Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New project

When I made the jump to trying to make it as a full-time photographer, I really wanted to become a news shooter. I was fortunate to make that happen with a one-year old weekly. For 10 years, things went well. Until the 2007-2008 timeframe, the paper pulled in good revenues (even got a four figure bonus one year). I got to shoot everything from features to spot news to sports and, yes, even the illustrious check presentations. I made a little money on the side commercially as well.
I won several Florida press associations' awards for both single images and photo essays. But I have never done a conscious long term project. The Georgia town I relocated to has revitalized the downtown square with numerous restaurants, clothing shops, commercial offices, and even a small college outlet. I have been shooting in the square for the last year but without a defined purpose. Now I am trying to make a focus attempt to do a project that I am calling "In Passing". I will be trying to capture people in motion around the square from local shoppers to delivery men and any other motion with people in it. I plan on shooting both digital and film. The film will be an exercise to regain some skills lost since shifting to digital. I will be using my dad's old Yashica Electro35 GS fixed lens rangefinder which gives no indication of shutter speed. It is a great little camera overall and, while not in the class of a Leica, is fun to shoot with. I also plan on shooting from both the hip and eye levels.
Well, enough talking. Here is the first selection that I think will make what I hope will be an exhibition and/or photobook in the future.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting....

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gone to hell in a handbasket

The latest events in Ferguson, the Middle East, and elsewhere in the world got me to thinking about the profession of photojournalism. I was fortunate to be a photojournalist in a small town setting. I got to know the people where I worked. I got to watch children grow up, graduated high school, get married, and, these days, have children of their own.
But the events in Ferguson have me questioning the ethics of today's photojournalists especially the ones that want to make a splash on the scene and become world famous like the Capa and Cartier-Bresson of old and the Turnley brothers and Natchwey of today.
I know that type of photojournalism is necessary but it seems that is all there is these days. And, to be honest, it is disheartening. Everyone seems to be looking to win the Putlizer Prize rather than be ethical.
Some time back I saw a blog entry somewhere that was done by a young French photojournalist if memory serves. His focus was on the how some war correspondents approach their work. He showed images that indicated that not was all at it seemed. While the images were not "staged" in the truest sense of the word, the participants were acting for the cameras. They would throw rocks, etc., but they were not really throwing them at anyone. The images captured by the photographers showed only people throwing rocks but not any that showed the emptiness they were throwing them into.
Earlier this week while watching the nightly news, my wife noticed a Ferguson protestor move up close to a photographer and, once he had the photographer's attention, he dropped to his knees and threw up his hands to go with the "hands up, don't shoot" mantra that the protestors have taken up. All just for the camera. It is one thing to be embedded with a military group. It is another to let the people you are photographing manipulate you.
I used to have kids ask me to take their pictures but the ones that ran in the paper were the ones when they forgot I was still there. I would watch the local TV journalists come out and stage a sequence and all I could think is how manipulative that is. After all, isn't the journalism profession supposed to present the facts and not some liberal or conservative slant? Due to the physical limitations of the equipment (focal length of the lens, etc.) and the position of the photographer, not everything will always be as it seems. But then the editing process should remove images that seem to be pushing a certain agenda which is not always an easy task.
One of things I tried to do with my images is present enough information for the viewer to come to their own conclusion. I did not always succeed but think that the following two images provided information that could lead to different conclusions depending on your own personal preferences.
The first image was taken after Hurricane Kartrina had hit the Ocean Springs, MS, home of a firefighter and my local firefighters had gone to assist.


The second image is of several 6-8 year old girls watching another contestant in a beauty pageant.


Each of these images will be viewed differently by each viewer and everyone will come to their own conclusions based on their own knowledge and circumstances.
But all I tried to do was present enough info in each shot to get folks to think. The little girls were not aware of my presence at the time. The couple in the first shot had gotten used to my presence as I had been there for a couple of days.
While I have my own thoughts about the images and what they mean to me, all I tried to do was present an image that got people to look and make their own judgments. My thoughts about my photography was to try and present the truth, whatever the viewer thought the "truth" was.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting....

Friday, August 22, 2014

Film - still gets my juices flowing!

Since I am no longer making money with my photography, I have been rummaging through my old film images, mainly good old Tri-X film that was my mainstay back in the day. The first trip my wife and I made to England, I took a pair of Nikon F100 bodies and just a couple of lenses, a Tokina 24-200mm superzoom and a Nikkor 18-35mm (left all the 2.8 zooms at home but wish I had taken a couple of the primes), and (if I remember correctly) 20 rolls of Tri-X. I usually carried just one body during a day's shooting but both lenses and changed lenses as necessary. I shot Tri-X at ASA1600 so I could shoot at higher shutter speeds indoors and, with the F100's top end shutter speed of 1/8000 sec, was still able to shoot wide open with this pair of slower zooms.
Pushing the Tri-X two stops results in higher contrast and more grain than usual but, for me on that trip to the UK, it worked. Here are a number of images from Edinburgh and London shot during that bit of travel. Hope you enjoy.

Family at Edinburgh Castle
Children at Edinburgh Castle. Love the perceived tension of the little girl on the right as the other girl moves in on the young lad.
Cashier at Edinburgh's The Elephant House where J. K. Rowling penned the Harry Potter series.
Flower vendor at Edinburgh's Waverly Station
Scot waiting on a bus on Dalkeith Road in Edinburgh. This was the nearest bus stop to the Dunedin Guest House where we stayed.
On London's Tube (probably the Victoria line) during rush hour.
Outside a foreign consulate in London. I believe it was 37 Eaton Place.
A cafe across from London's Harrod's department store.
A London resident buying flowers at a neighborhood market in Belgravia neighborhood of London.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, August 18, 2014

Birthday dinner!

An unusual posting from me today. This is a shot of the dinner my wife ordered at a local Italian restaurant on her birthday. She had Maryland-style crabcakes with some pasta (I had pecan crusted catfish). This is what she had left when she said she was "stuffed". We split the remaining food a couple of days later. My catfish? Not a thing left on my plate....


Decided this needed to be posted in color rather than my usual b&w. Even played a little bit in Nik's Color Efex - just added a little vignetting to add some emphasis. Shot with my X100S.
As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Downtown

Fuji X100S, Nik Silver Efex Pro 2


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Early morning house call

I was up early a few days ago messing around on the computer when I heard what sounded like a big truck outside. When I looked out, I saw it was a fire engine and it stop at a nearby home. Went back inside and grabbed my X-E1 with the XF 35mm and X100S. This shot was taken after the ambulance arrived. The EMTs left the gurney at the front door and this is the shot I got. Probably the only one of the bunch worth keeping. Not due to the gear but the ineptness of the photographer....


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Friday, August 8, 2014

"IT'S A TOUGH LIFE"

Outside the Great Grog wine bar, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Nikon D2H, Tokina 24-200mm, converted with Silver Efex Pro 2.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Unforgettable

Most photographers can recall with some certainty images that  they have taken during their lifetimes. This is such an image.
I took it on the second photo trip my wife and I took to the United Kingdom. We were in Edinburgh on Princes Street down from the Scott Monument. (See what I mean about recalling images?) I was using a Nikon D2H body with a Tokina 24-200mm superzoom shooting a street performer that had drawn a crowd. My goal was to get a shot of him and the crowd. The street performer started playing to the camera when, all of the sudden, this other guy started shouting at me about something. I have a tendency not to listen when I am shooting so I do not remember what he was on about but he was obviously ticked off about something the government was (or was not) doing.


As always, make a comment!! Let me know what you think! Until next time, keep on shooting.....