Monthly Archives: May 2012

presence of being, gift of presence

Back in the spring some time in the mid-90s, in a stroke of serendipity — and if you’re someone who’s read more than a couple of entries on this blog, you’ll know I keep coming back to that word because … Continue reading

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narratives matter

Firmly committed to a subjunctive view of the world wherein one is “trafficking in human possibilities rather than in settled certainties” … to pursue “stories of literary merit [that] render the world newly strange, rescue it from obviousness, fill it … Continue reading

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poem discovery

i thank proustitute for the link to this one. oh the places i’ve already been taken… apparently, i was wrong. this link did not come from whence i thought it did… how, indeed, do we stumble onto the texts that … Continue reading

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Save for a few odd words I remember from 7th grade, when we had to learn both Spanish and French for one marking period each on the days when we didn’t have “gym” — what physical education classes are called … Continue reading

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signs i’m definitely back in london

1. this sign greets me at the tube station — 2. hulu doesn’t work here. 3. british television is ever at the ready with documentaries about the world wars, reruns of questionable cbs sitcoms, programs about walking, and an incessant … Continue reading

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preparing to leave and return again

Just six weeks ago I returned to the States and this weekend, as I gathered my things once again in preparation to leave another time, the cab ride home from the airport kept playing in my mind. I had brought … Continue reading

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The “critical” reception of Humans of New York

Because of the existence of Humans of New York, faces are striking me as more beautiful than ever. *All* faces. And to that end, for the past month or so since I first encountered HONY, the true beauty of genetic … Continue reading

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perfect day with a side of fleeting bird

This is the sky above me as I attempt some writing at a local cafe. As the words are not flowing, I am allowing myself some creative procrastination that has come in the form of several unsent tweets, responding to … Continue reading

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being bookish

my blogging has suffered a bit in recent weeks as my extra-sabbatical readings and writings have been a bit more demanding than i anticipated. i hope they will yield some potentially ponderous and interesting postings over here in the weeks … Continue reading

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A glimpse of the city, in between meetings

The world is loud around me. Sirens, those that scream in alarm and others that beckon to passers-by, charmers and the charmed, disaffected and misdirected, a young boy wearing a long-sleeved, orange, polo-type shirt with thin, horizontal brown stripes the … Continue reading

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HONY 2 – more humans, more new york

Two of my recent faves to whet your appetite. (These photos are part of the Humans Of New York Project, described here.)

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Humans of New York

Photographic projects are everywhere. Camera ready mobile-everytechs make this readily possible and the internet is a veritable photographic wonderland. And so while it’s easy to be moved and awed and wowed by a particular image or angle or composition or subject matter, these moments seem episodic rather than systemic.

Recently I encountered, yet again through Twitter, a photography-based project that made me smile just a bit wider with each shot I saw. The photographs are not spectacles of light play or exemplars of white-balance technique or the rule of thirds. Quite simply, they are part of an impressive collection of portraits of people in New York City being people in New York City. The photographer is Brandon Stanton, a former trader and just a guy who is on a mission to create a photographic census of the city. (Read more on his website.)

Two things captivate me about this project:

1. Brandon appraoches people and takes their photos with their blessing. Often they pose and thus they, too, are helping to compose the image. He is not the surreptitious photographer; he is the everyday, citizen picture-maker.

2. Each photo, with its brief yet full (of narrative and human possibliities) captions, invite curiosity about the many stories to which it is connected — not just the stories of the photos, but the stories behind the stories of the photos.

My recent readings, in addition to taking me through intricate cityscapes, have also brought me deeper into philosophically-oriented readings on hospitality, cosmopolitanism, and personhood and running throughout these texts is a shared commitment to appreciating and understanding while also nurturing the human condition. I can’t say for certain whether or not this ex-trader has read these texts or is actively pursuing a philosophical agenda to heal our wounded human souls, but in the way he is bringing the lives of the strangers he photographs together with the strangers who visit his photographs it seems to me that he is enacting a bit of cosmopolitan-minded knowing of self and other with each photo he takes, with each post he makes.

This stranger thanks him. Check out his sites — the tumblr and original site (and the other social media outlets) — and you will, too.

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