Friday, December 31, 2010

Observing simple beauty.

I'm closing out 2010 counting my blessings for allowing my heart to be enriched by simple pleasures.

An enriched heart is a peaceful soul. --Ocean

Final images of 2010

Looking forward to making more new discoveries through photography!

Reflecting off a dirty car.


Max, chillin'...

The calm after the (snow) storm. Central Park, NYC.

Snow blizzard art (created by the wind)

Snow Blizzard Snaps (Dec. 2010)

Kids playing in the snow. Harlem, NYC.

Looking south on Riverside Drive. Harlem, NY.

Riverside Drive, Harlem.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blue No More: The demise of the little blue shack at 148th St. and St. Nicholas Ave.

WOW, I was shocked to see the little blue shack which stood for years near the corner of 148th and St. Nicholas Ave in Harlem, laid out on the ground in a pile of burnt out mess, an apparent victim of arson.

I had just photographed this shack back only five months ago. As a recent Brooklyn transplant, I always take notice of it. I always found the little shack full of mystery, and the turquoise blue color reminded me of the Caribbean Sea...certainly worthy of being immortalized as art. Most locals ignored it altogether as they made their way back and forth to the subway station around the corner.

Here's the scene which was blocked off with yellow tape, awaiting the Fire Marshall's arrival.

Still, amongst the rubble, I found interest in these drawers which provided the answer to the puzzle: The little blue shack used to be shoe-shine spot!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Photo-essay: Emergency Town Hall meeting to denounce Ugandan MP David Behati's "kill the gays" bill.

--New York City Saturday, 11 December 2010
Community Leaders, activists and concerned citizens gathered at the Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church in Harlem for an emergency Town Hall meeting to address the proposed Ugandan Anti-Homosexual Bill which if passed, would broaden the criminalization of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, are HIV-positive, or engage in same sex acts with people under 18 years of age. The bill also includes provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited for punishment back to Uganda.

The Town Hall's Keynote speaker was Frank Mugisha of the non-profit organization Sexual Minorities of Uganda, whose vision is that of a peaceful non-discriminatory society with respect for human rights and equal health, social, economical and political opportunities for Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Uganda. Mr. Mugisha spoke of horrific conditions LGBT people face in Uganda such as corrective rape for women thought to be Lesbian, cramped living conditions for those nineteen men living in an isolation shack, fearing for their lives because they are gay, and if found out, will be put to death.

Frank Mugisha, of the non-profit organization Sexual Minorities of Uganda.

Frank Mugisha and Bishop Zachary Jones of Unity Fellowship Curch.

Last Wednesday, the author of Uganda's "Kill The Gays" bill, David Behati, appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show where Maddow repeatedly called Behati out on his absurd claims about wealthy American homosexuals "paying Ugandan school children to become gay." Behati's bill came to light after The Family, a powerful GOP-based lobby of anti-gay Christianists, visited Uganda to preach against homosexuality. Here's Part I of the interview:

Needless to say, after this interview aired, a town hall meeting was quickly organized to denounce the hateful message and bill brought to the US by MP David Behati.

Pastor Joseph W. Tolton, Pastor and Founder of Rehoboth Temple Christ Conscious Church addressing the audience.

Bishop Zachary Jones offering reflections on "kill the gays" bill and what that could mean for African Americans in the US should the bill be passed.

West African African Adinkra symbols and proverbs serve to connect and inspire...

...and song healed the pain.

The town hall ended with African American members from the audience standing in solidarity with Frank Mugisha, Pastor Joseph Tolton and Bishop Zachary Jones, denouncing the "kill the gays" bill.

Watch this video interview to learn more about the "kill the gays" bill from Ugandan LGBT activist Frank Mugisha

"We are the one's we've been waiting for."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday: Return of the drones

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. Retailers expect to turn profits, going from "red" to "black", and shoppers expect to find steep bargains while they get a jump start on the Christmas shopping season.

Christmas, by all accounts is a very festive holiday but the shopping events leading up to it appears less so. I headed to the shopping intersection of New York, 34th street where the world famous Macy's department store is located. I've never been shopping on Black Friday, and while I expected to see crowds, I didn't expect to see many people looking so "machine-like" in their shopping pursuits. It seemed as if everything was for sale (and on sale), and consumers were snatching up items like they were being commanded by an off-site remote-control. It seemed as if no thought was being put into the purchases, and for the simple fact that items were marked SALE, that's all the reason for going for broke during this time of economic hardship for many New Yorker's.

While snapping pictures, I marveled at the fact that no one seemed happy--at least not the many people i photographed. Everyone seemed like battery-operated drones, and those with less power were exhausted and despondent, but fueled by the notion that they had to buy "something". I think that most people go out to shop on Black Friday simply because they feel they "have to" participate in the frenzy while they also figure out which bills will not be paid for the month.

I photographed this series in black and white because there was no color (or life) for me in this major shopping event, not when I recall in 2008 when 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour who was trampled to his death by eager and reckless Black Friday shoppers looking for a bargain at a Long Island Walmart. It seemed the steel grey skies and cold-brisk weather agreed that this was not a day to celebrate, but to reflect and remember the purpose of humanity.

(Click any image to enlarge)

Macy's and Empire State Building

A mountain of handbags for sale.

Kids left alone in a double-parked car while mom went shopping.

Handbag Superman

Intersection at Macy's Department store.

One bright spot in the crowds.

Fur sale.

Fur protester outside of Macy's.

Macy's window's.