Anywhere And Nowhere, 1

Chipotle

It’s cold and rainy and New York City in the wintertime. Today, right now, I can hear the rain falling as I lay, writing this entry. I can also hear a bird chirping and this sound for me creates some hope….it makes me believe that Spring will come, sooner than I expect.
This photo is a mystery. The intention was to express my despair during an East Coast winter through the weary frustration of someone else….and this picture proves that a street portrait is anything anyone anywhere anyhow.
I was taking refuge from the cold in a Chipotle on 6th Avenue in the West Village one afternoon last week, the week of February 5, 2018. I used the men’s room because I’m too impatient to wait….and when I emerged, there were two men standing outside the door. I hung around, messing with Instagram, answering a few comments, prolonging my rest stop before going back outside to freezing fingers and soaking rain.
I turned for some reason and caught sight of one young guy, still waiting for his shot in the bathroom, standing under the light, rubbing his face, covering his eyes, frustrated in his way with his day and having to stand outside the men’s restroom waiting too long for somebody to just get the hell out, as he had just waited for me and was now stuck waiting for somebody else. I said hey! This is bizarre but please don’t move you’re under the light it’s an awesome picture…can I can I can I? And he said yes.
But I didn’t wait for him to agree….
So pictures can happen anywhere if you’re willing to act reflexively and use your environment to your advantage, no matter where you find yourself. No situation is off limits, if done respectfully….even waiting to take a leak in a Chipotle on 6th Avenue one rainy winter day in New York City.

Everydays

every day lives

I love taking pictures. I love pictures that speak about nothing and everything. This one is just a moment in a laundromat. It’s a forgotten memorial to a half afternoon spent doing the laundry on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Even those pictured have already forgotten….but simple pictures are a document of daily life in our times, and can be even less spectacularly described as daily minutiae. But minutiae makes up life, and one day this little girl will remember the laundry days with her grandmother. Maybe it will be a sudden memory as she walks past a similar place one day far into the future, or maybe a randomly occurring, fleeting memory that will come and go like a Spring scent on a soft breeze that acts to remind us of a long forgotten day…..and then vanishes without a trace, taking with it forever the lucky fusion of memory and scent.

Crossing The Line, Gleefully?

Utica Avenue, Brooklyn

So when does Street Photography become rude, crude, base and lewd? Hmmmm….I love this picture but in no way do I feel that it’s for everyone. Did I put it on social media? No….mostly because it got lost in the avalanche of summertime New York pictures. But, in all honesty, I don’t feel entirely comfortable blasting this one to thousands at once because, although it’s a definite street truth, totally accurate and a part of the landscape in some places, it can be considered to be grotesque for two reasons: one, there’s a child’s face in the juxtaposition and two, there’s a very clear image in the background that isn’t exactly flattering. But….who cares?? Street imagery isn’t perfect and it should include every last bit of truth and reality that can be crammed into the frame. I know, however, that the audience that will view this will not understand that, and that it could be considered to be an image that is racially insensitive. And, although there are many sights to behold in the Brooklyn summer sun that are just as provocative and bare, there are many whose ears will turn a brighter shade of pink. So….for social media, Instagram in particular, this one is a no go.

Chocolate Sleeps

This was recently posted to Instagram. This is Chocolate, and, the not-so-observant observer can see that she is relaxed. Her body language, most notably evident in her leg position, is aware, and unobstructed by grief. She is happy in the afternoon sun. I operate my camera almost exclusively with a wide angle lens (16mm, 24mm full frame equivalent) and so it’s pretty apparent that I’m lying down on the sidewalk alongside her, very close. An image like this requires complicity and permission, both of which are in clear view here.

So….this one is a true slice of life, on 6th and San Pedro in Skid Row, Downtown Los Angeles, California. You can’t shoot pictures like this one sans permission, not here….and yet, I had to staunchly defend this image. I cannot anticipate the vagaries of the poisonous atmosphere with which politically correct thinking has blanketed society. I feel that racism is in clear evidence on social media, and I see it in ways that affect me personally as a photographer. Had the woman in this image been a younger, white female I have no doubt that she would have received far more attention, and me support as a photographer. It’s a damning truth, and I can’t say it out loud to my adult audience but, when I speak to school aged kids between the ages of 12 and 15, they get it immediately and without all of the roundabout bullshit that I find many adults who view my images seem to be mired in.

How can anyone shoot genuine street photography and leave out everything that leaves a question? Social documentary/Street Photography should push the limits, seek to expose, enlighten and question….life is in evidence everywhere, and nothing and nobody deserves to be omitted.