After an already full day in Baltimore. We made a final stop at Graffiti Alley, which is located in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District directly behind the Motor House. It somehow reminded us of a miniature version of Long Island City, NY’s “Five Points.” (R.I.P.) Awash with colors and ripe with the smell of newly created art. We made sure to taking our time to soak it all in. As someone who grew up in graffiti culture and always admired what kind of messages would come from a can of Krylon. It energized me. Seeing that someone was using the name that I once tagged up with was just candles on my cake.
Prior to this mornings workout, I headed up to the roof deck to get a different view of the cloud coverage I wake up to on more than a regular basis. I manged to get a few shots in before my scheduled time at the gym. With Covid-19 still raging and our travels more restricted. It seems that more and more time is spent closer to home. For sanity sake, I’m doing everything possible to stay safe, busy and artful. I hope you all do the same.
Earlier today, we viewed a couple of condos in the Seattle neighborhood know as Belltown. We really love the area and feel comfortable there as it is just a few blocks from the apartments we were temporarily housed in when we first came to Seattle. I was lucky enough to take these two images while waiting to be taken or resuming our tour of the building. The one on the left was taken while trying to find the parking spot our unit would provide. ( I kind of dig the ghostly Inspector Gadget vibe it gives off. The black & white image on the right was taken in the lobby, showing how the entrance and the mail room are cleverly separated from one another.
When I got up to go to the bathroom before leaving the Starbucks headquarters located in the SODO area of Seattle, my wife looked up at me and laughed before asking “Are you going in there to take pictures?” I frowned as if to I was reacting to some ridiculous question from a half out of her mind crazy lady. “Pffft” I quickly replied as I rolled my eyes before wandering towards the facilities. Though relieving myself before the ride home was my key reason for my sudden departure. My wife’s knowledge of how incredibly predictable I can be, had me reaching towards my back pocket to ensure I was indeed carrying my iPhone.
When you enter a room, whether it’s a cheap hotel, a lavish ballroom, someones living room or a bathroom. You are sure to get a sense of what went into the thought process and overall design. Bathrooms are by far the most overlooked when it comes to proving anything more than the basics. However, when you walk into one where you can tell a lot of thought and artful attention went into creating a space that is often overlooked when it comes to art. So after making my deposit, thoroughly washing and drying my hands. I took a moment to capture an image of the sink that extended throughout like a brook and the lighted mirrors that adorned the wall above. Note the contrast and shadows disabling the flash gave me.
I took this one today while admiring the cool little nooks and crannies of SODO Seattle’s downtown Starbucks headquarters. Just a reminder that, no matter where you go, there’s always an opportunity to be creative.With just a little post editing in lightoroom, I added some texture by slightly adjusting the contrast, shadows and highlights of a picture I took with my phone.
If you’re not into garbage strewn streets and unkempt property. My usual route home from the train is dull city. S0 0ver time I’ve devised different ways to not only get home, but to explore areas that I’ve yet to really crack. One of those routes lies just across the railroad tracks, about a block or two from the main area called Little India. One one of this winters nicer days I found one that suits me well and doesn’t have me taking the long route to the short cut. As I turned on to “I forget the name” street. My ears were filled with the sounds of children loudly enjoying their recess. Luckily, the almost ear piercing sound had zero effect on my eyes, as I walked right in to a car that looked as if it predated the Castro regime. It’s happened a lot over the years. There was a classic hunk of classic green junk parked in the lot behind Hoboken’s Monroe Center for centuries. So boldly occupying its space. It seemed immovable by current technology. There’s yet another parked within site of the route I take home almost daily. (I need to spend some time getting to know it one day.)
For me personally, the draw is the history, stories and uniqueness that captivates my attention. These monuments to the past surely have some tales to tell. Getting closer to get a good look and to take a few pictures guarantees that years after it’s gone. It will still be remembered.
I was in downtown Manhattan this afternoon enjoying a beautiful day when I decided to stop in to a photo gallery in which I was once a member of. As I walked in, one of the members popped her head out of the office to greet and ask if I was familiar with the gallery. I said yes and even went on to add that I was once a member of the coop.She took a closer look, but did not recognize me.”You must have been here for a short time.” I replied “Maybe two years, but I lit some fires and even thought of planting a bomb before I burned my membership card.” Without much more than a glance, she returned to the office as I proceeded to check out what was currently showing. While my words had no intent to intimidate her. I always prefer to interpret art as I see it. As opposed to the person who’s day it was to handle office duties.
As I enjoyed my walk through. I was reminded of the reasons I left in the first place. I simply couldn’t connect or relate with a lot of work the group and the gallery was producing. Not to say that mine was any better or more insightful then or now. My two or so years as a member where a growing process. A testing ground. I was able to regularly display my work in a gallery that was built from scratch in the seventies and nurtured with creativity and love. However, unlike many of the members. I did not look to remain there until my ashes were scattered amongst the wood and brick it’s foundation was built on.
In the end. I’m glad I had a chance to go back and see what was happening since the ten or so years I turned in my scouts badge. In recent conversation with a friend and professional photographer. I shared with him my thoughts or becoming a member again. Perhaps, for the sole chance of having new work displayed monthly in the gallery. He scoffed, adding that many of these coops, important as they may be, somewhat mirror a sewing circle where old photographers go to die. While I found that to be harsh. It was honest and true. I’ll never be able to move forward if I keep looking back.
(The pictures posted above were taken during my tenure at the gallery.)
Recently I was asked a very tough question from a friend and fellow artist in regard to some images I had posted from my trip to Mana Contemporary’s open house studio tour. The question “How do you go about photographing someone else’s art?” was about as good as question as they come. The fact that it was coming from an artist I respect and love gave the inquiry weight and importance that deserved a thoughtful answer. Photographing another artists passion and hard work may not be as easy as it sounds. From my early days in the late 90’s photographing paintings and sculptures for Cooper Union students on the streets and rooftops of the east village and the lower east side of NYC. I’ve always made it a point to portray the artists vision without giving it the look and feel of a carbon copy office memo. I’ve found that lighting, contrast shadow and unique angles all add to the depth and personality of the chosen piece. As a documentarian, adding my own understanding, perception and appreciation of the piece helped warrant such intrusion. Photographing another artists passion and hard work may not be as easy as it sounds.
From my early days in the late 90’s photographing paintings and sculptures for Cooper Union students on the streets and rooftops of the east village and the lower east side of NYC. I’ve always made it a point to portray the artists vision without giving it the look and feel of a carbon copy office memo. I’ve found that lighting, contrast shadow and unique angles all add to the depth and personality of the chosen piece. As somewhat of a documentarian, adding my own understanding, perception and appreciation of the piece helped warrant such intrusion. Thanks for the thoughtful question Jenn. You are an inspiration.
To check out Jenn’s work. Click the link below.