The most difficult thing about change is to not be allowed to do so. In a big city change is a way of life and conformity can be easily pushed aside to make room for a journey of personal development. But then there are some rare villages and tribes where personal development is championed above all else. I have seen one or two.
There was a time in the late 80’s and early 90’s when Soho and its converted lofts and warehouses, was home to art and artists that were seeking a place far enough from the mundane to be able to create. It was a time when this area felt so unique, so inspiring and so special. Actors, artists, writers, musicians, dancer, they all moved there and lived in wonderful anonymity. Then commercialism arrived and we watched it slowly transform this area into a huge faceless mall. And as Art appears to be shy, it fled and found new areas to inhabit. Nolita was one new home and later Chelsea and the meat packing district. Because somehow art and commercialism cannot be good roommates.
In a dense city like New York, having a rooftop or access to one is as precious as gold. It the place where you can ‘breathe’, where you can see a part of the sky that is larger than a matchbox and it is in many ways like going on vacation. So many things take place on New York rooftops, parties, hide outs, secret kisses, sunbathing, art, smoking, drinking and simply chilling. Oh, and also most films like to have their chases on at least one rooftop where the actor makes these impossible jumps from building to building. I was really caught by some colorful rooftops I saw on my last trip to New York, in this case, in Brooklyn.
You can see it every day in this city, a new demolitions site, another traditional neighborhood condemned to destruction and giving way to the race for a future city of sky scrapers. Imagine having to pack up all your belongings on a whim and move to a new world with no history, no character and no choice.
Smoke screens, we all have them, don’t we? We present a face to the world, an identity, an image, a made up representation of who we want others to think we are. It is often rougher than we are, sharper, tougher, with an edge and with a certain amount of vagueness. We protect our inner self, our true self and we only show it in our most vulnerable of moments. It is quite a pity to have to go through life in this way, in a constant state of self defense. And when we can find someone that allows us to be who we really are, we hold on to them for dear life. Yes, with true friends, smoke screens are not required.
Photo taken: Sasha in a doorway of a broken down room
1. An act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler.
2. The action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention: “an act of teenage rebellion“.
A fascinating phenomenon, most certainly on the rise in our world today, rebellion is a symptom of the young rejecting the control of the old, the new and fresh unwilling to compromise with the traditional and already established. When we reach our teenage, we begin to see the world in new eyes, we are eager to show our elders the revolutionary ways of our thinking, and with all of that comes upheaval, violent outbursts, emotional explosions and a whole load of hormonal powered declarations.
So are revolutions a symptom of an onset of something young and new on the planet? Is that its way of saying out with old, in with the new?
photo taken: Andy in an abandoned motel in Geneva.
Please meet this sweet couple. They live in a small room at the entrance of a construction site on a Shanghai street. The bikes behind them belong to some of the workers on the site. They were in their little home doing housework when I passed by with my camera, we exchanged smiles and I asked if I may photograph them. They invited me in, while they straightened their brushed their hair and straightened their clothes for the photo.
If I were to put a word to describe these people, it would certainly be ‘kind’. Yes, I met with kindness today and it made my day so much more valuable.