I’d like to think that there’s two photographers bottled up in this mind that’s been covered over with curly whitish gray hair. One that is calculating, and always wanting to “make pictures” by scouting ahead of time to know exactly where the sun is going to come up and go down. One that wants to know where the shadows will fall, how long they will be and when they’ll disappear. Someone that rarely photograph what he sees and as a result photographs what he’d like to see; in other words a story-teller.
The other person in me loves to throw a camera over his shoulder and just head out to the great beyond, not knowing if he’ll come back with anything or not. Truth be told, after forty-four years of shooting, I feel pretty good in the fact that I’ll see something worth raising a camera up to my eye for. I was a street shooting long before I started working in advertising and corporate design. Shooting for AP, UPI, and Black Star tends to leave an indelible mark on you, and you really never shake it. Being chased down the street during the race riots in the sixties will do it to you. When you mix that with an art background and an eye for graphic design, to me the results can be wonderful.
One of the ways to do this is one that I always talk about to my online class with the PPSOP, and with my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet…Recognizing the moment. What I mean is to be out and about with your camera at the ready, and recognize the makings of a good photo. In this photo, I was walking down a tiny street in Florence when I saw this beautiful design happening right in front of me. It was a strong enough graphic to have just shot it and walked away happy.
Recognizing in that moment that if I could add a layer of interest, something besides the light, color, and design of the situation, I could make it even more interesting. It would change it from a purely graphic representation to a more editorialized one…why you ask? Because by adding a human element, it tells a story.
Remember the next time you go out that it’s a well-known fact that people like to see people in photographs. Learn to recognize the moment, and your imagery will most definitely move what I refer to as “Up a notch”.
Don’t forget to send me a photo and question to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.