NEW YORK NEW YORK – Another film day. I’m shooting with a Mamiya 7 and 43mm superwide lens (which is equivalent to and actually based on the design of the Hasselblad Superwide), one of the best wide lenses ever. I’m experimenting with film types – today I’m shooting with Ilford PanF Plus, which is nearly grainless on the Mamiya’s 6×7 cm negative. I’m also shooting with a Leica M7, which I will either keep or not once my M3 comes back from the shop where it is getting an overhaul.
I’m loving the tonality of these images. Pedestrian subjects are made special.
Day 2,924 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.
NEW YORK NEW YORK – Back home at last. After an intense two weeks of travel (Tokyo, Hong Kong, San Francisco) I’m tired, out of sorts and my body clock is starting a massive rebellion. I predict a few days of mediocre images as I sort myself out.
Day 2173 of one photograph every day for the rest of my life.
NEW YORK NEW YORK – More work on my rephotography class. Today we went to East 100th Street to rephotograph street scenes from Bruce Davidson’s seminal 1970 show at the Museum of Modern Art. Sample images from East 100th Street. This turned out to be difficult because the block that he shot this two-year project in has been thoroughly renovated. Here’s the best effort from the day for me. This is my shot of where 331 West would be today (see the original Davidson image below). Not my best effort – there are a number of obvious mistakes.
Here’s the original – which will give you a fair idea of how much Manhattan north of 96th Street has changed:
NEW YORK NEW YORK – Today I did homework for my rephotographing New York class. First I took the subway to 154th Street to find a house at 857 Riverside Drive (which oddly doesn’t face the Hudson River up here) that Berenice Abbott photographed in 1937. A poor jpg of Abbott’s original is the second photo below. The original is rather casually put together. The light is far from optional, accenting a bush on the far right and the house is obscured in shadows – it really looks like a snapshot. Number 857 was wedged between two larger apartment buildings -you see the building on the right, and the shadow of the building on the left – the sun was behind her left shoulder. I suspect that she shot number 857 because a wood frame house was unusual in Manhattan even in 1937 – I found no similar house in the area walking around for an hour or so.
Remarkably the house is still there. It’s had the gingerbread stripped off and has been badly “modernized”; it’s in the course of a further “renovation”. It’s clearly inhabited: someone has put cat food out in the foreground on the right. Abbott took the photograph literally pressed against the building to the left so she could show the view though the Charleston-style gallery on the left side of the house through to the river – a view that is now obscured by a building and a mature tree. So here you go: 857 Riverside Drive:
A second project for the day. James Van Der Zee was a photographic chronicler (among other things} of the Harlem Renaissance. His most famous image, and perhaps the most famous image from the Harlem Renaissance, is the second image below: a marvelously-turned-out couple in raccoon coats posed in front of a massive Cadillac on a street that is thought to be west 127th street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. There are various guesses at the exact location. One of them places the image at 247 West 127th Street, the site of the current PS 154 – the third image below. I’m not certain that I believe – I can just make our the first digit of the address on one of the buildings and it looks like it starts with a “1”. There is a row of a half dozen brown stones a few feet down the block; I managed to shoot a couple in their SUV in front of it.
NEW YORK NEW YORK – We stayed in town tonight (rare for us on a Friday) to take some Swedish friends to the Red Rooster, a restaurant owned by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. “Celebrity chef” is used without irony here. Marcus is a sensation and his success is well-deserved. Think of the dinner as an “event” in very poor light. I shot the following with my Sony Nex-7 waring a 50mm Leica Summilux lens.