Posts tagged ‘Store Windows’

So Far So Good, But …

Through thick and thin - 7th & Congress, Austin

With the discipline of a newly made committment, I have overachieved on my New Year resolution to take more photographs of people and, camera in hand, I have visited downtown Austin every Saturday morning for the last month. However, it might be more honest to redefine my objective as being to make “pictures with people in them” rather than “pictures of people”.

Thomas Leuthard has published a free PDF book, “Going Candid”, on his approach to making street photographs and building an audience for them; it is well worth the download to read. Leuthard’s approach to street portraits is very different from, say, Kirk Tuck’s. Kirk asks, Thomas doesn’t; and I am not a portrait photographer at all, period.

It’s just not in my nature to make the kind of direct and aggressive street images of Thomas Leuthard or Eric Kim, and that is more than a simple lack of balls. There will be some overlap in our respective content, but taken as a whole my portfolio will contain far fewer recognizable individuals and far more human figures as symbols, ciphers signing for all of us. Thomas Leuthard, Kirk Tuck and I are motivated by different visions and propelled by and into different practices.

“All photographs are accurate. None of them are the truth.”
    Richard Avedon

If I were to try to make portrait photographs, Kirk Tuck’s 500px portfolio would be my yardstick for success. Perhaps I’ll buy one of Kirk’s books on Amazon to find out if my aging brain is yet plastic enough to learn some new skills.

I am doubtful though; just because I know what an f stop is does not mean that I have the necessary eye and personality for successfuly making any and every type of photograph. “Stay on the f*cking bus” Thomas Leuthard’s book quotes from the excellant Helsinki Bus Station Theory essay by Arno Rafael Minkkinen. Yes, creativity comes from working at the edge of your comfort zone, but not from changing zones for the sake of doing so. My most truthful photographs will not necessarilly appeal to the widest audience, but they will be mine.

The GF1 Shines, And Doesn’t

Behind us, Arboretum, Austin

If I can escape from the house early enough, my favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning is to get to the nearby Starbucks or La Madeleine, before the crowds, to drink coffee and read without the threat of interruption from high school math or physics homework questions. Usually, I throw the Panasonic GF1 into the book bag so that I won’t regret a missed opportunity for a photograph.

We come to greet you, Arboretum, Austin

The surreal and sometimes sinister quality of store windows around the Arboretum area of Austin has long been a draw to me and this morning’s high contrast morning sun brought out a new twist in their potential for interpretation. It seemed as though the aliens from some 1950’s fanzine cover had been caught hiding in plain sight, observing the humans passing by from behind the glass.

Reach, Arboretum, Austin

The GF1 is both perfect and frustrating in these circumstances. Perfect for being small and at hand, frustrating for the lack of detail in the viewfinder – “is the mannequin’s foot in the frame or not?” It was hard to be sure. I was happy enough with the view finder when I first obtained the camera but now, in the knowledge that the state of the art in EVFs has moved rapidly and far forward, I am less forgiving. On the other hand, the image quality produced by the GF1 and 20mm lens is most satisfactory.

We stand ready, Arboretum, Austin

Suspicious Culture

Is he paparazzi?

I love visiting Santa Fe but I wonder if I would like living here? These “African Nouveau” ceramics of Woodrow Nash, warily eying the camera, seem more real and alive than some of town’s organic residents. As one store manager we spoke to described it, you must either posses a well endowed trust fund or live hand-to-mouth in this city; there are few to be found in between the two extremes. It is an expensive place with more than a hint of decadence.

But wherever the true heart of Santa Fe lies, it is a fecund source of photographic subject material; too much to show in a one posting per day blog. All of the New Mexico, 2010, images can be found collected in a gallery of the main web site.

Ask Your Therapist

Plastic Wrap

You wil have to ask your therapist what this signifies, I have not been able to figure it out yet.

Blank face bunny

Blank face bunny

Blank face bunny

This is what happens to people who spend too much time and money in shopping malls.

As I wrote yesterday, I have to make a series of prints for a shared project; my contribution will be a dozen or so of the Store Life images. This is the one I chose to start with; color matching the large expanse of off white is a royal pain.

Top dogs

Top dogs - Austin, October 2008

Top dogs - Austin, October 2008

A hyperreal pet store; these porcelain puppies guard the empty windows of a jewelry store on Austin’s Congress Avenue, a few blocks south of the Capitol building. It’s early on a Sunday morning and staff have yet to arrive and unpack the safe of its carbon and pearl.

This is the latest addition to the Store Life series; you can find others in the Store Life Revisited selection of the parent Web site.