The Little Things are Bigger than you Might Think they are.

My wife asks a lot of questions. At times I catch her reaching for another question as I’m still digging for the answer to her last one. The consistency of such is in competition with talking to me from the other room and forgetting to turn the volume back on the TV after she mutes it in order for me to answer the last, current or next question.

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And thought it might sound clique or even corny to some. I find that the little things are what make me happiest. I have a room of records, CD’s, DVD’s and collectibles that seem to grow on a daily basis. Computers, a 32′ inch flat screen, nice furniture and a new car. Yet, none of these things make me as happy as spending time with my wife, the way she holds my hand and thanks me for the most mundane things.

Butterfly-1                                                                                                                                                         When I look back at our trip to the zoo and the child like excitement that seeing goats,monkeys, wallabies and assorted wildlife brought me,  i’m reminded of just that.  Sure, I probably would have enjoyed going there on my own, but having her there by my side to share my childlike goofiness and excitement made it so much better.  So when she turns to me and asks “What makes you happy?” I’ll just have to aggravate her by responding with “you.”

 

 

Watermarking and Protecting your Work

After seeing several of my images used without permission, notification or credit on separate platforms in recent weeks, I’m seriously considering watermarking anything I share or post in the future. Nickle-1For quite some time now, I’ve been frustrated by the fact that individuals see no fault in taking and using someone’s work or personal property without at the very least, asking. For whatever reason, this has always been a music related issue for me. Bands, record labels, magazines and the what not perhaps thinking that someone else’s work is public domain. While it was a personal friend and professional photographer who, years ago, convinced me to stop watermarking my work, it was another who upon relaying my frustrations, asked me, why on earth I wasn’t.

Upon sharing some new watermarks with a friend and my ideas with my wife, I was told that someone might crop out my watermark if it was perhaps placed incorrectly, or that I might consider sharing small, grainy ones instead. Needless to say, it’s frustrating. While this could take some time, I feel that with some time and patient research, I’ll be using more watermarks to both protect my work and piss off the mother fuckers who take without asking. Below are some links to my recent discoveries.

A personal picture appears on the inlet.

Live shot used without my knowlege,

Another one of my images taken without permision.

A watermark I’ve used in the past.

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The Brixton Riot

 

Lessons Learned, or Completely Missed

IMG_3701As I recall. We were standing in the back yard of the home he and my Mother purchased when they were first married. At the time, my Dad had gone from having a steady city job driving a bus to a re-invented, self employed business man.

I recall being somewhat angry and showing some aggression towards my Father. Suddenly, perhaps understanding and wanting to quell my anger. My Father took my rather small hand in his, opened my clinched fist and placed a hollow point bullet (the same one you see pictured on the right.) without speaking a single word. While I didn’t quite understand its true meaning at the time and it’s come to mean a lot of things to me over the years. These days, I realize that he was trying to teach me that our anger, if not managed, can lead us down dark and dangerous paths.

While a short time in retrospect.,(maybe five or six years.) my Father may or may not have bent the rules of what some might consider legal. During that time, my experiences and the people I met along the way enabled me to see the world much differently from what I was being taught in Catholic school. It taught me that things are seldom black & white and that most situations contain a lot of grey areas. The things I experiences and exchanges I was given access to, taught me more than I would have ever expected. Til’ this day, more than thirty five years later, I still keep that hollow point on the end table by my side of the bed. It has never since see the chamber of a gun and surely never will. When I do pick it up and let it roll around in my palm, I often think of my Dad and that important part of our lives. The stories, the characters and the many things life taught me.

Hidden Treasure

Since I was a young boy, I’ve always been intrigued by old cars and trucks. Unlike some, many of my earliest memories don’t involve trips to Disney Land or rides on the merry-go-round with a parent looking on proudly documenting the moment on super 8 film. Not me, my most cherished memories involve my dad taking me to the junkyards just beyond Shea Stadium by Willets Point to find a part for his latest clunker or to exact a debt from someone who couldn’t cover the split on the recent prize fight or that week’s Football game. Those early trips to the unpaved roads and auto part graveyard, along with our treks to the train yards in Woodside, Queens would help shape my love of art, antiques, crate digging for records, antiques and finding the beauty in things others often leave behind. Here’s to seeking out, searching and finding those hidden treasures.

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Escaping Anger

Shortly after arriving home yesterday, I received an email notifying me that there was a package waiting for me in the buildings office. Knowing that in was probably the latest batch of records I ordered from my favorite music distributor, I raced downstairs before even bothering to put my shoes back on. Upon breaking the seal of a vinyl reissue of a cherished demo from the late 80’s. I was somewhat shocked and dismayed to see one of my photos within a collage of others from the time. Shocked, considering I didn’t know how the record label acquired it. Dismayed considering I was never approached, notified, credited or compensated for its use. Feeling angry and somewhat betrayed, I knew I needed to get some fresh air. Over time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and managing I’ve often found that physically removing myself from a situations can go a far way towards easing any stress, tension or anger I might find myself being overwhelmed by. Luckily, with a park, lake and bay just minutes away, I’m able to do so. The chance to practice my tai chi, breathing techniques and take a few pictures can often change a mindset. In being able to combine all three, the thought of someone using a picture I took about thirty years ago seems pretty insignificant in the overall scale of things.

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A Little Help from my Friend

When we arrived at the beach, I was amazed to see a stable of horses assembled on the sands just steps away from the ocean. It was my first trip to the Pacific Ocean since my last trip to Japan in 2012 and my first ever glance from the United States. The horse were bused from a local stable and were close to ending their work day by the time we arrived. While I was eager to capture some images before they began their sojuorn home. I couldn’t help but think how cool this image would look without the rope that kept them from rushing forward. Upon arriving home, I inspected the photos I took before reaching out to my old friend and neighbor. (The one who basically taught me everything I know.) and asked him to magically remove those barriers that hold us back. While we’re here, I’d feel remiss if I were not to include a link to his work. I’ve attached before and after images below as a link to Kevin’s photography, Here

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Before
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After

The Strength Within

A few years back during a visit to my gastroenterologist,  he told me that he was just sharing with his secretary how inspired he was by me and my ability to bounce back from each medical setback, emerging stronger and a bit more wiser. Being that I had been seeing him for an entirely different set of challenges for close tot fifteen years, he had seen me move from one health setback to another. While I was taken aside and visibly humbled by  his words, all I could come up with was some gibberish about how, after all these years of fighting, I was tired and I wasn’t to sure I wanted to fight anymore. Note that this was a few years prior to my latest discovery of another brain tumor and being diagnosed with a neurological disorder that has no cure or known treatment.

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Still, to this day, I find myself fighting and adjusting to meet new challenges. Truth is, we’re all a lot stronger than we’ll ever give don’t give ourselves credit for. No matter what a person, or doctor tells you. It can’t override your desire, strength or determination to make the most out of what you have.To be happy with what you do have or can do and not to be preoccupied with the things you don’t.