Haunted Memories

By the time I was seven, I was finally enjoying some of the freedom I so craved. With my parents about to divorce, I bounced from my mother to my father and on to my grandmother. Being that my parents had worked different shifts,’ my mom was a 9-5 secretary and my dad working as 3-11 since I was born. I spent most of my early years with my baby sitter and her family of two boys and an older sister. By the age of seven, I became schooled in many of the pockets and corners of my neighborhood. While there were several parks and ball fields within reach, you might think I’d be found climbing monkey bars or holding onto a swing as I launched into the air.

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Two things I did enjoy from time to time. However, the sudden need for housing and the new and bursting real estate market provided all the excitement a kid could want or even handle. The first one just happened to be on the way home from school. With there would be a bunch of kids, many I called friends or knew from the neighborhood already hanging out inside just outside of the wood panels and fences marked “No Trespassing.” There would always be an irresistible draw to join in and maybe journey farther within than the older kids.

On one particularly memorable day, some of the older kids started to throw a football around. Perhaps since they were older or I never quite got into throwing the pigskin around, I started heading home. Matthew went long on a pass and fell about two floors to the rubble below. I still remember the moment, the complete shock that left everyone’s expression in a frozen state. I had seen people die on TV and the movies before, but this was very, very different. I still remember the blood, the concrete pieces in his hair, and around his face and that frozen look that said: “I won’t be coming back in the squeal.” The next day, the news of Matthew’s accident reported over the school’s loudspeaker. Though he had not died immediately, he remained vegetated until his heart gave out a few days later. Strangely enough, I always felt his mom. The secretary at the school we attended and the two I later went to, knew I was there when that horrible accident happened. And while I didn’t understand why she was always so hard on me then. These days, I wish there was something I could have said or done something to comfort her during that time.

Maybe I Spoke too Soon

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In my last post “Sometimes it’s better to go it alone.” Here. I mentioned going it alone when operating as a street photographer. While that thread may ring true in many cases. It can’t go without saying that she is both my greatest inspiration and a damn good lookout and second set of eyes. Often watching my back when I’m shooting in more risky areas. While also serving as a second set of eyes when it comes to security related entities.

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Where as today was scheduled to be a very laid back day with a short trip to Ikea for an area rug. We spent much of our day exploring much of Newark, Elizabeth and Harrison. While not dangerous by any means. Select areas might have been a bit private and or restricted. So to my wife, a hearty thanks for being my lookout when it came to shooting and our late lunch in East Newark. I really enjoyed sharing a seat at the counter and getting to know some of the regulars.

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I fought the law ….

I’ve been doing a lot of different work these days. Working to overcome my weaknesses while  improving my strengths. For some time now I’ve been in love with photographing work that I guess could be described asindustrial landscape. Bridges,trains,  factories, junk yards, power lines. You name it. Any time I’m driving home on the Turnpike or RT 1/9 I can’t help but want to pull over and admire the skylines stark beauty.  As of late I’ve been putting aside time to go off road and explore areas like Newark, Kearney and the outlying areas. Often time stopping to walk around and shoot pictures as the tractor trailers, semis and delivery trucks rumble past. I know there are a lot of people who would go out of their way to avoid this kind of thing. I know a lot of people might find it downright ugly. But for me there is something peaceful about it.

As I was headed into Newark this afternoon I took a wrong turn and got a little sidetracked. I passed through the Ironbound section of Newark and onto a series of bridges, power lines and factories. I found a nice secluded place to park, got my camera and started shooting. Within A few minutes two Police SUV’s pulled up. (Business as usual) I knew why they were there. I just wasn’t sure how they got there so fast. One of the risks of taking the kind of pictures I often take is these areas are often considered off limits to pedestrians. Especially pedestrians with cameras. Needless to say I’m used to having to explain myself. Though security guards are often quick on the draw or to pull out the knight stick. Police are usually a lot nicer and just question you and get your information. In the past I tended to be a prick when I got pulled over which in turn invited hostility and prolonged detention. These days I’m a lot more mature and understand that it’s just par for the course. I know they have a job to do and I know that there are crazies out there that might have some sick plan to blow up said bridge or factory. These officers were totally cool. I explained what I was doing and even gave them a business card along with my drivers license. I even told them I understood their concern and that I was living in New York City  during 9/11.After what seemed like a lengthy time he let me go on my way with a warning. Before I left I showed him the pictures I had taken which he seemed to like. I offered to erase the card but he said it was appreciated but not necessary. Not a terrible experience overall. Most of the time if you just act right and explain yourself people will be cool with you. I intend on taking more trips into the industrial areas to explore the opportunities and I am sure the law won’t be far behind.