The High Line

This afternoon, at the end of a lovely portrait session starring a charming 2-year-old, I found myself atop New York City’s High Line, and just had to take the opportunity for a stroll.

It was a perfect late summer day in New York – cloudless sky, warm air, cool breeze – and the sun was shining all over the place, literally. For those of you not familiar, NYC’s High Line is old railroad bridges [turned urban park-space] that wind over, under, and through the buildings of Manhattan’s west side.

It is located near the Hudson River, so as the sun went westward this afternoon, the nearby buildings reflected bright, beautiful light in all kinds of directions off the windows of the surrounding buildings. The result was something like movie set lighting, only more abstract.

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Merry Un-Birthday Party

My dad is turning 60 this year, and we wanted to throw him a party while all three of us children of his were in town for a visit – a rare thing, in and of itself, with our habitats spread from the east coast to the Rocky Mountains! The timing fell in the beginning of September – nearly 3 months before his actual birthday. As I planned the event, I couldn’t help thinking of Alice in Wonderland’s mad tea party, featuring the “Merry Un-Birthday” song, and used the idea of a colorful, festive tea party as inspiration for a soiree suitable for my old man and his guests (ranging in age from 4 months to 65 years!) in my parents’ country home.

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Captioned Photos Now Online! – Plus, Submit More!!

Several weeks ago, I launched a reverse photo caption “contest” (inspired by the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, and my brilliant consultant Melea Seward) to create captions for photos not yet in existence. My facebook fans have come up with lots of captions for non-existent photos, and I just want to give a big, fat THANK YOU to everyone who submitted one of these really interesting, creative, and inspiring captions. I was intrigued by what people came up with, and surprised at the various ways that people undertook a somewhat unusual request (although, one would hope, by degrees more interesting than some program’s algorithm determining what Disney princess by which one would be most accurately represented – for example – which is what they might otherwise be occupied with on facebook).

It was such a strange challenge to make photographs that adhered to the captions, and it was knowing that the people who submitted them would be checking back to see how I did that really drove me on this project. I absolutely love the collaborative nature of having people’s ideas in the mix to stretch my work in new directions, helping my creativity by giving it parameters I could never have established all on my own. Since my fans so generously shared caption ideas with me, I wanted to share a bit about my internal process of creating the photos, as well as some of the results.

Shooting the captions developed, over the course of the project, into an assessment of various creative approaches to solving a problem. This in and of itself is interesting, because it demonstrated to me that I had been truly stretched out of my comfort zone, and had to explore a few different ways of approaching the task at hand.

First, I tried shooting my literal impression of the images – letting them into my head, and then “trying” to get a photo of the thing I envisioned. This definitely worked, but it felt somewhat belabored.

“The other side of the coin.”
Photo caption by Stephen Sloboda

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