It’s often I find a friend who not only shares my passion for documenting the off-limits. Even more of a rarity when one asks if they can come along. When that friend just happens to have worked with me in a studio environment. The urge to capture that beauty among the rubble is surely alluring, but then again. When will I have time to spend wandering with this friend. Why would I steal time from this perfect moment, only to turn it into something it was never intended to be? Realizing just that so quickly not only allowed me to enjoy her company. It served as a lesson in that I in order to become a better communicator. I need to become a better listener. I’m not there yet. Far from it, but knowing where I want to be heading just might get me there faster. The images I posted below will hopefully express my intention to include her while allowing her a sense of ambiguity.
As someone who’s always been in love with photography. I often find myself enamored with the styles and techniques I myself have yet to learn. With long exposures and night photography being a long time personal inspiration of mine. I felt extremely thankful when a friend and fellow photographer shared some easily applicable information with me. Being one who tends to crave the company of others as well as subjects to photograph. Time has taught me that time alone, solitude and the peace it often provides offer me more time to learn and grow. Something that almost immediately presents itself when working with long exposures Having only experimented with the concept on occasion over the last couple of weeks. I quickly realized the therapeutic rewards of these rare moments. As I stood there. The only time I really felt the least bit uneasy was when friendly neighbors stopped for a moment to say hello or if you’d believe it, to talk shop about gear. That hour or so where it was just me, my Canon 5D Mark III and my tripod was all the meditation one could ask for.
It’s not every day I find such gold within spitting distance from my home base, but when I do, it’s just as much of a thrill, if not more than having to put it in the time and mileage often required. And while I’m thrilled to share some of the bounty from today’s excursion. I’m going to remain tight-lipped and secretive about its location. Hopefully there’s someone out there that enjoys this type of thing as much as I do.
Last week as we travelled the winding roads and peeks that the colorful canvas of New York’s upstate beautiful landscape. Stopping often to enjoy the orchards and farms that served as the areas fuel for our bellies as well as a chance to stop to stretch our legs and breathe the mountain air. Though Autumn’s colors were still in their infancy. The browns, oranges and greens were more than us city dwellers had seen in a long time. As my wife loaded up on fresh veggies, fruit, apple cider and those delicious donuts. I took my lens to the skies and shot what I could while battling the harsh mid day sun. As we settled in at home that night and looked through the images I shot.
My better half seemed unimpressed with the skies lack of pop. “Plenty of blue, but where’s the contrast? Where’s the pop?” “Where’s the Drama?”While I agreed, I felt the need to defend myself, noting. “There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.” While my defense was just enough to keep me from having my came confiscated. It made me think aloud, “Why am I not using my filters?” Soon after, I dug feverishly through the containers of photo gear I rarely use and found a small assortment of filters that have gone unused for over a decade. Amongst them I found a polarizer I purchased at University Place while living in NYC in 1994. The next day, like magic, the clouds came out and danced with delight. Not having the time to drive upstate. I headed downstairs and took what you see below. Not bad, considering I hadn’t used a filter since I was a young sex machine in the 1990’s. Perhaps it’s time to start using them more often while attempting a return to my old (yet younger) self.
Everyone seems to have their own form of meditation. Something to help find the calm and focus needed to cleanse their mind of the clutter, stress and anxiety they deal with on a day to day basis. Personally, I have explored many channels in recent years. Many of which work very well .
One of mantras I’ve adopted over the last year or so is my nightly walk. One of the things that helped us fall in love with our current home is it’s industrial surroundings. With all the bridges, train yards and factories nearby. One could not ask for more character and personality. Watching the sun set over such a beautiful landscape brings me a sense of peace I can’t quite describe and hope to never take for granted. If I was able to dole out advice to anyone. I would recommend that whenever possible. Find those private moments where you can enjoy being alone. Breathe deep and be in the moment for as long as you can.
Last week my wife and decided to forgo our excursion into the city to stay somewhat local and explore Jersey City. As we came upon the historic Harsimus Cemetery I realized that, while we had passed and spoken about it countless times. I had never taken her inside to visit the goats who call the cemetery their summer home. Knowing how much she would enjoy the experience. I convinced her to stop in for a visit without going much further in detail as to what was ahead.
Quicker than it took to ascend the hill. Kayuri’s curiosity turned to wonderment as she began building a quick kinship with the beautiful goats of Harsimus. Within minutes she was racing back down the hill to exchange her bills for quarters so that she could score some snacks to feed her new friends with. Gleefully squealing and squirming as J.W., Arturo and Alexander (Correct me if I’m wrong on that one.) eagerly feasted on every morsel she hand fed them. It was a rewarding experience she still speaks about a week later.
Having something as unique and special in our very own backyard is worthy of both celebration and support. The amount of work put in to maintaining this historic spot is paramount in supporting our community, as well as it’s history. For more information, a calendar of events and how to volunteer. Visit Jersey City Cemetary
Every night I try to make it a point to go for a walk with my camera and enjoy the combination of fresh air and the soft light of the setting sun. Being that my favorite times to capture light take place at dawn and dusk. My window of time to capture those moments is rather short. Being unable to function without a shower and a couple of cups of coffee serve to further limit my experience photographing the sunrise. So until I find that magic pill that gets me to my destination by 5:00am. I’ll happily settle for chasing the sun down and enjoying those all to rare quiet moments. “Sorry Kay, I’m going to be late for dinner again.”
After a long, hot day in the city with my mom and wife. I was eager to go home, shower, sleep and enjoy a tasty beverage. While we exited the Journal Square PATH together. I took a much need break to separate myself from the crowd as well as my loved ones. As I stopped to allow time for the herd of exiting passengers to thin as they made their way to the escalators. Standing there exhausted, poising myself for the short, yet arduous walk home. I noticed a light peaking through the concrete and metal columns just beyond the tracks. Stopping to take this one image gave me an extra boost of energy as well as short, yet sweet moment to myself. A much needed moment to exhale.
Journal Square is, by far, the strangest area I’ve ever lived in. Just within reach of my own home. Neighbors let trash sit in their yards for months at a time. Homeowners who never bother to take a broom to their sidewalks or curbs. At times, the streets smell like a stable of horses with a bad case of diarrhea are running amok on Tonnelle and Newark Ave.. And while this element of shame is luckily confined to a small area. It’s still eludes any connection to common sense. So when I came across a front yard that still had it’s Christmas decorations displayed in June. It made me smile, thinking “At least it’s not a fucking toilet.” Merry Christmas Journal Square.
During an open studio tour this weekend. We had the chance to visit many of the varied creative spaces housed in Mana Contemporary. One particularly memorable exchange came during visit to Omorphy Photos. Just minutes before, I ran in to my neighbor and friend Kevin. During an exchange that lasted all but thirty seconds. His eyes widened as he said “Go upstairs to have your mind blown. “Knowing full well our common interests in fashion and studio photography. I quickly made my way upstairs. As I entered the room my jaw began to drop as the drool rushed from the bottom of my gums to the tip of my lips. A deep, spacious studio with ceilings high enough to touch the Gods filled with a candy store of studio lights, equipment, backgrounds and enough inspiration to last two lifetimes. Against one of the walls, large prints displaying the results from that setup. I sighed as I confessed how, while I always loved working with black seemless paper and muslins. I never had enough room to distance the subject far enough from the background to create the separation needed without compromising the space needed between myself and my subject. Lessons, that for me, came the hard way. His warm, engaging personality and the patience he displayed while listening to and even laughing during my rant. While the exchange gifted me with a lot of inspiration and creative energy. It wasn’t until I got home until I began to recall some of the times when I really got to test the limits and boundaries of the space my apartment / studio space offered.
When my wife and I originally moved to Hoboken. We quickly realized the limits of the space. Though a two bedroom. The awkward layout and the simple fact that we only had two small, badly designed closets made had me run out to the town’s Gothic Cabinet Craft and buy an armoire for the bedroom. For years that piece held my entire wardrobe as well as books, portfolios and many other odds and ends.
During one particular shoot I decided to test the limits of the space and replace all the junk with a beautiful woman. Short story long. That dingbat idea made me feel just a bit more grateful for the 12 x 12 space I was shooting in. Since then my wife and I have moved from our shoebox size 400 ft. apartment to a spacious 1,400 loft. In the end I am incredibly grateful for the change of scenery and space. And while our space has more than tripled. We have less than half of the furniture that once occupied that space. Call it room to breathe.