One of the most comforting things about being a tourist in New York is that it’s a city full of outsiders. As an elderly Indian gent told me, “I’m thinking the blond white man is a local and will be able to tell me how to get to the address I’m looking for, but then he turns around asks me for directions. To the subway. Do I look like I know the way to the subway?”
He was wearing a peaked cap, a coat, a tweed jacket, a sweater. To be fair, this is not the look you’d necessarily associate with New York subways. But apparently, the reason the blond gent asked the brown gent for directions was because the brown gent didn’t have a camera round his neck. I have to say, that’s a pretty good basis for telling a tourist from a local. The first time I came to New York, I spent approximately a week with my head tilted back, eyes and mouth open wide. The next week was spent with my eye glued to the camera and my finger clicking the shutter button as fast as the camera allowed. There are many occasions when I am grateful for digital technology in cameras; this was one of them.
It’s been ten years since that trip and this is the first time since then that I’ve stayed in the city for a longish stretch. I’m happy to report that I have developed some measure of restraint. I have only 100 shortlisted photos of Central Park. I remember one entire memory card was crammed with Central Park photos during that first trip.
Though, now that I think about it, maybe restraint isn’t really it. Ten years ago, I didn’t expect any good photographs to come out of my camera so I clicked away uninhibitedly. If it looked decent to the eye, I’d shoot it, uncaring of whether it would look as good or similar in the photograph. Now though, I have some…artistic vanity. I want the photos to be interesting and when possible, good. My editing process begins even before I’ve switched the camera on. Is this worth spending battery power on? Haven’t I got a shot like this? How many images like this have I seen? It’s inane to do this cud-chewing over photos because, really, it’s not like I’m a real photographer. I’m not exhibiting or selling this stuff. It’s just a hobby.
(Though that said, given some of the rubbish photography shows I’ve seen and how abysmally the writing has gone of late, I should probably try to sell my photographs. For one thing, I have more of them than I do coherent words.)
So yes, a month with my new Olympus — which is a beautiful, brilliant goddess among cameras — and here’s some of my haul.
Oh, and there’s a little more of Sirius here.