A year ago, I made my first visit to New Orleans. Instead of staying at the hotel where the conference I was attending and speaking at was taking place, my partner and I opted for an apartment clear across the French Quarter in the Treme. Walking the mile-and-a-half to and from the event each day was a treat. The mornings were a meditative time to explore the streets and take in the beauty of the architecture, but the evenings provided subtle visual and auditory magic on the way back to our abode away from home. The clatter of horse-drawn carriages, laughter and conversation tinged with varying degrees of intoxication, and music from indiscernible windows filled the air. And turning a quiet corner one night, we heard the gentle the whir and clanks of a bicyclist pedaling by.
The first time I heard the word “divestment” was April 1985. I was inching towards the close of my freshman year at Rutgers University while simultaneously stepping towards my first political protest and rally. I had read snippets in the Daily Targum, the university’s newspaper, about students camping outside the student center and going on hunger strikes, but I really had no idea why. I was young, naive and unworldly, having nary a clue about apartheid and states of emergency in a land so far away. But there I was, camera in hand observing and documenting at the edge of the crowd, determined to stretch my nascent journalist eye and bring back something for my college’s newspaper.
Nearly a year ago, I published several of these photos in a blog post called Musings on divestment, past, present, and future. An editorial researcher from New Jersey Public Television found the post and the images and phoned me the morning after news of Nelson Mandela’s passing. They wanted permission to use them in a piece they were producing to air on the evening news program. Mandela’s Life, Legacy Recalled features four images which appear beginning at 00:50.
What an honor have my work included in a piece with two icons of our lifetime: Nelson Mandela and President Barack Obama. Rest in peace, Madiba.
Two years ago, this planter box appeared along the sidewalk at a nearby school. Shortly thereafter, stalks of corn emerged from the soil within and became one of my favorite places to stop and pause during strolls in the neighborhood.
The lyrics/poetry of Leonard Cohen were scrawled on the front of the box back then and slowly faded to a point of being barely discernable…until recently, that is. Once again, the box springs forth with inspiration for anyone who cares to stop and read as they walk on by.
ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
there is a crack in everything
that’s how the light gets in
– Leonard Cohen
A Halloween tip: When out on the street at night, it’s always good to look up from time to time. You never know if an adorable ghoul is looking at you from above. Happy trick-or-treat day!
It’s a picture perfect sunny afternoon in San Francisco. The chill of off-shore fog is seasoning the breeze, though nary a cloud is visible on this side of Twin Peaks. Birds are chirping and my feet are bare.
So why, on earth, do I have this photograph – taken on a sub-freezing afternoon during a walk in southern Germany – on my mind?
The December light was perfect. The chill through my body, anything but. It was one of those moments that made removing my gloved hands from my pockets so worthwhile. The gloves came off, and my bare hands met the winter air and the metal body of my camera. In mere seconds, focus, frame, and *click*. Back into the warmth my digits returned. I shot just one frame.
Today I dedicate this photo and the memory and power of trees to my friend, NK.
Just between you and me, little kitty, is a thick piece of glass. I was sorry you weren’t able to paw and claw your way through the window and to join the festivities on your stoop. It was quite a party.
Sometimes you sit and watch a moment unfold before you. Sometimes you think you’re documenting an aspect of that moment and find that you’ve captured something altogether unexpected. So it was while sitting on a friend’s back patio this fall, separating grapes from raisins, feeding grapes to chickens, and chatting the afternoon way.
Her daughter, my pal and a favorite photo muse, was doing the “toss the grapes into the air and catch ‘em in her mouth game,” when one of the chickens leapt from the ground and into the frame. I think she wanted to be the center of attention.