As someone who lives and walks this city daily…my blog is all about delving a little deeper, seeing what it has to offer, and capturing the true essence of New York City. Whether you live in Gotham, or just visiting…feel free to look around my blog. Bet you might find something new to do!
Keep in mind this isn't a blog about what is coming up...but what is experienced on a day to day basis.
P.S. As of the end of April 2013 my more personal postings will now be at The Next Few Years.
CopyrightAll images and content on this site are copyright ©GothamGirl 2009 - 2013, unless stated otherwise. If you'd like to use one of my photos, please give proper credit and link back to this blog.
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Monthly Archives: April 2012
Remember the skaters from last year? Well if not, or you’re just joining in, then check out my post from last year here. But let me tell ya, there are quite a few new faces this year.
I think he’s new. I’m almost positive I didn’t see him last year.
Surely I would’ve remembered him from last year. So he must be new too.
Now Batman is definitely new!
And I know, absolutely positively that he’s new. I would’ve remembered that skirt.
But, thank goodness I can always count on Ms. Columbia being there. Remember from last year’s Easter parade and the Halloween Skate party? If not, have an introduction here.
But you know, I am getting just a little tired of this outfit.
The Road goes ever on and on down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can,
pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings.
(This is a series of posts on Jan Phillips’ book, God is at Eye Level, Photography as a Healing Art.
For an intro check out the first post here.)
New Images for a New World
Chapter eight of Jan Phillip’s book talks about how our images are teaching tools. Honestly, I hadn’t really thought about the root meaning of the word document (docere) is “to teach” so this is a timely chapter as I continue my quest to document my father’s battle with Alzheimer’s. Often when I tell people that I’m working on this project the immediate question is “How do you photograph something that’s happening inside their brain?” The above photo was captured on one of our walks on the farm, and when I saw the gravelled road laid out in front of him through my lens, the thoughts of his life ahead of him spoke volumes to me. What does he think as he walks on the land that he’s loved and tilled for over sixty years? Or when he sits in the sun in the living room and looks out the window for hours in total quietness? Or at night when he sits in his lazy-boy chair and says…Can we go home tomorrow?
To me this is the true meaning of photography; the ability to create an emotion. An image that can change the way we think, move us to tears or laughter, or to action. Jan phrased it perfectly for me. “When we set out to document something, we are tasked with revealing the essence, the true spirit of it, as we see it and feel it in our bones; for the more truth a photo contains, the more potential it has to touch the heart.”
She closes the chapter with a profound statement that all of us can use in our photography… “Every time we ‘load a roll of film into our cameras’ we can choose to contribute something valuable to the global family album or add to the stockpile of meaningless imagery.“ Wow.
Next up: Chapter Nine – Life Seeking Life
Joining in for the very first time? Catch up on the previous chapters!
Chapter One – Through the Eyes of a Child
After a good portion of a day having my head buried in the computer learning a new software program, a break outside was a must. I left my apartment building and on a whim turned left instead of my planned right, walked to Central Park instead of Riverside Park. My nose led me right to Lilac Walk. I could’ve stayed for hours. If only my camera could capture that sweet powdery scent. Heavenly…
I picked up a ham and gruyere baguette from a small stand in the park and sat down to watch the world go by. But the world came to me. Within minutes little children appeared with all sizes of violins. Then a clarinet showed up and then a cello and a tambourine. For an hour I was serenaded by Moon River, When the Saints Go Marching In, Happy Trails to You…some in tune, some not. The beautiful sounds of violins, quiet sounds full of emotions. From the sound of sadness, whispering like the wind and then higher and higher (and every once in awhile a painful screeeeech!) and then it would stop and the whisper would start all over again.
And of course like good little buskers they were constantly checking on their earnings! Priceless!
(No wabi-sabi sightings this week…but I’m heading to the flea market today so stay tuned for next Saturday!)
I hate my feet. Ever since I remember my feet, they’ve been ugly to me. My guess is this all started around those teenage years when you really start caring about those kinds of things… But anyway, several years ago, my dad and I were chatting about who got what in the family and so the discussion ensued about our feet. If there’s one trait that I received from my father, it’s his feet. Wide feet + Hereditary Bunions = Ugly Feet, in my opinion. (Now don’t start thinking…oh your feet aren’t that ugly…I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, ha!)
But let me back up so you understand why I’m posting about feet. Recently, I signed up for an on-line course Unravelling with Susannah Conway. A way to use journaling and photography to get to know the “me” that is hidden inside, a way to reconnect with “myself.” I love these kind of exercises because I think we can all learn something about ourselves that will help us as we move along in life. So here we go. Assignment – Week One: FEET. Oh god, I’m down before I even get out the gate! But then I think how lucky am I? I could have missing toes, a club foot, or no feet at all!! Your feet have carried you through all these years! Stop your whining! But then I easily return to…I hate my feet.
This past week was quality time on the farm in Virginia with my parents. Bingo! For my first assignment, I’ll take photos with my dad’s 86 year old feet beside of mine. My dad thought this was so funny and couldn’t understand why someone would want photos of their feet! Of course he doesn’t remember that discussion years ago because he now has Alzheimer’s. But when I looked at this photograph, both the stair steps and our feet really spoke to me. It made me realize how special my feet are because I do have my dad’s feet. I’ll be able to take this with me until I can no longer remember…and what a wonderful thing that is! Now when I look at my feet, I’ll think about him and all the long days he spent working the farm and standing to sell our fruits and vegetables to make our family a living.
Will I ever hate my feet again? Probably so, but I do know this exercise has given me a new outlook and now when I look at my feet, I’ll think of him and how proud I am to be the owners of these feet…a symbol of an incredible legacy within my family. Thank you Dad!♥
Cross-posted over at Vision and Verb - where a collaborative group of like-minded women
from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.
Always up for a challenge, I’m joining in on Bella Cirovic’s 52 photo projects. For 52 weeks, she provides a photo prompt and we display our work and meet others with the same shared passion. So this week is week 1 of 52! And here we go!
Her first prompt of the “new year” is about beginnings…What are you beginning right now?, she asked. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about printing my photographs. I love creating and sharing (posting to my blog) but I find that most of my work is hoarded and buried deep into my hard-drive. I recently read an article and kept a portion of it as a reminder. Unfortunately the author’s name escaped me, but what was said really opened my eyes to the importance of printing. “We need to print it, look at it, live with it, and react to it. And we need to share it. The downfall of the digital revolution is that so much of our work never makes it past the pixels.”
So with that reminder and Bella’s prompt this week, I WILL PRINT! I’m looking forward to sharing the other 51 prompts with you as well, so I hope you’ll follow along! Have you started doing something new lately? Would love to hear about it!
Looking to draw attention? Yep, three thousand blue and silver pinwheels got mine! The pinwheel gardens at a local community college here in Roanoke, Virgina are simply a visual reminder that celebrates healthy happy children in an effort to draw attention to Child Abuse Prevention Month! Clever and impactful!
My week on the farm has come to a close…quality time with my parents is always special!
My dad and I took several walks on the farm…looking at his apple trees he can no longer take care of due to his Alzheimer’s…but still able to admire the beauty of a newborn apple…
We stopped in to visit at a neighbor’s farm…
And of course a visit to the nearby Happy Hollow Gardens Park was in order to see all the azaleas in bloom…
And the big thrill of the week was seeing a wild turkey puff up and spread his tail feathers which I’ve never seen in the wild…(albeit not the best photo, but the best I could capture!) My dad and I both were very excited over this sighting!
Love you mom and dad! Will miss you terribly! Tomorrow it’s back to MY city, NYC!
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.
Cross-posted (in color!) over at Vision and Verb - where a collaborative group of like-minded women from all over the world share their passion for photography and the written word.
This prison was the world’s first true Penitentiary, a building designed to inspire
penitence (or true regret) in the hearts of criminals.
Its vaulted, sky-lit cells held many of America’s most notorious criminals, including bank robber
“Slick Willie” Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone.
The prison stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and a surprising, eerie beauty.
Those are the words direct from their brochure, and to me it’s the perfect summary. But first, how does one end up in Philadelphia visiting the Eastern State Penitentiary? A wonderful opportunity coordinated by PWP, Professional Women Photographers, headquartered in NYC. Their outings never disappoint. It was a rise and shine morning on a gorgeous spring day, a brisk walk across Central Park to the East Side of Manhattan to hop a bus headed to Philly!
If you’re a lover of creepy, decrepit, and historic buildings this is an absolute must-see and an overabundance of wabi-sabi. Since there were so many incredible captures (no pun intended), I’ll just showcase some of my favorites!
Every day prisoners at Eastern State would spend every hour except for one in a cell with a toilet, a table, a bunk bed and a Bible. When the prisoners did leave their cells, a black hood would be placed over their head so they couldn’t see others as they were guided through the hallways. They lived a life in solitude and would only get a glimpse of sunlight, known as “The Eye of God” which came through a slit in the prison ceiling.
Walking through the hallways and in and out of cells was it the peeling paint on the walls, or a ray of light showcasing an old bench or a broken commode, or reflections caught when least expected…perhaps it was a combination that brought a feel of eeriness, abandonment and pain.
Only seen by joining in on a five minute tour called Leaving Their Mark, a guide showed me inmates’ graffiti that would have otherwise been missed. In cellblock 8, layers of paint have chipped away to reveal an eye. A way for prisoners to deal with confinement, this particular drawing was completed above the cell door, the only place a guard wouldn’t be able to see. Probably drawn by pencil, a single teardrop drips from the eye. Was this a sketch of the prisoner’s eye? Was it of someone on the outside? Perhaps a loved one? Or was it depicting the guards watchful eye? Was it the “Eye of God?” Was the person in the tear drop crawling out or trying to crawl in? Whatever the answer, it was powerful.
One of the most infamous inmates of all time was Al Capone. He was allowed comforts not granted to other inmates…fine furniture, oriental rugs, oil paintings and a fancy radio. This room was one of only a few cells that has been restored, taking you back in time to the days of the early 1900′s.
Many people have claimed to see ghostly images roaming the hallways and many people have claimed to hear strange sounds, perhaps this is why Time magazine included the penitentiary in their Top 10 Most Haunted Places in the World! All I know is this trip will be one of several back to Philly to continue to capture (and improve on) those haunting images!