A few weekends ago, I had the honor of assisting the incredible Lisa Berg while she photographed the wedding of one of her dear friends.
The bride was Jewish in both religion and ethnicity and the groom was Persian and Muslim. Their wedding ceremony was a combination of all the magic and love that makes both cultures authentically their own. They were married under huppah with a breathtaking sofreh on their left. During the reception everyone danced the hora and after, the chairs were placed on the ground, and the couple sat while the Persian female family members danced the raghseh chaghoo.
Through out the entire day, I had several moments of pure joy and gratitude wash over me. I was honored to be able to witness the seamless synergy of love that this couple had for each other, but also for their religions and their families. Even with all the insanity that is the United States of America right now, it was a timely reminder that all is not lost. Not on me anyway.
At the end of the day we are all the same and love is all we need.
I’ve never been keen on photographing unknown subjects. Not that I don’t feel the urge, especially living in New York City where some sidewalks are runways and some people are unicorns from other planets.
Personally, I really enjoy getting to know a subject and taking time to do so. I observe how they move, smile, and generally how they look in the light. Sometimes the first few stills are perfect, but typically it’s closer to the end of the session that I feel I get better end results. It’s when we have time to get to know each other when I have time to make them comfortable is when we get “that moment”. That portrait then becomes the documentation of the relationship of the subject and the photographer.
Earlier this week, I forced myself to go out into the world to take photos of strangers. I’ve always struggled with the idea. When I was in undergrad studying photography, I read numerous Susan Sontag essays and one quote from her “On Photography” essay always stuck with me.
“Essentially the camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own.” — Susan Sontag
After hopping on the subway to meet a friend for lunch in Soho, I parked myself in Union Square and started shooting.
A group of girls holding “Free Hugs” signs walked past and one of them noticed my camera and threw me a smile. That helped ease the immediate awkwardness that I felt, but it wasn’t until I was heading back to Brooklyn on the subway that I finally felt comfortable taking photos. The end results were less than perfect, but the action itself was a great lesson in voyeurism and I’ll definitely go out again.
After a mad dash from Brooklyn through the insanity that is Manhattan on Saturday to Grand Central station, we barely made our Metro North train to Beacon.
Dia:Beacon is incredible and I am well aware of the fact that I am not the first person to say so. Not only did the train ride along the Hudson immediately alleviate the stress of commuting on Saturday, but the physical space where all that is Dia:Beacon exists is extremely serene.
I was really taken by Dan Flavin’s work. I found it curious that in a space with so much natural light that I loved the pieces with artificial light most, but maybe it is just as simple as that.