One of our blog followers submitted this street scene travel snap made with iPhone for a critique. On the plus side we have nice color – the yellow and blue speak to me. The rule of three goats (err, rule of thirds) is also a plus. Easy fix would be a tight horizontal crop, but would eliminating the foreground reduce the information content (i.e. crumbling infrastructure), I don’t think so. Additionally, is it more effective to have the goats “randomized” or have them perfectly placed for a eye-grabbing compostiton? Unfortunately, that was not a consideration as the photographer made only one quick snap. Getting the goats (get your goat, get it?) to cooperate — well, only luck and patience can make that happen. Final grade, a B for effort, a C- for the image.
The event in Dover this summer. Don’t miss the premier of this exciting show. See some of the featured images @ instagram.com/existential_tourist
Politics is all the rage at the moment and while looking at the archive (a box of mounted prints) I yanked this one as an example of looking at an event from a different perspective. I guess when I took this (while photographing the 1976 Republican Convention in Kansas City for the Garden City Telegram) I was thinking about looking out and not being being in, or maybe I just like the simplicity of the moment…
“Brexit, or NO Brexit; that WAS the big question,
Whether ‘tis be nobler to leave this ‘Club of Europe’ or remain & suffer.
These bureaucratic & doctrinall of outrageous EU budgetary fortune,
Or take arms to a sea of immigrants,
And by rejecting end it, to fiscally wither, to weep;
No more Johnny Foreigner; that I say is the End!”
“More the Tragedy of Cameron, the Prince of a muddled Parliament”
Summer arrived a week early in Missouri – already 90+ and high humidity. My solution was to bike to the local coffee shop and slurp. Advice to the “instagram” generation, put down your mobile phones and connect with folks. A meet and greet resulted in two hours of stimulating conversation with a graphic novelist and a screenwriter. Make the effort, skip the virtual world and go analog.
New York, New York. No matter how often I visit the city I am always dumbstruck and overwhelmed by the visual cacophony. Paul too embraces (and is similarly overwhelmed) NYC and approaches it from a slightly different style. When he saw this picture his reaction was, “someday we will do a show on the sound of one hand.” Perhaps that is the way to experience New York — with a Zen frame of mind. This sliver of light was captured at Columbus Park at Bayard and Mulberry streets. This part of New York was once known as “five points” and the park is now a gathering place for game players, a quiet respite from bustling Chinatown.
I was at Tate Modern last week, as you can see, the art scene in London is a real pisser.
They had a sculpture by Duchamp, and three more in another room.
On a spur of the moment trip to Costa Rica I stumbled on the Central American clown troupe performing in San Jose in front of the Teatro Nacional. Of course planning and a fixer are a professional’s best friend, but never underestimate the joy of the unexpected.
Here is a little creative poetry editing, when A E Housman wrote this he was about 20, since I’m a bit older…
Had a lot of fun recently with a group of aspiring photo enthusiasts as we photo-walked the grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – aka Gateway Arch. An eclectic group of snappers, we took to the streets, engaging visitors and capturing a sense of the city. Part of our assignment was to approach and photograph a stranger — my métier. These tourists from Colorado were as friendly as only Westerners can be. I also chatted up a NYC couple who were equally jovial. But more interesting for me was meeting strange new photographers.
Journalism school pressed Paul and me into the maw of about 20 of the most aggressive and motivated would-be photojournalists (I guess I am not exaggerating) in the world. We would constantly critique each other’s work — and what the professors said about our pictures/stories — ouch — I still have scars. Later when I taught photojournalism, I was brutally honest with my students, occasionally at the cost of tears and always with a reward of better future pictures. I like to think I have mellowed over the years and more importantly, I have slowly come to realize that photojournalism-style photography is not all there is. Shocking. The photo-walk provided me an opportunity to share my expertise and learn from others. Advantage for me, interacting with new photogs requires the same skills as street photography, an honest approach and openness to rejection (ha ha). Just like the wonder of connecting with folks you have never seen before and making their picture, chatting with photographers who have a different visual Weltanschauung can be daunting. If you are going to walk the photo walk, prepare to talk the photo talk. For snap samples search Instagram using #isrphotoswalk
Not sure the feline pattern is exactly right for the canines or for the Fräulein…
some who appear brilliant make foolish moves
( Alexander McQueen, 40 years old forever )
my hero L.T. * once said of sages,
“they run beyond convention…
They listen to the soundless
And look at the formless,
They are not constrained by society
And not bound by its customs.”
Not every beatnik is a sage,
but there are sages among them,
someday you may be there too.
It has been a busy three months. Paul made a pilgrimage to Amerika and returned to the UK with a boodle of images. I have been to South Carolina, Mexico, and four trips to rural Missouri. Fitting, I think, that on my last little excursion I was checking on sunrise/sunset times and they were both 7:09. Yes, Winter is behind us and this post represents a bit of mental Spring cleaning. So much for the rambling preamble; here are a selection of observations/activities from the last few months.
- No car – sold my vehicle, bought a replacement and sold it – for now I am done owning a car
- Moved from Apple’s abandoned Aperture to Adobe’s addictive drug Lightroom for photo processing and cataloging
- Playing with Photomatix HDR and realize I know next-to-nothing about colour theory (my earlier photojournalism career was 90% B&W) and learning about colour is the “teach the old dog new tricks” conjure for this year
- Read a lot, and between sub-par thrillers and mysteries, I have hit on a few reads I think are worth sharing…
Round Spring in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways is a great place for snapshots… But it reminds me why I am not a “scenic/nature” photographer. First, you have to really work hard to create a picture that is not just another postcard snap. Second, you have to be up early (above is 7am with the temperture about -2 celsius) and dress appropriately (I had no gloves – d’oh). Third, you have to haul a lot of gear- tripods, flash, filters, etc. I love the idea but I have to work my strength — stick with human scenery.
One of the hardest things for beginning photographers is asking permission to take pictures of folks. In my brief experience (40 years) I have rarely been told “no pictures”. People love to have their picture made — you just need to be considerate, non-threatening and open. It is also good idea to be able to explain why you want to make a picture. In this example, after an inital “ask”, I just explained how I wanted to share with others (via ITEP) the trio’s dart throwing fun.