Cross pollination – that seems like an appropriately seasonal term for what happened when I met Patti Kuche, a fellow blogger, in New York last month.
I’ve always loved Patti’s blog, and I had a hunch that meeting with her would be fortuitous. With basically no planning, we got in touch and agreed to meet up at the Rubin Museum cafe, a good place to relax, talk, and get a bite to eat without feeling pressured to move on. (Was our meeting subtly influenced by the Himalayan Buddhist art only steps away? Maybe).
I liked Patti instantly – there was none of that dissonance that sometimes happens when you “know” someone in the digital world and then meet them in person. We had a terrific time talking…and talking. But what was special that day was that I came away inspired. Really inspired. When she picked up my camera, turned it over in her hands, flipped a switch and started shooting, it was like some bubble burst and grew inside me – it’s hard to describe, but something about her approach and ease with the camera revealed the potential for other ways into my relationship with that tricky black box.
Patti was curious about the Art filters in the camera, so she dialed around through a few of them and shot what we saw from our table. The shots above and below haven’t been processed at all.
We covered cameras, processing, blogging, tumblr, flickr and the rest. It’s too bad we couldn’t spend more time together – I would love to roam the streets with her. But no reason to complain. It was good just as it was (yes, the Rubin Buddhism influence is seeping in).
I started using the art filters again. I had tried them out when I first got the camera, but then reverted back to aperture priority.
It was one of those days when the light was all wrong and few interesting scenes presented themselves. I walked with an off-center kind of feeling, questioning of my own approach. Here and there, I found a few opportunities. The green tables ready to be set up for an event under the green foliage of Union Square, and the snaking fence with its yellow caution tape were nice. Three stools in a coffee shop begged to be shot with the Dramatic Tone filter, and Sycamore tree shadows reaching around the corner of a building seemed right for the sepia filter.
Sometimes you get lucky! In the subway I pressed the shutter just as the train left the 14th Street station, resulting in a layered double exposure look that I couldn’t have planned.
If you like speeding trains, take a look at Patti’s latest shot of one – it’s fantastic.
There’s that intrusive chair!
Let’s do something about it:
Not quite successful, but it’s all about experimenting, and learning.
And learn I did.
In the cafe, Patti shot what she saw – people. It’s something I rarely do because it makes me uncomfortable. Patti has a knack for disarming people. She can walk up to people and get the most wonderful expressions. She has a way of seeing – and revealing – the humanity in any given moment.
We all have our strengths as artists and we want to develop them, which includes trying out new things, however uncomfortable. But taking photos of strangers? That’s tough for me.
Yesterday we drove up into the mountains to a tiny town called Index. It’s a center for whitewater rafting and rock climbing. The Outdoor Adventure Center there operates a cafe where they serve up bratwurst hot off the grill alongside a slew of local beers. We stopped for a bite. As we sat down, I noticed two tired-looking men at a table with taped-up hands. The dirty, worn tape across their knuckles spoke volumes. Before they could start cutting it off, I bravely walked over and asked if I could photograph their hands.
I thought of Patti. (“Patti would have no trouble with this. Just do it!”).
So here’s to meeting new friends and being inspired. Many of you have gotten together with other bloggers when traveling. It’s just one aspect of the cross pollination that is happening all the time. Cheers to that!