Saturday, March 31, 2018

Streets of Delhi, India

India is the country with the greatest opportunity for street photography.  The variety of backgrounds and cultures is a kid in a candy store; who am I to photograph? This type of photography is most challenging considering that one wals pretending not to be there to avoid people noticing.  They know, and not a single time they showed displeasure; not the rule other in all countries.  I was thrown stones in Africa but got the shots, asaulted with a knife in Spain and  bludgeoned by a prostitute with a swinging purse in Amsterdam for taken photos in the red district; I laughed my way out of this one and got my images. 

Traffic is chaotic in the streets but back in the narrow alleys there are mostly motorcycles, and rickshaws taking the places of taxis.  The bike riders are very agile and fast; they pass you by before you realize they are coming but I am sure sometimes they miss, but surprisingly they wear helmets.

 Cars and humans mostly carry the merchandise in narrow alleys.  The man carrying the white bags is supporting a load of 110 pounds on its head.  People are mostly short and skinny, seldom see overweight ones and these are politicians and businessmen.

Delhi is the capital of the small entrepreneurs, walking along the porches one sees shop after shop and one wonders how they can make a profit. It seems that certain streets concentrate in the same merchandise, in this case spices.  Most I never seen or tasted before with exotic odors and colors; you can walk in the shop, stick your hand in a bag and smell and taste; they don’t mind.  But what looks great to the eye may not be pleasant to the palate…of course they have the common ones such as peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg that are fine but for some you need to cultivate for these.  It is all about making money and in the back of the store, the owner is watching the business with eagle eyes next to the image of his deity.

 There are on-the spot clothes makers; you want a silk suit?  They will measure you and four hours later you can come and pick it up for a pittance.  The silkworms work really fast there.  But shoes are a different story.

 Fruits and vegetables are readily available as seen below; the first image shows the men opening the giant peapods.  Strange ones too such as the round green leaves in the second image below. And if you are brave you can eat fresh food from one the floor kitchens; intriguing,

Flowers are extremely popular in India with a great variety but most were familiar.  Some are edible but they are mostly for decoration. Below they are making flower collars and they are made in the spot to order. You choose the combination of flowers you want and priced accordingly.

The utility wiring is wild and most people steal the power but who can figure where those octopus-like bundles of cables...and everyone has a cell phone. The faces are inquisitive but again not a sign of annoyance for being photographed.  And as everywhere in the world, the ubiquitous tourist is present.  In this case, a bored young lady infatuated with her cell phone wishing she was home. She does not realize how lucky she is compared the 99.99% of the population of India.

Delhi is a very old city with multitude of palaces from the times before the Muslim conquest to the colonial administrative complexes built by the British Empire.  It will require multiple blogs to cover all I saw; the Red Palace complex is amazing and will require days to fully understand it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

New York City Area

The Sanitary Luncheon in Staten Island is really a set from the Boardwalk Empire now in historic Richmond Town.  It was a bustling place back in the 1700’s and by the time Staten Island became absorbed by NYC in the 1890’s it declined but resurged in the late 1950’s as Historic Richmond Town with about 30 historical structures- kind of a Colonial Williamsburg.

 Why did I start this blog in Staten Island?  Because I had never been physically there except when I passed above it on the Verrazano bridge going into NYC.  For years I planned to go there to visit friends I made during a trip to China almost a decade ago.  They facilitated my access to the Captain’s Deck on one of the Ferry Boats going between Staten Island and NYC.
 Above is the shoreline along the Jersey and below the one for NYC.  Why the difference in color between the two images?  For Jersey I had the sun behind me and for NYC the sun towards the NW.  I arrived at the new Ferry Dock that is next to the old one.  No doubt there were better looking buildings in the olden times. Next is a view approaching the old ferry dock that is posterized in Black and White.

 Upon arriving at the Big Apple I walked to the Whitney Museum of American Art to take a look …I was disappointed since it was mostly a museum about “political correctness” disguised as art.  The middle image below was my favorite and appears to me in the style of Van Gogh “Starry Nights.” Next an art connoisseur trying to figure out what the splashes in the canvas mean.

 Walking uptown by the High Line next to the Hudson River observed the cadaver of an old building been devoured to be replaced by modern skyscrapers; NYC never sleeps and always metamorphosing from a Gotham to a Metropolis.  The colorful hoses are really considered a work of art; when I first saw them, I thought they just were old abandoned fireman hoses.

 Bushwick is a neighborhood that suffered from urban decay now been gentrified and what were abandoned old factories are resurgent as fancy apartments for the noveaux rich. I found gold here; I mean graffiti or street art. I go all over the world photographing graffiti, and some of it could be exhibited in the MOMA as art priced in the millions. The one below looks as a prison because of the concertina wire above it. The contrast of the paintings in the two sides of the building is totally different in style; I prefer the one on the dark side (what you see is not what it looks like since I applied HDR changes and darkened the sky.  Below is an active poultry store and if you get close, it really smells like a chicken coop. The third and fourth images are the walls of a rundown apartment but the paint job really makes it appealing. 

 Some of the graffiti has specific messages but if you try to read, it makes no sense and
I leave it at that. What was an artist subculture has become established with unique styles such a “Bubble Lettering” initially associated with crime.  It started as paintings on the side of railroad and subway cars resulting in the authorities “war on graffiti” that eventually migrated to the walls of buildings.  For a time there was legislation controlling the sale of spray paint to ages of 18 to 21.  But the battle against graffiti was lost and it became street art and the defacers became art gallery owners.  

 Bushwick was founded by the Dutch and during the XIX century became a German migrant’s enclave and now is predominantly Hispanic better known as “Latino American”, mostly originating from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Most of them came here to work at the long gone Domino Sugar Refinery and the Navy Yards.

 The original name of the area was Boswijck meaning “little town in the woods” and was revitalized by the Bushwick Initiative and transformed into an art community with numerous artists’ studios, galleries, breweries and outside cafes. The graffiti is being restored and is protected and the streets also used by the movie industry. 

 It is a really friendly hearty place and surprisingly with street parking is readily available…free.
After having a great pizza at the microbrewery accompanied by a strong IPA, it was time to head home as the sun faded.  How did I start in Staten Island and end in Bushwick and named this blog New York City?  Only the IPAs know.