“..next time, stick around, don’t be afraid to engage with him, in a general way, and if he asks (why are you taking so many pictures), you can tell him its a study of life on the street, and that he happens to be a perfect fit, for part of it.
This way you can build a relationship with him, and trust, and you will get astonishing images worthy of note, as long as you maintain a core vision of how the symmetry of the elements work together in the frame, then your images will fucking explode.”
I love and respect all of the people I photograph on the streets. I see you, and I see you in the fragmented moments when you are off guard, unaware, and existing in the space between consciousness and biology.
To my heroes, my street loves; my respect, always.
I simply cannot get over how robust and powerful this man is. So young and so beaten by life. He lost his leg, something to do with rotting bone from an infected wound.
A man climbed up to the top of the city center ornamental Sequoia, flanked by a small army of medics, police and fire services, some streets were blocked off for the 25 hour period.
Ive seen this gentleman, on a daily basis since I have been living here, 12 years. I have watched him slow down and degenerate from a feisty outspoken veteran in full military fatigues, to a feisty challenger of old age. He is the personification of defiance. I dont know him, but I love him for his strength.
I love the parallel of primal mothering in a modern civic environment.
She came up to me on the street and showed me the pictures she had taken with her phone. Quite astounding actually. A real sense of aesthetic, indicating a book far larger then its cover conveys.
In sorry to say that it’s only now, 25 years into my career, that I am becoming aware of Ernst Haas. The publicly available repertoire of the man’s photography is immense. His philosophies of remaining independent and never adhering to a dedicated style are self evident.
A quote from the Ernst Haas Estate website affirms to me, now 25 years on, that my personal belief and instinct were correct all along;
“Still, I don’t want to declare there are no highways of fruitful directions. In learning there are. Follow them, use them and forget them. Don’t park. Highways will get you there, but I tell you, don’t ever try to arrive. Arrival is the death of inspiration. Beware of direct inspiration. It leads too quickly to repititions of what inspired you. Beware of too much taste as it leads to sterility. Refine your senses through the great masters of music, painting, and poetry. In short, try indirect inspirations, and everything will come by itself.”
Be aware of forward inspiration, but reverse-engineer everything, think backwards and look for the defining characteristics and recurring foundations in everything. Everything else is just dressing.
Just about the only frustration I have had with the A7s is the fact there is NO available eyecup for it. If I am hand-holding I prefer to shoot video with a camera to my eye for a few reasons. There is as of this time (April 2015) no commercially available eye-cups available for this amazing cinema camera..
So I made by repurposing commercially available parts.
I’ve been shooting a lot more video recently, video street photography. Figuring it out. It’s a concept that I’ve had for a while and finally got a camera to do it. Purpose built for the job.
I’ve been using 24mm lenses now for about 5 years, always preferring 24mm because it was wide and yet not insane. However today, I took with me two new lenses that I hadn’t used yet, and started the day on the 24 as usual, and saw something that I hung around a bit for, but it wasnt working so I moved on and found something else, and it didn’t work so I moved on again then went and had a cuppa coffee. During coffee I decided it might be a good idea to change to the new 35mm and see how it is. I put it on, went back out to the first spot that didn’t work and looked through the camera and thought what the fuck was I missing earlier? So I put the 24mm back on and there it was, a realization that I can actually see better with 35mm, I can see without having to look through the camera despite “knowing” 24mm and knowing what the image will be like before pressing the button.
These are all good Zeiss optics so the lens quality isn’t an issue. In fact that 24mm is, as 24mm lenses go pretty off the charts as it were.
Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be back on the streets with just the 35mm. Alex Webb told me that he likes how a 35mm lens ‘recedes’ and after this, I have to agree.
One of my favorite places to shoot in Seattle. Its a never ending smorgasbord of optical mystery and imagination.
This week and the last ten days, has been completely mind blowing and intense.
In January I heard that a magnum photographer was coming to town to do a masterclass ‘Finding your vision’. Im sure that means different things to different people, but for me, its a chance to soak up some much needed impartial and respected advice regarding how to edit a large body of work, and from there hopefully be capable of seeing differently when it comes time behind the camera. I want either to learn how to see differently or verification that the way i see, and how I see based on all the variables of my lifes influences come together to make my mind work the way it does, function while moving forward with a camera.
I spent the last 3 months reading books about how to understand photography and its functionality and its place and a lot of art theory comes into that. Im trying to educate myself academically in something that I have only ever had a practical knowledge of previously.
Tha last week was going through 15,871 images I made in the 6 months I was in India. Literally every waking hour, I was sifting through the entirety of that event. In 7 days I relived my time in India. Literally.
The aim was to come up with 120 images of which a small number will emerge as being the best. What best means, I am yet to learn.