Finding Peace in NYC

New York City is a busy place. The potentially peaceful ebb and flow of living here often feels replaced with an insistent hustle and bustle. The stresses of work, family, relationships, commuting, and more fill up our heads so much that we forget to take time for quiet focus. Sometimes the city feels like a bubble, and our context of the largeness of life is reduced as a result.

While I find solace through photography, I have been seeking new possible sources for clarity of mind. And so yesterday I found myself at the Transcendental Meditation Center on Madison Ave to hear a free introductory seminar. I have incorporated various meditations and rituals into my life, but I have never practiced something quite so established in tradition and history-and as I learned-science, too.

While I have not yet learned the technique itself, it was illuminating to be in a room with other like-minded individuals, all in search of peace and clarity for various reasons: new business ventures, juggling the demands of family and work, struggles with depression and anxiety. Might the solution come with two silent meditations a day? Could this practice provide the mental anchors to keep me rooted in something deeper and less attached to the stresses that easily populate my thinking?

As David Lynch writes in his book Catching the Big Fish, meditation has provided him the ability to reach the deeper ideas that he incorporates into his art. While this is not an endorsement for Transcendental Meditation, it is an invitation to explore similar ideas for yourself. Each person has his or her own unique path, but sometimes it might take a bit of searching to find it. The rewards of framing your lived experience in a peaceful and less-stressed context certainly seem worth it. 


Summer should be fun, so we're rounding up our fave photo-friendly events every Friday this summer in our weekly TO-DO LIST


Friday August 7

  • Fun way to start the weekend: a free flamenco jazz concert on a historic tanker! Check out Pow! Portside Open Weekend's kickoff event.

Saturday August 8

Sunday August 9

  • Keep it cool in the darkroom with our Analog Film Lab class, where you will learn how to shoot, process, develop, and print film. It's a great class that covers all the bases of analog photography.
  • We will have our new PortraBox selfie station set up at Coney Island again this Sunday. If you haven't seen or heard about it yet, check out these awesome photos!

Tuesday August 11

  • Love camp? Love the subway? The New York Transit Museum is hosting a special camp-themed evening event. Get your dose of mid-week nostalgia.  

Wednesday August 12

Got any other suggestions for fun summer activities?  Post em in the comments below!

PortraBox Goes To Coney Art Walls

Last Sunday the PortraBox popped up at Coney Art Walls, a public art project curated by Jeffrey Deitch and Joseph J. Sitt.  Featuring large-scale mural paintings by Shepard Fairey, IRAK Crew, Jason Woodside and 29 other artist and artist collectives, it's a jaw-dropping installation with consistent programming there and at the Surf Pavilion across the street.  DJ nights, circus strongman competitions, a trapeze school, and many more fun activies are on the schedule for the rest of summer, so check this stuff out anytime at Coney Island on Surf Avenue and the Bowery.

Through our ongoing project to facilitate amazing self-portraits of New Yorkers, we're bringing PortraBox to a variety of events, including at the Coney Art Walls.  This Sunday we'll be there again from 2-7pm so come visit the beach and get your warm summer vibes going, and get your portrait did for free with PortraBox!

Week of Wonders

Altered Appearances

This show rounds up photographic works from just about every big name in contemporary art from the past 20 years. Among the many pieces on view are stills from Matthew Barney’s “Cremaster” films, Andreas Serrano’s portrait of members of the Ku Klux Klan, Gregory Crewdson’s cinematic narratives and Barbara Ess’s haunting pinhole camera pictures.

Fisher Landau Center for Art

Through December 31

38-27 30th St

Long Island City

New York, 11101

Black Mirror

For this year’s Summer Open, Aperture’s annual open-call exhibition, they asked photographers to consider the ways in which current reality might echo outlandish narratives of science fiction. The title Black Mirror is borrowed from the 2011 British television series of the same name, which imagines a dystopian near future—a Twilight Zone for the age of the smartphone.


Through August 13th

547 W 27th St

New York

New York, 10001