photo of the month
from randy kato


Summer seems to have finally arrived here in New York City after a drawn-out, dreary, drippy spring. So this month's photo is in celebration of the glory that is summertime in NYC.

Welcome to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade - an annual art parade celebrating the sand, the sea, the salt air and the beginning of summer. This shot was from a couple years ago when it was nice and sunny. This year it literally rained on our parade (but mermaids don't mind).

Have you figured out what you're looking at yet? It's a garbage truck. Yes, one of those noisy, smelly monsters that rumble through the neighborhood at ungodly hours. But this is no ordinary one - in fact it's quite extra-ordinary, completely covered with mirrors!

As if the Mermaid Parade weren't enough visual (over)stimulation on its own, this monstrosity-turned-curiosity had folks mesmerized, giving them a true Coney Island funhouse mirror view of the festivities. The striking thing was that in the midst of all the craziness, what stopped most people in their tracks when the beast rolled by was the image of themselves. I admit to being bumfuzzled by this myself - it was such an unexpected visual, delivered in such an enigmatic way, that it took a few seconds to recognize that person who looked so familiar.

This photo strikes me because it's one that I can get lost in. There's so much going on that I can look at it over and over and always find new and curious things. The way it gives two views of the same thing is interesting, but I like the differences even more: what you don't see reflected; what you only see in the reflection; what's reflected multiple times; what's distorted in the mirror; how some things in the mirror are actually clearer than the direct view... And of course, there's something about that kid, the look on his face, his posture, the hat cocked to one side as if he intended to make this mirror shot more interesting, the way the mirror put him on a diet...

Since there's too much detail in this image to see in this small format, you can click the image to view a higher resolution version.


By the way, I've added an archive in case you ever want to see previous photos of the month.

Photo of the Month archive