Posts Tagged ‘NY LA Photo Project’

NY/LA Photo Project – Memory (September 2011)

Photo: 539 West 162nd Street

For September’s theme, I chose the word Memory because I thought it would be a good challenge and started thinking of various ideas, discarding the first few that were strong in memory but didn’t have any relation to my city.

The idea for the above diptych came about because for the last 6 months I’ve been gathering information, trying to build a family history that I could one day give to my sons. I come from a slew of interesting characters, one of which is my grandfather Edgar Brastow (formerly Alvarenga before being adopted by his stepfather), who was born in New York City and lived just 45 blocks from my first apartment in the city (he on 165th and Broadway and I at 207th and Broadway). I liked the idea of visiting the building/street/neighborhood he once lived in and picturing him as a little boy in this city that we’ve both experienced, just at different moments in time. Sentimental I know. This isn’t my best photograph(s). It’s not particularly creative and there was construction at the entrance that I had to work around but in this case I felt the experience was more important than the end result.

Below is my Great Grandmother Theresa Alvarenga’s Naturalization paperwork where I came across the address they lived at during the 30’s.

Friend and NY/LA Photo Project co-conspirator Paul Kingsley has chosen “light” for October. I’m really looking forward to the challenge of creating something interesting for our next theme.

NY/LA Project – Forgotten (August 2011)

Continuing my project with friend and fellow photographer Paul Kingsley (see his photo for August here), this project was a challenge for me. When I initially thought of the word “Forgotten”, images of abandoned buildings, deserted cars, people down and out on their luck came to mind. After some thought, I decided I wanted to photograph the homeless man who occasionally sits at the top of the stairs of my subway station, asking for change. I watch people in the morning rushing past him, afraid to look at him, unable to put themselves in his shoes – where a few different circumstances could have landed them right where he is. But the picture above is not of him because I felt that taking his photo would be exploiting his hardship for my creative endeavor. I struggled with the idea but come away feeling good about the choice. Since New York is never short on forgotten items, instead I give you the abandoned shoes I came across on my walk to work. I imagine someone found them askew and lined them up for the visual effect and then went on their way. They caught my eye as an everyday item left behind.

NY/LA Photo Project

My friend Paul and I decided to start a collaboration to keep each other inspired in our photography. The project involves choosing a word each month and shooting that word within the context of our cities, he in Los Angeles and myself in New York. June’s word was “Paradise”. Originally from Southern California, my definition of paradise will always be the beach, preferably at sunset, the sound of the waves crashing, the distance of the horizon putting everything in perspective. But I live in New York City and while I have a fantastic skyline and beaches within a train rides distance, it’s just not the same. So within the confines of the city, paradise to me is the Museum of Modern Art. I love the stark white walls and the thoughtful modern architecture and most of all I love the Edward Steichen Photography Gallery. This is where I shot my photo for June. I had to sit and wait for that split second when there wasn’t someone walking by so I might have shot it a little differently if I had an empty room and a tripod. Still I like how it captures the modern element of the museum’s design, the black and white photographs I love so much, and brings in a bit of warmth with the hardwood floor. It’s not fancy or incredibly technical but it’s what I wanted to shoot for this months word so I achieved my concept.

Paul is an incredibly talented photographer so I hope you’ll check out his new website: Ventured Away Photography.