Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Another day, another vet recounting too many battles and nowhere near enough victories.

I met Richard this morning on my morning walk to my office. He had set up a small oasis and was napping. I was across the street and saw some youths approach him with questionable intent. He woke as I was telling them to leave. He looked at them, sprang to his feet and started a hobbling slow motion run at them. They laughed and walked away. I stayed.

Richard is 87 years old (last Tuesday was his birthday, which he spent in a New Jersey VA hospital). He served in WWII under Patton (way under Patton...but the pride never left his voice as he talked about their victories). We spoke about his life in the military. His new life in the shelter. And the girls at the Hooters in Times Square who bring him chili and soup late at night after their shifts are over. We talked and talked and I took picture after picture while too many people walked by wondering about the interaction. Not sure whether it was the moments of boisterous laughter or the painful moments of silence as he shared the more tragic parts of his life in short story form while I fought the waves of despair. At one point he asked whether I needed to get to work and I told him this was far more important. I was not lying.

I have a special place for Veterans. I never served but I do have a profound appreciation for those that did and do to this day. I remember hearing a fact at last year's Veteran's Day Celebration that a full one quarter of all US Veterans are homeless at one point in their lives. Perhaps that number has changed in the year but I am not an eternal optimist.

I am now in my office but quite distracted. By our conversation. By the sad reality that touches me so deeply. And by the positive thought that Richard agreed to have dinner with me this evening. I expect there will be lots more stories. And with his permission, I intend to not let them go unheard.

Don't spare change. Make change.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The lambs weren't silent.
Nor were the sheep.I walked in on what sounded like the most disharmonious, dischordant, cacophonous soundcheck imaginable complete with Sheena, the snow white sheepdog barking furiously as if to organize her anything-but-symphonic flock.Then a large cloud passed overhead throwing the barn into darkness and for a moment, everyone got terribly, ominously silent.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Here kitty, kitty...

Here kitty, kitty
Nice kitty, kitty

My what a deep and resonant purr you have. 
Oh hey, that got loud fast.
And what perfectly sharp teeth you have. Why, they're as long as my fingers.

What a pretty, kitty
stop looking at me that way
and...and...and licking your lips

Yo, when was she fed last?

I know I look delicious and well marbled 
but I'm really quite bland
and tasteless 
(go ahead everyone...have a field day)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another day in Chinatown

Another day, another attempt at diplomacy rebuked.

Another day, another King Crab reveals a small glimpse of what's under his tough exterior shell
Another day, another walk through a distant, smoke-filled and mysterious land
Another day, another family too far away
Another day, another fishmonger who sells mackerel, tuna and crab all day long but keeps the dried shrimp and oysters all to himself (to go with his stash of ginseng, velvet deer antler, ox and goat penis)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another day, another woman who knows why the caged bird sings...(and will do everything in her considerable power to let her children, her grandchildren and her soon to come great grandchild know as well)

This is Dorothy. She is an artist. A writer. A retired freedom fighter (although you never really retire from that avocation).

We talked of Maya Angelou (her hero) and life for her as a young child and now; as one with many, many young children in her life. This was one of those moments as a photographer where it was more important for me to listen than to take pictures. That my 12 year old daughter was with me listening as raptly as I was made the connection that much stronger. And left another indelible mark on us both.

She ended our conversation with this
"Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone."


Monday, October 3, 2011

Just had a small epiphany:

For me,
Every picture is a small prayer.
each one different and heartfelt and important (in it's own distinct way)
Something to be thankful for,
Something to be celebrated
Something to be corrected,
Something to be sorry for,
Something that makes us feel big (in a small way)
Or small (in a big way)
Something that needs to be thought about
over and over and over
That needs to be shared.
That needs to live on
That needs t
o be heard.

An acknowledgement
A reminder
A plea
A thank you

Something that makes us feel at peace
Incredibly, profoundly moved 
Part of something huge 
And magnificent
And connected.


Just thought I'd share something incredibly personal 
Never really articulated why I love photography so much. Now I know.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another day, another squirrel to welcome to the neighborhood

This is Victor. He takes care of Madison Square Park (at the base of the Flatiron Building in Manhattan) the folks like myself who love to hang out there, do a little people watching and just enjoy the day. Victor can tell you the latin names for all the flowers planted there and has named all the squirrels in the park who seem to regard him as one of their own and seem to look forward to his daily rounds. I have walked with him on several occasions where they would eye me warily but come right up to him. Then he would introduce me to them. This has yet to help with their attitudes toward me. (Sigh)

He told me his boss at Public Works refers to him as the black Forrest Gump. To which Victor immediately replied, "well that's fine but you still ain't gettin' a box of chocolates no matter what."


Just a thought...

Just a thought...
A sort of spiritual "what if" to stick in the back of your head and wonder next time you're walking by some nameless, less fortunate soul...

Don't spare change. Make change.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled show.

New York Re-examined: Traffic Cones? Oh no, dear friends. Me thinks not.

Once upon a time...a very long, long, long time ago, mythic creatures roamed the streets and tunnels of Manhattan. You could identify them by the colorful, pointed hats they wore, some were striped, oftimes with their initials printed on them. 
These hats were made of rubber with a small opening at the very top because, legend tells, that if you made one of them angry, their heads would grow fiery hot and steam would need a place to escape. 
And the locals knew when trouble or mischief had occured as these creatures left a trail of steam marking their escape route into one of the many tunnels that underscored the growing city. (These were often accompanied by deep and damaging indentations in the street.) 
In their haste to get away unseen, they often lost their hats.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your imaginations...