Saturday, May 4, 2013

Christopher Street with a Martin 000-18

I'm deep into the new project I mentioned in my last blog post. Its a bit difficult to reference just yet because I haven't quite figured out a name for it. I've been going back through my Lightroom catalog for the past several years and refining the keywording of all the appropriate images. As I looked at the processing work I can see how I've evolved, and I want to go back and redo many images but I need to do so much more shooting for the project. And then there's other shooting I want to do also - if only I had more time ..... 

Christopher Street in the west village is known for it's gay bars. It was the locus of the Stonewall Riots in 1969. As I was walking around this past weekend, I happened upon these two gents sitting on the stoop and I asked about the very weathered guitar. It was a Martin 000-18 model made in 1963, not old by my standards, but then I'm ancient. When I was playing bluegrass music, in the early 1960's, pre-World War II dreadnoughts (D18s and D28s) were the holy grail. At that time a vintage D28 might cost  about $1k. A few weeks ago on the Antiques Road Show and old prewar D28 was appraised at a value of about $60k.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


An epiphany is an enlightened realization that allows a problem or situation to be understood. Some are small, some large. When one happens to me it always seems as though I've broken through to the other side of something with which I didn't even realize I was struggling.

I'm not at ease with living routinely. I need to have some kind of over-arching focus or direction in my life. I can do the mundane stuff comfortably if it's in service of something creative to which I feel dedicated. For the past several years, since my recovery from serious eye surgery, I've been on a path that's brought me full circle back to where my image making journey first began - documentary photography. In the early 1990's, when I walked away from my short catastrophic foray into the corporate world, a seemingly disassociated series of events led to my producing several documentary photographic projects. It's been a long time since I felt that kind of commitment and involvement. Although I've felt the impetus to get out and shoot - which I have been enjoying thoroughly - there's been a bit of unease and underlying doubt about what it is I'm trying to do. Somewhere in the back of my mind is a tiny voice pushing me in a certain direction. When I listen to it, when I get out and shoot the kinds of images that my instinct tells me is what I need to do, I get buzzed. When I do something else, not only do I not feel the buzz, but the images usually bore me to tears as I review them at the end of the day.

As often as has happened in my life, 'things' usually fall into place and eventually everything makes sense. But when I'm going through the process - as I have been for the past year or so - even though I enjoy it -  there's an underlying uneasiness about what the end result might be.

And then eureka - all the 'why's fall into place and make sense. It happened earlier this week. I've been drawn to a few spots in Manhattan to shoot street, one in particular. I've really enjoyed the variety of characters there, but had no clear idea or direction of what I was trying to accomplish, until I had that epiphany. Once I did, ideas were popping like firecrackers. Without having to really think, images fell into an orderly structure that seems to have been, unbeknownst to me, somewhere in the back of my mind all along.

One of my favorite spots is on the corner of Washington St. and 13th St. in the Meat Packing district just south of Chelsea (not the location of my epiphany). There's a biker bar called the Hog and Heifer which caters to some rather 'colorful' characters. Just around the corner on Washington Street there's several trendy bars and bistros that attract a more genteel clientele, and the juxtaposition of the two leads to some interesting contrasts. The shots in my most recent blog post were taken the same afternoon as these - one block apart.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


On Saturday, which was a gorgeous spring day in New York, I took a walk around the Meat Packing district and the lower end of the High Line. There's a number of trendy hangouts underneath the High Line that are magnets for pretty young women on the hunt. When I walked past this group of young 'uns they looked at me as though I was an old fart with leprosy, I grabbed their expression before I raised the camera to my eye.

Then  a few seconds later, I picked the camera up to recompose and focus, and they gave me this shot when I told them I was shooting a story for a hip magazine about hot spots to meet young women (yeah, I lied. So shoot me).