Yeah, I’m smoking a cigarette. You got a problem with that?
Image by Ed Yourdon
This young woman strode into the middle of Verdi Square, stood silently for a moment while she surveyed the scene around her, and then walked over to a newspaper/candy stand near the subway entrance, while staring intensely at her cell phone…
Note: this photo was picked up by Flickr’s Explore list as #349 on their list for Oct 1, 2008 — but then it was dropped. Boo hoo.
Note: on Aug 10, 2009, I made minor editing improvements to this photo. I removed some overly dark "cold spots" in the background, and lightened the shadows on the woman’s pants, so you could see them more clearly.
Note: this photo was published in a Sep 16, 2009 blog titled "NYC Smoking Ban Proposal Triggers Backlash." And it was published in a Sep 22, 2009 blog titled "Decrease in heart disease linked to smoking bans." It was also published as an illustration in a Sep 2009 Mahalo blog titled "Cigarettes," at www-dot-mahalo-dot-com-slash-cigarettes. And it was published in an undated (Oct 2009) Gadgetking.com blog titled "Information on cigarette brands." More recently, it was published in a Nov 15, 2009 blog titled "A Little Bit on Stretching: Part II." And it was published in a Nov 11, 2009 blog titled "Табачный дым губит женщин быстрее."
Moving into 2010, the photo was published as an illustration in an undated (Jan 2010) Spacethru-dot-com blog. And it was published in a Feb 16, 2010 blog titled "AM News Links: Ban proposed on outdoor smoking in Amherst." It was also published in an undated (Mar 2010) untitled blog called "Beauty in everything." And it was published in a May 13, 2010 blog titled "Cool Photo Editing Images." It was also published in a May 27, 2010 blog titled "Fumadores y adolescentes, 14 años menos de vida." And it was published in a June 2, 2010 British KP Web blog, with the same title as the caption that I used on this Flickr page. It was also published in a Jun 9, 2010 German blog titled "Passivrauchen führt zu psychiatrischen Problemen." And it was published in an Aug 26, 2010 blog titled "NY’S ANTI-SMOKING INITIATIVES OR DEFICIT REDUCTION PLAN?" It was also published in a Sep 15, 2010 blog titled "City Smoking Ban May Extend to Parks and Beaches."
Moving into 2011, the photo was published in an undated (early Feb 2011) Locomotour blog , with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Feb 11, 2011 Grayslake Tobacco blog titled "N-Joy Electronic Cigarette ( Available in Stock )."
Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Mar 27, 2012 Schöne 32-bit photos blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in an Apr 30, 2012 blog titled "Smokers at Alberta Pushed Too Far." It was also published in a Jun 7, 2012 blog titled "Attention Deficit Disorders?"
Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Feb 22, 2013 blog titled "Ridings Where Young People Can Make a Difference."
This is part of an evolving photo-project, which will probably continue throughout the summer of 2008, and perhaps beyond: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan — between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.
I don’t like to intrude on people’s privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they’re still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what’s right in front of me.
I’ve also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting — literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I’ve learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture … after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it’s pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.
For the most part, I’ve deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, drunks, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don’t want to be photographed, and I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. I’m still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We’ll see how it goes …
The only other thing I’ve noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, *far* more people who are *not* so interesting. They’re probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I’ve photographed … but there was just nothing memorable about them.