Got invited to a minor league baseball game–the Brooklyn Cyclones–who play at KeySpan Park located near the boardwalk, just beneath the landmarked parachute jump, with the Cyclone roller coaster visible beyond the scoreboard in left field.
Big crowd on hand as word had gotten out that Carlos Beltran, the injured Mets all star centerfielder, would be emerging from rehab to play with the Cyclones. He went 1 for 3 with a walk and single. Hit a line drive to the warning track that was caught, got picked off at first base (bad call by the ump), and struck out awkwardly in his last at bat. Read more here.
There’s an article in the Guardian from a few days ago linking the increasing harassment of photographers to the general fear of terrorism. I think there’s some truth to that. The author also relates it to movie plots in which terrorists seem always to be casing the joint with a camera.
I think the latter point is a bit overstated, but I do believe that there is an increased climate of distrust in the air–certainly post-911–but I believe it started before that. Photographers have become psychological scapegoats, the victims of heightened vigilance, even paranoia. Ironically, this climate has emerged at the same that photography has been greatly democratized by digital cameras, websites, flickr, and other online means of disseminating images. The world is awash in pictures; yet we fear the power of photographs more than ever.
As one who has experienced first hand what it’s like to try taking pictures in a communist country, I greatly sympathize with the quote below posted on the blog the Online Photographer.
I remember reading an article about East Germany in _National Geographic_ back in the early ’70s, in which the author describes being harassed by the Volkspolizei for having taken a photograph of something he “shouldn’t” have–a bridge or some other public edifice, as I recall. I remember thinking “Boy, I’m sure glad that sort of thing can’t happen in the USA!”
Just a few years ago, some colleagues of mine from Germany were taking in the sights along the Mall in Washington DC, taking pictures of the grand public edifices. Apparently they took a photograph of something they “shouldn’t” have, as they were stopped and questioned twice by police, and were obliged to delete several shots from their digital cameras.
It was a nice country, while it lasted. Perhaps it isn’t too late to take it back.
Today, I continued working on a series of photographs of Civil War monuments in Brooklyn–specifically Green-Wood Cemetery. There are a number of memorials here of celebrated generals, but also many of the unsung who died on the battlefield. There are many other famous New Yorkers buried here as well. As I was setting up a shot of the Civil War Soldiers’ Monument, I looked down and saw, at my feet, the grave of Leonard Bernstein, the conductor and composer.
Clouds moved in during the afternoon, and as I was packing up my camera I spotted a diminutive stone fireman surrounded by flags and flowers. The first line of the inscription read: On September 11, 2001, the rescuers at the World Trade Center not only saved over 25,000 lives – they saved America.
The fireman was depicted almost as a doll-like figure despite the detailed uniform and equipment. Less a hero, more a huggable object. It’s a curious need, to fetishize these heroes of 9/11 who were doing their jobs. Who acted as heroes as they did every day when confronted by burning buildings or other dangers. I was struck, however, by the face of the real firefighter in the laminated photos hung around the statue’s neck, his vitality a rebuke to the awkward carving and grandiose prose etched in stone.