Revisiting my time as a film photographer in Hell’s Kitchen.

Looking back, I’d say my journey as a photographer began during my early days in Hell’s Kitchen. Though I had been fascinated with taking pictures since my teens. It wasn’t until I was occupying a one-bedroom in the heart of the west midtown area of Manhattan that my then boss gave me his old Nikon EM SLR along with some film and a couple of photo books that my hobby turned into an obsession. I quickly began documenting my surroundings while graduating from one-hour photo chains to professional printing services such as Duggal and B&H. Within a short time, the towels and sheets that fit neatly in my apartment linen closet were displaced by boxes of photos and trays of slides. My trips to places like Duggal and B&H quickly quadrupled. From my eight years in Hell’s Kitchen to my married life in New Jersey and Washington state. My passion and obsession for photography never waned. My need for living space grew, and the number of photo boxes, enlargements, and ane studio gear morphed. Quickly realizing less is more, I used the premise of moving to digitize all those negatives, slides, photo boxes, and albums before tossing them in the garbage.

As I begin to get the digitized photos back, I can see the vast progress I’ve made over the years. Kicking myself, in a sense, for holding on to the past for so long. Undoubtedly, many photos accurately documented the time and people. Most of it, unfortunately, was junk. Luckily though, there were a few that jogged some serious memories. Photo’s that still show a measure of intent and purpose.

Taken on 48th street and 10th avenue shortly after a snow storm. You can hopefully see the emphasis on the reflections the puddles give. You should also get a rare view of a traffic-free New York City street. Not bad for a photo I took more than twenty-five years ago.

My Day at Photography Explorers. AKA Teaching New Kids Old Tricks.

Earlier today I went back to my old neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen for my first day of teaching 5th and 6th graders the art of Black & White photography. I’ve been a volunteer with NY Cares for about a year now and in all honesty, it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Throughout most of the year I’ve been volunteering with  the Hudson Guild in Chelsea. Hudson Guild offers underprivileged first, second and third graders a place to go after school. Helping with their homework and art projects has been lots of fun. I myself and not much of an artist and having a six year old make fun of your skills with the crayons, scissors and glue can be pretty damaging to the ego.      Photography Explorers, however, is right up my alley. I had a great time and loved working with the kids. I plan on becoming a regular and will be bringing the portable studio to the next session. Teaching them about portraiture should be a lot of fun. Judging from all the characters I met today. We should have a lot of good pictures.

He was everyone's favorite model and a pretty cool kid.

One of the Students using an SLR (mine) for the very first time. P.S. That's me.

Who you be beemin' at?

All Smiles

While all the rest of the kids were using point and shoots. I had mine borrow my SLR.

One of the regular volunteers.

Allison (L) and King (R) with one of the students.