It began here.
Contradictions abound in street photography and there seems to be no “one way” to approach it, no less define it. From a content perspective, it's a contained narrative: a story, or the impression of one, captured within a single frame. From the photographer's standpoint, it's the epitome of "be quick, but don't hurry."
The ultimate contradiction is the question of intent, which can be hard to express in situations that can be delightfully random. Street photography captures the tension between things. Between subjects and their environments, the flash of an unexpected moment or the rhythm of something inherently static or ordinary. Those tensions are often revealed later, in the editing process, not at the moment the photo was captured—even though I “saw” the image instinctively through the viewfinder when I tripped the shutter. It's that trust thing. Over and over again.
The conversation is everything.
These began as chance encounters that became conversations that became so much more. Every one a glimpse into a world I knew nothing about. Like learning about the wistful inevitability of Bali’s fading ritual culture from the island’s most celebrated mask maker. Feeling the futility of a couple stuck in NOLA with big dreams and no money. A waitress taking a break after having to throw out an unruly patron. A Four Season’s bellman who stays close to his roots by being a Topeng performer. A school teacher’s rowdy Saturday night. These are gifts reflecting the generosity of some of the remarkable people I’ve met on my travels.
Perhaps it was naiveté
Or a case of denial and wishful thinking. But from the second we stepped into the searing humidity and choking smog of Hanoi, there was no way to experience Southeast Asia without it dredging up deep memories of different times.
Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have embraced tourism for about 20 years, which coincides with the first period of real peace in the region after literally centuries of continuous carnage. Economies are booming. Development is everywhere, moving so fast that neither the infrastructures nor the cultures can keep up with it.
There is color, cacophony, conspiracy and cabbage on every corner. Smiles are everywhere, especially when that $2 cab fare becomes a $15 romp around the city. Hands are always out, angles are always played and while there is no sense of physical danger, there is every sense that what you see is not what you get.
Just a walk in the park…
I’ve attempted to capture the shock of twisted cypress and jagged coastline that defines Pt. Lobos for years. And like many others was haunted by the ghosts of photographers past in nearly every frame. That is until one morning when I looked down instead of looking out, and ignored the seduction of Lobos’ signature vistas and swirling surf.
After years of trying too hard following the footsteps of legends, Pt. Lobos let me in on a secret. It whispered, “Think small.” It enlarged my view of this spectacular place, forever.
our sense of kindness, comity and community gradually have devolved into a snarling rage and a persistent state of dread. We’ve become a distrustful nation, seemingly always on edge. Each one of these photographs began as snapshot of a passenger moving down the aisle of a jetliner. More than portraits, this series of photos reveal the psychological baggage travelers bring along for the ride.
That's because, consciously or subconsciously, one of the most emotionally loaded moments of a trip is when people first get on a plane and try to find their seats. Even solo travelers rarely board a plane alone. They bring along their excitement and expectations. The anxieties and annoyances after enduring long lines and invasive TSA screenings. And since 911, a subliminal fear of impending tragedy.
Each image was revealed through an intricate process that included layers of digital painting. Shapes formed and spirits appeared, no two alike for any of the portraits -- although the background was as controlled and consistent as that of any studio. I think of these as captured auras, the surrounding fields of feelings that all of us unconsciously project and sense rather than actually see.