NY again

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space - Umberto Boccioni - MoMA - 112211

I got back Monday from a four night trip to New York.  This was not a work trip, nor a photography class trip.  This was a "me" trip.

During my extended break of the last two months,  I traveled with and to see family twice.  I got to do a lot of alone traveling up to Montana, but the family was part of it.  I needed this trip, my trip.  My trip to be alone and let myself choose the paths of the day.  I had to take this trip because I probably wont have a block of time off like this ever again.  I rarely take big trips for myself. 

My hotel was near Penn Station on 29th St.  Nothing fancy, but was clean, had free breakfasts, and convenient to multiple subways.  I went to many museums, walked all over the city in beautiful autumn weather, visited a few places again that I needed to feel a part of and explored a few new ones.

I did not give myself any city photographic assignments while their except one. I knew I was going to see lots of the city so I was sure I would photograph something.  I visited one neighborhood with a special name that I wanted to visit for years.   My one photographic city theme I self-assigned was personal, deeply personal.

I photographed two models separately, Megan and Valya.  Valya referred Megan for a special project I am working on.  We had a short thirty minute session where I got what I needed.  Megan did a great job and was pleasant to work with.

My session with Valya was an artistic gift, as always.  I will post a few photos from our session and write about it in a few days.

This trip turned very personal for me during my wanderings about town.  I had time to think of the city, my life, my choices, and who I am.  I didn't get many answers, but at least I found some questions I can stop asking.  I also realized that somethings are still too close to push into the past.

I left Monday to return home.  As I got into the taxi to go to JFK, I realized I was at a border moment of my own.  I had to either go home to San Francisco that moment or I would need to leave my California life, and all it held, and lose myself in the sea of anonymity and clean slates that New York could provide.  At that moment, I thought about cancelling the cab and walking away to disappear.  New York does that to me.

New York isn't self destructive for me.  Every time I go there I get pulled into a world where no one knows me, has expectations of me, or really even cares about me.   We all coexist, weaving in and out of each others' lives on the sidewalks, in the subways, and through out our days in the city.  Even though we see each other and may even say something like "excuse me", our lives will probably never intersect again and the mutual anonymity keeps our hearts quiet and private.   In a way, that is more liberating than anything I have felt in my life - to feel the world let go of me and just let me be.


  1. Rome did the same thing for me - gave me needed anonymity, free choices, and a clean slate. When I returned "home," I missed the Eternal City for years, sometimes a genuine home sickness. It was because the person I became was born in Rome.

    It must be the commonality that Rome and NYC are large enough and richly cultural and busy enough to provide an incubator for self discovery.

  2. Carla - I envy that you got to spend a year in Rome and have the time to discover yourself. After spending a tiny time in Rome, I think I could get lost there as well. Someday I will have to make it a priority to move to my Rome - New York.


So,what are you thinking about?