wackiness (and art) on Governor’s Island

June 15, 2012 |  Category:   art + design life nyc outings

Governor’s Island seems to get more crazy every year. Such a difference from when it first opened up to the public 4 years ago when there was nothing there. Granted, we had no idea that there was an art festival going on that weekend, and then when we figured it out we were sort of relieved because suddenly every weird and bizarre thing that we came across actually made more sense, like a pole dancer on a bicycle powered boat float – so random. And this woman dressed as a firebird (2nd photo) who summoned the girls over to play. The island wasn’t crowded at that early hour and we had no idea that this was going on, so it was just us and this woman on the grass for awhile. She was so out there and so in character that I was kind of concerned for her, not knowing that she was part of the art weekend. Even Mia kept giggling nervously with side glances sort of skeptical about the whole thing. Claudine, on the other hand, went along with the whole charade in glee (more on the subtle differences in their ages, later).


This outing was also a photo outing with my friend Jill who is easing me back into the world of film. We went around the island and shot with some medium format cameras. She even gave Mia a Kodak brownie camera to use for the day. When I studied photography in high school and college, it was all film of course. We’d develop our own film rolls and print images in both color and black & white darkrooms. Though I have no idea if I’ll ever find myself in a darkroom again, I’d like to shoot more film and I’m trying to figure out what kind of camera I’d like to get since sadly, all our old film cameras seem to be in disrepair or missing. I’m thinking of getting Mia a little film camera too. Digital is great and all, but carefully selecting your shots because you have a finite roll of film and the anticipation of picking up the prints from a shop is such a different experience. It would be cool if the kids got to experience the same magic.

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  • sara June 15, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    this looks wacky and amazing and so fun!
    i’ve never shot with film (except for at sleepovers when i was a little girl and film was all the existed), but i’d love to try someday!

  • Heather M June 15, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Pentax K1000! They’re the best! I love those brownies too, but it’s tricky to get the film. I think you have to get 120 medium format film and cut it down to size to make it work, though of course there are places on the internet that do that and will sell you rolls. The K1000 is just great because it’s pretty easy, takes nice photos, is built like a tank, is easy to find and not too expensive. I love taking my film in to my local camera shop, the guys there get such a kick out of the fact that I still shoot film. They do things like set aside the $10 Holga in case I want it, or gift me with a pinhole lens that one of them made with an old lens cover. Photo nerds unite!

  • lori June 15, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    It’s really nice how film cameras are getting so much cheaper now. I like some of the portable medium format ones with great lenses – like mamiya 6 or 7s – seems like a nice contrast with digital. It is really nice how it slows down your photo taking. When I first used digital I hated all the photos I was taking, I think because it’s so easy to take so many…

  • Roseann June 16, 2012 at 12:34 am

    It’s crazy how time and technology shapes experience, but I think in the past ten years a growing appreciation for and preservation of “the analog” has developed. And it will not be lost. So many bloggers and artists and designers etc etc have dedicated themselves to returning to our roots. There is more appreciation for how our grandparent’s generation did things.

    Makes me think of this Portlandia skit:


    Thank you for this post, your writing is always so thought provoking.

    San Francisco

  • nileta June 16, 2012 at 4:49 am

    wow! i am loving all the installations in the park. such creativity!

  • Diane June 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    You take the girls on the coolest outings! Loved seeing the old Brownie in Mia’s hands….fond memories of my first camera.

  • Alice C. June 16, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I love Governor’s Island. We go there a couple of times a year to ride rented bikes. Have you ever tried one of the family sized “pedicabs/tandem bikes”? They’re they best; I think your girls would have a blast.

  • Jen June 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Jenna, we gave our daughter a diana (replica, I think it was from urban outfitters) last year for her birthday. Meanwhile, we gave our son one of those cheapy disposables. I HIGHLY recommend the cheapy disposables for getting started. They can actually take some decent photos. They’re not glamorous but they can be pretty fun to start with. You can see how the diana vs the kodak fun saver fared here: http://www.classic-play.com/through-the-lens/

  • ana June 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    get hasselblad 500 c/m!

    I love your blog

  • roxana June 17, 2012 at 3:27 am

    wow~ what a wonderful surprise to have been a part of.

  • Jasmine June 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    You know what I miss? Disposable cameras. As flimsy as they were, there was something nice about them. Also, this place looks incredible! I love the first picture. What beautiful colours.

  • tooodayi June 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    What a terrific experience for children.

  • Meghann @ Fuzzy.Little.Wishballs June 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    What an interesting place!
    I’ve been doing the same. I have an old Canon SLR and recently picked up a Wirgin Edina for $5 at a yard sale. I’m not finished with the first roll of film, yet, but I can’t wait to see how they turn out in order to correct and continue to learn how to use it.