Blurb Australia: More Street Photo Shenanigans

Smogranch_20130511_Melbourne_047

I’m not a good tourist. I feel like I need a reason, a purpose, a focal point or point of contention. Internal unrest, mental not physical, at least for now. Forcing myself forward, step by step, ignoring certain things, certain people and fixating on others until they feel my need and it all goes away. Why would you walk with a lens cap on? After all these years I’m not sure. Like an infantryman carrying his rifle with a pool cue in the barrel. Makes it somewhat difficult to achieve the desired result and yet there these mysterious creatures are.
Smogranch_20130511_Melbourne_042
Something unfamiliar in my hand, but I’m working on that. Like new shoes I feel the visual blister forming. It demands it’s own dialogue. I can’t speak to it in the same language I normally use. Clarity from the clutter is more difficult with the little beast, so I need to change the way I see, the way I layer and the way I look for light.
Smogranch_20130511_Melbourne_049
I break things into mental quarters to give myself a helping hand. “In the end..the machines always win.” Yes, true but as humans we all want to fight the good fight. A guy blows $400(Australian) on a slot machine next to me. Like a kiss from a stranger. That love was never really his, wasn’t in his wallet long enough. A few flicks of a finger, a few spinning dials and it’s gone forever. Remember what they say about the machines.
Smogranch_20130511_Melbourne_044
I like being here because it is a challenge and I actually do feel like I’m doing good. “Please remain calm, we are here to help,” coupled with “Beatings will continue until moral improves.” I make photographs and I make books, a lot of each. I like to share why, how and then revisit the why. Sometimes I don’t want do either but yet there they are, the camera in hand the nonstop mental editing and then the smell of ink on paper. I tell people I jokingly call it a “curse” but I’m not really joking. I watch others moving through life with a different filter and I wonder “why me?”
Smogranch_20130511_Melbourne_052
Why do I need to report, record and resolve? I wander into a gambling hall and face backwards staring into the souls of the men watching the ponies with a focus that only comes with money on the line. I don’t gamble but I’m fascinated by those who do. Crumpled bits of paper, hands sweeping across sunken eyes and stubble. There is always another race, another day, another bet. The energy in the room is a palpable strain of uncertainty and guilt. “In the end…the machines will always win.”

Blurb Australia: Learning Digital Photography….Again

Say what you will about digital photography, but I would never have made any of these images if I wasn’t using a digital camera. As you can see, these are not great images, but they are snapshots that reflect a certain place at a certain time and provide my journalistic mind with tidbits of visual memory that I so desire. I’ve only had this little camera for a few days now, haven’t made anything great with it, not sure I ever will, but I already know what this little camera is and what it isn’t. I also realize it was never intended to be more than it is regardless of our expectations, desires or ideals. These images were made on an hour-long walk from my hotel up toward the old parliament building here in Melbourne. I had no plan other than to get out. I was locked in with the hot, midday sun and subsequent harshness that accompanies this time and place.
Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_027

This camera isn’t a Leica, nor does it replace a film camera. No digital camera replaces a film camera. This camera doesn’t provide a negative. I can see the images as I make them and I can shoot endless photographs by just adding more and more storage media. A film camera doesn’t provide an instant preview and limits me, in a good way, with limited exposures based on how much film I can carry. My film cameras fire at any time with ZERO hesitation. This little camera does not. My film cameras are built like tanks, have hyper fast autofocus(some) and require no computer time unless I want to use them in tandem with technology. This little camera requires the computer, and in most cases, a significant amount, as do all other digital cameras. My 35mm film camera is indestructible, has the best meter, autofocus and ease of use of any camera I’ve ever had. This little camera doesn’t come close but it is 1/3 the size, weight and girth of my film camera and can be carried for days on end without a thought. This little camera is also inconspicuous, and again provides an entirely different set of parameters because it’s DIGITAL.
Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_030
These tools are polar opposites.

This camera will never be an M6, 35mm and TRI-X no matter how much you want it to be. You can’t set this camera on square format and get a Hasselblad no matter how much you want to be able to do this, and no matter how much post processing you provide. These are simply different machines. Having said all this, my new little camera is great, I’m glad I have it, and it will find it’s way into the rotation like a knuckleball pitcher. Did I mention the size, weight and style?
Will I make bold proclamations about “this is finally the camera that kills film?” Why would I even want to do that? Who wants to kill film? What benefit would that serve the photography world?
Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_032

If you want a film look but a film camera. If you want to shoot digital this camera is a really good option at a good price and is easy to use. It doesn’t entirely get out of your way when you are working with it, but it’s pretty darn good. I’m already happy I have it and look forward to actually using it when I have time to focus on “real” work, images, places. I’ll take it to New Mexico in June and see what is what. Until then I’ll continue to get used to it and I’ll continue to use it for my little, color sketchbook.

Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_035
I think these images are further proof that wandering around attempting to make great images is really damn hard, at least for ME. They remind me why I don’t shoot street much. I need interaction with those I’m photographing. I want to spend TIME with people getting in and out, closer and closer, talking, shooting, talking, shooting attempting to break though mental and physical barriers. It’s time consuming, laborious, challenging but I NEED it. I don’t get that street shooting. It’s a bit random for me, detached and I fall pray to things like window reflections and SHOOTING PICTURES OF MY FEET.
Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_037
Melbourne has been great, attendance at our events has been high and our little voyage has only just begun. After my work requirements today I will be back out on the street, learning my little beast and searching for those little things that drive us.

Blurb Australia: Photographers + Time + Park

Don’t worry, I haven’t returned to the wedding world regardless of the final image here. Yesterday was the Blurb Photo Safari here in Melbourne and we saw a good size crowd emerge from the shadows of downtown and into the long sun of Treasury Gardens. There was plenty to photograph with the luminace of late afternoon, backlit landscapes and even a wedding shoot in full flow. I gave a portraiture assignment, something that normally strikes fear in the heart of the photo enthusiast, but this crowd went at it full on. We were even lucky enough to encounter a group of monks from Thailand who probably had little idea what they were in for when descended upon by a rabid horde of snappers. Regardless of your level in photography the idea of wandering with a camera never gets old. It’s the best part of being a photographer after all.
Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_005

Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_015

Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_010

Smogranch_20130510_Melbourne_007

This morning we gave our designer talk to a packed house here in downtown Melbourne.

Collage_001

Blurb Australia: More Melbourne

Looking forward to hitting the streets of Melbourne once again today and kicking things off right with the Blurb Photo Safari. Oh, did I mention I figured out the camera? Or at least I have a better understanding of how it actually works. That is always nice when you are actually trying to make images……

I’m used to looking through cameras that literally have NOTHING to see inside the viewfinder. My two main cameras have been models with NO electronics. No meter, no auto anything so when you look through the viewfinder you see…well….your subject. Now, when I look through my new little baby I feel like I’m in a flight simulator. Will just take this old dog some time getting used to.

The first image here FEELS like Melbourne to me. That architecture and that sky, which I’m basing on exactly ONE half day in the city. I looked up, saw the building and said, “Not exciting but it kinda feels right.” The rest are themes started on yesterday’s post. I’ll be out again this afternoon with the crew from Blurb and a rabid following of local photographers. See you there.

Test_56

Test_52

Test_46

_DSF0094

Blurb Australia: First Melbourne Snaps

I knew if I went to sleep when I got here I’d be in big trouble, so I grabbed a map, grabbed a coffee, then headed out on to the mean streets of Melbourne. Very Euro compared to where I normally roam, and far more into things like trams or even walking for that matter. The city feels like a multitude of places. I’m NOT a street photographer. In fact, I suck at street photography. So when I find myself in street photography mode I normally help myself out by creating some type of theme that allows me to wander but still build a small body of work. Yes, it’s a gimmick. Yes, I need it. Today’s theme was look down. Boots, color and what life left behind. The first image is some kid’s sad and broken dream, and was the kind of photo I needed to start my day.
Test_50

Test_47

Test_24

Also ran into a few other strange moments. People mostly doing what people do. Everyone I asked to photograph not only said “Yes,” but they also stopped to chat. Even the musician sitting on the sidewalk stopped his music and explained to me that he was very much interested in being photographed and he was an old hippy who believe in love and peace. Being from Los Angeles I thought it was a police sting and ran away throwing my camera, passport and money in the river to be retrieved later.

Test_26

Test_27

Test_41

Test_39

Now, I did all these images while battling a new camera, proof that my theory about making work with new gear is the MOST difficult to make. Now you know me. I hate tech s*** so reading a manual just isn’t going to happen. User error, for sure. Actually, anything I say about this camera that isn’ good is probably my fault so keep that in mind. I’m going to review this camera. I’ve only done one camera review ever and I regret doing that one. In short, this camera has buttons, dials, a viewfinder and I’m sure a bevy of quirks. However, it’s small, light and quiet. All I need…….

I’m here, and able to make these images, because we are embarking on the Blurb Australia Whirlwind Tour 2013 which begins tomorrow with a Photo Safari here in Melbourne. Check the links. If you are interested in books, photography or just hanging out sign up and stop by.