Its official I am obsessed!
Obviously I am obsessed with photography. That is a simple one, but I am coming to realize I am obsessed with a a women. I love looking at pictures of her, but really I love looking at the photos she took. Her name is Vivian Maier, and I am not a bit ashamed that I am obsessed with her. If you know the Vivian Maier story keep reading, if not go here and read this first. The story is incredible, yes, but that is only a small part of why I am writing this. Vivian Maier’s photography is incredible. This past weekend I had a chance to check out the Vivian Maier’s Chicago exhibit at the Chicago History Museum, most of the prints I had seen at one point or another, impressive, what I expected. What I wasn’t expecting was around the perimeter of the room. There lies the reason I am obsessed with Vivian. The exhibit has photos from complete rolls of film. 12 shots (a complete roll of 120 format film) taken at different locations and points in time of Chicago’s history. I am amazed at how many flawless shots she was capturing in a row. If you have ever seen the contact sheets of most street photographers you know that it typically takes a photographer a few attempts before nailing what Henry Cartier-Bresson calls the decisive moment. Besides the single moments that have made Ms. Maier famous, the mastery she proves in 12 shots has left me speechless. I wish I was able to capture or express the emotions I felt checking out what is one of the greatest photographers in Chicago’s history, but alas I can’t do so with words. I will try my best to capture those emotions with photos as I continue my journey in photography.
Thank you Vivian Maier for being an inspiration to me!
My wife doesn’t thank you for me wanting a camera similar to what you used.
Every photographer runs into difficulty when they travel. The trip will never go exactly as envisioned, but if you are prepared then you can make the best of any situation. For example the image above. Last spring while visiting Spain, my family planned to visit the Alhambra palace. I had visions of getting their early in the day and staying late to photograph all day into dusk at the palace and fortress. Well, that is not what happened. The union workers of Spain decided to hold a general strike the day we planned to visit. Every for of travel, restaurants and stores we shut down. Luckily by early afternoon, most of the protests had calmed down (yes I photographed the protests) and the Alcazaba in Malaga was open. The fortress is beautifully preserved, and I’m glad that I was able to explore it. At first disappointed, I was able to capture a lot of photos that I really love. The “Malaga” photo shown above is one of my favorites, Catholics and Moors, Man and Women, Old and New, Light and Dark are all included in this photo.
This shot is being exhibited on January 25th at 4th Fridays at the Starline art show. If you are in the Chicagoland area, it will be worth the time to join this fun and casual art show. Click here to find out more.
Occasionally you are out shooting an image just hits you. On this day I headed to a road I take to work everyday. To the right of this road a small lake had dried out and between the clouds in the sky and the dried lake, it would be an impressive scene. After shooting photos of the lake, I began to walk back to my car. At one point I turned over my shoulder and noticed how dramatic a completely empty road (in itself an odd thing in Chicagoland) looked. Making sure there was no traffic, I shot out to the middle of the street and captured this. Not something you would expect to see near Chicago, this image reminds me of how interesting the day to day we travel is.
Sometimes the ordinary can look extraordinary. Close to my house a building was being renovated. The construction company brought a dumpster out to throw the trash in and haul it away easily. Typically a very ordinary scene. In this case the dumpster was painted with the american flag on it. I was stunned by the fact that the workers were expected to throw trash into this container that contained the iconic symbol of the United States. I had plenty of opportunity to shot this shot under ideal lighting conditions, but chose harsh mid-day light in order to bring out the edges and textures on the metal.
If you would like a copy of “Trashing America” I have a limited number of signed archival quality un-mated 8×10 prints for sale. Only $25 each.
One of the skills of street photography is noticing your surroundings. Being able to pay attention to what is going on and anticipating an action is vital. In order to capture this photo of one of the police officers in old San Juan, Puerto Rico I needed to be patient. The contrast and colors of the old buildings he was standing by was impressive, but his pose was not. I initially noticed him when I walked past on the opposite side of the street, from there it was just being observant of his actions. I noticed he would occasionally relax for a moment or two in this door way. I wanted to capture this officer not looking as intimidating as he did walking up and down the block. Who knows what he is going to have to use next, the umbrella or the pistol?
Behind the Shot will be the place where I share the story behind the capture of the photo. Don’t expect a lot of technical details, there are plenty of blogs where you can find that info. I wanted to share a little of the thoughts and emotions that make capturing photos special to me.
The first photo is one of my favorites from a trip to Spain this past spring. Every Sunday in Madrid there is a huge outdoor market. It seems that all of Madrid hits the streets for El Rastro after attending church in the morning. Walking around with my family and daughter I hear the sound of a Spanish guitar being played by a street performer. As my wife and daughters move on to look at one of the many booths, I find myself drawn to the guitar player. As I walk closer I see this gentleman, who is playing beautiful classical guitar music. I am on his left side and his body is facing away, I pull the camera to my eye and focus on capturing the expression on his face. As I go to snap the photo he turns and opens his body towards the camera. I snap the photo above. Only after I bring the camera down do I notice that his right hand is actually a hook! In amazement I hung around for a few more moments listening to El Gancho play.
I have a limited number of framed and signed gallery quality prints available to purchase. Contact me if you would like to own one.