If I can take a minute to talk about myself a little bit, I’d like to share with you the recipe that makes me who I am.
A product of Brooklyn
Not the post-gentrified Brooklyn, but the real Brooklyn, before the yuppies, hipsters and developers grabbed it by the throat and choked the life out of it. I’m the kind of Brooklynite that still treats “fuck” and “shit” as an ordinary part of his vocabulary. And when you have a command of the written/spoken language like I have, maybe I’ll let you lecture me about how I curse too fuckin much.
I still kick that Brooklyn slang. I walk like the sidewalk is my property. I’m a straight talker; you’ll never have to wonder what’s going on inside my head, I’ll always let you know. I don’t do urban glam-wear. That shit is ridiculous. I wear ball caps, not Frank Sinatra hats. I wear jeans that don’t hug my legs like leotards and don’t hug my ass like tights.
A Product of the 80s
I grew up in the last great era of American Pop Culture. The last era of great American cinema and Television. The last era of revolutionary music, like New Wave and early Rap, and the closing era of real Rock n’ Roll. Since the world moved more slowly back then, I also grew up on the old, classic stuff (because it wasn’t considered “old” to us). Doo Wop is the beat of my heart. Movies from the 60s and 70s shaped my visual tastes and formed my appreciation for good, strong writing. TV shows (and movies) from the 40s and 50s gave me an eye and a flare for dramatic visuals, lighting and the use of shadow, and it remains the backbone of my photographic eye even today. If you missed the 80s, you’re shit outta luck. The 90s and the 2000s just took the 80s and crapped all over it. The popular culture of today is all fluff without substance. Sorry to break it to ya.
A Product of the Old Ways
I am a product of old school Catholicism. I know Jesus is compassionate, but I don’t believe he’s warm and fuzzy. I didn’t learn the Ten Commandments from folk songs, and I wasn’t taught the Gospels from a story book. I was taught the old ways: Accountability and responsibility. Mercy as well as justice. Truth and honor. Right and wrong with no middle ground. I was taught the epic language of Catholicism, not watered down kiddy prayers, and it shaped my understanding of the greatness of God and the Church established by Christ, and the seriousness and dignity of my ancient faith.
I’m not saying these things make me better than everybody else. But I have to say, they make me a lot more well-rounded than most of the people I come in contact with. I’m a product of great things, and I thank God for that. I may be a bit out of place in the world I’m—sadly—living in now, but if you ask me, everybody else is fucked up. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with me ;-)