Creative: Blurb New York

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The key to the city is an orange hat. (Photo by my old pal George Day.)

Three years. Three long years since I’ve descended on the city of New York as part of my ongoing Blurb adventure. (One of numerous Blurb NYC posts.) During a typical, pre-C19 year, I would often visit the city two or three times, sometimes more. It is, after all, considered the most important city in the country when it comes to photography and books. The first thing that begins to happen when friends find out I’m heading east is that I get a string of suggestions as to what to do. Museums, walks, galleries, food, spaces, places and faces. The same thing happens when I say I’m teaching in some remote location. “Oh, you are going to Peru, you should go raft the Urubamba.” “Ya, I’m teaching so not much free time, really.” “Oh, teaching.” “You should go parasailing off the Lima coast.” “Ya, again, I’m teaching, so don’t really have time for adventure or sightseeing.” “Oh, teaching.” “You should zip line over the Amazon.” You get the point. For some reason, it is difficult for folks to realize my time in the city is, without fail in twenty-five years, work.

Don’t get me wrong. I know this going in and I love my job.

Gasses emitting from the bowels of the city.

Something else that often gets lost is the fact I am so embedded in the book/photography world that my entire life is linked to this business. The vast majority of my friends are connected to books and photography. My wife was in the industry for nearly forty years and I’ve been lurking for thirty plus. There is no escaping being “The Blurb Guy.” And now with my YouTube channel I am even more connected. For the first time, I’m engaging with numerous folks who found me via the channel, and I have to say, it has been all good.

The image above was from a photowalk through Central Park. The photowalk was one event in a four day span that saw me attend to seven separate tasks. Day one was an all day affair tied to Times Square. Day two was photowalk and meetup while day three is all about the interview. Me interviewing and me being interviewed. Throw in all the separate meetings with fellow photogs, book people and friends unseen and you have a speed dating event. Throw in next week’s Blurb Town Hall, my upcoming Blurb portfolio class, my outside work with another art group asking me to make a pitch, my Albania class and my five additional events linked to my upcoming roadtrip and what you have is a situation of near total overload. Three AM note taking is a routine thing now. (This sucks.)

These are really good eating.

But let’s talk about what really matters; orange hats. I brought this hat specifically for the photowalk because I knew how chaotic the park would be. Packed with spring revelers. The students got a laugh out of the hat but several mentioned to me during the walk that they would have lost the group without me wearing this little gem. I was the only orange hat in the entire park, at least from my time looking. To walk and talk, walk and shoot was a complete joy. It has been SO long since this was a thing in my life. And I don’t view a photowalk, or a workshop for that matter, as a time to make some type of portfolio piece. These events for me are permission slips to let my mind and eye wander. A time to think, to take chances and to update my photo-fitness. I gave a picture package assignment and saw some solid work at the coffee shop meetup. This is the point. Walk, shoot, edit, present. And ya, get freaked on caffeine.

What is abundantly clear is that people are ready to engage. As the world emerges from C19 slumber there is a ravenous attitude coming from the creative world. This is a good thing. The decision, of course, is choosing what and how to best do this. What audience? What budget? What plan? For those who were able to come in person, thank you. For those that didn’t get to come, next time. One more half day here and then it’s the slog west. The dust and wind and high crackle of my coyote friends. I know I’m heading home.

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