Couple, Reservoir Track

One of those gloomy, windy days where I feel myself forced to go out and shoot no matter what’s going on.  It never did really live up to what I thought was on the way but I did get a bunch of moody shots… First time in a long while where I was out shooting for myself and not for some project.  I expect that I’ll make my way to B&H pretty soon with a digital card to stick in the 7D – just so I can do some tests for myself to see what it’s like at higher ASA – and then be able to compare it with the 40D.  I still can’t quite afford the thing, but it’s close now and if orders keep coming in at the current rate for another week or so… and if I really think the thing is completely usable at 3200 (yes, I’ve seen some stuff other people have shot but I need to test it for myself) then I’ll spring for it.  I plan to go on Sunday.  I have two more students booked, and so in this very short while the other site has already made more money for me than all the futzing with the books.  I still feel like kicking myself over that detour.

Of course it is ironic that even this minor cash outlay is consuming me as opposed to the old (and very unhappy days) when I would have picked this or a full-frame up without much thought.  I can remember how I felt that these new toys were compensation for the oppression I was feeling back then.  Ah, if only I had been born into a rich family.  I know – it sounds like whining – and I guess it is – but at times it just seems so idiotic that when I had tons of money I was miserable.  And when I threw it all away – I have had a much more satisfying life.  Maybe what I need to do is get back together with Lester and hit the track the way we did in the olden days.  Talk about misery… gadzooks.  Well, if nothing else, I have been wanting to photograph at the track for a long time — and I think that will be my next outing.  I’m not sure if Les goes anymore since he had a bit (uhm) of a gambling problem back then.  That’s one addiction I never did have.

Probably that’s because it wasn’t part of my background.  My paternal grandfather was a gambler.  And my grandmother often had to hide the weekly money from him.  My father was so traumatized by this that he grew up hating anything that had to do with gambling.  Especially cards.  Even when we were kids, playing poker for bits of torn up paper, he refused to play with us.  In fact he refused to play any card game, or any game where money was involved.

My mother was the opposite.  She loved to play gin rummy for money and was very good at it.  I could never beat her.  She said that it came from a time in her thirties when she was very ill; and while she was recovering from one of those ancient diseases that you never hear about any longer, she would lie in bed and play rummy with her older sister for days at a time.  I never did see her lose.  I can remember that look in her eye – when she’d say: What’s the name of this game?  You couldn’t believe she had won again.  RUMMY! and she’s slam her hand down to show you.

My father and mother were complete opposites in so many ways – that someday – I always tell myself I just have to write a book or a story about them.  Really an incredible partnership.  If you know Freudian terms, it was like being brought up by the super-ego (my dad) and the id (my mom).  Well, if you keep writing long enough, maybe you can make a connection to the picture of this couple.

couple reservoir central park


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My name is Dave Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City.

4 thoughts on “Couple, Reservoir Track”

  1. Gambling is in my blood. My father was a gambler and now my son goes to Vegas and AC to play poker. My father took me around to his bookie and Aqueduct Racetack before I was ten years old. While other kids were reading Dick and Jane books, I was reading the Racing Form and learning how to handicap. To this day, there is no greater thrill for me than watching a horse I bet on come flying down the home stretch in front. It’s not just the excitement and beauty of the race, but also a vindication that I was able to predict the outcome through brilliant analysis. Of course, the vast majority of the time, I am either wrong about the outcome, or I allow greed to control my betting. But as any good behaviorist will tell you, intermittent reinforcement is a powerful thing, so one big win every once in a while keeps the gambler eternally hopeful.

    Dave wonders if I am still addicted. In the old days, my dream was to go down to Atlantic City on a bus and come back in a limousine. I played blackjack. Now, I have a real aversion to AC. As soon as I step into a casino and hear the ringing of the slot machines, I begin to tremble with anxiety. I spent a week in Las Vegas last year with my son and it was like Dante’s journey into Hell. It seemed like every time I got two picture cards, the dealer would get 21 or blackjack. The trip seemed like some divine torture designed to teach me a lesson. I vowed never to return to Vegas again.

    But I am still drawn to horse racing. Last weekend was the Breeder’s Cup, the most important two days of horse racing of the year. The last of the Breeeder’s Cup races is the Classic, a three million dollar race between the best horses in the world. An undefeated mare, Zenyatta, was taking on the males for the first time. It is rare in horse racing when a female horse competes against males, but I decided that she was best horse in the race and bet her in exactas.

    So Zenyatta breaks last out of the gate. She lingers for almost the entire race at the back of the pack, like she is too intimidated by the males to mount a challenge. Then around the final turn, the jockey takes her off the rail and starts weaving through horses. He’s forced six wide down the stretch, but Zenyatta doesn’t give up. She ends up winning the race by a length, still undefeated and the only female horse to ever win the Classic. It was one of the best horse races ever.

    Did I win a lot of money with my brilliant handicapping. NO! I lost my money. I had greedily bet exactas, so I had to have the second place horse chosen correctly as well as the winner. An old story, hey Dave?

  2. A sad, but comforting story in the sense that my friends don’t change that much; and that I’ll have my Virgil to lead me through the hellhole of the track. To me the Casino is more relaxing as you don’t see the poor souls who have lost their life savings until you step outside or have to use the bathroom.

    Whereas at Yonkers, for example, the whole place is filled with a lower class of losers. And frankly, why should any of us lose these behaviors that have been bred into us at an early age while the brain is still like mush and crying out for information.

    It seems to me, the older I get, the more I realize how much of my life was formed in those first couple of years. But that’s a story for my shrink, and he’s tired of hearing tales of early childhood trauma.

  3. That picture is the best thing you’ve done in the last year! Absolutely on a par with Gene Smith’s “Walk to Paradise Garden.” A classic.

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