Onward they March! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year,
to all and to all a good night.
A two family apartment house in Paterson in the 1970’s. It is abandoned because a highway was scheduled to be built through this area and the local inhabitants had to move. – the law of Eminent Domain. I know this because I was one of them. The highway was never built, the house was torn down and the area was cleaned up.
What really matters to me is my family. Not my job as a photographer but my son, daughter and wife. I was reminded of that fact a little over a week ago when my wife had a very close call. She was headed to work and just a few blocks from her job the car she was driving wasn’t accelerating properly. There was a bang under the car and a fire started. She pulled over, got out, dialed 911, the fire engines quickly arrived and the fire was contained. Afterwards a fireman determined that the cause was the catalytic converter. It had ruptured causing the fuel line to break with gasoline spilling out. Then the fireman told my wife, “You were very, very lucky that the car wasn’t engulfed in flames while you were still in it. You were very, very lucky.” My wife was naturally in shock to hear that, but I think that I was upset more than she. Almost, in a split second, my life would have changed and I would have lost my best friend. And the manner of that lost was too grisly to think about. Recently I watched a movie “The Captains”. It was a documentary about the actors who played “The Captains” on the various Star Trek shows. (I am a fan.) And one comment by Patrick Stewart resonated with how different he and I are. I respect him as a actor but “acting” is more important to him than family and he stated that fact. I understand the need and desire to work at a job/career that brings more than just financial well-being, but also emotional and psychological satisfaction too. But how does that compare to losing the most important members of your family? At least, they should be the most important people in your life. Well, anyway, for once I’m being hit with an unplanned expensive bill (new car) and I’m not complaining. I almost had a far bigger lost. Happy Thanksgiving.
The image above was taken in Dec. 1980. It is my favorite photo of her.
As opposed to those pro photographers who wanted to be one from birth, I fell into the profession later in life. My hope was to work in the film industry but that’s ain’t easy. This also explains why I can talk more about John Ford, Buster Keaton and Martin Scorsese than about famous pro photographers. Most of America knows who Ansel Adams is, including myself (of course), but my photo contemporaries can rattle off names that I never could, but I am not a complete rube. We are a world awash in images but when one catches my eye, and most don’t, then I do some research to find out who created that picture. A few years ago on the cover of Time (if it wasn’t Time, then it was Newsweek) was a portrait of Jeff Bridges. He was up for an Academy award for “Crazy Heart”. I stopped whatever I was doing and starred at the image. It was beautiful. I thought, “Who took this picture?” Probably someone the whole world knows about except me, but now it’s my turn. Marco Grob. Jeff Bridges’ portrait is on the website. The portrait above is of my mother. Photographed with a Wisner 4×5 film camera. (Doesn’t compare to Mr. Grob, but I’m trying.)
On my recent trip England, I returned to the City of Bath. My last visit was in 1984. It is a beautiful city with ancient Roman baths. The building pictured above is of The Crescent, a guest house and a stunning piece of architecture. Bath Spa, it’s formal name, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Some British philosophy from my recent trip to England. Highly recommended.
On one of the pro photo forums, there’s a discussion about portrait photography. Folks are talking about the merits of hiring a real photographer for a portrait vs. what Walmart or Sears would provide. My suggestion – if you have an anarchist on your hands, don’t bother with Walmart. (The photo was taken with polaroid film using a 4×5 Wisner camera.)
On Memorial Day, I pause to honor those who selflessly gave all to our nation. Thank you.
Hopefully will be going back next year.
A street scene from Paterson, NJ around 1970. Woolworth’s was a favorite spot of mine. My best friend and I would walk through the toy department, have a cherry sundae at the counter and rummage through the vinyl records. I was a fan of Chuck Berry, found one of his records in the bin, and asked my friend, a musician, “Who’s the black guy?” Well, he didn’t stop laughing. Some fan I was. I didn’t even know what Chuck Berry looked like.
My last trip to England was in the 1993. One of the places I visited outside of London was Stratford-Upon-Avon, known as the birthplace of Shakespeare. Well, I hated the place and not because it was Shakespeare’s hometown. I hated it because it felt like I was visiting an American tourist attraction. Now, I am an American to my core, but when I visit a foreign country I’m making the trip to visit with them, not see more of my country. The next day I went to Victoria Train Station, back in London, and told my story to a ticket salesman. He completely understood and suggested I visit Arundel, about an hour away, south of London. I paid for our train tickets, it was my wife and I, and we headed on our journey. We rode in a train car similar to what we saw in the Beatles movie “A Hard Day’s Night” which was fun. And the countryside was beautiful.
The hour passed quickly and Arundel came into view. The small town has a castle and it appeared on the horizon. It felt like a fairy tale. An Errol Flynn movie. It was England, not America. The castle. The small streets and shoppes. The 400 year old inn where my wife and I had lunch and spoke with the owner. It was a wonderful place to visit.
Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom.
So I arrive at Heathrow airport early this morning and head to Buckingham Palace for the Royal Wedding. My first question is, “Can I be early?” I don’t see anyone! I assumed that someone had to be interested in this event but I wasn’t complaining. I was at the front of the line and had the best seat in the house.
So I’m waiting and waiting and waiting and finally a friendly elderly British gentleman asks me what I’m waiting for. (It must’ve been real obvious.) I answered, ‘The Royal Wedding, of course!” He says, “My fine fellow, that was yesterday! Didn’t you know?” I’m stunned at this point and pull out my invitation to see how I could get it so wrong. But no, there it was in black and white – the date said April 30th. My British friend looked at it and commented, “That certainly looks real. I guess Prince William didn’t want you to come.” and then he walked away.
I stood there flabbergasted. I was deliberately given the wrong date by the Royals. Now I’m mad.
She took everything! Including the house!
I’m sure everyone has heard about the Apple iPhone secret info grab. What I’m sure many TV viewers didn’t notice were the conflicting stories reported about it on the news. One 24 hour news organization would say that the data was being collected and sent back to Apple. Another news company said that the info simply remained with your phone. There was nothing to worry about. So, which is it? If it’s the former, no one should really be surprised. All of our movements are constantly being watched. How do you think Amazon can make recommendations to you? Now if it’s the later – that the info just sits on your phone – that makes no sense especially if the user doesn’t know it’s there.
One point to remember when it comes to your computer hard drives, cell phones or other gadgets — to erase the private info stored on it when you discard the item. Most folks don’t and that’s not good.
*iPhone not pictured above.
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North in 1863. Often referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion”, it was the war’s bloodiest battle with 51,000 casualties and the setting for President Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”. (info from the National Park Service website)
Bought a new home yesterday. Came with its own security guard wearing red.
Sunrise at Point Imperial on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.