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.
Whenever leaving home with my wife. she always conducts a thorough search of what travels through the front door. “Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Cell Phone? Check.” Anything beyond that, though, gets serious scrutiny. With my computer, hard drive and oversized headphones already packed and prepared for our end of the day stop for coffee and several hours of power writing and internet obsessive searching, the mere mention or sight of my camera bag usually brings on a scowl and interrogation as to what the hell do you need that for? (Now, granted, over the years I’ve added extra lenses, flashes and other tricks of the trade to my arsenal. Thus adding noticeable weight and the need for a bigger camera bag.)
However, despite a growing bag of tricks and a hard drive that’s busting at the seems, I still live and see through a photographers eye. After decades of shooting, I still feel the draw of documenting the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen. Still, that look I get from my wife coupled with the desire to travel light, I’m learning to enjoy things with documenting them. And while I often regret leaving my camera behind, having my cell phone handy allows me a little creative relief. I snapped these shots just off 6th Ave. in Tacoma while returning to our car. It reminded me of my younger days going to hardcore shows throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Perhaps due to the wide array of lenses, the weight of my camera or the size of the bag I carry them around with. I have been getting into the habit of leaving it all at home. Leaving me dependent on my iPhone or jotting down the addresses in the hope that one day, I’ll make my triumphant return with my camera loaded, charged and ready to go. Did I fail to mention the look I get from my wife whenever she finds me packing up my gear when we’re preparing to go out? Or her “We’re just going out for breakfast. Why are you bringing your your camera?” The best answer to that question should always be the classic “It’s better to have it and not need it. Than to need it and not have it.” and to quote the great Forrest Gump. “That’s all I have to say about that.”
With my wife feeling under the weather and my hopes to stay somewhat close to home this weekend. I cooked breakfast with what was left in the refrigerator and made sure she stay buried under the covers and slept late. And while we did get out on both days. We made it a point to stay somewhat local while running errands, and making stops for the important things like ice cream and coffee. Most importantly, or maybe most relative to this blog. I made sure to charge my new camera battery and bring my camera with me. The pictures posted here were taken at Judkins Park and in the alleyway adjacent to Blanchard St. between 2nd and 3rd avenue. As time passes, I’ve come to notice that the pictures I take serve as somewhat of a road map to where i’ve been, who I was with and even what I was feeling at the time. Kind of cool, no?
After a quick stop to gas up at Costco. We drove out towards an industrial area near the Spokane Viaduct that overlooked a sort of tent city. Weary of causing any disturbance or attracting the attention of the ones who called the area home. We pulled in to one of the companies parking lots, gathered my gear and headed back around the corner to check out some of the murals and graffiti displayed next to the tracks. It took a while, but I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be disturbed by any of the nearby entities, cops or overzealous security guards that my curiosity seems to attract. After just a few minutes of shooting, I scurried back to the car where my wife was sitting with the engine. I thanked her for allowing me to indulge in my silliness and off we went in search of pancakes and french toast. The end.
Whenever I see any mural, graffiti or for that matter, any form of art that inspires thought. My initial reaction is to reach for my camera in order to capture the moment for future inspection. While one’s first instinct would be to back up far enough to capture my subject in its entirety. I often like to take a minute to absorb the subject in order to fully understand what it is that really grabbed my attention in the first place. In the picture posted here, I zoomed in on the lips and nose, as they reminded me of someone I love and respect. While clearly understanding that I was documenting someone else’s art. I felt that my interpretation of it made it okay to do so.
After attending a rather disappointing open house in the area. I had to navigate a number of side streets in order to get to the nearest interstate. The combination of hunger and resentment towards over priced real estate. My mindset seemed to be wandering through dark territory. That was until we came upon a cool little tattoo shop with a big ass tattoo mural on the backside of the building. The sight brought mindest back to a respectable level. With no hesitation, I stopped the car, grabbed my camera and jumped out of the for a quick capture. Before you know it, we wre back on the road in search of some much needed lunch.