people watching and photo stockpiles

(anonymous college graduate’s proud father)

(christina at a bowling alley in new jersey)

(ignacio at a house party in brooklyn during a blizzard)

i’ve taken a lot of pictures over the years. and by a lot, i mean a lot. i’ve spent the past few days trying to organize just the pictures i have saved on my computer and, well, it’s taken me a few days. the pictures i have saved on my computer are probably only a quarter or maybe a third of all of the pictures i have ever taken. it’s obscene. it’s ridiculous. and since i am afraid of hesitant to use digital cameras, storing these pictures on a hard drive is one thing. but you have to understand, i have stacks and stacks of photographs (you know, the film kind) that i attempted to organize a few months ago. i say ‘attempt’ because just when i thought i’d come close to finishing, i discovered another large pile that needed to be filed away. they are now sitting in a paper bag, in the corner of my studio. i avoid eye contact with them the best i can.

so, yes, i take people pictures too. i don’t just take pictures of my horse and other peoples’ pets (oh wait, i haven’t posted those yet). i love people watching. when i lived in new york, i would sit in various parks or on various stoops with the intention of watching and listening to the people going by me. it is, however, harder to take pictures of people than you would think.

scratch that. it’s harder to take pictures of strangers than you would think. i did an entire project my first year in college based on photographing strangers and i had one h*ll of a time getting people to cooperate. people don’t just trust other people. some gave me the excuse they were camera shy. others said they just didn’t want their pictures taken – full stop. and i even had one guy tell me there was a warrant out for his arrest and he couldn’t risk his picture being taken (this guy even gave himself an alias: Frank). so, my people pictures are mostly of friends and family because i haven’t had the time to really delve into the whole taking strangers’ pictures thing. i mean, i have done it, but not with their permission.

for this reason and many others, i have three personal photographer heroes: Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz. you know them, right? if not, please go to your nearest library or bookstore (immediately) and pull one (or all) of their books off the shelf and admire their photographs.

[nikon 35mm + color film + black and white film]

jessi

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