About twenty years ago, I peered out my living room window on East 12th Street to discover that it was a misty, atmospheric day after an early morning rainfall. As I had the day off, I grabbed my trusty Maxxum 400si…then newly fitted with a wide-angle lens, and set out to take some pictures.
While strolling around foggy SoHo, I found myself on Greene Street, strangely bereft of any cars. I raised my camera, pointed it to the south and snapped. A few days later, I repaired to the Spectra Photo Lab on LaGuardia Place and picked up my film, delighted to discover how certain ones had turned out, notably my Greene Street shot. That shot is below….
At the time, I was still finding my way with photography as an eager novice. I’d taken a crash darkroom course at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine, so I had a vague idea of what I was doing, but being that I didn’t have access to a darkroom myself, I took all my film to Specta, and they always did an amazing job. While I could take credit for the composition, Spectra made my images positively shine. This Greene Street shot remains a particular favorite, so much so that I had the Spectra folks blow up a version and it now hangs on our living room wall. I love how you just make out the hint of the World Trade Center towers behind the street lamp.
As I mentioned in this post from 2008, when my first child was born in 2004, I switched to a digital camera out of sheer convenience, and sadly never went back. Clearly, I wasn’t alone, as the advent of digital photography basically seemed to put photo labs like Spectra out of business. They had to give up that massive space on LaGuardia Place as a result. It sort of broke my heart.
Six years later, however, I recently noticed that Specta has re-appeared at 333 Fifth Avenue just off 33rd Street. I’ve recently been kicking the idea around of shooting film again, so it might be time to go visit.
And just for the Hell of it, I was down on Greene Street again yesterday, and tried to replicate that earlier shot. Suffice to say, SoHo is no longer the same place that it was all those years ago.