Did you ever stop and think about how much you could tell about a person through the images they capture? With this day in social media, peoples lives are an open book. Not just with their status updates, but the images that they share. You can see their heart, their fears, their joys, their loves, their passions, their vices, their demons and so on …….
Last year my best friend Anthony and I went to NYC for the opening day of the Vivian Maier Documentary at the IFC Center. It’s a compelling documentary about a NYC Nanny that kept her personal life fairly private. It was after her death that it was discovered by a young, man who purchased a pallet of negatives at an auction, that she was a hidden gem of a street photographer. I was so anxious and excited to see it and was glad to be seeing it with someone that has an even greater passion in photography then I do. Her story was so much more then I had expected. It hit home, it hit hard. Though we still have no true knowledge of her life, I felt like I got her. I understood her. I knew her. In some ways…. I am her. She shared bits and pieces of herself through her imagery and it was powerful. It was an emotional awakening and a must see for anyone that has a love of mystery, photography, people & psychology.
After seeing this film I realized that telling stories through my camera has always been therapeutic for me ever since I was a teenager. It was a trait I inherited from my Grandmother who had an attic full of BOXES of pictures she had taken through the later years of her life.
A few months later I had the pleasure of meeting Brandon Stanton, Photographer / Author of the Humans of New York Project, in Grand Central as I was leaving NYC. I’ll thank my son for this. It was him that saw “the man with the camera” leaning against the wall. It was almost like a sign, a confirmation that I was doing what I am meant to be doing. Capturing the lives, the stories, the connections, the hearts of others. And in some small ways, through the work that I create, sharing pieces of myself.
( iPhone shot of Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York and I taken by my 10 year old son and let me point out…….. the man shoots CANON ! ! ! )
Prior to taking this image this man had been pushing a cart of umbrellas around just outside the IFC theater. It was a cheap little umbrella made out of aluminum that was so sharp it could cut you. I didn’t need the umbrella, but I bought one. I still have it. When I came out of the theater later, he was sitting on an old milk crate… his cart and umbrellas were nowhere in sight.
I captured this shot of an engaged couple while i was in Florence, Italy. We were just across the way of the Ponte Vecchio. Their smiles were so infectious I couldn’t help but to capture this moment of them being real and celebrating each other.
While in Waco, TX visiting a really good friend of mine she talked about this church service that took place under a bridge so appropriately called Church Under the Bridge. It was very moving to see a mix of cultures, classes and races celebrating life & humanity together. Boxes of clothes and shoes and bagged meals were being passed out to the many homeless and those in need. They do this every Sunday. I can’t tell you how many stories I listened to, the tears, smiles and hugs I shared with so many beautiful people. ( more on this to come in another blog post but here’s an article I found on it : Church Under the Bridge:Relevant Magazine )
Ecuador was such a spiritual and soul fulfilling trip for me as I was there volunteering at an orphanage. I don’t even know where to begin ( eventually I’ll blog this trip too ). But it was my first time out of North America and I got to experience it with one of my BFF’s who understands how deeply effecting a trip like this can be for someone like us. One of our days there we got to explore a town called Banos. It was here that I walked into the Basilica Reina del Rosario de Agua Santa Cathedral ( Also known as The Church of The Virgin of the Holy Water ) . Walking down this dimly naturally lit stone corridor ( constructed of Volcanic Rock ) the locals were lighting candles in prayer. It was such a somber moment.
Ok, so typically I LOVE winter. I’m an outdoor adventurist. But this winter has had me holed up in my house screaming for mercy. My niece came out to visit and we took a drive down to the beach where I could show her the NYC skyline from my favorite spot. It was bitter cold, but the sunset was worth it.
While on a trip this past summer in the Catskills I had been seeing this man every day walking around town wearing the same clothes and with his dog. On this day he was at the corner of a grocery store I was going into. When I came out he caught my eyes with his smile and the lines that framed his porcelain ice blue eyes shared many stories. I smiled back and said hello and asked his name and that of his dog ( Jake ). We talked about his struggles briefly but more about his beloved dog.
Another moment in NYC. Hugs are Free……….