Often you can be moving from one space to another caught up in your own thoughts and preoccupied with your own matters and are not particularly receptive to someone stopping you on the street for a conversation. I think that's one of the most remarkable things about NY - that small town chat amongst this behemoth iron and glass metropolis.
So when Carl stopped me outside a subway station to ask if I was a photographer I expected the usual kind of questions - what kind of work do you do? What kind of camera do you use? And the contemporary favorite, do you shoot video?
But Carl actually had a pretty interesting story himself. We talked for about 15 minutes about his work with his nephew and the short film they were producing around the sport of boxing. Turns out Carl was a former Golden Glove champ and was featured on the cover and inside the pages of the wonderful The Times Square Gym by photographer Jon Goodman (autographed copy being held by Carl above). Carl then told me about the exhibition on the West Side of Manhattan and the many galleries tucked away in Chelsea.
I went to the exhibition a few weeks later and was blown away.
Change is good. I suppose we have to believe that because things change whether we like it or not.
Truth is, I need change. When things are going one way for too long I get antsy, unsettled, tense and feel a strong need to implement change in my life as soon as possible. Alas, I present my new website.
This is by far the best iteration of my site to date. I kind of sound like an Apple ad - ‘The best smartphone ever” time and time again. It is true, you keep making things better so it stands to reason that the most recent attempt would be the best.
I hope you enjoy the new PORTFOLIO section which display the images in a nice large format and allows for easy navigating and sharing.
One major addition is the PERSONAL section of the site which highlights projects I have completed and are ongoing.
Inside New York is a portrait project of New Yorkers inside their homes over a two year period. In a city where you can be yourself and no one bats an eye, the home is the one place people choose to let their expression fly.
En Route is an ongoing project which is a collection of images made while traveling from one location to another in New York City. I observe shapes, angles, colour, compositions and people in some of the least noticeable areas, perspectives and circumstances. Most of the images were taken on an iPhone and edited using iPhone photography apps. As above all of the images are easily shared via Social Media buttons.
My work as part of AVART Collective is still going strong intercontinental stylee. We continue to deliver groundbreaking art experiences that transcend traditional medium and evoke intense emotion allowing the viewer to experience art…differently. A brand new project is minutes away from completion - stay tuned!
Finally, I am on Instagram (@leoncatophotographer) and am blogging regularly, Feel free to follow, subscribe, leave comments…basically get involved. 2014 has been an exciting and busy year and more exciting projects are one the way.
Luis and partner – Harlem 2013 - Inside New York series – Copyright Leon Cato
It seems to me that everything you read or hear these days is about improving your life. I suppose we as humans are always striving to be better people in one way or another. But, at least to me, the noise has reached obsessive proportions:
10 Habits of Successful People to Adopt
12 Habits of Miserable People to Avoid
How to Grow your Fortune
How to Live a Fulfilled Life
Be the Person You Always Wanted to Be
How to Get Ahead
How to be Content with What You Have
…and on and on and on…
I find this all to be dangerous. In our attempt to be better perhaps we may be compromising the individuals we really are – especially as we create unattainable goals for ourselves. This can and often does lead to all kinds of anxiety and unwanted problems that cause crippling disillusion and a sort of life Vertigo.
Just my take on it, no guidance to be offered here, but as I grow older I am reminded how little I actually know as life continues to throw all types of surprises and detours. I’ll be d*mned if I know anything about anything so I have narrowed down my priorities and just kind of keep on going.
The image above is from my Inside New York portrait series. Portraits of New Yorkers in their home – the one place where they can be who they are and do whatever they want to do outside the judging eyes of most folk.
Enjoy and feel free to comment.
Steve – Upper West Side, Manhattan 2013 - Inside New York Series – Copyright Leon Cato
It would be somewhat wasteful to go into how different things are now than they were 5, 3, or even 1 year ago in regards to technology’s role in our lives.
Instead I will say that as part of my recent shift back into a place of creating and sharing more I have begun embracing Social Media in ways different than years past. Since I ‘took a break’ and started posting sparingly on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have exploded.
Thankfully I stopped looking at Instagram as yet another gimmick and recently (and FINALLY as some of my friends and fans said) started my own page. So far the sharing and discovering of images is pretty exciting and I am getting a bit hooked. While I certainly don’t intend to tell Facebook where I went to school, where I travelled, where I worked and what my favorite sports team is, I can say that I am certainly wiring myself into the whole social media world once again.
Above is the second image from my Inside New York series. Inside New York is my portrait series of New Yorkers in their home. The one place where thay can be who they are and do whatever they want to do – outside of the judging eyes of most folk.
Enjoy and feel free to comment.
Ray – Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan 2013 – Inside New York Series – Leon Cato
April 16, 2014 – 11:51pm
I thought I would be able to sleep. Things are going ok. I am working, exercising, planning and all of that. I thought that because of all these things and how tired I actually feel that I would be sleeping right now – soundly.
But I can’t sleep because my mind is racing. Racing because I can’t wait to create. Racing because I can’t wait to share. Racing because I am in the middle of my most creative period since 2006 when I first started experimenting and allowing photography to swallow me whole.
Since my Create the Time post exactly one month ago, my mind has opened. I don’t know exactly what happened but I am taking my own advice and doing what is required to make this journey great. I’ve visited galleries, completed research, read periodicals, brainstormed new ideas, made connections and am finishing long overdue personal projects.
So, here it is.
I have about 5 or so projects that are at various stages of completion as I type. This has been the case for a while now – actually, to be totally honest for about a couple of years. I don’t know how this happened as I never thought myself to be one that left work unfinished. Yes I can explain it away – moved back to NY suddenly, helped family get back on their feet, scrambled to find work, got married, scrambled to make more money, etc, etc, etc.
But in all of this I have stopped doing the thing that I did and loved doing in the first bloody place. Create and share. Create and share. Rinse, repeat.
Lucky for me I have an amazingly supportive wife who keeps telling me to get my work out there. (She also told me one project at a time and no more new projects until I finish the current ones).
So alas, please find above one of many portraits I have taken over the last two years. This is the first of the series Inside New York.
In between commissions, I have a gig that helps bridge the bill paying gap. Most photographers do, they just don’t talk about it. Lucky for me, this gig is photography related and allows me to meet a lot of people.
I have taken it upon myself to start photographing these people in their homes – thus the title Inside New York. the concept is to capture folk in their most comfortable space, being themselves in their custom made surroundings. The one place where they can be who they want and do whatever they want to do – outside of the judging eyes of most folk.
There are many more of these portraits to come. And much more of my work to be released.
Any feedback is appreciated.
Love and peace,