Crop from the image that launched my own moment of recognition here in California by the Los Angeles Center of Photography. The uncropped version of this shot was selected to appear at the LACP’s first juried Member’s Exhibition.
This is almost an example of photography that you can barely take credit for. lol. Who can claim to have created something that depends so much on the fact that this woman bought this jacket at some moment in her life probably years before I even bought the camera that took the picture.
How much does the image depend on the fact that this lady decided to wear this jacket on this day and be just at that very moment stepping from the sun into the dark shadow of a doorway? So the shot is almost a miraculous piece of luck.
That said, I think this crop captures the gestalt effect more perfectly than any photograph I’ve ever seen. I can’t take any responsibility for that because I’m sure it wasn’t my intention to make an image of that sort. I saw colors and contrast and a good subject and that was it until I looked at the image later.
Anyway. Hope you enjoy this! Thank you all for visiting!
“The basic condition of the voyeuristic scenario is distance, an essential separation between seer and seen. Despite this distance, which is by definition unbridgeable, despite the unrequitable nature of the desire that drives it, the voyeur’s gaze is a privileged one.”
Great book I highly recommend called Train Your Gaze: A Practical and Theoretical Introduction to Portrait Photography by Roswell Angier. The quote above is from TYG. Almost by anyone’s definition it is not a book on portrait photography. It is really an analysis of contemporary art photography as well as some of the classic but nevertheless quite daring, in their time, 20th century photographers.
The chapter on voyeurism begins with a quote by Walker Evans, certainly an idol of mine and countless other photographers.
“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”
Someone just paid that much for Barnett Newman’s “Onement VI”, a painting which consists of two vibrant blue rectangles neatly divided by a single, light blue line, an arrangement that Sotheby’s called “a portal to the sublime.”
Won’t someone please kindly pay Barnat Donald a million or so for this fine image taken late last year entitled “Is This Leica a Righteous Bitch to Focus Already? #10465”
There is a fairly famous street/fine art photographer whose style is images with mostly shadow area and only sunlight to illuminate his subject’s profound humanity as displayed on their faces. His name escapes me as I write this but I think he would certainly qualify as a king in the world of those who stalk the light.
I didn’t know about his work over the many years when I would employ a similar solution to the difficult light here in the city of Los Angeles. The profundity of it all only became apparent to me after the fact, I have to admit.
I’m very often looking for some revealing expression on the face of subjects on the street. Something that reveals what I may see that someone else might not see that I can maybe photograph as proof or evidence that it exists. But somehow the combination of this natural spotlight on the faces of subjects combined with some moment of human vulnerability revealed on those faces seems to me to be over the top. It works great for this other photographer, but it wouldn’t feel right to me.
I find it works better for me in order to isolate a person or group but more from a distance where it may be something about their posture or circumstance or a gesture that I find interesting. I don’t have a lot to say about this all right now. But I hope the pictures have something to say to you.
These are all shot on film. Leica M7 with either the Zeiss 50 1.5 Sonnar or the Leica 35 2.0 Summicron ASPH