Imagine yourself sitting at a bar with nothing to drink, no bartender to serve you, and no alcohol to serve. That was me today at Baltimore’s Cross Street Market. Kind of cool. Don’t you think?
Heading out, I reminded myself that I din’t want to set up in the same spot or take the same photographs I did the day before. Although I was happy with the results. I had no intention of repeating my actions, whether it be by documenting the same subject matter or staying safe by depending on the same settings. With little or no traffic passing. I looked toward the street lights and that coming from the buildings lobby to capture this image. By day two of my little experiment, I can’t help but be happy with the results of getting up early, experimenting with long exposures and enjoying the little moments of solitude.
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.
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.
As we returned home from Baltimore, I asked my wife to stop the car just a few feet before entering the garage. If I wasn’t going to ask that she indulge me in another photography detour. I might convince her to stop for just a moment for me to try to capture a moment that I’ve been talking about more and more over the last couple of weeks. Knowing that we were just a few feet from our destination and being somewhat overcome by an enthusiasm equal to that of a just adopted dog on a ride back to his/her new home. She agreed and even left the car to see what all the hub bub was all about. As someone who has become obsessed with night photography and long shutter releases. The walkway that takes you from the front of our condo to the back was all the inspiration I would need.
When thinking of photography and whatever approach I might decide to take in the near future. Much like life itself, I can’t help but think of minimalism. What that actually means? I’m not sure, but living out of a suitcase over the past months with a single camera body and a 50 millimeter lens has been difficult yet educating. Moving to Arlington, I’ve found a renewed interest in photography and documenting my new surroundings. With my newfound interest has come a desire to approach each picture with a new sense of purpose and focus. Asking myself, what attracted me to this image and what message, if any, do I wish to convey? As much as I’ve alway been to telephone lines and cell phone towers. I can’t help but think, with all these connections and gigabytes, we seem to be communicating less. Sure, we talk a lot. But, are we listening?
Every weekend my wife and me try to get out of the everyday stress of the work environment and whatever stress the work week and it’s related trappings. No matter the city we called home, there was always an outlet or a route worth taking. One that would allow us to expand our minds and realign our focus. Having grown up and lived in the boroughs of New York City and lived much of my married life in New Jersey, there was always somewhere to go and something to do. Moving to, and living in Seattle for four years provided more than its share of exploration and mind expanding experiences. With only a few months back east in Virginia. There’s still so much to do. Lucky for us, that desire to explore and experience new things still burns. As many days of exploring Virginia and Washington, DC lie ahead. The several trips to Maryland have been rewarding. I took this image of the Patapasco River in the midday sun with the only equipment I have with me now, my Canon body and 50 mm lens. While I’m looking forward to being reunited with all my lenses, filters and flash, shooting with the bare minimum has been a fulfilling challenge. Here’s to more weekend challenges, exploration and of course, documentation.
Though my legs and the rest of me remain strong. My balance, or lack there of have made many things I once took for granted, difficult, nearly impossible and downright dangerous. Though just a few blocks from me. There comes a point where the steep incline is so extreme that, know that attempting to navigate it would risk irreversible damage, or even death. Risks my wife, keeps me from attempting. Whereas my first days and weeks living in Seattle had me walking and learning the local bus lines. It’s not as if I haven’t already explored the pier and whatever else the downtown area offers. There is still a desire to revisit and photographs aspects of the area. As Rudolph Steiner once said, “One can ascend to a higher development only by bringing rhythm and repetition into ones life. Rhythm holds sway in all nature.” Thanks again to my wife for granting my wishes while keeping me off the steep incline.
Prior to this mornings workout, I headed up to the roof deck to get a different view of the cloud coverage I wake up to on more than a regular basis. I manged to get a few shots in before my scheduled time at the gym. With Covid-19 still raging and our travels more restricted. It seems that more and more time is spent closer to home. For sanity sake, I’m doing everything possible to stay safe, busy and artful. I hope you all do the same.
Okay, maybe I’m finally losing what’s left of my mind. Due to the loss of a family member and a constant reminder that my neurological issues are continuing to fuck with my balance. I’ve been doing my best to stay busy and creative. For the most part, I’ve splitting my free time tending to my music column United By James and reconnecting with my love of photography. Along with purchasing some Neutral Density Filters and a wireless remote, I’ve been revisiting and getting reacquainted with my Canon 5D’s many functions and even planned a few photo related outings for memorial day weekend. As for the picture on the right. I took it after hearing about a family members passing. It was shot 5:43 pm on a tripod at 1.0 seconds and f/14. The ISO was 250. It was taken to convey loss and perhaps the sense of loneliness we tend to feel when losing someone we love.