December 11, 2014

A Snowy City (Site of a New Casino) Transports Me Back in Photographic Time

Leaving my car and heading to photograph the MGM Casino Design and Construction Information Session in Springfield, Mass., I stopped in my tracks.  A light snow fell and I carried a camera in a city.  The situation viscerally transported me back to 1977:  I was a high school senior, living in Boston with classmates, volunteering, studying urban issues, exploring a city in winter and taking photographs.  I knew I needed to attend to this powerful feeling, but my photojournalistic quarry waited.


My schedule prevented me catching the official presentations at the MassMutual Center, but I captured the networking aftermath, as people with services to offer for the massive construction project mingled with casino representatives.


Opportunities Knocking

Clutching a sheaf of opportunities, ranging from a community college that will teach gaming skills to the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute, Dave Dunaj calls a friend to share the bounty. 

Rock of Ages

Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner Bruce Stebbins listens as Mike Butler describes his view that the complex process of siting a casino is akin to a sports contest, with winners and losers.  Boston-based Mr. Butler works for Coldspring, a Minnesota granite company.

I Wish I Could Speak Spanish

Yaitza Monger, Julio Torres and Marilyn Santana represented the Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce at the event.  The main focus of the MLCC is to help individuals start and manage businesses.  The MLCC is also a partner with MGM and works to connect minority business owners with casino related opportunities.

Stars and Flakes
Back out in the wintry wonderland, I shot some generic images for one of my online stock photography agencies.

Checkered Past

I then created one of my Reality-Based Abstractions, using the multiple exposure function on my digital camera.  I would not have developed this technique were it not for the experimentation that digital photography affords.

The title, Checkered Past, was crowdsourced on Facebook.


Here is a digital image of Springfield in 2014.  Back in Boston in 1977, I shot, developed and printed black and white film.

Turn Back Time

The same Springfield scene, converted to black and white.  As I prowled the city streets,  I remembered a three ring binder in which I collected photos and thoughts from the winter of 1977.  A precursor to digital blogging, here is a sample:

Self-portrait 1977

Back in 2014 Springfield, I recalled this 1977 self-portrait, so I tried a new one:

Self-portrait 2014

As a teen, I took pictures for the pleasure of exploring and documenting my world, without thought of commerce and/or publication.  Sometimes professional blinders limit creative freedom.

I strained to find a contemporary image like Door from 1977, but I could not find one!  Frustration mounted.  I then paused and reminded myself of the how-to-overcome-creative-blocks discussions I've had with my Cultivating Creativity students at American International College in Springfield.  I realized I was trying too hard.  I put my camera away and just stood in the snow, conscious of the flakes landing on my face.  I was briefly unproductive.  Feeling refreshed after a break, I ventured off the main street, and found these doors:

I am grateful that a journey into the past brought me squarely into the present.