I also live and shoot in Seattle and have done for 12 years. Seattle is possibly one of the most photographer friendly cities outside of NYC. It is also one of the best places I’ve worked for the most incredible light which lasts for 5 months of the year, and is peaking July to October.
Seattleites are pretty reserved and have become used to photographers, when I first started here there was about 3 or 4 regular downtown street photographers and two more who were both mail delivery people. By about 2010 there was about 15 regulars and now I don’t know.
My behavior on the street is that I walk to my spots with my gear on full view, and I’ll typically scan the scene for a few minutes and then as things appear I will shoot. I’ve recently been doing a lot more video work which involves a tripod and two lenses. I’ve had 2 people this summer stop and ask what I’m doing.
I basically go into a scene with an intent and respectful command, and I will just start working like there was nobody there at all. I’m an exceptionally shy person who has to bring up my reserves of confidence to actually do this at all, and it is even harder when someone stops to ask, but I can do that now and I do it very well. I made my introductions with beat cops, and explained what Im doing by making a half page flyer and handing it out after an introduction, along with my ID. Now they know that I’m there doing my thing, and if I ever get grief from anyone they already have a little background on me upfront.
Very very rarely will someone get huffy about having their picture taken (and usually people get upset if they think they have been singled out) and if so Ill stop, if Im wearing sunglasses, Ill take them off make eye contact and offer to shake their hand and explain that Im an artist and invite them to see what I’m doing. I’ll offer them a business card, a nice high quality card that says, yes I’m serious about this work.
I believe that if I’m going to ‘use’ people as my characters models whatever, then they have a right to know what I’m doing and invite them to be involved with viewing the work. I offer them cards most take them and I very very rarely hear from anyone afterwards, however, I do make a big deal about them going to the sites and looking at the work, to educate them on my ‘vision’ and what I’m trying to achieve.
Basically if you treat everyone that you are shooting, like they are gods, and that you wouldnt, or couldnt, be there, to do what you do, if it wasn’t for them, and you tell them that, then they will have a radically different attitude towards you next time. And it gets passed on to their friends also.
I always give my name first, if there’s a particularly warm vibe at the end of a conversation then you ask their name and offer to shake hands, and the next time they see you, you will get a nice smile or an amazing photograph.
At the end of the day nobody wants to feel as though they are being abused or exploited, and ultimately we as street photographers are exploiting them because they are there. But our job is to be emissaries and educators for our art.
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’ve lived in Seattle since November 25th 2004, and in that time I have seen some slow changes, lost touch with a lot of people who moved on, disappeared left town etc. It’s really not until 2013 that the physical changes happened in the city that I could start to think I was living in a dynamic place.
I came to the US with an expectations of grandeur.
I was really surprised when I got to New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit and DC and was hit in the face with the fact that these were aging cities, and the sense that the people living there, really didn’t have much actual control or say over anything that went on, because democracy got in the way. Id assumed the US was bright shiny and new.
As a European, I had always grown up with places that were maintained and there was a real sense of local pride and everyone was involved in it.
Over the years and traveling around, I’ve seen enough of it to tell me that this country is definitely a continent in decline. A place strangled by conservative values, and disregard for everything except money.
The US is definitely not a place I want to grow old in, and yet, I don’t know where else there is now that hasn’t adopted the same capitalistic values, and with that the utterly destructive nature of that which is held in high regard: individualism.
The fleeting moments that spin into the corner of my eye in the white noise of town, to make them last, to stall the rush from now to then and seek the future.
Her tattoo says DREAM on her fingers constellations. Her bag is from a record store in Boston. Her face from another time, elegant and graceful, a gasp at the end.
See it here http://vimeo.com/devtank/dreamrunner
I have been buying and selling gear for 20 years, and for a period worked at a store.
I take an interest in finance, especially the the still image markets.
What used to take 6 years to cycle now takes 6 months. 6 years was the unwritten agreement held by the manufacturers because in Europe and Japan 6 years was the effective tax write-off period independent businesses (Professional Photographers) could write off the cost of their gear to zero.
A decade ago that started to shift and speed up and it was mostly because of the booming economies of the western world and tax write-off periods didnt seem to matter as much anymore, because disposable incomes were higher in comparison to the cost of the cameras. Additionally, we were already a generation into prosumer digital cameras- the first three generations were solely in the realm of institutions and consortiums with the prices of cameras in $15-25,000 a camera which in todays money is about 22-32k a piece.
When Canon brought out the D30 -the first major selling consumer DSLR- the turn around on gear was 4 years. By the time the 20D happened it was two years, straddled between the Nikon models. Nowadays Cameras like the 5DmkIII and Nikon D800 are dinosaurs within two years, and in many ways they are out of date a year after they come out. They rely on an older age-group of buyers who were brought up thinking that the DSLR is the benchmark for quality, as do their clients.
I dropped out of DSLRs 4 years ago in preference for mirrorless and have never looked back. I have purchased only four new cameras in my life, the Eos 5, which started a trend for me, to buy three Enthusiast aka semi-pro bodies for the price of one pro body and getting the same level of value out of those three bodies as my buddies ere getting out of their $3x pro bodies.. the Second purchase was my personal step into digital cameras with a Canon G1, a premium level point and shoot. followed by some time later by a productive years work and a flush account, I got a Canon 10D, and shortly after that a new 1DmkII, a rash decision that I now regret. Three years ago I got a Fuji X-Pro1, I bought it new because I was in need of a new definitive look to my images and the Fuji sensor was where it was at. I wasted no time and pre-ordered sight unseen and still have it. I traded some older lenses for a second body and that camera is still valid today, though the market has dropped for resale, so these are resale losses.
The Sony A6000 is a milestone in the financial side of the mirrorless scene primarily because it is a definitive price tactical change which will effect the market around it as it breaks new ground and infringes on DSLR territory. Big sellers like the Fuji X100 will be dwarfed in sales numbers by the end of this year from the sales of the A6000.
The market is tiered by expectation and the belief from the consumer that the more you spend the longer the investment is, which is completely rubbish. When the Leica M8 came out it was an $8000 camera and everyone who bought it believed it was the camera they would take to their grave. The truth is, the best thinking is in the lower middle range of product: look at the tech in the marketplace and the price from top to bottom to the point and shoots, which are now dead from Cellphone infringement, and the best thing to spend your money on is the cameras like the NEX5, A6000, Xe2, GX1, etc anything under $1000 because it will be worth 60-65% of its street launch price within a year.
Because digital cameras are now being marketed alongside other technologies the two year trade-show epiphanies are getting shorter. Every year we have CES and every two years we have Photokina, and now theres NAB and numerous other smaller events which all bring new release dates closer together.
At the end of the day we buy these things to make pictures, and the quality of the pictures has got to a point which is way ahead of the flexibility of film in about 70% of applications. 35mm film for professional use is dead because digital is more flexible, so toy cameras rule the 35mm market, enthusiasts mop up out of date junk films and spit out hipster art disposable mementos. The race is for the 50mp point with 4k output which will eat into the medium format realm. In 4-6 years Sony and Canon will have 60-100mp cameras and that will be the end of all film and photography will have transitioned completely into digital. Remember, in 2004 when sony entered into negotiations with Minolta, they said that within ten years they would be camera manufacturer #1 or #2, they make all the sensors for everyone except Canon and Leica and some of the exotic medium & large format cameras.
It blows me away that in December 2013 Sony announced the A7 & A7r, and they weren’t on shelves until March and used prices were floating at $1600 and $2200 and in just the last 6 weeks you can now buy a new A7r for $1825 and a used A7 for $1100… those prices are going to fall again in September when Photokina happens, they will settle within 2 months Until January when CES show happens and the pro-deals happen, and then they will fall again. By the end of summer 2015 you will be able to buy a used A7 for $700……………………..
I’ve been back from India just over a year now, back living in the US and in that time its been a real struggle, both on a personal level and financially.
Looking back on that time, a half-year spent in India, thinking about it and thinking about how much I miss it, and yearn for the Utopian chaos to run through my veins once more.
I have edited my photography over and over trying to extract the essence of the experience. However the personal journey that India was to me, has obscured my objectivity, something that only time can distill.
I have started once again on the editing process, going back over the audio recordings I made, and in doing so, had an epiphany about the work. I realize that I have no choice but to go back to India, and capture more audio, this time with an expanded kit. And to dedicate much more time and effort into making quality environmental recordings.
Audio recordings offer a taste of reality that video and photography simply cannot touch. Where video has to be constructed to make a compelling presentation, and photography provides specificity, and depth, that depth is within just that contextual intimacy.
Audio offers a living reality of time based exploration. Audio treats the consciousness to a wide layered mental vision, one that the mind is intrinsically connected to, there is no learning to listen, whereas there is learning to read photographs.
This Location Sound during the Anup Jalota concert at Pilot Baba’s Ashram camp 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, Sangam Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh India. I had decided to walk around the sector 9 area where the ashram was located, about 7 miles from the actual main bathing area.
You can hear all of the local sounds, and the far distant sounds of the millions (130,000,000 to be more accurate) of pilgrims who existed at the ‘city’. Headphones highly recommended. Sit back and enjoy the Mela as I did for thirteen minutes.