I suppose it comes from the old days, my youth, when I worked for UPI and then AP as a stringer. I was given assignments where I had a chance to roam the streets of Houston. Naturally, I also had to cover the Houston Rockets, the Astros, and the Oilers. That was fun as well, but not like being in the position to capture something weird. I just adore weird!!!
I like for my photos to be remembered and shooting predicable subject matter just won’t do it for me. I’ve learned to either smell something weird that’s either happening or about to happen. I’ve also learned how to create weird as well.
In my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, I tell my fellow photographers that they need to look for that which is different. Something out of the ordinary. Something that even scares you or puts you off a touch can lead to those kinds of photos that people will remember. If it’s weird people, I like to get “up close and personal”. If the situation comes up, be ready for it. Go for it and take the photo plunge. You’ll love what you get.
In the photo above, this man had a weekend business set up in a tent on the side of a small highway on Highway 59 North of Houston. As soon as I saw the red stripes a half mile ahead of me, I knew that there might be weird lurking around. Sure enough the owner fit the bill. I asked to take his portrait, and he said yes but insisted in wearing some of his merchandise. Who was I to turn my back on weird? I wanted to get close to get the full impact of this very strange man, and I think it worked!!!
In the photo of the two steel workers, I created the weird look. I simply had them sit together and had them raise and lower their heads until I was able to get the reflections of the sky in their sunglasses.
So, my fellow photographers, next time you’re out shooting, look for weird things. Scary as it might seem, it’s all around you…all the time. you just have to look for it.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my new 2014 workshop schedule. I have some great ones coming in this year. how about my 26th year at the Maine Media Workshop the very end of July, Cuba in November, Jerusalem in September. Come shoot with me.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to:AskJoeB@gmail.com.