I was sitting in Columbus Park enjoying the fall colors when a familiar face approached with her dog. As she stopped to say hello and perhaps follow her dogs lead to see if I had any treats in my bag. When she saw my camera and my exceptionally large lens she asked “Oh, are you a photographer?” I paused and might have even stalled before answering “I used to be.” Explaining that I used to work as a photographer and did a lot of studio photography back east. It was the first time we talked outside of the confines and time frame of our elevator or hallway and I did my very best to hold my own. Though I don’t work in a studio anymore and don’t really advertise my services the way I used to, due to my heath. I’m rather pleased to know that those issues have done nothing to diminish the passion and drive I always had for photography and what inspires me on a daily basis. So, looking back to that random question. If asked again, I’d most likle reply, “Why Yes, I am.”
I was enjoying my Chi Tea and downtime at Rochester’s Minnesota’s Forager Brewery when I left my seat for a quick bathroom break and tour of the facilities. Most of what I found was a designers wet wet dream. Form the cool architecture, extra nooks and crannies and magazine inspiring design, I was inspired to fire off a few shots from my camera. As I’ve grown to love shadows and contrast, I find myself leaving my flash in the bag, if taking it along at all. As I made my way back to my seat, I noticed these tea cups / lights hanging from the ceiling looking quite artful. As my days as a studio photographer seem to have come to a close, I’ve found solace knowing I’m still inspired to capture and document my surroundings.
Though it might seem clique. We really are a lot stronger than we’d ever take or give ourselves credit for. I recently had a chance to catch up which both my Father and Brother. During each conversation I was asked how I was feeling and how I was handling the progressing effects of what was diagnosed as Fahrs, but is now being linked to the radiation treatment I received as a child. Gory details aside.
Both my Dad and my Brother expressed how inspired by my strength and perseverance. Here I am, struggling to walk and maintain any sense of balance and these two are telling me I’m their hero. As a kid, I was a boxing enthusiast. I played all types of sports with varied degrees of skill and success, but what I wanted most was to be a prize fighter. To me, that was tough. However, as I grew up, I came to learn and strongly believe that true strength and toughness came from the inside. The ability to overcome, survive and get past any darkness
that may have descended upon you. Still, with all those beliefs and concrete knowledge of universal truths, it’s something I’ve never allowed myself to apply to my own situation. And while I’ve always been able to feel empathy and sincere concern for those who struggle in any way. I still struggle to apply those same feelings to my own struggles. So, to all my friends, family, loved ones and anyone out there who is fighting any battle, Keep fighting, you’re a lot stronger than you might think you are.
For as long as I can remember and most likely longer, I’ve always been surrounded and inspired by art. As a kid, my mom worked as a secretary for a huge advertising agency and would often bring home art books and have artistic nudes (Two of which I still own and proudly display in my own home.) hanging for all to see. Whether intended or not, it set me on a course that still inspires me to create, build and make things that I feel might be impactful.
It’s worth noting that my Mother’s early influence and my trips to her midtown office, where I’d often find myself sitting in with the companies art department. It was those moments and exchanges that would play a major role in my early development, as well as becoming a major influence on my wanting to write and inevitably become interested in picking up a camera in order to document my surroundings. Many years later as childhood led to adolescence and adolescence led to adulthood., I can’t help but notice how much art and the desire to create still drives me. Now that my Mom is following my blog, it might be time to thank her and tell her that I understand and even partially agree when she says, “We’re a lot alike,.”
I was planning to email my Mom with some pictures of the framed pictures we put up in the bathroom, but since she is now following the blog, I might as well post them here.
(These images were taken at a local Vietnamese restaurant / billiards hall. I refrained from using my flash so not to disturb the flow of the game while giving the players their respect and anonymity.)
If you’d like a clearer view of the pictures featured here. You can see them Here .
As a kid, art had a very prominent place in our home. Though we did not have much money to speak of. My Mother’s knack for decorating and her relationship with the art department at the company she worked as a secretary. provided for many opportunities to bring home art and advertisement poster prints. While my wife in completely foreign to the idea of art in the bathroom. It’s something I became used to seeing by the time I was just starting elementary school.
I’m lucky enough to have a Mom and a Dad who are both healthy and alive. And while I seldom give my Mother a break about her considerably bad taste in music. Both have played a major part in influencing and supporting my never ending obsession for so long. While I’ve learned to avoid conversations about religion, politics or any sociological topics. A good bull session about music is a great way to pass the time while helping to avoid any bloodletting during any visit or phone call. Though his love of the blues and New Orleans jazz can never be questioned. A conversation regarding Tom Waits, Frank Zappa or the Night Tripper, Dr. John (Gris-Gris) can go on for days. Some of my earliest memories revolve around sitting among my parents combined record collections. Strange how it remains one of the very few memories of my parents being together. Sitting within a pile of my parents record collection. No more than four, maybe five years old. Completely freaked out by the cover art of records like Leon Russell’s “Stop All That Jazz” Frank Zappa’s “200 Motels” or Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. Album covers that told stories I might not be quite ready to read. One’s that might have me checking the closet or under the bed that night. A few years later, as my ear for music began to form. My Dad would sit me down and play Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton’s Blues Breakers, and for me, the most painful torture a nine year old can suffer, Frank Zappa’s 79′ release “Joe’s Garage.” Years later though, many of the records and artists my parents introduced me to reside in my own record collection. Artists such as Frank Zappa, Hendrix and especially Tom Waits get countless play on the turntable and all my other modes of music enjoyment. I pick up just about every Leon Russell and Frank Zappa I see and being drawn to record based on it’s cover art remains crucial to many of my crate digging adventures. Still, I can recall sitting in my pajamas among those piles of records, How each cover either told a story or inspired me to create one,
After attending a rather disappointing open house in the area. I had to navigate a number of side streets in order to get to the nearest interstate. The combination of hunger and resentment towards over priced real estate. My mindset seemed to be wandering through dark territory. That was until we came upon a cool little tattoo shop with a big ass tattoo mural on the backside of the building. The sight brought mindest back to a respectable level. With no hesitation, I stopped the car, grabbed my camera and jumped out of the for a quick capture. Before you know it, we wre back on the road in search of some much needed lunch.