Central Park self-portraits
by Lorien E. Menhennett
When I was in college, one of my favorite (and most time-intensive) classes was photography. This was before the ubiquity of digital cameras — we shot with 35 mm, 400 ISO film, all black and white, manually developed and printed in buckets of smelly liquids under red safety lights. My final project was to tell a “story” in a series of still photographs. I decided to share my daily jogging route. I started and ended with a picture of my running shoes to give context. In between were images of the route itself, the trees, bushes, houses, fences, and streets. I took each photo while slowly panning a scene, blurring the images slightly to give the impression of movement. For my presentation, I mounted each image on rectangles of black art board, with little cutouts along the top and bottom to look like segments of a film strip.
I don’t jog anymore; I prefer an exercise bike, an elliptical machine, or simply a long walk. The photos I present here (digital, obviously — how times have changed!) tell the story of my recent walk to, through, and from Central Park. I am eternally grateful to those who had the foresight to guard this giant swath of land as a nature preserve, and I visit it often. The park changes throughout the seasons. Here is what it looks like on a sunny, spring day.