Monday, June 30, 2008

Musical Inspiration

I didn't learn how to speak any English until I was about 3 or 4 years old. My parents spoke English because they had been in the U.S. for several years by the time I was born, but, at home, it was Spanish only. Even though I spoke no English, by the time I was two I knew every word to Pink Floyd "The Wall" and the Beatles "White Album"...my parents love music - my father especially, and, my mother had an appreciation for the really good stuff thanks to him. My sister and I still remember the day that our dad brought home his first CD - it was
Dire Straits - and we listened to it over and over again on the machine that looked nothing like a record player.

I still love music - all different kinds. When I take photos I can almost always connect the image to a song that I've heard, that I've loved, that I don't really like, whatever. Almost always I can pick a verse and to me, it relates directly with the moment that I've captured with my camera.

EDIT: My dad has informed me that the first cd he ever brought home was "Sade" "The Sweetest Taboo" :)

I love U2. I don't know any person who doesn't appreciate or feel inspired by their music, their poetry. Both of these images, for different reasons, brought to mind the lyrics and music to "A Man and a Woman". People have different interpretations of the lyrics and for that reason, I think that while these two photos are wildly different, they can both be inspired by the same words.

This image is titled:
"How Can I Hurt When I'm Holding You"

I took this photograph in La Plata, Argentina, near the house where my father grew up and where my grandmother, aunt and uncle, now live. This is one of the few roads in the area that is still unpaved. This couple was holding hands when I saw them and they were coming toward us while we were in the car. I asked my uncle to slow down and I stuck my head out of the sunroof to take the photo. There was something so natural about them, riding bikes down this old dirt road. They weren't talking or anything but there was this comfortable and loving way about them. In the split second that I snapped this image, I thought how lovely and in love they seemed and then when I looked at the image on my screen, the words of this U2 song about life, love and choices, immediately came to my mind.

how can I hurt when I'm holding you?

This image is titled:
"The Only Pain is to Feel Nothing At All"

Sometimes a title for an image just clicks but sometimes I have to really sit with it and think about them. This is a photograph of a reclining Buddha in a temple in Chaing Mai, Thailand. I wasn't even sure if I really liked the image the first time I saw it on my computer screen but the light enchanted me and I played with different light balances to achieve these tones. The more I looked at this photograph, the more I liked it. I started to think about Buddhism and the calm nature of the Thai people and then this verse from this song just came to my mind. This Buddha looks so content and at peace.

the only pain is to feel nothing at all


Lyrics:

Little sister don’t you worry about a thing today
Take the heat from the sun
Little sister
I know that everything is not ok
But you’re like honey on my tongue

True love never can be rent
But only true love can keep beauty innocent

I could never take a chance
Of losing love to find romance
In the mysterious distance
Between a man and a woman
No I could never take a chance
‘Cos I could never understand
The mysterious distance
Between a man and a woman

You can run from love
And if it’s really love it will find you
Catch you by the heel
But you can’t be numb for love
The only pain is to feel nothing at all
How can I hurt when I’m holding you?

I could never take a chance
Of losing love to find romance
In the mysterious distance
Between a man and a woman

And you’re the one, there’s no-one else
You make me want to lose myself
In the mysterious distance
Between a man and a woman

Brown eyed girl across the street
On rue Saint Divine
I thought this is the one for me
But she was already mine
You were already mine…

Little sister
I’ve been sleeping in the street again
Like a stray dog
Little sister
I’ve been trying to feel complete again
But you’re gone and so is God

The soul needs beauty for a soul mate
When the soul wants… the soul waits …

No I could never take a chance
Of losing love to find romance
In the mysterious distance
Between a man and a woman

For love and faith and sex and fear
And all the things that keep us here
In the mysterious distance
Between a man and a woman

How can I hurt when I’m holding you?

Friday, June 27, 2008

All Water

I love to take photos of the ocean, rivers, streams and lakes. Some people find landscapes boring - they whittle them down to a simple scene. I completely disagree. Sometimes, yes, the ocean is simply the ocean, but, sometimes, with the right light, the right mood and the right weather, it is alive and angry or solemn or forceful or calm. Sometimes a body of water is so clear that it reflects the sky above it and sometimes it is so polluted that it is sad to think that it even exists. Either way, I look at it as an opportunity and as something that connects us. I look at the water and I feel like it is a living, breathing thing that makes me feel.

Patagonia, Argentina
Blue


Tulum, Mexico
para reclamar mi lugar


Paris, France
the bank


Laguna Beach, California
It's Always Sunny in California


Patagonia, Argentina
Patagonia Fall


East Hampton, New York
Sos el paisaje más soñado


Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The Welcome

Manchester, Vermont
In Nature


Montauk Point, New York
Watch


Tigre, Buenos Aires, Argentina
por el rio


Iguazu Falls, Argentina
looking for something

Tulum, Mexico


Prague
Prague

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Street Photography

The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.

-Robert Doisneau

Curious Boy

things I do not understand

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In Color and in Black and White

There are times when I take a photograph and I see it in
black and white only
. To me, the scene will just call for black and white and
color is all wrong.

Similarly, there are times when black and white is all wrong and colors just make the image what it is.

Then there are those times when I take a photograph and I have a difficult time deciding if black and white or color would be better. Of course the focus is on different things when an image is in color or when it is in black and white, and, naturally, someone's perception of an image is completely personal. In black and white the focus is often on light and shadow, contrast and tone, and images seem more moody. In color, we often focus on the range of colors and the intensity of the colors and what they add to the scene. When I see an image in both color and in black and white, I make both. Of course whether to process in color or in black and white is completely subjective and with photoshop, it can be whatever I want it to be. What do you think?

Here are some that I saw only in b&w:



We Are All Shades of Grey

to be young

Lines in the Sand

Repeat

In the Windows


Here are some that I saw only in color:

Breath

Clarity

Ride It

An Eye For Jazz Fest

New Rain City

Here are some as both:

Brick...House

Manhattan Reds

After the Rain

Lost in Translation

The Aloof

The Shy



I'll be Round

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Biography of a Different Kind of Woman

let's see colors that have never been seen


I recently updated my biography. It's very odd to write about yourself in the third person. I thought very long and hard about writing it - what to say, what not to say, how to say it, etc. Putting my work out and opening myself up on my website, flickr, this blog and all the other sites, has not been very easy for me. I am outgoing and open but guardedly so. In fact, I put off starting this blog for a long time because I just didn't feel comfortable putting myself out there. So, most times when I click the "Publish Post" button, my stomach turns a bit. Writing the bio and the artist statement was hard for me partly because I never had to do it before and also because the information is obviously so revealing. I suppose this is what a lot people go through when they are trying to write their bio or an artist statement.

In a bio you are writing about yourself, your accomplishments, your life, your interests. The artist statement is a statement about your work that reflects all these things that you write about in your bio.
My photographs certainly define a large part of who I am, how I see, what I want to say, what I want to hide and the artist statement is supposed to explain all of this. It was not an easy task for me to write my artist statement and apparently other people have not enjoyed it either.

I'm getting ready for the show in Argentina and have worked with one of my aunts to translate the bio and the artist statement. So here is the bio in English and in Spanish.

BIO

Monica L. Shulman (née Lima) recently left a career as a corporate finance attorney to explore her passion for photography. She is a self-taught photographer who studied oil painting and charcoal drawing at a young age while practicing the development of photographs in her parents' basement with her father, an amateur photographer.

In 1995 Monica moved to Boston, Massachusetts where she studied political science and French at
Boston University. She lived briefly in Paris, France until returning to New York where she graduated from law school in 2004 and began practicing law. In an effort to find a creative outlet while working as an attorney, Monica reconnected with her love of art and photography.

Monica is a first generation American of Cuban, Argentinean and Italian descent. She speaks three languages fluently and her diverse background has greatly influenced her photographs and her love of travel, foreign languages, art and architecture. She is constantly searching for new styles and original approaches to photography, and in particular, travel and street photography. She always carries her camera with her and she views the street as her blank canvas. Monica currently has collections of recent trips to, among other locations: Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico; Paris, France; Miami, Florida; Misiones, Argentina; Buenos Aires, Argentina; New Orleans, Louisiana; the Hamptons and Montauk Point, Long Island, New York; Thailand; and, Cambodia.

Her work can be found at the Rogallery in Long Island City, New York and at the Kingston Station Restaurant and Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts. In February 2008 Monica participated at the Art Expo in New York City and in June 2008 she published a book of travel and street photography entitled "Connected". Monica is continually encouraged and inspired by her hometown, New York City, where she lives with her husband.


Mónica L. Shulman (née Lima) recientemente dejó la carrera de abogada de una corporación financiera para explorare su pasión por la fotografía. Mónica es una fotógrafa autodidacta que tomó clases de pinturas al óleo y dibujos al carbón a una edad muy temprana, a la misma vez que practicaba el desarrollo de la fotografía en el sótano de su casa con su padre, un fotógrafo amateur.

En 1995, Mónica se trasladó a la ciudad de Boston, Massachusetts, para estudiar la carrera de ciencias políticas e idioma francés en la Universidad de Boston. Vivió por un corto tiempo en Paris, Francia, y luego regresó a la ciudad de Nueva York en donde se graduó de la escuela de leyes en el 2004 y comenzó a ejercer su carrera de abogada. Tratando de buscar un escape creativo mientras trabajaba como abogada, Mónica se reconectó con su amor por el arte y la fotografía.

Mónica pertenece a una primera generación de norteamericanos descendientes de cubanos, argentinos e italianos. Ella habla tres idiomas con fluidez y la diversidad de sus raíces ha tenido una notable influencia en sus fotografías y en su pasión por viajar, aprender lenguas extranjeras, el arte, y la arquitectura. Constantemente anda en busca de estilos innovadores y métodos originales en la fotografía, y en particular, en la fotografía captada en sus viajes y las escenas callejeras que presencia. Adonde quiera que vaya, su cámara es su compañera y las calles se convierten en el lienzo virgen donde plasmar su visión.

Actualmente, Mónica posee una colección de sus más recientes viajes, entre los que se encuentran la Península de Yucatán en México; las ciudades de Paris en Francia, Miami en la Florida, Misiones y Buenos Aires en la Argentina, Nueva Orleans en Luisiana; además de los Hamptons y Montauk Point en Long Island, Nueva York; Tailandia; y Camboya.

Sus obras se encuentran en Rogallery en Long Island City en Nueva York y en la Galería y Restaurante de la Estación de Kingston en Boston, Massachusetts. En Febrero del 2008, Mónica exhibió sus fotografías en el Art Expo en la ciudad de Nueva York y en Junio del 2008 publicó un libro con fotografías de sus viajes y escenas callejeras titulado "Connected". Mónica está constantemente motivada e inspirada por su ciudad natal, la ciudad de Nueva York, en donde reside con su esposo.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Of a Curious Nature

Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask "how," while others of a more curious nature will ask "why." Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.

Man Ray



Monday, June 16, 2008

Starstruck

I rarely get starstruck, but, it happened today. A dear friend of mine is a beautiful singer and she had the opportunity to be photographed by the renowned photographer, Mr. Gilles Bensimon, for the cover of her soon-to-be-released jazz album. I admit studio shooting and fashion photography is not a specialty of mine but obviously I can appreciate it (in fact, I love it); I consider W, Vogue, Vanity Fair and Elle required reading - the photographs are works of art. But, no matter what kind of photography you prefer or enjoy, meeting someone like this is grand and, of course, so much fun.

Thank you for inviting me along, R. It was a fabulous afternoon. You looked amazing and I was thrilled to be there and share the afternoon with you.



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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Manhattan Summer Weekends

I love summer in the city. Sure, it is hot, but, whenever we can't make it to the beach or the pool, we enjoy an afternoon walking around town. A lot of people go away for the weekend and for those of us who stay behind, we enjoy streets that are less crowded, cabs that are unoccupied, restaurants where you can actually get a reservation and bars with less B&T. Those of us who hang out in Manhattan during the summer weekends can enjoy the bright colors and wonderful smells of the street fairs and the general goodness of a stroll through the Green Market in Union Square (for those of us who are working when it is held during the week) and all the other random things that happen in our fine city. I love New York.

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Astor Place Street Vendor

Green With Envy

Out to Dry

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Pipes

Kebabs on Park Avenue

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