Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Long Walk in Manhattan

The weather in New York over this weekend was gorgeous, and I heard the city crying for me to come visit. I wanted to get in earlier in the week but some restrictions were being applied, so I had to forgo that. There was a photo show called the NewYork Photo Festival that I wanted to see, and since it is always presented in a very scenic part of Brooklyn, called DUMBO (District Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). which has a waterfront park smack dab in the middle of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, I knew that even if the show was a disappointment (more on that in a moment) there would be lots of shooting opportunities.

The first time I attended this photo festival was in 2009. There were photo exhibits on every street, in every available space, and even on a Thursday afternoon there were hundreds of people walking the streets and attending presentations and panel discussions. I found much of the photography exhibited not to my liking or taste - it was rather avant-garde and/or conceptual - but it was certainly challenging and thought provoking. The crowd of people at that event was a mixture of editorial/curatorial types, doers (photographers), and peepers (wanna doers). The event was fun to be at. 

I went to the 2010 and 2011 events also. They were a little disappointing to me  - very likely due to my high expectations - there just didn't seem to be the same kind of electricity in the air and the crowd. I thought that visiting the festival on a Saturday would be optimal because there would probably be many more people there on a beautiful weekend day than during the work week. There wasn't. 

In general the festival had many fewer presenters and discussions scheduled, and there was much less work exhibited. The overall theme of the festival was the fine line separating documentary and fine art photography. I'm particularly attracted to the subject because it's very much the type of work that I shoot. Most of the work presented that related to the theme was presented in the Powerhouse Arena which pretty much is a glorified book store. Some of the work exhibited there was spectacular -  but I think that's to be expected from such names as Eugene Richards and such. The remainder of the work was mediocre at best. I spent far less time at the festival than I had expected, but that turned out to be a blessing. I walked through the park area and headed towards the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian path thinking that I'd walk until I got tired then hop on a subway or bus back to Penn Station. By the time my energy began to flag I was so close to Penn Station that I decided to complete the walk - 5 1/2 miles. I slept really well that night.

And, by the way, I got lots of great shots. I think I've found the right combination to make my Fuji X-Pro1 very easy to hand hold comfortably by using the Fuji auxiliary hand grip and the  Thumbs Up CSEP-2. I was very interested to take some of the same shots in the park that I had originally shot with my Nikon D700. I hope to be posting some comparisons later this week. 

I love to wear Panama hats. Whenever I happen upon another gentleman with extraordinarily sophisticated sartorial tastes, I'm moved to get a shot of him. That's the Manhattan bridge in the background.