My journey as a photographer has endured its share of bumps and bruises along the way. Though I had had a few images published and had my first paid gigs a few years before. I had very little knowledge of putting a cohesive portfolio together. I was a hobbyist and an enthusiast. One that had become passionate of the art, but had little grasp of how to get from A to B. Somewhere in my twenties, I picked up a second job working nights at an East Village record store. The owner, himself a published stock photographer became somewhat of a mentor, giving me the green light to build a portfolio from the continuous flow of interesting characters who came in the place. Good, bad or ugly, I was photographing and documenting much of my city life. Many, if not most of the people who took me up on my offer to use them as my instruments of creativity would meet me at a certain time and near place. I was more than happy to share prints with those who agreed to meet up. At the time, I was working with a very basic Nikon film SLR film camera that another boss gave me a few years before. While revisiting some old image files. I found a folder marked “slides”. I recall shooting almost exclusively with slide film at the time. While I don’t remember this particular woman’s name. I recall the session taking place within the lower east side’s Tompkins Square Park. In indulging myself in looking through old files. I’m surprised to find so many keepers.
Going through old slides, I found this image of a Tupac Shakur memorial mural that appeared shorty after his still unsolved murder in Los Angeles. Over the years I’ve come to love, and respect Tupac’s legacy to hip hop and life in general. Looking back, I’m grateful for making an effort to protect my slides and negatives.
I’ve been going through some old picture folders (Something I’ve been doing as I have come to realize some aspects of my photography are coming, or have come to an end.) and deciding what to delete and what to save. During this process I’ve found a number of photos that were never edited or just needed a bit of TLC. Going back about ten years. I found some images from a Municipal Waste V.F.W. show. At the time, I knew nothing, other than the name, about the band. Something I grew to love, considering all the times I became a devotee to a band I was seeing and hearing for the first time. Upon coming across images from that particular show. I took a few minutes to make a few adjustments and do a little cropping. Thanks to my newly acquired Lightroom knowledge, I was pretty happy with the results.
In my last post ‘Sunrise’, I briefly spoke of waking before dawn to have a chance to watch and capture the sunrise. Well it turns out that on that particular day, there wasn’t much sun to speak of. What eventually came over the horizon was a bit anti climactic. So, as the following day approached and I suddenly began to overthink that the studio end of my photography and how much I miss photographing people. I decided to clear my head and indulge myself in some night photography. I love the soft light at dusk and the feeling of solitude that comes over me. I took this shot before 7:00 pm as my wife was making tacos.
I’ve made a lot of positive changes to my life. Starting my day by watching the sun rise before I start my first of two daily workouts is one. Though we haven’t had many sunny mornings in recent weeks, my will to get out and start my day with some fresh air is strong. Here’s to starting the day on a good note.
Before returning home the other night, we stopped about a block from Dolly Madison Blvd. to capture the light coming off the buildings across the way. Throughout the freezing winter, I’ve collected countless ideas and places where I’d like to experiment with night photography and long exposures. With the warmth of Spring upon us and my wife’s willingness to stand idle, I was left to my own devices.
Now that the temperature is rising. I’m looking forward to visiting the many places I’ve mapped out to take pictures. For now, though. I’m staying close and shooting what I can. In my prior post, I went out a bit too late to catch the rush hour traffic that passes our building each night. It’s been a while since I’ve delved into long exposures and night scapes. I’m looking forward to the days, weeks, and months to put those ideas to work.
Last night was the first in recent memory when snow didn’t blanket the earth and, the temperatures raised above freezing. Not that I don’t care for an arctic climate. It’s just that long exposures require a bit of waiting. Something I find difficult when every inch of my body is trembling and my fingertips are giving the rest of me dirty looks. Though I might have picked a bad time and place to capture the lights of passing vehicles, it felt good to step out and capture some long exposures.
Following up on last night’s post “When in Doubt…” I’m coming to the realization that my days as a studio photographer might be over. Being that I spent more than four hours going through old sessions and even considering reacquiring studio lights. I whole heartedly admit to missing experimenting with studio lights, settings, modes and above all, interpreting beauty. Looking back, the road was full of mistakes, anxiety, impatience and an overabundance of caffeine. Still, when I was clicking with a subject, it was magic. Going forward, mainly due to my issues with balance and speech, I will have to find peace and balance. In the end, I hope to learn more about landscape photography and long exposure. Enough so, that I can prove myself to me.
Perhaps due to the weather and the fact that I haven’t been shooting the most inspiring images since coming back east. I’ve been pretty down on myself. the sub-freezing temperatures and the snow have kept me from going that far and despite some very recent inspiration. (Inspiration that might have to wait for warmer temperatures.) During the four plus years in Seattle, the rain was pretty constant, but it never got too cold. (Perhaps the reason I no longer own a pair of winter boots.) The picture below was taken of a friend visiting from Germany. It was my last Jersey City shoot before moving to Seattle.