Random Snap

Mexico circa 1994

South of Nogales. A community living in old train cars. We stopped, got out, started walking about and shooting. People were great, fun, interested and living a tough existence. Leica, Kodachrome.

At the time, I totally took these moments for granted, heck, these trips for granted. Now, it seems like I never have the time to do any of this. So rare.

I’ve seen people living in train cars all over the world, Sicily, Mexico and in the Western United States.

In Sicily they have been living in government provided rail cars since the earthquake in the 1970’s. In the Western United States these things are considered art forms. Odd how this works.

This picture bugs me because I’m too far back and it’s tilted for no reason. Well, it’s tilted cause I’m walking fast and trying to bridge the distance to make another shot. I like how the one boy is framed in the window but the others are not right.

When I teach I often talk of the “picture within the picture” and this is a great example of a not quite there photograph. But, inside this, sure, there is a better image. Did I get it? Don’t know, have to look at my chromes.

What I do like is the memory, the color of the image, and the light, which for being overcast, still has a nice punch to it. Normally this light is “black and white light,” but I think color also looks great in flat light.

Kodachrome was unique in its pallet, which is partly to blame.

I don’t take these trips for granted any longer. They are far too precious. Heck, time to shoot is far too precious.

Middle Aged Men And The Sea

I love to fish. Always have. Mom taught me to flyfish when I was really young. Like a lot of other things these days, I don’t get a lot of time to do it, so I gotta make time. But every now and then I get to at least photograph other people who are fishing.
But these guys are not fishing for fun, they are fishing for a living, and as you can imagine, there is a huge difference.

These guys live and work near Bahia Kino on the Sea of Cortez. I was initially drawn there to see if I could photograph the abalone divers who work off of Isla Tiburon(Shark Island), and hopefully one day I will be able to return and do this. But on this trip we just didn’t have the time required so I ended up spending what time I had with the guys who fished for fish.

These guys were great, allowed me to do whatever I wanted. I got up early, before sunrise and made my way down to the water. They were making their way in and I took a few moments to snap a few images. I like these images, these rounded corner, Kodachrome images, simply because they represent a lifestyle I admire and they remind me of the fragile nature of our world, our sea and our future. For me there isn’t anything better than getting up with the sun and making pictures. The noise of the day hasn’t begun and the light has direction and color and there seems to be a permission to enjoy this time, and to make pictures.

These were done many years ago and I wonder where these guys are now. I wonder how the catch is today. I wonder what their future holds.

Maybe one day I’ll drive back down and bring these images, see who is around and how their life has changed.

Story Behind the Photo: Unknown Mexico


Cemetery somewhere south of Nogales

I don’t remember where this is exactly, but I remember the trip. Circa 1993 or 1994

Somewhere in Mexico, south of Nogales. Another photographer and I made a voyage. She was a staffer at the paper, I was an intern.

No real plan, just drive south and see what we find. Those were the good old days. White, Toyota Corolla, a few bucks, a few rolls of Kodachrome. My Canon. My Leica.

We started near the water, then drove to Hermosillo. Rumor had it the Chupacabra was in the area. We never found it but we did drink illegal moonshine from a tiny cap. It was beyond powerful and made the back of your skull go numb.

Then we drove into the desert.

We found a cemetery where something was going on. Maybe it was Dia de los Muertos.

I think this guy was stunned by the hippie gringo, or confused. There was probably a few “Who are you?” And, “What are you doing here?” But they were cool and we made a few pictures.

That camera in my hand was the game changer. EOS 1, and 20-35mm 2.8, the first of two zooms that took the photography world by storm, as well as the first real autofocus camera to land in full force. I used that camera and that lens for YEARS. That was a Leica M4-P with a 28mm, which I sold. HUGE mistake.

I just scanned this last night and was blown away by how good these old chromes look. I think this image was Fujichrome, but I was shooting Kodachrome on that trip. I’ll post a few of those later. These chrome had great skintone, and also handled the highlights with ease. Plus, there is a depth and texture to them that I have to try to add in when I shoot digital. It never works quite the same. Not sure why it would.

A Day at the Bullfights

A few years ago, in middle Mexico, working on a project about locations.

We start in PV, shooting multiple locals, then slowly work our way south.

I eat a sandwich in the airport in LA before boarding, and by nightfall, as we sit in the warm mugginess of the Mexican black, the sandwich and it’s hidden poison begin working on me.

Delusional. Visions. Toxin. Sickness. Food poisoning.

Around PV we have time to kill and we learn about a bullfight. We learn about a female bullfighter, we go.

I shoot Pentax 645, black and white, of the bullfighter, as she readies herself to do battle. It’s just me working, no other photographer, and I’m accepted. I talk a little, walk a little and wait for the light.

We have time before the fight so I wander the plaza and look for details. No real reason for these images, other than they caught my eye. This is the perfect photo moment. Walking and shooting. 645 color.

No assignment, no cause. I can do anything I want, in any way I want. The best images are most often made this way.

I will use these in my journal, as a reminder of this place and this time.