These two photos were taken a day apart and both times I was responding to the combination of color, light, texture and shadow. They evoke similar feelings for me and that is why I am sharing them together.
Last week’s school vacation afforded me the opportunity to spend time in the City with a very special visitor from Boston, my friend Emma. In our short evening together, I set out to show her some of my favorite small details that often go unnoticed or unappreciated in the hustle of city life. We started out on the N train from Brooklyn, so that Emma could see the animation art in the subway tunnel by Bill Brand. It is best seen from the Q train, but we took what we could get from the N. We were determined, with destinations in mind. Namely, Prada SoHo and Rockefeller Center. We rode over the bridge in the late afternoon sunlight. The view always takes my breath away.
Upon arrival in SoHo, and after the purchase of one $6.00 Canal Street infinity scarf, we strolled Broadway. We saw jeans with a unicorn print, jeweled eyelashes, and more styles of UGG boots than I knew existed. And then there was Prada. Walking through the door is like walking into another world. The extravagance of the brand aside, the building‘s architecture is stunning and it did not surprise me to learn that the space had previously been the location of the Guggenheim’s SoHo location. Not one to ever set foot in a high end store, I was further surprised to find myself appreciating the beauty of the products, which almost seemed like works of art. If there had not been very proper Prada employees at every turn, I imagine I could spend all day in that store taking photos.
From one beautiful building to another. We headed to midtown to experience Rockefeller Center. Secretly, or not so secretly, both Emma and I were wishing for a chance run-in with Liz Lemon, or at least Kenneth. No such luck. But we happily proceeded to the Top of the Rock anyway. 67 floors up and a little queasy, we found ourselves in another magnificent building. This one was all art deco glory. I was almost sad we had lost the daylight with with to see some of the building details…
But then there was this. And I fell in love with New York all over again. Whether we looked through the viewfinders or not, what a way to see the city. And what a way to watch others see the city. And especially, what a way to watch Emma see the city. An evening that began with me thinking about how I would show Emma New York ended with me feeling grateful to Emma for showing me New York. If it was not for her, I may not have ever gone to Prada SoHo or Top of the Rock. And I am so glad I did. Thank you, Emma.
My arrival in New York coincided with my acquisition of a smartphone. I quickly began documenting my experience of New York using the camera phone and the Retro Camera application. For a while the camera phone felt like an extension of my eye and I created a series of photos meant to show others how I see New York. Others have become used to discovering, ten steps later, that I have stopped to take a photo (I usually give no warning when the urge strikes) of something that most might walk by, unnoticed. I want to breathe life into these little pieces of the City, make them into something different all together. I am excited by color, and by the abstractions and patterns that are created by getting close.
I like the Retro Camera application because it replicates the effect of film and it’s accompanying nostalgia. Now that I have begun to shoot film again, I have noticed that I have been taking far less camera phone photos. It just doesn’t compare with the real thing. This will probably change in June, when I will be able to switch from an Android phone to an iPhone (counting the months!) and have a wider range of photo applications available to me.
I shared the photos from this project with friends on Facebook and I am working on ways to share them with a larger audience- posting them here being one. As I learn how to blog, I am trying to figure out a way to have the whole series on another page of this blog (hence you see the In New York link at the top of the blog.) Once I figure it out, I will let you know. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the above preview!
Welcome! This blog has been over a year in the making, but it turns out all that time wasn’t really necessary. I was waiting. Waiting to know exactly what this would be, to have it all figured out. I was worried that it would not be perfect. I don’t know what it will be, it is not figured out and it will never be perfect, but I will never do it if I wait for all of those conditions to be met. So here I am. I am just doing it. And it will evolve into what it is supposed to be over time.
Last May, my apartment was broken into and several of my cameras were stolen. At that point I was mostly using a Canon Digital Rebel XTi to take photos. The bright side of the break-in is that it has reignited my passion for film photography. I borrowed my friend’s Pentax K-1000 wish a 50 mm lens and I was off and running. The photos you see above were taken in the upper portion of Central Park on an unseasonably warm December day. We started at the Discovery Center on 110th Street and meandered through the Conservatory Garden, around the reservoir and down to the Swedish Cottage and the Shakespeare Garden. It was great to experience some time for quiet reflection in the middle of Manhattan. The perfect end to the day was a stop at Fatty Crab for some steamed pork buns.