Aug 29, 2008

Published Photographs: Coney Island Edition

It’s the start of Labor Day weekend here in the U.S, which means the end of the summer season. To honor the last days of summer I’d thought I’d share some of my published photographs of Coney Island in Brooklyn, also fondly referred to as the poor man’s Hamptons. It’s an iconic urban Americana beach destination full of kitsch from a bygone era.

These have appeared in consumer magazines and national dailies in the U.K., consumer magazines in Australia and New Zealand and textbooks published in North America and Spain.

From the top: Sign for Wonder Wheel, height sign for ride, the Wonder Wheel and a food stall.

Aug 27, 2008

Montauk New York

Falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of the ocean always feels like a privilege.

Past the tony Hamptons as far east as you can journey on Long Island in New York is Montauk a laid back ocean community. Even during the high season in August its white sandy beaches weren’t over crowded.

Montauk’s shores are dotted by small no frills hotels and wood shingled beach homes. Thankfully it has not been overdeveloped due to the fact that much of its coastline is protected parkland.

Montauk is located on the South Fork of Long Island. The Block Island Sound flanks the north side. A harbor caters to boat owners and has a handful of seafood restaurants and non-pretentious watering holes. The waves from the Atlantic on the south side attract surfers and the white sandy beaches sun worshippers. In the small town center there are several diners where you can overdose on enormous pancakes. Mugs of strong coffee are refilled at no charge.

Beyond the beach the main attraction is the Montauk Point Lighthouse Museum. Built in 1792 it is the oldest lighthouse in New York State.

Montauk is a about a three hour drive or train ride from New York City.

Aug 25, 2008

Strange Souvenirs: Lucha Libre Masks Mexico

Humans don’t come equipped with the plumage that some bird species use to intimidate their competition and foes. Instead they must accessorize.

The masks worn by Mexico’s professional wrestlers are the icon of the sport and its participants. Lucha Libre (free fighting) is also part theater and part acrobatics with its own kingdom of stars that take on superhero personas. It draws large audiences to the arenas where the masked men compete. To be unmasked by your opponent is the ultimate defeat.

You’ll find the masks in markets where crafts are sold. Most are made of leather. The masks pictured are handmade and lace up in the back. Don’t they have a serial killer sensibility about them?

Previous Posts in This Series:
Autopsy Cell Phone Straps
Emirati Family
Cultural Revolution Kitsch
Hezbollah T-Shirts

Aug 21, 2008

Houhai Lake Beijing

Houhai Lake in Beijing is encircled with trendy bars and cafes. Patrons sit outside in a lounge like atmosphere or up on rooftops of two story buildings sipping cocktails. These vantage points make a nice place to people watch.

Tucked in the surrounding Hutong is a tattoo parlor that would make hipsters the world over feel at home. You will find stylish boutiques down the lanes closest to the lake as well.

Aug 18, 2008

Opera Singer Beijing

You’ll find performers gathered along the Long Corridor in Tiantan or Temple of Heaven Park in Beijing on just about any day.

This man was singing Chinese opera. He sang for at least an hour. Surrounding him was an enthusiastic crowd of old timers. They looked like regulars who come to watch the entertainment and socialize with one another. Further down a folk musician played traditional instruments.

The main attraction of the park may be the temple complex for which the park is named but you’d be missing out if you didn’t take time to explore the park as well.

Aug 15, 2008

Trendy Youth Tiananmen Square

These two were peddling amongst the throngs during rush hour along Tiananmen Square. Most everyone was riding a sturdy one speed.

Youthful trendiness made this pair stand out from the crowd. The majority of cyclists looked like weary commuters on their way home after a long day at work.

Despite statistics citing 1,000 new cars hitting the street every day bicycles are still a major mode of transport in Beijing.

This photo has been published in a book on teens in China and in a consumer magazine in Germany.

Aug 13, 2008

Street Scenes: Hutong Beijing

Life spills out onto the pavement in Beijing’s Hutongs (alleys). Outside storefronts and homes people sit on chairs and doorsteps working and chatting.

This corner grocer and food stand was no exception. Notice how the man and woman are wearing red arm bands. This was to commemorate National Day, when this photograph was taken.

Aug 11, 2008

City Icons: Beijing China

Beijing’s icons have stood for centuries.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is the center of attention in the Temple of Heaven complex. Built in the 1400s it burned to the ground in the 1880s and was rebuilt soon after.

Not touted in local tourist literature like the Temple of Heaven but perhaps most recognizable to people around the world is Tiananmen Gate, with its portrait of Chairman Mao. Located at the north end of the massive Tiananmen Square the Forbidden City lies just beyond it on the other side.

The Beijing Summer Olympics has created a new crop of icons. Most notable is the ultra modern National Stadium, fondly referred to as the Bird’s Nest. I wonder if it will endure the centuries as well as its elder counterparts.

Aug 8, 2008

Beijing Summer Olympics

This post went live just as the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics began.

In honor of the Summer Games posts for the next week or so will feature different aspects of Beijing. Meanwhile here are some highlights from the past year.

Door To Door Makeover Forbidden City
Liulichang Street
Tiantan Park
Lama Temple
Coal Vendor
Sidewalk Calligraphy

Have a great weekend!

Aug 6, 2008

Portraits: Healer Djemma el Fna Marrakesh

He was set up in a relatively quiet section of Djemma el Fna in Marrakesh. In front of him herbs, antlers, ostrich eggs and items I could not identify in glass jars were spread out on a blanket. They were the potions of this traditional healer.

Based on his dress he appears to be Tuareg, a nomadic people of the Sahara. He noticed my curiosity and motioned for me to take a look. He did not ask for money after I took his portrait, which is typically the custom for those photographed in Marrakesh’s famed square.

When I showed him this image he smiled and seemed pleased with the results.

Aug 4, 2008

Tokyo And A Tale Of Man’s Best Friend

Outside of Tokyo’s busy Shibuya Station is a life size bronze statue of an Akita. Several dozen people stand nearby waiting for someone. Tourists take turns having their photos taken next to it before heading across the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing.

The Hachiko Statue represents the extreme of man’s best friend and loyalty and is Tokyo’s most famous meeting spot.

In the 1920s the faithful canine Hachiko would accompany his owner, a professor, to Shibuya Station every morning. At the end of the workday the professor would return to find the dog waiting for him. This routine continued for a few years until the professor died. But his dog continued to wait every day for 10 years until his own death.

People were so touched that a statue was erected in the dog’s honor in the 1930s. The original statue was melted down during World War II but a few years after the war ended a new one was erected.