For Patti

Through the blinds, before sunrise this morning.

Yesterday I learned that Patti Fogarty had died. We hadn’t been in touch for quite a while but she was such a life force, so vividly herself, that I thought – I hoped – the news couldn’t be about her. It must be someone else – could there be another Patti Fogarty who’s a street photographer in New York? No, unfortunately, the news was about the Patti I knew.

We met online about six years ago, after following each other’s blogs. We appreciated one another’s work. Patti’s blog, “Nylon Daze” was mostly New York street photography, just the right injection of vivid energy I craved every now and then. Though I left the city very deliberately, I missed its vitality. Patti lived for life on the street, gravitating toward the wilder characters who exemplify the creative self-expression that New York encourages in people.

Lots of people do street photography but Patti approached her subject – basically all of NYC humanity – with great love, and it showed. She had a sharp eye for humor and the contradictions life presents. Replying to a comment WordPress two years ago, Patti said, “… as an immigrant living here in NY I always see America as that vast land stretching beyond the Hudson River with awe and wonder at how this crazy place works. And how can we be sure a certain POTUS doesn’t f*** it all up? There’s the doom factor!”

Our styles were very different – Patti photographed city street life, fearlessly walking up to anyone and everyone, relishing events like Pride parades, protests, and traffic-halting snowstorms. I photograph alone in the woods, mostly. I enjoy working on my photos in post processing and I like telling a story with words and text on WordPress. Patti preferred to be spontaneous, direct, emotional, in the moment. No wonder she eventually migrated to Instagram and Tumblr.

Here’s the way she tells it (see her April 11 comment under the photo.)

She was a true New Yorker, coming from somewhere else and falling in love with the energy of the city, like so many before her. After a trip to England she said, “Sometimes I think the best part about traveling is coming back to New York.  For all it’s faults, rough edges etc I always almost want to kiss the ground once I get back here.” Always generous with praise, she encouraged people to follow their paths, wherever they lead. Once she said, “Funny isn’t it where we find our comfort zones, not looking at something but rather searching for some thing . . . “

In the spring of 2016 Patti and I finally met in person. I was in New York and we agreed to meet at the Rubin Museum, which was convenient for us both. I thought we might see the exhibit after coffee but we never got to that, launching straight into intense conversation as if we’d been friends for years. Patti asked about my camera. When I said “Here, take a look” she began shooting. I watched, fascinated. There was something physical about the way she handled the camera, without hesitation. She fiddled with the art filter settings on the camera, took some pictures, and that eventually led to this post. I came away inspired that day by Patti’s involvement with the camera as a tool, and by her direct engagement with the world.

In October, 2017, we got together one more time when I returned to the city for a visit. We met near the World Trade Center, walked around West Street, Battery City and the World Financial Center, then sat down for a snack in the plaza by North Cove Harbor. Patti was as lively and curious as ever. While we sat and talked I photographed the buildings around us, again using the in-camera filter to dramatize the scene. Patti set people at ease, even as her own restless energy charged the air.

After we parted company I prowled the streets, relishing views that I used to pass on the way home from work. I wandered down to Battery Park. There were asters blooming and Monarch butterflies flying around. A wedding party clowned for their photographer. Throughout the afternoon traces of Patti’s energy wove through my own nostalgia for New York, making for a day in the city that felt slightly bittersweet, but very much at home.

Life got busy, as it often does. Instagram, where Patti posted, frustrated me with its too-quick takes, so I seldom looked at it. Patti wasn’t visiting WordPress much either, and we fell out of touch. I feel terrible about that now, but this is life. Like a friend said, Patti’s sudden death is a stark reminder to be thankful for the days we have.

Here’s to Patti, may she live long in our memories and continue to inspire us.

Patti on Instagram

Patti on Monochromia

Patti on Tumblr

Patti on WordPress

***


51 comments

  1. So sorry for the loss of your friend Patti, Lynn. It is a shame you both lost touch with each other but there is so much to our lives that requires our time in ways that don’t always allow keeping in touch or making visits. We never do know what’s coming next so, yes, make the best of all our moments.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Lynn this is a wonderful tribute to Patti. The news came as a shock to me also. I talked to her about three weeks before she traveled to London. Her passing was sudden and I still can’t believe I’ll never see her again on my trips into Manhattan from Long Island. It seems like Patti affects everyone the same way she affected you and I. Thank you for posting this tribute and also for visiting Monochromia and reading my post. I will miss her so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You seem so different but you share a love for photography. I hate to lose track of anyone but sometimes it happens. In these circumstances there are regrets. I’m sorry for those, Lynn, and for the life that she can no longer share with us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for that wonderful post. I learned of Patti’s death indeed on Instagram and was also quite shocked. I did not know her but I really liked her energetic style and her humour. It’s really sad news.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m sorry you lost your friend but am glad you got to meet her. Online friendships are real and I believe they will come to be more valued and better understood: as one example. we often reveal things we never mention offline and know each other the better for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s interesting to read what you say about online friendships. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting half a dozen people I met online now, and it is all an enriching process. I think the digital age brings the possibility of meeting more people with varying backgrounds, and even beliefs. 🙂 Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome, Barry…I feel like I saw a comment from you on a post of Patti’s at some point but it must have been someone else’s post. There’s a lot of cross-pollination going on in the blogging world, which is a good thing. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very sorry, Lynn. You wrote a nice elegy for her. We always seem to spend so much of our time working, commuting, standing in lines, doing mundane chores, etc. and have so little time left for friends. But it sounds like you guys enjoyed whatever time you spent together.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your comment strikes a chord, Robert. One thing or another gets in the way of things we might do that are more meaningful, like keep in touch with freinds and family. But it is what it is and you’re right, there are good times to remember. Happily, there is also lots of material online – her words, as well as her photos, were often so full of life and humor. Take care and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Your touching tribute to Patti Fogarty makes me sad, even though I have not known her.
    I feel your sadness through your cheerful memories of her and feel sorry for her, and for you.
    And I will go looking for her photos in memoriam …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, that’s a good analogy for Patti. She was a downtown NY arts kind of person, and that’s what the Velvet Underground was. Another good one is gone, so keep up the work, keep making art, that’s all we can do. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Steve – I was aware of the video and thought of including it, but somehow, it didn’t quite convey the Patti I knew. There seems to be some awkwardness among the interviewer, videographer and interviewee. Who knows. In any case, it’s good to have it. Thanks again.

      Like

    • Thanks for commenting, Otto, I’m not surprised that you knew her blog and enjoyed it. Her photographs had the immediacy that street photography should have, and you could really feel her love for all kinds of people – something that I know you resonate with.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a pleasure to hear from you, Paul This was written under duress, as you’d guess, so how nice to read your comment. She had great spirit and energy. I hope all is well with you – enjoy the holiday!

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  8. So sorry to hear about this, Lynn – and you have written this so well. I see you have “Patti Kuche” in the tags – was that also her name, I’m sure I recall that name. And I followed your link to her images on your blog – wonderful stuff! A 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s her maiden name, sorry I didn’t explain. You can find her under that name and you’ve probably seen her blog at some point. I’m glad you followed the link and enjoyed her work – it was very spontaneous and full of life, and expressed the energy of a part of the city that I knew so very well. Thanks so much, Adrian, I appreciate your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so sorry to hear about your loss! Such a said incident can be a reminder, to be more aware of our friends and people we care about, but like you said, that is the way it is in life. We meet and we depart again, like planets that circle around the universe, that touch each other and then continue their journey through the outer space. At least you shared a valuable time together and what I read about it it seemed to be a very vivid one! I am sure you both enjoyed it likewise. A very nice tribute to your friend Patti. I like her pictures and her sense of humor! Her photos of people are very! intense and I think one can feel her love and joy she found in this special city. Remember what you shared with her! Through her pictures a part of her will stay here with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Like planets – that’s a good analogy. Our first meeting made a really strong impression on me – the way she handled my camera, there was something different about it that was fascinating. I’m glad you followed a link and looked at her photos. It seems that you also see the intensity and affection for humanity in them. Thank you, Almuth! I hope you had a good day today. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I can see that very well. I don’t know if I ever saw such intense pictures! What energy she must have had, so much power! I saw her black and white pictures as well, landscapes and other objects. They are good, but I like her NYC pictures even more. They are really outstanding! Thank you for the links and your post!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. When I read your news, and your words about Patti herself, I felt she had to be the person you’d mentioned during your 2017 visit to New York. It’s wonderful that you had the opportunity not only to admire her work, but also to enjoy her companionship. The same intensity and affection you mention as hallmarks of her photos shines in your words about her.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a very bad news, so sorry. I only knew Patty from the web, times ago we were following each other’s blogs. “Nylon Daze” is still among my bookmarked blogs. Her photography was simple but accurate and a pleasure to look at. It was for me a way to “live” the NewYork experience from the other side of the ocean.
    She will be missed. Thanks for this nice tribute to Patti.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So you knew her too from Nylon Daze – I was really sorry when she stopped blogging. I too enjoyed the vicarious pleasure aspect – having lived in NYC for many years, it kept those fires burning for me. Thank you for your comment, Robert.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. There’s never an easy way to lose friends. I seem to be getting to an age… but there’s still all the delightful memories stored in the brain cells with an added bonus of digital images we can enjoy over and over. What a delightful tribute.

    Like


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