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What Other Photographers Do

April 28th, 2006

Wednesday, April 26 – NEW YORK CITY. New York, again, has been a mad rush of visits, connections, and the hurry-up-and-wait of public transit. Dan, a childhood friend of Marshall’s, is my gracious host. We had Vietnamese for dinner the first night; jet lagged and dazed I met a friend of his who does marketing for a pharmaceutical company and another freelance photographer who found he had more work when he was in San Francisco than he does in New York. Because he was “out there.”

Dan bought a co-op apartment and spent the last year re-building its interior. It came with 35 bags of trash, exposed beams, and blocked up windows. What he’s done with it is pretty swank, even if it is only 11 feet wide. It was reappraised quite nicely. Oh, and I love his couch.

(Casey with friend Jasmine) He also knows Casey Kelbaugh another Seattle transplant who also went to Garfield High School. Casey took the slideshow potlucks we were doing in Seattle, made them a Seattle art-scene thing, and has built them into a New York thing often with upwards of 500 people in attendance. Check it out: slideluckpotshow.com.

Casey’s success with Slideluck, I believe, is a credit to his networking abilities. His roommates include another Seattlitte who ended up working for weeks on Dan’s place and Isabel who came to New York only a few months ago. She is the North American representitive for a fashion-oriented photo agency from Germany. Not my line of work, but interesting none the less to see how a rep goes about setting up shop in New York; she found a cool space not far from their apartment which is being built out. Oh, and the apartment rent? Something like $1000 per person, shared space.

I also saw one of my old roommates and climbing partners, Kevin Kanning, from Seattle at Hotel Latona. He’s the one I first climbed Triple Couloirs with. He’s made a career decision to do post-doc work in Neurobiology at Columbia University. He said I caught him on a bad day since he was wearing a conservative blue button down with his ID badge tucked into the chest pocket. “I’m usually in a t-shirt, no one believes I’m actually a doctor,” he said. He seemed a little more serious than I’m used to, but yes, it’s hard to believe that he’s a PhD. Especially since I recall an absent minded, reckless, humorous, and loudly opinionated guy prone to outbursts of laughter. It was good to make the connection again and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him back in Seattle before too long. He has a love of the mountains and a distaste for the permanent stench of garbage in New York. You would think they’d have developed a more hygienic means of disposal than piling garbage on the sidewalk.

However, in terms of odd connections (it seems the city is full of them), shortly after I walked into the office of der Stern, out walked Italian photojournalist Helen Giovanello. Angelika, (at right) the editor with whom I spent the most time, encouraged me to contact Helen and so I did. We met for coffee the next morning where I learned about her work in Uganda.

(Taking yet another wrong train) Helen has been documenting the child soldiers, the children of the night, and various other IDP related issues. Her passion and social activism has taken her to a place where she now has an adopted son (literally). A former child soldier, his fate, like many others, consists of whiling away the time in a camp for the internally displaced or joining the military and doing the only thing his young hands know: killing. But she’s found for about $380 a year he can be educated and housed. She is currently working with an NGO to make it possible for other youth to be ‘adopted.’ I’m a little slim on the details but among the things she is considering is buying some land, building a house, and…and who knows. But it seems her work as a journalist has led her into a role of activism. Hm. Sounds familiar.

See some of her work here: www.digitalrailroad.net/helengiovanello

What is quite coincidental is I read a feature on her in a trade publication months ago and thought, “I’d like to meet this person.” And three days ago a chance crossing of paths and an encouraging editor brought that thought to fruition.

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