Late Night Plate (Panajachel, Guatemala) Enjoying the local street food, by consuming and photographing, is one of the best parts of traveling. After eating, I sat on the curb across from this stall and just watched the late night crowd come and go. First it was mostly tourists. As it got later it was the locals getting off work. I like the motorbike crossing the frame to add movement to what is an otherwise stationary scene. To me this is simply a shot of ordinary life on the streets, but it has great cinematic appeal.
The Barber College (Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, Texas) I attended the Ed Kashi Near and Far Workshop at DCP along with nine others. After the workshop ended, the Dallas participants decided to set up regular photo expeditions so we could keep in touch and continue to learn from each other. Our first outing was to Jefferson Blvd, a Hispanic commercial district that is rapidly changing. One of the businesses is a barber college. This guy was in a chair getting his new haircut, though it seemed like much more of a production than just a haircut. He never smiled. He kept his best Male Model Pouty Face on the whole time. He’s great. He reminds me that you can get great photos from both near and far.
The Class Photo (Nara, Japan) During our trip to Japan in December 2015, the temples and shrines were filled to overflowing with school kids, particularly middle school and high school aged kids. At one point I thought, “is anybody actually in school or are they all out on field trips?” Turns out most students their age were out on some kind of field trip at least once that week. Final exams were coming up soon. The students were visiting temples both as a cultural lesson and to make offerings and prayers for good grades. After the visit, a class photo was mandatory.
The Lookout (Gion District, Kyoto, Japan) Gion is a bustling entertainment district jam packed with restaurants and bars. It is one of the few places left where you can still spot Geisha – real Geisha – practicing their arts. I have no idea what kind of business this was. The woman seemed to be on the look out for customers. I like the play of the light on the contrast of the textures of the tile, the bike and the plaster; and, of course, her silhouette in the doorway.
A Few Beers, A Few Laughs (Asakusa District, Tokyo, Japan) Street life is my favorite subject. I really strive to get shots that convey some emotion, some element of the humanity in the places I visit. Here is a guy, who seemed like a regular at this patio bar, enjoying a few beers and a few laughs with his bartender. Whatever the joke was, they clearly enjoyed it and each other’s company. I enjoy looking at their smiles.
Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo, Japan) The Tsukiji Fish Market is the largest fish market in the world. It is mind-boggling how much is harvested from the sea and then sold in the organized chaos that unfolds there each morning. Photography at Tsukiji is challenging because you are constantly dodging forklifts, carts, porters and the restaurant buyers on a mission to get the best product at the best price. The vendors will not tolerate a tourist with a camera getting in the way of commerce. Walk cautiously. Stand to the side. Wait. Hope. That’s the game at Tsukiji.
Yakitori Master (Kamakura, Japan) One of the absolute joys of traveling in Japan is discovering the abundance of tiny restaurants and bars. They are often behind small, non-descript doors with a small sign. Since we don’t speak (or read) Japanese, we would just walk down the street and open a door to see what kind of place was hiding behind it. On a cold night in Kamakura, we stumbled into this place, which had about ten seats at the counter around the grill. The Yakitori chef was very focused on the grill and his work. We took a seat close to him, ordered and watched. Luckily he didn’t seem to mind the camera. To me, this is authentic Japan.
Elvis Rides Again (Dallas, Texas) The World Famous Wheelie-ing Elvi are always a popular entry in the State Fair of Texas Parade. There are a couple dozen of these guys on minibikes. I saw them coming down the parade route and took a spot on the curb hoping to get a shot of just one Elvis. Just as I got set up the motorcycle cop pulls into the frame. The cop pulls out his camera to get a pick of an Elvis doing a wheelie. What can I say? It’s a gift from the photography gods.
Overlooking Rush Hour (San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala) The woman stood in her rooftop perch watching the rush hour activity in her neighborhood. Pretty soon the boys joined her. The open truck, which operates as a local bus service, passed by at just the right time. I love that her face is the only one that is not somewhat obscured. The repetition of the truck rails, the power lines and the television antennae create a wonderful internal framing.
Heading to Market (San Antonio Palopo, Guatemala) Wait, wait, wait for the shot. I sat on the steps of a little church across from this cross for a long time hoping someone or something interesting would walk into the frame. It was a really great backdrop but it needed some life. Nothing appeared. Finally I left to walk around the village. As I retraced my steps back to the bus stop, I saw these three women coming down the road, heading towards the church and the market next door. I hustled to get in place and clicked it off. I like the stair stepping of the wall to the cross, the stair stepping of their heads, the upward angle of the mountains, and the explosion of clouds. It all works to create real drama. It is one of my favorite photos.
No Shade (Isfahan, Iran) It was late June in Iran, 105 degrees, the sun was blazing. Despite that, this guy in his sports jacket sat alone on that uncovered bench in the middle of the large plaza outside the Jamme Mosque for at least two hours. I tried several angles but nothing seemed to capture his isolation. While I tried yet another angle, the two women walked into the frame. I thought, “get out of my shot.” When I got the image up on the computer, I realized what I did not see on the camera. Though it added other people to the shot, it is the women, turned away and engaged with each other, that highlight that he is alone.
Window Shopping (Isfahan, Iran) This photo says so much about the paradoxes of Iran. I was following this woman, covered head to toe in black, through the old bazaar of Isfahan and hoping she would step into one of the pools of light from the skylights. She stops and then steps toward the window of a jewelry store. She’s looking for jewelry to decorate her body, absolutely none of which she shows in public, but she still wants to be beautiful for her family and friends in private. The pool of light shines down her chador and highlights her shoe peeking out from underneath. It’s the only human gesture you can see.
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