Thursday, July 29, 2010

Michele, ace gardener

The tanned muscular arms belong to Michele, who owns, runs and labours at Gowanus Nurseries in Carrol Gardens, where she either keeps or knows where to find any plant you might want.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Artists in Red Hook

Their large white dog put his paws on the window of the Hope and Anchor, Red Hook, Brooklyn and pants at us. The owners look interesting and we go outside and greet them. I take some pictures with the dog but it is this one that I like. He spoke, she was quiet. Artists both, strength - resolution - determination. Actors, never.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Art student

There's a bench outside Breukelen Coffee House on Franklin Street and as often as not anyone sitting there has a dog with them. It's either their dog or they are looking after their friend's dog. The waiters and owners of Breukelen Coffee House love dogs and will serve their owners as they sit outside. A bowl of water is always there for the dogs. Caroline looked after Gitzo while I photographed MMLJ

Jaq and Les

Almost as soon as we sat down next to this quiet couple at Dutchboy on Franklyn Street in Crown Heights, they got up to leave. I asked if I might photograph them. When we got home later that evening I had an e-mail from them to say they were striving artists, he a musician, she a painter and that they had come from the west coast and fell in love with New York.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not Hitchcock

I can remember to this day catching sight of the man as I walked along the Thames in Putney. I crept up along side him, and pretended to look out at the river. I guessed the distance I was from him and turned away to set the focus on the lens. I then leveled the Leica at my waist and pointed it towards him out of the corner of my eye.

Escape from Techno

After our main course at Diner in Williamsburg I asked the waitress if we could have our desert at a table outside. She said that that would be fine. The food had been as good as anywhere in the city and the service probably better than anywhere in the city.

It was not the heat of the inside that made us want to move; the temperature was about right for a power saving minded proprietor. The trouble was the music — the Techno music. Not broadcast at the modest level of the thermostat but at a level that required one person wanting to tell their friend something important and confidential either to go outside into the street or text him or her on their phone.

Anyway, outside was heaven as our friend above also thought. The dessert was A1 and the bill most reasonable.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fashion designer

Most politely he said "Oh no! I don't think I want to do that sort of thing." I persisted, "Could I show you some of the pictures I have taken," and remember as I said it that I had left them in the car. Now I am sunk, I thought, as but as he began to walk on. Have I got any cards left in my wallet? Yes! And fished out one with a picture of Stanley Kubrick on it that I had taken on the set of A Clockwork Orange. He looked at it and finally said, "Did you take this?" "Yes, I did," I replied. And then started to ask me a flurry of question about Kubrick filming A Clockwork Orange and said that it would be alright for me to photograph him.

Blank slate

She and her husband sat next to us at breakfast at Naidre's in Carrol Gardens. He was a photographer and she was a jewelry designer. She wore a signet ring on her first finger which she had designed and left shiny silver where a crest or initial might have gone. I said I liked it and had not seen one quite like it before. "Yes," she said, "A blank slate." She spoke in perfect English with a slight accent from somewhere in eastern Europe, Serbia it turned out.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lydia and Mr. Red

This was not the photograph I meant to take, although the subjects had both struck me well enough. Caroline had hailed Lydia across the way in Central Park with a "He's friendly," referring to our dog Louis. Immediately the dogs played with the intensity of a feverish dance, and the women talked harnesses. I was left standing and about to leave them to it and wander off in search of subjects without animals when I thought that I had better just try and take a picture because subjects have a habit of not reappearing.

"Could I just take a picture of you and Mr. Red together?" I said loudly over the grunts and yelps from the dogs. To help, Caroline dragged Louis away from his new friend, but as Lydia sat down with Mr. Red for the picture he started jumping around looking for his playmate.

Then Lydia revealed the absolute way she has with dogs. With a few gentle words and a firm touch she had soothed him. There was no time for looking for the right background or light. I had to do it more or less where they stood. The background is not too bad; the light is a bit flat and too much from the top. The sitters do look as one, though, like true friends do.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I love fashion

You can tell, the girl in gray lives for clothes. "You don't learn style," she said.

Woman in blue

I was photographing the girl in gray and her friend when I felt a tap on the shoulder and a voice said, "I want my picture taken." I turned round and there was this woman. "Of course," I said. She was looking closely at me as I adjusted the tripod and said, "You photographed me before, you know, with my mother, about ten years ago. You gave us a copy of the picture and we used it at my mother's funeral." I remembered then that I had. I did her elder sister as well. See, "Girl with a comb in her hair".

Columbia Teaching Fellow

He wondered why I knew he was a writer. He wanted to know who I was. He asked polite, clearly announciated questions in full sentences. I told him that I had photographed quite a lot of writers including Baldwin and Beckett and that seemed O.K. I had some pictures on me to show him what I had done in Brooklyn. We sat for quite a while and his friend talked to Caroline about dogs. He told me he was on his way to New Jersey which he had been trying to get out of all day. "I'd rather be shot."

Girl with gold earring

She and her friend were lugging shopping up the steep steps of Morningside Park. They were on their way to one of the scores of picnics that crowd the park on summer evenings. I think they were happy to have an excuse to stop and put down their bags. Just as I had arranged my subjects and set the camera, two of their friends, young men, started to clown around behind me and make the girls giggle. I was saved by a mother or aunt ordering the young men to leave us alone and to carry the bags the rest of the way to the picnic site.

Morningside Farmer's Market

He was loading up the unsold produce at the end of the day. His farm was in Kingston, NY and on Saturdays they had stands in Queens and Brooklyn as well as Harlem. He delivered and picked up from all three locations.