Archive for the ‘Psychology’ Category

The first time I met Aunt Lisa, Esteban and I had rented a Plymouth Reliant in Queens and had driven it through rain and sleet almost 300 miles north to Lake Placid. I remember almost every mile thanks to the bald tires and absent windshield wipers (which presumably had been stolen back in Queens). Lisa […]

Graphic created with images and posts compiled from UNICEF’s Twitter feed. All images copyright UNICEF. Read more about UNICEF’s work with refugees.

After shooting some 15,000 frames in the past 12 months it took me a while to choose my 2016 Picture of the Year. But here it is, at last: Supermoon over Downtown. I know what you’re thinking. “IT’S TOTALLY OUT OF FOCUS!” Which is why it seems like a perfect metaphor for my past year. […]

Fail harder


I read an article a while back about Johannes Haushofer, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University who wrote a rather unconventional résumé: rather than tout his accomplishments, instead he listed his failures. “Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible,” Haushofer wrote. […]

I was going to whine about how busy the past month has been (because it has felt like the writer’s equivalent of a puppy mill). But then I stumbled across this photo I shot in May and was reminded that even when we’re quite literally running from one thing to the next, there’s still beauty […]

“You’re going to Paris again?” The annoyance is palpable when friends ask that — and it’s a fair question. There are so many beautiful places in the world, so many interesting cities besides Paris. “Don’t you get bored, seeing the same stuff?” I’m always tempted to reply: This quote came to mind last month in […]

After the blogging 101 post I did in January, the question I got most consistently was, “How do I get more people to visit/follow my blog?” Here’s the best advice I can offer: Take a dip in the Community Pool. It’s a great place to meet other bloggers and build a community of followers. It’s […]

Where do you turn for photographic inspiration? Flickr, perhaps? Or Instagram? Not me — not anymore. I turn to online auctions and classified ads. I’ve gained a bit of weight recently, for reasons I don’t understand. So in spite of some unfortunate past purchases … … I’ve been shopping for cheap-yet-more-or-less-presentable Pants In A Bigger […]

I would love to hear your end-of-year reflections: 1. What was your greatest accomplishment? (Tell me so I can cheer for you!) 2. If you could do one thing over, what would it be? 3. What are you most looking forward to in 2016? I had to think hard when I read my friend Carolyn’s […]

A distant birth


One of my dearest friends turns 95 today. I can’t think of a better way to mark the occasion than through his own beautiful words, which he penned five years ago as he approached his 90th birthday. Alles Gute, mein lieber Doktor Robert.

When I heard about the attacks in Paris last night, my first thought was my friends. They come from all walks of life: journalists, musicians, authors, photographers. One is a tour guide, a yoga teacher; another is my underground muse. A couple are unemployed — and a couple more are retired. In spite of their […]

Dynamite and Prayers is the title of photographer Max Becherer’s stunning new book. Although the subject is the emerald miners of Afghanistan, Max’s storytelling transports us to a sweeping landscape few of us can even imagine — and unveils the true cost of war. I’ve had the privilege of working with many world-class photographers, but […]

I was heartbroken when I heard about Robin Williams’ suicide last August. He’d overcome so much, and in the process it seemed he’d grown wise. But I also felt betrayed. Had his unhinged joyfulness been just an act? Or had he forgotten his own lessons? My questions vanished the other day when his widow shared […]



I usually struggle when my parents ask what I want for Christmas. I truly don’t need anything — and increasingly I don’t want anything, either. But last year was different. “I’d love a Fitbit,” I wrote my mom, “just the basic one, please, in a size small.” This represented a big reversal for someone who […]

When I visited my parents last year, they offered me the red photo album that chronicles my first two years. I was reluctant to take it because it’s a piece of our family history. But my mom insisted: “These are your photos,” she said. “You should have them.” I’ve been thumbing through the album for […]

The name is fictional, but the man is real. Here’s “Sal” in his new home. “The fact is, I’ve simply lived too long.” My friend Sal’s eyes filled with tears as he surveyed his new apartment. “I’ve outlived so many friends … and …” He didn’t have to finish. I knew what he was thinking: […]

This morning I met with a couple who are trying to adopt a child. It’s a rigorous application process, so they asked me to help write a “family biography” about their background, values, and hopes for their future child. Two things struck me about the conversation: First, how carefully they’d considered their decision to adopt. […]

As I pulled into the bank’s parking lot, a piece of cardboard caught my eye: “Stranded / anything helps.” I wondered what had become of the author. Had be really been stranded? Had anyone helped? And had he lost the sign — or had he thrown it away? I paused to take a photo because, […]

As I write this my friends in Freiburg, Germany are gathering to remember the woman we called Gundi. I only vaguely remember the first time I met Hildegund Dörflinger, because I was already wobbly on Christmas-market Glühwein when I arrived at her bar. But I do remember that she made me feel instantly welcome. Gundi, […]

Today is the third annual United Nations International Day of Happiness. I was going to write about a U.N. study’s findings that Social isolation is as potent a cause of early death as smoking, and the epidemic of loneliness is twice as deadly as obesity.” But that seemed a bit too depressing and scholarly. So […]