Saturday, December 13, 2008

Untitled Dec 12,2008

Geographically, Manhattan is small enough to travel from one extreme point to another within an hour via the subway system. Socially, it appeared the same. I was on two assignments for a magazine within a few hours, and the contrast of the two just could not go away.

The first assignment was to assist a photographer who was shooting a magazine cover in a feverishly popular kids store, American Girl Place, on the 49th street and the 5th Ave. It was hardly to make any connection to the ongoing recession in the reality to the store that was filled with the crowd, the pinky color, the shiny stuff on the shelves, kids’ screams and overwhelming make-up on the little girls’ face. The photo shooting was taken in a boutique café within the store. The café appeared perfect in this context with the clean white tablecloth, huge framed mirrors on the wall and many other colorful decorations. Apart from the apparent fancy food and English tea ware on the tables, there is at least one doll sitting beside the kids. With a specially designed pinky chair attached to the edge of the table, the doll could sit in it. In front of every doll, there is a set of tea ware as well. The families were singing the birthday song to greet the little girls here and there in the café. No exception, the girls dressed like princesses; no exception, after the song, father started talking finance with the other guys on the table and mother started showing the just taken pictures of the princess on the back screen of the digital camera to the girls with the scream of “Wow, how cute!”. Again, no exception, the girls didn’t express interests as same as the dolls.

An hours after, I was in a charter school in Harlem with a reporter. While the reporter was interviewing Ms. Eva Moskowitz, the CEO of the school and a former Chair of the City Council Education Committee, I was taking the pictures of her. The school was quite and very bright, not one candle light dimmer than the fifth avenue store. The kids decorated the corridors and the classroom with the original art works they did. As Ms. Moskowitz was passionately talking to the reporter about her perspective and outlook to the education for the future, a yell of “Oh, my God” stopped her conversation. A kid dropped her textbooks on the floor and other kids screamed. Ms. Moskowitz rushed into the classroom and gave a lesson to these 3rd grade kids to remind them that the corridor is No Noise Zone and rule of No Scream when the fellow classmate encounters problem. Following her, we quietly walked into a classroom of the first grade. The teacher was teaching the group of student to play chess. The kids were very much into it. I was talking to myself very quietly “Wow, how cute!”

The street scenes in Harlem made no mistake about the season – it is winter, it is cold. As I raised my camera, the kids approached and jumped in the frame. To me, it was so natural. I am sure they were interested in seeing the pictures because it is themselves.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What is killing us?

Recently, it has become inevitable to think of our society about where it goes, and what has been the wrong doing in the past; whether we should keep the faith to whatever we thought valuable and even the newly elected President of the United State of America.

I traveled back to my home country, China, in the past weeks. The blaming voice to the US was overwhelming, the moral wrong doing to the entire world – the wars, the imposing and unfair deals with the developing countries; the self –dig grave on the Wall Street which is now sweeping the entire world.

After I came back to New York, I walked in the galleries in Chelsea. It wasn’t an intentional visit. I saw the exhibition of David Schorr, GOODS, (!v1i_dept_display1.search_results?v_dept_code=FAE&v_collection=91890&v_start=0&v_end=2). The convenient size and square format oil paintings delighted my spirit in the cold morning. I couldn’t help on thinking Edward Hopper and William Eggleston along walking in front those paintings in the small gallery.

A few days later, I went to Whitney Museum of American Arts to look at William Eggleston’s exhibition, Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video 1961-2008 ( Again, my spirit was so much delighted by looking at those images.

I had problem to distinguish the scene in Mr. Eggleston’s images taken in 1976 from what I just saw in the Deep South in the recent years. The restless attempts of rebellion and reaching to a compete liberty co existed with the reluctance and lacking of courage. I practiced in architecture, it also puzzled me how conservative a lot of American clients and architects are. The people were obsessed to differentiate the social class in this suppose liberal society. This obsession has attracted and enabled the architects from the traditional Europe to build the Neo-Braque house for the riches in the US. As Mr. Robert AM Stern is designing for the richest American with hypo conservatism and faked European details, he was proclaimed humble. Up to this point, I looked back what I saw in China, the exact same obsession is killing the country.

I think it is right that America should confess to the world for spreading out this cultural pollution, but fairly speaking, not everyone should. It is delightful and encouraging to see the infinity of optimism embedded in Mr. Eggleston and Mr. Schorr’s works. I guess neither Democracy nor Liberty kills the world, but Conservative does.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November 4, 2008

For almost 2 years I had been waiting for this very moment to see a lead to our future whether by Mr. Obama or by Mr. McCain. I was deeply concerned but at the same time I was indifferent, no because I couldn’t see the mightily difference that this moment would make, after all, it is not my country. I was traveling in China, my home country on the Election Day. I watched the every-two-minute updates of the result of this campaign on the Internet, and was so excited when I saw the announcement of Mr. Obama’s victory. My wife in New York and I called to each other and shared the excitement and the emotion. Suddenly, I felt pathetic because after all it is not my country, it wasn’t my vote.

However, watching Mr. Obama’s and Mr. McCain’s very moving speeches, looking back this election in the US and my own country, I had to tell myself, we, even as very small, ignored, powerless stakes, should believe in that for a better future, for the ideas we have, we change, and YES, we can!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Invasion 1968: Prague
"In 1968 Josef Koudelka was thirty years old. He had committed himself to photography as a full-time career only recently, and had been chronicling the theater, and the lives of gypsies, but he had never photographed a news event. That all changed on the night of August 21, when Warsaw Pact tanks invaded the city of Prague, ending the short-lived political freedom in Czechoslovakia that came to be known as the Prague Spring. "


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last Game at Shea Stadium

Sept 28, 2008, Sunday. The last day of the Shea Stadium - the home stadium of New York Met baseball team.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A more human show - Geova

Numbers of fashion designers are benefit from the twice of year New York Fashion week to promote and showcase their collections for the new seasons. The fashion writers, the celebrities, the fashion analysts and the medias are invited to view the off site shows in the different venues around the city than Bryant Park and other major showrooms. Geova Rodrigues's show produced by was at Meoller Snow Gallery in NoHo, New York City.

I arrived at the gallery to attend the show right after Abaete at Bryant Park in a heavy rain. The gallery's basement was turned to the backstage for the young models and the dressers. Even without that many medias or photographers, the basement still appeared crowded. At one point, one young lady grabbed my fashion week credential and tried to find out if this show was listed in the official schedule. She was very much disappointed. Suddenly I felt so sad as the exciting atmosphere in the room didn’t change at all. Eventually, the show was very well presented to the crowd. However, looking at that now-happy young lady, I kept thinking if it is necessary for her and friends to make the main street from here. Maybe being here, they would be happier, more original and more human, yet just in the different type of glamour.

The Fashion Designer’s website


Monday, June 30, 2008

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We moved again

Recently, I found I don't feel excited of moving anymore. This used-to-be exciting idea now is bothering, even I still enthusiastically love traveling.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I still do so whether it helps.

I found this picture when I was sorting out the images I took in China. I took this one before I went on my trip to China two weeks ago.  

The deadly earthquake shook China.  Thousands of people died.

One night I dreamed of my long way passed grandfather, and my wife dreamed her long way passed grandma in the same night.  We are not superstitious, but we still stopped by the monastery in Chinatown.  We prayed whether it helps.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Are we really equal?

In the weekend, we saw this magazine cover everywhere in the city.  Suddenly, my wife asked me if we are really equal.  She told me a sentence she heard in the Bay Area during the campaign: Life is a bitch, don't vote another one.  I just don't have the answer, perhaps never will.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 14, 2008

The pictures were taken in Shenzhen, China, and Kunming, China.  I found I never could sit behind the viewfinder and look at these as a I am a stranger.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

what should i remember?

I received this picture from my grandpa's sister via email.

The picture was taken in 1981 when my great grandma passed away. Looking through everyone in the picture, I recall what I suppose to remember. I guess since I was only 5-year by then, half of the relatives in the picture I didn't know them at all. When I reached to the sentence in my grandma's email "11 of them in the picture have passed away", I didn't know what I could say, instead I put this picture here to relive my sentiment.

I was the little boy in a sweater standing in front of my sister.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008