took in the sunset over the bridge while exchanging our processes for coping with the realities of putting one's artwork out in the world. We push ourselves too hard, doubt too much and feel exhausted, but in rare moments of clarity, appreciate how far we've come, how much we are able to offer.

After the MOMA and before I had to catch the bus back to Philly today, Lynda and I walked south on broadway looking down, not up at the buildings. After last night's rain we were determined to find a decent puddle w/o trash and motor oil to shoot reflections of city life. And just as my first night in Manhattan as a freshman with the whole world in front of me, I walked and walked until I found the empire state building. I didn't go up this time, but I hope I got a good shot. Shooting film again means waiting to see what happens.

I finished off my film back in Philly while I waited for the local train to get me home to Mt. Airy. I didn't have time to wind the film and remove it from the camera so I hurried to the station and pulled it out once I was seated. A man sitting across the aisle was so excited to talk about my medium format camera I gave in. I could tell he was a real fan, not just trying to impress me. But he did - turns out he met Avedon at a party in '77. The photos he showed me on his pocket-sized digital camera included cloudscapes in a parking lot. I always want to photograph the sky in parking lots because it's the only open space in the city, but it seems too sad. Now I'll have to keep my pocket digital with me for those moments. I tend to only goof around with the little digital or lug around the "tank" but I think I'll start doing both because you can't go hiking with the heavy artilery, but why not take it on the way to the grocery store?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

longwood gardens

it's the return of the film camera - we're all revolting against digital back to our love of the mystery. my particular return includes the additional limitation of only 12 frames on a roll of square film, the requirement of a hand-held light meter and awkwardness of a heavy box with images that show up backwards in the glass. i love it.