Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In a comment in the post below a reader stated his or her uneasiness that most of my candids are of "unsuspecting women." It bothered the reader and it also makes me feel uncomfortable. I have stated this feeling in various posts. Still, these are photos taken in public places with individuals as they wish to appear to the world.

Most candids do not reflect anonymity of subjects. Mine do.

I commute three hours or less a day. It is most of my "free" time. I have limited subject matters. I am learning how to use a most simplistic camera.

I find most of the men pics I take boring. Women are better subjects - both form and function. My work skirts guerrilla fashion - I fear my subject for being shallow and decorative.

I take (and publish here) too many photos of the backsides of women. It is much easier to take photos from behind (timing and anonymity). A head on encounter is likely to blur due to movements towards each other. It also is a "one shot" interaction that requires perfect timing or morel likely great fortune. Most "head ons" fail. Many times I cannot even press the camera button properly and you get out to camera mode and suddenly are in an email.

Yes, too many pictures of women taken from behind. But sometimes it can be fortuitous art.

Today I sat across from a young woman on the LIRR - I took three portraits - none of which readily identifies her. Is doing this cheap? Would I have gotten similar results is she had been asked and agreed to pose?

I have never shots candids like this in my life. Years ago I always gotten permission for close up poses. I was younger then. I am embarrassed to ask. So now I take candids. In public places.

Is it invasion of privacy? Am I exploiting the subject I do think she would have liked these images....

The picture below is the easiest to take. You can time it and since you are going in same direction you get multiple shots. Notice how the moving (walking) people are in "focus" and the standing people are blurry. I was walking at the same same speed as the subject, jockeying through a crowd...hard to do in low light and long exposure situations.

These are head on shots - one roll of the dice and instant trigger. Reacting rather than thinking. Lights, action, camera, blur.

And then there are misses - you expect a shot from the hip and, later, you realise you missed the shot and, still, sometimes you find "something" you did now know was missing (or present perfect).

The key is to continue finding beauty rather than exploiting it or something less honest. I hope this makes sense.

Sometimes I do feel like I should do another form of art, but for now this is where I am.


Leslie Avon Miller said...

I am enjoying the movement and the blur which makes these images a bit surreal. I think of them as very arty. You have some good ones of men as well. This is your vision.

layers said...

What an interesting discussion and dilemma...when I first viewed your images I never felt like you were being voyeristic (sp?) or stalking and I never felt uneasy or uncomfortable. I think the blurriness was enough to make them feel more artistic. It all makes sense to me.

The Green Stone Woman said...

You explained it very well, John and I already had some inkling of the story behind the photos and I agree with you, women make better subjects, that is a fact. Men are dull objects to photograph candidly. I think your photos have to be candid and not posed, it would take the mystique out of them and the excitement. I would hate for you to go up to people and ask them to pose for you. Hit and run is much better. You give us glimpses of reality in a surreal setting and expression.

Mick said...

Press on, John. Your work in this arena has more value than anyone realizes, perhaps even more value than you realize. Most of us who've been following this body of work have expressed our opinions about the sort of comments that lurkers like anonymous will likely continue to make. I have no problem with the opinion expressed by the way ... I do have a problem with it being less than candidly sprung. Today, I feel like an unsuspecting reader. :O

Debi said...

Very interesting discussion and candor, John. Anonymous postings are a bit ... underhanded, to be candid myself.

Truth be known, I have noticed your subjects had been mostly young women as well. I can see how that could be misconstrued. Personally, I prefer the group shots -- having never been to NYC, it gives me more to see and enjoy.

But the Muse is a muse and she can't be denied. I do think you are going somewhere interestingly creative with these! I also admire your drive to be creative no matter the circumstance.

Debi said...

Correction: Anonymous comments!

Victoria Pittman said...

Love this series John. The abstract shapes and diffusion are really impelling.


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