PHOTOGRAPHY

I go nowhere without a camera, and seldom come home without new pictures. (I continually take pictures of my boxer dogs and they get their own episode below). I photograph the world as it flows in front of me, staring and shooting, sometimes in considered seconds. I am drawn to interactivity on the street or indoors, a particular configuration of shape and color, qualities of light,  

With everyone now taking pictures, we look into what sets us apart.  It’s a matter of  how well we see.

Some subjects recuringly get my blood flowing faster. Fog — I adore fog, anything, anywhere in fog. I also love the very end of the day, dusk into the blue light as day becomes night. I like the LED’s in Times Square. I love reflections on the street in rain at night in the city, and more so if accompanied by mist. I love store windows in New York City, the collisions and interactivity of layered realities.

Here is a selection from hundreds of thousands of pictures, some variety, and always rigorous compositional intent. I use Canon cameras and the most  basic post-processing in Lightroom.

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THE CITY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE COUNTRY

A six hundred acre private property located less than an hour north of New York City. I passed it every day when I lived half a mile away, walking with the dogs, and could not resist entering the gap in the low stone wall on occasion. These pictures happened on one of these illicit visits very early one morning They speak a language not meant for words. I attempted to obtain permission from the owner, through his lawyers, to photograph it year round, to gain full access to it in return for sets of large prints. My request was denied. These are pictures made with a Leica M8, which was scarcely ever mentioned as a landscape camera being more suited to unobtrusive city work or indoor portraiture. I found it to be the other way round. The Leica lens “draws” a landscape unlike any other lens, infusing the pictures with a warm, intimate, painterly, surface depth and glow, that surpasses the DSLR and which impressed me immensely. On the other hand, I find DSLR’s and Point & Shoots more suited to city work as they are faster and offer quick, accurate focusing. There is no clear line, however. I shoot with what I have with me.

. . . and some pictures in the vicinity of the above property . . .

 

 

 

 

The Game

A BOY GROWS FROM THIN AIR.  This is a series about the playing out of the dream. It is about boyhood, manhood, maximum effort, triumph and loss. The photographs were shot aiming at an LCD screen during the Soccer World Cup in South Africa (my home country) during the month of June 2010. It was not soccer I was interested in portraying. This series is about game as life. The players and the watchers. The kings of the industry, men in their prime, loved and scorned,  the customers, the supporters and rivals. The game presents a lifetime of obsession, hard work, technique and talent forged into a skill. And still a player drives for more.

Finally, in an arena ringed by cheering, jeering, screaming, banging, trumpet-blowing fans, each player takes to the field at high emotional pitch. One plays with injuries and an unseen life of challenges which wait for him off the field. Each team, each player, and each spectator (a few of whom are included) brings a unique depth of hope. From slums or mansions, there are no barriers to entry. The poorest nations compete against the rich. Giants are toppled as unknowns rise up — tomorrow’s stars. Big tough men shed tears, of joy, of pain, heads raised to gods and heads hung in shame.

There is nowhere to hide on this field. This is a full-blooded full-bodied view of human performance at peak level. That this is soccer is beside the point. All endeavor may borrow what it is these images expose. The rules of living apply here, stripped of artifice or obfuscating language. In the present moment lies. perhaps, the only chance, this enormous and very loud moment. Yet, amid the roar of the stadium, the barked commands between players, the abiding quality in these pictures is silence. Here is the interiority, the serious quiet of each man against himself, and against the other. Something happened before the events pictured here where these players shed being boys and became men. Warriors. Possessed of some kin of the spirit in our soldiers at war. Demons faced down that many of us can choose to avoid. I see dreams, determination, teamwork, generosity, ruthlessness and style. I see peaks of physical and mental conditioning. Vulnerability and strength. Mastery, or lack thereof, of emotion. I have taken out the game where possible and focused on men in competition and their audience.

Some montage effects are the result of the edits, dissolves, and cuts of the director. Not Photoshop.

Dogs
Nothing is less necessary than a pet dog, or more needed. A dog’s life is spent, as a man’s life should be, doing pointless things that have the solemnity of inner purpose.
I’ve been the grateful owner of fourteen dogs. A max of four at one time. Currently I have two boxers, DOON and Willow. I have taken tens of thousands of pictures of them. Fascinated at their “creaturedness” the dignity and humor in their behavior and at times the poignancy. I walk them two hours a day, watching them, and wondering how they see the world. They love New York and our neighborhood is a kind of dogville. I never go for cute pictures even if some cannot be helped. I am always aware I am capturing their dignity, their authentic dogness. Update: On June 11, 2013 we put our DOON to sleep. His brain lost communication with his spinal chord. After a terrible night, during which he could not move, he could not blink, we decided to let him go. His heart was strong, but no intervention could guarantee he’d walk again. Nine and a half beautiful years my dear dear dog. Thank you, we are just so grateful. Five weeks later, after a joyous romp with her dog buddies in the park one warm night, Willow rolled to her side unconscious on the gravel path. I carried her home to our bed and the air conditioner. My hand was on her beating heart when it stopped and her breath stilled. The house is lonely and empty as are Gayle and I. Our hearts are broken, it is the first time in 23 years there are no dogs in the house. ITwo months after losing Willow, I was able to write about the dogs in a post published in Medium.

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