Photography Blog

KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx, Short Documentary

Friday, September 26th, 2014

KRS ONE:  Brooklyn to the Bronx, Documentary

Our short documentary KRS ONE: Brooklyn to the Bronx is now online and available for viewing and sharing.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this video a reality!

Jerry Kolber
Seth “Brimstone” Schere
Joshua Moïse
Natalie Lewis Schere

KRS ONE the Teacha

for more information please check the website

http://www.krsonebrooklyntothebronx.com

the video is available on youtube

 

and

vimeo

please share!

 

Analog Slowdown in Kyoto

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Dusk on the Bamboo Path Above Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kyoto

 

It has been more than 10 years since I lasted visited Kyoto.  I was there with my wife and my parents as we explored the city.  There have been shifts in the way I see the world; especially in the way I photograph the world.

Photography is my path to understand our world.  It is not only a way to remember, but more importantly it is the way in which I connect to our world.

I was looking froward to wandering the streets, shrines, and temples with my oldest friend, Jerry.  I was nervously anticipating how I would react and photograph Kyoto.  My approach to photography has grown since that visit with family 10 years ago.

What really surprised me is actually how few pictures I took.  Even though this collection were all taken on a film Contax T3 camera, even the way in which I shot my Ricoh was sparingly.  Images are precious.  I shot my digital in much the same way I used to shoot film and now I shoot film as if it was treasure.

After photographing for more that 30 years I know what I want.  It was fascinating to see without having to snap the shutter.  I enjoyed being in the lovely space of Kyoto.

Eventually there is a limit to how much one can take in of the city.  It is a must to be on foot as much as possible.  There are the “must see” places like Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion Temple), Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion Temple) each renewed for the opposing Japanese aesthetics.

The most moving Kyoto treasures were the smaller less visited places like Honen En (Temple) or the completely amazing Fushimi Inari Taisha (Shrine) were we wandered around at dusk to the early evening.  Entering into a special space that was as creepy as it was refreshing.

I still know I have only scratched the surface of this city but, on each visit I come tiny step closer to understanding it.

As always there is more to come.

 

 

Double Drinking Felines, Kyoto

 

 

Walking the Dragon at Nanzenji, Kyoto

 

 

Outside Gingakuji (Silver Paviion) Street, Kyoto

 

 

By the Rivers of Arashiyama, Kyoto

 

 

Royanji Temple Rock Zen Garden Corner, Kyoto

Getting Down in the Organic Dirt at ARI (Asian Rural Institute)

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Bean Crop Coming Up, Planted by Nisan's Work Group

 

My good friend Sawmi from Hualngo Land Developement Organization (HLDO) invited me to go to the farm.  She explained that this wasn’t just a day in the dirt, I would be meeting the people who run ARI (Asian Rural Institute).

ARI is an organization that attracts candidates from all over the world to come the countryside in Japan for 9 months and they will learn, use, and become leaders of their agricultural homes when they return.

The students attend lectures in each group.  They study about nothing going to waste on the farm.  They are encouraged by the staff to figure out the yes way for them to solve projects giving to them.  Each student is a member of a group which they will tend together.  In addition, each student has a small plot to plant and reap what every they like as a personal project.

 

Stepping out of the station we all noted the air was a tad drier and cooler than Tokyo.  It took nearly 3 hours of subways and local trains to get here.  Kathy met us at Nasunoko station in the farm’s van and wisked us over to the farm.  There was a mix of its permanent staff, volunteers, and the students.  We walked around the administrative building before heading out into the farm.  S
Nothing Goes to Waste on the Farm

Nothing goes to waste on the ARI farm.  Even the husks from rice are burned and added to the compost, or to make natural pesticides.  The mission is to get the students to adapt what they learn to their home country.  To learn how waste from one crop can be the nutrients that feds the next.

We came to Nisan’s groups plot of land.  They had just put down some beans on raised beds and then covered them with the straw leftover from a rice harvest.  The straw keep the grounds moisture and keeps the weeds from getting sunlight to grow.
Keepring the Crows Away, Scarecrow
All the classes are conducted in English and Kathy supported Nisan in her explaining their methods to us all in English.

Livestock is also raised on the property including pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and carp (fish).  Students often choose to study about a livestock depending on their need of their country.
Fresh Picked Farm Blueberries bu the Bowlfull

We had a communal lunch of fried (tempura) green eggplants, tomato and vegetables salad, a a slightly spicy potato salad.  I was thankful for the bounty, and even more so that it was a vegan meal.  The meal was topped off with bowls full of luscious blueberries.

All the participants, volunteers, and students joined in on the communal lunch.  A quick prayer song was recited and we dug into the food.
Nisan, Farmer and Future Leader

Nisan at the Communal Lunch

One man from Liberia named Romeo was giving drumming lessons to a Philippino guitarist before we all broke bread.  Really a lovely harmony.

There was so much to see and do at the farm.  I was full of joy to see Nisan coming forward as a farming leader.  I will continue to support her and the Hualngo Land Developement Organization (HLDO).

I didn’t walk away empty handed.  Nisan handed us a bag full of long beans, eggplants, okra, tomatoes, and long green peppers.  Also picked up a little rhubarb jam for a breakfast treat.

Those of you in Japan who might be wanting to volunteer, look into the ARI (Asian Rural Institute).  Or, if you know of a country’s people that could use some solid training filled with love invite them to check it too.

some special shout outs!

Kathy, for picking us up and showing us around.

Yukiko, for telling her story, and giving Nisan all the support she can.

Sean- from Hawaii,  you are on your path.

Romeo- for making me feel welcomed and reminding me of my youth.

ALL the ARI staff, participants, and volunteers. Who have made my world, OUR world, a better place.

 

Drying Garlic on the ARI Teaching Farm

 

Garlic curing behind the communal kitchen

 

Farmers' Workboots

 

Rows of women’s workboots outside their dormitory.

 

Keeping it Hot in the Greenhouse

 

Heated Hot House
Maize, Corn Drying, Ready for Grinding

 

Nothing but stone ground maize.

 

Blackberry Straight from the Bush

 

Fresh plucked blackberry in Nisan’s hand.

In the Heart of the Chiba Jungle, with Monkeys Too

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Cross Step Creek, Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

 

Summer is here.  I do love summer. The heat is relentless.  The storms are fierce, but best of all is the freedom to wander with a camera.

This year my photo wandering partner, Tomo, and I returned to Yororukeikoku.  Tomo chose to bring a TLR to capture the day.

Yororukeikoku lies deep in the heart of dog shaped Chiba prefecture.  A place so unvisited at this time of year, that we passed only to other hikers on a 10 kilometer trail in over 5 hours of time.

It took a bit over 2 hours by train including the double car Kominato line.  We took the train to the end of the line at Yororukeikoku station, snagged the remaining rice balls tow local summer mikans (mandarin organs) from the local conbini and made our way down the road.

The asphalt was streaming hot.  The conversation bounced around until I mentioned that it would be incredible if we encounter some “real” Chiba monkeys.  We both kind of laughed and kept stepping.

The winter storms had wrecked havoc on the paths, and many trails had been closed.  Our first major obstacle was getting around a fallen tree.  Not a big deal, but we would see other trees uprooted, and small landslides along the way.

The path criss crossed a small creek about a dozen times.  Sometimes it took us a minute or two to find the path on the other side.  After a rain storm, I am sure that the path would be even harder to keep track.

Lucky I had been breaking in a new pair of hiking shoes, which kept my feet dry and my ankles from twisting.

The first real rest we took about 2 hours in on the hike was an old homestead built in the 19th century.  All that remained were some of the foundation’s stones, and piles of broken shells and pottery.  It was a perfect place to break out some dried fruit and ice water, and just listen to the sounds of the countryside.
Jungle Hill Homestead with Ceramic Fragments, Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

 

We got back on the train, and we began to ascend out of the valley.  This is when, even though we were in the shade, the sweat began to pour from all of our pores.  We reached the first ridge in the forest when sometime darted down a tree on our left.  At first we both thought a raccoon, but, it scampered rather oddly, it was then we realized it was an honest to goodness Chiba monkey.  My home, I had made in jest, had come true.

But we weren’t out of the valley yet and we still had to climb higher.  After some strenuous moments of plodding forward we reached the top and a small paved service road.  The rest was mainly down hill.

Coming out of a the forrest there were a few small farms ahead.  When a small brown blur bolted across the road.  Yes!  We had seen another monkey.  Not only one, but in the trees and bamboo on our left we could see others jumping about.  I was elated!  After seeing a half dozen snakes, and countless frogs, we had eyed the reclusive Chiba monkey.

They must prove problematic for the farmers, because in this part of the jungle they had fenced in their farms, I speculate to keep the monkeys out.

 

Monkey Tree with Wiresm and Shadows, Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

 

The road leveled out to view rice paddies to our left and right.  The sun was falling and the sky was filling with some cloudy wisps.  The Kazusa-Ōkubo station was ahead.  We had about 40 minutes before the next train.  No one was insight.  This station’s area was the inspiration for the Okubo Nekobus stop in My Neighbor Totoro.
Wating for the Train, Kazusa-Ōkubo Station, Yorokeikoku, Chiba

We rested.  Shot our last couple of pictures, and waited for the train.  The sounds of summer were mesmerizing.  The chorus of cicadas, crickets, frogs, all in discordance harmony.  Not a soul was around.  Except, for the guy who drove up in a car, used the bathroom, then kicked up dust on his way out.  That was it.  We drank some cold water with paintings of Totoro to our backs and waited for the train.

A great day out in the jungles of Chiba.  Something I need to do more often.  I need to escape the concrete jungle for a lush green one.
Rice Paddy with Wires and Clouds, Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

 

 

Rice Paddy to the Hills and Sky, Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

 

 

Rice Paddy with Narita Memeorial Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

 

Time Heal Scars, Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

 

 

Small Gorge with Stream, Yoroukeikoku, Chiba

The Summer Hunt is On! First, Kitasenju

Monday, August 4th, 2014

One Vine Strong with Corrugated Metal, Kita Senju, Tokyo

 

It is that special time of year.  The Days are long.  The air it think with humidity that the annual summer hunt begins.

No animals will be harmed.  In fact, no one, and nothing will be harmed.  The only suffering are my feet and sweat glands.

It is the time of year to hit the pavement and go on a serious walkabout around my city.  I have been here for 15 years, and there still are areas within the city limits I have never explored.  It was this passion for exploration that I hopped on a train to wander around Kitasenju.

I had heard that it has a bit of a shitamachi (下町) feeling.  Or, as I like to say, an old part of town.  The sun was blazing as I began to wander.  No plans.  No guides.  Just a pair of boots and a camera.

There were pockets of some lovely old houses on the tiny twisting alleyways.  It really must have been something 30 years ago.

These old pockets of Tokyo are very quickly succumbing to the bulldozer all in the name of progress.

My camera does process some negative special powers.  There have been many times I have photographed some of these nuggets of urban treasure, only to revisit them later to find a 7-11 in its place.  I hope it doesn’t happen.

Stay posted for more hunting updates.  Stay cool, and hydrated.

Catch you all in the shade.

 

Today Brocolli, Kita Senju, Tokyo

 

 

Shaded Garden Home with Bicycle, Kita Senju, Tokyo

 

 

Plussy Sign with Meagerie, Kita Senju, Tokyo

 

 

Red Wall with Aloe and Bicycle, Kita Senju, Tokyo

Return to Okitsu Beach

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Diver's Fishing Basket

 

It has been a while since I have taken the time to gather my thoughts and post.  There has been much that has been swirling around my heart as the summer heat rises, and energy can be sapped.

There are times the world is overwhelming.  There is too much stimuli.  Not only too much, but it is often distorted through the lens of propaganda and misinformation.  The constant stream weighs heavily on my as I make my way.

It with all these emotions that we packed up the car and headed for the annual Slump Tennis beach BBQ party.  What is Slump?  That is a good question.  It is a casual group of friends that all play tennis together.  I, myself, don’t chase the fuzzy yellow ball, but my wife does.

Okitsu beach is on the southern end of series of beaches of Katsuura on the Chiba Peninsula.  It is a quiet town, that in it’s glory days was a small thriving fishing port.  Those days are long gone, but the fisherman’s boats and nets still trek out into the open Pacific Ocean.

Okitsu beach is a place for families.  There are nearly no groups of boys hoping to pick up some bikini clad girls.  None of that here.  Just lots of families gathered together for a day of fun in the sun.

We were lucky that the skies were a bit overcast which kept the mercury low.  The day before had seen a high of 35C (95F).  The sun poked out from time to time, but for the most part it was a lovely day with out searing our flesh.

It was great to let the cold salty waters wash over my overloaded heart and mind.  Just to get away from the city sprawl and reconnect with the beach of my youth.  I love to just wander around the old town, and walk up and down the small sandy stretch of beach.

The beach is littered with fragments of Japanese blue and white porcelain pottery.  No one has been able to tell me why there is always so much pottery to be found on this beach.  Do the fisherman just toss bowls into the waves when they are done with them?  Some of the pieces have had their sharp edges polished by the surf and the sand.

I was thankful to be away from it all.  To be able to relax with some friends, have some good food, play a little beach baseball, and to wander with my camera.

When the times are as turbulent as they are these days the first tragedy is the truth, we need the time to reconnect and sort though and discard the unneeded.  The day at Oktisu Beach helped to put it all back into proper perspective.

 
High Tide Coming Storm

Okitsu Lazy Nets

Creeping VInes into Cold Storage Warehouse

Boats Docks Sea Hills Sky, Okitsu Beach

7 Buddhist Years for Yachiyo

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

7 Buddhist Years for Yachiyo (My Mother in Law who Accepted Me and Kept Me Well Fed)

 

It has been 7 Buddhist years since the passing of my mother-in-law, Yachiyo.  I am not exactly sure what is the difference between a Buddhist year and other years, but it doest really matter.

The immediate family all gathered at our local Shingon Temple to hear some sutras, burn some incense and a short sermon by the 3 generation priest.  I am always fascinated by the bells, chimes, and bead rubbing the priest performs as part of the rituals.  I was torn between being absorbed in the sights, and repeating the Kaddish in my mind.  At least the bits of it i have committed from my youth.

The bits of wooden incense that are burned of hot coals always make me feel ill.  I am not sure if it is psychosomatic, or actually allergic to the woods and perfumes.  I was so deathly ill at the wake back on a cold day in January, 2008.

Yahciyo was special.  She always treated me like a son.  She would stuff money in my pocket no matter how much I protested.  There was always food in the house to keep my belly full.  No matter how oddly unconventional I looked I was her son from the west.  It never mattered.

She rarely ever went out with the family.  There was one time when she took us to her favorite sushi shop somewhere in Ginza.  It was the first authentic sushi I had ever eaten.  Before that it was only the cheap kaiten sushi.  The maguro flowed off the vinegar tinged rice.  She laughed and had a good time with us all.

We both shared a sweet tooth, and once she found out I like Pocky, she always kept stocked around the house or shipped it in care packages to us in the states.

I miss her.

This is for you.

Lots of love

Jacob, your Miami born son.

 

Sunamachi Ginza, The Other, Other Ginza

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Wall of Plants (No Bicycle Parking), Sunamachi Ginza

 

I have passed by this shopping street countless times.  It was always on my list to head back over there and take a stroll down the street.  After all, it is relatively in my own neighborhood.

The sun was high when I started off for the Sunamachi Ginza.  It is one of those spots that isn’t talked about much in a guide book.  It is off the beaten Tokyo path.  It is not like the Ginza of endless shopping stores.  These are little mom and pop stores that line a narrow street.  They are hawking every thing from all sorts of delectables to assorted stationary goods.  And if you can imagine it, it probably can be found on this street.

This is the way Tokyoites used to shop.   Spread all over Tokyo were shopping streets.  They are usually known as Shotengai or Ginza.  They are places were you’d do your daily shopping and then some.

I really didn’t buy anything on the street.  But I did head down a couple of the even narrow streets to see how the Sunamachi neighbors lived.

The houses were all neat and cramped.  Lots had the frontside gardens that I am so infatuated with.  It was a good day out.  The sun was blazing.  It was a great three hour cycle ride. The summer starts here.
Corrugated Living with Post Slot, Sunamachi Ginza

 

 

One Door, One Cone Three Plants, Sunamachi Ginza

My Girl on a Sunny Afternoon, with Purple Twine

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

My Kasai Girl with Purple Plastic Twine
It hadn’t been the best of weekends for me.  I spent most of the time ill in bed with having had my stomach turn upside down.  I had been surviving on some Jewish penicillin aka chicken soup and, for some reason, I have been crazing simple sweet breads.  That is pretty much all I have eaten since Thursday night.

I woke up feeling pretty good and really wanting to take my cycle out for a ride.  The weather forecast was predicting a high of 29C (84F) but it thankfully never climbed that hight.  My stomach decided for me that it would be best not to stray to far from home.

I spent a little bit of time on my patio garden.  I enjoy just sitting and being with my greenery.  I slowly inspect the leaves looking for pests.  Some no-see-ems have invaded my little vertical garden, and the green lime caterpillars have come back to much on my citrus trees.  I don’t mind.  It is a balance we all have to keep.

I finished the last bowl full of jewish medicine and needed to go to the home center to buy a few things.  I picked up some printer ink, some assorted packs of sunflower seeds and a few odds and ends at the OK Supermarket.

I spied my girl.  You know, don’t you?  My girl!  My Minami Kasai Girl.  She is always there between the elementary school and the used car lot.  Her hands are outstretched, not asking for anything.  She is just there being, and waiting for someone, anyone to put something in her hands.

Listen closely.  She isn’t begging.  She is not asking for handouts.  She just appreciates a little something something.  Thats all.  Nothing expensive, or trendy.  Today she had been blessed with a bit of purple plastic twine.  She is simple to please.  I just have to keep an eye on her to make sure she is well taken care of.

Just another pre summer Sunday afternoon.  I wish these days continue before the humid furnace is switched on.  It is often those simple familiar objects and people that make everything feel all right….

 

 

Contemplating Temple Lotus Leaf, Rain and Bang

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Contemplating Temple Lotus After the Rain, Ichikawa, Japan

 

Last night the winds howled around the apartment buildings and homes in my neighborhood.  The rain splattered against my window.  The night was one of constant interruptions.  No real quality sleep, just lots of sleep deprived dreams of oddities.

Then without warning the floor moved.  It wasn’t a shaker.  It didn’t build to a crescendo and released its power.  It was as if the world’s table had been slammed into and then it was over.  It was enough of a jolt to induce a surprise.  As quickly as it came it was gone.

On my walk to the station I often pass through a temple on top of a hill.  The vividness of the green Japanese maple caught my eye, and I walked over the circular driveway to get a different vantage point.

I looked down into the claw pots that were filled with lotus leafs.  They too were incredibly green.  There were jewels floating on the gaps over the leaf’s veins.  I starred.  Did hail fall from the sky in the storm?  I was curious so I ever so gently poked the bobble with the tip of my umbrella, and it moved.  Not ice, but crystal clear water.

The walk through the temple always calms my nerves.  I take the time to look around to see what is blooming, greening, and fading away.

Rain, will bring flowers.  The earthquakes bring fear.  They all can be released though the passion of attempting to live life though artistic expression.

 

Thankful as a Bunch of Snap Peas

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Snap Peas Thankful Harvest

 

There was a serious hankering for some tacos for this shabbat meal.  You know how craving just come out of know where.  This was no different.  I prepared the meal, and as sun was setting I wandered out onto my patio to be in awe of the abundance of snap peas.  As if the rains of the other day had made them all pop out with the true SNAP, in the snap peas.

I am truly thankful that my wife had sowed these seed while it was still winter.  We have been just about supplementing our meals and salads with a few snap peas.  There is really nothing quite as satisfying as bringing in something that you had grown and being able to say a shabbat grace over that food.

I wish you all a fabulous day of rest.

Be thankful for all that we sow.  For what we sow will come back to us.  Make sure we so the seeds of love and compassion and a few sweet snap peas for good health.

 

Sipping, Chatting, and Developing in Coffee, with NYC Photographer Giovanni Savino

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

A Man and His Camera, with Giovanni Savino, Inwood, NYC
You can learn a lot about someone by what they choose to post about on social networking sites.  There is so much junk to wade though that those that actually have  a voice stand out and speak to me as a human being.  This is how I first became aware of the work of NYC based photographer Giovanni Savino .

I am not sure exactly how our paths crossed in the image making digital stratosphere.  Most likely it was though our mutual friend art historian John E. Walford.  I very quickly became fascinated with Giovanni’s candid NYC street portraits.  His brilliant black and white portraits on the New York streets stood above the much of what people unfortunately call “street photography.”  It didn’t hurt either that Giovanni often hit the streets armed with my favorite camera, the Ricoh GR.

I did what I usually do when I come across work that I can relate to, is I want to dig deeper and explore more of the artists vision of the world.  His website’s images came alive.  The portraiture of everyday people in the DR (Dominican Republic).  His images were unpretentious, and full of soul.  I instantly developed a rapport with the images, I wanted to know more about the man behind them.

I read his blog.  I waited with anticipation for the next images top be posted on Flickr,  Facebook or fascinating thoughts on his blog.  Again, I was drawn into his world.  We started some backchannel conversations, and I decided, since I was coming to NYC, if he was down, we should link up for a face to face meeting.

It was on a freezing snowy Tuesday in February that I headed uptown on the A train, last stop, Inwood 207 Street. Any further and I would I have been in the Bronx, or New Jersey.  The absolute top of Manhattan.
Giovanni Savino on the Water's Edge, Inwood, NYC

Before heading up to Giovanni part of town, I made a quick stop in a hungover haze to the Moma, thanks to borrowing friend, Jerry’s MOMA card.  I got there before the galleries opened and I knew all I really wanted to see was a small selection celebrating the 75 anniversary of the publication of Walker Evan’s  photographs .  It was a pleasure to see them in the flesh, as printed by the master himself.

In a quiet corner of the Museum I stood gazing at a Jackson pollock painting.  Away from the noise of school children running amuck, I just stood and stared.  The splats and splatters danced and pulsated like never before, possible due to my underestimating the power of NYC sized martinis versus Tokyo ones.

The trip to MOMA, was only the beginning to a beautiful day.  Giovanni greeted me just outside the station like a long lost brother.  In fact, he often used the word, “brother,” when referring to me.  I instantly knew this was going to be a good day.

Inwood is a dominantly DR neighborhood, yet, it is on verge of gentrification like most of the city.  Giovani told me the hood was much different 20 years ago when he first moved in.  Giovanni and his wife took me to their favorite DR place to have some roasted chicken, sadly, they were out, but that didn’t stop us.  We had a great meal and then he showed me the sights around the neighborhood.
Roasted Chicken Reflection, Inwood, NYC

 

He would occasionally take out one of his “cursed” e-cigs and puff on it as we chatted about the streets of New York, photography, life, and everything.  There was nothing off limits, and we both opened up and were happy to be in each others company.

The sun had finally come out by the time we reached a view of the George Washington Bridge.  It was time to head back to his studio and really dig into photography.

From Inwood to The George Washington Bridge, NYC

He brewed us up a cup of black espresso using an Italian stovetop maker.  This coffee was for sipping, but we would soon brew up another batch for developing, in coffee.  I would love the way Giovanni would say “in coffee!”  There was such wonderment in the way the words would just roll off his palette.  Just the simplest of pleasures that photographs can be developed in a brew of homemade Caffinol.

He told me that he had been depressed at the end of last year.  His doctors wanted to put him on anti-depreesents.  He wouldn’t have it.  He knew that there had to be a better way.  And there was.  He brought out his large format camera, and started developing “in coffee!”  So coffee and photography was part of his progress to a healthier life.  That was so beautiful to share with me.  We all struggle with depression, and to find happiness by getting our hands dirty by making a clean mind.

He told me that our energies that create our work come from either the light or the dark.  I want to be in the light!  We both do.  We are both comfortable with our place, and the work that helps us though, and understand the truth in life.

Brewing Coffee (for Developing), with Giovanni Savino, Inwood, NYC

 

It was time to bring out the lights, and big old fashioned Tachihara 4×5 camera loaded with first poloraoid then  Fujifilm positive, with a mounted Schneider Symmar-S 210mm lens for a portrait session.  First with polaroids and then some negs that would be processed, “in coffee!”  I hadn’t used a large format camera since my high school days, but we set it up, mixed up some different temperature lights and got down to business.

There is no waste in Giovanni’s studio.  After peeling off the back of the polaroids, we taped them down and removed the plastic to save the negatives that most people discard.  I loved that low tech way of making images.  Perfection in it’s imperfection.

Low Tech Perfection, with Giovanni Savino, Inwood, NYC

Then it was time to brew up the Caffinol and another portrait session.  Giovanni explained the chemicals needed, and we went to town.  I sat in the light, and he squeezed the cable release.  We went into his light tight darkroom/bathroom, and in complete darkness set about to develop the negatives.  It was so dark that after a few minutes you think that you can see.  Our conversation continued in the pitch black.  About my life in Japan.  Giovanni’s history in NYC, as a news cameraman, his work at ground zero after 911, his support of his wife’s family in the DR and beyond.  A good soul, with a gentle heart.

Polaroid Portrait Exchange with Giovanni aka Baron Von Savino, Inwood, NYC

 

Such an oddness two photographers in the dark, chatting.  I loved every minute of it.  But, all good things don’t necessarily have to end.  The conversation has been started.  The lucid communication will continue.  Giovanni is full of love and joy, and that shines though his art of photography.  I know that I will always have my photographic brother in NYC, Giovanni Savino.

Check Giovanni’s images, and writings with the links below.

Website

Flickr

Facebook

blog

some more images from my one day adventure in Inwood, with NYC Giovanni Savino

 

Petals, Snow on a Manhole Cover, Inwood, NYC

 

 

Used Cars in the Snow with Graffiti Inwood, NYC

 

 

Brewing Coffee (for Sipping) with Giovanni Savino, Inwood, NYC

 

 

One Photographer's Lightroom and Another's Pixels, with Giovanni Savino, Inwood, NYC

Art and Technology at Moneytree First Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Dj Taku (m-flo) Takahashi and Moneytree, Moneytree First Year Anniversay, Shibuya, Tokyo

 

Art and technology might seem like they are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to creativity.  This is not entirely the truth.  Ever since human started to mix pigments and other materials to paint they were using technology wether they knew it or not.

Now we jump into the year 2014 and the lines between the two have become more blurred than ever before.  They, in my mind, cannot be separated.  It was at Moneytree’s first anniversary party that celebrated the coming together of code writers and artists of all styles.  Those lucky industry insiders who were invited gathered in a Shibuya basement club NOS ORG  for drinks, music, and artistic exchanges.

I was fortunate to be invited out to this gathering my the founder and chief executive Paul Chapman.  His team has grown from just a handful of members almost 2 years ago to over 30 now.

I am not one for parties and groups.  I never have been, nor will I ever.  I much prefer small crowds.  I personally find it overwhelming to be with so many people at one time.  However, I quickly became at ease and slipped into conversation with the over guests.

The app Moneytree (An intelligent assistant for your money) was voted app of the year by Apple Japan.  An app that keep the used up to date on all their financial endeavors.  Simple to use and brilliantly designed the app has built strong roots in Japan.  So much so that the founding member of m-flo and dj Taku Takahasi has his entire staff use it so he can keep tabs on his companies expenses.

Paul took the mic and introduced the company and welcomed all to the event.  One big announcement was that Moneytree has finally come to the iPad.  After the kampai (cheers) the turntables were turned over to dj Taku.

I watched in amazement of his dance music mastery.  It was was not the hip hop style of deejaying I was accustomed too.  It was just mesmerizing.  Tweaks and tuns of the mixer’s knobs, and scrolling though a playlist on a glowing apple laptop.

I noticed a photographer, Takumi Yamamoto, with an old school polaroid camera on the edge of the dance floor.  We chatted a bit, and we did what photographer do, we talked cameras.  Also, rather than the selfie, we exchanged simultaneous portraits.

It was a great gathering of artistic and technically minded folks.  A real collection of people across Tokyo, and beyond.

download Moneytree for free! from iTunes.

for more info check out Moneytree’s website  Facebook  and twitter page.

Moneytree is a company to keep watch on!

a Big SHOUT out to Paul for inviting me and letting me be a part of the celebration.
Paul Chapman (Chief Executive - Moneytree), Moneytree First Year Anniversay, Shibuya, Tokyo

 

 

Dj Taku (m-flo) Takahashi, Moneytree First Year Anniversay, Shibuya, Tokyo

 

 

Exchanging Portraits with Takumi Takamoto (山本拓未), Moneytree First Year Anniversay, Shibuya, Tokyo

Live Spoken Word: Kaddish for Emmanuel “Manny” Pushkin

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Kaddish, Requiem, Life for  Emanuel "Manny" Pushkin

 

On an over zealously windy night a small group of poets and artists gathered in the Jamrock Cafe in Harajuku. The monthly gathering of Writer’s Bloc, Tokyo, Evening Musings was about to begin.  This was a first for me.  I had never done a spoken word, or reading of any kind before a group of people.

The boom of the bass and drums of reggae riddims helped put me at ease as I relaxed myself while slowly sipping some rum and coconut water.  Munching on rice and peas and a chicken patty I could almost imagine myself at a a little West Indian joint in Miami, almost.

I was pretty nervous even though there were barely a dozen people in the cafe.  After a few people went on It was my turn.  Nervously with paper in hand I began.

I want to say thank you to Lee Ann and Norman for introducing me to this group and allowing me to express myself in a way that I had never done before.  Also a special thanks to Colin (and his Flickr) for some pictures and Biankah for the video.

Check their Facebook page Writer’s Bloc, Tokyo and Writer’s Bloc, Tokyo Youtube Channel 

 

Old San Juan, Walking, Talking, Just Being

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Pair in Flight at Parque de las Palomas, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

In late March my extended family booked a cruise that was leaving from Puerto Rico.  It was great for the family all to be in the same time zone at the same time, because throughout most of the year we are spread out across the globe.

Our cruise had been delayed due to a propeller failure and my niece and I headed off the boat and trekked over to Viejo San Juan.  We had been there a few days earlier but it was brief.  We wanted to just get off the boat that was heading no where and just wander around the the old city.

The sun was blazing that day and we kept to the shade whenever we could.  There were fresh graffiti pieces on some of the quiet streets.  The corner shops were open for business, and some old folks had set up tables in the shade to slam their dominoes.

There were, of course, shops filled with the worst kitsch imaginable, but this didn’t really hold my attention.  Other than to laugh at its silliness.  I wanted to see what the city would show me.  I wanted to walk down the cobblestoned streets that have been there for centuries.  The names of the streets were cemented into the corners of buildings.  In some home the palm trees reached up into the spotless sky.

I search out the places that people actually call home.  I want to see where people lay their heads to rest at night.  Once we got off the tourist path we were able to get a little taste of Puerto Rico.

Small gated homes with open windows to let in the sea breeze.  I imagine Miami back in the 40s and 50s must have looked something like this.  There was something different.  There were vibrations emanating from this community that I have never felt in Miami.

There was a sense of history stretching back at least 500 years, and more when you think that the indigenous Taino.  The sensation was close to that of walking around some of the quiet older neighborhoods of Paris, but the sun blazed, and the salty air filled my nostrils.  Even though many of the buildings had been freshly painted in over hued tropical colors If you raised your eyes above the first few floors the paint had faded in the harsh sun.

Wandering around the 2 major castles:  Castillo San Felipe del Morro and  Castillo de San Cristóbal I was able to wander and loose myself in the old stone masonry.  I felt an uneasy calm as I gazed out into the Atlantic Ocean, and wandered the subterranean levels of the fortifications.  I kept telling my niece can you imagine being in this heat and wearing the old woolen uniforms?

I wanted to hit a beach before heading back to the boat.  We walked along Aveienda Munoz Riveria we finally came to a beach, Balneario El Escambrón.  We didn’t have much time but for a quick refreshing jump into the Atlantic.  I felt renewed.  The cooling salt water soothed my aches, and reinvigorated my spirit.  The beach was relatively quiet on a Tuesday, and seemed to populated with a good mix of locals and visitors.

The time spent in Old San Juan was short.  The memories will be as long as the late afternoon shadows.

 
Corner of Calle del Tamarindo, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

303 in Yellow and Neighbor, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

Baja Santa Elena meets the Atlantic Ocean, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

El Gato Siesta, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

Empty Lawn Tables and Benches, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

Windy Lean, Balneario El Escambrón, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

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