She’s Not Heavy. She’s My Mother.

MomII
Teenage Hottie.
Mom
50 Years Later. Just as beautiful. If not more.

It’s been close to a week since my Mom’s first visit to our new home here in Jersey City. During her week here, I made it a priority to capture some intimate images of her stay. Being that we’ve lived so far from one another for over twenty years now. I don’t get to see her nearly as much as I’d like to. While her stay had it’s share of ups and downs. It reminded me of how much I love, respect and appreciate how much she’s shaped the person I am today. By far my favorite moments of her visit was seeing her interaction and the positive foot print she left on everyone she met. Her smile, positive outlook and ability to make complete strangers feel like family are inspiring. Looking back at her visit, I realized that the thing I enjoyed the most was hearing her speak in Spanish s0 often with anyone and everyone she new spoke the language. For me personally, it’s always been one of the many traits that made her so beautiful. Till this day, I still remember the first words she taught me as a baby “Dame Un Beso.” (Give me a kiss.)     All these years later, I still tell people about my first words and about what an amazing woman my Mother has always been. Despite all our differences and endless similarities. We still love one another to the fullest. Thanks Mom.

 

On the Way Home

After a long day of good food and gallery hopping in Chinatown, SOHO and The Lower East Side we began to head West on Houston  to catch the Path Train back to Hoboken. Stopping here and there to check out some of the artisans that sell their gear in front of that church I came upon one particularly interesting table. The man and his wife were selling these intriguing artifacts they cleverly restored and made into jewelry. As I listened to the man explain the background and process to an interested party I started to set up my camera to sneak a shot of this very interesting looking gentleman. I could have pulled it off without him noticing but would I get a really honest telling shot? I got over my shyness and began an interesting conversation with Scott. I then asked him nicely if I could take a picture of him. He obliged and I left with both a story and a picture. You can check out some of Scott’s work at www.newyorkartifactart.com I’m sure you’ll be impressed.

The People You Meet.

As we left the bar Shell and I passed this gentleman standing outside what seemed to be a community center. We made as far as the corner when I turned to my friend and told how much I would have loved to get a picture of him. His face had so much character, I’m sure there was one hell of a story there. I explained to her that I had become so introverted lately and just felt weird asking. Shell, being the awesome woman she is walked back with me and asked him rather sweetly. How could he refuse? The man obliged and began sharing stories about his life, loves and adventures. I’ve been a bit of a sniper as of late with my street photography. This however was a defining moment and reminded me the NYC is unlike any other place. Add this to my “Tales from the Lower East Side” series.

Beauty and the Heat.

As the temperatures soared into triple digits I sadly had to reschedule my upcoming follow up shoot with Salley. After almost six months of scheduling issues and near misses due to everything from being buried in snowpocalypse 2011 to a broken ankle. We were able to finally connect for a quick yet awe inspiring session a few weeks back. After shooting some outdoor work that day we eagerly planned for some studio work. Being in the studio allows me so much more control over lighting and background. It also gives me more of a sense of mood. During the next week or so I’ll be working on a concept and vibe for our shoot. No matter the theme or wardrobe I’ll have one hell of a canvas to work with Salley is one of the coolest people I’ve worked with recently. Here are some of my favorite shots from that cool Sunday.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

I don’t get to see my family very often. Holidays and Birthdays for the most part. Being that my parents divorced when I was six, I’ve gained an extended family of step and half brothers and sisters. Though we’re all very different I love them with all my heart and look forward to the time we get to spend together. Here’s a few pictures I took with the new Canon 7 D.

Mike and Jackie.
She's a total sweetheart.
My Brother Matt. The most chill person you'll ever meet.
Brother Mike
My Father and Matt.

Busted

I’ve been a member of SOHO Photo Gallery since 2006 and have really appreciated the opportunity to share my work with the gallery members and the people from around the world that visit. However, I’ve always been torn about it.

Whenever joining a photo club or as is the case being a member of a COOP , my goal is to share and learn from the members. To create, inspire and be inspired. And of course to expose my work to new viewers. Having been a member of several such clubs Hob’art, The Palisades Camera Club and SOHO Photo I’ve gotten to do that. Yet, the experience has always left me wanting more. Coming to SOHO Photo was a big step for me. Having to work on submitting a portfolio for acceptance was paramount to my growth. Yet since joining I’ve been left with the feeling that I’ve joined a sewing circle at a retirement home. Each year when it’s time to pay my dues and renew I think long and hard about it. In 2010 I decided to renew with the ambition of shooting there from time to time on the galleries off days. I gingerly brought this up to various members I had hosted with. None of which seemed to show any concern. For me personally, that alone made it worth while. So I decided to take advantage. Recently, while shooting I was confronted by a member(One I had never met prior) . He was pissed off and said he’d be telling the elders. I jokingly said “Hey, point taken. Don’t be a rat and drop the dime.” He saw no humor in it.

Time went by and I got no feedback. no scolding came my way. Yet I still delayed my renewal. Maybe this was it. This was my sign. I got an email stating that I was “overdue” and ignored it. Still thinking. Then I got an official letter with the galleries letterhead and everything. I let it sit. Sunday morning Kayuri saw it on the coffee table and said. “Just renew. It’s not a lot. It might be worth it.” I wavered. “You know, why not.” That was until this morning when I got the email. That Rat dropped the dime on me and it upset some people. I can assure you and them it was never done out of disrespect or in a manner that would suggest I was sneaking around. Having discussed it openly in the past. I replied with just that and haven’t heard back since. But it made me think. I’ve never been much for groups and it’s been quite difficult relating to so many of the members in the past due to the vast generation gap. I’m deciding to follow my instinct and end my association. I can’t complain at all.

Life is what you make of it. You get exactly what you put into it. I never liked sitting in meetings. The openings rarely brought in new faces. It was always a mutual admiration society as far as I could see. There were times when members work totally blew my mind. Inspired me and made me yearn to be better. That’s a good thing. I’d definitely say my experience was a good one. It’s just time to try something new.

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.