The first time I participated in the Break to Breakers was on May 20th 2017. Ok, I didn’t exactly participate in the race. I went there to take photographs. However, after everyone started moving forward, not necessarily running, I decided to join the crowd in spite of the pain in my knee. My plan was to walk a few blocks, take a few pictures and go back home. Four hours later, I found myself at the finish line on the beach, with hundreds of images of the participants. Many of them dressed for the occasion, or not dressed at all. The next year I decided not to go, since our puppy Max was too young for me even to consider the trip. This year on the day before the race, the newspaper warned that the rain might “spoil the parade”; and besides, a seven mile walk could be too much for a young dog. So, I decided to cheat. At about noon, I took Max and we drove to 45th Avenue and Lincoln, which I knew was close to the finish. In the park, we melded with the other walkers (the runners finished the race long time ago). People wanted to pet Max while I photographed my encounters. As predicted, it finally started to rain, and we returned to the car. There was an interesting coincidence related to the race. While finishing my next book, which my wife suggested to title “42 Encounters in San Francisco, Volume Two,” I decided to use one of the images from the race in the book, with the word “FUN,” as the story coincides with the image.
When I checked online, the meaning of the word “FUN” comes from Middle English “FONNEN”, and one of the meanings is cheat.
Cheating or not, the Break to Breakers event is really fun. It also has an amazing history. If I hadn’t checked online, I would never have guessed that the race began in 1912. In 1986, it had a record of 110,000 participants. If you’ve never taken part in the Break to Breakers and do not like to cheat like me, it will take place again next year on May 17, 2020 at 8am. I might see you there. Meanwhile, start running (or walking).
P.S. Thanks to Max, I regularly practice for the next race by walking regularly twice a day. Meanwhile, you can enjoy these four images from this years’ Break to Breakers. Seeing dog lovers I am sure will remind you that to get your copy of “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” – you just have to go on Amazon.com.
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Where To Find Love
Last week, I alluded to the special reason as to why I am writing this story now. Two weeks ago, I participated in a photography workshop in Palm Springs, during which as an exercise, we had to create a composition and then photograph it. I frankly had no idea what to do, since my style of photography, which I call “encounters”, has nothing to do with directing my sets. Nevertheless, after a visit to the local antique store, where I found an artwork with the word LOVE written on it, I decided to use it as my prop. We were taken to special locations for our photo shoots. The first one was an hour and a half drive to what is now known as Coachella Movie Ranch. Online you will find a lot of photographs of the place. After I used the LOVE sign everywhere to take my photographs, an idea started forming in my head. But it took a second trip the following day, to another very interesting destination – the Salton Sea, as well as spending some time photographing at the Bombay Beach Estates to decide to create a Share Love campaign, utilizing social media starting with Instagram, where I am going to post images every day with the word LOVE, and some inspirational quotes written by me and other authors. I hope to spread the idea of sharing love. Like a small light that can dispel darkness, some love can bring a lot of joy into people’s lives.
Two thousand years ago Rabbi Hillel the Elder wrote:
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, who am I?
If not now, when?
I took the liberty to paraphrase this famous postulate into my take about love:
If I do not love myself, who will?
If I only love myself, who am I?
Share love now.
Since returning home, I continued taking images with the LOVE sign. My first destination was Stern Grove, where we go play ball with Max. People whom I encountered there were more than happy to participate in the love sharing campaign. As time goes on, I intend to develop new ideas, which will help to share love. I hope you will join me too. For starters, if you are on Instagram, you will be able to find my daily posts on MannyKaganMrLove.
Please share love.
These four images with LOVE were taken in an abandoned house not far from Bombay Beach Estates.
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Please Share The Love
I believe that Kaizen, a Japanese business philosophy that believes in continuous improvement of working practices and personal efficiency, is the cornerstone of any occupation. This is the main reason I constantly take classes and workshops to improve my photography skills and try to get a better understanding about my development as a person who has an inner desire to record the outside world using a photo camera.
During our recent experience at the Palm Springs Photo Festival (I started writing about it last week), not only did I learn from the workshop’s leader, a renowned photographer Roger Ballen, who came from South Africa to teach this class, but also from other participants and teachers, as well. One of them, a well-known photographer, Melvin Sokolsky, pointed out that you cannot learn how to become a good photographer unless you have a gift, which we call talent (in my view, this reflects all artistic or creative endeavors). According to him, you either have it or not. I’ve seen it again and again while looking at the photography work of other photographers. At the Festival, there were 20 workshops to choose from. I ended up taking “Success in Fine Art Photography.” This was not my first choice, since I’m only starting to see evolvement of my photo-work as an art form. Besides, after checking Roger Ballen’s photography online, I was not initially interested, but I’m glad I made this choice. During the workshop with eleven participants, we shared our own photo images, as well as Roger’s creative art. We also had discussions about what it takes to be an artist and how to make a living doing what your heart desires.
Two days were spent photographing around Palm Springs. Before our trip, we visited antique stores where we had to choose props, which we would use for our creative process. My eyes caught two items – a beautiful silk scarf from India, a present for my wife, and a framed sign with the word LOVE written on it. The first hour and a half trip was to the Coachella Movie Ranch, which offered us an opportunity to use our creativity to create and photograph our masterpiece. On the second day we drove to another unusual destination – The Salton Sea. This place has an interesting history and certain areas which have abandoned houses filled with junk and graffiti. Some of them, like the Bombay Beach Estate, became a destination for artists. I used both locations to create images which incorporated my LOVE sign. Someone in the group, seeing me all the time with LOVE sign and listening to my remarks about life, called me “Mr. Lover”. I liked the idea, and upon my return, I decided to create a Facebook and Instagram page called “MannyKaganLove”. I hope this idea will catch on, and others will start sharing their LOVE images as well. When we focus on love, many other issues in our lives might disappear.
I would love to share my love with you In the four images I photographed during the trip.
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How to Avoid Parking Tickets?
If you live in San Francisco, I am sure this headline got your attention. However, the solution is not what you had in mind. I am currently writing from Palm Springs; possibly the hottest city in California, where an average temperature in July is 108°. During the dinner with friends who live here, they told me that one of the benefits living in this hot place is the absence of parking meters. Even large parking lots are free. Wow! I am here together with my wife Elfa to attend the Palm Springs Photo Festival. This is an annual event where I have participated in the past as well. This year, I am taking a workshop taught by the renowned photographer-artist Roger Ballen. I will write the details of this experience next week, since this time I wanted to share with you some of the trivia related to the place which was known many years ago by the name given by the native Cahuilla people, who settled in the area about 2000 years ago. They called it “Se-Khi” (boiling water). The United States Government established the Agua Caliete (hot water) reservation in 1876. Nowadays Cahuilla Indians, of whom about 400 live in the city, are the largest landowners. The city became a fashionable resort in 1905 when health tourists arrived with conditions that require dry heat. But even then, as it is now, many people moved to the cooler places during the summer. Movie stars started to make Palm Springs to be popular in the 1930s. Since the early 1950s the city had become known as a spring break resort. By 2017, the population had grown to about 48,000 people. It has one of the highest concentrations of same sex couples of any community in the United States. I was told that this trend exploded during the HIV epidemic, when gay men with AIDS moved there to die. Thanks to medical developments, their death was delayed. Since life here was cheaper than in other cities, like San Francisco or Los Angeles, their friends and parents followed soon after. I found another explanation online, as well.
Today the main source of revenue in the area is tourism with over 1.6 million people coming here every year, who in 2017 spent $5.5 billion. Not far from Palm Springs, other towns have developed with country clubs and high end shopping.
Another place to visit while here is Joshua Tree National Park. We might come back to Palm Springs next year to attend another workshop. For me the results, which you’ll see next week, are worth the effort and the cost.
P.S. The four images are some of the encounters I had in Downtown Palm Springs.
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How Long Are You Planning
To Be Around
I received an email recently, informing me that a business acquaintance died from a heart attack at the age of 48. For me, being seventy-two years wise, the news made me think. Since I plan to accomplish many things in the remaining years of my life, I thought about how long that might take; consequently, how long do I plan to be around? When I asked some of my friends how long are they planning to keep me, most responded that it is not up to them to decide, since there are higher powers that usually take care of this business.
There is a saying in Russian, “Chelovek predpolagaet, a Bog raspolagaet”, which means,“Man Proposes, but God Disposes”. The history of the saying goes back to the 5thcentury BC. If this is the case, how can we plan anything in our lives? This reminds me of a story about a student who proposed marriage to his girlfriend. His family was very excited about the news. Nevertheless, the mother of the bride asked her husband to find out how the young man is planning to support his family. For every question the father asked, the student answered — “God will provide”. When he returned home, the father reported to his wife that the young man has no plans of how to provide for his family. “However, the good news is, that he thinks that I am God”, the father said.
There is a saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Of course, no one can plan how long they are going to live, but they can plan to extend their lives by having a healthier lifestyle, by being conscious of what goes into our body, and by what goes into our brain. I am doing this just by planning one day at a time; while at the same time, having a vision of what I am planning to accomplish for years to come. For example, when I worked on my first “42 Encounters” book, I decided to produce forty-two books – one per year. Thus, my last one is going to be published when I’m going to be one hundred and fifteen. Meanwhile, I just finished writing the third photo-story book, “42 Encounters with Pairs in San Francisco”. What is left – to edit the text and put the book together. After that, it is going to be printed and by the end of the summer you will be able to hold the book in your hands. As another saying goes, “If you can perceiveit, you can achieve it”. Meanwhile, while you are reading this story, I am in Palm Springs. We came here for me to attend a photography workshop. I’ll share the results with you in next week’s story.
P.S. These four images are part of my personal growth as a photographer. They are from the collection I called “Singularity in Dualty”. I put them together to show at a workshop. Now I am considering producing a separate new photobook with those images. Meanwhile, you can buy my previously published “42 Encounters in San Francisco” and “42 Encounters with Dog Lovers” on Amazon.com.
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