November 30, 2012

Evening Colors

Just back from a nice week in Virginia celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. 

Nearly all the trees have shed their leaves except for one last holdout, a bright red Japanese maple in the corner of Dad's yard. It's a week or so past its peak and most of the remaining leaves are dry and brittle with curled edges. In the last few hours of the day, the sun drops down and back-lights the fragile leaves. It's strikingly beautiful and vivid. For two evenings I walked slowly in circles under that tree with my little Lumix aiming towards the sky. Though beautiful, I wished I had been there a week earlier. 

Today walking up 6th Avenue these small patches of cracked, peeling paint caught my eye on the sheets of blue plywood they place around construction sites. I got up close and took a few snaps and then noticed more tiny areas of deterioration. I felt the presence of someone behind me and looked over my shoulder. A man and woman were looking at me as I stood less than a foot from the painted wood. Their facial expressions were obvious--"What the hell are you taking pictures of ?" 
They obviously couldn't "see" what I saw. 

Rooftops, West Village at dusk.

November 17, 2012

The Reunion (disaster)

My wonderful friend Michele Golden contacted me awhile back and asked if I was going to go to an "impromptu"  high school reunion that had been announced on FaceButt by a classmate of hers. I hadn't heard about it and told her I'd probably be in NYC. While visiting Dad, however, hurricane Sandy hit and I was stuck in Virginia, unable to get back to my apartment due to flooding, so I emailed her and we decided to make it a date. The plan was that we were supposed to help each other with identifying unrecognizable people and blocking unwanted advances from drunken lunatics. 

Walking into the bar of the Fairview Marriott (right off 495 in beautiful Falls Church, Virginia), I was sure I'd gone to the wrong hotel. I checked my written directions and looked around. Surely this wasn't MY reunion. Who the hell are are these old people? Not to judge, but I hadn't seen so many "relaxed fit, acid washed" jeans in one room since 1983. And who actually puts electronic devices on their belts? I started walking around, not recognizing a single soul. Michele then whipped around the corner, which was a welcome relief. Suddenly from my right side I hear, "OH MY GOD..." I had to look down at the name tag, my brain trying to process the name with the face...I remembered the name, but not attached to this person. This was pretty much the same scene over and over again. 

Something is seriously wrong.... Long ago, as a youth, while on various outdoor excursions, I would occasionally stick a lead fishing weight or pellet (from my pellet gun) in my mouth and chew on it because it was soft and easy to bite down on--like metal-flavored gum. I have obviously suffered severe brain damage due to this (and other things), because I had little recollection of any of these people. 

Each time an old person would look me in the eye and say, "Goddamn, how've you been Steve?" I'd glance down, look at the name tag, look up and wonder who this person was with the grey hair and missing tooth. It was incredible. Then, as I looked around the room, Michele (who looked great, by the way) whispered in my ear, "Look over's____." I looked back at her and said, "Shut the front door." What was once one of the hottest cutest girls in the school now looked like what might best be described as the shape of a tomato in a school play--big round body with some legs sticking out of a drapey, cowl-neck sweater. I looked back at Michele with disbelief, "No fucking way...." Michele smiled and replied, "Yep."

I wish I had had enough forethought to take advantage of this event; I would have taken out $5K in Spanx stock two weeks prior. I'm sure ALL the women had them on and probably half the men. Does the normal belt buckle rest at your solar plexus? Is there only one store that sells shoes in Fairfax, and those only being Dockers? Does everyone always tuck in their shirt? The women all had on blouses that looked like they just bought them off the discounted plus-size rack at T.J. Maxx. For God's sake ladies, pick up a fashion magazine, if just once. 

Here's a thought: I guess for some people (not me), going to see a bunch of people you haven't laid eyes on in a few decades might be fun. But, if you have any sort of drinking problem, don't you think it might be a good idea for just once, just that one night, to refrain from that sixth or seventh beer? People got smashed. Polluted. Then they staggered around after the first hour screaming, "Do you remember...?!" as they told some stupid story about something that happened at a football game. Or, worse, came slobbering over to sober people like me who found them repulsive. One drunken mess staggered over, threw her arms around me and while slurring speech, yelled out, "You don't even remember me!" I turned to her husband and said, "Yes I do--can you get her away from me...seriously?" 

Around midnight I got in my car and drove home. While going westbound on route 50 I gave serious thought to pushing the gas pedal to the floor, accelerating mom's Toyota van to around 100 mph, unsnapping my seat belt and veering into the largest tree I could find. These are my peers? I'm their age? I don't feel like they look. I came home, said nothing, took a Xanax and went to bed (who's got the problem, right?). I was depressed for days. I think I need shock therapy to forget what I witnessed that night. I'm scarred for life. 

I'll NEVER attend another high school reunion. Ever. 

Nothing against this person in particular but this pretty much sums up my night. A picture IS worth a thousand words. 

November 14, 2012

Girl with the Scorpion Tattoo

I've been a bad blogger; not too much to write about the past week except the elections. I've had many spirited email exchanges with friends regarding this election over the past few months. I never knew I had so many die-hard, ultra-conservative, right-wing Republican friends. We sent countless emails supporting "our team" and eventually came to the conclusion that all politicians are full of shit, promising all the "sheeple" stuff they will never deliver, like jobs and lower gas prices. In the end, the guy I voted for won, so I'm happy and happy it's over. After those 8 years of the Bush fiasco (disaster) I just felt relieved that another uber-rich asshole wouldn't control the country. Mitt wanting to build our already mega-huge military by another $2 trillion was enough to scratch him from my ballot, not to mention trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Oh, and toss in the fact that he gave millions to his cult-like church, which believes in a planet called Kolob (Wiki it). Oh wait...and the special "temple garment" underpants worn by most Mormons (Wiki that too). And finally, let's not forget, Mitt is a bishop of that loony church. 

Moving on....  

Sometimes you shoot a person and it's a real chore. They bitch and moan about being hot or cold, or can't decide what to wear the whole time they're in front of your camera. You want to toss them out after 10 minutes. And then there are other times when you're lucky enough to shoot someone who's very cool, nice AND beautiful, like Ileana. We decided to do a quick impromptu shoot shortly after she got her new scorpion tattoo (I'm assuming she's a Scorpio) and her 21st birthday. We had a great time aside from a few lengthy interruptions and took some beautiful, artsy, edgy photos. I'm sure we'll be shooting again soon. I'll post others later.

My friend Kristi let me shoot in her apartment for a change while she was off gallivanting in London and South Africa.

She was a feisty little thing.

The view from Kristi's roof deck over looking 34th Street, a few weeks prior to me shooting there. I wanted to shoot on the deck but it was closed due to storm damage (Sandy).

November 7, 2012

Back from Virginia

Back from 11 days in Virginia. A nice visit with a mixture of quality time with old friends, activities and a bit of drama.  

Took another 200+ mile road trip with Dad to see the fall leaves. Uneven colors this year...some trees still green with others past their peak mixed in. Curious how that happens.

My best friend Mike Breen and I raked dad's leaves for a few hours just before the big storm.

On the road trip headed out to the Blue Rridge Mountains, I pulled off to snap a photo of these little houses along Route 211. We've always referred to these as the Three Little Pigs' houses... so tiny.

Behind Costco. I stop to take photos like this and my father looks at me like I'm crazy.

Back in NYC Monday night; Empire State Building was ready for election night.

Yesterday at the polls. Felt like small town Vermont as I cast my ballot in the little school on Hudson Street. After waiting for over an hour in line I was informed I was in the wrong line. Another hour later I voted.

I was happy with the election results.