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Snowy Rooftops

Snowy Rooftops

For the people of New York, it has been a dark and dreary winter. There was snow, then more snow, then snow upon ice and ice upon snow. We got very tired of it. Now the sun is shining, but it is still very cold and windy. Came back early from Brooklyn yesterday a.m., and it felt like January. Sun out, houses bright, buds beginning to sprout, but we’re not quite there yet.

Here’s a (slushy) walk down memory lane:

Morgan Avenue Tracks

Morgan Avenue Tracks

Abstract Snow

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©Catherine Kirkpatrick

©Catherine Kirkpatrick

When will it stop? Like Noah’s flood (should that be capitalized?) the snow in New York just goes on and on. So pretty when it first comes down, then it sits a while and gets dirty, then it gets cold and turns to ice, then more snow falls and the cycle repeats all over again. I am so looking forward to spring! Can’t wait.

Isn’t this pretty?! Wait till tomorrow when its gray and mushy. Tramp, tramp, tramp…

 

 

©John Milisenda

©John Milisenda

I know John Milisenda through incredible photographer (and wonderful human being) Flo Flo. We sup together from time to time, and I’ve seen his subtle B&W prints of the train yards in Pennsylvania, the streets of Sunset Park, and of his family, particularly his developmentally disabled brother Dennis. We put together a narrated slide show of this body of work and posted on the PWP blog. It is beautiful and subtle. Take a look if you get a chance. Slide show direct: Dennis, by John Milisenda. Blog post with background on John.

 

 

 

Meryl Meisler – Westbeth – On the Blog

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meisler_submergedPosterLegendary Bushwick photographer (and pal) Meryl Meisler does it again with 2 rooms in the climate change exhibition at the Westbeth Gallery in Manhattan.

Pssst, she’s also on the Professional Women Photographers’ blog. Come on, have a look. You know you want to.

Swimmers and New Yorkers take note: aquatic critters floating in and amongst NYC landmarks.

The Blog (PWP) is Back…

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©Irith Gubi

©Irith Gubi

For several years now I’ve written for and/or edited the blog of Professional Women Photographers (PWP). It has been a labor of love and discovery. I have met great photographers like Darleen Rubin, Meryl Meisler, Flo Fox, and emailed with greats like critic Vicki Goldberg, triple Pulitzer Prize-winning NY Times photographer Ruth Fremson, and legendary Carnegie Hall portraitist, Eddita Sherman. It has been an honor.

But in 2012-13, PWP needed a new website. Something we could control, that would allow for quick and easy editing and be able to feature lots of pictures–of individual member photographers, of our exhibitions, open calls, and events–of us. We chose Nelly Yusopova of Webgirrls as our programmer, and she did a great job, though I’m sure she’s plenty sick of us by now. Anyway, it took a lot of work. Which coupled with a lot of other things, made for a very busy number of months.

But Rivka nagged me. She had an Israeli photographer she wanted me to meet, Irith Gubi. Finally it was arranged at the Katvan’s beautiful loft where the green, white, and yellow vases look down serenely, and delicious orange soup is served.

Promises were made and questions posed. Answers drifted in by email. But someone (me) dragged their feet and was grouchy. I didn’t feel like it, not now, it wasn’t time, I had too much going on. You get text and put it in a folder, you get images and put them in another folder, but sometimes when you them together, magic happens. It did on the PWP blog. Have a look. Aw come on, we need the traffic. Thanks!

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Billie_w_ChairI am delighted to be mentioned in a small article by PDN (Photo District News) on their PhotoServe site. It talks about a project very dear to my heart called Silent Echoes which explores women’s lives and some of the issues they face. Some of the work is going to be featured in an artist book show in Australia called Personal Histories, curated by Robyn and Glenn Foster. They are very lovely people (you can tell, even by email). And Barbara Goldman who wrote the article is very lovely too. I actually met her at PDN Photo Expo in the fall.

To see more of the Silent Echoes project, please visit my website www.catherinekirkpatrick.org.

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It’s Personal…

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Memory CollageI’m so delighted to be the featured artist on the Personal Histories Artist Book Exhibition blog. It’s an honor! Please visit the site of lovely people Glenn and Robyn Foster who are putting this exhibit together.

I’m submitting images from a series I’m working on called Silent Echoes about the lives of women. I knew, but never understood in my bones, the sacrifices women make till I had to take care of my elderly father. The day my mother died, I went back to their apartment and found him having a heart attack and a stroke. The doctors at Beth Israel Hospital weren’t sure he would make it, but he did and lived till 93.

But he couldn’t be on his own anymore, so I gave up my apartment and went to live with him. It was the best thing I ever did, but the hardest. As they say of piloting an airline, lots of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.

Back to the ladies. At some point in their lives, probably more than once (and for some continually), women have to shoulder huge burdens they never expected to. It could be a grandmother raising a grandchild, a mother caring for an ill relative, a daughter (yes, this part is self-referential) caring for elderly parents. It takes so much of your life, so much psychic and physical energy, so much time, yet often is unrecognized. Or brushed aside with a few words.

I remember the lawyer saying, “you can go live with him.” Well, hello, I had a life! I had my own place with my own furniture and stuff. Actually, quite a lot of it. I decided to do things slowly, at my own pace. That gave me time to go over to the apartment and mope. I was quite down. When I finally finished moving in with Dad, there were duplicates of…everything. A vast number of armchairs, two dining room tables and God knows how many chairs. Filing cabinets? Oh, plenty. We had everything.

My mother had been ill for a while, and both my father and I were exhausted. When he came home from the hospital (in time for her funeral), he had to lie down every afternoon for a couple of hours.

But slowly he got better. At first he was annoyed by the constant attention of women (me and his very nice aide, Janice), then it dawned on him that he had acquired a retinue of servants, and he settled nicely into a lordly routine. Tasty meals were brought to him on a tray. Magazines and books were laid on his table. He went out every afternoon, sat on a bench and greeted the neighbors as they came home. Holidays were observed, with special gustatory treats. He was a happy old man.

But it was a long time out for me. So tip your hat to the ladies in your life. They do a lot.

 

 

 

 

Studio in Brooklyn

Plums_Pear_Wall_78Continuing with my still life series, this time in a fascinating building in Brooklyn. Many colors and textures to explore. Interesting neighborhood. The day I arrived, there was a multiple homicide on the next block. Whew! Between that and the two story antique furniture store, I practically had to be carried back to Manhattan.

NSL_w_Machine_146There is ever-changing winter light (I’m hoping for a little snow) and ever-changing inner light. I had jury duty last week and ran into one of my artist friends. We do get around.

The Fish Stinks From the Head Down

Fish_Plate_34Something fishy has been going on. For those of you who don’t live in Brooklyn or have been visiting another planet, the art hub 3rd Ward closed On October 9th, 2013. The founder/owner who I won’t mention here, was accused of financial mismanagement. Poor? Don’t think so. He had 2 houses in Montauk (one for living, one to rent for MONEY which looms large in this story). Previously he told people living in a space he owned that it was up to code, then moved out himself before it was shut down by city inspectors. Knowing 3rd Ward was doomed, he continued to take money up to the (very) bitter end. One older man is said to have paid several thousand dollars for work space just before it closed. Jason Goodman (oops!), a.k.a. “The Head,” really shouldn’t have sold so many people out. Bad karma.

Now for some good. Robin Grearson, a wonderful writer, friend and enabler to many creatives, organized a meeting of artists and arts orgs last Wednesday at the Brooklyn Brewery. It was well attended, and as she writes on her website, a community was born. Check it out to see who came to offer space, classes and advice, and for some ideas on the future of the maker community. And scroll down a bit on this blog to see some pictures of the beautiful studios at 3rd Ward. It was a special place. May its spirit live on, the creative dreams of its members never die.

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RIP 3rd Ward

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Still_Life_Studio1Once upon a time in the city, not the bright shiny part of the city, but the old rusted out rust belt section where a post industrial mood had settled in, there was a place dedicated to art. You could walk right by and except for the sign, never know it was there. True, there was a steady stream of cool-looking people going to and fro along Morgan Avenue; people who were young and/or interesting looking; people with what the fashion magazines call a “personal style.” They weren’t loud, they didn’t announce or sport designer togs, but were quietly artistic and you just knew. That somewhere along that dingy stretch of auto shops, strange nameless factories and boarded up brick, something creative and interesting was going on.

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I saw it first when a dancer who wanted some pictures took me on a tour of the unfinished second floor. It was a mess, but an interesting one. If there was peeling paint and a squashed up couch, there was also space and light filtering in through the tall banks of windows.

Somehow through emails, art sites, and a certain undefinable electricity in the air, I heard about 3rd Ward around 2009 or ’10. I went out for a tour, and while interested, wasn’t sure I wanted to pay the monthly fee for photo studios I might not use. I declined, or rather postponed. A year later, I took another tour and signed up.

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The studios were gorgeous. Huge, with lots of natural light and enough “nub” to make even plain walls interesting. I shot still lifes there, but really the subject was always the room.

Interesting places come with interesting histories. Ghosts from the past set up shop and continue to inhabit. I could shut myself in Studio B (my favorite) and be quite content for several hours. I never felt alone, felt quite charmed by the living artists who came and went for classes and to their work studios, and by whatever and whoever had been there in the past.

New York is a palimpsest. For everything new, there are a dozen things old. Underneath one building is another, or the markings of a settlement or a burial ground. It is constant, ever-changing history.

Like 3rd Ward which is now history, a brief marker of the outpost of artists pushing  into ethnic, troubled or just poorer neighborhoods, in seach of space, a place to do their work. The march will continue, because the dream, or rather dreams, will never die.

 

Still…

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Dark_SF_Closet_Door_30Still doing still lifes. Really enjoying control of the light and the cloth. Very obsessive. Sometimes I do a set up and take like a gazillion images of it, each slightly different, the light a little to the left or more to the right. Sometimes I light from below, a big no no in portrait photography–who cares! Sometimes I leave the shade up and let the daylight in, other times, just shut it off. Dark_SF_Above_17

Found these great, unusual sunflowers a few days ago on Third Avenue. Deep dark red with streaks of yellow, like a sunflower and dahlia crossed.There’s an Agatha Christie story about a murder that is set off by a secret message in a letter that seems to be about gardening. Won’t tell you what happens. Too thrilling!

I love how light comes out of darkness. Beginning to think dark is my default mode.Dark_SF_Drapes_35

You would think I could stop, but I can’t.

Doll_Portrait_32bHere’s a picture of Dolly just to mix it up.

PDN Photo Expo is coming soon to the Javits Center. Visit us (Professional Women Photographers) at Booth 158.

That’s all for now. Happy snaps!

All images ©Catherine Kirkpatrick