Friday, 5 February 2016

New York Confession

My journal for February is the New York edition of the 'Write Now' series created by Compendium Inc.

The slightly textured soft cover has a quote from Texas Guinon - 'Better A Square Foot of New York Than All The Rest of The World'. So I have attempted to picture it here within the context of an implied square foot.

Inside there 128 pages a tad smaller than A5 at 125 x 201 cm divided every 8 sheets or so with a vivid graphic illustration and quotation. The pages are off-white and horizontal ruled at around 80gsm at a guess. I leave you and your favourite search engine to find the other 40 titles in the series. Not all are available in UK but those that are, are reasonably priced at around £5 each.

This month is the diamond jubilee - that's 60 years - of my first ever visit to NY as an almost innocent and rather naïve teenager. It took several visits to overcome my fears and to grow to love the place. My last visit, which will surely also be my last ever, was two weeks after the 9/11 attack on the twin towers. The great thing about strong memories is that they can be recalled at will, with no need for long haul flights. Just flights of fancy, the way one remembers first [and last] loves.

Photo via internet
To the more immediate past, like two days ago on my birthday.
 
I had discovered a couple of big photographic books by Brandon Stanton and figured I deserved to buy them for a treat, even although we rarely store books and give them away when we're done with them. So here's the confession.
 
In 2008 I planned to create a book of photographs and stories with the working title 'Coffee Shops of Margate' [As you may guess, inspired by similar titles from other cities globally] to be followed with annual versions for Ramsgate and Broadstairs respectively. They never happened.  In 2010, struck by the regeneration of our town, I had the notion of photographing the way it was for future comparison. It never happened.
 
Back to Brandon. In 2010,aged 30, he bought a camera following the loss of his broking job and decided to photograph 10,000 people on the streets of New York. He made it happen. The result was a best selling book 'Humans of New York' and a blog. He followed it last year with a companion volume 'Humans of New York Stories' in which he transcribes the comments of his latest batch of subjects.
 
Brandon is allegedly worth $7 million. As I am not even worth that many pennies it would be a big deal to punt out a total of £40 for the two books at our local Waterstones. By selling a couple of cameras on eBay I was able to generate £25 ... enough to buy the books on the same site. I had one on 'call and collect' from Argos and the other almost gave the mailman a hernia!
 
These are beautifully produced books and an inspiration for the future of my own 'street photography'. OK, so maybe he is 48 years my junior, but I am not ashamed to learn ... better late than not at all.
 
Here's one I took yesterday.
My own copies
 
And finally ... almost ... I threw my camera towards the lady in my life and asked if she would point it at me, squeeze the big button on the top and thus take a picture to show 'This Is What 78 Years Old Looks Like'. Yep! If only I had bought Photoshop and learnt how to use it.
 
Thanks for stopping by ... more next week
Colin
 
Photo via internet