East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden Wedding Berkeley CA

East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden Wedding Berkeley, CA

Eli and Tobie were married in a shady grove of towering redwood trees in the East Bay Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley, California. They are both super charismatic, and they were great in front of the camera. When the connection between a couple is electric, like it is between Eli and Tobie, my job is easy.

Yes, Eli and Tobie’s wedding was overflowing with glorious colorful outfits, but Tobie’s pants — come on! They brought a burst of color to every image he was in. Tobie’s parents constructed a freestanding chuppah that looked like an erector set in the best possible way. There is one image of Tobie’s dad seeming to summon the chuppah from the earth. Poems were read, songs were sung, Eli’s family staged a production of the Owl and the Pussycat, replete with costumes and props. Eli is a talented musician, namely a singer songwriter. Throughout the ceremony and toasts, there were references to songs Eli had written, including a love song he wrote when he was first falling in love with Tobie. At the reception, guests were served the fanciest, most delicious, vegan barbecue you might ever encounter, especially that chimichurri sauce, yum! It was a typical Bay Area day, sunny and hot in the middle, cloudy and windy in the afternoon. I loved how one couple grabbed their travel quilt and got cozy.

Vegan Catering by It’s From the Garden


Art Museum Wedding

Art Museum Wedding – Nathan and Jeannette

Nathan and Jeannette held their wedding at the Decordova Art Museum. This was certainly apt as Jeannette is a talented artist. Meaningful details revealed themselves at every corner as the day unfolded. I will try to list them, but I know there are many that will elude me… I feel as if I got to know the two better through the intelligence of the decisions they made in planning their wedding. They met when they were teachers, so their wedding favor was a triad of pencils inscribed with a quiet and gorgeous fragment form a Walt Whitman poem, “There we two, content, happy in being together, speaking little, perhaps not a word.” On the wedding altar was placed a table occupied by a bonsai tree into which Nathan had poured his attention and love for more than a decade, and succulents belonging to Jeannette’s mother. Nathan’s father donned three outfits as the day progressed, a suit for getting ready, his vestments to officiate the wedding, and a tux to celebrate. Not only did Nathan’s mother make the cake, and enough ice cream cake to feed all the wedding guests, but she commissioned a sculptor to make a cake-topper depicting Nathan and Jeannette’s three dogs. The florals were exquisite, almost avant-garde in places, perfect for an art museum wedding. Jeannette’s dress was at the same time elegant and sculptural. There were many moments where it inflected the art on the museum walls. Thanks again, Jeannette and Nathan, for having me make art about your wedding!

printed pencil wedding favors

Venue : deCordova Art Museum
Dress : Amsale
Florist : Hanaya Floral Design
Makeup : Christie Torres
DJ and/or band : Fine Tune Entertainment, Joe Kaszuba
Cake : Rachel Coppersmith
Catering : Swartz Catering
Invitations : DWRI Letterpress


Road trip across the USA black and white photos

Road Trip Across the USA Black and White Photos

My wife, Adeline, and I moved from Cambridge, MA to San Francisco, CA in June of 2017. We packed most of our worldly belongings into vaguely ominous padlocked metal boxes, left them under the care of some shipping company in the Boston suburbs, and crossed our fingers that they would be waiting for us when we arrived in the Bay Area 18 days later by road. Yes, by road, thus a road trip across the USA!  This was my first time driving all the way across the USA from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. If you know me, you know that I had to make it a bit more complicated by flying back East from Denver to photograph a pair of weddings in the middle of our road trip, but I rejoined Adeline in Denver,  and the point is, I’m going with “legitimate cross country road trip” on this one.

I made these black and white photos of our road trip across the USA during the segment that included Boston, Massachusetts, Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, Ailsa Craig, Canada, Detroit, Michigan, Dune Acres, Indiana, Lee Center, Illinois, Dubuque, Iowa (more on that later,) Badlands, South Dakota, and Laramie, Wyoming.

When I was growing up, my family wasn’t much for road tripping. To be honest, our vacations that were not built around visiting family, were countable on one hand, nay, one finger. It was a lovely train ride up to Montauk from NYC, and we saw whales spout! I don’t want to mislead you though, our family is far flung, and we certainly had adventures: barefoot photo ops on snowy fields on Mount Ranier, alligator sightings in the Florida Everglades, encounters with bioluminescent algae in Nova Scotia… etc. More road trip photos to come and more stories about childhood family vacations.


How to Cut a Pineapple the Right Way

How to Cut a Pineapple the Right Way

I cut a pineapple this afternoon. I used a chef’s knife and the light of midday California sun streaming in through my window. At first it was hard for me to remember how exactly one goes about cutting a pineapple. It sure is strangely complex for a mere fruit. Was there a right way to cut a pineapple? Let’s be honest, I don’t know that I cut a pineapple at any point in the last decade. I certainly cut a pineapple in the late nineties, so there’s that. As I thought about it further, I found distinct memories of helping my mother to cut a pineapple in our kitchen on 7th Avenue in Park Slope… so this is probably an eighties memory from before we moved to Sunset Park.

 

How to cut a pineapple the right way

How to cut a pineapple the right way

 

It came to me little by little.

1) Cut off the spiky dinosaur flower from the head of the pineapple.
2) Cut away the bottom so you have a flat surface to work with.
3) Cut all that greenish armor away from the sides.
4) Use the tip of the knife to extract the spiky bits that seem like they might be unpleasant in the mouth. It’s probably better to use a paring knife, but I just kept on with the chef’s knife.
5) Cut the flesh away from the core.
6) Cut the flesh into bite-size chunks.

I also remembered that it felt wrong to cut away and discard the core. Pineapples are so precious! (the necklace label on mine read “Golden Queen” or somesuch.) We always ate the core anyway. It’s one of those things that is still too tasty to throw in the trash, but you would never serve to guests.

I can’t tell you why I remember exactly how to cut a pineapple the right way after all these years, but I sure do love that sour golden fruit, and I can still feel the shape of my pucker as I write this.


Mikoshi Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival San Francisco

Mikoshi Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival San Francisco

I made these images of the San Francisco Taru Mikoshi at this years Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival. The energy of the ritual is addictive. Part of me wanted to cast my camera away, and jump into the fray. One kind man took a few minutes to tell me about the history of the Taru Mikoshi ritual. It seems the palanquin, a vehicle with no wheels propelled on the shoulders of numerous carriers, has been around for centuries in Japan. Traditionally it carried gods, or humans who were thought to be closer to god. In the mid 19th Century, when the Meiji came to power, the new Emperor gave out barrels of sake to communities throughout Edo (Tokyo.) The people drank the wine, made a festival, and to show their gratefulness, they paraded through the streets with sake barrels on their shoulders…

Feats of communal strength seem to please god. This is one way to interpret the Mikoshi, The Giglio, the barnraising. Why is god enamored of our feats of communal strength? Or why do we humans imagine that god is enamored of our feats of communal strength. Is Kickstarter a digital feat of communal strength? Does it please god?

Click here for more pictures of the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival.

   


Cherry Blossom Festival Japantown San Francisco 2018 Paul Gargagliano

Cherry Blossom Festival Japantown San Francisco

This is just a small fraction of the excitement of San Francisco’s Cherry Blossom Festival. I made this series of photographs along the parade route from San Francisco City Hall up to Japantown. I love photographing a parade, why? This array of tangentially connected groups come out to fly their flags in whatever way they know to fly them: children in a mobile classroom sitting in rows, singing and doing hand dances; Boy Scouts sweating through heavy regalia, carrying a paper mâché tiger; The elderly waving cherry blossom branches, hoisting one-ton towers of wine (Mikoshi); and the bystanders in their various states of gawkery.

For more photos of the Mikoshi click here.