One Of The Most Beautiful Places In Our World Is In Our Libraries!
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Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune, God has blessed me with the opportunity to be in and to visit magnificent libraries. We have a large city, and there are tons of places that have a huge, overflowing collection of books, music, and all sorts of other resources.
Our libraries are magnificently overflowing with knowledge, fun, resources, art, photography, legal information; you name it and our libraries have it. This is one of the things that I love about New York, USA.
From Upstate NY, to other parts of the state, throughout Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Manhattan, our book collection is uncountable. And besides the book collections, our libraries offer the opportunity to learn , to laugh, and to take courses that are not available anywhere else in the world.
You can attend art exhibits, and you can be part of art auctions; you can view movies and be part of chess games; and you can see plays and be part of community organizations. The number of wonders is practically endless. Visit your library either in person or virtually to be part of this huge system of information and entertainment.
One of the fondest memories that I have of our libraries is when I was just a beginner at photography. I loved photography as a hobby, yet I didn’t have any large amount of money to pursue my hobby. I used this tiny, ‘point and shoot’ camera -using real film, to take pictures and to study photography. Throughout most of my young life, as a child, I yearned to be a professional photographer. So, here I was, with not hardly any equipment, but our library would change all that.
With our library, I had a whole system of books to study the field. I read the whole “Kodak series”, and tons of other books on photography. For weeks, I enjoyed reading Hedgecoe’s books on photography, (these are still in some libraries). Sure, later on in life, I did get to go to college and take art classes (these were photography classes listed as Art 50 or Art 51 or whatever. Smiles. And later on I did get to join in on the New York Institute of Photography studies of photography and photojournalism. I entered a couple of contests, and won Honorable Mention for black and white photography. Smiles, that was back in the day when we used real film, and processed the film and then printed out the photos in the ‘real’ darkrooms, long before photo shop programs came about.
So, I went off on tangents here, but only to share some of my experience in libraries.
There was a year when I was elected as delegate to the Governor’s Conference on Library and Information Services. And much later than that, one of the librarians in our local library asked if I had some photographs to contribute to the library conference that was happening in New York City. Over the years, I’ve done over sixty solo library exhibits and I put together four group exhibits in various branches of the Brooklyn Public Library. And then one year in the 90’s I took part in the Brooklyn’s Artists and Photographers Exhibit at the Grand Army Plaza Library, downtown Brooklyn, NY USA. This was a beautiful two-month long exhibit. The librarians had arranged that each artist would have their own library case on the second floor of the main library. My case held about ten or twelve 8 x 20’s photographs, black and white and color.
I can’t stop talking about how much I love our library system and our libraries. What can I say, I’m a true book lover! Smiles.
THANK YOU libraries!
I took this photograph in the main space of one of my favorite New Jersey libraries. Strange, too. I’ve always used the libraries as a distraction from real life, to read humor, and to read non-fiction and to take courses and workshops just for fun and for education. I was on such a distraction visit to the library one day and I decided to read some books about photography and about videography. Sitting at one of the tables in the Manalapan public library, I opened the book, randomly, and glanced at the pages. This was all about videography. I placed the book on the table with the pages opened up to take this shot. As I took the picture, I saw the headline on the page,
“After The Shooting Is Over..”
and there for that moment, distracted from the photography book itself, I was transported back to the moments of healing, happening in my libraries, in my spiritual places, in my parks, and in other safe spaces, the healing from the memories of knowing that my dear younger brother had shot himself. We were so much the same, yet so much different. He shot himself with a gun. I shoot myself with a camera. I am so glad for the difference in us. And I am so glad for the time that I got to really know him. ‘Someone’ wrote the obituary for him and it was kind of , well, not quite the real story. What irked me was that the obituary notice in the newspaper claimed that ‘family’ wrote the little blurb about my brother. Truth is, one person wrote it , not ‘family’ . But hey, that’s life, correct?
“After the shooting is over ” , five words. And in the library, these five words mean something different to me. To me, the telling of stories with photographs, art, collage and writing will never be over. To me, in my city, or wherever I visit, I’ll always take the day home with me, in my camera, with my notebook. Only, today, and every day forward, my focus is on hope, on love, on spirituality, focus on good. That doesn’t mean I won’t write about or photograph the difficult or the painful; it just means that my main focus, my eyes are on God. And my main focus is on healing, on telling stories with art, and with some words.
A few years ago, I took this photograph of this beautiful eagle. I love taking nature photographs. This eagle has a wounded wing and was in the process of having help to heal the wing when I took the picture in Syracuse, New York USA He was living in an Nature Sanctuary that helps heal wild animals.
I try to focus my life on helping others as much as I can. Right now, that’s not too much as I am trying to help myself, also.
During this holiday and Holy Day season, during this Christmas season, my focus is on Jesus, and on Jesus’s plan for my life, and on my loved ones, my kids and grandkids.
Smiles, yes, Virginia, I get distracted sometimes. Sometimes, I’ll go into a library and open up to a random page… and be struck…by a flighting memory of my brother, and the crime that he committed against himself, against our family. My heart hurts for a few moments, and then I remember that I ‘reclaimed’ my life with the help of God, spirituality and with the help of my beautiful and magnificent libraries in my bustling city. Always have hope. And keep on keeping on, always. Never let one crime define your life. Let Jesus define you.
And, then smile, simply because
Jesus Loves You ..
and he loves you in a way that nobody else can love you. Jesus loves you unconditionally, right where you are. So ending this entry, I will have to say to you, that Jesus Christ has been with me for my whole life, every moment. This is a most wonderful power and love in my life. The miracle of Jesus Christ. He is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow, unfailing, ever-present, and boldly powerful as the Savior of those that ask.
Call on Jesus, this holiday and Holy Day season. Before you finish the sentence, He hears your prayer, and He will not fail you, ever. That’s a promise that is in the Bible, but more so, that’s a promise that I have seen materialize in my own life, throughout my lifetime.
Oh, if you don’t see Jesus on this cross, it’s because He is not there. He rose from the dead, for you and for me. Praying for peace in your life, every day, as you journey through our large city, the peace of Jesus Christ.
Here’s hoping this is a new beginning for you, as you learn to accept Jesus into your life, right where you are.
This Is The End Of This Entry but not the end of my photographic life journey. I have millions more photographs to take and millions more words to write.
This is the end to this entry.