| currently listening to: Wake Up!, Les Savy Fav, The Cat and the Cobra, 1999 | LINK
as a photographer i am subconsciously looking at the scenery around me and setting up photographs in my head. ok. so maybe it’s subconscious half the time. during the other half of the time i’m wondering to myself, ‘how quickly can i run and grab my camera and take this photo?’ or ‘this is the place for that fine art shoot that i want to pull off with the knives and the gorilla?’ or ‘oh my god, if everyone took off their clothes and danced around, i could be the next David LaChappelle. now all i need are some feathers, face paint, and Lady Gaga’.
ok… so that last one only happens in my dreams. but seriously. as a photographer, it’s hard to turn your inner camera off. every angle of a sunrise, every room, every snippet of light through a window shade, every piece of furniture can trigger my creative side. if i really like something i see, i will place a mental check mark next to the memory so i can dial it up and use it at a later date. this inevitably long checklist becomes a deep dark internet exercise into the depths of ‘DIY’ to recreate what i remember. somehow i keep my mind satisfied.
if you are invested in the idea of creating the image you see in your head then you will (hopefully) be constantly invested in finding out how to do something you don’t know how to do. a perfect example? lighting. i ask myself a dozen times a day, how can i get that lighting? ‘how do i recreate that thin line of light around that girl’s hair on the train platform?’ well… i could come back tomorrow with my camera and put my friend in the exact same spot at the exact same time of day and hope that it’s not cloudy so i can take the photo. or i could learn how to do it myself whenever i wanted to with a couple of standard light setup’s and maybe a few off-camera flash units. sometimes getting the results you want involves some serious effort which may or may not include lengthy lighting rig diagrams and at least two different 8 armed assistants. even if this effort involves reading a handbook (gasp), taking a class, or asking for help, so be it. make it happen. finish what you started. take the shot.
obviously the problems arise when recreating what you see in your head involves illegal activities (trespassing, real vs. fake blood, and stealing a helicopter). this happens a lot. i mean… A LOT. but don’t be deterred. if you think that you can only create beautiful images with certain pieces of technology that you don’t own (lights, cameras, lens’, helicopters) than you are truly missing out on creating beautiful images all together.
for me? i like desolate man-made places. spaces that should be used but are currently vacant. large rooms with patterned carpet and tables arranged, empty airport terminals, empty bus station benches, empty parking garages, and empty closets with lots of clothes. i’ve found one thing to be certain while trying to capture these spaces and their emptiness. there is always one place that will most likely be empty and contain some really decent lighting and interesting subject matter. the bathroom. yup. bathrooms. the bigger, the better. check it next time.
i’ve covered this a little bit before in my post on diptychs FOUND HERE. it really is all about perspective.
“this house is a freight train
and it’s mine it’s mine it’s mine.
back in 1989
they found my body on the Morris Essex line”
- Tim Harrington
man… i love this band. my friend brad turned me onto them in the summer of 2000 when we were traveling across the country in my old subaru legacy station wagon. back then i was still smoking cigarettes, driving ridiculously fast (especially in wyoming where i set the cruise control at 84mph during that trip, completely legal BTW…), and listening to The Get-Up Kids, Nirvana, Wilco, The Tragically Hip, Nerf Herder, The Dropkick Murphy’s, and The Pogues religiously.
Les Savy Fav came on the stereo and blew my mind. Tim Harrington and crew showed me how rock and roll my life was even though i felt like it was mundane. Les Savy Fav showed us how living in the city didn’t have to define us but how living life the way we did helped us define the city we were in.
does that make sense? they weren’t a NYC band… they were a Williamsburg band. i wasn’t living in Boston, i was living in N. Cambridge. i discovered Les Savy Fav at a moment in my life where i was proud to be where i was, i was proud to be where i was from, and i was proud to be a little insane. Harrington showed us all that putting your heart into your work was what life was all about. if i ever need a creative pick-me-up… i look no further than Les Savy Fav and i crank it up.
disco beats, eighties new wave guitars, math rock jumps, impeccable musicianship, arena hooks, and a crazy bald man at the helm of a sinking ship. fucking epic.