Labor Day weekend in The Hamptons.
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.
Till Summer folds her miracle-
As Women-do-their Gown-
Or Priests-adjust the Symbols-
When Sacrament-is done-
In summer, the song sings itself.
-William Carlos Williams
This was taken a few years ago when I was wandering in the National Gallery’s East Wing in Washington, DC.
In front of a huge Mark Rothko was someone standing close to the painting, maybe inches away, his hands clasped behind his back. For some reason, I knew it was I.M. Pei, inside one of his best (and one of his favorite) creations, admiring a wall decoration on a wall he designed. I rushed up behind him to take a photo of this diminutive giant in front of this massive Rothko. I was too slow with my Leica (bastards!), and missed the shot.
I managed to take this photo soon after but I can still perfectly recall the image of him in front of that ten foot painting.
Bastards bastards bastards.
Spike Lee threw a big bash for what would have been Michael Jackson’s 51st birthday in Prospect Park on August 29th. Some of the attendees were Al Sharpton, Tracy Morgan, and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. It was a celebration, a karaoke sing-a-long, and a dance off.
At one point during “Butterflies”, hundreds of Monarch butterflies were released over the crowd. And there was also a big ass birthday cake. Ma ma se ma ma sa ma ma coo sa, indeed.
Yes, it is August in the city. It is time for a million shiny faces on the streets, the Rorschach sweat blots on the backs of those in front of me, the surreality of the hair dryer heat in the Delancey Street station, the strong, sinus clearing smell of stairwell urine. And the noisy glory of sweaty, stinky, surly Chinatown in summer.
Yes, it is August in the city. I clean my desk regularly because my forearms stick to its surface when I type. My pint glasses sweat like afternoon joggers.
At a performance at Summer Stage in the park, the bugs enjoyed our sticky necks and we joined in whack-a-moling the whole night.
At the East River Park’s bandshell, a mid-afternoon dance performance was cut short because the vinyl surface of the stage had melted enough that the performers could not turn en pointe.
The thunderstorms bring a great and awesome distraction with their primal clash and fray and their looming, suspenseful dark build-up. But whatever relief they deliver is small and fleeting.
I have a cluster of trees in the school across my street with just enough cicadas to make a chorus.
Look at your watch. It does not matter what it says, as every moment in August is a good time for a shower.
They have been issuing lengthy heat advisories: drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, wear loose clothing, check on your neighbors. They should just say: Fuck, it is August in the city.
I know now that Best Buy has the greatest air conditioning, based solely on the arctic blasts jetting from its doorways and spilling onto the concrete like wasted champagne.
Yes, it is August in the city. And I love it.
Tonight, I will have dreams of January.
After dropping my M6 horribly twice in one week (yes, I changed bags now so it won’t happen again), I had to send my gear to the Leica repair people in New Jersey.
That was three months ago. I’ve had gear repaired with them before and it took only a few weeks. I think I hit the summer vacation schedule for some of the technicians and I also wouldn’t be surprised if they had fewer hands working there in this economy.
My M6 and 35mm summicron arrived yesterday, CLA’d and sealed in plastic. I almost don’t want to open them up as they are so clean and pristine now. Almost.
Time to go hit the streets and get in people’s faces.
250,000 people, boiled peanuts, off-duty strippers, fathers begging daughters to show strange men their boobs to get a free shot of bourbon.
Welcome to the Talladega Infield Party.
Oh, and there was a race.
Shot with a Leica M6 TTL, 35mm summicron, Kodak Tri-x.
To view the full series, click here.
As a street shooter, there are times when you are handed a gift, a situation where it’s fish in a barrel and you have been carrying a loaded shotgun all day. This image is from Shanghai on Fuzhou Road a few blocks away from The Bund. It was morning rush hour and my friend Robb had just crossed the street. The light was red so I just stood in the crosswalk and took my time composing and metering the shot because this great line up could not go anywhere.
If you click on the image to view the larger version, you can see the unhappy mugs in the center who were none too pleased to have me take their photo.
Maybe I do. Maybe I don’t.
But this guy did. And it was a long ride to the next station.
You can see such goddamn great stuff. All it takes is to go outside.
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