Lessons

I was reading the latest issue of Photo District News yesterday which I don’t usually read but this is there “30 Emerging Photographers to watch” issue. I like seeing what the “experts” think is noteworthy. No one really stood out. All the work was run of the mill. Not to say the work was bad, it was not, in fact, some was very good. But you could see the work of their predecessors. No new ground is being broken. But then most were young; in their 20’s. They have not found their own vision. Saying that, as a working photographer vision sometimes gets in the way. At this point I am speaking more as an “artist” and not a work a day photographer. One thing that caught my eye (aside from the fact that many of the photographers profiled live in Brooklyn – oh how times have changed) was a piece of advice from Flora Hanitijo (great name!), I quote, “I always have my little point-and shoot-Yashica on me wherever I go. It’s my sketchbook. Keep shooting what interests you and what you want to shoot…” This ties in with mastering your craft and as I wrote a while ago, it takes 10,000 hours to master any craft. In our case 10,000 rolls of film!

Always carry your camera with you is basically what she is saying. I learned this lesson years ago. I got caught without my camera twice. The first time was on the day of  the massive blackout of the northeast. I, like millions of people that day, walked to my place of refuge. In my case that was my parent’s house in Brooklyn (what’s with Brooklyn and photographers?!). I had to walk over the Williamsburg Bridge and all the way home during that 4 hour walk I kept berating myself silently for not having a camera. The other time I did not have a camera with me was on September 11, 2001. I am now afraid to leave my home without a camera. Sometimes I carry two!

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As a street photographer always having a camera ready is essential. The street is a theater and my mission is to capture the play of life on the street or that ephemeral phenomenon of light.

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