Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the living room incident

I'm feeling a bit traumatized. I'm cold, I feel a little itchy and I'm traumatized. I have an irrational fear of bugs. I feel scratchy just thinking about this. A few weeks ago I started jumping up and down in the living room yelling and scaring the hell out of D. I was rendered temporarily speechless, unable to make any sound other than "eee!!! aaahhh!!!" until I was finally able to muster "a bug, a roach, eew, a bug, get up, kill it! eeee!!!" My poor husband. Honestly. He was sitting on the couch and I was walking from the kitchen to the living room when I saw the disgusting culprit coming from under the couch. It was one of the huge mama roaches. My super says they are water bugs. He tried to kill it but the filthy thing got away, made it's way back under the couch and into the wall. Over the summer I left a pair of shoes by the door to our terrace and when I came inside I saw one inside the shoe. I almost passed out. After the living room incident D confessed that he had seen one in the bathroom a few weeks before but did not tell me about it so I wouldn't freak out. Why would he think I would freak out?! The next day I nuked our apartment.

I've lived in New York City for six years - one year in Brooklyn, two years in Queens and three years in Manhattan. I love living in the city. I love that you can get anywhere in less than 10 minutes by hailing a cab. I love that you can get everything from milk to Chinese food to movies to ice cream at all hours. I love the lull of the sound of the cars racing down the street outside my window. I love that you are always somewhere with something to do. I love it all. But, there are some things that I hate about this city. Hate is indeed a strong word but I would say that the one thing that I really hate about this city, or any city, are the bugs.

We have never, ever had a bug problem. We're clean. We don't leave food out. I clean inside my oven every week even though it's used primarily for storage, I clean under the bed all the time, I clean and clean and clean even though I have a cleaning lady! Unfortunately, as we all know, in New York, you can be Lady Macbeth but if your neighbors are dirty or don't like to let the exterminator in, you're screwed.

Last night after a lovely family dinner to celebrate the Jewish new year we got back home and headed to the couch to detox after all the brisket and Pinot Noir. D fell asleep and I caught up on the DVRed shows from last week. I was in food coma heaven. At around 2am he went to the bedroom and then came the "oh, shit." Another freaking water bug, roach thing. I freaked out again. D was half asleep and I was screaming like a lunatic. I ran to the kitchen to grab the Ortho spray that I bought after the living room incident and ran back to the bedroom (ps-our apartment is 850 square feet so it's not like I was running from the east wing to the west wing) and started to spray into the closet, the thing ran under the bed, I kept spraying and I think my heart actually skipped a beat. I didn't find it. It's probably decomposing under my bed next to the Target storage things that have my winter sweaters.

I can deal with this in the living room, in the bathroom, in the kitchen...but the bedroom. Hell no. I called the super but he insists that they are water bugs and not roaches and no one else is complaining about them.

Sometimes I don't love New York.

Here's a shot of New York water...I bet things even more disgusting than water bugs live in there. Alligators maybe...according to urban legend. This is the East River at the base of the Manhattan Bridge...



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Sunday, September 28, 2008

good dreaming

I really admire the work of Mr. Wayne Miller. He is a Magnum Photo contributor and I really like this quote that I found on Magnum website today.

"I think good dreaming is what leads to good photographs."
Wayne Miller

walking west

we're just ordinary people

I'll be Round

The Woman Under the Bridge

step by step

Of a Curious Nature

The Boy at Home on the River


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Friday, September 26, 2008

"Connected" - My Book Discussed on Flowgram

A while ago I blogged about Flowgram and introduced you to my first Flowgram photo commentary "where they play" - you can see the sidebar to view the Flowgram and to comment on it.

I've recently finished my latest Flowgram, "Connected", which is a commentary on each of the photographs that appears in my book, "Connected" published through Blurb.

I love using Flowgram and I think that you will too. Check it out!



By Monica L. Shulman




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Thursday, September 25, 2008

YouTube Me

I met so many wonderful people when I exhibited at ArteClasica in Buenos Aires this year. It was such a pleasure to be in one of my favorite cities showing my work. While I was there, I was approached by the producers of a well-known arts and entertainment program. They interviewed me and the show was broadcast a few weeks later on cable on national television in Argentina.

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous. First of all, the show is obviously taped in Spanish and while it was my first language and I am fluent (relatively) and can articulate my thoughts, it is much easier for me to express myself in English...especially when discussing my work. I think it went well even though I said "I don't know" what seems like a million times. The truth is that in Spanish, it's a space filler. It's not like I literally "don't know" what she was asking or what my response would be. It's not as bad as saying "like" which I find to be very irritating and I'm working on almost eliminating from my vocabulary, but it's more "like" saying "you know" - which is equally as annoying although not as offensive as "like, you know".

And then, of course, there was the matter of what to wear, how's my hair (always frizz-central), makeup, etc. Well, I did my own 'do and makeup (with some touch-ups by their amazing make-up artist who incidentally I chatted with for a while and she's studying to be a lawyer - so many of us who are trying other things on the side!) and I think it was all pretty fabulous.

I apologize for the lack of subtitles...I have to work on it and see if I can at least put together a transcript translation!

I had a great time and I am so grateful to have met Patricia, the host of the show, and all of her producers.

Please check out the video on YouTube. And, thanks to my good friend Nate who helped me with the video and who tolerates my ridiculous, borderline absurd questions when it comes to, like, you know, internet stuff. ;-) Thanks, Naaate!



Television Interview in Argentina

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Inspiration Grows in Brooklyn

I've been wanting to go to take photos in DUMBO for a while now. I didn't want it to become one of those things on my list of "to-do" that never happens so I coordinated with one of my favorite bloggers since she lives in Brooklyn and set a place and time.

As cliche as it sounds, I never fully appreciated Brooklyn when I lived there and this was most apparent to me last week when I went back to take photos. I love it there. I think I love it just because it's wonderful but part of me realizes that I love it because that's where D and I first fell in love and where we first lived together as a couple.

Beyond my personal attachments to the borough, I love the mix of urban and suburban and the feeling that you are in New York City but much more relaxed across the river. Also, I love that feeling that you are somehow much cooler than your Manhattan counterparts.

We spent a few hours roaming the streets of DUMBO and I was happy to find someone who has mastered the art of taking photos while listening intently to conversation and making conversation and who totally gets the need to take 30 shots of the same puddle of water or fire-escape or window or rusty wall. Also, I was very thankful to find someone who loves pizza as much as I do. Get thee to Grimaldi's!!

Thanks, Amy, for a great afternoon...when are we doing it again?!

There are many more of this wonderful day but they'll have to come later...



























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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Point and Click

There's too much to read out there. I honestly just can't get to it all. If I read everything I wanted to read, I would be sitting in front of my computer all day long just pointing and clicking my way through life. What kind of life is that? I have very important things to do - like trying to find a way to organize my photographs in a cohesive way (I'm having some trouble with this but I think I'm going to start here.

Here is a sampling of what I read today. All of these are related to photography and I can't even begin to list the other articles and blogs that I've read today - everything from New York Magazine to the New York Times to David Alan Harvey to CNN to the Atlantic to a new random website, Hats of Meat, that I actually clicked on because I saw a link on Facebook and I couldn't help but be intrigued. Plus, it's a bit depressing to repeatedly read all the news on the current economic crisis.

Incidentally, I typically share all of the photography articles on the page for the
Monica L. Shulman Photography group on Facebook. Other items that I read and find interesting are usually posted on my Facebook page.

I read this article on Slate about the controversial photographer, Jill Greenberg. The article was reprinted from its original publication in 2006. Ms. Greenberg, a photographer who is a fierce anti-Republican, made headlines last week when the Atlantic made a public apology to John McCain because of some unflattering photos that she took of the Republican nominee. The 2006 article was about Ms. Greenberg's well-known collection of images of crying children. The controversy arose because Ms. Greenberg apparently made her subjects, children, cry by giving them candy and taking it away and by using other tactics (no, she did not beat them or otherwise hit them or scare them, obviously). The parents of the children who were photographed were present at the time the portraits were taken and one of the children is Greenberg's own daughter. I remember reading about this in a photography magazine back in 2006.
Thomas Hawk, another favorite blogger of mine, reacted to her project, so did Photoshelter.

Whatever happend to that Flickr Getty Photo Licensing Deal?

Thomas Hawk is wondering and so am I? Just today I was thinking about that because I was online clicking around and reading about licensing my own work. Hmmmm. Check out Thomas Hawk's blog to learn more. The deal seems to be going through, although on a different time table than we were originally led to believe.

Here's an article in New York Magazine about a new exhibit at a Chelsea gallery that includes photos of feces. Yes, actual
poo.

I really like reading Magical Places.

Recently I read an article there about the influx of photography sites geared towards beginners and enthusiasts. In today’s wired world there’s a ton of information online, plus inspiration in the form of photography websites, photoblogs, Flickr and photo.net (to name just a few). It really is a great time to be learning about photography. This, along with cheap and powerful digital cameras and computers, is one of the reasons for the recent explosion of interest in our hobby and profession.The top four favorites listed there are:

Epic Edits.

Neil Creek.

Dan Heller (this is one of my personal favorites).


Digital Photography School
.

Here is a great post about four extraordinary South American photographers.

I love reading the Flickr blog and today I read about this great new photo project that the company is sponsoring in London. The people at Photomonth are giving Flickr members the opportunity to have their photos digitally displayed at the Photomonth Photo-Open exhibition at the Dray Walk Gallery between 29th October – 9th November 2008. The theme ‘Freedom’ has been chosen for the group, as it’s the first year that global submissions are invited to be displayed at Photomonth. ‘Freedom’ means many different things to different people and I checked out the group and the photos that have been added so far illustrates this point perfectly.

Finally, actually, not finally since I read a lot more today and just can't possibly share it all here, I love the Shutter Sisters.

Now, the real "finally" for the day is that this weekend was the baptism of the princess Paloma Aurora. What a joy to be her Godmother. When she was born my father made a CD of all songs that feature the name Paloma and Aurora. Here is my favorite song he chose and also, as a matter of fact, one of my favorite songs ever. When I would listen to this it always took me back to old places and now it takes me to new ones. I love that.

L'Aurora - Eros Ramazzotti

This photo is not from her Baptism, in fact it's a few weeks old, but I love it. To see photos from the Baptism, taken by my dad and not by me because I stupidly forgot to bring my camera (oy), click here.



ps--My new header is from a photo outing with one of the my favorite people who I've met by blogging...find her over at Montague. And, here's another...



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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Woman I Wanted to Become

When I first starting working after college, my first major splurge was a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap-dress. Whenever her American Express commercial comes on, I raise the volume and watch her being inspired in the woods. I love her. She is so beautiful, confident, talented, secure. I saw her on the street in Paris on my 30th birthday. She was strolling down the Boulevard St. Germain and she made my day. I wrote down this quote from her commercial in my Moleskin and I read it every day. She inspires me.


"I didn't really know what I wanted to do, but I knew the woman I wanted to become."

Diane Von Furstenberg


.looking at you...looking at me.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Walking on the Moon

I've always been afraid of the Dark. Until I was ten years old I shared a room with my little sister - she's not really afraid of anything. When we moved into our new house I got into the habit of sleeping with the door closed because I couldn't bear to watch the shadows dancing in the hallway beyond my door. As a "grown up" in my Manhattan apartment I sometimes have to turn the lights on just to get a drink from the kitchen less than thirty feet away from our bedroom.

I'm not afraid of many things really - just, usually, sometimes, the Dark. It sounds silly, I know. There has been so much change in my life over the last twelve months that the unknown doesn't frighten me the way it did in the past. Yet, in the Dark, no matter where it is, I can feel vulnerable and scared and I am like a child again.

We were in East Hampton last weekend and at around 9:30 we went out for milk. In the city we would make it a trip to Tasti d'Lite or Baskin Robbins and a nice walk before going to our Korean deli across the street. In East Hampton it's getting in the car and driving for five miles to try to find some place that is open. We drove a few blocks away and D asked if I wanted to go to the beach. Umm...yeh-ah. I love the beach, even at night, when it's all dark and "scary..." So we went back home and got my camera and tripod.

We drove to Main Beach in East Hampton and the parking lot lights were on and there were a few couples sitting by a bonfire. I love fall in the Hamptons because of this. Perhaps in the middle of summer there would be a hundred people there, but, in September it was us and six other people enjoying the beach and the fall breezes and sky.

Seven years ago I took a trip with my family to the Grand Canyon for my mother's 50th birthday. I was fascinated by the vastness and darkness of the place. When you go to the beach and you see that huge moon in the sky, you look down and the light is dancing on the water. You see ripples and waves and you hear the water when it touches the sand and goes back out. At the Grand Canyon you look out into the darkness and when you look up you see the huge moon but when you look for the horizon, you can't find it. When you look down, you see nothing. No sounds of water, no waves or ripples or reflections of the moonlight - just blackness. Both places have made me feel small. Both places have made me feel like there is so much out there and I am but a blip trying to make my mark. But, even though I was made to feel small by these incredible places, I feel huge and both places have helped me to overcome my fear of the Dark. Does that make sense? I'm not afraid of the Dark? Yes, for me, it's a question.

At the beach last weekend I was honestly afraid of the darkness but in a way where I felt like I conquer it. There was light all around and my settings on my camera captured it (kind of) but it didn't seem real. D encouraged me to put my feet in the water. It felt so cool on my bare feet but similar to how I felt at the Grand Canyon so long ago, it was as though it was going to eat me up, swallow me whole. Back then, that feeling overwhelmed me. Today, I feel like I could challenge it. I closed my eyes and just embraced it. When you have a fear, it's a big deal to be able to do something like that. Whether it's the ocean or an immense canyon, it's not so scary anymore. This is how I know I've come a long way.

Today I was reading and article
in the New York Times about Julian Schnabel. Incidentally, I blogged a bit about him yesterday. I think the man is so relevant, a real artistic genius with so much to say even though his reality is so unlike many artists - he's brilliant - he's the art-world equivalent of Bono, Steve Jobs, Oprah, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, I think. In any event, I read this awesome article about him and I posted it to my Facebook page. I read this line, a quote of his, in the article and it just stood out at me... I love these little accidents. In no way, shape or form am I comparing myself to him but it really resonated with me and how I was feeling when I took these photos and when I decided to blog about them and just me, in general...

“I like when I’m looking at something that’s just about to form itself. The disagreement between the surface and what’s behind it — that space in between is what interests me.”

Me too.

Most of these are not processed...you can tell by the crooked horizons and natural light and saturation. Everything was perfectly imperfect. The smell of the sea, my frizzy hair, the long shadows, the little light, the ship passing in the night and breeze, the footprints in the sand...everything.

Today's soundtrack (not related in any way to what I've written or the images but I love it and I love the film and because I really want to learn how to play the guitar)

De Usuahia a la Quiaca - Gustavo Santaolalla




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the space in between

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