Sometimes I tried to transfer what I knew from musical theory to image making.

And I can still remember one of my professors talking about Beethoven and how many motifs and variations he would have compared to other composers of his or any other time.  And then the same professor talking about the latest Beatles song.  He was really into Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds because it had both 3/4 time and 4/4 time.  Unusual in the standard popular song.

One example:

I played around with taking images that follow the regular sort of popular/folk song pattern of a few A verses and a B Refrain and back to the A part.  So when the Poets Walk shot was done I was waiting for the “B Part” to walk into frame and also hoping nobody else would walk into the shot before I clicked and ruin it.

I decided that the couple with the umbrella, who are just nicely sketched in a large print, giving you something that gives the trees scale, and also is nice in a mushy sort of way.

It surprised me that the “decisive moment” could even be applied – sometimes to landscape photography.

Precise moments in landscapes?  Sometimes.

Can there be a wrong time to click the shutter?


Poet’s Walk, Central Park in 1994. Shot with a large-format view camera during a freezing rain. This remains the most popular print I sell.

Frankly, I almost didn’t take this photograph because it was so cold and the film holders were getting wet. Just as I was about to pack up, the couple entered the scene, and I just waited until they were in the distance to try to give the looming trees some scale. A few years ago, the glistening stones were dug up and replaced by dirt. You think that everything will still be there – but as an ancient philosopher said, you can’t step in the same river twice. This image really need to be seen large to get the full effect.

What sort of questions if any, go through your head when taking a shot?  Or are you in a Zen state.  Or you don’t really know what you were thinking at the time!

I have many pictures where some “B” theme appeared magically without my even planning or thinking about it.

101 Careers is such a themed picture.  You see the garbage cans, and the scruffy guy who had just been through our garbage.  And the older guy’s startled look.  It was only months later that I noticed what I’ll call the “B Motif,” in the title of the book the guy had just pulled from the garbage.

The B part can be similar to an Easter Egg that you will hopefully discover by looking at the picture.

Shot taken in front of my house, 1995. Years later I noticed the book he held in his hand and had taken from the garbage. From film.


Published by dave

I've been photographing New York, mostly in black and white, for the last 35 years. In other words, I began in the age of Tri-x and D-76 and eventually moved into the world of pigment ink. Enjoy your stay - Dave

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.