Category Archives: Photography

No Sadness: Week of Return

As I sit here in my big comfortable computer chair, I ponder on numerous subjects. I am thinking about the trip, my family, and my future. I am having one of those moments of solitude. Tomorrow will be exactly a week since we departed from New York. I sincerely miss not only the city, but as Courtney referred to us, my family.

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It is quite difficult yet obvious how to conclude the trip. It is almost as if I do not want to because I feel like once I publish this, I am officially home. It is one thing to simply be in the area, but it is another to accept the fact that we are no longer together in New York, waiting for another adventure.

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I never want to forget the experiences and family who made this journey so unique and fulfilling. You do not realize how big of an impact everyone makes until a few days later when you remember each and every personality and memory. I am extremely excited to have documented this so far through a blog because our minds simply do no justice to written words.

As depressing and sad as I would have liked to be, it seems as though I let those emotions out in the last few blog posts. I want to focus on the good times and never forget the excitable experiences each of us have had. I am exceptionally fortunate to have met the individuals I met during the journey. I loved the get togethers and simple family bonds. One of the greatest moments was walking into Jenna, Marina, Keeyoung, and Lindsay’s room and dragging them out and down to mine. Brittany and Cami were already in there. I had 4 take out boxes of food saved from the dining hall because I did not use all of my meals. We had a miniature party and we ate tons of delicious cookies.

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As I pondered on these small but meaningful memories, I can’t help but thank Courtney and Rylan for serving as such amazing professors. I really cannot thank them enough for the tremendous experience I undertook. So, to close on a high note, I will forever LOVE New York and my New York family!

Much Love,
Nathan Wingate

P.S. I am a lucky man, if you know what I mean. I was fortunate enough to meet some exceptionally beautiful people. This first week back is a new beginning for a hopeful and bright future 🙂

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Filed under History, Miscellaneous, Photography

On Returning Home and Missing My Family

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We took so many group photos, it was kind of hard to choose one. But here’s the family in Brooklyn Heights.

So, I can’t say this better than Lindsay, but writing a last post is difficult. And this time, perhaps thankfully, I didn’t have a 36-hour train ride home for meditation. Instead, I’ve taken these last two days in Georgia to tune out and think about what this CSU NY Arts Immersion trip has meant to me. Back at home, I found myself sort of immediately bored without somewhere to walk on Saturday evening and then sort of immediately maladjusted to the truly “free” Sunday that I had without a trip or meeting scheduled—without the buzz and hum of the city in the background. So, I do miss the city with all of its stimulation, all that it offers. But, of course, I’m going to talk about “family” for my last post…because, like the last trip taught me, it’s about the people that accompany you on a trip as much as the place you travel to.

From the beginning, this group referred to us as a “family” and insisted that we take a group photo for nearly every outing. This was quite a contrast to our last group in 2012, who ditched us as often as they could to go out exploring. While that group was interested in discovering the city on their own, this group wanted to experience it together, which meant a certain kind of openness to just about any event that was planned. They put serious trust in their professors to show them the city, and then they could reflect for themselves. For instance, when I suggested a theatrical reading of Russian literature at Joe’s Pub, almost everyone came along—and even though we were all lost because we hadn’t read Nabokov’s Pale Fire, this group made the best of it. They used humor to get through it, seeing who could laugh the loudest at a show that none of us could really understand. It might have been a dreadful event, but this family made it memorable anyway.

From what I could tell, when this group was disappointed with something, they talked through it. This, again, suggests an openness. Instead of a quick dismissal—an “I hated that”—they talked amongst themselves and then with us about what left them curious, questioning, or uncomfortable. For instance, after a visit to the MoMA, Rylan and I discussed postmodern art with one of my English students, which led to an interesting debate about works like those of Jackson Pollock and the significance of visual art as political and meaningful versus that same significance in literature. After our tour in Harlem, many students felt uncomfortable that our tour guide took us into the housing projects; they discussed this together and then with me a little, which led to some of the most honest conversations about race and class that I’ve ever had. Another instance: one art student pulled me aside at the International Center for Photography to talk about the composition of a certain series of photos, which she felt looked poorly Photoshopped. Even though she disliked the series, she was engaged with trying to understand why the photographer would use such techniques. And, of course, in my class meetings where we discussed literature, we inevitably drifted away from the actual texts and spoke about our own experiences in the city, whether good or bad.

Even if we all felt homesick and tired and maybe even tired of each other at some point in the trip, we remained a “family,” as the students put it. Family, to me, means sharing experiences in honest and open ways–unafraid to question, to engage, to make decisions about what we value in art and life, or even our values and how they change. To just know that you can trust someone else with your true feelings about what you’ve just experienced. That is the real purpose of this trip in my mind—to establish that kind of rapport. It’s not to try and cram in every artistic and historical event in New York City into three weeks time, so that students can dance through them and later talk about their experiences like badges or trophies (“I saw this; I went here; I’ve done that before”). Instead, the purpose of this trip—and I think travel more generally—is to form lasting bonds with your travel mates, to reflect together on what you are seeing and learning, to miss the people more than the place when you get home.

Like the authors that we read for this trip, who were all searching for connections with others in places far from their homes, that’s what we seek when we venture to new places out of our comfort zone. I’m glad to have found that with my 2014 New York family. We talk so much about the importance of family in the South, about how family sustains us and keeps us grounded in place. But after this trip, I know that the concept of family extends beyond the bounds of our blood relations and our region. I know that, despite all the depressing literature Southerners may write, those connections forged are very real, and that perhaps, in contradiction to some of my earlier posts, home is transportable if you are with your family.

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Filed under History, Literature, Miscellaneous, Neighborhood Fun, Photography, Theatre, Visual Arts

A Southern Girl Says Goodbye to New York

Alas, it is our last evening here before an early trip home to Georgia tomorrow. I didn’t blog as much as I wanted this trip–my students put me to shame (probably because they receive grades for their posts :)) There was so much more I wanted to reflect on: how the South might just reside up in Harlem; how Coney Island always restores my soul; how I seem to always reconnect with old friends in this city; how I think I may have learned how to interact with New Yorkers on my very last evening here; how this Southern girl (unlike hometown girl Carson McCullers) ain’t ever leaving her region, not even for the cultural capital of the world. I’m going to use this excuse for my lack of posts: we’ve just stayed so busy, which means more experiences and less time to write about them. Instead, I’ll offer you some photos and let you see through my eyes what this trip has meant to me…(after all, this isn’t only a literature trip but a photography and arts trip, too).

Carson McCullers' Home in Nyack, NY.

Carson McCullers’ Home in Nyack, NY.

Sometimes the worst aspects of the South show up everywhere.

Sometimes the worst aspects of the South show up everywhere.

And the best ones also show up (at Sylvia's in Harlem).

And the best ones also show up (at Sylvia’s in Harlem).

I've dreamed of seeing Minton's ever since I read Ralph Ellison's "The Golden Age Time Past," one of my favorite jazz essays of all time.

I’ve dreamed of seeing Minton’s ever since I read Ralph Ellison’s “The Golden Age Time Past,” one of my favorite jazz essays of all time.

These are the "stars" that matter to me.

These are the “stars” that matter to me.

Catch the group in the glass  as we step into the Apollo.

Catch the group in the glass as we step into the Apollo.

The South lives in Harlem.

The South lives in Harlem.

Coney Island get-away.

Coney Island get-away.

An accidental walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge let me catch a little AG reference.

An accidental walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge let me catch a little AG reference.

Minetta's,  a site in the Village where Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dylan Thomas, and e.e. cummings frequented.

Minetta’s, a site in the Village where Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dylan Thomas, and e.e. cummings frequented.

My job is so cool that I get to take students to a pub--the White Horse Tavern, Dylan Thomas's favorite watering hole.

My job is so cool that I get to take students to a pub–the White Horse Tavern, Dylan Thomas’s favorite watering hole.

The end of our literary tour...with the beginning of great American literature.

The end of our literary tour…with the beginning of great American literature.

The sweetest end to this trip: a gift from a student. This means the most of anything I've gained here.

The sweetest end to this trip: a gift from a student. This means the most of anything I’ve gained here.

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Filed under Food, History, Literature, Miscellaneous, Music, Neighborhood Fun, Photography, Popular Culture, Visual Arts

Why?

Whoa.

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It is day two of our return from the big apple. I still cannot believe how quickly time flew by.

I have been thinking about my first day. I have even thought about my first blog post, my first written record of my city adventure. I remember how I struggled with New York Universities wifi, annoyed by the fact that not only I could complete my work, but I could not post images on Facebook. I finally connected and became tremendously excited. However, even though I have written several posts over the last three weeks, I failed to mention something that has developed in my mind since the beginning.

I began the trip with everyone believing I was an English major because I was taking both the ITDS class (which my fellow peers thought was English) and the photography class. All of the students who joined me on the trip assumed my major to be English. They soon found out I am an Exercise Science major and an Art minor.

Throughout the journey I began to think about my “why” for Exercise Science as a major. I compiled a list of reasons in my head.

• I want to become a Physical Therapist.
• Physical Therapy is a stable career choice.
• There is a high calling for individuals in the medical field.
• I enjoy helping and serving others while making their day.
• Stable income.

I believe these reasons are genuine and honest. I remember breaking my ankle in 10th grade. I was at a friend’s birthday party and landed wrong after trying to catch a football. I went through surgery and months later began my venture into physical therapy. After my first visit I could not wait to go back. The people there were amazing and I could see the progress in my ankle after every visit. I went from a weird feeling of never being able to play sports or participate in active activities again, to running cross country and playing soccer the next semester.

My inspiration grew and I dove into this new found career headfirst.

I had second thoughts about my major when I found decided on an Art minor. I became (and still am) more excited about my art and photography classes than any other class.

Throughout the trip I have really thought about whether to change my major to art or not. I love being creative and photography is my greatest passion. I believe what is holding me back is the risk of taking the leap into something unknown. However, sometimes, it is the leap of faith that provides the greatest success.

Much Love,
Nathan

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The Last Night

So there once was a man. He loved New York. He was leaving, and still had not seen each and every place he wanted. In fact, he did not even see half of what he wanted. There were so many places to go. There were so many places to visit. There will never be enough time.

He was there for an education, an education in which he loved very much. He loved his classmates and loved the environment of his classes. He stepped off of the plane with high expectation and will soon be leaving with those same expectation exceeded.

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He met so many amazing individuals and developed numerous relationships in which he wishes to continue.

On his last and final day, he simply did not complete his bucket list. New York City is just too big. The hustle and bustle of the city engulfed his personality and created a bond never to be broken.

Sometimes, you never seem to be able to follow your dreams. Sometimes your dreams are just out of reach. Sometimes, they are ripped out of your hands and thrown into a dumpster. And sometimes, you leave and watch them out the back of a packed van and wonder if you will ever see them again.

Just kidding.

On a serious note, New York is on point. We wanted to make it to one more “must go” place and chose grand central terminal because it was raining. When we got off the train, I heard this seriously intense amazing awesome on point beat. I was like, lame. I felt this way because I assumed this was an electronic beat with no effort involved. Instead, to my surprise, I walked up the stairs to see a dude beat boxing. I filmed an exclusive video. See below.

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Music, Neighborhood Fun, Photography

Free in NYC

I have a free day to do basically whatever I choose. For some reason I am simply choosing to relax in my room and listen to music while getting some work done. I was going to go hang out and explore New York some more. However, I find myself wanting to just chill. I have this weird urge to go to the top of the rock and record lip-sync video.

While contemplating my options, I started to clean my room. It was decently dirty. I was attempting to create a homier atmosphere and I feel as if I did a decent job. I guess it got out of hand. I almost subconsciously began packing because I cannot stop thinking about the fact that we are leaving in three days. Three days. We only have two more days of adventure.

*As you read and examine the following words and images, be sure to press the play button underneath this sentence.

I am listening to the classical for studying radio on Pandora Internet Radio and they are playing songs such as “Breathe” by Greg Maroney and “Schindler’s List, Film Score” by John Williams. I am writing this blog post in the strange depressing ambiance that I am weirdly enjoying. I think it is humorous. I wanted to accompany this post with images and audio in attempt to convey my homey atmosphere and interesting ambiance to you.

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Already, I preview each photo, remembering each and every photo as a memory I will forever treasure. Some of the objects in each image represent a new adventure I participated in during the trip. I bought the New York hat from a street vendor, along with some Ray Ban Clubmaster look-a-likes. Those stuffed super heroes were bravely earned through much hard ache and pain. AN addicting game at Luna Park on Coney Island sucked us in and we played until we ran out of points.

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Even if there are images in which embody some of my personal belongings I brought, I remember each and every reason why I used them. Above is a New York University shirt I purchased from their bookstore.

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I brought this notebook from home and only used it during the first day of English class in Washington Square Park.

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Here are my newly folded clothes after cleaning my dorm room. This particular moment brought sadness because I was basically cleaning to prepare myself for the move-out on Saturday. Less work for me to do then.

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My laptop is placed on my temporary workstation next to my phone and self-made MP3 player. I just personalized a screensaver to showcase recent images from the trip so far.

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This is my place of rest at night. It embodies both a part of New York and Georgia by combining my own comforter with a pillow purchased from a Kmart here in New York.

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This image holds much history. The SD camera cards embrace thousands of defining moments in my New York City experience. The bow tie is an artifact resembling my once in a lifetime ballet experience. My sunglasses case in the background remains the only evidence of my lost shades.

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Both my old and new metro cards. I only forgot it twice, both times took place yesterday in fact. It is amazing that I have not lost that stupid little dorm key yet.

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Those wonderful Starbucks mints are amazing. I bought them for a specific purpose.

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This last image is not last for any particular reason. However, I find it humorous that the trashcan happened to end the post. Perhaps I will talk about the trash can another day.

Much Love,
Nathan

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Filed under History, Miscellaneous, Photography

Slow Down the Time

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No! I cannot believe this is our last week in New York City! I am devastated. This place is truly amazing. I look upon the last two weeks wondering how time flew by so fast, wishing time would slow down for this last week. We leave Saturday, June 14. I guess we have quite a few more days. I still need to visit so many places. We have participated in a HUGE variety of activities including:

– Bus Tours
– Boat Tours
– Class in the park
– Tenement Museum
– Empire State building during the day and night
– The Metropolitan Museum of Art
– The Guggenheim
– The Museum of Modern Art
– The Blue Note
– Tour of Brooklyn
– Numerous amazing art galleries
– The Highline

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– Statue of Liberty
– Ellis Island
– Photographer Documentary (film)
– The Cloisters
– American Museum of Natural History
– Off Broadway musical, Avenue Q
– The Frick
– Coney Island Beach
– Coney Island Luna Park
– Central Park
– Little Italy
– Chinatown
– Harlem Tour
– Late night Harlem Shakes
– ?uestlove
– International Center of Photography
– New York Public Library
– And tonight, a Ballet (Cinderella)

All of these experiences have been unforgettable. They have been truly remarkable adventures I have had the pleasure to share with all of my newfound friends.

I left the computer a bit and after a brief moment I suddenly discovered a possible motive behind my reasoning for loving this place so much. I think with any vacation, you get the best possible experience (generally) and always consider a possible move. Once you realize the reality, you begin to understand that once you get to your dream location of living, it is not always fun and games. At home, we all have responsibilities whether it is work, school, or both. Sometimes it is difficult to notice when you are consistently participating in excitable activities and embarking on one adventure after the next. If an individual such as me were to move here, I would notice a shift in my love for the city. As we discussed today in class, individuals strolling down New York City’s streets usually tend to gaze straight ahead, ignoring my genuine smile. I would be working hard to ensure a place of living. I would not necessarily have time for the exhilarating voyages we have all experienced so far.

I am especially excited because we still have a few more days to expand our horizons. I am desperately attempting not to think about the flight home. I want to enjoy and savor our last few moments here in the Big Apple. I cannot wait to write about the next three days as I know something extraordinary will be experienced.

Much Love,
Nathan

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