The Color Collaborative: Green {Week 1}

 

"Black and white photography can show how something is; color adds how it is, imbued with temperatures and humidities of experience." - Peter Schjeldahl
 

As photographers we are not only captivated by light but also by color and how it can be used to enhance the emotion of our images. With that in mind, I am embarking on a monthly project called The Color Collaborative, with a group of talented and diverse women photographers. Together we will support each other, allowing for creative risk and interpretation, as we find and capture a new color every month.  

Our first month is GREEN and below is my debut series. Even in the harshest of NYC winters, beneath it all was something bright and beautiful. 

Please follow along the circle to see the rest of CC's images for this introductory week, starting with the talented Erin Konrath.  

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”

— Pedro Calderon de la Barca [Spanish poet and playwright, 1600-1681]

Letters To My Sons | March

Dear boys,

The day this photo was taken was one that I shouldn't soon forget. But just in case I do, and just in case you guys might never know how hard it was for your mother, I'm going to write about it now. As native New Yorkers you will grow up faster than most kids. That's just the way it is. For one thing Cash, we got rid of your stroller right after your second birthday. I'll admit, the motivation was purely selfish since I just couldn't lift and carry that stroller (with you in it!) up and down the flights of subway stairs anymore. I was done. But then along came Grey. New baby means new stroller means two more years of back breaking work. However, Grey you are about to turn two years old and we are again gearing up to ditch the stroller....after we get in a little more practice.

There is no elevator at our subway stop, nor is there one at 86th street where we get off for Cash's preschool. So unless graced by the kindest of a stranger, I must carry Grey in said stroller, often times with laundry and groceries hanging off the sides, up and down four flights of stairs twice a day. When you were just a couple of weeks old Cash, Aunt Gail and I fumbled through the unfamiliar process together. Since then, I have been doing it on my own for a solid four years, remarkably only throwing my back out once. But don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. If anything I might be bragging a little because I want you guys to know what a badass your mother was. That's the pedigree of NYC mothers - hardcore to a fault, self-reliant and willing to put up with the most challenging travels and travails in order to live and raise our children in this city. Outsiders scoff at us, finding it utterly crazy, but we merely consider ourselves members of a resilient brood who can make it through anything in this great metropolis. It's like a rite of passage - these years of schlepping our little urbanites - that we can forevermore relate to with one another, especially days such as this. 

Well Grey, the beginning of our no-stroller commute went quite well; it was the return home that was a whole different story. You were cranky and wanted to be carried and when I refused, you threw yourself onto the grimy sidewalk, burying your head in your hands. Cash and I waited for your tantrum to pass, but yours tend to stick around awhile. So I picked up all 30 pounds of you and carried you to the subway, biceps screaming. Once inside the subway station your mood improved and you started to run around with your brother, who is by now a novice subway rider. But you have yet to learn platform safety so I had no other choice but to pick you back up. I tucked you, wailing and flailing, under my armpit like an oversized football, and walked with Cash into the crowded subway car. After directing him to the only available seat, I leaned against the subway doors and closed my eyes. Sometimes that's all you can do as a mom. Just tune out. I rolled my shoulders back and used every bit of my strength to hold you the four long stops until 125th street when people got off and seats freed up.    


Once seated next to your brother, you stopped crying and that's when I took out my camera. I wanted to capture snippets of the aftermath and the sheer craziness of it all.

Cause it is crazy. Raising young boys in New York City is a wild ride sort of like the MTA. We don't always run smoothly and may have some delays here and there, but we always manage to get where we're going. We just find a way, simple as that.

Boys, undoubtedly there will be many times in your life when you feel like throwing yourself onto the grimy sidewalk, kicking and screaming. But hopefully you grow into resilient, courageous, patient, thoughtful and tenacious men...

...always willing to lend a hand to a mother with a stroller.

Love,

Mom

New Yorkers in training

The Chocolate Cure

When it's February and below zero in New York City, make chocolate!

Photo 52: Within the Frame

Classic Composition:  Centered {Week 45}

Centering the subject has often been seen as a beginner technique, because the resulting composition is not viewed as being as dynamic compared to other compositions (for example, last week's Rule of Thirds). However, if you are deliberate with your composition, having a balanced frame with the subject at the center can be a very effective compositional technique.

The center of attention below is my superhero.  He seems perfectly placed for fighting crime, flanked by a gritty New York City background.  One morning this past week my son asked if he could put on his superhero costume.  He wanted to wear it outside, taking along his sock monkey as his sidekick.  Numerous smiles and comments resulted, particularly from older men most likely reminded of their own boyhood days dressing up as their favorite crime fighter.  Sadly though my son felt like people were laughing at him and asked me to take off his costume.  I assured him that people weren't laughing at him, but he insisted.  And with that, Super Cash 2.0 transformed into his street clothes and went on about his day.

Click HERE to continue to our collective site, Who We Become, to see all of our images in one place.

Super Cash 2.0

Photo 52: Within the Frame

 

Color Theory:  Photographer's Choice {Week 34}

 

For this final week of color theory exploration, I chose monochromatic.  During a recent visit to the Highline, I spotted the most adorable friends, laughing and enjoying one another's company.  I couldn't stop watching them and taking photos of their conversation - New York City kids mature well beyond their years.  

Please click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, to see all of our images in one place.  

Friendship

Photo 52: Within the Frame

Perspective | Aspect Ratio 4:3 {Week 18}

There are many facets to the art of composition including aspect ratio, which is quite simply the ration between the width and the height of an image.  With digital photography you can either set up your aspect ratio in-camera or you can crop an image to a different aspect ration in post-processing.

Most digital cameras, with a few exceptions, use one of two aspect ratios. There is the 3:2 aspect ratio of 35mm digital cameras, and the 4:3 aspect ratio used by micro four-thirds and many compact cameras. The 4:3 ratio is quite popular because it is a 'shorter' rectangle, making it easier to compose photos taken in the portrait format and eliminate unwanted space around your subject. 

Below is an image taken on 34th Street in Manhattan.  With the 4:3 aspect ratio crop in post-processing, I was able to focus in more on the subjects.  Even though the shot is taken within the urban landscape of New York City and the viewer gets a glimpse of said surroundings, the 'shorter' rectangle allows it to be primarily a portrait of father and son going about their daily business. 

Please click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, and see all of our images in one place.

Photo 52: Within the Frame

Wide Angle | Inclusion  {Week 14}

It is a new year, new month, and a new topic for Photo 52: Within the Frame.  We will be spotlighting perspective for the next month, examining the way your choice of lens can alter your viewpoint.  Wide angle lenses allow our camera to see wider than the eye can, and therefore allow us to include a great deal of the environment along with our subject.  The perfect lens for a snowy landscape!

This past Thursday night Hercules, the first blizzard of 2014, descended upon the Northeast.  The following morning I went out with my oldest son, traipsing around the neighborhood.  While he had fun tossing snowballs up the hill, I took some wide angle photos of him within the winter landscape.  My favorite is the image below which is intentionally shot out of focus.  The bright red hat reminds me of one of my favorite books from childhood, "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats.  It was the perfect book to read to my son when we got home from our adventure.   

Please click HERE to visit our collective blog, Who We Become, and see all of our images in one place.  

The Snowy Day