Sunday, October 26, 2014

When Wine Isn’t Enough

We all have things that propel us forward. For some it is money, power or fame. Even in our little rarefied world of wine, we all have those reference points that give us meaning. Maybe it is a good vintage. Maybe it is finally making Sangiovese taste like Sangiovese. Maybe it is getting to a point where one’s influence is felt outside of one’s own sphere. Whatever it is, our search for meaning on this orb takes up the better part of our life after we have figured out how to get the basics taken care of. Mind you, these are first world issues. In most of the world, folks are trying to find potable water, a dry place to sleep and maybe enough food to get through the night without feeling the gnaw of hunger.

With all of this said and understood, there are things apart from the wine trail that tug on me hard. Today it really hit home when I watched a short film about Joel Meyerowitz. He is a street photographer and these films, one when he was in his 40’s and a recent one (which can been seen here until November 10th - password: joelmeyerowitz01).

I’d heard about him; probably saw him on the streets of Manhattan a time or two. Or paths haven’t crossed purposefully, although we have some of the same influences, Robert Frank, among them. The difference is Joel has devoted his life to photography, and to a large extent, street photography. I on the other hand, have kept my little obsession under wraps.

What is it about street photography? I really don’t know. Maybe it was the freedom to take in all that was in front of one and find a pattern, meaning, even beauty in the random assemblage of humanity. I’m terribly introverted and to go out amongst them can be difficult. This last trip to NY, after 36 hours, I’d seen more eyeballs than my energy could process. And I had 36 more hours to go.

It really has been Italy, and specifically Palermo, where my love for street photography has been projected. I love nothing better than to take an hour or two and wander. In the past, it might have been with a handful of film. Now it is endless. I’m not really shooting any differently, though. I’m looking, but for what I do not know. But I’ll know it when I see it. This last trip to Palermo, I maybe got one or two good shots, maybe. Out of hundreds.

Other cities, New York, LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Palm Springs (not really a city - see below), Dallas, New Orleans, Rome, Paris, Milan, Venice, Frankfurt, Cartagena, Auckland. Every time just an hour or so to wander and look for something decisive.

In no way am I in the same league as Joel Meyerowitz or Robert Frank or any number of great street photographers. But I belong to the same tribe as them. I see the urban street as a palate for modern life and how we are working our way through time. I have learned to be invisible, not too hard for introverts in any case. I have seen things, some of which I cannot show here right now.

Next year marks the beginning and the end of something in my life. In 1965 I took up photography and photography took me around the world over and over again. It seems wherever I have been I have been there with my camera. Not an iPhone or an Android, but a real dedicated instrument for the purpose of recording visual moments in time. 50 years, five decades. Next year starts decade number six. In the next twenty years I look forward to working though the first 50 years of images in the catalog and making even more. I love wine and the wine business, but when wine isn’t enough, I have the streets. And that makes me very, very happy.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

1 comment:

Patty said...

Thank you for another thoughtful piece. Your eye has always been clear and your writing is a great companion. I am looking forward to seeing more of the vintage as well as the new.

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