“Old Friend / New Friend in Brooklyn”
I’m most happy when my life is a balanced mix of the old and the new, a balance of the easy comfort of knowing and being known and the invigoration of new friendships and discoveries.
I met up with my dear friend Kaylan in Brooklyn. We have the kind of easy comfortable relationship that belies the fact that we’ve only been friends for just a few years. Still, our friendship often feels like that weathered and comfortable old blanket or t-shirt that you can no longer place how it first came to be. I recall a lengthy car ride shared on a sweltering summer afternoon. No AC. Just the stale highway air swirling around and through us as we talked of philosophy, theology, marriage and friendships and about the complexities and blessings of our lives as photographers who have many stories inside of us and still those that we long to explore as we hope and dream as visual storytellers. It somehow all feels like a lifetime ago. We’ve shared some intense experiences together (one of them was her asking me to help document the birth of her child’s first breath on this earth and the months leading up to that). I don’t know, maybe that has something to do with why our friendship feels ancient and easy. From the picture above, you can guess that she is a photographer as well. Non-photographers never cradle a D3s like a baby in one hand while simultaneously wielding a classic Contax T2 film camera with a fixed 35 f2.8 Carl Zeiss lens in the other. ;) She is a deeply talented photographer whom I’ve slowly come to respect and admire—mostly for her ability to elevate the work of wedding photography to be more than just simply about making people look good, but instead showing something more honest and intimate in them. We had ambitions of doing a little street photography together on this day, but the joys of conversations and new friendships (more on that below) caused me to really take only two true street photos (one of which was the first image in this post). The rest of the images and captions are of my old and new friends. Enjoy.
I never look fashionable when I’m working. Kay? Well…there you go.
The official name of this photographic pose is called “Old Asian Lady Waiting For The Bus On The Curb”
This is the new friend I hinted at above. Her name is Shayna. She is a mother, writer, photographer, world traveler, fast talking and ultra multitasking New Yorker (in that city rather than the upstate kind of way). She speaks with a sense of urgency that is immediately engaging and surprisingly disarming and often does so with passion and profundity. Having arrived earlier than I was expected, I sat on the steps of her home on this warm Spring day in Brooklyn waiting for Kay and Shayna to return from the grocery store. While she was still 20 or so feet away, she shouts with arms flailing out wide, “Andrewwwww so good to finally meet you!” Our first meeting was a hug and not the usual formal handshake or in my case a handshake paired with a slight bow (yeah sometimes my Korean-ness still kicks in). It took about 2.6 seconds for me to like her. Shayna as a writer does that thing that I love where she seamlessly weaves stories that are infused with a delightful balance of snot inducing absurdity and hilarity with that of deep thoughtfulness. I’m grateful to have met her.
Shayna’s adorable daughter Tessa unsurprisingly draws the attention of some teenage girls passing by a park.
One of the things I noticed and immediately admired about Shayna was how committed she was to thoughtfully communicating with her children. Here, she is explaining to her son Britton (who was feeling a little shy and timid) that even though he won’t be able to see her pushing the stroller, she was going to always be right there and wasn’t going anywhere.
It was rare not to see Tessa beaming with a radiant and contagious smile….
…and yet everyone has their breaking point. Tears of tiredness. Yeah dude we’ve all been there. Let it flow kid, let it flow.
As a new mother, this was the longest duration of time Kay had been away from her nearly one year old baby Finley so understandably couldn’t resist saying goodnight to him over video chat.