A blog about re-imagining LIFE
May, I?

What a crazy month May was for me. 3 Photography workshops, a Photo Festival, a ten day visit from my parents, a Billy Joel concert and somewhere in between all those were surf sessions, runs, and catching up with my wife and my friends. Busy, but amazing nonetheless.

I created just short of 3,000 pictures in May and I shared absolutely zero of them on social media. At first it was just because I was too busy. Then, in my Street Photography workshops, I heard some things that really stuck with me:

You are only as strong as your weakest photo

Don’t upload more than one good photo a month

Spend your time editing; not processing

Are you making Art or feeding the goat? (Feeding the goat being a reference to the social media animal that just wants more and more photos, irregardless of quality. Goats eat anything.)

Working on a long-term project will help you evolve as a photographer

Get brutally honest feedback from photographers whose work and opinions you respect

The more great work you see, the better you’ll be at selecting your own

It was a lot to chew on. And it made me take a very long pause before I posted new work again. I learned so much in those two weekends with Eric Kim. It truly shocked me. I went there knowing that I needed to do something to shake up my work, but not knowing what. I came out of it with a completely new perspective on not only my own work and desires as a photographer, but also on Street Photography as a genre. I’d never really understood it before. Now I was learning to appreciate it, see the profound beauty in it and make my own interpretations of it. It was, and still is, opening a deeper creative and critical well inside me that I haven’t tapped in a very long time.

Looking back on the landscapes that I’ve been shooting over the past decade I feel quite torn. There is a definite beauty in those shots, but for some reason it feels so muted to me now. The Street Photography work that I’ve been looking at these past few weeks feels so fresh, exciting and most of all; real. Of course, Nature and Landscapes are real, too, but there is something less impactful there. Perhaps it is a sense that I have that I can’t really capture or convey how I feel when I’m out in the wilderness shooting. Sure, the created scene may be very beautiful, but what does the viewer feel from looking at it? The street scenes, on the other hand, hit some nerve in me (and many others) that is quite tangible. Perhaps it is simply the inclusion of humanity in the composition. Or perhaps it is the reality that most of us spend the majority of our lives in an urban landscape; not a natural one. Or, even deeper still, perhaps I am hitting upon that dichotomous part of my own psyche that loves both the intensely urban and the intensely wild aspects of our world. No matter what it is, it has got me reeling.

For now, while I continue to absorb and adjust, I’d like to leave you with a few shots from my experiences this past month. I’d love to hear your feedback, critique or comments. What moves you? What disturbs you? Why? How? I’ve been asking myself these same questions for weeks. Perhaps there is something that you see that can open a new perspective for me. Perhaps the questions are merely street signs pointing me in a new direction. Either way, I made this blog to share my work and ideas so that is what I’ll do. Though perhaps at a slightly lower photographic volume.

Trinity of Shadows

Hat Bird

Hurt

  1. Heather

    These are all really strong, but I personally like the top one best because of how it plays with light and perception.

    As I’ve gotten more into photography, I’ve become aware each photographer’s balance in subject — other people versus environment. I tend to focus on my environment but have some shots of people. A photographer friend of mine never has humans as her subject matter – the only beings she captures are animals. I admire street photography and get its power but am rarely compelled to capture those myself, so I am grateful for those who do. Thank you for sharing!

  2. In each of these photos, the angle — the perspective — is arresting. In the first shot, the contrast of the size of the shadows and bodies speaks to me about the implications of our actions. In the last, the length of the trail running away from the man tells a story. In the first and the middle shots, what you can’t see makes what you can more compelling.

    Your nature shots tell stories, too. Different stories than these, but not less compelling. Just different seasons and reasons.

  3. smallbloc

    Heather and Jerri; thank you both so much for your comments! Heather, it is true that each photographer has their own balance of people vs. environment. For me, it is eye opening to discover how much I appreciate having people in my compositions, especially after creating images for so long without them. It is very true about different seasons and reasons, Jerri. I’ve just never experienced this ‘season’ before. 🙂 You shared what many other photographers mentioned about my compositions in the workshop; that they were ‘arresting’. I hope to continue to develop that and see where it leads.

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