April 30, 2007

Steven Shore Interview

Packing for a trip the other day I heard bits and pieces of an interview with Steven Shore. I later downloaded it as a podcast. You can too.

Here's the description provided by WNYC, "Photographer Stephen Shore explains the basics of understanding and appreciating the art of photography."

Again, from what i heard, it was an interesting interview. Plus, it's always good to hear more thoughtful takes on our medium.

Make Pictures.

April 29, 2007

No film, No firearms

In some airports you need to bring your checked bags over to the CTX scanners yourself. I did just that this morning in Portland. The TSA woman politely asked if I had any film to which I replied "no." She followed that question with another, "no firearms?" Again, the answer was a negative. I walked away with a smile thinking once again how two seemingly very different things get lumped together. Photography and firearms, go figure.

While I know she was asking the former question with my best interests in mind, I couldn't help making the jump to see photography as a weapon. Film is my ammo. If only they made a fixed 9mm lens, I'd be in business. I'd be "packin' my 9" everywhere I go.

Who is shooting film these days anyway? Other than my mom.

Make pictures.

April 07, 2007

Modern Mayan

The Mayan population of Guatemala dosen't like being photographed without payment. I remember kids coming up to me saying "Un photo, un Quetzal" as I walked through highland towns. Their photo-awareness made Guatemala so different than other Central American countries. No doubt from being annoyed by all the tourists wanting to take their pictures. Things haven't changed.

While on a coffee farm tour I saw this woman coming down the lane and knew it would be a decent shot if I could time it right. Her distance prevented me from asking to take her picture so that ethical conundrum was moot. I grabbed a friend's video tripod to rest my long lens and snapped away. I made a few with her in the middle, some with her at the bottom and this one with her off to the side. All in all it's a nice one.

I didn't do much to it in post-production. Maybe it needs a little more lovin' but I'm in a car on the way to DC right now so it's not going to happen. Let's consider it a work-in-progress.

Make pictures.

April 05, 2007

What would Jesus Retouch?

On my way home I got stuck watching CNN at a hotel bar when an ad for a future program caught my attention. The title was "What Would Jesus Really Do" and it was going to cover such riveting issues as sex and drugs. No doubt Jesus would be interested in ratings. Regardless, I thought how appropriate that program was considering my Ricardo De Lima-inspired anti-retouching designs. It is Easter after all. A time of reflection, eggs and chocolate rabbits. Man, what the hell would Jesus say about Marshmallow Peeps?

I want to see if we can get this image/page out there in a viral way. If you wouldn't mind, send it to your photography friends and see if we can get the good word out there.


Make pictures. Jesus would.

Antigua Wall

While I'm at it, here's another texture from Antigua. Both this and the last photo were made on the same abbreviated walk around town. There isn't much to say about this other than I was keenly aware of any keystone effect the lens was making as I shot. If the wall was slightly higher than where I was standing I'd reject the shot because the lines would be at too much of an angle. If only I had a little ladder. Also, the D200 doesn't let you see the whole frame through the viewfinder, (a little fact that amazes me and is the only thing I miss about the D2X), so it often took a few shots and some chimping to get the one I wanted.

It's going to be annoying eventually but for now y'all should know I made this into a t-shirt too.

Make pictures.

April 04, 2007

Texture Torture

I made a shot of a wall here fifteen years ago that I remember perfectly. There is (or was) a 16x20 print of it hanging in my brother's house in New Orleans. If I had more time, I'd go find the spot to see if I could remake it.

It's funny, for all the preservation efforts made in this town, it's still so full of pastel decrepitude. It's distinctive too. It's not like Hanoi or Varanasi. There isn't as much scribble or residue. Antigua has its own particular texture vocabulary born of narrow sidewalks and colonial building materials. Again, if I wasn't working, I'd explore it more thoroughly.

This is the first time I've had a gig where I didn't pad my trip with a little free time and it's the last time I do such a thing. To ride by stuff I'd like to shoot while in a hotel shuttle bus and know I can't revisit it is a mild form of torture. It reminds me of the old advertising warning, "Don't let this happen to you."

Make pictures.

April 03, 2007

Via Bougainvillea

The entire town of Antigua has cobblestone streets. As I turned a corner on the North side of town a little section of the street was covered in these purple flowers. I knew the kind of shot I was going to make the second I saw them. Cobblestone makes for a nice open-aperture texture so I knelt down and searched for just the right angle and flower density.

At first I shot with the light behind me but later scooted around and allowed for more of a backlit scene. It was a cloudy day so the issue was a subtle one. It just felt better.

I made a pretty photo and it's just like I imagined it would be. One t-shirt, coming up.

Make pictures as you see 'em.

April 01, 2007

Antigua, Guatemala

It's been fifteen years since I last stepped foot in Antigua and on many levels the place hasn't changed a bit. The whole town is a historic landmark so architecturally, it's pretty much the same. Even the McDonalds, which is new, is nestled into a building with a discretion unimaginable elsewhere.

As it was then, so it is today, that gringos are pretty much everywhere you look. It's a mecca for folks to learn spanish so they come in droves and a whole economy has grown around supporting them from restaurants to travel agencies. It was unusual back in 93 but today it seems like almost every city on the gringo trail.

Yesterday morning I sat across from a pretty yellow house and made a few shots of people as they walked by. Tourists outnumbered locals by about five to one and were arguably more exotic looking than the traditionally dressed Indians. I can't put my finger on it exactly but for sure we are a funny looking bunch. Simply put, we're big, badly dressed and clumsy.

Later, I put two of the shots next to each other just for kicks.

Make pictures.