Christmas present.

One of my Christmas presents this year was was a great book of photographs, called “Gotham Remembered: Manhattan in the Nineteen Seventies“. It’s by one of my favourite photographers, Harry Bonham Houchins. Yeah, yeah… i am a “tiny bit” biased since he is my brother but I’d love his work even if  I hated his guts (which I don’t — hate his guts, I mean).

Harry has worked in a variety of photographic mediums. I can recall being in his darkroom working on some of his Dichromate photography, back in the 1980s, when I visited him for the first time (long story… Papa was a rolling stone) and his taking photos with his view camera (can’t recall now what format, Sandy. Fill me in) when we went up to BC to visit our Dad.

Harry grew up in New York City. The photos in his book were taken during a six month period in, as the title states, the 1970s.

“Déjà vu on Caillabotte Street” Harry Bonham Houchins

"42nd Street" Harry Bonham Houchins

My first visit to New York City was in 1975, during the height of the garbage Strike, just a few years later than the period the photos were taken in the slide towards the bankruptcy that brought about the strike. I visited again in the 1978 or 1979 — the Punk-era graffito-ed Big Apple and finally living in, pre-9/11, the Bronx. But I always felt that I should have been born there. For years I thought I had been conceived there when my Mom was living there with Harry’s and my father, in Greenwich Village. Mom said shattered that belief when she told me that I wasn’t a gleam in my parent’s eyes for at least another year, after they married and Dad moved back up to Ottawa where Mom was living before her hiatus in NYC. I’m not sure which was more traumatic, finding out that I wasn’t a product of New York or not conceived out-of-wedlock.

So to say that New York holds a fascination for me is and understatement. I love the history, I love the streets and I love experiencing New York through my brother’s camera.

Thanks, Sandy!

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3 Comments

  1. sandy said,

    January 13, 2011 at 12:06 am

    The camera was a 4×5. No longer cart it around. Now I’m using an old Hasselblad, a old Nikon FA and a new Nikon D7000. Not all at the same time mind you.
    Thanks for the kind words.
    For those interested in seeing what Anneke sees…

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1609200

    Con mucho gusto.

  2. zeusiswatching said,

    January 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I love that city. I don’t think I could live there for an extended period of time, but I love that city, and I could empathize with Holly Golightly’s love for New York.

    • mudhooks said,

      January 12, 2011 at 10:33 am

      If I had been able to work we’d probably have stayed on until we moved on the Washington. My ex was working at he Museum of the American Indian. However, the person who handled my husband’s hiring neglected to contact the Institution’s Immigration lawyer and my visas were never dealt with.

      We lived in the Bronx, on City Island, which was nice but I think living in Manhattan would have been quieter for most of the year… From 11 am through 1 most days from Mother’s Day until Christmas there was a steady stream of traffic running up and down the island. The restaurant next door was open until 4 on Friday through Saturday nights.

      I’d have loved to live in Manhattan or at least closer to it than the far reaches of the Bronx. As it was, my ex was too scared of Manhattan at night that we rarely stayed late. When I was house sitting for a friend in Manhattan while my husband was at a conference in Baltimore, I went our late into the evenings to movies and to pick up take-outs. He called one evening and I was out. When he finally got hold of me he was in a panic. He couldn’t believe that I was out on the streets at almost 11pm and that there were “normal people” out at that time. He thought that the only people out past sunset were muggers and zombies.


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