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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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?”

 

Once More, With Feeling: Pedestrian

I had technical difficulties with yesterday’s weekly photo challenge post. By the way, who is else is old enough to remember when TV stations would interrupt their broadcasts with the message, “Please stand by – We are having technical difficulties”? For whatever reason, my first entry for the challenge did not have a proper pingback, so I thought I would create another post, this time with a Throwback Thursday angle.

I have plenty of aging images in my photo archive that feature people walking around at fairs and parades. I took the picture below at a county fair ten years ago:

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I would guess that this trio was on the verge of starting 11th or 12th grade when I took this picture. Unlike the other cliques of teenagers on parade for their peers that day, this group did not walk in sync. I wonder where life has taken each of them and if their roads diverged, as portended by their steps.

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Explore the Unfamiliar

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Exploring the unfamiliar is a crucial strategy in learning to take better pictures. If I didn’t step out of my proverbial comfort zone from time to time, I’d have little in my photo archive but macro flower shots and family holiday pictures. Periodically I take my camera to events like parades and carnivals so I can stretch my perspective.

Today I share pictures I took of an event to which I was truly an outsider. The shots have age to them now, nine years actually. I had the opportunity to take pictures of the Blessing of the Bikes in Lima. I have very little in common with the folks in these pictures, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this experience.

It didn’t matter than I knew almost nothing about this hobby (to some, a way of life, really). No one “called me out” for being alien to this subculture. By the way, when I met my husband, he was wearing a DILLIGAF trucker’s cap, and I presumed the logo belonged to a business started by someone whose last name was Dilligaf. I even wondered what country gave birth to the Dilligaf clan.

Clicking on the picture (or this link) will show my Flickr photo album of this event:

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