Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stuck In My Mind

In this video, about the celebrated Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, I was impressed with his way of shooting and his approach to working in b/w. So much of what I do is intuitive that I find it difficult to answer questions my students put to me about my processes when I'm out on the street. Just as Moriyama says, I need the city, and I need the people. Stories are constantly unfolding in front of me, and with the camera I can freeze moments of time in those stories.

This past Saturday was my first day out shooting at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. The holiday is exciting for me because the crowds of people present constant opportunities.  I was shooting on Fifth Avenue when I happened to turn around, and in front of me was a woman with glowingly dyed red hair, wearing a furry yellow and black striped jacket. Without thinking I fired off several shots - I knew I'd caught the 'money shot' for the day. It was impossible for me to look at the image and see anything but the color in the shot. As so often happens, there's something in the image that sings to me and I need to draw out. But as Moriyama points out in his video, the color was making decisions about the picture, dictating something vulgar. B/W is exciting to me because of my body's instinctive response, the monochrome image has a strong feeling of abstraction and symbolism, a feeling of taking me to another place.

I was relaxing after I'd processed and created the image below, reviewing some of the photo blogs I'd seen during the past week, when I ran across James Maher's blogpost of last Friday. There was something stuck in the back of my mind when I was out walking on the Avenue, and I had no clue that it was there. And then this: