It’s my wife’s birthday this week and per our custom, she expressed a relevant wish to see the sun rise at Coney Island. Past efforts have been thwarted by weather, sickness, indifference, travel, and other interventions, seemingly divine and otherwise, but this year we made it and it was delightful. Not only did it fulfill a birthday wish extending back for a decade or more, but I hadn’t been there since I was a boy.
My father is a NYC native (Kingsbridge, Bronx — like any diligent New Yorker of his generation, he’ll be happy to tell you what made it both a harder and a better place to be from) and we made roughly annual visits to our family here and in New Jersey until I was 18 or so.
The trip to Coney Island was in 1977, maybe, or 1978. My uncle, my father, my brother and I went together to visit the Aquarium. There is a single photo from that trip, of my brother and me on a breaker, smiling from the relative high ground of the rocks. I wore a shirt with a 3 on it, a non-sequitur. That is, the number was not that of a favorite athlete or anything. Just a 3. It became, however, the title of the photograph, which my family refers to as The Three Picture, and in due time a personally-identifying numeral between my wife and me. Over the years she has bought me all manner of printed material featuring single 3s, some of which hang above my desk at this very moment. As it happens, unfortunately, I cannot right now find the photograph of origin. When I do, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, if you have a chance, please wish Kimberley a happy birthday.
This gallery is a sort of companion to the previous one, consisting of color photos from the same recent stretch of activity. There are no particular themes to look for but it might be worth noting that I seem to be more open to abstraction when I’m making photos in color than I am when doing so in black and white.
In addition to making photos, I’ve resumed some reading about photography, notably Susan Sontag, Hollis Frampton, and Robert Adams, books I originally picked up in the course of my cinema studies. It’s been a pleasure and an education to reacquaint myself with their work. More on this, I assume, in later posts.
In any event, these images appear on Instagram and elsewhere but in the interest of better-sized presentation, I’ve decided to post them here as well. Click the image above to view the gallery. Enjoy.
As many of you already know, I recently bought my first real camera: a Fujifilm X-T10 with a Fujinon XF35mmF1.4 R lens. I look forward to checking out other lenses in the future but am quite happy for now just getting a feel for making non-phone photos with a fixed lens. I’m posting many of them on Instagram and also started a flickr page in order to post larger, less-compressed versions of the images. In any case, here’s a handful from my first month with the new set-up. I hope you enjoy them.
I also like, “There’s this part that makes you feel full. There’s this part that is redemptive and instructive, [so that] when you read something, it’s not just delight — you go, “Oh my god, that’s me! I’ve lived like that, I’ve felt like that, I’m not alone in the world…”