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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

10:17:02 PM    

Photographer Matt Weber put up a page he calls, The Best Photos of The Gates.

I have to admit that I had a lot of trouble photographing The Gates, but it was nice to see them featured on his page - out and away from my own site. Made me think I might have gotten a couple of good shots. I have a feeling that this Gates thing is going to be something where I look back on the negatives, (I mean files) in a year or so and discover something.

Here are a couple of ideas about why the Gates were difficult to photograph:

1) An individual "Gate" is boring.  The Gates were part architecture, and part event.  That was why I tried to capture people interacting or being moved by The Gates.  But then the subject becomes the people.

2) It is the monumental size and scope that is impressive.  In order to show that, you need some sort of scale to judge it.  You can do this with a mountain, because you just get something or other to give it scale.  How do you do this with what is essentially a street map?  It's like saying, the streets of New York are very impressive.  How do you show that in a single photograph?  How do you show the fabric closeup, and at the same time the enormous scale? Maybe a double exposure type of shot with the fabric and sun overlaying the Gates. 

3) The fabric itself was difficult to photograph.  It has a sheen that makes it difficult to get right in sunlight; though you can do okay with the sun on the other side of it.  The subject may simply have been better suited for video / movies.  A good shot would be a long dolly shot, maybe speeded up, going through all the gates.

- - -

Good news about Ilford...


Courtesy of Barrett

10:57:17 AM    

She's a nursery school teacher. Let's call her Mary. And this is a true story, though I don't want to use her real name. Mary is about fifty-five. Stands about five-foot two. And is - I'd call her petite (Sorry Mary. Know you hate that word, but there it is. You are petite.)

Driving home on the upper west side, she comes to a light and waits to make a right turn onto a cross street. She's in a hurry. Aren't all New Yorkers? She waits for a while before realizing that the light is broken. Cars behind her begin tapping - gently as only New Yorkers can - on the horn. She waits a little longer and then slowly (according to her) makes the right turn. A cop car comes out from somewhere. With sirens and flashing lights pulls her over.

A big cop gets out, saunters over.

"License and registration," he says without looking at her.

She hands them to him.

"Officer, the light was broken," she says.

He studies the papers in his hand but doesn't look at her and doesn't reply.

"Remove your key from the ignition, miss."

She does so, and continues, "Did you hear me, that light is busted. I was - "

He continues to stare down at the papers, and she says, "Did you hear what I said? The light was busted."

"Miss, what you did is dangerous. Step out of the car."

It's a cold day, and she stands there with hands in pockets.

"It is a moving violation. Do you understand that? This is going to add two points to your license."

"Yes," she continues, "but the light was - "

"Wait there."

And back he goes to his car, and gets in.

Five minutes go by. She's starting to get ticked off. She's freezing. She starts to walk over to ask if she can get back in the car. He jumps out of his: "Go back to your car. Yes. Back to your car. "

She turns and walks back. He follows her.

"I just wanted to know if I could - "

"Put your hands where I can see them."

"Officer, do you really think that's necessary?"

"Mam. If you don't take your hands from your pocket - that's right - slowly - I'm going to charge you with resisting arrest. Do you understand this."

She takes her hands from her pocket and stands by her car. She turns and stares at him, trying to memorize his badge number. This is really too much.

"Sir," she continues, "I just wanted some sign that you heard me about the light being broken. Did you hear me say that?"

And now he comes up closer to her. I suppose she should feel intimidated, but mostly she's just boiling over.

"Mam," he says, "do you understand that you broke the law?"

Now she looks down and just shakes her head up and down.

"Mam," I am going to need verbal acknowledgement.

And there is this long pause, and again she just shakes her head up and down.

"If you nod your head again, I am going to arrest you. I need verbal acknowledgement. Now, do you understand what I'm saying to you."

She's toying with the idea of nodding her head again, but there are things to do at home, and is it really going to be worth it. She's thinking about what this would have been like had she been a black teenager. She looks over into the police car, and their is another officer there, a female officer. She tries to catch the female officers eye - but can't make eye contact. She's wondering what jail would be like, having only seen it on law and order. She'd love to go into court and tell this story and confront this guy.

"Yes," she says softly. "I understand."

He hands her the ticket and papers; tells her to get back in her car. She starts the ignition. Leaning down he says, "And mam, I do not want you to leave until I have driven off. Understand?"

And she has a brief moment of glory when she nods her head and doesn't say anything. He takes this in. But turns and gets back into his car and drives off. She notices the decal: CPR (Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect * )

Another New York moment.

*The Police Department has developed the Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect Strategy (CPR) to focus on police conduct and police/community relations. The strategy outlines various initiatives regarding Professional Standards, Recruitment Criteria, Training, Performance Monitoring, Reward and Disciplinary Systems and Public involvement CPR is an on going process and the department is continually developing new CPR initiatives. Copies of the CPR strategy can be obtained through the Office of The Deputy Commissioners Community Affairs.

5:34:34 AM