As i began crossing the street at 23rd and the Avenue of the Americas. I noticed one of the vendors was selling one of those bubble guns. (You know, the ones that produce those massive oversized bubbles.) Wanting to pick one up for my friends son Luke. I made my way towards the table. Quickly, rethinking my gift choice and how it might turn my dear friend’s home in to one big puddle. I instead decided to get a few photos to take home. Being that I have gone back to my “Bring your camera with you everywhere” mantra. I was more than prepared to take action.Looking for a solid, unobstructed background. I set up a few feet away from the vendors table and waited for him to load up. Within seconds the enormous bubbles began streaming from the barrel of the oversized toy gun. Colors and shapes slowly made their way upward before bursting in to the early morning air. Along with the haircut, it turned out to be one of the highlights of my Chelsea morning. These little moments, the joy of a good haircut and a good image to take home to the demanding wife, keep me happy. Having an added piece to sell at the next gallery show or exhibition make us both happy.
Despite the humidity and heat yesterday couldn’t have gone better if I had wished so. The day started with a run to the city and in particular Calumet Photo. As noted in previous blogs I’ve had numerous problems with sync cords not working properly and being an overall hazard for someone as clumsy and accident prone as myself. After my session with Alexandra this week I was determined to trash my sync cords and finally go wireless. I stopped in to Calumet to talk with one of the sales associates about a wireless device called the Pocket Wizard II. I wanted to know more about how it worked and make sure it was compatible with my Canon 50 D and Genesis studio lights. After a short demo I was convinced wireless was my destiny and made the purchase. I then grabbed lunch and headed back home to get some work done before heading back in to the city for my late afternoon session.
Earlier in the week I scheduled two portrait sessions within a few minutes of each other. Risky considering the fact that people always seem to arrive late no matter what. I also seem to have to deal with a lot of last minute cancelations. Luckily my first session arrived right on time and we were able to get started. I had met Theory a few weeks prior and had already had a couple of mutual cancellations due to the non stop rain we’ve been dealing with. Theory is a pretty cool dude.
the West Side of Chelsea. Theory being a lot younger and from the West Coast seemed to be surprised by the stories I told about how the area was when I was living in the city. How what is now a hub of galleries, boutiques and restaurants was once a thriving meat packing industry by day and a red light district by night. As for our session we were able to get a lot of great shots without taking all that many. Two of the things I’ve really been working on improving in my photography is consistency and attention to detail. I think I accomplished what I was looking to do.
Just as Theory had arrived right on time my next shoot was just as punctual. We had planned on meeting at the Apple store at 6:00. It turns out we were standing right next to one another and didn’t even realize it for a few minutes. My first impression of Hugh was right on target. Plain and simple this is what I would call a “Cool Cat’. Tall, long dreds and soft spoken. His prior emails where he addressed me as “Sir” led me to believe he was channeling a James Bond character. His sharp looking motorcycle jacket and Duccati bike only reinforced that image. Hugh is an aspiring actor who takes classes only blocks away from where I lived in Hells Kitchen. Our shoot would have went off without a hitch if it were not for some idiot knocking his bike over when pulling out of the parking spot in front of him. The hit not only knocked over the bike but broke his mirror and tail light. All while scratching his helmet. So much for accountability. No note was left. Other than that it was a stellar day. Hugh loved his shots and I’m looking forward to showing Theory his.
Last night I met up in Chelsea with Berd for some head-shots and tests. I met Berd in my Hell’s Kitchen days when she worked only a few blocks from me at the Virgin Mega- Store. At the time I was just starting work on my first portfolio. Most of my work and inspiration was coming from strangers I would approach. I had this crazy energy back then and was never afraid to engage complete strangers in conversation and ask that they pose for me. One day I was at the Virgin Mega-Store looking for some new tunes to wrap my ears around. As I twas riding the escalator upstairs I noticed the most beautiful woman going in the opposite direction. I was in total awe. My head dropped while my jaw dropped further. No joking, her eyes were like none I had ever seen before. I was tempted to turn around and talk to her but for whatever reason I was gripped with anxiety and fear. When I got home I couldn’t help but think of missed opportunities. What if I would have just said “Hello”? Later that week I was back at Virgin looking for more music and alas, there she was. This time I approached and introduced myself. I told her I was working on my first portfolio and would love to photograph her. She probably thought “who the hell is this nut?” I probably came off like one. I remember telling her what beautiful eyes she had. She really did. Well, she agreed to get together as we shot some work at the community garden across the street from where I lived. I saw her a few times after and over time lost touch. A few years later I ran into her in Chelsea. She had shaved her head but still looked as beautiful as ever. We spoke briefly and went our separate ways. We’d kept in touch through Facebook but last night was the first time I’d seen her since that brief encounter in Chelsea. I hate the phrase “Some things just get better with age.” But in this case the phrase fits like a glove. It’s hard to believe but Berd is even more beautiful today than she was back when I met her more than ten years ago. It was an absolute pleasure spending time and getting to know her all over again.
I never put much stock in what the weather man says. Though I do love all the TV wizardry they create waving their hands and making the panels behind them appear and disappear. The forecast for the weekend was rain, rain and more rain. Our original plans to head to the Bronx were scaled down to the Union Square are where there were two street fairs within a couple of blocks of one another. The idea of street food and particularly meat on a stick had my appetite at a peak. Before we headed out I decided to change lenses from my 28-135 to my 70-200 in order to get some candids from a safe distance. There is no beating NYC in terms of unique characters and individuals. Having a little distance to focus and not get attacked by aiming your lens at the wrong person is a big advantage. People react in a lot of different ways when they see you taking their picture. Most of those changes do not to help to produce a great image. I’ve made a point of always bringing business cards with me to give out to people I run into and photograph. Often offering to email them the image I shot. Through the day I met some interesting people, ate a lot of random food and got a whole lot of sun. I may have noticed a cloud or two towards the end of the day. But I never once felt a drop of rain.