Soundtrack Of A Photograph, Part 5




Well after a holiday break I am back with what I hope will be a continuous run of The Soundtrack Of A Photograph in 2014. I would like to thank everyone who has taken a few moments to read my previous entries. I have aspirations of taking this blog to bigger and better places in the year to come and the number of people who have commented and liked it thus far has made that job much easier. So thank you for the encouragement!

“I learned the hard way”

When I finished the first installment of this blog and saw the positive reaction I started jotting down ideas for further editions. Some of them came immediately, and I knew exactly what photographs I wanted to pair with particular songs, though getting them to a completed blog is the hard part. Others are more difficult as concepts and I have only a rough idea of where I want to go, be it musically or in the photographic sense. But I have a confession to make. As I mentioned in Part 1, I took up photography sometime around 2001 or so, and that was all on film up until about 2 years ago when I began shooting in both film and digital. Though I have a portion of my film photos copied to CD, I also literally have thousands more 4 x 6 photographs printed, and kept in those nice little storage boxes. Going through those now is an interesting exercise to see the development of my photography. There are a lot of close but not quite photographs in terms of subject matter, or some that are good to keep as mementos of a time or a place mixed in among the good ones. BUT, and here is the confession, even though I could go through those thousands of photographs looking for source material here, it is time consuming, and I am fortunate that I live in a place, New York City, where I can go out with my camera right now and take a fresh new set of photos if needed. Having so many landmarks around, I can use the old photos as a guide and literally stand in the same spot with the same camera angle as I did 10 years ago, but apply better techniques that I have learned. So sometimes the photographs I may use here in the blog may be brand new, but are based on ones I have taken previously.


“But now I’m standing on this corner, I know right from wrong”

Regardless of the source, I have noticed definite themes in my photography taking shape over the years, and they seem to happen organically. In my previous entries I have mentioned how trees, urban scenes in New York City, and the great old ship Peking have been some of my favorite subjects through the years. Another theme I have noticed is what could best be described as corners. They are everywhere in New York, and are unavoidable both in travelling around, or even in daily conversation. “Meet me on the corner of 49th and 9th,” there is a bodega on the corner of Broadway and 103rd Street,” “the subway entrance is on the corner of West 4th Street.” We say the word every day in some context it seems. It can mean a street corner of course, but as a photographer it can mean the edge of almost any finite object you care to mention. There is something about the angles; the way corners come together in one sharp point that makes for engaging photographs. I love how even on the largest objects like a ship or a skyscraper for example; there is a point where all sides converge into one razor thin edge. Often because of sheer inability to take photographs in exactly the way I would like because of typical city obstructions, the only way I can get a photograph of a building for example is to take it at an angle, rather than as a head on shot. Physically that means I need to back up from the object in a trajectory that usually leads me to a street corner until I get a result I am happy with, calculating that I can now in most cases get a more interesting photograph by showing two sides of a building, rather than a head on and rather static one, as in the picture below. Using words like trajectory here will make me sound like a mathematician, which anyone who knows my academic standing historically on that subject through the years would know is laughable.


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