Street Photography

Road Trip

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As Featured in street photography magazine| may 2017

I grew up on road trips. I’ve raised my kids, seven of them, on road trips. They like getting places. But going places is another story. On one trip, after a few particularly complaint-filled miles, I had had more “Are we there yet?” than I could handle. In a firm but measured tone I stated “This is what we are doing, we are driving. We are not getting anywhere. We are simply driving. Enjoy the journey.”

That statement more or less fell on deaf ears in the back of the van, but it was a bit of a revelation for me.
A gentleman by the name Lao Tzu once said, “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”

I, like my children, had failed to enjoy the journey. The expectation of arrival had robbed me of one of travel’s greatest joys.

In recent years my job has added significantly to my time on the road (or 30,000 feet above it). Most people I work with complain about this, as do I at times—it is a strain being away from the family. However, I have learned to make the best of it and to experience the places I visit. Photography has played a key role in this. It’s a discipline of observation and the attempt to capture a sense of place via camera that helps me better immerse myself in a locale and enjoy the events happening around me.

 

I still find flying to be remarkable. Dozens of people from around the world, crammed together in a metal tube full of dramatic lighting, deafening sound and stunning views. No matter that this is daily repeated, thousands of times around the world, it is still a magical event.

 

This terminal shot from Houston captures my impression of airport life. It also reflects my favorite shooting style. I was seated out of the way in a dimly lit section and pulled out my compact Fujifilm (X30) and allowed the images, or stories rather, to come to me.

To me the most engaging photos have a story. In looking at them you can imagine what has happened before and speculate on what is coming next. They have a cast of characters that, although technically strangers, are familiar all the same.

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The human element is the most important component of street photography. But there are times when that element is inferred as opposed to literally represented. This photo from Swan Quarter, N.C., is a perfect example.

The chaotic property, the motorbike, the mustang, the Hobo Seafood sign and countless other artifacts tell a story about the people of Swan Quarter.

Every photo contains it’s own narrative. Sometimes the plot is complex. Sometimes it’s completely singular.

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The nation’s capitol is one of my favorite places to photograph. The complex fabric of cultures and aspirations brings new meaning to the backdrop of history with which it is juxtaposed.

 

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Despite the casual body language and attire in the above image there was a sense of solemnity. The variety of cultures and perspectives intersecting in the shadow of Lincoln creates a compelling narrative that words would be insufficient to communicate.

The ability to capture, save and share these memories has enriched my travel and helped me to more fully engage locations that could otherwise have been spent in an airport restaurant.

My interest in photography is relatively recent. Just over a year ago I purchased a Fujifilm X30, an advanced point and shoot camera. The engaging controls and tactile nature of the X30 got me interested in pursuing a more serious kit. I now have multiple Fujifilm bodies and lenses and find their compact size, and externally visible settings are ideal for street photography. My workflow is almost entirely mobile. I transfer wirelessly to my tablet and process and share my images from there.