I see people. I watch people. It comes from observing patients for so many years. You watch them walk, how they act, and how they interact. I was there for the reflection. Walking sticks? Well, the woman could hardly walk. Ok?! Engagement photo shoot? The photographer was shooting from behind the couple and probably never saw the reflection. How? (did she not see it?) Photo-ops everywhere you look. I kept my mouth shut and did not engage (pun, anyone?). The fat lady? Not that fat lady – she found the reflection, pulled a camera out of her pink bag, and proceeded to ignore me.
In NYC, a man with who walks with his nose in the air ends up with dog poop on his shoe. In the country, well, you know how it goes. We went to visit the sheep. Colleen arranged the visit. She had bought fleece from this farm and wanted to meet the source (sheep). Soay? Long wool Leicester? Familiar sheep breed names? How about Edwourd? French sheep, and didn’t know it! A sheep is still a sheep even if it is one or two. Soay sheep are shy. Soay (of course!!) originated in Scotland. Teddy the standard poodle stole the attention. A visit to the sheep farm cannot be complete without fleece. Yes, Colleen helped herself to … I might add that the shawl is felting over a lace curtain. That’s art!
No one ever said I had an abundance of patience. Besides, it was just about to rain. My classic “must” photo at this lighthouse was not happening today – a reflection of the lighthouse in the tidal/rain pool. The tiny figure in the shot was headed down toward me with the same thought. I cheated. Photoshop. Eh? It’s not perfect – the manipulation. No patience today. Maybe tomorrow. We’ll be back. There is no excuse to be lazy. But, I have a/the ‘real’ shot somewhere. And, on another day, we will return and I will get the shot. … just not today.
Maine is a state in which 1% of the census population reports as African American. Here, in the middle of nowhere and with no one around, are a group holding banners decrying BLM. Ok? Where are the supporters? Where is the audience? We were randomly driving by (not another car in sight). I laud the sentiment? We later ate lunch in a restaurant where the staff was nearly all black. Hmmmm? That was remarkable. There were plenty of (non black African) customers. Life went on seamlessly. 1% African American: 99% other. It’s a free country. Go where you like? Maine?
In Maine, they pronounce long “A’s.” (pfewf!!, that was a punctuation nightmare!) Like supp-ah for supper. And so forth. Seriously. ?! Socks? T-shirts? Dancin’s in the streets? Candles on a blanket on the beach at low tide. In the time of Covid, you can actually go out for takeout wearing a clown outfit/mask. The beard was the cherry on top. There is a lot to see if you know where to look. Or, if you just look, there is lots to see.
Colleen is a good sport. We went back to the powwow for more… shots, and, a better vantage point (… and to roast once more). Our position on the day before was less than ideal. I got shots but… let us say that the second time around I was satisfied with our vantage (close enough to touch); it was blazingly hot. The crowd got to participate. Politicians made a cameo. Eastern war dancers (one) from Shinnecock got called out. The chief dancer has appeared in the same regalia in other pics in other years. Hoop dancers? … new to me. As I tried to absorb it, I captured some of the energy and motion. We even got a bird show. I am glad we went back.
The price? Dinner out. I got off easy. It was pizza. We were entertained (enlarge the image) with a wedding party – extra large – in the park across the way. Colleen, eagle eye, noticed the party. And, to finish? A “Bud” mug in the antique store. Priceless!
I presume you need some creds to walk in the Indian powwow circle. I presume that anyone with a costume is not allowed. It’s not a Halloween parade, is it? A red-headed Indian child? I took note of how much the appearances reflect diversity. Love is where you find it. Never before have I appreciated how much we are a melting pot culture.
On 9/11 this year, we found ourselves at an Indian powwow. Symbolically? Symbolically, a flag had been raised over the venue – hanging six stories up from a hook and ladder fire truck. We remember…. Pageantry was mixed in with somber remembrance. I shot 3000 images that day. (Hmmm, another symbolic number.) Whoa! What an edit! Why? Photo ops were everywhere. I was not always in a good position to shoot what I wanted. I made do. The venue was loose and the crowd did not stay glued to their seats. I moved about with some freedom to get the shots I wanted. I listened to a photographer, a retiree now, describe how he shot in RAW and post processed in Lightroom, to a woman who did not know what RAW was and who had proudly proclaimed she just found her camera yesterday to shoot images of her grandchild. Disconnected?
In this case I did a rough edit randomly gathering a few representative images to illustrate the day. There was joy and movement. The regalia was colorful and symbolic. Kids and adults participated. No sunglasses please, I was trying for authenticity. Surprisingly, there was a lot of plastic in the costumes I saw. I had not attended a powwow since 2014. It was nice to see another once more with Colleen. The price? … dinner out.
No, hardly the NYT. I’d never pass proofreading. Nature. Remember the nature shows that brutally depicted lions taking down a poor animal and shredding it on camera for our initiation into “survival of the fittest?” This spider did brain surgery first. Logic or convenience? It ate the bee? Starting at the head. I got my initial shots and later on was amazed that there was very little left except for some disconnected bones. Nothing goes to waste. You need a lot of energy to spin a web.
Wooden thread spools? We got a jar…. somewhere, at some point, in the past. Why? Dunno. Colleen went through it looking for pink thread. She hates pink. She got sidetracked, as often she does, and looked up the names. Some of these spools date back to the 1800’s. Really?! Well, for sure they stopped making wooden spools a good 50 years ago. How’s that for useless information I did not know I needed. Antique wooden spools, imagine that?
Bad day: tell me, based on the damage and position of the vehicles, how this accident occurred. Did someone do a 180 or 360 circle? We passed this accident. The gray car was second along the road. No time to get a proper photo. I was not trying to hurt the feelings of those involved. They were already having a life changing moment and a very bad day. The damage was bad enough to stop both vehicles immediately. The position of the damage argues against head-on. Or, not? So?
This is a follow up to beauty. When I go to the beach I am ever amazed at what people will wear in public. For instance, a bikini is colored underwear only smaller. I don’t get to stare at your underwear, but… And there are those who have no problem with “body image.” Wear it!? OMG. Ok!! Then I will shoot it. (See: before and after.) There was a circus crowd atmosphere waiting for the beach Labor Day funeral marking the end of the summer. The parade was lame; the music poor. The lifeguards got a standing “O.”
Did you know… spiders will share a single web? … will repair, do repair a damaged web? When I say spiders… I saw the big one, Momma? – and then not one but two little ones. Two. ?? They (the little ones) were both out at the same time. OK! TMI! But it does account for the less than precise appearance of the web. Big Momma has only been seen at night since the little ones appeared. Mostly, there is no one patrolling the silk. Another web in the adjacent window pane has had no sign of any spider. Shy? Gee! The things you learn when first you ….
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)
Drama at the website: it’s gruesome, encased and mummified in silk. It is a soon to be dead bug. Yes, it is still moving. Big momma is out tending to the silk. Maintenance, someone’s gotta do it.
Men in Black, the movie? I’ve seen this guy out running before. He wears a lighted safety vest. Yup! He looks alien! And just as I was getting my shot of “Big Momma,” he went by. Sorry, I coulda done better, but, he went by so fast!
Old Friends – Simon and Garfunkel
Old friends, old friends
Sat on their park bench like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
Of the high shoes of the old friends
Ginny is the glue. The rest of us would not try too hard to keep in touch. Bless her, it was surprisingly nostalgic. We spoke of everything: old friends and enemies, wars we fought in the operating room, and all manner of stuff that would either curl your hair or turn it grey. I have accumulated plenty of enemies in my career. It was nice to meet up with some old friends. Thank you, Ginny. We all changed. Yup, a few pounds and a few gray hairs. And most of you don’t remember Simon and Garfunkel. This is not fine photography. Its meaning lies with the people in the shots and what history it conjures. Sometimes a picture is more to anchor a memory of what once was.
He she it they… I am confused enough by gender already. Now, we are back to braless. Does it matter if you are a guy. Anything goes! But is it kind? Really?! Your mother always told you to wear “clean underwear” when going out? Can you really go out wearing anything? Should you? Perhaps it would be kinder… but then again… You wear it I shoot it. Spectacle? People have the right to be seen. I suppose beach photography goes (is OK). What happened to cute? From this point, anything I write will be inconsiderate or not PC.
I know when I see it:
The phrase “I know it when I see it” is a colloquial expression by which a speaker attempts to categorize an observable fact or event, although the category is subjective or lacks clearly defined parameters. The phrase was used in 1964 by United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart
What is street photography?
Street photography at its essence means candid photography of people and humanity. A street photograph has to be a real, unposed moment.
An aside – I lived in Saudi for a few years. The original intent of this blog was to post pics and the story behind the image. I have been guilty more of doing a daily diary of late. I need to break out of the rut. No cats. No flowers. – at least for today. Ok?! So, how did I find myself aboard a bus chock full of nurses from the hospital? And how did this shot come about? Obviously, they are all friends. Me? – an invited interloper. The bus overheated and nearly broke down. They had sat me (honored guest) in the front of the bus and as I turned to see the back, I was cajoled to take a picture. Later, they flopped onto the grass and posed for a circle shot. So far this is my one and only. But, it’s a great idea and I will try it again this summer. They do things differently – over there. The bus had a banner affixed to announce the group of nurses traveling the far reaches. Aha! And that darn banner was the reason we overheated – cover the grill. Duh!
We don’t. We don’t July 4th. Not much anymore. I have mixed feeling, since living in Saudi and having gone thru the Trump years. For us the flag is now associated with the conservative “big lie” Republicans. Sure enough, we ran into a bunch in our conservative town on this day back years ago. Frankly, it’s sickening. Rah rah. Democracy is demonized and the flag never felt more like the connotation of “love it or leave it.” I don’t feel much like a part of that “gang.” When did America stop opening its arms to the “tired, poor, and huddled masses? It’s just so hard to cling to any hope. Colleen is an optimist. She will never give up believing in “good.” I will do so because she is my hope.
I would never say, “We won. You lost!” (The trump presidency is still raw. We’re in DC together – a few years back.) Ginny never lets me forget her birthday. She always calls a few days ahead. Ha ha. So, Happy!! She’s one of my only remaining Republican friends. She knows that too. We speak infrequently of politics. This is not the closest Colleen has been to a Republican. Colleen lived in rural West Virginia. But since she no longer lives there, her encounters have been fewer. Colleen allows me to stay in touch. But, nowadays I wear a mask and sanitize after every encounter outside the family.
The Amish are odd because of their habits – no buttons or zippers on their clothes. And they do not use electricity or machine power. The hay baler is not powered, I guess. We all live amonst one another in peace. No pictures please. You know me. There’s never been a rule I didn’t try to break. Sorry. The rule in “Street photography” is that in “public” you are fair game for photography. It doesn’t mean I will photograph if you are in an embarrassing position. But otherwise…. that weaving device was one of the few I did not buy. What is it? Dunno. It would’ve been a good conversation starter.
It’s a small field. There are about 3700 neurosurgeons in the US, not too many more than the average daily kill from covid. It’s unlikely you have heard of any, much less, those who are heroes to me. Yasergil, Heifetz, Cloward… Ransahoff. Yasergil and Heifetz pioneered early aneurysm clips that revolutionized how we treated the berry (time bomb) aneurysms in the head. Cloward pioneered the anterior cervical decompression and fusion. He kept his donor bone in his refrigerator in his home at one point. Ransahoff, was my training director. His contribution was to teach me judgement – when to operate, how far to go, when to get out. He famously had a penile implant, facial plastic surgery, and finally committed suicide when his memory was failing. I saw these men in their later years too. Fame had been pushed aside by younger surgeons for progress as they were left behind to grow ever more frail. It’s life’s cycle. But once upon a time, I walked among giants. I never expected to be fortunate enough to be among them. They were authors and teachers in places far from me. Yet, here we were, once.
Friends – not any more. I’m too lazy to seek out another pic. We went to the Tyler Place in Vermont for a bunch of years when the kids were small. This group hung in and persisted as fast friends for more than 25 years later. Two of four couples are divorced now. The end ladies, one a liberal democrat and the other a conservative republican are no longer friends (of mine). One chose my wife over me in the divorce. The other did not like my liberal rants against trump. She defended herself saying she watched the news – Fox news. Oh! Times change and old republican friends just get older…. and fewer. Yes, and they sold the house (in the background) too. Everyone one is on another path. Better? Worse? Was the split because of politics? We all met at the Tyler Place a long long time ago. No regrets. Friends. Republican friends in a time when it was ok.
I could use an alternate brain. It’s simply amazing the number of things I have forgotten. I don’t throw things away. I simply put them away… in places… and then promptly forget until… here’s an example. Back in 2007 Carol gave me a gift that I kept safe and never used. I found the card, box, and all, the other day. We are still in touch, so I thanked her again. … yup! It’s back in the box. I’ll find it in another ten years… and thank her once again.
“This must be what it felt like watching the moon landing. It was a historic scientific achievement that you just know a bunch of idiot jabronis are going to say was faked.” — SETH MEYERS
“You know that 2020 has been weird because I’m looking at a person in a face mask getting injected and I’m thinking, ‘I cannot wait for that to be me.’” — JAMES CORDEN
“This is a relief. I would hate to start another week of shows without talking about the same election results we’ve all known for the last month and a half.” — JAMES CORDEN
“At this point, Joe Biden has won the election so many times, he’s our 46th through 51st president.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
“This is also big news because this means after six agonizing weeks, the election is finally over. Stick a fork in the president; he’s done. Also, keep that fork handy because poking him in the butt might be the only way to get him out of the White House.” — STEPHEN COLBERT
SantaCon. I was there once. Look it up. It’s an enormous bar crawl. It sure is colorful. Halloween style costuming in December. It’s a guerilla event, a pop-up. Everyone knows but no one does. It’s quite the thing. I went once. Yeah, yeah, I (famously) don’t/can’t drink. I went for the pictures.
One and only. This is the one and only image. Once. We never spoke, I don’t even know how I knew her name. This lady sat in this doorway for years while we lived in NYC. She would always smile at my kids when we came out of our building. One day I snapped her picture. Finally! Her demeanor changed in an instant. It was clear she did not want her picture taken. She was a “character” in my neighborhood. The doorway? I do not know if it was a home or storefront. I never saw beyond the darkened entrance. One day she was gone. … but not forgotten.
… not enough time. Two guys decided to make a spectacle of themselves as much as play golf. Hmmm, they are only a letter away – as(s). Meanwhile, Colleen went into the garden and made a cut flower arrangement. Ok! Successful! Wow! Really, I am being complimentary. I am less destructive and would not (couldn’t bear to) ordinarily cut them myself. She’s got a good eye. Cue, the applause.
2005, February, Central Park, New York City, “Gates,” Jeanne Claude and Christos. Christos passed away recently. Jeanne Claude died in 2009 of a brain aneurysm, no less. Their signature art installation for me was “Gates.” My database and Lightroom catalog got me to the images in about five minutes. My memory got me to the only frames in which I caught the artists inspecting their work. My memory also recalls that I did not walk the park with Lisa. Strange. I persuaded Charlie to fly over Central Park in the helicopter. Alas, the (aerial) pictures were not memorable. Carol framed and hung a few of my “Gates” pics. I wonder if they are still hanging? No one else has tried such monumental works. Somewhere, I have a sample of the ‘Gates’ cloth. No, I will not find that anytime soon.