The color is autumn

Sommer, she’s i’passin’ oot,

All sing g’bye.

Autumn he’s i’cumin’ in,

All sing “Haloo!”

 

Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic paradigm meaning intentionally flawed beauty…referring to the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It’s not the kind of thing that sits well with our Western standards of beauty. It’s not young and fresh and energetic with big boobs or biceps or a Mercedes to die for. For me, wabi sabi is Autumn, and here I’d like you to look for a moment into your gut. It’s the feelings that accompany the movement of the seasons at this time of year that I’m carrying on about. Not talking about value judgments, mind you. Talking ’bout feelings–and I’m not going to suggest anything. This is about you. Those of you who are fortunate enough to be blessed with life in a climate hosting Autumn you know what Autumn is: cooler temps, clearer light, sharper shadows, brighter colors, cooler temps, faster moving air. Autumn is life recharged, ready or not.

 

For me as a photographer–There! I’ve called myself that! After decades of resisting the label, I’m right now in your presence, admitting to taking a portion of my identity from my pretty-much favorite activity–Autumn is the sublime expression of colors and the great burst of life preceding the quiet gray of winter. Autumn is wabi-sabi at its natural best.

So here come a dozen photos, all but the last actually made over the summer, yet all advertising the colors of Autumn. I say “advertising,” because that’s what I’m selling. Many are indoors made. A lot down in the subway, only theoretically distanced from the impact of seasonality. Lots involve looking up. The first one, the window with the rusted metal gate: after I took the snap, a woman approached me to ask what I was doing. My head overwhelmed by the reality of wabi-sabi, however I answered didn’t much matter. She didn’t call the cops and I got the snap.

These folks were involved each in their own worlds on the way to the beach. Their colors were those of joy.

 

And artwork from who knows how long ago as Pennsylvania Station continues moving west.

 

And the entrance to Coppola’s on West 79th Street, where for decades–yes, decades--Bobbie and I have shared a Ceasar salad and Grandpa Salvatore’s pizza and a couple of glasses of wine.

 

Canal Street’s #1 local station captures wabi sabi brilliantly when you’re ready to see it. What a gift when that happens. You overhear people complaining about it, that it’s not clean and shiny and so forth, and it reminds you of folks who’d like ice cream much better if it weren’t so damned cold.

 

 

I climb up out of the subway at 19th Street on my way to the Chelsea art galleries and I climb through and into the art of my city!

 

Right now there’s a whole load of folks who devote their waking hours to hating my city’s newest architecture. Their loss.

 

This remarkable interlacing of bamboo and steel lives in the Lower East Side on Essex Street. Behind it, in the midst of centuries of squalor, lives a little park. Check it out!

 

 

Sometimes, as it happened for me in this instance, you’re lucky enough to be hearing the music that’s just right for you. You You relax. Your eyes drift out a window and oooh, you discover that the perfectly ordinary is oddly magical.

 

My city is filled with windows which create magic no matter what they reflect.

 

And the coldest metal and cement become alive with–vu den?--life!

 

Finally, Snap # 12, taken through the window of a Metro-North commuter train from New York gliding along the Long Island Sound through southern Connecticut to New Haven. Autumn, real Autumn, is i’cummin’in.”

 

What’s Autumn to you? Inquiring minds want to know, and there’s a comments section below. Feel free to use it.

Published in: on October 3, 2022 at 9:18 pm  Comments (18)  
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