July 15, 2018
This painting is on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the “Painted in Mexico” exhibition that originated in Los Angeles. Jesus displays his “carnal” heart – a very popular object of veneration at this time – while a personification of the Church uses the Eucharist to send a beam of light to illuminate the bible. I like how the beam is not reflected from the pages, but is instead transformed into jagged lightning bolts that strike dead the enemies of the church (and the Jesuits, who supported the cult of the sacred heart against its opposition.)
The image of Jesus is a direct adaptation of this earlier, less complex picture.
The sacred heart, representations of which originated in the middle ages, was at first shown iconographically, i.e. as a stylized heart shape, but eventually become anatomically correct. Not quite clear on whether this is a bleeding heart…
Up on the roof, there is a different, more ironic sort of veneration going on.
June 9, 2018
I took the aerial tram to Roosevelt Island today, the first time I’ve ridden on that thing, and a bad day to do it. Saturday, good weather, crowds, one car out of service, subway not running… Once you get there, the views from the island are pretty unusual for New York City.
The romantic one below is looking east to the new apartments in the Long Island City area of Queens.
Strolling around the island is pleasant once you leave behind the apartments and the new Cornell University hi-tech campus. The old Renwick shell of a small pox hospital is carefully preserved.
Something went wrong with my HDR shot here – it would help to use a tripod – so I call it “Good Vibrations.”
The southern end of the island is now the finally completed Louis Kahn park dedicated to FDR’s Four Freedoms. It is shockingly abstract in form – a real jolt to the senses. That’s saying a lot since it is just a baseball hit away from the dense Manhattan skyline, which isn’t exactly an English garden landscape. It’s the austerity of the design, I suppose…
Not sure what he was doing there, but he had a retinue of photo-tech people, so I guess he wasn’t fighting super criminals.
January 16, 2018
I have been reading this book because I am fascinated by medieval art, and I see a lot of reliquaries. The book is sort of rambling, and it jumps around thematically, but it has focused my attention on these objects lately, so I took another trip to The Cloisters to see a few. I drove in, and decided to park and walk around Washington Heights with my camera a bit before going to the museum.
First off, again, the Port Authority Bus Terminal with that fantastic reinforced concrete roof by Pier Luigi Nervi. I was struck by this view from my car, and walked back to capture it. It conveys, for me, the creepily attractive monumental and oppressive nature of some modernist architecture. The tower in the background, one of four known to traffic alert listeners simply as “The Towers,” gives the view a Futurist look.
Once in the museum, I went to see the three little ladies, reliquaries purportedly containing the skulls of martyred women, three of the 11,000 killed with Saint Ursula.
Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but it made me think of this final scene from Mystery of the Organism.
January 8, 2018
On my Lower Manhattan jaunt I took two pinhole cameras: a coffee can model; and a rectangular box type. My photo journey began uptown, of course, at the 178th Street Port Authority Bus Terminal. The building’s roof was designed by Nervi was designed in the early 1960s, and I just love the trapezoidal-shaped columns resting on a massive steel rocker. This was shot with a rectangular box pinhole.
As usual with my interior pinhole shots, I had trouble getting the exposure right. Actually, getting the exposure right is always a problem, but it’s harder indoors. Considering the overcast skies, this one came out pretty well, but I have been finding that my low-light outdoor shots are often over exposed because I have been relying on an iPad light meter app. According to the reciprocity law rigmarole, long exposures calculated “by hand” are too low and need to be increased. I don’t know what the “rule” is for light meters that include very large f-stops, or maybe there isn’t one. I should probably rely on rule of thumb and experience and dump the meter!
This coffee can shot of the plaza outside of the $4 billion luxury shopping mall otherwise known at The Oculus or Transit Hub by Calatrava shows the exposure problems. It is also a roughed up image, showing the effects of my clumsy field handling of the cameras in my darkroom bag. Haven’t gotten the hang of it yet.
This interior shot of the structure was also taken with a coffee can pinhole, and it turned out pretty well. The building is more impressive in this image that it is in fact, but I could go on about this for a long time…
I found relief from the contemplation of the Port Authority’s pharaonic waste at The Rubin Museum on 17th Street which contains fantastic collections of Tibetan art.
After my visit, on my way to the subway to get back to Nervi’s place, I captured this little scene, so typical of Manhattan, with my coffee can pinhole.
January 7, 2018
I revisited one of my favorite buildings in Manhattan; the multi-storey sub-basement of an old apartment building in Washington Heights, amidst the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Complex.
It really does seem like a dungeon to me.
It’s barely visible from this perspective amidst the hospital behemoths that recall to my mind the fantasies of Saint Elia.
Manhattan Schist, so it’s called, is prominent up here, and from such soil, great structures grow.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, we had barely two seasons: I love the winter!
After all this gawking at icy splendor, I retreated to The Cloisters.
Son of Clovis?
Saint Lawrence Being Roasted: The story goes that after grilling for a while, he declared, “I’m well-done, turn me over!” Thus, he is the patron saint of cooks.
December 4, 2017
Yeah, pretty dark days these days are. I can hardly bear to read the news. I decided to try to get some pinhole shots out while there was still some winter light. The one above was taken at the Teaneck Creek Conservancy. I managed to sit pretty still for two minutes, but lugging my cardboard cameras around in a sack loosens their joints, and this one seems to have a bad light leak.
I found myself in Manhattan in the morning, so I went to the Metropolitan for some interior shots. This one sort of worked, with a ten-minute exposure in the arms gallery, one of the few with large windows to the outdoors. While I was waiting, I had a nice chat with the guard, who happened to be interested in alternative photography.
Back at The Creek, a four-minute exposure.
And one of the more successful shots, done with a very small, very primitive repurposed hand lotion tin as pinhole camera.
And for those of you who insist on verisimilitude of a higher order…