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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

Two New “Dogs Can’t Read” books.

As many of you know, I’m a book guy. I love books. I dream about them. I’ve made several. Well, add two more to the list. And folks, I made these books rather quickly. These small publications were not labored over, toiled over. I did not pull my hair out. I did not consult higher powers. I just did them. Bingo. Bango. You book designers are probably saying, “No joke.” I made the images over a year ago, but I just got around to making the books, and BOOK is a stretch in both cases. I consider these “books” simply sketches of an idea that I’ve been carrying around and acting out on for at least five years. The beauty of this book process, the print on demand process, is simply that you can make a single book. I LOVE to play with books. I’ve made an assortment of hideous creations not fit for public consumption, and I’ve made others that I’m proud of that continue to sell. My advice…just play.

A few years ago I started a project about dogs and graffiti in different cities/countries around the world. Palermo, Paris, New York, Tijuana and now Panama and Peru have entered in the mix. Is this story a world beater? No, not really. Have I sold a fair amount of these books? Yes. Dogs are a safe bet, but oddly enough the range of response to THIS particular project has been as varied as anything I’ve ever done. I’ve had people look at these images and claim to see great religious or political slant. No joke. I just nod and say, “You got me.” But back to the books. I love making these books for several reasons. First, it allows me to revisit the work. Second, it forces me to edit the work, and three, it allows me to create a physical artifact from the project. I don’t sweat these books. I enjoy the process and I toss the final product in a pile and revisit them from time to time. That’s all. I think sometimes we make too much of all this stuff. Photography, books, BEING photographers or book people. Just enjoy the process. You wanna be a world-beater? Good, go for it. Wanna just play, then play.

And for all you tech crazies out there. I know you want it. Wait for it…wait….wait for it……all Leica, all TRI-X. As the gear wars rage on I always find myself keeping an ear to the ground, thinking, “Well, I should go and look at these new cameras.” And then I do and I end up driving home empty handed. My old fallback of Leica, TRI-X is hard to beat. And now that my darkroom is nearing completion I really don’t see a need to change anything now. Of course tomorrow I’ll be saying something new, but I reserve the right to do so.