Photography: Liberty State Park

Because it's Autumn, my real favourite season (I sometimes pretend Summer is, but Autumn really wins every time), and because I love going on long walks in new places, taking lots of photos, I'm determined to do this as much as possible until I won't be able to do it as much anymore. Who knows where I will be next year (although I have a pretty good idea of what I will actually be doing!), so I may as well do as much of it as I can right now. That and other outings like going out to dinner and the movies, things that I may not have too much of a chance to do much next year...

This week Cesar and I went out to Jersey City to visit Checho, and walked all around Liberty State Park, picnicking in the park, right across from the Statue of Liberty, watching the crazy clouds cross the sky, aiming to disperse and then failing and falling back into grey doom again. My favourite kind of weather, ominous and windy, with a hint of hope. I will never fail to admire the Manhattan skyline, even after over 8 years of living in this city. From wherever you are it always looks amazing, a mix of old and new with constant additions. I always wonder how many more skyscrapers will fit on the small island... I've heard news that in the next few years very tall buildings will line 57th street, right below Central Park, buildings that will rival the height of One World Trade Center, the building which now makes the Empire State building look tiny in comparison. I suppose that as long as there are pockets of land available there will be room for building up. And up.

In any case, it was a wonderful day, amongst people I love, with beautiful views. This city still has so much to share with me, which makes it all the more such an amazing place to live in.
You can see the full set of photos HERE

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Liberty State Park, a set on Flickr.

Photography: Summer 2013 sets - Coney Island

I have always loved Memorial Day weekend, just because it basically means the start of summer, of beaches, of sunshine, of wearing shorts and dresses and no sweaters. Lying on the sand in the Rockaways or Fort Tilden, going on mini road trips towards adventures in the sun, late nights and early mornings, thunderstorms and humidity, and most importantly again, the beach. It doesn't really matter which beach (although I will miss Fort Tilden this year, as it won't be open due to the damage caused by Sandy), any beach will do as long as there is sunshine, sand and water.
The weather on Saturday was later winteresque - cold and windy and rainy. The weather on Sunday was a little better, apart from the rain, but it didn't bode too well for a summer kick-off... And then Monday dawned with sunshine and warmth, and there wasn't a better way to kick start summer with a visit to Coney Island with my Brazilian newly-wed friends Bela and Jerome. Of course I made them go on the Cyclone (and watched from afar - once in a lifetime was enough for me!).
Hopefully I will be able to document many more adventures this summer...
(Link below for the full set of photos).

AmusementTwisting and turningWatching the oceanThrillsRuby'sRemain seated
HappinessIntricate towerCarouselUnityBela and Jerome on the TwisterGoing up
ScaryCaricatures on the boardwalkCreepyBela and meMoving carriagesUpside down
Cyclone plungeFrom belowNewly wedsBrace yourselfSea buildingIntricate design
Summer 2013 - Coney Island, a set on Flickr.

Knoxville Morning in New York City during a weekend in March

Knoxville Morning , a set on Flickr.

I don’t even know where to start on this, and I know a much better story is to come in the following days once I feel a little less tired and a little more able to find the right words for everything (this is definitely one for the Orchard Street tales that I am compiling at the moment, and maybe less so for this blog). All I can say right now is it was a weekend filled with wonderful music, great company and a lot of epic fun – with two really long shifts at work in between. It all started on Friday evening with Knoxville Morning’s brilliant set at Mercury Lounge, followed by some more tunes at the Sixth Ward (including some barstool dancing and a lot of hat switching), moving into another epically long day at Taqueria, followed by more Mercury Lounge, 200 Orchard, Double Down Saloon, Mary O’s and Puck Fair. I’m sure there were other places in between, and much laughter and stupidity at every corner, and more laughter again…

In the meantime, here are the photos I took at the show (see above for a link to the full set) –  I was going to spend time editing them a little to make them a little sharper, but to be honest I like the little blur around the edges on some of them – a little how I feel that this whole weekend has been. I’m also still in love with this lens, it has no zoom, so you need to spend more time actually framing the shots properly, but I like that it gives more of a wider angle than other lenses do. And it reminds me of my film camera, the Canon AE-1.

And here’s a video from the Sixth Ward. Enjoy.


Photography: Back To Film

WaitingYellow LilyWalking down the hillWaiting to be fedTwo Pink LiliesStark Morning
Split beach & waterSmiling FlowersSan Francisco houseSailing BoatRock and BayRed gladioli
Purple HeadPink RosePink LilyPensiveOpen your armsMum
Look outLanternsLagunaJapantown SFGolden Gate under fogFoxgloves
Back To Film, a set on Flickr.

It had been a while since I picked up the old Canon AE-1 and took it out for a stroll, mainly due to the fact that I can't always afford to develop film nowadays, and I probably won't again for a while after this... This is a collection of photos taken last year and over the last few days, taken from three rolls of film.

Grainy, overexposed, direct sunlight, colourful, portraits, candid shots, water, flowers, people, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe... For some reason I ended up with a few images that are split, containing half of the first frame and half of the second. Although not purposely, I know exactly what I did to make this happen, and they actually ended up looking pretty cool, so I may try it again sometime.  The best surprise was the picture of Charlie and Deej, taken last year when Thought Forms were on tour with Portishead - I had totally forgotten I had taken it!

Photography: Sacramento Cemetery

Sac Cemetery 25Sac Cemetery 1Sac Cemetery 2Sac Cemetery 3Sac Cemetery 4Sac Cemetery 5
Sac Cemetery 6Sac Cemetery 7Sac Cemetery 8Sac Cemetery 9Sac Cemetery 10Sac Cemetery 11
Sac Cemetery 12Sac Cemetery 13Sac Cemetery 14Sac Cemetery 15Sac Cemetery 16Sac Cemetery 17
Sac Cemetery 18Sac Cemetery 19Sac Cemetery 20Sac Cemetery 21Sac Cemetery 22Sac Cemetery 23
Sacramento Cemetery, a set on Flickr.

I have always loved cemeteries. When I was a child in England we used to pretty much live in a cemetery, and that's where I would play with my sister every day. As a teen the village cemeteries used to be our meeting points, the places where we would hang out and smoke,watching the time go by until we could go and have a drink at the pub. In France we lived down the street from the large city cemetery and would go there at night to see if we were scared, and usually end up getting chased away by a guard (or what we imagined to be the guard). Apart from the beauty of many of the tombstones, there is also something so peaceful and restful about a cemetery, somewhere where you can hide from the bustle of the city and where time seems to stop for a while.
I love old cemeteries, where the dates go back to centuries gone by, where moss has grown over the gravestones, and where you can imagine stories of families long gone.

Yesterday I went down to the Old City Cemetery in Sacramento, where the founders of the city as well as the first settlers are laid to rest, and also the governors of the state of California. There is something special about seeing beautiful, well-preserved old tombs amidst large California pine trees and palm trees. What caught my eye the most where the array of statues on the tombs, dotted all around the cemetery, warriors and weeping women, swords and cloaks, standing proud under the California sun. I've been working on getting that same over-exposed, black and white print look on my digital camera that is always much easier to get on my old manual SLR film camera, and it works especially well when the sun is so bright. Perfect for an old cemetery in my opinion, but I think for the rest of my stay here in California I will be going back to colour for a while - I want to make sure I get many shots of the contrasting dried-brown hills and the lush flowers of the oleanders that grow everywhere.

Photography: People/Portraits

DylanSelf-Portrait 2DavidGrand FinaleJokesterGathering
Cabo ChildrenPolicewoman and Fireman 3HellfireTheresaMarineFlute Fairy

People/Portraits, a set on Flickr.

I finally took the time yesterday to start putting this collection together. Taken over the past two years, these are all shots of people that I have taken with either my Canon AE-1 (film) or my Canon DSLR. A lot of them are of people I know, some are random shots outside on the streets of NYC and nearly all of them are completely candid, which I really love.

I shall be adding to this as time goes by, or maybe I will make a second set, as this one is already quite substantial!

Photography: Through My Eyes - Jan & Feb 2012

BallerinaAbandonedAbandoned Lutheran schoolAnti-glamourBearBlue skies
Bushwick abandoned churchBushwick sunsetBushwick theatre buildingBushwick warehousesCaringchild dragon
china townchurch wallsConfettiDragonExotic fruitFace
Face on a postFace on a wallFlowersGarden muralGloomyHanging shoes

Through My Eyes - 1, a set on Flickr.

Taking a little break from novel writing today and compiling some random shots I have taken over the past few weeks. I found myself with a lot of photos that don't really fit into any category (area, place, show etc), but are all images of something that caught my eye when I was walking around.
I feel so lucky to live in a place where there is always something to take a photo of, however fleeting or permanent it may be...

Photography: Jean Depara

I ran across Jean Depara a few months ago while reading a post about him on a blog I read every day, Africa Is A Country. Black and white, gritty prints always catch my eye, and most intriguingly for me: he documented the nightlife and the social life of nightbirds in Kinshasa in the Congo in the 50's and the 60's.

He would frequent the clubs and bars of the city and capture people on film, dancing, embracing, smoking, drinking, crying, basically he became somewhat of a storyteller in pictures of social life in Kinshasa at the time. Such a vibrant and soulful scene - no boundaries, all held together by a love for music and dancing. For some reason I feel like I can hear the music coming directly through the photos, the smiles, the faces. Wonderful captures of moments in time that I hope will never be lost in history. Maybe one day this vibrant social scene can find it's way back into the soul of the Congo. In the meantime I wish I had been able to see the retrospective of his work that was on exhibition in Paris this year.

Jean Depara was known for following the music scene in Kinshasa at the time, he was the Zairian singer Franco's official photographer and he also documented the Miziki associations, and the music that would come out of these associations of women. Jean died in 1997, but he left hundreds of negatives that I would love to take my time scrolling through and admiring.

More information:
Jean Degara - Pigozzi artist
Retrospective at the Maison Revue Noire

Coney Island in the Autumn

Wonder WheelNathan'sHot Dog ContestBug CarRollercoasterAmusement SlushiesBoardwalk GrillConey Island BoardwalkConey View from the beachBeach ViewSkyline Heart in the SandMini WavesBeachConey Island BeachAmazing SkiesBird prints BreakersPierBootAmusement ParkWatching and ContemplatingRocks

Coney Island in the Autumn, a set on Flickr.

I missed the ocean. I missed the soothing feeling of listening to the waves on the beach, of walking along the sand and just contemplating on everything that is happening in my life with a clear mind. The ocean, the beach and the sun always helps me think, whatever the season.
I woke up wanting to go out and take photos, and decided that Coney Island would be the spot for today. I tend to usually go to the Rockaways for beach time, but really wanted to capture the gaudiness of Coney Island on camera, in both black and white and colour, during the off-season.

I'm very happy with the result, and will just let the photos speak for themselves.

Bushwick Ave to Broadway

FreedomBushwick Ave HousesThe Creepy PlaceAutumn TreesBare BranchesBushwick School Abandoned HouseStreet ViewOld ChurchSteeple in ProgressPillarsDo Not Enter One side of the streetOther side of the streetColourWe Buy HousesMini AvenueBuy Me Broadway Garden MuralAbandoned BoatBroadway Near GatesBroadway BuildingBroadway SidewalkBooks

Bushwick Ave to Broadway, a set on Flickr.

From nothing for weeks to three sets in three days... I suppose I've been more inspired these past few days, taking my camera out every time I go for a walk or run some errands. I love walking down Bushwick Avenue to the Post Office at Gates Ave and Broadway. The street is lined with beautiful old buildings, some well kept, others in various stages of dilapidation. There are many different churches along the way, often facing each other on opposite sides of the street. And then there is the bustle of the walk back along Broadway, under the elevated subway tracks: fried chicken, 99 cent shops, launderettes, delis, African supermarkets, dust, noise, colours and different languages.
Lastly, a photo of the house that I have always wanted to own, from the moment I moved to Bushwick. It's so intriguing...