Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

FGPO Photo Outing/Assignment: Creating a Photo Essay about Coney Island or Brighton Beach

This month, I assigned my photoclub members, (The Fort Greene Photography Organization) a two-part Outing/Photo-essay project. The assignment is to photograph at Coney Island or Brighton Beach and shoots images to create a photo-essay.

A photo essay is a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer. Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs. Photo essays can be sequential in nature, intended to be viewed in a particular order, or they may consist of non-ordered photographs which may be viewed all at once or in an order chosen by the viewer. All photo essays are collections of photographs, but not all collections of photographs are photo essays. Photo essays often address a certain issue or attempt to capture the character of places and events. (you might note that most of my work that appears on this blog are photo essays.)

The second part of the assignment is to edit down the shoot to just 10 images to compile a picture story/essay, accompanied by words. All essays will be published on the blog and a photo book, and presented for critique at the August FGPO meeting. Feel Free to comment on the essays as well as any other images on the blog at!


Photo essay#1 Multiculturalism at Coney Island

Coney Island, once known as the "poor man's paradise" was the world capital for amusement that began around 1897, a time when early Dutch settlers inhabited the neighboring communites. Since then, it has become a mecca for people and communities near and from around the world. Whether seeking amusement or solace, the "faithful" make the pilgrimage to the southern-most tip of Brooklyn. It is here that cultures blend together as effortlessly as the sun rises. Regardless of where someone is from, be it Asia, India, Africa or the Bronx, at Coney Island, they fit in and have as much a stake in the sentimentality of the place as did the millions of visitors that have preceded them over the last hundered years.

Below are some images that reflect the multiculturalism of Coney Island, giving it world-wide status as a true "melting pot".

Click on any image to enlarge. COMMENTS WELCOME!

Coney Island photo ca.1940. Crowds at Coney Island beach. The first turn of the Cyclone is in the background, between the trees. And to the left of it you can see the top car of the Wonder Wheel.

For Neal Collins.

Technical note:
I was using for the very first time a Nikon D80. I've never shot with Nikon, but I inherited one from my buddy Neal Collins who recently transitioned to another space in time. It's a great camera, with tons of features, but i used it on total manual mode including manual focus, which at times was a challenge. The other real challenge was controlling the ISO, F-STOP and Shutter speed dials, which is completely the opposite direction than from my Canon 20D that I'm accustomed to using! I find the resolution better from the Nikon camera but I'm not sure if I'm a total convert yet!

Father and daughter on the Coney Island bound D train, 2009

I love this is everything.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The commercialization of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson's memorial took place today in L.A. and it seems the world took notice. At work, my internet software and other medical applications ran sluggishly, only to be informed by the IT department that, "Oh, our applications are running slowly because of all the people streaming the MJ memorial on their computers". HELLO???!! Aren't we supposed to be "working", while at work? The female IT specialist informed me of this just as matter-of-factly as she told me to re-boot my computer, all the while, BILLIE JEAN played in the background. She was in an MJ trance. Well, at least my computer and printer functioned better after that!

Due to my hectic work day, I didn't attend or photograph any Memorial gatherings. To tell you the truth, I think I have MJ fatigue. My bad, it's really my fault for watching the coverage so much. Nevertheless, I decended onto Harlem's 125th street to see what was going on. Today at least, the famed street turned into Michael Jackson Mall, selling everything from t-shirts, buttons, signatures, posters and absolutely anything related to the King of Pop.

As folks along the boulevard shopped frenetically for MJ-ware, I was suddenly struck with the notion of Michael Jackson, the commodity. Even in death, we seek not the truth of the man behind the mirror, we only snatch up frivilous mementos to remember a man, many only have now come to really "appreciate". That's appreciation to the extent that we can jump on a bandwagon, forging a collective pride, if only for these days after death, we are reminded not of our own mortality, but by the lack of green in our pockets.

As I jostled through the crowd near the Apollo Theater and vendors along the way, a woman bolted through to grab the last $5 T-shirt of an overdone MJ from the BAD album. This was serious. Michael Jackson, no longer the man...more like the machine at this point, was feeding an economy both above ground and below it. Theere were some questionable dealings on 125th street, even as so-called "charitable organizations", sprang up to collect donations for the "Michael Jackson Fund". Goods with Michael's unlicensed image is printed on a multitude of white cotton and polyester tees. Buttons, with images that looked like they were made from copies of copies of copies, were strewn across folding card tables, all for the purchase, all for "the cause".

If you visit 125th street in search of the right MJ t-shirt or sequined glove, just shop around, you're more than likely going to leave with something cheap. I should know, i brought a tee for $5 with a Young Afro haired Michael smiling on the front...just the way i want to remember him.

Michael Jackson money

For $10, you can have your picture taken in front of this backdrop of MJ from the Thriller album cover.

$4 T-shirts being brought and sold out of a shopping cart.

An wide array of MJ buttons being sold by a boy that slightly reminded me of young MJ.

Young MJ fan tries on a fabrication of the iconic glove MJ used to sport.

OK, I get the signing of a (makeshift) memorial book, but what's with the jar for money? And just who is that money going to? There was no information on the table about it.

Paying half during a recession, and a buck to sign the book.

The ubiquitous MJ posters for sale.

Fan messages.

Michael must be rolling in his grave over this one! And the nerve to charge $5.00 for a picture with him!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Appreciating Life...

I just loved this felt like magic to me.

Happy 4th!

Independence Day hat and outfit

Waiting for fireworks

Macy's Fireworks

Spent it with my boo. :-)

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fandamonium II: Michael Jackson tribute outside the Apollo Theater, NYC

The series continues from last week, the day after Michael Jackson died leaving behind a legion of stunned fans, who gathered at the world famous Apollo theater to celebrate MJ's life and legacy of music.