Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chicken or the Egg

In discussing Ivan Sigal's work The White RoadThe New York Times Lens Blog for Wednesday, May 8th makes an interesting point about the development of a photographic project. Mr Sigal is quoted as saying 'First images, then ideas'. To which I couldn't agree more. It's fine to have an area of interest to go after photographically, but in my own experience, when I cast about for an idea to pursue and make into a project I usually come up with over-intellectualized and/or superficial images because I'm not shooting from my gut. That's important for me. For my images to have impact, I need to feel the intensity and honesty of the moment so that it's transmitted into the photograph. When I 'go with the flow' of my guts over a period of time the collective story of the series of images evolves of it's own. If I don't honor that emotional impetus, my work becomes a sterile construct of my consciousness. The point of all this is that for quite a while I've been shooting on the streets of New York with no particular end in mind except to go where my feet take me and photograph what I respond to emotionally. Over time a body of work has evolved and taken shape that has now become more clearly structured. In Sigal's words 'first images, then ideas'. It works for me.

On another note, while it may not be a great idea to be out shooting in the noonday sun - heavy shadows, strong contrast, and all that - sometimes when I'm walking around a photo just begs to be taken. I sure hope the guy survived this lady's wrath.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What's Up With That?

I spend a lot of time in Manhattan. The pickings for street shooting are so abundant  there that every time I come out of Penn Station I hear midtown calling to me. Sometimes I go for a long walk - usually about three miles - uptown, downtown, crosstown. And sometimes I find a good spot, sit, and watch the parade go by. The stores on Fifth Avenue are an abundant source of characters for me. But one thing I don't understand - maybe it's my ancient sensibilities - is the attraction for people to stand in line outside the Abercrombie & Fitch store just to get in and pay an outrageous price for cloth stitched together in China. I might expect it on a weekend when there's lots of tourists and weekend shoppers from out of town, but during the week? Could it be the scantily clad models they have walking around the selling floor?

That seems so crass, but then again, so are the shoppers that wait in line, to wit: