On Cameras, New York (Sponsored)

The following post/photo tips brought to you by Best Buy. Thanks, Best Buy!
walking from car drop to hotel
I took a total of 1271 photos last week, most of which were snapped in New York City, one of the most photogenic places on earth. One of my favorite parts of traveling has always been the process of documenting everything. I kept journals for ten years, thousands of tiny pages hand-written about my experiences, and photographs in the hundreds, many of which I printed in the dark room myself.

The first time I traveled on my own, I was nineteen and I had just taken my first photography class at Otis where I was turned on to Nan Goldin. I fell instantly in love with her work, the realness of what she portrayed and her ability to pull me into her subjects' stories -- the loudness of silent stills. Through her work, I fell in love with photography as a storytelling device, raw and real and often out of focus. Like every moment of every day of every life.

After that, I carried a camera with me at all times and for the last twelve years, have continued to do so. Pre-digital cameras, I carried my Canon EOS Rebel with me everywhere I went - trying to replicate the grit of what I saw abroad and in my own city, street, apartment. In those days I was flying solo, so a small purse and a camera was all I needed. I was able to justify the space in my purse - a wallet, some lip gloss, cigs and a camera.

These days my purse is full of snacks, diapers, changes of clothes, and about a thousand other things... no room for an SLR even if I owned one to carry with me. Not that I want one. I'm perfectly happy with my point-and-shoot (Canon Powershot SD 1400). It challenges me to use my eye, instead of its lens, to tell a story. A great camera does that, I think. Because good photographs (like words) rely on the stories they capture, more than the crispness of their quality.
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swings!
There was a time I'd carry my camera in and off subways, searching for the sad and lonely, the slumped over and half-naked... the libertines. I'd chase Mr. Bojangles down the rabbit hole to snap his portrait, ask his name. Now, I stay above ground. I study the smiles of my permanent muses, live inside their moments - watch. And watch. And watch.
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cutes
airport
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I no longer print in the dark room. All my pictures are digital now, but I am able to up the contrast in iphoto, bring out the brilliance of color, mute the tones to black and white when I feel like I should, crop, burn, edit, print, frame...
kids + barn
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I used to carry a camera with me everywhere I went in hopes I'd someday understand the darkness. Now, I carry one with me as reminder, a daily affirmation that everywhere I look, there is light.
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GGC

24 comments:

Molly | 11:43 AM

I can't believe you shoot all your amazing photos with that tiny camera! Maybe mine is on the fritz, but the light in the ones I shoot (also a Canon powershot, a few years older) is always either over or underexposed.

Mom101 | 12:07 PM

You amaze me. You always find the beauty in everything.

Monkey & The Bug | 12:28 PM

fantastic! every picture is perfect

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 12:41 PM

Thank you, Liz & Monkey/Bug. Love to both of you.

Molly - I've used a Canon Powershot Elph for six years and I've never had issues with overexposure. Perhaps yours is a bad egg?

MissRed | 1:07 PM

That was beautiful, and I can completely relate, as I do to so many of your posts. (Though I am not having twins, oh my).

I "re-blogged" (Tumblr-speak...) a quote from this with attribution, hope that is ok. :-)

tori | 1:13 PM

Lovely.
Made me think of a favorite Avett song:
"There's a darkness upon me that's flooded in light."
Thanks for sharing!

RookieMom Whitney | 2:40 PM

Love your pics and love NY as a backdrop!

My boy is in K and my girl is 3 and they both have the same jammies as Asher and Fable in the last pics. (No twins in my future, though.)

Anabelle Tess | 3:50 PM

Thank you so much Rebecca for this post. I actually started retouching my pictures on iphoto too and realized that my camera has much more potential than I thought, now I think my pictures look a little better...
It's amazing because all of what you have written about why you take pictures today, I feel so much the same. I rarely took pictures before. It started when I met my man, he used to take pictures of absolutely e-ve-ry-thing, at first I found that almost annoying. But I understood something: you shouldn't trust your memory so much, and the pictures I take of today (especially when nothing really happens) will remind me forever of what happened, like that dinner I cooked (tuna quinoa and string beans are a good match), the look in my little girl's eyes when she played that day, her toys on the floor, the socks my baby wore when he was two weeks old and how cute his little legs looked, my man fixing the cabinets on the wall that day (we had so much fun!!)
Capturing life in order to not let it pass us by...

Anabelle Tess | 3:51 PM

Thank you so much Rebecca for this post. I actually started retouching my pictures on iphoto too and realized that my camera has much more potential than I thought, now I think my pictures look a little better...
It's amazing because all of what you have written about why you take pictures today, I feel so much the same. I rarely took pictures before. It started when I met my man, he used to take pictures of absolutely e-ve-ry-thing, at first I found that almost annoying. But I understood something: you shouldn't trust your memory so much, and the pictures I take of today (especially when nothing really happens) will remind me forever of what happened, like that dinner I cooked (tuna quinoa and string beans are a good match), the look in my little girl's eyes when she played that day, her toys on the floor, the socks my baby wore when he was two weeks old and how cute his little legs looked, my man fixing the cabinets on the wall that day (we had so much fun!!)
Capturing life in order to not let it pass us by...

Anonymous | 5:21 PM

I too often contrast my long-lived fascination with Nan Golden's work with my new-found (even after 4 years), completely unexpected awe of my children's lightness. I'm so glad you brought that up. Really, even though I haven't flipped open one of her books in years, I think about it at least weekly. I brace myself for some sort of conflict there. Maybe there's not one.
Anyway, this is why I will read everything you have to write. I hope you read about you in NYC with all four of your muses.

Pretzel Thief | 6:48 PM

Ever since my (now-)husband and I started going out some 5ish years ago, I developed a newfound appreciation and love for photography through him, given he is an incredibly talented, semi-professional photographer (he's started his own business, Paper Boat Photography, and launching the website veeery soon!). The way he captures things is just awe-inspiring and incredible. Like you, he finds beauty in the simplest things (as a person and as a photographer).

Glenda | 9:25 PM

I got my first camera when I turned 13. Ive always loved to tell a story with pictures. The memories they capture are amazing. Now I have a Sony hubby got me for christmas and love it.

Enjoy all of your pictures especially your back drop of NYC.

Kerry | 6:05 AM

You would be a great one to ask...what do you do with all your photos? Do you print them, store them on a disk...what, oh, what do you do with all your photos?

(I think this answer may help alot of people!)

boosmom10 | 7:13 AM

Wonderful post! Your kids are growing up so fast. (including the womb mates) I can't believe how long their leggs are.

You bring a story to life. Thank you for sharing it is always beautifully written.

So thankful you are feeling better. Have a blessed week.

Jasmine | 8:35 AM

I am an awfuuul photographer... so I am super impressed.

Leslie | 9:27 AM

Absolutely beautiful post!

Lauren Knight | 9:55 AM

Amazing pictures. I so enjoy your blog and watching your little ones grow!

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 10:18 AM

Thank you, all. You're the awesome.

My Bottle's Up! | 1:39 PM

it's no wonder that archer found the tail of the 3 legged cat to be so beautiful. he gets it from his mama.

also, that picture of hal and fable (the one where he's wearing the hat) brought tears to my eyes... men and their babes... so presh.

Grace | 1:51 PM

Canon is my camera of choice as well and it's interesting to see how our cameras change when we go through different points in out life. I'm not attached to a Canon G11 and take it with me wherever I go even underwater. Love the photos.

Ashley Austrew | 5:12 PM

That last sentence really hit home. Beautiful, and just what I needed. Your words always are.

JessicaToday | 7:49 PM

your photos are fucking amazing, as per usual.
this particular comment is about the 99/100 post though...(no option to comment there)...
in place of your music section being no longer, how about a weekly commentary/opinion piece? you post your thoughts on any topic from spirituality to politics to women's health issues, etc. and your readers debate. in a healthy way. with you as moderator. we could all learn from one another and it would be a way to hear your unique perception about the things we all face in life. i think it could be a winner. maybe think about it? xoxo

Ray | 12:31 PM

I love your photos and I love your family. Thank you for sharing your lives with us. <3

KellyGray | 7:45 AM

Love your blog! I especially love to see what your two sweet babes will be wearing in your posts; just so cute. I recently had a baby boy and am having such a hard time finding clothes i like for him. Archer has such great style I was hoping you could recommend some resources on where to get some good boy clothes and shoes. thanks!