{five ten}

i lived in new york city for nearly three {glorious} years — right in lower manhattan — among the music, food, and cobblestone streets.

tiny little island with infinite possibilities, i always say… and a seemingly endless array of unique doors, much like the seemingly endless amount of opportunity.  it became my odd obsession to photograph new york city doors. there’s a gallery or book project or the like just waiting in the wings with this, for sure… so stay tuned! 🙂


there are countless memories, many of which i’m quickly beginning to forget – because i spent too long missing and romanticizing new york just shortly after i left.  “fiveten” will be a diary of a sort… filled with those memories, as they surface.  it will also be a place for me share some of my favourite photos and messages i always found throughout the city.

for example :

these stickers were all over the city.  i appreciated them.  when i would get bummed out and feeling super alone {which was often} and i’d see one of those stickers, i would kind of smile a smirky smile  — because sometimes i really just wanted stand on top of the empire state building and scream that — “LOVE ME!”  and in some way, those stickers were comforting – because ironically enough,  i knew i wasn’t alone… in feeling alone…….



i remember my first step onto those new york city streets — the october evening sun peeking through the tall buildings now surrounding me and what i would soon call home… the trees were lit up by the golden glow of the sunset and they seemed to sparkle as they twinkled through the breeze that swept by 510, where i would now live, with the coolest 71-year-young lady i ever met. she was waiting for me at the corner of our building when i arrived. she ran and embraced me with joy and said, “welcome to new york!” then kissed me on the cheek.  “this is what we do here,” she continued, and kissed me on the other cheek.  my eyes lit up with overwhelming excitement as i tried to inhale all that was around me.  would i ever be able to fully take it all in, i wondered…….. i closed my eyes, squeezed judi back, and said, “it’s unbelievably good to be here!”


when i settled in to my new home and began feeling a little more confident about getting out and exploring, all i wanted to do was take pictures.  naturally the artist in me was overstimulated and i needed to find a way to release that.  i only had so much money saved up and i knew i needed to find some work, but i wasn’t too worried… i also knew i needed to go out and play in my new city.  my new york.  i had slowly come to embrace the fact that i now lived here.  in the biggest city in the world, on this tiny little island.  it was mine, my home.  it was also home to about 8 million other souls, but — somehow, i began to realize why it was so magical… almost instantly i realized that.  it becomes your little oyster.  your little bubble that is not only unpredictable and magical but somehow reliable and dependable at the same time.

i remember two very distinct things two different people said to me about new york – i had only been there for about 2 months and i was kind of freaking out… wasn’t sure if it was what i wanted and i thought i had made a terrible mistake!

one person said — “new york : always alone, but never alone.”

the other said — “new york : never lets you in, never lets you down, never lets you leave.”


sigh – i miss that place so much!


i didn’t really have too much of a plan… about anything, really.  i knew no one, i had no job, only so much money in savings, and all the hope in the world… as i’m certain many before me and after me have felt.  my thoughts on jobs were – “they’ve gotta be a dime a dozen.” with my experience, i was sure to land something quickly.

and i did.  i found odd jobs here and there. one of my first photo experiences was working for a small event photographer, doing photoshop work.  didn’t pay fantastic, but it enabled me to get to know the subway system, since her studio was on the opposite side of the island from me.  plus,it opened me to the photo world a little more.  ultimately, working for the 4 foot 11 cancer from britain was an unforgettable experience and one that led me to other long-standing connections.  two of my most favourite moments as her assistant was walking the halloween parade in manhattan and photographing the entire thing from that perspective, wearing a jester hat.  the other was attending the 3-day PDN expo event wherein i learned SO much about workflow, lightroom, and new lenses.  and man — all the swag!  i came home with like, 4 bags of freebies!!

ha.  i remember asking the photographer how she got into it, because she had been doing something totally different before and had no experience as a photographer – ‘did you just sort of fall into it?’ i curiously asked.

she chuckles, almost condescendingly, and replies, “oh honey, you don’t just fall into anything…”

funny… because –

before gaining access to everything including his house key and checkbook by becoming a personal assistant to someone i had just met with no real prior experience, i kind of fell into doing this one job — you know, i was basically a legal secretary to a very large and powerful lawyer for about 3 months – again, with no prior experience.  i kind of fell into it because i’m a people-person.  i know good people, they trust me, word gets around, things come up, my name gets mentioned, i end up temping to answer phones… then suddenly i’m running errands, taking photos for trial evidence, and preparing legal documents because i’m a fast and accurate typer and the other secretary up and quits randomly in the middle of the lawyer working on a huge case!

– so you know, i beg to differ, that one does not FALL INTO anything… evidently, it appears to be the main way i navigate through life.   😉


after a good 4 months of working like 3 different part time jobs at once, i finally went back to work full time with WFM.  i was promoted within 2 months to one of the top leaders in the store, and that set the foundation for my experience in new york city.  had i not gotten that promotion, i don’t know how long i would’ve lasted.  but thankfully, my path carved its way into management with a multibillion dollar fortune 100 company, and i finally felt like i was in my element.  i made pretty decent money {especially for having freshly landed} and i got to do what i wanted – in that, i didn’t have to ask to be excused to conduct basic nessecary human bodily functions.  people listened to me, respected me and did what i asked of them.  and although they didn’t always listen to everything i said, my voice was still more valuable.  people stood up straight and addressed me when they saw me.  i had a “title.”  and although i’m not one to really care about that kind of thing – in retrospect, it was so imperative to have that title, because i needed it desperately – that is, to help me in my unbeknownst quest for strength and power… and ultimately, confidence.  that title backed up decisions i made, it backed up my words, it made people immediately respect me more, and it made me carry my head just a little higher.

but don’t worry, it never went to my ego.

my whole world would change so dramatically, having that job.  i feel like if for no other reason, that was why i moved to new york.  to gain that experience i wouldn’t have been able to get anywhere else.  i met a handful, and i mean literally a handful – maybe 3-4 people that actually meant something to me.  maybe 5 people that cared to really know a little bit about me… granted, i’m super introverted for an outgoing gal, and i didn’t exactly “put myself out there.”   *shudder* – mostly because i absolutely loathe that phrase!!!!


even though i didn’t make many memorable connections while living in new york, i am super grateful for the few people that did leave their mark {and continue to.}  that’s not to say there weren’t some major weirdos along the way… because there were!  with the interest of respecting privacy, i won’t give too many specifics… but there was once this girl i knew {we’ll call her “CM”} that i had met through an online photography social site.  a few months after i moved to new york, she moved to brooklyn. though we weren’t necessarily in the same social circle,  she invited me out one night to attend a gallery opening of a photographer she knew, and so i went along… mostly i knew that it would be wise to meet *anyone* in the art world at this point!

long story short, i was introduced to this lovely photographer – oh, and wife, mother, blogger, entrepreneur, fashionista extraordinaire – {though CM}, as she hosted her gallery opening, complete with giveaways {a postcard i still have to date – hanging on my wall}, and a live guitar player setting the relaxing mood.  after only 2 short hours of standing and chatting, admiring her work and getting to know her a bit more, i also met her charming and equally beautiful mother – who after knowing me for roughly 9.4 minutes, insisted i “come to our house for thanksgiving!”

and so i did.  🙂

{this is obviously pre-hairchop! – i’m on the left}

CM {NOT pictured} ended up being a major flake, and not just because she didn’t come to thanksgiving dinner with us. she eventually just kind of disappeared… but what remained was my quickly-blossoming friendship with MISS M the photographer, and her fantastically warm and welcoming family. i’m telling you – that thanksgiving dinner was one of my most memorable and favourite new york experiences – i can still taste the food, hear the laughter, embrace the ambiance. it was one of those moments i refer to as “taking a picture with my mind.”  sure, i had a point-and-shoot camera with me, and i think there are a few random pics of me on someone’s iphone – but mostly i think i left my canon behind because i just wanted to immerse myself in the experience.  for someone to invite me into their home – on thanskgiving! – after basically just meeting me — i was not only flattered, but quite frankly after meeting them, i was honored.  the way they treated me – as if i were just part of the family – keeping my wine glass full, insisting i take home leftovers, asking about colorado, asking about my experiences in new york so far, wanting to get to know me… miss M’s family is SO all about family — they really made me {and continue to make me} feel like one of their own.  my home away from home, if you will.

i digress… as i tend to, when i reminisce of those days.

so in moments such as those, i make a conscious effort to take a photograph in my mind.  to pause and make note of all that around me. to inhale it all – breathe it in as deeply as i can — literally, close my eyes and take a few deep breaths – being as present as possible – noticing the smells, the subtle noises, the colours, feeling the air — so that when i do see maybe that one photograph or when i think of those moments, as i do now – i can fully recall the experience… as i do now.  🙂

3 Responses to “{five ten}”

  1. vivilinh June 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    i love love love your blog! your pictures are great!!


  2. anthony0358 August 13, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    AHA! Now I finally got the inside story about how you met Miss M! So cool to read this since I got to experience part of this with us .


i heart comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: