6-25-14 Working Through The Experiment (Amy Arbus Edition)

“Science, my boy, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”
Jules Verne (Journey to the Center of the Earth)

Last night I finished my second class with Amy Arbus at the International Center of Photography. If you are not familiar with her work, you should be. She is a first class, top of the line, portrait maker and shooter of people. If you are a long time reader of QH you know I have been shooting primarily landscape for the past four years.

The first class I took, The Fleeting Moment, was, in my opinion, a mistake ridden mess (on my part).

As Samuel Beckett said…”No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

So I had to take the next class she offered (either The Narrative Portrait or The Extended Portrait – the name seemed very changeable) because I had learned so much about what not to do that I thought I might be ready to begin to start to maybe take a decent people shot.

My aesthetic and Amy’s do not agree. She loves clean and uncluttered. The frame may be full of things but clearly and precisely.  To me real life is about clutter and weird lines and the inconvenient fire extinguisher. Another good thing. Being challenged by intelligent and thoughtful people is always a positive experience.

A brief diversion, Anna, our TA, and the other students in both classes were excellent collaborators, critics and colleagues as well. This does not always happen in Continuing Ed classes.

At the very start of the class I got lucky. In casting about for a subject I asked Abigail and her friend, Lilah, if they would be my subject. They were both graduating high school (different ones), getting ready to say goodbye and moving into a new life stage. To my surprise they both said yes. In the work, we all enjoyed the process enough that we are discussing carrying it through the summer, right up until drop off day at their colleges. Over the next few weeks I will be occasionally showing some of the work that resulted from our collaboration.

I shot them together and separately. These images are from our first joint shooting day, May 9, in Riverside Park overlooking the Hudson River.

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Riverside Drive and the lazy Hudson beside it

Robert S Johnson:

Ephemeral New York has done it again. I had to reblog this given the subject matter. By virtue of living in Morningside Heights this is my home base on the river. I thought you might be interested in seeing its past.

Originally posted on Ephemeral New York:

It looks like a pleasant spring or summer day on Riverside Drive and in the park beside it, based on this postcard stamped 1916.

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We’re at 93rd Street. Grant’s Tomb can be seen over the treetops; open-topped automobiles and a double-decker bus share the road. Pedestrians linger on the sidewalks or on the teardrop-shaped green.

And in the distance, there’s no George Washington Bridge.

View original

5-4-14 Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

“Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.”
Walker Evans

The Weekly Photo Challenge is spring. It has barely begun in the northeast. Running more than a bit late but seems to be moving in now.  A few spring images from Riverside Park, April 27, 2014:

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RSJohnson_1404270394Other springing off points:

http://randomlyabstract.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/4749/

http://empireoflights.com/2014/05/02/translucent/

http://brokenlightcollective.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/hope-from-above/

http://differentisntwrongitsjustdifferent.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://meindachboden.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/photoworld-2-5-14-2/

http://justapieceofafrika.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://monbeaumanoir.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://artkorppi.com/2014/05/02/weekly-photo-challenge-spring/

http://alicethroughthemacrolens.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/my-200th-post-the-hawthorn-tree/

http://coralynxblog.com/2014/05/02/back-from-the-ardeche/

4-8-14 The Children’s Hour (River And Park Edition)

It was a beautiful spring day in the city. High somewhere in the low 60’s, partly sunny or partly cloudy depending on your point of view.

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(Digression – Why the internet can be great. So which has more sun a partly cloudy or partly sunny day? Off I go down the google hole!)

|;-)

|;-)

falling

:-|

:-|

I’m back. So…while you waited did your glass become half empty or is it half full?

It seems that officially, meteorologistly speaking…partly sunny and partly cloudy mean the same thing! It depends on the speaker. Now, I always assumed that a partly cloudy day was less sunny then a  partly sunny day but many people out there in internet land make a convincing counter argument. If your glass is partly full or partly empty which has more liquid in it? I would say the partly empty glass is more full then the partly full glass so isn’t a partly cloudy day therefore more sunny than a partly sunny day?

Could be! Who knows?

Anyway. The temperature at the river was the same as the rest of the city but…

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the wind was blowing in the high teens or low 20’s so it felt a bit brisker. That didn’t stop these kids from PS 75 who took an art trip to the river

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to make their own driftwood and flotsam/jetsam art!  I didn’t ask what grade they were in because I just assumed second or first. If it was a third grade class they almost certainly would have been trapped in a classroom being taught the finer points of taking a bubble test, – sorry I mean learning the math and english appropriate to the  grade level of their required make or break test – which is being given shortly. They certainly would NOT have been wasting time on such frivolity as Art (or for that matter History or critical thinking or deep reading).

As they headed back to school for dismissal I headed up to Riverside Park and shortly thereafter the fun continued with a wider range of ages.

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1-3-14 Snow-de-o-…D’oh

We had our first “blizzard” of the season.

Blizzard is a term that has become as overused as hero.  The Weather Channel continues its obnoxious habit of naming snow storms, but I bet they don’t name the storms that only hit North Dakota or Buffalo or Maine.

There are definitely places that had a blizzard but 6.4 inches in Central Park does not make the cut. It snowed and it was very pretty.

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Riverside Park

Riverside Park

Snow Selfie

Snow Selfie

The Cherry Walk looking south

The Cherry Walk looking south

A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

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Self Portrait

Self Portrait

12-17-13 A Harbinger?

It snowed in the city this morning.

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I have been rushing about and unable to get to the river or do much shooting for myself at all but mis-scheduled today so that I had an appointment at 7 AM and then a clear schedule until 1 PM after which I am booked until close to midnight. Should have taken a nap, but instead I went through Riverside Park down to the river.  I figured I would see how the 800 handled the weather (wonderfully) and I put on my fixed 50 so I could take some “in-scene” portraits of folks out in the weather.

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Okay, that may not have worked out…

Here we are just 4 days away from Winter Solstice; actually 99 hours and 36 minutes when I took this shot;  and what do I see? A harbinger of spring, perhaps?

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9-26-13 Feels Like Home To Me

On Tuesday late afternoon I took a walk through Riverside Park down to the river. It felt like a month since I had done that. I don’t know how it happened but that little piece of park and river from 96th Street to 125th Street has become a part of me.

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The Hudson remembering it is an estuary and not a river in NYC

The Hudson remembering it is an estuary and not a river in NYC

Don Bikoff playing Traveling Riverside Park Blues

9-21-13 Travel Theme: Through

Ailsa’s theme this week is through.

Through the protective fence-Chelsea Piers

Through the protective fence-Chelsea Piers

Trees In Riverside park

Through the Trees In Riverside Park

A few other points of view:

Travel Theme: Through | Shoot ‘N Go

Travel theme: through sandstone and time | Empressnasigoreng’s Blog

Weekly themes: arches and through | ilghepardo

Travel Theme: Through | Welcome to Sherresartzone!

Travel Theme: Through | Ese’ s Voice

Travel Theme of the Week: Through | AMtraveltimes

Travel Theme: Through | Paths Unwritten

Travel Theme: Through | soletusknow

Travel Theme: Through | Weakly Thought

Travel Theme – Through | Colin Butterworth

Travel Theme: Through– Queenkv’s Brainpickings

 Travel Theme: Through | American Gypsy Gibberish…

7-10-13 Summer In The City (High Rise – Ono Variation)

I mentioned the other day that I took a really nice walk on June 29th from 102nd Street up the river to 181st. It was a glorious day and all sorts of people were out. Two items of particular interest to me involved art. One official and supported by the city and one unofficial and supported by most of us who walk (or kayak) the river.  Many of you who have been kind enough to follow my journey for some time know that I am fascinated by all the driftwood art that pops up on the banks of the river. People tell me that there are at least two and probably more artists who do this work which based on style alone makes sense. I had never seen either or any of them until the 29th. At around 118th Street I found him. He didn’t want to talk to me which I understand since I don’t necessarily want to talk while I am working but he had no objection to my shooting him.

River Art

As I walked further north I came to Riverbank and then to the continuation of Riverside Park . On warm summer days this area is home to barbecue  Ever few yards is another group cooking and partying up a storm. The majority of the folks are Dominican-Americans but you see everybody. I am not 100% certain it is legal but there are always a few cop cars and  a fire truck in the area in case the need arises so it is at least semi legal.

Boro Walk

I shot some pictures of a sculpture which is part of the “Art In The Parks” program that I choose to call Yoko Ono Variation 375 although its real name is  High Rise by Charles Ginnever. When you see it I think you will understand both names.

Boro Walk

Boro Walk

Regina Spektor is kind enough to sing us out today.

6-19-13 Cocktails

In many ways this picture is the start of The Quotidian Hudson. I am in the process of “finalizing” a book of my river journey (although until I go to Lake Tear Of The Clouds I cannot say it is finished) and in writing the preface…well to quote the first line: “In July 2010, while Katherine and I were in Riverside Park enjoying a Martini and Manhattan,  a quiet sunset snuck across the sky above the Hudson. I started shooting”

Boro Walk