Sunday, 22 July 2018

New York City Photos, Part 3: Manhattan Textures

“From where we stand, the rain seems random.
If we could stand somewhere else, we could see the order in it.”
- Tony Hillerman, American Author, 1925-2008

Confession: I love the textures of a city: the feel, the quirkiness, the patterns, the aromas, the sounds, the unexpected delights.

New York has those textures in spades. Everything is in your face, 24/7. I have to find interior spaces in my own mind to cope with the enormity of the external stimulation. And that’s where my camera comes in, because it nurtures that precious interior space. In fact, my photographs help me make sense of the world.

Which, of course, makes wandering around a large city such a pleasure.

The eleven photos that I’ve posted below all help me appreciate New York City even more. To pick up on Tony Hillerman’s thoughts, these photos oblige me to stand somewhere else so that I can see the order. Some people say that they don’t know what they think until they hear themselves saying it. The corollary for me is this: there are things I don’t understand until I see my photos of them.


Next week, I’m planning a fourth blog post featuring photos from New York City.

Wicker basket reflection in the early morning sun

Atrium, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Detail from Thornton Dial’s powerful History Refused to Die (2004),
 Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mannequin fingers, Metropolitan Museum of Art gift shop

Chelsea architecture #1

Chelsea architecture #2

Chelsea architecture #3

High Line #1

High Line #2

Detail, Hudson Yard development project

Rope sculpture near Times Square

Sunday, 15 July 2018

New York City, Part 2: Giving My Regards to Broadway

“Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris is a woman,
and New York is a well-adjusted transsexual.”
- Angela Carter, English Novelist

Sometimes, you just have to rationalize yourself out of a conundrum.

I have been a student of American history for almost sixty years.  It fascinates me, infuriates me, and always – always – surprises me.

Over those years, I’ve decided that American history is a mighty river with three tributaries: the first surges with nobility; the second bleeds with tragedy; and the third lurches with farce. They endlessly churn and roil. Love it and/or hate it, the United States sure does put on a great show.

Alas, the farce tributary has dominated lately. There is no shortage of tragedy and nobility, but it’s farce that has the upper hand. It appals me and saddens me.

Many Canadians are disengaging from the United States in protest and disgust. Boycotting travel to the United States is a logical option.

Which brings me to the conundrum I mentioned above. You see, I really DO love New York, with apologies for the overused cliché. So when Bill and I were given the opportunity to spend a few days in a Manhattan loft dog-sitting, I had to think very carefully. Yes, I want to go...but am I abandoning my principles?

What to do? What to do?

Well, I caved and rationalized that New York City really ISN’T part of the United States at all. How convenient is that? Problem solved. We jumped in the car and headed south.

I know – I’m a hypocrite, but there it is. A well intentioned hypocrite, but a hypocrite nonetheless.

And, of course, we had a great time in Manhattan. The city is a photographer’s paradise. Last week, I posted photos from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s incandescent exhibit, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination.

This week, I’m posting ten variations on Manhattan clichés, all offered with a fond twinkle of the eye. More to follow next week – and the week after that! Enjoy.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Heavenly Bodies

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
- Edith Head, American Costume Designer, 1897-1981

“Catholics live in an enchanted world, a world of statues and
holy water, stained glass and votive candles, 
saints and religious medals.
But these Catholic paraphernalia are mere hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility that inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation.”
- Andrew Greeley, The Catholic Imagination (2000)

Bill and I recently dog-sat for a friend in Manhattan. It was a tough gig, but someone had to do it....

Between walking the dogs and appreciating our air-conditioned digs, we visited art galleries and museums. One of the highlights was taking in the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (link) What an amazing experience! It featured couturier fashion designs that the curators believed exemplified Catholic sensibilities. Many of the great design houses were represented: Versace, Saint Laurent, Dior, Lacroix, Mugler, Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, and more all had designs featured on the most exquisite mannequins. The opulence and radiance of the designs were mesmerizing.

Most interesting for me, however, were the faces of the mannequins. Regular readers of this blog know that I love photographing mannequins. And the faces of the mannequins at the Met were superb. Absolutely compelling. Tellingly - and I'm not sure about what - the eyes on the mannequins were all closed. In prayer? Subservience? Rapture? Or???

Here are ten of them. Enjoy!

The exhibit continues until October 8, 2018.

John Galliano - House of Dior

Rossella Jardini - House of Moschino

Christian Lacroix

Yves Saint Laurent

Pierpaolo Piccioli - Valentino S.p.A.

Thierry Mugler

Thom Browne

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana -
Dolce & Gabbana

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen - House of Givenchy