Jerry

Yesterday was weird. I had a plan to take some specific story based photographs but when I got there I knew it wasn't going to happen. The subject, the reason and what made my day weird is a story for another time. 

In hopes of changing the day from weird to less weird, Pumpkin and I took a walk around the neighborhood with camera. I needed to take some pictures.

I guess at this point I should show you a photo or two. Actually, I've decided on three out of the seven I pocked. Never know when I'll need a fallback photo for the blog. On those days where I can't seem to find anything I like.

So, I'm starting out by showing you HEART.

 
Heart_2918.jpg
 

Hey, reader, have you been wondering why this post is called Jerry, yet? Instead of Heart?

Next is Pumpkin. Hmmm, I could have titled this post Pumpkin.

 
 

This is where Pumpkin and I lived three and a half years ago. She didn't come near this building for over two plus years. Since that time, whenever we've walked down this street she beelines to the front door and will stand there waiting for me to open the door. She really misses her ritual of laying in the sun on the balcony and then laying in the shower on the cool tiles. Back and forth she'd go.

 
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After peeling her away from her former abode, Pumpkin and I walked along the LA River. Yes, it's a man made concrete river built for flood run-off (I think). And if you think it never rains or could flood in Southern California, here's a shot I took in 2010. 

 
 

Anyway, back to having taken the sunsetish shot of the river... several yards before I took the river photo I had noticed and passed a guy, who appeared to be homeless, hanging out on the knoll to the right. He had a mop of curly black hair, a long-sleeve red jersey shirt and he was sitting on a small brown soft suitcase. Behind him was a fairly new red bike with a duffle bag hanging from the handle bar. I liked the whole scene. The way he was sitting, his posture and vibe. I wanted to take his picture but I weenied out and kept walking. All the steps I took toward the point that I took the river shot, I was fraught with regret of not asking him if I could take a photo of him. I took the river shot to stall on making a decision. Then I took a few more steps and saw a flyer posted on the chain link fence. It said there were West Nile virus mosquitos found in the area.

I did a one-eighty to hightail it out of there. The guy was still sitting there and I realized the flyer was my opener to conversation. We talked for maybe ten minutes. At some point I told him I had wanted to take his picture when I walked by him but now it was too dark to take what I had initially envisioned. I asked him if I could shoot him another day. That day will be tomorrow at 1pm. If he shows up at the knoll. By the way, his name is Jerry.

Sign Language - 1

I'm calling this Sign Language - 1 because I am always fascinated by signs and the people who make them and/or carry them around...so there will be a part 2 and 3. There are plenty more in my archives that I have not posted and I'm sure I will continue to shoot more.

The three I chose for today's blog post are about as diverse as I could get, not only for the message itself but for the people who wrote them.

 
One of the most common of signs is probably the Jesus sign. This woman is a stalwart around Times Square. I really like the way her sign is rigged. It's a little strange to me that she has the '666' matching 'Jesus', both in red lettering.

One of the most common of signs is probably the Jesus sign. This woman is a stalwart around Times Square. I really like the way her sign is rigged. It's a little strange to me that she has the '666' matching 'Jesus', both in red lettering.

 
 
I have always been drawn to homeless people since I am always aware that any of us could be a day away from being there. In this instance I was out doing some street shooting with actor and great guy, Israel Broussard. I asked him if he had ever photographed homeless people and told him in doing so it's best to introduce yourself, have a conversation and ask them if they would mind if you took their picture. Oh, and always add something to the cup. In this instance, it was so amazing for me to witness their conversation where they both learned something from each other. And Israel got some great pictures.

I have always been drawn to homeless people since I am always aware that any of us could be a day away from being there. In this instance I was out doing some street shooting with actor and great guy, Israel Broussard. I asked him if he had ever photographed homeless people and told him in doing so it's best to introduce yourself, have a conversation and ask them if they would mind if you took their picture. Oh, and always add something to the cup. In this instance, it was so amazing for me to witness their conversation where they both learned something from each other. And Israel got some great pictures.

 
 
I was backstage with  Jay Stolar  shooting him while he was printing this sign on his hand prior to hitting the stage at the Mercury Lounge. He had recently aligned himself with the  Love Is Louder  movement. Check it out.

I was backstage with Jay Stolar shooting him while he was printing this sign on his hand prior to hitting the stage at the Mercury Lounge. He had recently aligned himself with the Love Is Louder movement. Check it out.

 

Writing this post made me think of this song called Signs. Always great to finish with a song.

 
 

My Black Friday

I had no interest in hitting the crowded stores to buy things I didn't need or want. Instead, I took a friend up on an invite to visit MoMA. Getting there is very easy for me...actually it's a walk in the park. This is what I saw as I was leaving Central Park.

While I waited in the crowded lobby (I was impressed to see so many people choosing art over commerce), I took this photo of The Brown Sisters display. Forty group portraits of the sisters - one each year beginning in 1975 - taken by Nicholas Nixon who is married to the eldest sister. All the photographs have been shot with an 8x10 camera on negative film and silver gelatin prints. I had scene this work online before but while I was checking them out in person I was thinking how lucky it has been that they are all still alive and able to get together once a year to pose for the portrait. Below is my interpretation of the wall of Nixon's photographs.

Forty years of Brown Sisters Portraits

Forty years of Brown Sisters Portraits

When my friends arrived we (including Pumpkin) went up a bunch of escalators to the 6th floor where the Matisse exhibit was housed. The photo on the left was the line of people waiting to be let in on their 'timed ticket'. Fortunately, my friends are members and had VIP passes so we walked right in. It was great to see so many Matisse originals in one place. The photo on the right is of me looking at the massive cut-out and Pumpkin hamming for the camera. There were no photos allowed in the exhibits so I have no idea who took the picture or how it ended up in my possession. 

These two were shot on iPhones.

These two were shot on iPhones.

 

After Matisse we dropped in to the Robert Gober exhibit. I had also seen his work online but that did not compare to the trippyness of being in multiple rooms of his original works. I cheated on the 'no photographs' with in the exhibit because I was inspired whilst I was in one of Gober's rooms and looked up - none of his works appear in this photograph.

By the time we left the museum it was already dark.  After a hot chocolate (it's cold here now) I began my walk home and ran into my first feel of the Christmas season...is it really that time already?

While waiting for a light to change, I was standing next to a homeless man with a push cart full of tattered flattened bags. It was cold out and I noticed he wasn't wearing a coat...just a sweatshirt. I asked him if he was cold and if he had a coat. He said he had a coat but he had given to another homeless guy. Then he said, "Maybe I should go and get it back."

A couple of days earlier, I had pulled a coat out of my closet and put it in a bag to drop off to a charity. It was in perfect condition, just too big for me. Without thinking about it, I told him I had a coat I could give him. We walked together for a couple of blocks, learning that he was born in New York and had been on the streets for seventeen years, then I had him wait nearby while I picked up the coat. He was grateful for the new coat and let me take a photo of him and it was nice to know who would be wearing my coat.

 
 

While this was a small gesture on my part, it reminded me that it truly is better to give than to receive.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!