Empire State of Mine

This is the last official post from my month in New York City, a month that began with tromping through snow and ended with a sunny stroll to get gourmet doughnuts.

The intent was to craft a Kangeiko, a period of cold practice, by taking photographs everyday: a way to work on my photog skillz and really look at the City.

When you look at New York City, it’s hard not to see actors (my sightings this time were SNL’s Bill Hader and 30 Rock’s Pete), and impossible not to see, almost constantly, the Empire State Building.

Some monuments are obscured by their iconographies, shelved as place-holders or hidden behind statistics and giant apes – did you know it was the first building over 100 stories, was constructed in little over a year on a site that was once a farm with a running creek and later the Waldorf-Astoria, and since 9/11 is once again the tallest building in NY? – but through all of this the Empire State Building stands perpetually awe-inspiring.

At least to these eyes. I look up with amazement thinking of Lewis Hine’s photographs of the construction, the workers completely at ease having lunch on a beam in a chasm of space. I love seeing the colored lights change with various occasions. I love that it’s something living and breathing that will one day, in some way, die. And I loved being up on the 86th floor, what a view unh?


Times Square Ball, sans Dick Clark

Thank you B for hosting such an incredible visit, thank you Brothers C for letting me cohabitate, thank you Family BT for the great training, thank you old friends and new. I love New York – I wish there was a shirt or something I could wear to express that sentiment.


6 thoughts on “Empire State of Mine

  1. I love the gradations of white/gray/black in the first photo. How do you do that? Quite pretty.

    The fourth photo inescapably reminds me of Pink Floyd’s best album, Animals.

    And finally, I’m intrigued by the concept of “a Kangeiko, a period of cold practice,” and moreso, by someone (you!) actually following through on such a good idea. It makes me happy to see tangible evidence of others doing cool, concerted things that have nothing to do with making money or “moving up” in the world, but merely for the sake of study and growth (I’m assuming…). Yet still contributing to the larger world and not just one’s own personal, absorbed realm. Have I been living in a major city too long? Yes.

    Keep up the sweet work!

    • Manhattan did most of the work for that first photo – it was a good contrast day of bright light. I gave the frame a longer exposure and then nudged the contrast in the editing room.

      I like the connection to Animals – I wish I could have gotten down and shot that factory closer up. I also wish there had been a pig floating through.

      I like the drama of cold practice, it lends a certain narrative framework to undertaking a work set.

      I think it’s brilliant to use heavy metal as a construct for studying plant taxonomy and conveying botanical edification – I hope you keep up the sweet work as well!

    • I definitely think New York is a B&W dream. I could’ve happily shot that way my whole time there. Thanks for checking out my shots!

  2. We have a huge poster of the Lewis Hine photo with all of the workers having a lunch break in the sky. The tradition was that it was passed down from friend to friend over the years. Every time one of my husbands’ friends acquired it, he ended up getting married, and then it was passed on to the next guy. It worked every time. After my husband acquired it, we met! Well, it worked until it got sucked into the abyss that is our basement

    • I love that photo, and such an interesting magic, since it seems like those death-defiers must all be single! Well, it sounds like the poster’s purpose has been fulfilled, or else it will rise again when a bachelor is in need.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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