Black and White Photography of New York by Dave Beckerman

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25 September, 2008 (15:58)

I had an hour or two to kill after printing most of the day, and decided to head down to St. Patricks to shoot the interior with the infrared flash.  As I got off the R train, first thing I noticed was a good angle on the Central Park Lake which I hadn’t shot before.  But then headed on and there were the breakdancers that I had shot several times before - but always in the subway.  You know me - I love street performers.  Never did make it to the church.

These guys always put on a good show.  Not just in terms of the gymnastics, but how they relate to the crowd.

The lead guy, usually does his thing to Billy Jean as Jackson, and he’s very good at it.  But the acrobats, working on sidewalks without mats - the crowd loves them.

break-dance-59th-2772 Breakdance!

break-dance-59th-2780 Breakdance!

break-dance-59th-2768 Breakdance!

floating-27391 Breakdance!

Yes, this last one is some form of levitation; which reminds me of a religious painting by Dali.

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Comment from Greg L’E
Time: September 26, 2008, 3:40 pm

The second to last one looks like some bizarre levitation maneuver. Really effective with the I-flash. Kudos!

Comment from Lester
Time: September 26, 2008, 4:18 pm

The women sure seem to be enjoying themselves in one of those photos. It looks more to me like a bridal shower with a male stripper than breakdancing. Isn’t this rather shameless in light of your intended destination, St. Patrick’s?

Breakdancing never really appealed much to me. Anybody can do those moves if they spend most of their waking lives working out and practicing. Plus it’s an artform that seems limited to young men of color. Why don’t they let old white Jewish guys in their shows? Maybe now that the economy has tanked, we will see more investment bankers doing spin moves on their hands on Wall Street.

Actually, I never really stop for any street performers except for the ones who paint themselves with gold or silver and pretend to be statues. I think it takes more talent standing absolutely motionless for hours than wriggling your butt in front of a bunch of horny old gals on the street. And the statue people are much easier to photograph as well. You don’t have to worry about blurry pictures or the taint of lewdness (except for the women who dress in togas and pretend to be Greek godesses).

Drop me an email, Pilgrim, when you finally reach the Celestial City.

Comment from dave
Time: September 26, 2008, 5:10 pm

Thanks Greg — that “levitation” shot - that sort of blew me away when I first saw it on the screen. For me, the ir-flash really adds something mystical to the shot.

Lester - Actually, there was a young white guy who looked like he had just stepped out of studio 54 and hadn’t awakened yet. When you do see bankers breakdancing - let me know. I’ll be the first one on the stop.

I first saw the still statues in Paris. Then they spread to NY. They really aren’t very photogenic since the most they do is bounce around when you put money in the pot. I think they’d do better if they did wriggle their butts around.

Comment from Steve Rosenbach
Time: September 28, 2008, 5:24 pm

I saw that bunch of breakdancers the other day next to the Arcade at Bethesda Fountain. They are amazing - I would call them more acrobats than breakdancers.

Ben (our son) and I agree about the painted-up statue guys… they creep us out! Now why am I not surprised that they started in France? I have the same problem with Cirque de Soleil.

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