A Quarter Century of Life and Photos in the Big Apple – Part II
Dogs Are People Too
When I was a young sprout growing up in a suburb of Cleveland, my younger sister yearned for a dog. My father bought an adorable brown Cocker Spaniel with a pedigree, and it was named Hub Bub. His toilet manners, however, were less than aristocratic, and he regularly peed on the rug in the sun porch of the house. He also had a predilection for charging into cars when my father took him walking at night. My dad, being a conscientious doctor, accompanied him to the ER of a local hospital for treatment and splints. After awhile, Hub Bub became too much for every one in the family, and he was placed on a farm in Ashtabula, Ohio where he could run free and happy.
Living in Manhattan, I have been surrounded by people and dogs. During my early years doing street photography I snapped an occasional canine photograph. Since my marriage to Annie, my interest in dogs has zoomed. She once owned an adorable, impertinent Shih Tzu who lived to the ripe old age of fifteen, and she points out any Shih Tzu that comes across our path of whatever hair length. They and other breeds have been willing photographic subjects and have provided surreal, merry or sad faces and actions that often catch my fancy. Below are two selections from my Dogs Are People Too Collection:
The above photo is of a well-kept Shih Tzu who clearly is not happy about the domestic status granted by his well-attired mistress. It has visual rhythms and symbolic touches including the grating between them. The image that follows shows three excited downtown dogs in an uproar about a passing enticement:
Images of Race and Class
Political liberalism and social concern run in my family. My maternal grandfather was an organizer for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union in Cleveland in the 1920s, and my parents were sturdy New Deal Democrats for many years. I got involved in party politics in New York on the Upper West Side around 1970 and was elected to the Manhattan Democratic County Committee every two years for a decade. I worked in a number of political campaigns as a volunteer, did issues research and wrote position papers, some of which became press releases and candidate speeches. The campaign experience led me to realize that I had good writing and communication skills, which ultimately were converted into public relations jobs and eventually my own PR firm.
As I have roamed Manhattan over the years, I have photographed a variety of subjects reflecting differing situations of race and class, the two often intertwined. The following four selections from my Images of Race and Class Collection are just a sample of what I have discovered and documented. They are not the whole story of race and class, but they signify certain aspects of diverse lives in New York City.
One of the first photographs I ever took was of a black homeless man whom I discovered to my surprise on the sidewalk in a posh area of the Upper East Side (see below). The next two images, of dogs, indicate differing class levels. The fourth reflects some of the best aspects of New York, captured in a summery City Hall Park.
Night is often a cloak for evil deeds, twisted dreams and social inequities. It can also be a time of peaceful meditation, personal discovery and courageous action.
This portfolio, titled Night Visions, consists of ten dark, menacing photographs that I have created, infusing them with symbolic expressionism through special captions and sequencing.
The effect is intended to transcend particular time and locale and to reflect the spirits of the threatened, the disappeared and resisters everywhere.
Following are three selections from the portfolio:
This concludes a brief review of my life and photography to date, focusing on Manhattan with a side trip to Red Hook, Brooklyn. The images shown are samples from my web site (URL below), which also features photos from other parts of the U.S. and overseas. You are invited to visit it and view what else may be of interest. More about my photography follows:
My work has appeared in national juried group shows as well solo exhibitions in public and private spaces over the years.
Eight images from my Landscapes & Cityscapes portfolio are being featured in an arts exhibition at a prominent Wall Street law firm during 2015-2016. In 2014, selections from my Dogs Are People collection were shown at Koh Gallery, Manhattan; West Side Arts Coalition Gallery, Manhattan; and Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery, Red Hook, Brooklyn. Four images from my Race and Class portfolio were selected for a juried exhibition, The World is Out of Order, at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition Gallery in July 2014.
Among the other venues that exhibited my work in prior years are Westbeth Gallery, Manhattan; Barrett Art Center, Dutchess County Art Association, Poughkeepsie, NY; Guild Hall, East Hampton, NY; Bank of New York Gallery, Manhattan; Books & Co. Gallery, Manhattan.
The April 2015 issue of Street Photography Magazine showcased my bylined article, “Surreal Images On and Off the Street,” which included ten photographs from my Surrealism collection. The annual book, Best of Photography 2014, included my cityscape, Great Snowfall of 2000 – Central Park. The 2015 edition showed my cityscape, Latticed Towers. One of my surreal canine photographs, Hanging Out in Riverside Park, appeared in the November 2014 issue of Street Photography Magazine.