The negatives ended up stuffed in a closet. And the South Bronx was quietly transformed in the late 1980s by community campaigns that created new homes, community gardens and smaller schools. I became a journalist and traveled to Latin America, where I confronted poverty that made New York’s worst look tame.
But I always came back to the Bronx. I have spent much of my professional life chronicling the same streets I photographed as a young man. Six years ago, I moved back for good, with my wife and son. Some people thought I was crazy; cynics swore it hadn’t changed much from the Bad Old Days of 1979.
This year, I dug out the old pictures. The images may be black and white, but to look back upon them now is to discover that their secrets are revealed in shades of gray. In a landscape that was written off as uninhabitable — if not unsalvageable — you can see creativity, faith and even a kind of innocence.
Click. In the middle of a Mott Haven street, a lone couple hugs tightly and twirls to the music of an unseen orchestra. Squeegee boys dart out among the land yachts rolling off the Deegan to cadge a quick quarter.
Astronaut Reid Wiseman, 222 nautical miles above a point in the Atlantic Ocean a few hundred miles off the coast of Africa, shot the night sky and the Milky Way on Sept. 27, 2014 with a Nikon 3DS. Handheld 3seconds, f1.4, 24mm, ISO 12800.
I've read a large majority of Americans under 30 have never seen the Milky Way.
In 1991 a friend who does serious amateur photography made a series of exposures of a solar eclipse in Hawaii. The idea was to vary the exposure lengths and then digitally align and combine the photos to produce an image with a much great dynamic range than was possible with conventional film. He took the photos and I digitized the negatives and aligned and adjusted the layers. We had much better detail than most eclipse photos - detail in the corona was amazing. Our secondary goal was to detect detail on the moon's surface from the reflected earthshine. We were just able to make out a few of the maria.
Others have tried similar tricks and digital cameras and much better camera mounts have improved dynamic range as well as reduced the effort. A serious bit of advice - if you ever plan to watch a total solar eclipse, forget trying to photograph it unless you have some sort of fully automatic camera. The chances are others will do a much better job and the event is so spectacular that you need to be spending your time in proper awe.