Ordinary People




One thing I have noticed about people is that whether they are up or down on the income scale, it affects their desire to photographed. Rich people are afraid—afraid of what I do not know but they are afraid. Usually, they decline the opportunity to be photographed by a stranger. I suppose with money, there is always the fear that someone will take it away from you. That is probably the case, but the guy taking it away from is not the photographer—most likely its a relative, or a professional con artist.

When you have nothing, its different. There is nothing to lose, and someone is paying attention to you. It’s only an occasion to interact with someone.

This guy was in a poor neighborhood in “Old Havana”. Things were bad—very bad but he was tanking outside his home and he said hello. He invited us into his home which was very sparse, chickens running across the floor and some guy sleeping off a stupor on a couch.

Life in Havana is rough but the people are great.



DeLand Florida, 2014

DeLand Florida, 2014

Deland is a small town in central Florida which I pass through either on my way to or from Daytona when I go to “Bike Week”. I kind of like the place but I am not sure why. This is the second time I have been here and walked up and down the empty streets lines with restaurants,  gift shops and such. Not much going on but I keep working at it. This time was different. I discovered when I was at “Bike Week”, that there is really nothing going on in Daytona before 3:00PM because everybody is sleeping off the activities of the night before. They go there to party and of course they party—all night long. So since I don’t sleep well in hotels, I get up early and decided to have another crack at DeLand. This time, I found a different part of town. It was an alley with a few bars and joints and this guy came out  of one of them for a smoke. I love that light!



Another sunny day at Hollywood Beach. I have been here so often, I don’t look at the beach anymore—at least not as often. Every now and then I look at the condos and hotels overlooking the beach. You never know.



Bike week can be exhausting and when it is hot, it takes its toll. This year I made two decisions when I came back for a second round at Daytona. 1. Wear a hat. 2. Drink beer.

1. Wearing a hat was a no-brainer. Since I don’t have much hair left on top, I noticed last year that I was burning and then had to seek refuge in shady areas. Not a bad idea, however the shots I were looking for happened to be where the sun shone, so I had to make some choices. I chose sunburn and went to bed with a headache every night. This year I bought a black Harley cap.

2. Drink beer. This one was more complicated. Last year, I noticed that a lot of the action was in the vast outdoor bars that litter the place.  Thats where the action was—that’s where I thought I should be and just walking around with a camera, was sort of odd. I did not think I really blended much and so this year I thought I could deal with a few issues by drinking beer. I could keep hydrated sort of and I look as if I belonged sort of. To stay sober, I only drank Bud Light which did not taste so bad—it almost tasted like beer. Hanging around with a can in my hand also slowed me down and I could wait for the right shots. (Patience has always been a problem with me).

So here I was, in a bar, drinking beer and I saw this cleaning woman having her lunch in the bathroom of this gigantic outdoor bar. I saw here sitting there, lonely, outside of the action and it had a sort of sad feeling.

L1000279I have really begun to enjoy Bike Week in Daytona Beach. This was the second time going and it keeps getting better. I don’t ride a bike anymore—in fact its been a very long time but when I did I enjoyed it. It did give me a sense of total freedom, which is something one begins to cherish as we grow up. I love the crowd here. It is a “live and let live” group and almost anything goes as long as you keep it to yourself. I like to think of it as  boobs, beer, bikes, butts and bellies and they are all in abundance here. This is as hot of Evan and his girlfriend who I met here. I was photographing him and he noticed me so we spoke. He asked me to take a shot of them, which I did and sent it to him. He then asked if he could take a shot of me and his gf and of course I obliged.

The previous week I went to Calle Ocho in Miami which is another festival for the hispanic community. It was not much different than Bike Week. That was boobs, beer, butts and salsa.



L1083087Things 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.

Caille Ocho


Book_151In 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.

dsaxe: http://www.dsaxe.com



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