Part of my NYC Tet Travelogue. See part one here.
this entry was originally written on 13 Feb 2010
I went to the Lomography store yesterday and it was a very interesting experience. The store matches the aesthetic of the Lomography movement. It has a very casual feel to it. It definitely belongs in Greenwich Village. The wall is a huge collage of Lomo prints; most appeared to be of or taken in New York City. There was a lot of repetition and it had the feel or working well as a larger work of art. It’s worth visiting the store just to see the wall. But the layout was also great – all the cameras are sitting on a table in the middle and you can touch them and handle them and get a feel for the camera. I have a feeling they would have probably let me load some film in and take some shots for them to keep. (And I might have if I hadn’t been there with others) The table has an outline of each camera beneath it with the price of the camera listed. The staff (well, the one woman there at that time) was very knowledgeable and helpful. Definitely a good hire. There were also tons of books and magazines wholly consisting of Lomographic images.
Being there and seeing all the cameras solidified the feeling that I wanted to own one. Seeing the images up close, and getting to actually touch the cameras, just gave me a better feel for what Lomography was all about. Sadly, and I felt guilty thinking this (and I still feel guilty writing it), I decided to buy my Lomos at B&H rather than at the Lomography store. Although I wanted to support the store and its great vibe, most of the cameras were, on average, $15-$20 more expensive than at B&H. I wish I had that kind of money to throw away, but when talking about analog photography – that’s film and film development money there! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to buy it because B&H closes early for the Sabbath. I thought they’d close closer to sunset, but they closed at 1300! I should have checked first, but it worked out in the end. Anyway!
Jumping ahead to last night (I’ll be back to yesterday afternoon in a second), I started researching what camera I wanted to get at B&H on Sunday. And I searched around the net to find out more about Lomography – I found a few VERY anti-Lomography sites and I almost got discouraged. But then I realized that these sites were not attacking Lomo cameras for any of reasons that I wanted to own one. They were merely attacking the philosophy and movement – the way people attack Apple fanatics. So I rallied and I will definitely get one on Sunday.
Back to yesterday, after lunch we went to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). It was not only my first time, but Danielle’s first time. She had never been because it was $20 while other museums in NYC, such as the MET, were free. I wanted to go because I’d heard there was a pretty good photography exhibit at the MOMA. When I started looking on the website, it turned out they were having a Tim Burton exhibit. He is one of our favorite directors, so Danielle and I really wanted to go. They said people had to buy timed tickets to the Tim Burton exhibit because it was so packed. While going to buy the tickets, I looked at the membership price and realized it made a ton of sense to become a member! It only cost $60 since I’m from out of town (over 120 miles away) and I could get up to five people in at $5 each instead of $20 each. Since Dina, Daniel and Brian were coming as well, it was a great deal! But what really made it a good deal for me was that there are lots more exhibits coming up that I really want to see, such as Henri Bresson-Cartier, and this way I don’t have to pay so much over a year to keep coming back. Also, I could enter the Tim Burton exhibit whenever I wanted.
The Tim Burton exhibit was awesome (the NY Times had panned it – said it was over-rated) – it had hundreds of sketches both relating to his movies and what amount to doodles. There were also lots of props from his many movies. We loved the Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride stop motion figures. (Danielle loves the former and I love the latter) Like lots of famous, quirky directors (like Quentin Tarentino) you may think that Burton is over-rated. But I really like his strange style and that you can always tell a Tim Burton movie. Really, the only negative is that it seemed as though everyone was at the MOMA just to go to this exhibit. It was so packed – they need to invent a new word for how packed it was in there. And that detracted a bit from the experience.
Actually, upon further reflection, this was mostly only a negative with the main Tim Burton section. It was split across three different areas. And my favorite (in terms of creativity) was in a lower section where they showcased a series of oversized polaroids by Tim Burton. For about half of them he had arranged props from The Nightmare Before Christmas in a creative manner. With some photos he had arranged the characters from the movie in portraits as if they were human models. With others he created more abstract shots such as one consisting of all the Jack Skellington heads. Other photos contained humans in Burton-esque gothic poses and costumes. (including a great madonna)
I enjoyed the other exhibits at the MOMA. It is MUCH larger on the inside than it appears from the outside. One of the highlights for me was the fact that I was able to identify a Picasso without knowing ahead of time that it was a Picasso. In the five to seven years I’ve gained a much greater appreciation for art. It’s not that my parents didn’t take us to museums as kids. I remember going to some when we went on vacation to Philly. And I remember going to some at other times in my childhood. But, for whatever reason, I just never appreciated it at the time. I was too young. I mean, I thought Sargent Pepper was a horrible album at the time. Some kids can appreciate classical music and art at a young age. I wasn’t one of those. Then again, there are other adults who don’t or can’t appreciate art and see it as too highfalutin. The photography and paintings were great. They also had a Monet water lilies exhibit that was very powerful. With impressionism it may not be easy to tell exactly what the subject is, but the size of the paintings along was overwhelming. Another painting that we all enjoyed was Matisse’s The Dance. Danielle and I enjoyed the room with the Warhols.
The only thing I didn’t like was the top floor with some *really* modern art – like found art. For example, one of the guy’s pieces was a room where each wall had a lid from a yogurt cup. That’s it. It wasn’t modified or arranged in a creative way. It was just one yogurt lid per wall. How is that art? I don’t get it.
If I had to find one fault with the MOMA it would be that the regular exhibits are perhaps a little bit too eclectic. I would like some more surreal, cubist or impressionistic art, but I guess what they rely on are really awesome rotating exhibits. The Tim Burton exhibit, again, was fantastic. The regular stuff was good, but not quite as vast. There were only a few Warhols – not more than one room, for example. I can’t wait to visit it again to see the next exhibit.