Long hair

Long hair
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Image by Ed Yourdon
This was taken on the west side of Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, between 81st and 80th Street — pretty much in front of Zabar’s. I had been walking along behind this woman for a block or two, wondering if she would turn around so I could take a picture of her face. But then it dawned on me — duh! — that no matter how beautiful she might be, her face couldn’t possibly be as interesting as her braided hair, which reached almost to her ankles…

This was published in an Apr 7, 2009 blog entitled "9 Ways To Save Money Instantly Without Doing Anything." It was also published as an illustration in a July 2009 BellaSugar blog article titled "Extreme Beauty: 16 Supersized Hairstyles." And it was published on a Wikimedia page titled File: Long braid. More recently, it was published in an Aug 26, 2009 blog titled "Beauty Pet Peeves." And it was published as an illustration in a Sep 2009 Squidoo blog titled "The Way Of The Hair: A Visual History of Hairstyles."

Note: on Aug 7, 2009 I uploaded a slightly edited version of this photo; I used Apple’s "Aperture" program to eliminate hot spots and cold spots, and also decreased the shadows on the woman’s back and jeans, to better highlight her long braided hair. Most people probably won’t notice the difference — but since this is (as of Aug 2009) the third most-often viewed image in my Flickr collection, I felt I should make it as good as possible…

Moving into 2010, the photo was published as an illustration in an undated (Jan 2010) blog titled "Seventieth Street Playground in New York County, NY." It was also published, without any particular commentary on a Newbury Images web page. And it was published in a Feb 3, 2010 Peruvian blog titled "¡Harta de tener el cabello corto!" It also showed up, on Feb 24, 2010, on the home news page of a blog/website called Spacethru-dot-com. And it was published in a Mar 2, 2010 blog titled " ¡Harta de tener el cabello corto!" It was also published in a Mar 30, 2010 "Really Natural" blog titled "WTF? Cut Hair Used as Cheap Fertilizer and Food Additive." And it was published in an Apr 1, 2010 blog titled "The modern San Francisco woman: What to do when he loves your hair long and you like it short?" It was also published in an undated (Jul 2010) Tumblr collection of photos titled "my love, it is the size of an oliphaunt." And it was published in a Jul 10, 2010 blog titled "Always There Anytime Relationship Advice Online." It was also published in an undated (Oct 2010) blog titled "Make A Guy Fall In Love: Best Advice," as well as an undated (Oct 2010) blog titled "Relationship Dating Advice For Christian Singles." And it was published as an illustration in an undated (late Oct) Insider Food New York City blog. It was also published in an Oct 24, 2010 blog titled "First vanity sizing. Now vanity aging."

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This is part of an evolving photo-project, which will probably continue throughout the summer of 2008, and perhaps beyond: a random collection of "interesting" people in a broad stretch of the Upper West Side of Manhattan — between 72nd Street and 104th Street, especially along Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

I don’t like to intrude on people’s privacy, so I normally use a telephoto lens in order to photograph them while they’re still 50-100 feet away from me; but that means I have to continue focusing my attention on the people and activities half a block away, rather than on what’s right in front of me.

I’ve also learned that, in many cases, the opportunities for an interesting picture are very fleeting — literally a matter of a couple of seconds, before the person(s) in question move on, turn away, or stop doing whatever was interesting. So I’ve learned to keep the camera switched on (which contradicts my traditional urge to conserve battery power), and not worry so much about zooming in for a perfectly-framed picture … after all, once the digital image is uploaded to my computer, it’s pretty trivial to crop out the parts unrelated to the main subject.

For the most part, I’ve deliberately avoided photographing bums, drunks, drunks, and crazy people. There are a few of them around, and they would certainly create some dramatic pictures; but they generally don’t want to be photographed, and I don’t want to feel like I’m taking advantage of them. I’m still looking for opportunities to take some "sympathetic" pictures of such people, which might inspire others to reach out and help them. We’ll see how it goes …

The only other thing I’ve noticed, thus far, is that while there are lots of interesting people to photograph, there are far, far, far more people who are not so interesting. They’re probably fine people, and they might even be more interesting than the ones I’ve photographed … but there was just nothing memorable about them.