Lessons in Voyeurism

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.

Dia:Beacon, Dan Flavin

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. 

Firenze, Ti Amo

Toward the end of February, my good friend Rebecca and I were toying with the idea of taking a lady trip to Italy. I’d never been before and had actually missed two opportunities to go, so I really wanted to make up for lost time. 

On February 27th, I went over to Rebecca’s and she roasted a chicken and we decided on Milan, Florence, and Siena. We booked our travel for May and had no idea how much we would need to escape that month.

I spent 9 glorious days exploring Tuscany and even managed a quick escape to Rome to visit my friends Hollis and Jeff. I loved each place we visited for very different reasons, but Florence stole my heart. While the energy and pace restored my soul, the light gave me life with every sunrise and sunset. 

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