Central Park Snaps
My First Among Sequels book tour of 2006 began in New York. I must have been there over a Sunday as these do have a weekend feel about them. It's rare for me to be happy with three pictures taken within twenty minutes of one another, but, well, NY is that kind of place. Lots to see, lots to witness. If you haven't heard of her, Vivien Maier is the documenter of NY life par excellence. She used a Rolleiflex too, but the similarity between she and I ends there. Her work is extraordinary, and rich, and was only ever taking pictures for herself - in her lifetime she had not a single exhibition. She also had an amazingly good strike rate. A single roll of 12 exposures often had half which were excellent.
I've always thought that women make the finest portrait photographers, with men tending toward the landscape side of things. It's not a hard and fast rule, obviously, but perhaps it's how different people approach the camera itself. As a wondrous technical thing for its own end, or a device to see further. I've only seen one woman at work taking portraits, Billie Charity who lives quite near us, and she has a technique - naturally part of her - of putting subjects at ease, at rest, and affable to her and by extension the photography process. She is brassy in a way that I can't be, and I mean that in a complimentary way - see someone, walk right up to them, engage - snap. I've read about Annie Leibovitz, Diane Arbus and Dorothea Lange and their technique sounds quite similar. Perhaps men just carry with them a sense of mild threat that is harder to dispel instantly; perhaps it's the inner geek in us that loves the technique and the hardware. Again, I'm not sure - and it's always unwise to deal with generalisations.
I'm including these Central Park pics for all my friends and readers in New York who've had such a battering recently. Although we do have our own isolation challenges here at Fforde Towers, we're in the wilds of Wales, which is the UK equivalent of Wyoming - only with no guns and sheep instead of cows. Even London's issues seem a long way from us. Not that the Welsh government is being complacent - far from it - we are in a more severe lockdown than England, and aim to keep it that way as long as we can.
Of the three pictures, I think I like this one the most. I took three, but only this really captures the pair of them in love, where that language of that love today, was dance. The pair seem absented from the world, and gloriously mismatched physically - but this strengthens the image, not diminishes it.
From where I was standing the music from the tiny boombox on the left of the door really only just reached me. They almost looked as they were dancing the movements from memory, rather than from the beat.