Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"they love us in Italy"

See these three jazz musicians? They all have one thing in common. They love to play in Europe. Jazz is big there and they are treated like demigods. Their favorite country is Italy.

The guy on the top, Larry Ridley played with John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk. Black artists have always had a warm welcome when playing in Europe. Is it just less racism over there or a more refined taste in music? I don't know and don't care to speculate. All I do know is that dudes can play and I got paid to both take their pictures and enjoy their music.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

beautiful people and that State of the Union guy

See that guy in the middle photograph? I bet you and millions of people have seen him on their TV's when the President gives his State of the Union address every year. He's the guy that leans over his aisle seat and makes sure he gets a handshake photo-op with the President. His name is Eliot Engel.

Now, for the beautiful people - the musicians and the charming women who were artists in their own right (if I remember correctly, they were singers)

It's too bad that funding for the arts in our public schools has virtually disappeared. What kinds of people are we producing in our educational system when they don't have an appreciation for the arts?

Surely not well-rounded adults. That's for sure.

But for four hours this evening I was surrounded by beautiful artistic people plus that "other" guy.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

some people can jump, others, well . . .

This entry really isn't about jumping but rather about relationships. The relationships between people and sports and teachers and their students. Take a look at these photos. There's a lot of love here. That's what education is all about or rather what it should be about.

True education is about bringing the best out of people; to teach them how to relate to each other in a civil manner. It's not about making lots of smart people. We already have lots of them but do we have smart people who care about other people?

This pics are from the Bronxdale HS in (you guessed it) "da Bronx" NYC. It's a small school led by a principal (green sweater - Carolyne Quintana) who seems to me to be a wonderful person, maybe a good leader but I can't say since I don't work for her but the eyes don't lie. I looked through the critical lens of my camera and I saw happy, joyful people. We need more of that in our world.

I enjoyed myself doing this shoot. Happy people and sports = nice combination plus sharing the gift of jumping isn't bad either.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

getting lucky in the dark

We all get lucky sometimes and I'm not talking about "that" kind of luck. As a photographer, light can be our enemy or our friend. When I walked into the huge dark cavern (otherwise called the Kingsbridge Armory) for a mayoral press event, the first thing I thought was, "Boy, I'm glad I have a good flash unit."

But the TV camera crews were already there and set up their very bright lights and the residual ambient light, fast glass (24 - 70mm, f/2.8) and quality low light sensors did their job.

The picture above is that of Mark Messier, an ice hockey superstar former player who was there with Sarah Hughes, another ice skater (2002 Olympic gold medalist in figure skating) to commemorate the announcement of what will be the largest ice skating rink(s) venue in the Northeast.

So, sometimes even in the dark we can get lucky.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

how much media exposure is too much?

WARNING: graphic images - (not meant to be gratuitous but as an example)

The recent Boston bombing tragedy has brought to the fore the question about what is too much to display in terms of visual media. Most media outlets displayed the top photograph but the bottom one clearly reveals the immense magnitude of what happened. But does that make it right? Are there guidelines for making these decisions or are they decisions made by the editorial staff on each newspaper?

We display horrific images from war zones and it's usually these photos that win Pulitzer prizes but domestic terror we have quibbles about? Why is that? Maybe the real face of evil needs to be constantly revealed because otherwise its banality will continue?

What do you think? In my case I would take the picture and let my photo editor make the decision.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

beatboxer nonpareil!

Verbal Ase

Did a shoot at a local HS where their poetry/rap club did a show focusing on anti-bullying. Little did they know that their teacher (DJ Menyu) had a secret, special guest as the last act. His stage name is "Verbal Ase" and he's quite a beatboxer. Check out his youtube page (link above)

I like it when I get free entertainment doing my job. Do you?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"running from love"

Running From Love

This is Rozsa Gaston, the author of "Running From Love". I met her last evening doing a shoot of the Van Cortlandt Track Club in their 1st meeting after the Boston Marathon and we were interviewing their members who raced in it with a particular interest in their reactions and experiences revolving around the bombings.

What an interesting juxtaposition of emotions = sadness and love, albeit within different contexts. I guess when she saw my press badge, she figured I was a good vehicle to promote her book. She was right.

Check out the link above to the Amazon site. Who knows? You might find it an interesting read and it's only $2.99 for the Kindle edition.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

a sad solidarity run for Boston

In the spirit of Boston

I put on my most recent NYC Marathon shirt and went out for a run at noon. I'm now a retired marathoner but once it's in your blood, it's in your blood. What should have been joy and celebration turned to fear, danger and sorrow.

At NYRR races here in Central Park (NYC) we stand in packed corrals totaling in the 1000's. Never have I nor I assume others have worried that our lives would be in danger starting a road race or at the finish. Now there's that faint glimmer of a thought that nothing is absolutely safe anymore.

That's how terrorism works. It makes us afraid.

But runners will keep running. We don't run away from fear. We run through it and to the areas that need our help.

Monday, April 15, 2013

evil isn't banal any more

Boston Marathon bombing

As I write this, we don't know if this was an act of terrorism but there were bombings at the finish line ( a perfect soft target) and at least 2 people are dead.

I may not be racing marathons any more but I'll behind the lens of my camera to document the real face of evil.

The banality of evil - not any more!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

trying to catch beauty

Went to the Orchid Show at the NYBG (new York Botanical Garden) with my wife and daughter, my camera and my new light meter. I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Being inside a greenhouse (Conservatory) meant that all the ambient light was diffused but bright enough to take good pictures.

Also using a  medium telephoto lens (70 - 200mm, f/4) provided me with nice bokeh in my pics. Overall, a nice time capturing beauty through my lens.

Friday, April 12, 2013

for better light I missed my 1st shoot

What you see here is what some say is the best light/exposure meter (Sekonic L-758DR) for photography on the market and for this I missed my 1st shoot and learned another lesson in my newfound photography career = don't schedule anything in the morning before a noonday shoot especially if the weather is bad.

I was looking forward to doing this shoot because1) I was going to try a new, simple method of calibrating my white balance and 2) using my new light meter to zero in on my settings for an indoor activity.

Oh well - we all screw up at times. But this won't happen again

Let me leave you now. I have to go measure some light.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

ammo + fire = bad news

Got a call to do a quick shot of a local gun shop on fire but it was put out quickly and I only got to take pics of its post fire condition. Even with my official NYPD press pass, I was told that I. had to stay outside the police line for my safety. Come to think of it, I wonder if the ammo stored here exacerbated the fire situation? But I got nowhere trying to get info from the cops and the firemen at the firehouse which was only one block away!

Now that I can reflect on this, there were guns that were being removed from the shop and police gear that they wanted to be sure no civilian got their hands on I bet.

I'm curious what started the fire. I'll let the reporters find out what I couldn't.

Fire + ammo + guns = bad news.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

toddlers demand shutter priority

Every shoot I do, I forget to do something and I learn something in the process. When my photo editor sent me my assignment, I was told there would be no children. "That's odd. It's storytelling hour at a local library. Who do they tell the stories to?"

And then they came - a bustling, rambunctious horde of little cuties. And I was in aperture priority since I was shooting indoors and wanted to avoid using my flash. Considering the amount of motion going on with these little ones, I am surprised I captured these few in relative moments of serenity.

Next time - shutter priority and let that expensive camera figure out everything else during the flux of eternal motion that characterizes little people.

Little people deserve better!

Monday, April 8, 2013

we don't really see what we see

Like my therapist said, "we really don't know anything". It's what we perceive to see and know. Very subjective but very real for us as individuals.

What you see here are multiple exposures or photographic composites. Just like the movies using CGI to make the unreal look very real, our world is somewhat like that.

I have coined a phrase for this. I call it epistemological dissonance. How exactly do we know what we know? And how much does it bother us to realize that we have been disillusioned especially after the pleasant experience of being willfully disillusioned?

So, I ask, what do you know for sure?

Friday, April 5, 2013

I'm a "camerista" - if this was 1842

Went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my daughter who wanted to see two exhibitions:

Photography in the Civil War

Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity

The "camerista" designation comes from an article posted in the "London Times" in 1842 about American culture. I kind of like this title.

Along the way we both took photographs of the same things and compared our results. Here are some I'm most proud of:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I knew something didn't feel right . . .

See these guys. They're crooked. The Belyansky brothers and Mr. Tsimerman were indicted today by the NY Attorney's office for the following:

Governmental bribery

Notice how they're NOT smiling. I took this shot on 3/7/13 (about a month ago) at a ribbon cutting ceremony for a really nice adult daycare center in the S. Bronx. These guys own the place and you would've thought they would be happy guys?

As I walked around and talked to them and others, I couldn't figure out why they looked so edgy and nervous. Now I know. First I simply thought to myself, "white guys in a Latino neighborhood and in suits?"

NY politics isn't looking good.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

we're a "gunsick" nation

Just finished an assignment covering a gun violence forum at a local hospital. The trauma surgeon is talking about his plans for treating gun violence as a public health issue and the gentleman below leads out an injury prevention center.

Listening to them speak was truly interesting and moving. Sadly the NRA thinks the solution for the problem is more guns. And public awareness and funding is not up to the task of supporting groups like "Guns Down, Life Up" that works on multiple levels to reduce violence among mainly minority young people.

We're a "lovesick" nation in love with our guns = a truly "gunsick" nation.