Loud and proud.
Most New Yorkers hate this parade as it is one of the loudest things to ever occur in the history of mankind. And it is a long all day affair, bifurcating the city from Bryant Park to the mid-70s.
I love it. As long as you don’t get trapped behind the parade route and are mindful of the peak hours for revelers on the subway, you’ll be fine. Last year, a nice gentleman cleared out an entire car of the 5 train because his vomit was sloshing up and down the car.
There are two things I do not understand:
First, there must have been a beauty pageant every six minutes to produce all the winners I saw.
Second, I have been to Puerto Rico and there were less Puerto Ricans there than on Fifth Avenue that Sunday.
Balance is the gift of the Creator.
Perhaps my favorite image in my book Born Yogis is this one of Alexandra, a firecracker of a girl. I was at her home in Point Mugu, north of Los Angeles, getting to know her, warming up and playing around with her. Many times the greatest comfort zone for babies or toddlers is their parents bed so we went there, the light was good so I encouraged her to play around.
She began jumping around on the bed with little encouragement. We were laughing and both taking turns bouncing around. And then that was it, the window closed, her time performing and playing with me was finished. Shooting babies and kids is the greatest lesson in taking only what is given.
A couple of days later, looking at the contact sheet, this image popped. The fraction of a second, catching Alexandra in that perfect moment of grace and balance, joy in her face, play in her body, hands ready for flight, that moment of pure magic, filling the room with light.
I absolutely love this image. Still.
Alexandra continues to be a firecracker and lives in France now with her family.
Shot with a Nikon F5, Agfa APX 400, 28-70mm Nikkor.
Helene is one of my good friends in San Diego, a great dancer, an even greater photographer. Last June, she got hitched to Preston and their wedding was truly a spectacle.
A traditional Jewish ceremony and a warehouse party / reception the following night with circus performers, contortionists, a fire dancing team, Regaton beats by the groom, a Brazilian band, a ceremony with an African priestess, acrobats swinging from the ceiling and more and more and more.
If you think you’ve been to a cool wedding, trust me; you haven’t, unless you were at Helene and Preston’s (or at Aaliyah and Patrick’s).
To view more images, click here.
I normally do not shoot landscapes because I don’t care about landscapes and am horrible at creating them. Not that this is any great shot but I like this image because this particular peat bog in Connemara in western Ireland was a striking place. This was taken in late morning and the entire vista was empty and very still.
There is a dark mood in the image with the low, oppressive sky and the black waters of the bog. It was a beautiful morning there, with that threatening sky, the desolate landscape, and the still black waters.
Shot with a Nikon F5, 35-70mm Nikkor, Kodak Tri-X.
It’s true, of course, and maybe a bit obvious, but revisiting these images, I really enjoy how each person’s expression is completely genuine and in the moment. There’s a military term for the combat soldier’s mental state of mind called the “dictatorship of the present”, where there are no thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow, only of what is immediately around you in the moment.
Bullets, snowballs, pillows. It just pays to be alert.
And yes, I did get hit in the face shooting the pillow fight.
Shot with a Nikon F5, 12-24mm Nikkor, 35-70mm Nikkor, Fuji NPZ800, and Kodak Tri-X 400.
Being a huge fan of John Ford’s “The Quiet Man” since I was a kid, I could not wait to visit the village of Cong in County Mayo where they filmed much of the movie. The tiny village is dominated by tourist traps for fans of the film but off the main strip, things settle down and the quaintness of life in western Ireland takes over.
Drive about an hour north of Galway on Route 334 on the Circular Road and just enjoy the scenery.
Shot with a Nikon F5, 35-70mm Nikkor, and Kodak Tri-X 400.
Ah, I really miss Agfa. For years, all I shot was Agfa APX 400. The 100 ISO was a much better film but I needed the leeway shooting on the street. Great contrast, fine grain quality, tonal structure (especially in the mids) and inexpensive when compared to other films.
I do not know the technical specs or chemical characteristics of why or how it looked like it did, but it was a lush film with a classic look. It was not known as a push film but I never had a problem with it. Kodak’s Tri-X is a fine, legendary film and it is what I primarily shoot now, but it is not the same. My favorite mode was to expose the 400 at 250 ISO and develop it at 300 so it was under by a quarter stop. I like my shit dark.
Even if you did not shoot their films, you had your prints made on their papers. Their 111 multi-grade paper was a favorite as was their 118 warm eggshell paper.
I can remember when it was announced that they were going out of business and in Los Angeles, the last shipment of Agfa paper was on its way. Those few with enough foresight bought up the remaining paper in that shipment to hoard like dragon’s gold. My friend is a B&W printer in Los Angeles and one of his clients has a stash of Agfa paper which he only brings over when he needs some prints to be made.
Below are some scans of photos shot with Agfa APX 400 and printed by Nourredine El-Wariri on Agfa’s 111 and 118 papers. It’s a bit silly because I am trying to show you how great an extinct film and paper were through a computer monitor which makes as much sense as videotaping oil paintings.
Things happen, the day grows older, measured in moments and the mundane minutiae of right now; there are tasks, events, drama, weddings, the accumulation of responsibilities and obligations, all of these pile up on top of each other and account for the passage of time.
And then sometimes, sometimes, a child wanders in, oblivious, magical, barely held down by gravity to this earth, in a complete pre-Copernican world, the sun revolving around them and only them, strewing charm, wonder, and flower petals in their wake.
Give me a beautiful bride, some window light, and a pocket full of B&W film and I will go to town all day long.
And while I’m at it, give me a rabbi and a window and I’ll still go to town.