Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Wonder Wheel / Minolta S 404

There's a magic to Coney Island in the winter. Only a few sun worshipers hang around and the ares has a eerie feel to it. The mere 4 mega pixels of this old gem hold up pretty well.

Great faces / Canon 1D-III

Shot at an awards ceremony for the Walter K Hoerning Fund. An organization that helps inner city boys with all sorts of enrichment programs and support. The lens was the Canon 24-105 F4 L.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bayside Queens / Olympus E-PL 2

hot with the Voigtlander 15mm lens on the E Pl-2. It was a Sunday afternoon as the warm light attests.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The feast / Fuji S1-Pro

The local feasts in NY are a throw back to the old country. This photo was taken on Sullivan Street at the St. Anthony Feast. The lens was the Nikkor 35-135 F3.5-4.5.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tetti fiorentini / Canon 5-D

Florentine roofs, shot with the Canon 5-D and the 24-85 F 3.5-4.5 EF lens.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


This was my reply on fb of a post about the new digital Polaroid that my daughter had actually put up:
Very "Polaroid." I was always amazed at the fact that you could have an "instant" print from a shot. In the so called "old days," I had an old Polaroid black and white that I used as a test shot camera. Once the studio lights were set up, a... Polaroid was taken - this camera had f-stops and aperture settings along with a PC plug [not a computer but an outlet to connect the flash] and then one could tell where the shadows were. Today with digital it's so easy that it's not fun anymore. I loved Polaroid cameras but the film was so expensive that their use was kept to a minimum. With the SX 70 [the color model] a whole genre developed of people who shot on Polaroid. They had only one shot per image and that made that image unique. Because of this, such shooters fancied themselves more artistic than those of us who shot on film and had negatives. I should really write a book on photography.

A Summer Sunday in New York

In Washington Square park, of course. An amazing site of incredible surprises.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A moment in time frozen forever.

This is what we do as photographers. This is really what makes this whole genre so fascinating, so unusual. A two dimensional image lacking that fourth dimension, time, that captures an instant in the time-space continuum. An unique instant. I was recently at the Met to see the Exhibit on Steiglitz, Strand and Steichen and was mesmerized at these photos of New York in the twenties. Some were almost contemporary. But a photo of large buildings made me stop and think about the lives that were being lived by the myriad of people inside these structures. All had come to work that day probably on the subway; all had returned home to their daily chores; all had needs, desires hopes and differing opinions. Yet that photo froze all of these people forever. It was the same with photos of a street scene with people all walking and going their separate ways. All looked important and serious in what they were doing and being New Yorkers all seemed to be in a hurry. But where did they go right after the image was taken? No matter where they went, it really doesn't matter much anymore. It makes you wonder what all our fretting is about. as the bard says it signifies nothing. It takes a photo to make one realize that nothing is really that important in the end. It's all a futile roller coaster ride to eternity and nothingness.
Not a very optimistic or positive viewpoint but an honest one. What I always say when I face something that initially irks me is: will it matter in a hundred years? Think about it and as the message on the answering machine says, have a wonderful day.

Cherry Blossom Festival / Nikon D1-X

These are from the Cherry Blossom Festival hela annually at the Brooklyn Botanic. The lens was the Nikkor 24-85 F2.8-4.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Art? Really? Perhaps only at times.

This will hopefully irate those pretentious fools who call themselves "photographers" and think of themselves as "artists." Really? An expensive camera doesn't make one a photographer nor an artist. The whole of photography as "art" is still a moot point. The jury has not come out yet.
Mow that I have taken this off my chest, and having taken a deep breath, I can go on.
What gets me totally nuts is those who call themselves "fine art photographers" and practice "fine art photography." What is this kind of photography? Just because one uses a large format camera or nowadays, a medium format digital camera with a ridiculous number of mega pixels and takes some panorama, that particular shot isn't necessarily fine art or even art. Just because one spends countless hours using photoshop creating endless layers and adjustments, the result isn't necessarily a work of art. So the sad truth to these pretentious self inflated types is that photography is at times the perfect "accidental art." It's really too easy to take great photos and if these photos are more and more so naturalistic, due to better and better sensors, this mimicking of nature is NOT art! It's imitation. Art is something else. Perhaps I am a mediocrity but in my many years learning this craft; having shot all formats from large format view cameras to the latest digital gear and having spent 33 years in the darkroom, the number of photographs I have taken and printed that approach "art" is very small. I dare say that with digital anyone can call himself an artist but he will only fool himself. This sort of discussion came up once while I was with my mentor Josef Breittenbach. We were discussing the new cameras that we had at that i.e. wide open focus and automatic lenses - way before auto focus - but had good light meters. He said "that even though it gets easier and easier to take photos, you can still count the great photographers with the fingers of one hand." I rest my case.