Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Story Behind the Photograph

One of the ideas I've had for this site is to talk a bit about the story behind some of my photographs. I'd like to start with the story behind this photograph:

I'm ready for my closeup... (2007)
Camera: Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1, Model 2
Film: Polaroid Time-Zero (very expired)
Location: New York City, USA

I shot this photo in Soho, Manhattan, in the dog days of summer 2007. I was walking around the Lower East Side, then Nolita, and then Soho, lugging several cameras in my bag and sweating on a super-hot-and-humid NYC afternoon, stopping whenever I had a chance to enjoy a cold drink or an ice cream from Mr. Softie to cool off, and of course, shooting photos. Suddenly I noticed a small crowd gathering on a corner. I walked over to said crowd to discover a fashion shoot taking place. The model was wearing an ultra-retro dress while the photographer squatted to shoot her photo from low angles and his assistant desperately reflected light onto her face, shaded as it was among the buildings. This was the moment I had been waiting for. However, the only camera in my hands was my SX-70, and it was loaded with precious Time-Zero film, a now-discontiued commodity. Every shot is precious to me. Dare I potentially "waste" it on a street photo that may turn out terrible? Dare I waste time digging out another camera from my bag? The shot could be lost by the time I got a "safer" camera out and ready. I went for it, shot the Polaroid, and I was so happy that I did! The photo came out exactly as I had dreamed, only better. I knew it was pretty special when street photographer extraordinaire Chris Weeks singled it out one day on his blog as a fine example of street photography. I was humbled, to say the least! This photo is exactly why we should never leave our houses without a camera!

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