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New York State of Mind

December 4, 2009

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I was in New York and I had some time to kill. The trade show raged, and I could only take so much. It seems the business is more about buying new things than it is about what comes out of the new thing. I needed air. Walking with no particular direction in mind.
A man with a gun over there, telling me I got to beware. A guy in a tunnel guarding a bag of money. “Hey, can I shoot your picture?” A nod. One frame and I keep walking.

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I’m not sure if this is about keeping someone in, or keeping the rest of us out, but this place is wired. Caffeine, spirit, razor. There is so much of it you don’t even see it anymore.

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Obama. Everything coated in stickers, one on top of the other, and then notes and jabbering on top of that. The Joker. It took some time to do this, and I love the idea of someone stopping, in the midst of whatever they were doing, and saying, “I think I need to write on that.”

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Another pop icon, but ten feet tall. The Meatpacking District. I can’t believe how it has changed. Modernized, but also gentrified beyond recognition, which I think we call “progress.” I guess it is the same “progress” that we consider subdivisions ninety miles from a city center with no pubic transport.
There are still traces of the old place, the old feel, but they are reduced each day. Tourists don’t want to see blood on the street.
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Speaking of street. If these babies could talk. Man, the history here is remarkable, and no matter how much we try to wrap the steel and concrete in the banner of today, that history is always there, bubbling. Perfectly chipped rectangles. Talk about blood. From all sorts of beasts.
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The standard bird shot. I nail it just after I pass a guy peeing in a doorway. It’s odd how little pockets of the city are void of people during a work day. Just strange people and masses of birds eating unknown stuff.
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“Mind if I shoot your food?” “No, go ahead.” One snap, move on. I can feel an odd little package of images builiding in my head. Not that I will ever do anything with them, but I need to make them. A cleansing if you will. Too congested with the business of photography and not enough of the practical application.
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Even in the midst of the millions we are still alone, and there are places of quiet and solitude. Rain begins to fall, but the weather is hot. I’m sweating now, trying to stay dry, but already damp. I cram as much as I can into my shoulder bag. My camera fits in the palm of my hand.
I stop under an awning and watch as the clouds roll by.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2009 8:33 pm

    You should take more walks in NYC.. !

    • December 4, 2009 8:38 pm

      I wish I could. Instead I take walks in the Inland Empire.

      • December 5, 2009 5:46 am

        In 30 years photo exhibits of the Inland Empire will draw crowds, who will scratch their heads and wonder how this malignancy got out of hand and murmur about how beautiful it was 30 years ago. Will they be looking at your photos?

      • December 5, 2009 5:04 pm

        How you can not love “The Empire?” Will my photos survive the blast?

      • December 5, 2009 5:51 am

        Great, as always.

      • December 5, 2009 5:04 pm

        Merci Jeff.

  2. marcia finkelstein permalink
    December 5, 2009 12:52 am

    oysters. crazy.

  3. December 5, 2009 7:48 am

    Stunning and a great source of inspiration as always. Makes me a bit self-conscious to post my recent travels (Brussels, Dusseldorf and Melbourne) but I will. Btw, there are much more interesting places to takes walks than the valley of the dirt people. 😉

    • December 5, 2009 5:06 pm

      Sean, post away man. These pictures were, I think, more about getting out and shooting something, anything, as an exercise, than anything else. I’ve seen your stuff, nothing to be self-conscious about. Get it up and out amigo.

  4. David Wissinger permalink
    December 5, 2009 5:45 pm

    Technical interlude. You were using what film here? There seems to be an interesting combination of detail and grain in these images. I seem to get one or the other, not both.

    You had a very productive day after all with this set of images. Nice work, as always!

    • December 5, 2009 6:17 pm

      Tri-x film in an old Olympus point and shoot camera. Tri-x is the most popular black and white film in the world, and has a fantastic look. Not to mention it is also one of the most forgiving films out there, in terms of processing and exposure. Technically, there are other films that surpass Tri-x, but the overall look seems to transcend all that.

  5. Labastida Photos permalink
    December 5, 2009 6:18 pm

    he he, pigeons.

  6. December 6, 2009 8:41 pm

    Beautiful shots, this is why people put up with the insanity of the city…..but, wait a minute_An Olympus point and shoot? Where’s the Leica? And Olympus….? Did Amy make you sleep on the couch after that?

    • December 7, 2009 3:12 am

      Thanks man. Yep, a Stylus Epic, borrowed it for NY, but have since given it back. Back to Leica. Amy knew nothing.

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