The Boardwalk

Walking off the Q train at 8am on Coney Island isn’t as funny a scene as you might expect. People are meandering to work. Some are certainly still coming home from the nights’ activities before. But generally, it’s quiet. Peaceful.

Turn a corner and there were 200 odd photographers and models gathered for a photo meetup. I’d never been to one. My own fear of being exposed as a fraud coupled with my dislike of meeting strangers in large groups meant this group looked twice as large as it was. But yea, it really was 200 people.

But once the initial ‘holy shit I’m here’ wore off, I began to wander around, get my bearings. I didn’t even know there would be models at this thing so I did what felt more comfortable - found a few ‘real’ strangers to chat with and photograph. See, my fear isn’t of taking strong photographs of people or talking to strangers. The latter part is still hard, but I do it. The former part I know I have so much work to do, but yea, I’ve got some chops. My fear is of showing up and not having the creative juices to impress other creative people. Everyone seemed just so on point. They said things like ‘Fire’ (and I wondered if that’s some new version of lit) and "whats your IG” (the new gram?).

I hadn’t gotten up at 6 and trekked out to Coney Island just to question myself though, so I joined the fray. Initially I was hesitant - crowding around the dozen or so other photographers all going paparazzi with the few models (the ratio wasn’t great). But then when the initial buzz died down, I found a few models kinda hanging on their own. I found my in. I didn’t have poses but asked them to tell me stories about the beach, the water, being at a theme park. I was grateful for every minute we had together and I learned so much in just a few hours working with these talented folks. I had never worked with models before and it was a good lesson in shared-space, creative collaboration, and humility. Knowing when to direct and when to back off.

I’ll be on the lookout for more.

The power of a walk

In the last few years I’ve read quite a number of articles about the healing power of nature. While this might be one of the least interesting ‘discoveries’ of the last decade, I’ve realized over the last few months it’s also easy to overlook. It’s not enough to just be in nature. I go to the park and gardens that are just a few blocks from my apartment several times a week. And yet, when I took two hours to walk around the botanic gardens alone when it first opened, I felt healed in a way I deeply needed.


And there’s no doubt - having a camera helps. It helps to slow down and notice the details that the landscape architects and nature worked hand in hand to create. The camera also helps me to look at old things in new ways - trees with deeply expressive faces, plants with rich vein structures, roses that are lonely and out of place.


So yes, it’s cliche. But find your nature. Slow down. Touch it, smell it, soak it in with all of your senses. And then maybe turn your aperture.

Rites of a Spring Deferred

Spring's clearest symbols for me have for years been budding blossoms, matzoh, and hiking without base layers. But what happens when snow comes and the boldest of the buds shrivel and die? Perhaps it was an opportunity for a more nuanced look at the transition into spring.


Roasted carrots aren't what I usually think about when thinking about spring but when I saw a recipe for a harissa aioli with rosemary over roasted carrots I knew I had to try it at the seder I was hosting. And a seder - that beautiful mix of pagan and Jewish traditions and stories - well, that's about as springy as you get.


Taking a break from passover brought me to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. While usually things are just starting to pop up this time of year, this was definitely a shivery time for the brave buds. Magnolias, Cherry Blossoms, and more are getting ready for the big reveal after nearly a year of sleep. These first ones are likely to wilt and fall away as the temperatures dropped away again but the warmth and with it, life, is coming back later in the week.

I chose to focus on the contrast of the few buds emerging from the wiry sticks and stems blending macro and extreme open apertures.