Free Range Chickens

Portrait of a chicken

Portrait - 2010

St. Croix is over-run with feral chickens, free range at its utmost. Of course, no one eats them (too tough or something like that). Instead, nearly all the chicken consumed (and it is a local favorite) are shipped in from Tyson Foods, or some similar factory farm. So except for the danger from cars (and an occasional dog or mongoose), these local chickens are relatively safe. And it seems they have that and much more to crow about, starting well before dawn.

Some of them will proudly stand for a moment, as though posing for a portrait. But more often they are busy scratching in the dirt for a bit to eat, bright yellow legs doing much of the work. And some, like the gent at the bottom, seem very much in a hurry to get somewhere else… places to go, people to see, you know. Not unlike us.

Yellow chicken legs

Yellow Legs - 2010

Chicken on the run

Places to Go, People to See -- 2010

Hot and Cold

hpt pepper red

Hot pepper red - 2010

We just spent 10 days in the upper Midwest where it was mostly cold and rainy — so different from the heat and humidity of the tropics.

We all experience hot and cold, and often associate certain subject matter with each. For example, an image of a snow-covered field can evoke feelings of cold, while a sun-drenched beach may suggest the warmth of the sun.

Of course, just color itself can evoke the physical feelings of warmth or cold — even in the case of a subject like the palm, below, where one would otherwise think of warm tropical surroundings. Is this dissonance between subject matter and color temperature disturbing or interesting?

ice palm

Ice Palm - 2010

The Modern Butcher

The Butcher - 2009

The Butcher - 2009

I was slinking around the local warehouse food store with the camera the other day, and got this moody picture of the butcher, alone in his glass-enclosed cage. The image is a more recent extension of some of the work I did last month in preparation for an exhibit in Frederiksted.

The camera sees the colors of light so much more acutely than the eye. While we all know that retailers make the meat look redder with a little red in the light, it’s normally not so obvious. The two different qualities of light here – in the work room and on the counter – help deliver the message in this image.

The “Daily Strife” exhibit at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts opens Friday night, October 16. Six of my images were chosen to be part of the exhibit, including the one on the promotional flyer below. The show will be up until December 1, so stop in if you are on island.


Fish Lips

Fish for Dinner? -- 2009

Fish for Dinner? -- 2009

I saw these guys on ice in an open air market in New York last year, and finally got around to working with the image. I don’t know what kind of fish they are, but it’s clear they’d been giving the passers-by a lot of lip.

Black Pineapple

Black pineapple - 2009

Black pineapple - 2009

Narrow and tall with a dark green skin, the black pineapple is a Caribbean favorite. Topped with rust-tinged leaves, this one seems to glow with sweetness.

A Ripe Tomato from the Caribbean

This started out as a ripe tomato from the local organic farm. So sweet and delicious, it’s just a distant relative to what can be bought in the store.

It’s one of those tomatoes that, even when perfectly ripe, is still a mix of brick-red and green. It had delicate rings of tan scar tissue — maybe tomato stretch marks? — and a cleavage from the stem down the back side. Only a tomato, but I think that’s where its magic lies.

Ripe tomato - 2009

Ripe tomato - 2009

The beautiful eggplant

These tasted as good as they look. No other comment necessary.

Eggplant - 2009

Eggplant - 2009

A Couple of Hot Peppers

A couple of hot peppers - 2009

A couple of hot peppers - 2009

We picked up a handful of these gorgeous little peppers at the local organic farm. Some were fresh and plump, some still with a tinge of green, while these two had begun to dry and shrivel a bit. I placed them on a hand-thrown plate with an interesting mottled green glaze for their portraits. And in case you are wondering, yes, they are very hot!

This is the first image I worked on. I expect there will be a few more until I either exhaust the possibilities, or — more likely — am distracted and pulled away by the next photo-op.

Chocolate Fruit, the Black Sapote

Black Sapote - 2009

Black Sapote - 2009

A ripe black sapote turns a dark geenish brown, and feels soft underneath the thin leathery skin. Sometimes called the “chocolate fruit”, it doesn’t look appetizing, even when cut open exposing the black-brown custard like interior. But taste it. Looks can be deceiving, and expanding one’s concept of what is edible is rewarding.

In fact, after witnessing the making of a sausage or a bag of Cheetos, I bet you’d much rather eat a black sapote.

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