Monday, May 31, 2010

You can't get lost on the way to Wall Drug

Have you ever traveled south on I-95 to the border of North and South Carolina? For a hundred miles, you will see signs for "South of the Border", in Dillon South Carolina. Similar to the famous southeast highway stop, Wall Drug, Murdo, and 1880 Town line the South Dakota highway along route 90. Pictured above, no sign welcoming us to the northwest could have been better than this one.

It doesn't get any better than a 40ft dinosaur on a leash.

Wall Drug is the largest of the three attractions, and has the most billboards. As you close in on the middle of the state, you pass hundreds of these inspiring signs. Wall drug even boasts owning signage as far out as Kenya. If anyone can please verify this claim, let me know.

This is dinosaur country.

And just a reminder, for all of us sinners out there...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The road

We leave New York City far behind, and on to the open road. Truck stops, gas stations, diners and quick stop convenience stores line the highways like beacons along our path to the west. We have made it past Chicago, Milwaukee, past so many major cities, and now we are entering into another part of this great country.

The smell of cows and hay lingers heavy in this air, cut down by our land rover as we speed through the open farmlands. This is only a taste of what the next thousand miles or so will bring.

Finally, we pull off to rest along Lake Michigan, between Milwaukee and Sheboygan, in a town called Port Washington. If you ever go to Wisconsin, notice how clean it is, everywhere. If someone imagined a peaceful life, where there are many bars to be found (we counted almost 20 in this small lake town), then Wisconsin is for you.

7,798 miles left.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Coney Island

Never has a place bounced back from an old memory, like Coney Island did for me this last weekend.  Parts are under construction, and there weren't too many people yet, but the energy was in the right place if you knew where to look for it.  

I can remember walking through in my first visits, skipping the carousel and kiddie rides for the Cyclone.  As a five year old, my Pops tried to get me to ride by lifting me to the minimum hight limit.  When I did get to ride only a few years later, I was terrified of death.  Now, there are few roller-coasters that hold a candle to the Cyclone experience (The Cyclone).

There is little I can do to justify such a place to an outsider.  This is a neighborhood, and a destination.  What kind of future does Coney Island hold?  I hope that the vision of future architects blends the old with the new, allowing hustlers and hot dog venders to create there own here, between the ocean and big city.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grand Street Fire

The hidden subject creates a mystery for the viewer. Behind these walls large machines tear down three buildings burned in the Grand Street fire from a few weeks ago. Like children, these men peer over the edge of the triangular cutouts.

I was able to photograph all three of these men individually. They were so absorbed by the machines, that not one of them turned to look at me, even though my camera could be heard easily from the short distance away.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Each and every day the eye wanders over the many objects, locations, and people that are repeated on any route that we take regularly. Certain people appear again and again, light falls against storefronts, down dark alleys, penetrating the subway stairwells. Besides the route I take, I try not to have much of a routine. Everyone else is the routine, the streets themselves unbending to my walk to and from the office. Some days, something changes and the repetition is broken. So much so, that every day one either hopes for that anomaly that changes the week for us, or dread that day completely.
The anomaly in my day seems random, so every day I must prepare like today is that special one. If I am not ready, I can either run home to get Tanya (my camera), or pass by the pig men without a chance to get their picture. Most people are unaware of Tanya until she has already done her job for me. These pig men seem to always know when I'm about to photograph them, and look at Tanya and I. This morning, I even rounded the block, stuffed my jacket in my backpack, put on a hat, and tried to take a second shot. Some people just seem to have Camera radar.

This storefront always has light cutting this one chair at a forty-five degree angle between 9:00 and 9:30. On many mornings, this seat has provided me with great subjects. I'm not quite ready to go yet, there are more days that I need the pig truck to be back, but soon the routine will be over. Does the routine can benefit or destroy us as observers? Is it something to embrace or do away with entirely?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The beginning!


I wanted to start this out small, and simple, with a not-so-great portrait. This way, the blog can only get better.

In exactly two weeks from today I'll be leaving to teach the summer workshops. The purpose of this blog is to chronicle, in some way, my photographing experience. It begins in Chinatown. Here I have been trying to convey the kind of life I have lived for the last 6 months in the city I was born, but outside of the culture I live in. I walk in and out of this place as some kind of stranger. I have learned the good places to eat, where the light falls at certain times of day, and where to find most anything from cheap sunglasses, to the local buddhist monk.

I'm going to work more on making this better, and connecting everyone to this location. Also, look here for news on the summer, shows, museum reviews, and residencies...