October 18, 2013 § 1 Comment
Pileated Woodpecker route 121.
I don’t watch the news. This is good, and bad. I’m probably not on the threshold of knowing what goes on in the world the minute it happens, but at the same time, if I expose myself to it, I am unable to filter the stream of hyper sensationalized stories that accost my senses. You can’t escape it. Televisions are in the airport terminal, in the Jiffy Lube when I’m getting the oil changed in my car, taxi cabs in Manhattan, and even when I’m in my dentist’s chair. Even if I’m able to silence the idiot box, the “crawl” itself, is nothing but high drama headlines. Recently when I was getting a crown replaced-as I lay there waiting for the Novocaine to kick in, I watched a so-called cooking show where the contestants job was to undermine their fellow chefs performance, rather than focusing on their own creation. Each contestant had a budget where they could purchase poor quality or inappropriate ingredients that they foisted on another peer making it impossible for them to turn out a successful dish. We have become addicted to drama.
Obvious, is easy. Subtlety, is not so easy. When I set out to do “Hit and Run,” I photographed it from many vantage points and approached it from several different views. I have the eviscerated footage that one associates with roadkill-endtrails and unidentifiable remains, carcasses mangled in ways that defy normal anatomy. I knew that this was not what I wanted, but it was necessary to approach it from all angles. Often times in the creative process something serendipitous happens and one takes on a different direction. For me this can only happen if I blanket my subject in many permutations and combinations. It’s essential for me to experience my subject matter it in all it’s various forms in order to know what to eliminate, and narrow down what to keep. It’s a process that is continually evolving through trial and error, hits and misses, until something congeals and my idea on how to apply a consistent theme becomes clarified. I have to be in it, in order to understand it, in order to convey it. And my aim is to try to bring a sense of grace to even the most difficult of subjects.
This beautiful Pileated woodpecker was flying across the road when it hit the windshield of a car that was driving too fast. My friend a wildlife rehabilitator, happened to witness the event as she was driving behind. She jumped out to resustitate the stunned bird, but she was not successful and felt its warmth leave it’s body, becoming still, then stony. She cried as she laid it to rest.
We are conditioned to shock value, to perfection, the unobtainable, and speed. I feel this cultivates a life of anguish, and we become anesthetized. I hope to bring beauty to imperfection, grace to difficult realities, and a sense of caution to how we view our world and our experience of it.
Thank you to Emma Kisiel of muybridgehorse.com.
August 14, 2013 § 2 Comments
Everyone has their own point of view. No one sees things the same way, and although that’s what makes life interesting, it can also make it frustrating. Getting out of your own head space in order to experience something through someone else’s point of view is either an exercise in futility, or an opportunity to transform and grow.
I’ve had my food choices edited, my personal preferences edited, aspects of my personality edited. All the ways in which I choose to express myself in the world, edited. Even if it’s my own personal creation, someone will feel compelled to alter it.
Our society is in constant flux and we’ve been conditioned to feed off of the change itself, rather than considering whether something actually needs it or not.
However, there are those times when your point of view is understood, not misconstrued, and represented in the way it was intended. Thank you to the London Sunday Times Magazine for featuring my project “Displaced” in this past Sunday’s Spectrum Magazine issue.
Yvette the guinea pig awaits her weigh-in at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York City. She is just one of the patients photographed at the Center by Linda Kuo for her project Displaced. While pets such as guinea pigs and rabbits (top center) are perfectly welcome, the Center specialises in the exotic-and it has its work cut out in a city where unusual pets are increasingly popular. Recent patients include a red-eared slider turtle, pictured (top right) having its scales removed, a morning dove having its heartbeat checked (bottom right) and a uromastyx lizard (bottom centre) being kept warm under special lights after an operation. Every year almost half a million animals are imported into the US–legally–to meet the demand for exotic pets. Countless more are smuggled into the country as part of a $10bn-a-year international black market, second only to the illicit drug trade.
August 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Often times I come across a genre of work that is new to me in a way that I need to explore. Whether it be conceptual, landscape, or street photography, at times I might not feel a connection to it until I read the artist’s statement. Once I have digested their manifesto, suddenly I look at the same body of work with a new found appreciation. It’s as if a veil has been lifted, and I have a whole new level of understanding of the work that I just looked at a few moments ago. I suppose I could apply this situation to all my life circumstances, encounters, and relationships. A new approach with new information, rather than just from one point of view–mine. I am continually grateful for the opportunity to learn, grow, and continually adapt.
Serge J-F. Levy is a preeminent educator, and an intuitive and responsive artist. I feel he takes a daring approach to street photography that can only be accomplished by someone with a great deal of sensitivity. I had the opportunity to be a guest blogger for Feature Shoot where I had the chance to interview Levy on his project “Excuse Me Sir Did You Just Take My Picture?” I found his approach to street photography revealing and bold–directly involving himself in the experience rather than merely acting as voyeur. Despite the apparent defensive reaction from his subjects, there appears to be a more subtle level of vulnerability, which can only be captured by one who senses, and feels.
I also had the pleasure of interviewing Susan Falzone on her beautifully moving body of work “Grace.” This is a long term project that is near and dear to her heart, as it is an ongoing documentary about her aunt Grace as she suffers from Alzheimer’s. I also grew up being close to my grandparents, and in my family the older generation were highly revered. I feel it is something that we have moved away from as a society-an important connection to the wisdom and intelligence of the elderly, who have transcended challenges we will never know––as we become more youth obsessed.
Falzone is a story teller. She is devout in her eloquent manner of capturing every day moments––bringing a sentiment and compassion to her aunts tribulations.
Though both projects are very different in nature, there is a common bond that unites them. A quiet despair, and an ability to present unguarded empathy. Thank you Feature Shoot, Susan and Serge. I’m proud to know your work. You may view their projects in their entirety on their websites.
July 31, 2013 § 1 Comment
I have been working on a series of pet portraits. I photographed Danilo and his pets at his friend’s apartment, who also happens to be an animal lover. His friend has a 12 year old pit bull who is sweet as can be, “bb,” and he also gave home to a pigeon who was blind and could not be released, when he volunteered at the Wild Bird Fund. A very good man. It feeds my soul to come across people who have the same sentiments towards animals that I do.
This is a classic portrait. Though I am fan of the “Classic Portrait” I feel that life is anything but a series of classically captured moments. There are times we are bored, contemplative, feeling disconnected, and fearful. This is life.
July 7, 2013 § 2 Comments
July 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment