Since I changed things up a bit yesterday, I thought I would continue with my ongoing seasonal theme of summertime. This isn’t really a project per se. Nor, is it any sort of assignment. But, since I carry a camera pretty much everywhere I go, I sort of document events and scenes in themes. Some are recurring and a little easier to photograph. Others take some work and some awareness. The real essence of summer life seems easy to find. But, it really takes some care to produce pictures that are just a little different. I reckon that after ten years or so of documenting “summer,” I might come up with ten significant pictures. I might not. This image seems to be sort of a variation of a classic. Children ordering ice cream. Of course, the ice cream is a little upscale and found on Magazine Street in New Orleans.
Summertime means a lot of things to a lot of people. Around here usually means really fresh fruits and veggies. We have the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatula. We sell summer fresh fruits and veggies on the streets, out of trucks, and from mom and pop stores.And, today and tomorrow we celebrate the Creole Tomato Festival in The French Market. Assuming that I actually get there, I’ll share some of those pictures with you tomorrow. I was going today, but a lot of stuff got in the way. But, to make up for that here’s a juicy, ripe Strawberry.
I was reading something about Margherita Pizzas and that got me thinking about the fresh tomatoes of summer. Yes. I know that the only tomatoes in a Margherita Pizza are in the sauce, but that’s joust how my mind works. Then I started thinking about gardens past. That’s also how my mind works. Then I thought about this picture and how it was a week’s yield of one of my older gardens. And, that one was grown in pots. In New Mexico. I’ve had regular, in ground gardens in Louisiana that have yielded bushels and bushels of tomatoes over the course of the summer because, as a former neighbor said, “stuff just grows here.” They didn’t take much work. The gardens in New Mexico took a huge amount of work.
I never thought that I would say this, but for the month of April I made too many pictures. As I was starting to “curate” — old guys like me call it edit — my April picture a day project, I realized that I made way more images than I needed for the 30 day month. Of course, this came from assignments, commissions and a very few stock productions as well as a few days when I actually made an image specifically for the PAD project.
For those of you who are new to following Storyteller. I started shooting a picture a day four years ago. Every time that I reach a year anniversary I think to myself, “that’s it, I’m done.” A week or so passes and I start getting a bit nervous. Then I start looking for something like a birthday, or beginning of a new month, or anything that I think would be a good starting time and off I go again. I took about a
five-week break between last years PAD project, which ended on my birthday. and this years project which began on New Year Day.
And, so it goes.
I have a very kind follower who wrote that I am an artist. She said something to the effect that I should embrace it. I would if I was an artist. But, I’m not. I’m not a lot of things. That’s okay with me. What I am is pretty simple. I’m a photographer who makes pictures of whatever is in front of me, That’s really the core of me. Oh yeah. Sure. Sometimes I light things. Sometimes I shoot what falls into the portrait category. Or, the commercial category. Or, travel. Or, or, or…
One of the wisest photographers I know, Jim Richardson, has this to say about it. “If you want to take better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.” That’s it. That’s pretty much what I do.
Here’s some of that stuff now. Not only do I enjoy street food. This new fangled and trendy food trucks are a Godsend to me. But, I enjoy a lot of Asian food. Like the Vietnamese soup, Pho.
This will conclude my little walk through the neighborhoods of Hong Kong. The best place to start is with me. I’m a big believer in the high quality of street food, especially in Asian countries. In Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Thailand some of freshest, freshly cooked and well-prepared food is found in little stalls on the street, in wet markets, outdoor food courts or even in some train stations. You can find all kinds of local dishes that appeal to locals as well as travelers who are more or less just passing through. The pictures in this post feature: chestnuts, buns, dried foods of all kinds, Char Siu (barbecued pork), duck,
fresh fish, vegetables and fruits and various kinds of satay. the images were made in: Causeway Bay, Central, Mong Kok and Sham Shi Po. Yes. I get around a little bit when I’m in Hong Kong.
For yesterday’s post, I offered up some Hong Kong images that were pretty much general views of the city that were photographed in my style. I wrote that I would show you a little different, more local, view of the city today.
So here it is.
Six images that are what I call “little pictures.” If I haven’t been to a place in a long time, or ever, it usually takes me a few days before I start seeing scenes like these. I have to first pick the so-called low hanging fruit. Then, I settle in and start seeing little moments, details, patterns and shapes of what could be called every day life. Normally, we walk by these things in the course of our own daily lives. We are busy. We are in a hurry. Or, we have tunnel vision because we might be looking for one particular destination. Our eyes and senses aren’t very open. For me, the enlightenment of really seeing in a far away place comes after a few days. It comes after I’ve settled into the rhythms of local life. I start making pictures from the inside out and amazingly — or not — pictures start showing up everywhere. Sometimes, the pictures are more about me than the place.
America. Today is the The Fourth of July. I received an email from Michelle Obama talking about veterans. I read a Facebook post from a friend of mine talking about veterans and freedom. Those are perfectly fine sentiments, but…
We have a Veterans Day for living veterans and a Memorial Day for those veterans who have passed before us. The Fourth of July is much more then those two days. It is the celebration of the birth of our country. We celebrate with flags and fireworks. We celebrate by gathering together with friends and family. We celebrate by cooking regional food.
Our country, The United States of America, is much more the wars and the people who fight them. Those things shouldn’t be forgotten, but today is a celebration of the birth of the place we call home. It is sort of the sum of the parts.
Home grown music like jazz and the blues and rock and roll. It’s home grown food like fried chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs. It’s fine hand made craftsmanship like the row of Gibson guitars that I photographed at the factory in Memphis. It’s the old horns that make the sounds of music or the call to arms. It’s people and places. It’s the sabers that fought during the Civil War. It’s white picket fences. It’s the north, south, east and west. It’s the blue collar workers and the white collar workers. It’s doctors, nurses, soldiers, truck drivers and farmers. It’s machinists and factory workers. It is the people who live in rich and varied places, and who work hard to live there. It is white people, black people, yellow people, brown people, Native Americans and immigrants. It’s all of that and a lot more.
To do this list justice it would take hours to write and probably wouldn’t fit on this blog. But, you know what I’m saying and you get the idea.
I‘ve put together a small a group of pictures that give me a feeling of what I’m writing. They say a picture says 1000 words. Hopefully, they are right. Hopefully, my pictures are little details of America.
A word about these pictures. In August 2005 I was asked to illustrate two chapters of a book called, “The Cities Book.” I was assigned Memphis, Tennessee and Savannah, Georgia. I photographed these two places and headed back to New Orleans to photograph some more and do my editing and post production. You can figure out the rest since 29 August looms huge in anyone’s mind who lived through Katrina.
There are nine pictures here. Enjoy them. Oh, and have a happy Fourth of July.
While I’m a great believer in change, there are certain things that I hope will never change because they are sort of touchstones to me. In Hong Kong that usually means small family run businesses that have been managed the same way for one hundred years or more. In these pictures, we see typical Hong Kong small business life from the various dried farm products stores that are found in almost every district, to the outdoor cook who is cooking for what looks like a normal indoor restaurant, to the chefs in a noodle houses that happens to serve barbecued pig and duck.
There is a story about the place where the man is cooking outdoors. That place is located along the Travelator. You can look into businesses and flats while riding up or down the hill to the Mid-Levels. When I first started commuting on Travelator there was a very run down mid-1920s building on the site where that man is cooking. It was torn down with plans for redevelopment into a towering estate building. It never happened. First, there was an Asian economic crash and following deflation. This allowed guys like the one in the picture to work there. It took a while to recover and during the intervening years nature took over. Being in a sub-tropical place, first new growth trees broke through the concrete and cement. Once that happened, nature really ran riot. Today, 15 years after that old building was demolished, a small forest has taken over the land. Apparently, the local people who live and work next to it seem to like it that way. They added a few benches and keep the wildlife trimmed so that you can still walk on the sidewalk and use it sort of like a pocket park.
All I know is what I learned after Katrina. Nature. It is relentless and it seeks stasis.