Monday, December 23, 2013

All Aboard on The Old NYC Subway Car

Well, I must admit... I am a big fan when it comes to riding the old subway cars in NYC. Yesterday, I took a ride down memory lane along with other choo-choo train enthusiasts and had a blast with my Fuji X100. It was a snap happy way to spend an unusually warm day in December and a great way to begin the holiday.

I'm on a roll right now and you can join the commitment. Pick up your camera and not your iPhone and take 3-5 images a day. Make it a daily commitment and see how your creativity begins to burst alive. I recently made the commitment with one of my tutoring students... and then I got my friend Joe Medina involved and my friend and intern Maddy Budd. There is not doubt that the iPhone is incredibly convenient and a great way to keep that trigger finger snapping away, but isn't it a terrible waste when you have taken the most amazing shot with Instagram and then realize that you will never be able to blow up the photo to anything bigger than 6X6".  So, now is the time to pull out your Graflex and keep shooting images that can be blown up really big.

Have fun and happy holidays. Give yourself the gift of photography this holiday season!!

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley      

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley  

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley

"Holiday Old Subway Car", NYC, 12/13. ©Juliana Beasley

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Abbie/Abby the Day After Thankgiving

I took this picture of Abbie/Abby the day after Thanksgiving. She was outside with her family putting up Christmas ornaments in their front yard. And I don't know how to spell her name.. so, this time, I decided to give the reader to possible versions of the spelling of her name since I misspelled her sister's name in the previous post. Happy Holidays to all!!

"Abbie/Abby, The Day After Thanksgiving", Bethesda, Maryland, 11/30/13. ©Juliana Beasley

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Down In Chevy Chase

I took this photo of Maddie while she was getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner at Nan's annual gathering. It's always wonderful to leave NYC and to be inspired with new surroundings. I hope to take more portraits of her and her sister Abby!

"Maddy Preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner", Chevy Chase, Maryland, 11/28/13. ©Juliana Beasley

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Photographs.. Memories from the Early Days in the Rockaways

In 2003, the Palm Gardens was still open before the owner renovated it with hopes of bringing in a more sophisticated gentrified clientele. I often stopped there when I arrived to the last stop at 116th St and would sit amongst the regulars and draw a bit of curiosity with my Rollei camera in cradled in my hands. I also was shooting with my Contax 35mm camera until I soon realized that although, I had captured some good images with the smaller camera, I was more successful and comfortable shooting with my TSLR.

I took this photograph of Frieda sitting at the bar with a cigarette in her mouth right after she had lit it. The No Smoking laws were already in effect and even though most of the regulars were getting used to walking outside the door of the pub to have a cigarette in the cold and lean up against the facade of the building, Frieda just did not give a damn'. I remember hearing one of the barmaids telling her that she would have to smoke outside, but she continued to puff away and didn't seem to even acknowledge their request. And they weren't about to tell her to leave.. she was a welcome regular and added some flavor to the milieu without a doubt. Someone told me that she would get gussied up for a night out in the Palm Gardens and take a car service from the adult home where she lived.

She was full of life and I believe I took this photograph on New Year's Eve. She got up and danced with another regular Mike and I took some pictures of them in the small dive bar. I don't believe I ever met up with Frieda again after that night and when she died several years later or maybe it was just a year, I found out and of course, was deeply saddened that such a wonderful spirit, so full of life and chutzpah had passed on.

"Frieda Smoking", Rockaways, NYC, 2003. ©Juliana Beasley

The second photograph, I took of Deuce. I never learned his real name, but this is the name he went by when I met him sitting in a lounge chair in Paddy's boarding house that was in a dire state of disrepair. Supposedly, Deuce also living in an adult home for the elderly, but like so many of the institutionalized that I met over the years, he preferred to spend his golden years drinking away his days watching TV for hours in a comfy lounge chair. I often found him there for hours on end sitting with Paddy with an end table between them cluttered with cigarette butts in several ashtrays and empty Guinness cans.  They occasionally would exchange a couple of words and usually it was speckled with very vulgar profanities with little regard to my presence in the room. Paddy would be reading his newspapers compulsively-- the room was scattered with piles of old newspapers-- and all the time the television provided a background noise. They would cackle and laugh and tell crass jokes about women, but they rarely made eye contact.

I will never forget the day when I noticed that Deuce had a photo of a spaniel dog in his breast pocket of his suede jacket. I asked him if he had ever had a dog and yes, of course, he had. This question provided a catalyst for all three men including my friend, Charlie who began to lament about the dogs who they had loved in their lives and who had sadly died. Each one told the story of their lost dear friend and their eyes filled with tears and they were filled with sadness.

"Deuce with Dog in Pocket", Rockaways, NYC. ©Juliana Beasley

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Portrait of Ruth

I met Ruth on an early morning, when my college ex boyfriend, The Reverend Stephen Hermann was giving a sermon at the spiritualist church at Camp Etna in Maine. Before the service, I went around to the congregation and asked the members if I could take their photograph and gave them each one of my business cards. Several days later, I received an unexpected lovely email from Ruth... how could I forget her striking Siberian Husky eyes? We made a connection and I asked her if I could photograph her and we made a 7am photo shoot date that week before she would go off to work. I took the following portrait of her inside the church. Oh, yes, there is more to this story with many more specifics and details. The time will come.

"Portrait of Ruth", Etna, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Last Year Around Thanksgiving in the Rockaways

I took this image last year after Hurricane Sandy had hit the Rockaway's peninsula. The two young girls were walking under the S train tracks pushing two granny carts filled with provisions they had accumulated from various relief organizations. They were on their way to look and see what might be available for the taking on that day.

"Collecting Good", Rockaways, NYC, 2012. ©Juliana Beasley

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yvette Several Weeks After Hurricane Sandy

I met Yvette in her one room bungalow several weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit the Rockaways. She invited me into her sparce dwelling. She sat on a chair with a small table with an urn upon it beside her. Her boyfriend had just taken her frightening pitbull for a walk so, we could have a moment to talk and I began to photograph her. As she began to tell the story of how she, her boyfriend and dog managed to survive the high flood tides of Hurricane Sandy, she began to cry and so did my intern, Maddy. She was completely traumatized weeks after the event.

They had lived through the storm.

When the flood waters became dangerously high, she and her boyfriend climbed with their pit bull to the safety of a loft space in their small room, bringing along her mother’s ashes in an urn. Most of her possessions were washed away and when I spoke to her she continued to live in the bungalow contaminated by moldy walls.

I wonder if her bungalow is still standing as there was word about that the landlord was intent on selling the property and bulldozing the properties down. I hope to return this month.

I'm sending my blessings out today to Yvette and all of those this week who survived Hurricane Sandy last year.

"Yvette Crying", Rockaways, NYC, 2012. ©Juliana Beasley

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bob and His Cat After Hurricane Sandy

A couple of weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit the NYC metro area, I went out to the Rockaway Park to look for some of the friends I still knew out there. I walked down 115th St., preparing myself for the worst. I was thinking of my friend, Bob, who I had known for about 4 years and who lived in a camper in the parking lot next to one of the several SRO's on that block. I was amazed in 2011 when he and his camper had survived pretty much unscathed after Hurricane Irene, but I could only imagine the worst after Hurricane Sandy had hit the peninsula.

How could a fragile old camper filled stuffed with personal collections of Bob's eclectic ephemera possibly survive the floods and torrential tides of Hurricane Sandy. I imagined him and his large brown mastiff dog, Zeus floating down the Boulevard, holding on for dear life and onto the cramped camper, he had called home for so many years. As I passed one boarding house after the next, I feared that I would find simply an empty lot with remnants of his personal belongings interwoven between the chain link fence that surrounded the piece of land where he had settled his portable home.

And there he was!!

He was standing in the sunshine and wrapped up well, his glasses broken and taped together and propped up on his nose.

"Bob and His Cat After Hurricane Sandy", Rockaways, NYC, 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

 "Bob!", I yelled. "I didn't think I would find you. I was worried about you. I've been trying to call your number. But, there's been no service. I really didn't think I would find you here."

"Eh! This was nothing!," he said, as he threw up his arm and waved his hand in the air as if he was about to swat away a pesty fly. "Now, Vietnam.. that was bad. Next to Vietnam this was nothing!! Of course, I'm OK!!"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Janet After Hurricane Sandy

I took this photograph of Janet in Ma's boarding house apartment on 115th St. I have known and been visiting "Ma" as she is known by most of her friends and neighbors but her real name is Patty. Janet and her husband lived in a basement apartment across the street on 115th St. During Hurricane Sandy there apartment was completely flooded and everything they owned was completely destroyed. In the aftermath, they were left completely empty handed and moved into a "temporary" apartment in the same SRO building where they lived before the storm.

Janet is wearing a coat and in fact, all the clothes that her and her husband, Matthew wore during the weeks after the storm had been donated to them through various relief organizations.

"Janet in Bear Coat in Ma's Kitchen After Hurricane Sandy", Rockaways, NYC. 10/12. ©Juliana Beasley

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy and My Work in the News

I am simply going to copy and paste what my agent Jeffrey Smith at Contact Press Images wrote yesterday when he posted the good news on Facebook that my long term photo book project was given some media attention on both Slate and Creative Time Reports. He says it so well and is such an articulate writer that I felt that it would be best to just leave this announcement in his own words.

I am terribly grateful that after years of hard work on this project that I am surrounded with such wonderful, thoughtful and caring and super intuitive and bright photo friends and a great photo agency to boot. I also must thank the wonderful Zoe Strauss who referred Marisa Mazria Katz--the editor at Creative Time Report--to me last year when the hurricane hit the peninsula.

I plan to post an image a day on my blog from the Rockaways that I shot either before or after Hurricane Sandy hit the peninsula and forever changed the hearts and lives of those who lived out there.

Here is an excerpt from my piece on Creative Time Reports:

"Hurricane Sandy marked the abrupt and unplanned end of my 10-year project photographing the once-forgotten neighborhood of Rockaway Park, known to the locals as Rockaway Beach. I first came out to the boardwalk at Beach 116th Street in the summer of 2002. I stood outside the Sand Bar and was instantly mesmerized when I witnessed a bartender jump over a bar with a baseball bat in his hands, chasing a disruptive and unruly customer off the premises. As I looked around the bar at the patrons—a mix of disheveled, raucous regulars and sunburnt beachgoers guzzling down cheap beer from plastic cups—I immediately became enamored with a scene that appeared to be a hundred miles away from the gentrified and homogenized streets of Manhattan. The neighborhood felt untouched by time. There wasn’t one Starbucks to be found on the entire peninsula. I decided to return the next week with my camera."

And here is a photo that I previously published, but recently found in my collection. This was taken in 2008 in front of Gloria Manor adult home where two of the residents, a married couple who share the same room had just bought some soft serve ice cream from the Mr. Softee truck that arrived like clock work in the afternoon, parked outside and served ice cream to the residents.

"Ester and David at the Mr. Softee Truck", Summer 2008, Rockaways, NYC. ©Juliana Beasley

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lovely Celeste

Last week I posted a photograph of Bethany with two of her three children in front of their house in Etna, Maine. Today I am posting a portrait that I took of her daughter, Celeste standing in front of one of the houses at Camp Etna. The sunlight that was filtered through the leaves and a touch of fill flash made for a surreal quality to the image. Celeste was a great model and allowed me to take the time to get the right lighting and expression. Of course, Celeste loves to smile and I did have the opportunity to capture some of her smiling but I believe this is the most provocative of the images I took of her that day. I completely miss the calm and peace and the wonderful and enchanting people I met while I was photographing up in Maine with my assistant/intern Madeleine Budd. Back in the city to cramped living quarters and hustle of trying to make a living as a photographer.

"Celeste Portrait #1", Etna, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

This was the first time when I depended completely on my digital camera. I have scoffed my DSLR for years and now, with no money to pay the costs of film development (despite having a refrigerator full of 120 film and Polaroid too!!) and scanning negatives on a higher end scanner, I had to give into the technology and warm up to the world of digital. I am somewhat of an anachronism at this point.. I still believe that film is where it really is at but under my circumstances I had to the use the tools that were the most economic. I wouldn't say I would choose my Rollei over my DSLR if someone handed me a wad of money to work solely on my artwork but I discovered that I am capable of working with this medium which still feels so elusive and intangible. I don't trust it and I think it comes down to the fact that I can't cut the developed negative strips and put them away in a case and store them on my shelf. Yes, I do not trust it.

I also find that I am not as focused when I shoot digital. Given the fact, that when I shoot with my Rollei, I only have 12 frames to shoot very wisely and with great concentration before I have to unhinge my flash bracket, roll the shot film and reload it again with another roll of 120 and then close the back and reattach the flash bracket. I am a different photographer perhaps when I shoot digital because I can take many many more images and so much is just disposable. Maybe this gives me the room to experiment and screw up more which is always a wonderful way to learn how to take stronger images.. sometimes, those mistakes are great teachers and they sometimes are the keepers.

I can't set back the clock to before the digital photo revolution. I often wish I could.. there would be less amateur photographers who believe they are photographers and less would still be more. I am still incapable of the inevitable: analog really is dying and I want to get up on a soap box and educate the average consumer and tell them that analog is still superior in my mind. I'm a slow learner and I catch onto trends often very late and sometimes this has worked to my advantage.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bethany, Celeste and Baby Guy

I took the following portrait of Bethany with her daughter Celeste and her baby Guy while I was up at Camp Etna in Maine working on a new project. They are sitting in front of their home where they live and which is still in the process of renovation. Bethany and her husband and her three children are the youngest residents at Camp Etna. This was my favorite of many portraits I took of them.

"Bethany, Celeste, and Baby Guy", Etna, Maine, August 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

Friday, August 30, 2013

Meditation of Interiors and Environmentals

Finally, after years of purchasing a beautiful titanium Gitzo tripod at B&H, I finally hunker down and get to work and put my digital camera on it. Amazing! I never had the patience to open up the tripod, find the right height, the right angle and take long exposures. Perhaps, the last year of sitting in lotus position on my pillows and chanting for a half hour for consecutive days on end has spawned this new found passion to be alone with my camera and my tripod and wait for my shutter to open and close for more than a split second.  Much more than a split second!

Here are some of the images I took with and without my tripod during my trip to Camp Etna this summer while working on a new project. And if things weren't getting crazy enough... no, flash!! I'm taking photographs without a flash and I am finding new challenges and learning new skills. And I love it!!

"Medium Steve Hermann", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley  

"Inside Cafe", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Inside Cafe 2", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Inside Lodge #1", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Historic Spiritualists", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013, ©Juliana Beasley.

"Vacant House in Woods", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013, ©Juliana Beasley.

"Sunset Ave", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013, ©Juliana Beasley.

"Spiritualist Church", Camp Etna, Maine, Summer 2013, ©Juliana Beasley.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Maine Photo Trip and the Process of Editing

I was sitting in the passenger seat of my intern's Mini Cooper, when I spotted sister's Maggie and Ashley standing at a gas station either in or near Bangor, Maine. I was on a week long photo trip adventure. My intern Maddy sitting in the driver's seat joined to help assist me with my personal project.

I said, "Pull over. Yes, pull over now!", when I saw them side by side, one smaller than the other, both so striking lit up in the light of the setting sun. They complimented one another. When I asked to take their photo, they willingly agreed and I took a series of portraits. Between Maggie's beautiful glowing blue eyes and Ashley's red hair all lit on fire in the sun, they were a winning duo... how could I possibly screw this up?

So, the following image I selected from the 10 minutes I spent with them. They are not part of the larger new project but I think they could be a project unto themselves. Thank you ladies for taking the time to let me photograph you! Maybe they are the project. Hmm....

"Ashley and Maggie #1", Bangor, Maine, Summer 2013. ©Juliana Beasley


Sunday, August 4, 2013

An Evening at Easton Volunteer Fire Carnival in Connecticut.. Hurray!!!

I took the following photographs the other evening at the Easton Volunteer Fire Carnival in Connecticut. My summer holiday out of the city has almost come to an end and soon I will be traveling to Maine to begin my work on a new project. This was one of my favorite memories of this summer.

"Man with Baby", Easton Firefighter's Fair, Easton, CT. Sumner 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Bingo Tents Family", Easton Firefighter's Fair, Easton, CT. Sumner 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Girl at Game Booth", Easton Firefighter's Fair, Easton, CT. Sumner 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Woman Playing Bingo", Easton Firefighter's Fair, Easton, CT. Sumner 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Adolescent Girls at Fair", Easton Firefighter's Fair, Easton, CT. Sumner 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Family Waiting to Enter Fun House", Easton Firefighter's Fair, Easton, CT. Sumner 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

"Teen Girls in Cut Offs", Easton Firefighter's Fair, Easton, CT. Sumner 2013. ©Juliana Beasley

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Connecticut Summer

I took this photograph one late afternoon when I went to swim at a lake in Connecticut. It has been absolutely magical and therapeutic to spend my summer outside of the hot steamy city... there is a lot to be said for the serenity of days spent lingering in divine water.

"Sean at the Lake", Redding, CT, Summer 2013. Copyright, Juliana Beasley