For what it’s worth. My wife has always been my harshest critic. So, when I shared this image with her last night, I got, what I’d consider, a pretty good reaction, when she said, “I don’t know.” “What the fuck is that?” I found it cool, because so much of what we/I photograph is instantly identifiable.
Documenting Your Surroundings.
Over the years, it’s become crystal clear that my wife is my staunchest critic and supporter. However, adding her to the creative aspect of it all is both a major distraction and a pain in the fucking ass. As someone who has become more of a landscape and street photographer in recent years. My wife is, more than often, right by my side. Whether it be asking a million question as to what attracts me to a subject or being over protective to my history of risky attempts of capturing a moment. A good example would be yesterdays trip to Richmond and my fascination with photographing many of the downtown murals.When asked about “Photographing other peoples art.” and, basically hijacking someone’s creative energy. When my explanation of both documenting and interpreting my surroundings didn’t communicate the intended message. Explaining that my approach and goal while when shooting is to document the artists work respectfully. While also interpreting and conceptualizing in my own way. Why that might some like bull cookies to many. It’s how I do.
‘I’ve been taking pictures for decades now, however, since the tragedy of 9/11. I’ve been questioned, detained, and told what I could not photograph countless times. Whether it be a police intervention, a property owner, or a security guard, I’ve gotten used to being told, “You can’t take pictures of this.” Or, “What are you doing here?” “What are you taking pictures of, or for?” And “How long do you plan on being here?” It’s something I’ve become used to and somewhat expected. That said, there are times when I ignore or straight-up challenge their demands. That’s why when, earlier this week, I was told by a security guard that I was forbidden to photograph a building on a public street. I chose to explain my rights instead of getting pissed and telling them to “fuck off!” I explained to them my rights and how their demands might be best served in North Korea or some other dictatorship. When I got home, I decided to go online to learn my rights as a photographer. Before my next outing, I plan on printing my rights in the likely chance I’m questioned, held, stopped, or informed about what I can and cannot document. As a fellow photographer, I recommend you do the same.
It is what it is
Taken from the second floor of a parking garage. I only had a moment to catch this and would have explored the rest of the space if not for the fact that my better half wanted to go home before the pizza we had ordered got cold.
Mural, Mural, on the Wall
Came across this Lester Bowie Mural while visiting Frederick, Maryland.
No matter where I go, or what I do. I see just about everything as a picture opportunity. Whether I have my camera with me by my side or my phone in my back pocket. Every time is picture time. Like a true superhero. My strength is my weakness. So, as we sat at the counter waiting for our breakfast, I became drawn to the drinking glasses in front of me and how they warped the scene just outside the diners window, with the coasters in focus while the the rest of what you’re seeing was somewhat warped. I felt I had something worth capturing. The results seemed worth sharing.
In All Likelihood, it will never happen again.
I feel very lucky to have had the privilege to work with so many incredible muses. Ones who brought out the best in me. Often helping me to develop and visualize my artistic goals. No matter how awful or uneducated my ideas may have, and may still be. These people nourished whatever artistic or photographic ideas I might have had. Even comforting me when they didn’t produce the best results. As time has passed, I’ve come to realize that this kind of chemistry and artistic vision will, most likely, never happen again. Still, I remain forever grateful to have had the opportunity to explore my creative ideas and and quench the thirst that often comes with them.
Just as we wear skincare to cover our blemishes and makeup to… wait, why do people wear makeup? We wear masks to hide our pain or secrets. Ultimately, we find a commonality in pain, suffering, joy, happiness and art. As divided as we may seem at times. Many of us, maybe even most, are connected on some level. During my recent travels along the east coast. I photographed many of the murals featuring the many faces and moods painted on the walls, parks, boardwalks and buildings. Each time, trying to understand the message/messages that artist was trying to convey. I’d love to read your thoughts.
It’s become quite evident that art is quite conducive to the mental health of others. Whether you’re creating art or witnessing it. The overall benefits are overwhelmingly positive. After stopping and taking in the creativity of Baltimore’a Graffiti Alley. I thanked my wife for always nourishing my soul by supporting and fueling my love of creativity.
Looking back, it all started as a young child and my Mom. She was a secretary at a rather large advertising company. Though she never made much money. She was always bringing home art and movie posters. Some of which I still have today. On the days I visited her at work. I’d find myself in the art room watching illustrators bring new characters and ideas to life.
I often look back at those times and my Mother’s influence as the gateway drug that inspired my long love affair with art, photography and the people who create it. Over the years, it’s help me process, heal and strive to create. Let art be your muse, the shoulder to lean on and that big blue pill that cures all.
After an already full day in Baltimore. We made a final stop at Graffiti Alley, which is located in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District directly behind the Motor House. It somehow reminded us of a miniature version of Long Island City, NY’s “Five Points.” (R.I.P.) Awash with colors and ripe with the smell of newly created art. We made sure to taking our time to soak it all in. As someone who grew up in graffiti culture and always admired what kind of messages would come from a can of Krylon. It energized me. Seeing that someone was using the name that I once tagged up with was just candles on my cake.