Walking around New York City without making images is close to impossible. There is so much stimulation in every direction, especially when you’re main mode of transportation is the old leather express. A couple weeks ago I walked 55.5 miles in 4.5 days, mainly around Brooklyn with just a couple hours in Manhattan. The images you see below are certainly a total mash-up. There really is no theme to them. They are an after thought. Images made while focusing and looking for something totally different. I’m ok with it though, because just the act of walking around and shooting is rewarding enough, even if the images have no intended home. After all those mile of walking, I felt a solid connection to Brooklyn. It’s a massive place and I won’t make some absurd claim that I know it, but a connection was definitely made. Thoroughly enjoyed the trip and would jump at the opportunity to go right back. Being born an Up-State New Yorker, I was able to spend plenty of time in the city, but that was mostly to party or for Yankee games. So this trip was a great way to really explore on my own without any distractions. Lots more to come from this trip in the near future. Have a whole other pile of images that I shot for a client.
Have been greatly slacking on posts about my commercial stuff, but will get back to that soon. Not sure you can classify the below images as "street photography", but I don't know what else to call them? Either way, this style of shooting is something I have really enjoyed doing in my free time. And think it's very important for a photographer to shoot locally. Most guys put so much emphasis on traveling to exotic places, and that's a lot of fun, but what about your backyard? There is so much character in Southern California that gets overlooked by all the beautiful tourist destinations. Those little pieces are what I enjoy focusing on, and have recently started putting more effort into this project not just in Encinitas (where I live), but in all of "Southern California". It's a unique pocket of the world that is fun to wander around in, and I'm excited to see what this body of images looks like in 10 years.
Was back out on the road earlier this month. This time it was up to Canada for a snowboarding trip with a stop in Beaverton for a meeting with Nike. More on that later. About 2 years ago I realized that snowboarding is the only that will take the camera out of my hands. During any other activity I'm happy to watch from the sidelines just so I can shoot. On snowboarding trips though, the camera unfortunately spends too much time in the bag. I'm alright with that. A weird thing happens on those trips though, because the itch still needs to be scratched. I can't not shoot for any extended amount of time or I turn into a prick. Especially on the road because you see images everywhere, which are hard to pass up. So I start looking for images in other places. Thus the reason for a completely random mash-up of images in this blogpost.
About a year ago I developed a healthy obsession with photography books, and now have a small (and growing) collection that I try and comb through regularly. It's a calming thing to do, but it's also sort of a free education. Every time I look through another book, or back through an old one, I learn something new. Whether that's a new way of seeing, or whatever, it doesn't matter. Either way it has caused me to to enjoy shooting and looking for different kinds of images. I've always been of the opinion that not every image needs to be "epic". I fully understand why most people need to shoot that way, and why it sells, but there is a lot more to it than that. Simple images that show the viewer a slice of life or tell a story, are every bit as fun to make as one of the guy standing on top of Everest. The images below were taken on a couple walks around my neighborhood in San Diego and another in Los Angeles. They are simple, but I really like them, and will be making a lot more of them. The term "street photography" is getting pretty loose these days. Back in the day, if you were a street photographer, then you were wandering around NYC with a Leica. Now, these images would probably fit into that category. Looking at them, the style of shooting isn't much different from my America series. Just different subjects.
Went to Chennai, India for a client last month, making it the second time I've been to India in the last 6 months. Funny where the camera will take you. Any time you travel that far for a shoot, no matter how much fun you're having, you have to make time shoot for yourself. Which is precisely what these images are. The people and things I saw while aimlessly wondering around that foreign city. There were a lot of very noticeable differences between Chennai and the places I visited up north (Delhi, Agra, and jaipur). Firstly, the people down south seemed to be much more relaxed. They were still trying to sell you on something, but it wasn't nearly as often or with the same aggression. Which was a big plus. Overall, I think it didn't have the character of the northern cities, but that could just be my experience. One of my favorite parts of the northern trip was all the Chai tea. It was everywhere. Granted, we were there in the winter, but it didn't seem to be as much of thing down in Chennai. And when it was, the tea itself had a completely different taste. I was told they don't use a lot of spices like the northerners do.
Keep scrolling down to see lots of images from the 1st trip to India.
Not sure there is way to describe New Delhi that would do it justice in any way. I wasn't able to spend a ton of time there, but couldn't be happier with what we experienced. There is so much going there all the time, that you can't possibly make sense of it. If you're not from there, or have been living there for an extended period of time, don't even think about driving. The city streets are chaos. And that's coming from someone who loves to drive, everywhere. So thankful I did not have a car in Delhi. Let the locals handle that task. At any given point, you'll be sharing the streets with cars, motorcycles, rickshaws, motor rickshaws, dogs, cats, monkeys, cows, bulls, people, and who knows what else. The strangest part is that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Yet nobody is angry, and somehow is just seems to work. The energy in the streets of New Delhi is incredible. Something I'd love to experience over and over again for the rest of my life. Any time you're outside in Delhi, you've got constant stimulation. Sort of like Vegas, only not at all. And not just visually. It seems like there is something for all of your senses.
Getting off the airplane, it's obvious that you're no longer in America. You can immediately smell smoke, which seems to be the standard weather forecast. Not hazy or foggy, but smoke. That's literally what it says when you look on a weather app. Smoke. And if you stay in a hotel, the armed guards at the gate have to check your cab for bombs, both under the car and under the hood. Depending on where you go, who you're with, and time of day, it can be difficult to walk around alone. Both because of safety and because you'll be bombarded with people trying to sell you something. Just get over it. The experiences you'll get from walking through the streets and markets are worth it. Don't even get me started on the food. I still can't figure out how that jam all that flavor into their meals. Brilliant.
Have a lot more from this trip to post. We also visited Agra and Jaipur, where I did a lots of shooting. Will be posting those images in the next week or so. Come on back.