That’s what Fred says at the end of every conversation. She says it in her one of a kind accent with an inflection that shows you that it’s not a forced comment, rather her accepted mission statement. If you’ve ever met Fred, you know this already though.
It’s pretty hard to have fun and be free. The pressures of daily life, your responsibilities, and the desire for a paycheck seem to hold you back most times. Then of course there’s the opinion of others which we tend to let steer our decisions. That, at times, is the biggest anchor around our neck.
But, as Poppy reminded me the other day, “It’s ok to compromise on issues. It’s not ok to compromise on Who You Are” In fact, be proud of who you are.
For the past two years, I’ve attended New York City’s annual Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Pride Parade. I don’t think a stronger display of pride and accomplishment could be found anywhere than along 5th Avenue on this Sunday in June. As I watched and photographed the participants, the sheer joy shown through their faces. They were so happy, so free. This past year, I left the parade route and walked through the city to get to the street festival being held in SoHo. It was hot out, in fact hot as hell, and as typically happens on a day like this in NYC, a wild thunderstorm broke out, raining like it was the apocalypse for thirty minutes, then returning to clear skies as quickly as it came. As I took shelter from the rain under an awning, I thought of the wild and beautiful costumes back at the parade route and I realized many of them would be wrecked in the storm. I felt sad because of the time and the work that went into them, but I realized that nothing could damper the feelings of those who wore them. Even with ruined make up or soaked feathers, the joy and pride that I saw before the rain would still be there.
I’ve been packing my apartment this week, getting ready to move, and finding things that I had forgotten I had. I came across a pile of DVDs, all unlabeled, and checked the contents before tossing them. Most was garbage, but one was a back up of photos that I had done before I lost a hard drive. Among them were the shots I took at the 2007 Pride Parade. Happy to have them again, I backed them up, so I wouldn’t loose them a second time. I went back to packing, and eventually looked up at my wall, covered with 8x10s of some of my work. I considered taking them down, wrapping them up, and getting them ready to move as well, but I’m here for a few more days, and that would leave me here staring at bare walls. More than that though, they’re not just photos I took, they’re photos I’m most proud of.
I think I’ll take them down last.
Go off now… go do something… and if you’re not sure what do, and how to do it, call Fred. She’ll tell you.
Here are some of the shots I took at the 2007 & 2008 NYC Gay, Lesbian & Transgender Parades.
Slide show of the images of the 2008 Parade can be found Here
Slide show of the images of the 2008 Parade can be found Here
Andrew Wyeth passed away this morning at the age of 91.
Growing up, my parents had a copy of his painting, “Christina’s World”, hanging on the dinning room wall. Sitting here, I couldn’t even begin to count the number of meals I had looking at that painting. If I close my eyes, I can see every detail, the wagon wheel tracks leading from the house, the decaying barn, and the part that always held my attention the most, the part which I most often wondered about; the fact that Christina is in the tall grass, not the patch of mowed grass just a few feet away. I often wondered if she chose that area, if she was more comfortable amongst the weeds than the softer surface where she could have been placed.
Wyeth presented that scene and told the viewer nothing more about it. Christina’s back is turned, her face is not in the painting, so all you see is all you know. As I got older in life, I learned more about that painting, more about Christina Olsen, and more about the entire series Wyeth did on the Olsen family. What I learned, the details, changed the way I looked at the painting, and unfortunately it became hard for me to look at that painting the same way I did when I was a younger.
I’m not going to tell you anymore about the painting, if you’ve found this blog, then I’m sure you know how to google. If you’re curious, I’m sure you can find the whole story.
Or, you can take what Wyeth gave you and live in that second. You can stand still, hearing the breeze in the grass. You can gaze at the barn, the house and the wagon wheel tracks, and of course, at Christina. You can know as much about her as every person you see from behind, passing on the street, glimpsing in the next subway car, or ahead of you on the check out line. Draw your own conclusions, complete the story in your mind, who’s to tell you you are wrong?
“Christina’s World” and what I’ve learned about it was the sole reason I was against starting this blog in the first place. Now please – I am by no means comparing myself to Andrew Wyeth – but I always thought, and still feel that art is to be interpreted by the viewer. Who I am to tell you what you are supposed to see in a photograph I have taken?
My favorite pastime is talking to people about my photos. I know that’s probably the most conceited sounding thing ever, but it’s not meant to be. Nothing fascinates more than hearing what others see, I could give a crap less about the “It’s great.” or “You’re so good.”, those comments churn my stomach. Do you like it? Yes? Why? What do you see in it? I love the answers – and more often than not I am shown something even I didn’t see. I wonder if Wyeth ever felt that way.
So I’ll keep blogging, and keep sharing, and please, keep commenting. Actually, it’s what keeps me going in the first place.
Well… I’ve painted myself in a bit of a corner, so to speak. This is supposed to be a photo blog, not a yappity yap blog, and now I’m not sure what photos go with what I’ve been yappity yapping about. So I’ll do something I’ve been resisting the urge to do for awhile. I’ll share with you the photos I’ve taken, that I like. My favorites. The “OMG, I took that?” shots.
Here are a few, I’ve got more on Flickr if you’d like to see.
(in no order)