If we’re being honest, I’ve lived my whole life under the assumption that Cleveland is a complete shithole. Have probably passed it on the road 20 times for that very reason. Was out there a few weeks ago for a commercial shoot and was not only pleasantly surprised, but felt like an idiot for those assumptions. It might be one of the cleanest “cities” in America. It’s hardly big enough to classify as a city like New York or Chicago, but damn it is clean. Shockingly so. Any time I’m in a place for a commercial shoot I make it a point to get out and do some shooting for myself as well. It’s a great way to relax and learn more about the place you’re in. After a couple hours of walking around, my opinion was completely changed. Also noticed immediately that the people there are incredibly nice. Like, go out their way for you nice. It just felt like a very hospitable place. Cheers to you, Cleveland.
A lot more random images from the street that have been made over the last couple months. Obviously this is the kind of thing I do in my free time, whether it’s before or after a commercial shoot, a meeting, running errands, walking the dog, etc. This stuff is totally different from all my commercial work and something I find very relaxing, so I try to make room for it whenever I’m in a different place. Not sure yet where I’m headed with all this, but it will come.
Street photography is such a gift. You can do it any time and anywhere. Literally. No need to worry about call times, schedules, pre-lighting, or talent arrival. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of that, but this is the perfect balance. Almost meditative. The perfect thing to do in the middle of a long edit day, killing time before a meeting, or for an hour on vacation. So much fun. Most of these were done in various parts of Southern California, but there are also a few from a recent rip up to Portland, OR.
8,141 American miles are in the books. If you made me choose, this is probably the thing I love doing the most with a camera. It's all fun, but this is really the tops for me. Just being out on my own for weeks at a time can't be beat. Every trip is different and great in it's own way. This one started off a bit rocky. Not long before leaving, I had some work done on my truck which I assumed was all set. Then, a couple days into the drive, the engine started screaming while going up Monarch Pass in Colorado. Keep in mind that this is practically a brand new truck. So I pulled over and opened the hood only to see that the coolant was actively boiling. I was supposed to be meeting a buddy at Denver airport the next morning and then on to our mutual friends house to surprise him for his birthday. It was obvious that wasn't going to happen. I let the engine cool down then put it in neutral and coasted as far down the mountain as I could to try and get some cell service. After trying for an hour I was finally able to reach a tow truck driver. He came and got us (Mojo) and dropped us off at the garage, which of course was closed until the next day. Threw a couple bags on my back and we schlepped it to a hotel about a mile+ away. The only hotel that would allow Mojo had no air conditioning to combat the brutally hot summer temperatures. Oh well. Next morning we schlepped back up the hill to the garage. Owner said he wasn't sure what the problem could be, but would take a look ASAP. That ASAP was about 3 hours, so Mojo and I walked into the woods(the only place we could sit down and be out of the sun) and read a book. Garage ordered the part they thought would fix the problem, but it wouldn't be there until about 3:30 and they close at 5. This was a Friday and they don't open again until Monday. Now I was faced with the real possibility of the truck not being fixed until the following week. So I started looking into rental cars. The only option was a local guy who had a few vehicles to rent, but when I started filling out the paperwork I realized that his vehicles aren't aloud to go more than 150 miles away from town. Next. There was one car left in a town that would require $115 cab ride, and the rental fee was going to be $400 for 3 days. Plus I would have to drive 6 hours southwest to Pagosa Springs to return it, when I needed to be continuing on northeast to my final destination (Cape Cod). Tried arguing with RAM to give me a loaner vehicle for a couple days, but that didn't work. The customer service woman called back twenty minutes later and said she was able to get me a rental in Durango under their very reasonable corporate rate. So I took the $115 cab ride and got the rental, figuring that 3 nights of hotels staying in town waiting would be costly anyway. Picked up the car, then went back to the garage to grab all my stuff, only to find out that the truck had been fixed. Now I had a fixed truck and a rental car. Screw it, I left the rental at the garage and hoped that the rental company could come pick it up on Monday. Turns out the 0-ring on the cap for the coolant reservoir was bad so the coolant was leaking out the whole time I was driving. And it got low to the point of not being able to cool the engine and just when through the roof while going up Monarch Pass. A tiny piece that probably costs 2 cents to make caused that much trouble. Unreal. Things really sucked for about 20 hours, but I made it up to Denver on Saturday morning and we were still able to surprise my buddy. Looking back now, I can't even believe that was part of the same trip as all the images below. It's funny how things start melting together on the road. You're so stimulated by everything you see that it's hard to make sense of it until you get home and let it all digest for a while. Love the road. Can't wait to get back out there.
Side note: It seems that on every trip there is one state that treats you better then all the rest. Not sure why it is, but photographically things tend to gel in one state the most. It's a different state every time, but it always happen. On this trip, I believe that state was Illinois. Cheers Illinois!
Last month I watched an on-line talk given by a photographer that I very much respect. He dished out a lot of great information, and briefly mentioned something about another photographer that he very much respected. The remark was about a book that photographer was about to publish, and the speaker said "I already know what it looks like". He hadn't seen the book, or any of the images, but was referring to the fact that the photographer was very predictable. And that stuck with me. He also didn't mean any disrespect at all, was just stating a fact. After thinking about it for a while, I realized how important it is to constantly be charging ahead in different directions. That's something I've always believed, but it was cool to hear from his perspective. As a photographer, you'll always have your "bread and butter", but it's boring to rest on that. Branch out and try new things. Develop portfolios in areas that your audience is expecting. Challenge yourself even if it means failing miserably for a while. In the long term, I believe that's the only way to make it.
Last month I did another cross-country trip from San Diego to as far as Plymouth, Massachusetts. Time on the road was shorter than I initially planned for, but it's always great. Shot a lot of images that are probably a lot different my norm, and people might not connect with them right away, but whatever. Some of them are certainly winners. I enjoy looking at them, and can see this stuff developing into a much larger portfolio. My main objective on this trip was to wrap up shooting on the barbershop project. So all of this "America" stuff was on the side, but I love it, and am always eager for more.
Good times over in Austria. For whatever reason, I did the least amount of shooting on this trip compared to all other in the past. Travel always brings on great experiences no matter what. Perhaps the funniest and unexpected came out of the need for a bathroom. During a long drive, we stopped at a market in a small town to pee and get food for lunch. I couldn't find the bathroom and tried asking the two workers in the back. They obviously knew very little English, and had no idea what I was saying. After trying every word they might know, I moved onto the universal sign for a guy going to the bathroom, the actual motion of doing it. They instantly knew what I needed and showed me the way. When I came back out, one of the guys was still there and asked me with a very Austrian accent "Ver ah you from?" I replied simply with "California", to which he screamed "AAAAHHHHH, SCHWARZENEGGER!!!"
While Jaipur wasn't my favorite place in India, from a photography standpoint it was the place I got the most access and was able to spend the most amount of time. So that by default, makes it my favorite place in India. I found a local guide to take me around one day. And by found, I mean the guide was my Tuk Tuk driver that knew the area and said he would take me into the local neighborhoods. It's hard to say, but I might have been one of only a few white people to visit that neighborhood. Just walking down the street was a spectacle. It felt like what I would imagine Brad Pitt feels like while walking down the street in New York City. Everyone either just stopped and stared, or came up to see what I was doing.