Louis Santiago @ RAA

My mother said, “Look at that lamppost! I gotta get a picture!”

I thought it was adorable because my mother is probably the most adorable person in the world. But also because I’d thought the same thing the last time I’d taken that bike path to Fort Tilden from Riis Park.

I stopped thinking it was adorable when she said, “Okay! Now you get in there!” I think I just managed not to sigh.

I juuuust managed.

I felt like a kid again, told something like “Just lean on the lamppost!” largely because that’s exactly what she told me to do.

But I’m sure you may think this picture is cute or funny and I don’t blame you; that would be because you’re seeing my mother in it and you’re seeing a bit of our dynamic.

At the reception to the A Salute to Rockaway show, I thought that ability to put a viewer into a photographer’s shoes made me stand out. Not because I had the most amazing shots ever of all time, but because no one else there had shots of the ruins of Fort Tilden; I was the only one who placed a viewer somewhere that wasn’t sand, sky, water, and beauty. Or public. Sure, I had a majestic shot of Rockaway Beach, but it was juxtaposed by a similar shot with a rusted pole sticking out of the sand and crossing half the picture. The dunes shown in one piece were beside another showing a rusted gate, shot from the inside of a disused Army bunker. It was something to be proud of.

That and the Power Cosmic, my delicious mixture of chicken and black beans (and a secret ingredient), that barely any of the attendees touched (their loss – more Power Cosmic for me).

Well… that and just having some of my photos on exhibit; I can’t miss being proud of that. When an attendee complimented Far Shore, it was incredibly easy to chat with her about it and explain how I got it, what I was doing in Rockaway that day, and eventually, when my cover was blown, that no, I lived in the Bronx and had no idea what was near the pole in Lagan. And it was incredibly easy to smile the entire time.

A Salute to Rockaway will be up until August 1st. Drop in on the weekend and have a look (click here for more info). And don’t worry–even if you do miss the exhibit, there’s a chance there will still be enough leftover Power Cosmic for everybody!

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