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  • PaulMarch 8th, 2017 - 4:05 pm

    Wow, some great street shots here. Kiss, Hammocks, and Trolley stand out for me.  Particularly Hammocks and Eyes on Trolley, those 2 are my favourites.  The angle and the yellows really do it on Hammocks. ReplyCancel

    • JPHMarch 8th, 2017 - 5:09 pm

      That “You’re Such A Clown” photo that I pointed out to you as being an offshoot to what I gained and learned from my Street Photography series – patience, and waiting for the shot to happen, all stemmed specifically with “The Eyes On Trolley 21”, which I consider one the, of not the, personal favorite of all my photos.

      I used to, and in fact did continue to do it here on TLJ, but stopped early on in my journey here, where I would highlight a photo of mine, and tell the story behind it… and had done so for that photo, but it is now gone, so guess I will do it again here for you –

      ***Wait, after actually already having started typing it, went and looked in my archives on my computer, and found that I did still have it… so here it is as I wrote at some point way back when… and guess I did so for all three photos that you liked, so will put all three here below***

      A Kiss Under Cover

      Financial constraints began to be more of a determining factor with me and my life in 2004… living hand-to-mouth from the job at the preschool, the smattering of photo gigs becoming even more here and there… me again confronting the lifelong square one conundrum of just what the living hell to do with myself…

      Was wanting to continue in and with my photography, but it was more than evident that I would no way be able to make a living with it, mostly because I am me – I don’t care about money!  I’d just as soon do a shoot for someone just because that is what I enjoy to do, and would be happy to do it for someone, don’t worry about money, or paying me…  yeah.

      I was needing to find a way to do my photography that didn’t rely on me, because I could care too less to make it a steady, consistent means of a living for me, on my own.  So, I began to think of possibly getting hired on somewhere as a photographer, and began to focus my photography less from portraiture, and more towards photojournalistic.

      Inspired by a photographer in New York, that I don’t know how I came upon, Dave Beckerman, and his wonderful street photography work in and about the greatest city in the world to do it in, I decided the Summer of 2004, to do a street photography series myself.

      This photo was taken on my very first day of doing the series.  Still living in Fort Collins, Colorado, I would venture on down to the old town area and just wander around.  This first day, it began to lightly rain off and on, and when it started, I just looked for an area to duck under to get out of it, and came up to this little shop’s entryway that had an awning, and where these two were also standing doing the same.

      Starting out with this street photography series, I was very timid, as I am a wallflower, quiet, introverted, shy, and am rarely one who ever just approaches people.  Here in this entryway, my photographer mind was going, and was thinking while under there, I would try to get a shot of the two of them, like just looking out from there, into the rain, and whatnot… so, as casually and nonchalantly as I wasn’t able to really be, I just raised my camera to my eye, and like pretended I was focusing on something down the street…

      Then in my viewfinder, I just see the lady turn around grab her fella there, and kiss him!  And here is the conversation that immediately transpired in my head –

      “Oh my god, oh my god!  Take a shot!  Take the shot!  For the love of all that is good and decent why aren’t you taking the shot!?!?!?  Grab the shot!!! PRESS THE SHUTTER AND TAKE THE GODDAMN SHOT!!!”

      Thankfully, a split second later, even though seeming like an eternity to my inner self, I did and got the shot  And was feeling happy and good about myself… here I was on my very first day of this street photography series, and wham! just like that, have this shot present itself to me!  Rock on!  Oh, yeah!

      Though, I am pretty sure, the very next thing I did after getting the shot, was hightailing it out of there, in a horror stricken panic that I would get confronted for having taken a shot of the two of them’s little affectionate moment


      This was also from that very first day of my new street photography series.  Continuing to wander around, to now the old town main square area, with the light rain having tapered off, I just remember out of the corner of my eye catching something, and me in my tracks stopping, and asking, “did I just see feet?”

      Doubling back a couple steps, sure enough, there were a pair of colorful bare feet hanging in the air.  Circling slowly around, more revealed is what you see above, this gentleman proprietor of this hammocks stand, showing right there the benefits of his products, as he lay there, under his own little cover canopy, comfortably relaxing and enjoying a book, in between customers.

      The Eyes On Trolley 21

      If I had to pick one of my all time personal favorite photographs that I have ever taken in my quarter plus century of shooting, this photo here would probably be it… I have always just really loved this photo o’ mine.

      Doing the street photography series, I remember, was a little nerve wracking.  As Street Photography in itself, is pretty much violating other peoples’ privacy in order for you to photograph them, in and about their, and the, daily lives/life.  Okay, maybe not that – violating… but, that is why it was nerve wracking for me to do, as I previously stated, am a rather introverted, shy, wall flower type of fella.  Engaging others is not my strong suit… even when I am not really engaging them, and am just taking it upon myself that I am going to photograph someone, some stranger, who is just doing their own thing on the street, and not looking, or wanting to be photographed, while they are doing whatever… a part of me did just feel like it was a violation of them, their space, their presence, existence, just for the sake of me capturing and shooting them, in and amidst the activity and flurry, life, of the street.

      Eventually though, over the course of the Summer, and doing the series, I became more comfortable in taking the shots, of shooting people.  I don’t think I ever became totally nonchalant and blasé about it… but, comfort level was much more within tolerable parameters.  Do know, if I was to start back up and do another Street Photography series now, today, it would be just like starting all over again, and feeling awkward and intimidating to do so.

      How I shot the series, I would load up my Nikon N80 with a roll of film (I would alternate between shooting a color roll, and a black and white roll), head to old town Fort Collins, and not return until I finished the roll.  Which was not an easy/quick task, or day of shooting… I was at the time (as almost always) perpetually poor, and so a roll of film, and each frame on it, was precious, so just didn’t fire shots off willy-nilly… each shot had to be worth it.  Not all of them turned out to be in the end… but…

      This shot above, I believe was towards the end of a roll, and I was perhaps even heading towards the direction of back home to my place at the time.  It’s a couple blocks west of where I would concentrate and do my usual shooting for the series, which leads me to think I was finishing up the roll and also heading back home at the same time.

      This is on the fringe of the business downtown area, and neighboring old residential area, where this trolley car started, picking up, and dropping off passengers, on a tour of the older residential district neighborhoods… I think (I never rode it myself).

      The two young ladies here, and their adult companions, had just boarded, and the conductor guy, was outside, beside it, waiting for more passengers to come up and get on, to justify then taking off on his next loop tour.  Meanwhile, I just raised my camera and focused on the girls sitting there waiting.

      Now the young lady in the back, she would look at/towards me quite often, but the younger one in front of her, just would not.  She knew I was there, and I knew she knew I was there, but she would not look in my direction… and for some reason, I guess, after awhile of focusing on them, I just wanted to have her attention, or her looking at the camera, or both of them looking at the camera, before I took the shot.  I really don’t know what I was looking for and wanting, of what it was I wanted to capture exactly… All I know, I waited, for what seemed forever, with camera to eye, waiting for “the shot” to present itself… whatever it may be.

      The conductor guy, seeing me poised there with camera to eye, trained on the two girls, called out to the two of them to look and smile at me.  Internally, my reaction was, “No, Mr. Conductor, dude, that is exactly NOT what I want them to do, so shut your yap, and just go about your business, please!”  Externally, my demeanor just reacted with a polite smile, as I stood there still, camera to eye, focused squarely upon the two of them.

      The conductor’s coaxing to the girls, thankfully had no affect… the front younger girl, just made it like her aim and effort, to even more so now, not look in my direction… while the one in back, had pretty much just lost interest with me, and was off in her own world looking at whatever she had then found to be more of interest than my funny lookin’ self frozen there with camera to eye on the two of them.

      And then, all of the sudden, as if just relenting and saying, “oh, alright!”, the younger one in front, just decided to, like a hammer, looked directly at me.  And, I snapped the picture.

      And so, I just love this picture because of all of that.  The young girl in front, heretofore elusive looking in my direction, to all of the sudden then just nail me with her gaze… while the one in back, who had by this point now, long lost interest with me, and was off in her own world… and the fact, that I had the patience to stand there, with what again, seemed like an eternity doing so, waiting, for “the shot” to present itself.

      Again, I don’t know what kind of shot I stood there waiting for, or expecting, and wanting of and with the two girls…  Just standing there, with the two of them in my viewfinder, watching them, watching their manner, the back girl’s interest, than disinterest.. the front girl’s complete disinterest, and then complete full on boring down on me with her eyes… I don’t know what shot I was waiting on, hoping on getting… but, this is the one I got… and as I said, it turned out to be the one photograph, in all my twenty-five plus years of shooting, that sticks with me, and that I love the most.

      Thank you, girls.  And thank you, me, for being patient, and waiting for it.ReplyCancel

      • paulMarch 8th, 2017 - 5:55 pm

        Great to hear all of this backstory about the shots! Yeah, street photography is tough to do, particularly when you’re shy/don’t like attention.  I managed to do quite a bit in NYC, and got more comfortable at it, but never comfortable.  And, agreed, to do it again, I would be starting from the bottom in terms of my terror.ReplyCancel