Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Crisp Morning

We have been slogging through some wet weather and soggy conditions in New York and on the east coast, which have been coloring my mood and I suspect that of many folks -- and having just come through Hurricane Irene last weekend.   As I was looking through some images this evening, I stumbled upon this photograph taken on a chilly January morning -- the last day of January in fact -- in 2010.  There was a cool crispness in the air and a feeling of promise which greeted me as I stepped out onto the street that day.  Given the weather conditions and what seems to a rather pervasive gloominess in abundance of late,  I found myself very drawn to this image tonight, and the feelings I had that morning which prompted me to take it.  Perhaps it will stimulate a similar hopefulness in others too.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Wisdom of Children

This photograph was taken in Haiti last October.  I was there working on a series of short documentary films related to water safety and conditions in general.  We had been filming in an area called Fond Brache which was up in the hills and had been particularly hit hard by the earthquake in January of 2010.  The area is also extremely susceptible to flooding from Haiti's persistent rains.  This girl and several of her friends were intensely curious about our work, and playfully followed us as we moved with camera and sound equipment across some complicated terrain.   We felt welcomed and uplifted by them.  There was also an intensity to her gaze and knowing smile which was quite powerful, and to which I couldn't help but be drawn to visually.   Towards the end of our filming, she and several of her friends sang for us.  While we did not understand the words at the time, when I was back in New York editing, I had the Creole translated and the lyrics were entirely about children being the future of a country, and how we need to both protect and invest in them, otherwise we will regret.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Traveling without Moving

I have for some time now been photographing almost daily from my north facing window which looks out on a series of older office and industrial buildings just north and east of my Chelsea vantage point. The buildings slope upwards in layers which create a gradual delineation of foreground, middle ground, and towering commandingly in the background is the imposing presence of Manhattan's Empire State building. At different times of day, seasons and light conditions the familiar scene has almost an infinite capacity for change and visual wonder. A friend of mine calls this "traveling without moving."

I often think of the experience watching and photographing these varying conditions as observing a mountain range or the sky changing in the american west......where subtle differences start to reveal themselves over time and steady and continued observation yields surprising rewards. Only here the low lying buildings just east of 8th Avenue are my foothills, the brown and grey industrial offices of the flower and garment districts, my mountains, and the Empire State building, a distant peak with the ability to rival McKinley, Kilamanjaro or Fuji with its many moods and faces. The street immediately north of my window, West 24th Street is also one of the few curving roads in Manhattan, and in it's serpentine flow one can easily see a river below the foothills.

I enjoy this mental game and take great pleasure in each day's discovery of this visually fertile terrain.

When I was a teenager just beginning to play with a camera as a serious hobby, one of the first photography books I was given was Ruth Orkin's, "A World through my Window." Years later when I actually met Ruth and had a chance to peak through her famous window, I remember being in awe by the photographer's ability to capture and make apparent that which unfolds around, and passes by us each and every moment. A visual language which has the ability to uplift and inspire even through seeing the mundane in new ways. Perhaps I am remembering that feeling a bit with each of these photos.