I spend a lot of time thinking about the kind of pictures I’d like to take. As someone who became interested in taking pictures in his teens, but didn’t own an SLR until his mid twenties. While debatable, I’d say photography has become the greatest passion in my life. As someone who made his name as a music photographer, built a strong portfolio as a studio photographer and worked continuously on a project called “Left Behind”. I feel that I’m always dedicating whatever spare time I have to learning, testing and putting new projects to work. It wouldn’t be overstating if I said it was. While my time on the East Coast offered an abundance of beautiful sunsets. Living in Seattle, an area with many lakes, bays and waterways at every turn. I have long imagined myself waking up in the early hours and driving to a spot where I can watch the sun rise.
It happens sometimes. You go to a club or music venue to see your favorite band and there are four to five bands you’ve never heard of playing before them. Some of those bands will knock you on your ass, opening the doors to becoming the next band you give your heart to. Then there are the ones that make you second guess why you ever left the house in the first place. Over the years I’ve seen my share of bands that left scratching my head, covering my ears or imagining myself as a machete wielding harbinger of death to shitty bands across the planet.
You can often remedy that disdain by heading out for some much needed fresh air, hitting the bar or merch table. Or, if you’re like me. Document that shit. I’m often surprised at how I can manage to get a quality shot of a band I dislike or absolutely hate. Sometimes a good shot can go a long way to erase the memory of a bad experience and in the end, make it all worth while. And remember, while you might not like a bands sound, music or personality. There’s always going to be those that do.
As a certified old curmudgeon. I admittedly have a big fat stack of pet peeves. You know, those little things that get under your skin, torture your soul and make you want to shout out loud. “Get off my fucking planet.” Well, when it comes to pet peeves, eating on the train is pretty high up on the list. While public displays of gluttony and disobeying basic rules while thumbing your nose (and any boogers that might be clogging up your senses) at common sense principles might be traits some folks look for in their future soulmate. Personally, I find it disgusting. It’s something I witness on a daily basis. Something that goes beyond and race, regional, social or economic boundaries. People literally eating amongst disease carrying rats. Yuck! Okay, I know my rant won’t change a thing, but it might inspire my “Humans of New York” inspired coffee table book “Don’t eat where others shit.” Todays morning ride featured this very attractive rider who, before ripping in to her noodle salad, managed to down an entire hoagie without getting any mayonnaise stains on her blouse. My guesstimate is, she dines here regularly. I’m just glad she didn’t notice the sign before she sat down.
I was on the way to the Film Forum in the west village when I came across this simple, yet powerful statement someone had spray painted on the wall. While I’ve made it a habit to carry my camera with me at all times. However, with my sole purpose of heading in to the city for a flick with some friends. It seemed less than necessary. With my iPhone 6 being my only option. I snapped this and quickly continued my walk to the theatre. While I’m not one to usually support public vandalism. The message itself felt important, vital and timely. My message here, if any, is to document your surroundings, your travels and your experiences. They’ll change over time. That snapshot might come in handy one day.
As I began to plan my route back home last night I ran into more than several dead ends and locked fences. Feeling a bit worn and self aware that I wasn’t exactly walking through territory that saw much heavy foot traffic. The rocky, uneven and muddy ground below me had already began to take it’s tole on my new pair of Nike’s and a slight sense of paranoia had start to set in. Weary of being sighted by any construction foreman’s or pulled over by the authorities. My pace quickened as my eyes widened searching for an opening in one of the fences. As the night grew dark and my path became more like an obstacle course. I kept my eyes close to the ground. That’s when I found buried treasure just below the muddy terrain. Without wasted breath I leaned forward, scooped up a couple and headed towards home. The experience quickly reminded me of my elementary school days when my friends and me would explore the train yards of Sunnyside Queens looking for buried treasure. While I may not be hoping any fences or climbing up on roofs these days. The explorer in me is still alive and well.
Living in Hoboken for a good ten years. My lazy, nothing ever happens before coffee, ass managed to capture just a handful of sunrises. That said, the sun coming up over Manhattan is a sight worth capturing again, again and again. Since moving to Jersey City however, I’ve come to appreciate sunsets in new and endlessly creative ways. In my first weeks and months here. I would climb up on the construction side of RT. 139, 9 and the Pulaski Bridge to watch the sun set over the nearby Kearny factories. It was, in a sense, the start of my daily meditation ritual. My moment to breathe and release the days stress and anxiety. After a long winter with very little sun to rise or set. During those dark days, I promised myself not to take for granted the little things that make life worth living. So tonight I took a long walk west on Newark Ave. towards the setting sun. Despite the endless string of automobiles noisily passing from both directions. I felt a sense of peace and solitude. Along the way I found some new angles and vantage points to capture the sunrise. And while it’s hard to avoid taking the same picture over and over. I’ve got plenty of time to try new things. Keep chasin’.
I’ve lived in New Jersey for twelve years now and in that time, done my share of driving. Wherever my travels take me, be it far or near. I always find myself feeling enamored with the factories, railroads and industrial sculptures that feel somewhat out of reach to a driver speeding down the interstate. Whether I’m driving alone or with a sidekick. The thought of pulling over or taking the next exit to seek out the adventures that often tease me to look deeper. That said, the thought is often just that. The facts that I’m usually on my way to something and driving at speeds that will most likely warrant a summons often postpone my urges to explore. Add to that, the areas that intrigue me the most are off limits and often patrolled by very suspicious security and or folks who call 911 as if it came with a free pizza.
So after moving to an area that was essentially surrounded by the same things that have intrigued me for years. I decided to take it upon myself to seek out those elusive treasures on foot. The risk of going out with a camera and photograph what is basically private property definitely has it’s risks. I learned this early on when I was innocently out shooting for a portfolio titled “Left Behind”. During that time I was confronted, chased by security guards and even detained by police as a possible terrorist suspect. Despite the possibilities of arrest and possible bodily harm. I find the rewards far outweigh the risks. It’s something I’ve been drawn since my pre – K days when my Father would bring me to the junk yards that lay just beyond Shea Stadium.
Till tis day, I find myself drawn to explore the factories, railroads and industrial centers more and more. And while I’d never recommend trespassing or breaking the law. I whole heartedly support following and documenting the things you love. Get out there, find it and document it. The world is yours.