Saturday, November 2, 2013

NYC Halloween Parade I (More to come)

For the next few entries I'll be posting pictures I shot at the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village. Given the surreal nature of the whole experience I'm tempted to play a bit with a new software plugin recently released by Google to complement the Nik suite of plugin filters, Analog Efex Pro. I've only had a chance to glance at it, but it appears to offer some very interesting possibilities. I am very pleased to see Google make the investment of resources to enhance the Nik plugins.

I feel compelled to editorialize a bit about the event. I first attended the Halloween Parade, which is contained entirely by the bounds of Greenwich Village - starting on Sixth Avenue and Spring Street, and proceeding up Sixth Avenue to 14th Street - in the late 1980's when I was first learning my craft as a photographer. I was then, as I am now, deeply invested in studying the techniques of, and producing b/w images. At that time, the event promised such wonderful opportunities to shoot color that I loaded Kodachrome in my camera, used a flash, and had a ball. Besides being creative, the costumes were outrageous. The event was more than just a parade of weird characters and cross dressers. It was a chance for very bright and insightful people to make topical and political statements, often acerbic and sarcastic, definitely funny. Frequently poking the proverbial finger in the eye of the very people in authority who were responsible for the oversight of the event and the city in general. Parties abounded at all the bars and eateries in the entire neighborhood of the Village, especially the gay bars on Christopher Street and in the streets around Sheridan Square. The entire evening was mostly self-regulated and everyone had a blast.

By comparison, this year's event was much more sedate. The energy flowed and the costumes were very creative and fun to see, but there was a much greater police presence than I ever remembered. There were, as before, the usual crowd control barricades along Sixth Avenue. But the parade staging area, in the few blocks south of Houston Street, which in the earlier times was pretty much open to anyone who wanted to take photos, was saturated with police and barricaded to corral the marchers and press people into very restricted areas, which made taking photos much more difficult. Barricades and heavy police presence and barricades were also apparent throughout the west village. It's a sad commentary on the state of our social environment. I'm sure the police presence was well meant to allow for a safe and enjoyable experience for the spectators. But it was also a sad commentary on our troubled society that such a presence for what in the past has always been a trouble-free event was necessary.

I'm done.

This image was processed in Lightroom and Color Efex Pro (no Analog Efex Pro processing yet):