Images made within moments of one another. Wandering amid the masses of beach dwellers. Just shaking the dust off. A snap here, a snap there. Looking more than shooting. The distance is what is troubling at first, after so long in front of the screen, protected. Not here. Everything is open to the elements, including my eyes which dry and then water like a newborn. My depth is not quite right, but I know it and take visual precaution. My fingers tremble over the dials, a routine that comes back quickly no matter how long I’ve been away, and now, when I look down, the numbers are fuzzy. Yes, I’m that guy now. The one who lifts the spectacles to see what is so clearly right in front of him. Age destroys ego in most, and I can see myself leveling off in regard. “Know your limits,” someone wiser once said. Mine are clearly, or not so clearly, defined. I need no map to see the edges of the flat Earth. One boot hangs on the edge, but the other is dug in, braced and defiant.
The camera allows me to become invisible. I know, I know, that’s impossible, but I beg to differ. A physical meditation if you pursue it long enough. I swear. You are there, and then you blend into the swatch kit of color that life provides. I turn one way and slow the shutter, pan through the railing. People running. A rangefinder so I need to compensate for not seeing clearly the frame I need to see. Who knows? And then a slow path to the other side where a woman in white strikes a pose for me, only not for me, but for someone I can’t see. Thank you.
Spacing. It’s all about the spacing. I know this isn’t something that will live on paper, or even in my mind for any length of time, but this image deserves respect only for the spacing. The elements are there, in harmony with the environment. Open, sandy, spacious, limitless, broad, minimal. Ya, that’s it, broad but minimal. We all have a wheelhouse and this is mine. I like to dissect. Need to actually and when I do I’m so happy it feels guilty. A secret I tell to only myself. You want to know this feeling? Just go. Just go and press the button. Again and again.
A few years ago I completed a four-city tour documenting dogs and graffiti. This project started out harmless enough but then snowballed into a full on project. Featured here is an image from the New York portion of the project. All four of these books are available online, however, I’m actually in the process of editing all four books into ONE magazine piece which I will release in the coming weeks. This entire project was made with the Leica and Tmax 3200. Since the four city project I’ve also added pieces from Panama and Peru, which I will probably feature at a later date. Enjoy.
I was recently able to get a few minutes with friend and fellow artist/photographer Michael Napper who happens to call Los Angeles home. We are working on “something” together, so stay tuned to your trusty Smogranch for emerging details. It involves photography, art and the all powerful book.
We always end up photographing each other, so this was my favorite image from this particular day.
Napper is one of those guys I find wildly inspiring. Given time and resources he is a dangerous character, the type who in the olden days would have been condemned, hunted and ultimately captured by the crown. We NEED these people because when I look at American culture I see a sleeping giant waiting for a chance to reemerge from the slumber of the strip mall and fast-food chain. We all talk about change, especially these days during the Hell that is campaign season. “We really need change” the pundits say, with ZERO meaning or accountability, so our collective soul, and future, rests in the hands of the creative type.
Michael writes painfully well, paints, sketches and has the photography affliction. And he makes a lot of work, which I find the ultimate jab in the neck.
On a serious note. If you haven’t seen his site, or work, take a look. Well worth it.
David Burnett accepting his award.
Recently attended the Lucie Awards in Los Angeles and was able to make a few photographs. This is a yearly event which brings in big names from across the industry. Great to see Blurb user Arthur Tress, as well as Douglass Kirkland, Greg Gorman, David Alan Harvey, David Burnett, Brigitte Lacombe Jessica Lange and Joel Meyerowitz to name a few.
Kirkland, Fetterman and Burnett.
David Alan Harvey celebrating with Douglass Kirkland and Greg Gorman.