Continuing my deep dive into decades old images that I captured on slide film. I’ve somewhat shifted my kicking myself for less than perfect attempts at capturing the beauty and uniqueness of my subjects and instead recalling how much fun I was having and how lucky I was to have complete strangers agree to give me the time to practise my new passion. I can also recall how my social skills and ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone were taken to new heights.
Back in ’97, I attempted what would become my first-ever photography portfolio. While I had three or so years of experience photographing the city I lived in and had even published a few in local newspapers and magazines. More than anything, I wanted to photograph people. And by people, I meant “Real People.” Not the emaciated, disinterested kind you saw in magazines and billboards. “Real People” like the ones you saw during your daily outings and wondered, “Hmm, what’s their story?” I was somewhat shy, but I was curious and had a camera. So, with all the drive of a formula1 racer and the knowledge of a kindergarten dropout. I took advantage of my night slot at the east village record store and asked many individuals to help a young artist reach his goals. To say the very least, it was a great time. Meeting people from all over the world made friendships that remain strong today. I was and still am in love with slide film. Recalling that most of the images captured then, (including the four posted below.) were done with slide film.
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’ll admit it, I know nothing, nor have I ever spent much time working to up my photoshop game. If you’re a photoshop fixer-upper, I applaud you. Leave your contact information and rates in the comment section. Sooner or later, I’ll be contacting you. I never had the time, patience, or skill s to master the art of retouching. Instead, I try to get it right the first time and make any needed adjustments in Lightroom later.
While unearthing images from my earlier days, I surprisingly still find pictures I love. The image below is a long time favorite. Shot in NYC on Pier 84 just blocks from my apartment on W48th st. Over the years, the tag on Charo’s bra became more and more of an eyesore. So much so that I put in a call for a photoshop minded editor on one of my social media pages. Luckily, a long time friend, one who’s friendship predates this ’97 photo. Stepped in and remedied a twenty-plus year issue in a matter of minutes. In the end, I wanted to thank that friend while sharing the before and after. If I ever find myself in a bind with a photograph or anything in general, I won’t hesitate to reach out.