Things are always changing. When I first began to take photography seriously, I always looked for cloudy overcast days. At that time, I only shot black and white and the blank white sky on a sunny day (yes, I know it was blue, but it always came out white) bothered me. The shadows were harsh, The sky lacked detail, and the range between highlights and shadows was always to large. The truth is if I know a lot more than I did, I probably could have worked with it. The rule was to expose for the highlights and the shadows would take care of themselves but they never did. I shot Tri-X, liked the contrast and that was a bad combination for that film. I could always use Panatomic -X, but nobody ever used it, and I did not want to start any trends.
These digital days are different. I love shooting in color and working it. I brighten the color, change the tone a bit and voila! In fact I now dread those cloudy days and only shoot when the sun is out. Well, not really—but most of the time. It really does not matter about the weather anymore because I shoot according to what the light is like—I am just looking at different things.
Most of the time, I try not to expect anything when I am out shooting. I just go with it and hope for the best and that seems to work. If I falter and try to look for something special, I come up short, all the time—no exceptions so these days taking photographs has become more of a mental discipline. I think howe I am feeling is just as important as what I am looking at.
Filed under: On being a Photographer, Photograph | Leave a Comment
Tags: Opinion, photography, Street, Thoughts
In a few months it will be Caille Ocho—the wildest street festival in the US. For one day in March, about 1,000,000 people (mostly Cuban) dance, eat, drink on a 6 block stretch in Little Havana Miami. This photo is from my last visit there a two years ago. I plan on going back this year because although I have been there twice, I was never really happy with what I shot. I felt that somehow, I had missed something. I used to feel that way about shooting in New York. I would go, shoot, and come home disappointed. It took a while to figure out what was wrong but I eventually did. It was about expectations. I would get all hyped up about these thing sand go there expecting to stumble on great shots immediately—and when I did not, I would get down on myself and miss all the excitement around me. During the past few years, I have learned to expect nothing and keep my eyes and heart open. It has made a world of difference.
Filed under: On being a Photographer, People, Travel | Leave a Comment
Tags: Caille Ocho, Florida, Miami, Music, People, photography, Street, Street Festival
Its been a pretty good year so far. With only 2 days left to go, I hope it will continue. As I look forward to the coming year, I can reflect on the past one quite fondly. I’ve taken a few good pictures here and there, received some kind words of encouragement from other photographers and hopefully have begun to set some plans in motion. One of them is to publish a book of my photographs. This idea was given to me by a photographer whose work I have respected and admired for over 40 years. It was a surprise when I heard it from him, but I decided to take it seriously and move forward as they say. It is not such an easy task. Getting the photographs together, editing them and fine-tuning them is the easy part. I have them—more than enough for a book. The hard part is doing the rest of it. Writing a proposal and approaching publishers is something I dread. It is not the fear of rejection that bothers me, it is the lack of experience in proceeding. The truth is that when it comes to making photographs, I am pretty good at it but unfortunately, that is not enough. It would be nice if my images did the talking but publishers, critics, gallery owners seem to want more. They want me to explain it and that is something I find difficult. I just wish I could hand over the photographs, say here you are and wait for a response but that is not the way the game is played. Unfortuneatly I have to write and that is something that does not come so easily to me.
I will, as Winston Churchill was fond of say “just bugger on.” I will probably agonize over every word, rewrite and rewrite it, tear it up, start over again and rewrite it some more. At some point I will, just short of giving up, suddenly have an “ah ah!” moment see the light at the end of the tunnel, and end up with something very simple and honest—something from the heart. Then perhaps someone will listen to me.
Hopefully, things will get interesting.
Some of these images are on my web site at: www.dsaxe.com
Filed under: On being a Photographer, Photograph, Rant | Leave a Comment
Tags: Art, Opinion, photography, Thoughts
“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” - T. S. Eliot
Interesting quote. I took this photograph about 4 years ago. It was stacked with a bunch of others and I never paid it much attention—it was just sort of lost in the shuffle. Time goers on and recently I began to look at my photography—past, present, and future a bit more differently. Suddenly this image which was just sort of oh hum a few weeks ago becomes wonderful. I love being inspired—it is such a wonderful experience. Without it, the most simple of tasks become dreadful and boring. The things you always enjoyed doing become habitual and dull. It just sucks the life out of you. so I feel very fortunate that I have a good eye and can express myself creatively. Then, inspiration enters the frame and all becomes level and tranquil. Even for those who are not creative, the same applies. A new project, a new job, a new vision and understanding of what is around you—even a new golf swing can bring even the most gloomiest characters to life.
Filed under: On being a Photographer, Photograph | Leave a Comment
Tags: Inspiration, People, photography, Street, Thoughts
Tomorrow, we go to Art Basel in Miami to see tons and tones of mediocre art—the good, the bad and the ugly—mostly ugly. However every now and then there is a small gem—something that stands out from the masses. I guess it is like that with everything. We are bombarded with tons and tons of visual stimuli and every now and then, something stands out from the crowd. This of course has nothing to do with this image. I include it only because it was taken last week in the Wynwood Art District in Miami and that is where we are going. There are a number of other venues in which to see some art and Art Basel is probably the biggest , however in Wynwood there are some smaller ones such as Red Dot in which smaller galleries choose to exhibit and their selections are in my opinion much better than the big show.
It should be an interesting day.
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The photo above is of Donald who I met in a bar a few years ago in Houston. It is one of the photographs in self-published a book called “Along the Way” consisting of portraits I have made of strangers who I had a brief interaction with. Most of the time, my photographs are of people who are unaware of being photographed but every now and then, contact is made. Sometimes, it is because I have approached them, and on other occasions it is the other way around. I have found that people sometimes approach my for a variety of reasons. They might be lonely, curious, or just friendly. Al;though many years ago, I avoided these encounters because I thought my cover was blown, over the years I have welcomed them because I now know that there is more to taking pictures than the images themselves. The experience is just as rewarding.
It is a bit pricey ($110.00) because it is hardcover and printed individually, instead of a run of 1000 or more which cuts the price down considerably but if you wish, you can download a pdf of this book for $14.99 If interested, you can click on the link below.
Filed under: Black & White, Photograph | Leave a Comment
Tags: Black & White, People, photography, Portrait, Street
A family Holiday in Rome turns into a photo excursion. We had planned a holiday in Rome with my two daughters, their men, and a grandchild months ago and I was really looking forward to it. I had rented a large apartment close to the Piazza di Popolo for us to stay in. It had rooms, terrace, and lots of Roman charm. It was perfect! I did not think I would be taking many photos and that I would be occupied with my family most of the time but it did not turn out that way. Since none of them had ever been there, they had a huge list of what they wanted to see so that left most of the days free for Sharon and I do do what we always did in Rome (and anywhere else we went for that matter) and just hang out.
We would meet up every evening somewhere, either at our apartment or some bar for an “apertivo” and then go out somewhere for dinner. Since our afternoons were free, I took my camera, Sharon and wandered the city. Our only break during the day was the customary 2-hour lunch with lots of wine. The afternoons somehow turned out better for photographs than the mornings—I wonder why.
I had read something from another photographer about keeping your head clear, your mind open and to be receptive to what was around you and I tried to follow that principle. There were good days and bad days and all in all, creatively it worked out. You can check out the images yourself by clicking here.
Filed under: Black & White, People, photo, Travel | 4 Comments
Tags: Black & White, Europe, Italy, photography, Rome, Street, Travel