I’ve been tuning in to the History channel’s TV show ‘American Pickers’ a lot these days. And while many of the characters and destinations featured on the show could easily find their way to an episode of ‘Hoarders’. Digging through a families history as opposed to unearthing years of unattended cat feces somehow appeals to me.
As a kid growing up in the shadows of Shea stadium, the junk yards guarded by attack dogs and pop up automotive repair and parts shacks just a few feet beyond, I became enamored with old trucks, their histories and the miles they accumulated while making their rounds. You see, everyone and everything has a history as well as a unique story to tell. For myself, I’ve always felt a responsibility to document and whenever possible preserve it. Knowing full well, that nothing is permanent.
I took this one today while admiring the cool little nooks and crannies of SODO Seattle’s downtown Starbucks headquarters. Just a reminder that, no matter where you go, there’s always an opportunity to be creative.With just a little post editing in lightoroom, I added some texture by slightly adjusting the contrast, shadows and highlights of a picture I took with my phone.
Every month, my wife’s company chooses someone to be on stand by, just in case something goes wrong, or someone needs help with something. While the assignment doesn’t require the person to show and sit alone in the office waiting for the next big meltdown. It does ask that the appointed worker have internet access if called on. When she got the job this weaken, the strong possibility of rain made it feel as if we weren’t going to miss that much. We agreed to stay somewhat local while making a stop at the downtown Seattle library. After a stop in Rat City for breakfast at Biscuit Bitch (Our first time in over two years and our first in Rat City.)
we headed to the 4th Avenue library in Downtown Seattle. Though I’ve been to the beautiful glass landmark numerous times before. I’ve never really explored much of it’s spacious and beautiful decor. After a trip to the top floor where you can get maximum returns of the 3D view of the city and bay, we headed down to the 8th floor where I spent a couple of hours digging through CD’s. For the first time in a long time. I actually felt like a photo journalist. I couldn’t help but want to go back alone and just explore.
I was only seven years old when I wandered onto my first construction site in Jackson Heights, Queens and just weeks after that I watched a close friend fall to his death at the same site. Though tragic in every way, it never deterred me from hopping a fence or overlooking any signs that bore the words “NO TRESPASSING!” As an adult, I discovered a passion for photography and though that passion consumed me. My love and appreciation for things like construction sites, junk yards, factories and the numerous locations that are often deemed “Off Limits.” Having a camera and a desire to document my surroundings led me to many destinations. A few years ago, I attended a Q&A in downtown NYC where the author of a book whose title escapes me would speak about his experiences shooting his factory themed images for his book. Imagine how disappointed I was when he talked about getting permission and a time frame to capture the images for his project. “What a jip!” I thought. This guy got an all access pass and chose to shoot from the cushy balcony. Where was the rush of adrenaline coming from? Where was the risk? Undaunted, I returned to my passion and that rush that comes from not knowing what will happen next. That feeling you get when the hairs on your neck stand on end and tingle. While I’m too old and too sick to climb fences, outrun police or feel the breath of an angry guard dog on the chase,. I’m still holding out that there’s a gallery exhibit or even a book in the future. And while I’ve begun to gather and post pictures on my social media page, I know I still have a long way to go. Here’s a link to some of the images I’ve come across. Left Behind
Though hard to imagine. In all my trips to Pennsylvania, I have never been to Bethlehem or Easton. Yet, thanks to a recent video from a band I never cared for. One that will remain nameless due to my waining respect for much of my wife’s taste in music, we set our sights on the area, its food and its long history. Once there, I found some really inspiring photo opportunities, a warm, welcoming community and a cafe that takes thirty plus minutes to serve a plate of eggs and toast. Then scowls at you when you ask for syrup. Below are a few favorites from our stop in at Bethlehem Steel. We’re both hoping to get as many weekend trips under our belt before the onset of the holiday madness.
Every now and then we need to be taken out of our comfort zone,.Shook up like good cocktail and have a little in your face with someone about something. When I look back on today’s little war of words. To be honest, with all the off the grid shooting I’ve been doing over the years. I’m surprised it hasn’t happen more often. Especially with some of the chances I’ve taken of late.
It was today’s little exchange however, that both caught me off guard and left me a little rattled. As we were returning from an Easter breakfast at one of our favorite upstate farms. We stopped along the side of the road to get some fresh vegetables to add to the days take. As my wife parked the car and headed towards the farm store. I crossed the road to get a closer glance of an old and (What I thought was abandoned barn.) As I began to cross the road I noticed two women walking towards me looking quite agitated. The younger one asked me what I was doing. I respectfully replied “I apologize If I’m on your property. It’s just that I was intrigued by that barn.” “Oh, that’s just an old broken down barn. I don’t mind if you take some pictures.” The offer seemed a bit back handed and she went on to note that the two dogs that accompanied her and what could have been her mother or the towns crypt keeper. So off I went. Moments later, that same woman was riding towards me on her bicycle armed with enough anger and spite to fire a mouthful of teeth straight into a vital organs. “This is private property! I didn’t say you could get close!” Jeezus, I thought she was going to pull out a pistol and shoot me dead. To say the very least, the exchange was so heated. I was expecting everything from a visit from the police to an updated version of leather face emerging from the barn. At the time. I didn’t feel I was in the wrong, but in retrospect. Maybe I just wore out my welcome. Lesson learned. Tread lightly, I suppose. I did manage to get a few shots without ever stepping inside. There was enough useless garbage stored inside the fuel a full season of Hoarders.