Spotted in Lima

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There comes a time when a blog gives birth to another one. Intensity Without Mastery is proud to announce the arrival of Spotted in Lima, who was born yesterday morning. The labor lasted 19 years and stalled many times. After years of worry that her pregnancy was a false one, the mother realized that her baby would refuse to be born without a name worthy of her.

In other words, I’ve wanted to create a photo-focused blog for a very long time. I’ve started and scrapped such a plan several times over the years. The problem was focus, and the name Spotted in Lima has given me one. That phrase occurred to me like a proverbial bolt from the blue a couple days ago, and I didn’t sift it away like so many other thoughts that appear and fade away like scattered showers.

Right now the blog platform is just a simple and easy one. I don’t know what the future holds for this new arrival, but the nursery is ready.

Manhattan Street Scene, 2008

I stumbled upon a photo challenge on the WordPress reader. It is Instant Inspiration (31)  from Marcus Puschmann’s impeccable photoblog Streets of Nuremberg

Since I am still archiving my older photos, I picked a shot from my trip to NYC in March of 2008. I converted the original color image to B&W and then augmented the contrast per the challenge.

Below are both versions of the photo. Which do you prefer?

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Queen Anne’s Lace

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Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) is one of those plants that’s either a weed or wildflower. It all depends on one’s tolerance for disorder.

To me it’s a welcome sight. It speaks of survival against the odds.

For Love of Festivals and Parades

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At the St. Gerard Festival, 2008

When my daughter was still young enough to enjoy the rides at festivals and the candy thrown at parades, I’d take a camera along to capture those moments of her childhood. While she was in elementary school, I also took pictures of crowd scenes at these events. I felt that these candid moments full of people were a sort of poetry in itself.

I learned the meter of such poetry by living on the grounds of a church who hosted a massive three-day festival every year in June. By the way, my dad was the groundskeeper at St. Gerard Church for many years, and we lived in the apartment attached to the church building during most of his time working there. The church parking lot was also a staging site for most of my city’s parades.

While I’ve been revisiting my photo archive, I’m glad that I captured some moments of such crowds. Witnessing the festival and the parades was part of the bedrock of my early years. Taking my daughter to see the gatherings and taking the photos was like passing on a family tradition to the next generation. My dad actually took some pictures of the crowds back in the day, and my mom once remarked, “I think your dad has taken more pictures of strangers than of us.”

I’ve decided to post my street photography of festivals and parades on my Facebook page. By doing this, I’ll make these photos more easily available to the people depicted and their loved ones.

Many of the crowd photos I took from 2006-2011 have elderly people in them, and I’d be happy to know that the families of those people have access to those images. It so happens that my family had a single photo of one of my great grandfathers for decades, and that photo was a death portrait from 1936. Through reunion with long last family, we have seen three more pictures of him. I’m still haunted by the notion that there are more pictures of him lingering elsewhere in photos albums that have become heirlooms of other families he knew. He could be the guy in the photo standing beside someone else’s great-great grandfather, and no one yet has been able to answer the question, “Who’s that guy?”