The Conversation

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I was waiting in a parking lot outside a hotel. A bellhop was talking with hotel patrons, describing an encounter where he was photographed by a local press photographer as he was walking down the street.

The conversation went something like this….

Bellhop
“This person came up and said they had photographed me and that they worked for the paper. They asked if they could use my name.”

Patron
“Oh.”
Bellhop
“But I said no way, I didn’t want to do that.”

Patron
“Oh no, don’t give them your name.”

Bellhop
“I mean a didn’t know what to do, but I just I wasn’t going to give them my name.”

Patron
“Oh no, you just don’t do that.” “What did they want?”

Bellhop
“They were going to run the picture in the paper”

Patron
“Oh.” (With Concern) “Did you make any money at least?”

Bellhop
“No, I didn’t even make any money.”

Now this might seem like an inconsequential event, but in my mind it speaks volumes about modern photography. Fear, suspicion and perhaps greed thrown in on top. What a strange and somewhat sad way to navigate the world. Having been a press photographer for several years it speaks to how things have changed in the modern world. People used to be excited about being in the paper.

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In keeping with my litter trend…. But on a serious note, the cigarette butt is something that intrigues me. I find most people who smoke are as repulsed by litter as the rest of us, but for some odd reason they don’t think twice about tossing their smoking butt into the street. Would they toss a beer can out the window while driving? I say “no.” But they toss the butts. Anyone who spends anytime in the ocean knows where these damn things end up.

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Behind the Scenes: Shifter Media

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“So what do you do for Blurb?”

I get this question a few times a week. I have yet to figure out an easy answer. I do many things, and what I do changes on a monthly basis. Lectures, workshops, educational outreach, special projects, etc, but I also do a campaign called “Dispatches” which started about eight months ago. It is because of Dispatches that Shifter exists. Well, Shifter also exists because of Coffee and Magic.

In some odd way I’ve returned to journalism, which is where this life journey began for me. I’ve never really been a journalist. I was a photojournalist for the first two or three years of my career, but I never considered myself a journalist. I still don’t, but Shifter and Dispatches have at least allowed me to think along those lines. Interviews, portraits and story. Long-form. This is what it looks like behind the scenes. These moments are thrilling. Meeting people like Edouard Duval-Carrie´and getting a few moments to ask them about life is an experience more than anything else. The goal is to allow them to speak about creativity in their own words, as long as those words may be.

This work lives on the website, but will also live in print form as well as, rumor has it, an exhibition. We’ll see. All these things take time and money, not to mention sustained focus and energy. It’s hard enough getting this work done.

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Behind the Scenes: Blurb Life

Working for Blurb is an interesting way to spend the day. There is no “typical,” and most days are a high-speed obstacle course of images, words, publications and nonstop communication. It’s fantastic actually. I typically find myself in the San Francisco office a few times a month. Lunch breaks are fast, short and caloric, but sometimes the urge to make something overwhelms us and we venture out for short but intense creative conflict. On this day it was Kent and I. Kent is an artist, designer, writer and photographer. He’s also a stylish little creature. I went with Leica and he went with SX-70. I shot him, he shot me.

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