Are you a location "weenie"?

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by AndyH, Aug 19, 2004.

  1. AndyH

    AndyH Member

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    I've never particularly enjoyed sticking my camera in peoples' faces, I don't like confrontation as a rule and some people just don't like being photographed, even if you ask nicely.

    Despite that, I'm somewhere between adventurous and stupid when it comes to walking around the "bad" parts of town. My son, 24 years old today, compiled his senior project on graffiti by working through the worst parts of Boston with his Nikon slung around his neck and found gang members so proud of their work that they not only guided him to the best tags, but willingly posed for him. It was a terrific project, and he's done more of that work since.

    I recall one incident in DC a few years back where I was wandering around Northeast, trying to find my frequent urban subjects of comic irony and decayed infrastructure remade into new uses. It was getting late and darkness was falling, but I had been looking down into my Rollei's groundglass to the point where I had become oblivious to my surroundings since I was having so much fun.

    I was about to step off a streetcorner into a crosswalk when a "pimped out" little Toyota screeched to a stop right in the middle of the crosswalk. Both driver and passenger got out, the driver wore a lot of bling, a dew rag covered his head and his Oakland Raiders jacket was a couple of sizes too large. I guess I was too stupid or naive to think much when he shouted to me above the din of the traffic, "Hey! What you got there?"

    "It's an old Rollei," I said, probably sounding like a character from the Brady Bunch. He looked at me with curiosity for a couple of seconds.... then sort of frowned...

    "Planar or Tessar?" he asked.

    The guy was a photog, owned a graphics business and had always wanted to shoot 6x6. I toured his studio, he bought me a beer and I have him the addies for some reliable dealers. He still sends me a Christmas card.

    Moral of the story of course, is that you can't judge a book by its cover and the trepidations we might feel about some areas or people may be based more on stereotypes than reality.

    Ever had a photographic experience like that? One where you thought you had gotten in over your head in some sort of danger (physical or human) that proved to be an illusion?
     
  2. Deniz

    Deniz Member

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    Great story.. i have something somewhat similar..

    Myself and Andrew were shooting with our 8x10 setup at the worst part of Vancouver and we were feeling quite safe that we were watching each others backs. Then came this really old building and we set up our cameras and started shooting.. Building looked like it was abandoned.. it was right by the rail road tracks so there was an occasional train pass and all the conductors were nice enough to say hi.

    We kept shooting away then door of the building opened and a guy came out.. he was by no means a scarry fella but we were scared alittle.. he looked at our cameras and watched us.. then asked me where i bought my camera from and that he never saw an 8x10 before. That sec. i realized that he wasn't just an ordinary joe from the street.. He told me that he also is a photographer and pulled out a 4x5 pinhole camera and bunch of film holders from his backpack.. I was really suprised to see that and stopped what i was doing and gave full attention to the fellow.. He showed me his custom made pinhole camera which he told me that i could purchase from beau photo here in vancouver.. then told me that that building was his workshop and studio and there are bunch of other studios in there aswell..

    So i got schooled on not to judge the book by the cover too..
     
  3. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    Andy,
    Though I don't have a good story to share, I want to say that yours was a great one.
     
  4. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I've made several great freinds while out shooting, One of which is my current assistant. My wife says you can recognize a photo nerd a mile away, Of course I disagree with her but what is it? Oh ya we're always carrying tons of crap around. I think the people that stop and watch are usually wondering what it is that they are missing or are just courious about our toys but I've always enjoyed talking to fellow enthusiasts. It's when they pull out a camera and shoot the shot we are working on that I get affended.
     
  5. mark

    mark Member

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    Some day I will write a book about working night shift in a Convience store, in Tucson AZ, lovingly called Circle Crack. From the parking lot you could see three busy crack houses; cars that would not stop at the stop sign because a prostitute would jump in if they did; a slum apartment building used as hooker central, and a pharmacy for illicit drugs; not to well concealed unmarked surveilance vans dotting the streets; and the meanest SOB cops you have ever met.

    People would walk by the vans and wave to the cameras. They would drive off and another would take it's place.

    I wish I had a camera in those days.
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I don't have any particular stories to tell either. I do mostly landscapes out of the city, but there are some places here on the island where I just don't feel safe. My favorite place on the island is the Leeward side, but it is the most economically depressed and I obviously don't look like a local boy. There are other places where the homeless and Hawaiian activists have decided they have a right to live on the beach - it takes the city years before it will do anything. When I go out I have just learned to watch out for other people and don't setup if anyone is there.

    I remember once incident though, a few months ago I had my LF gear setup for a shot of an ancient lava flow next to the ocean and I remember this local boy just walking in front of me and sitting down right in the middle of my composition. I didn't say anything; sometimes it is better not to say anything.

    Even paradise has its blemishes.
     
  7. AndyH

    AndyH Member

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    That's the most common problem with me too roteague. People wandering into shots at inopportune moments.

    Last summer I had my old Graphic set up on a rocky beach in Maine, a sort of "secret spot" (which I'll share with anyone who PMs me of course :smile: ) that is about a half hour's hike from the trailhead and is inaccessible from either side because of rocky cliffs. We took the kids there to play, surf, and explore when they were young and it was never crowded. This particular day was a typical summer day on the Maine coast - a heavy cloudbank over the ocean brilliantly lit by the setting sun, focused through cloud layers almost like giant celestial barndoors. I had just set up when I noticed a large multi-masted schooner coming toward me. It was under full sail and was a wooden ship gleaming with varnish and brass. The sun lit the sails perfectly and the skipper was headed inshore and obviously about to make a full crosswind turn, emptying and refilling the sails.

    Of course, at this exact moment a woman stepped out from the end of the trail, walked into the exact center of the composition I'd set up, spread out a tatami mat and shed her clothes. Too late to move (and unwilling to go ask a 60-year old naked woman to move) I just shot the scene as is. I guess that's why some folks turn to Photoshop eh?

    PS: The woman pleasantly but firmly refused to sign the model release that I finally got up the nerve to bring to her.
     
  8. roteague

    roteague Member

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    That is frustrating I admit. In the case I relied, this person walked directly in front of the camera (less than 10 feet) and sat in front of the camera, about 20 feet away, as if I was just waiting to take his picture. There just is a lot of rudeness in the world today.
     
  9. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I might have just taken his picture without removing the darkslide, then asking if I could take one without him in the frame. :wink:
     
  10. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Well, I have to say, I have the opposite problem. :wink:
     
  11. AndyH

    AndyH Member

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    After looking at your [quite wonderful!] website Cheryl I would say that you have made a "problem" into a "solution" :smile:
     
  12. papagene

    papagene Membership Council Council

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    And we are quite glad she has! :smile:

    gene
     
  13. anyte

    anyte Member

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    The only person that ever gets between my camera and my subject is my two year old. Otherwise I do the majority of my shooting in a nearby refuge - there doesn't seem to be many people interested in hiking through - the few people I do happen upon seem all to happy to get behind and far away from my camera.
     
  14. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I see people wandering through the landscape as part of it, just like the clouds and anything else that might pass through.

    In the attached image, I'd already made two exposures of the furrow in this marsh near Orient, New York and was getting ready to put away the camera, when a man came along the beach walking his dog. I put in another holder, pulled the darkslide and waited until he seemed like he was in the right place and made another shot, and this one is definitely better than the others.
     

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  15. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    The person really makes the image!
     
  16. AndyH

    AndyH Member

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    Amen - very nice image and the person's silhouette has just enough detail to create the "mystery" of the photo.

    Some of my favorite shots have had this accidental element - but it often seems that the most unphotogenic people/animals/elements will intrude just when you are trying to compose a formal scene that you've pre-visualized.