May 17, 2017 – The Warehouse District

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I can guarantee you that I’ve published this image before – probably on this website – but I’m too lazy to search around and confirm it. Regardless, this is one of my favorite images from that period of my life. I had recently been laid off, and my girlfriend left me for one of my other good friends – a bass player in a local band – and I was pretty much the definition of ‘down and out.’

Pretty melodramatic in hindsight, but I was living in a renovated garage with no air conditioning or heat – the place was a cinder-block dump, maybe four hundred square feet with termites and concrete floors and a bathroom smaller than a closet. The monsoon was sticky and hot, and I remember nights huddled in the shack with friends, hand-rolling cigarettes and listening to music, playing guitar, passing the time with idle conversation and cheep beer. I didn’t have much, but I didn’t need much. It wasn’t a bad time, looking back – it was just difficult, and new. A few romantic flings, a minimal approach to living, few responsibilities – I made it through.

I used to ride my bike, every day, to Raging Sage, a coffee house a couple miles down the road. I probably read two books a week during that period of unemployment. I always kept my camera with me, too. I rode all around the city looking for interesting things to photograph. South Euclid Avenue was filled with interesting textures, buildings, warehouses, graffiti, and other industrial ephemera. And this is one of my favorite images from that period, right along the railroad.

Sometimes having nothing – or next to nothing – can be the most liberating thing in the world. I had a couple of months where I didn’t have to answer to anybody. Sure, I was applying for work and trying to get back into the market, but I had a lot of extra time, and it was extra time that I had never experience before in my entire life. I read books and rode my bike, entertained guests at my little casita, and enjoyed the company of a few lovely women. Looking back, it’s one of the more romantic periods of my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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May 07, 2017 – Blue Alley

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Somewhere in downtown Tucson, on South Stone Avenue, is this pretty little stretch of road. Most of it has been resurfaced, re-worked, restored, renewed. It’s polished and shiny today, but I was there several years ago and captured a lot of photographs of the neighborhood before everything was changed. In the summer, during the July monsoon, this part of town was devoid of people – it was quiet, with no traffic, and every building was covered in street art. I would ride my bike down here pretty often, even though I lived north of midtown at the time, to walk around with my camera.

It’s vandalism, sure. It may represent poverty or a devalued neighborhood. It may be considered by some to be ugly. I never really saw that. I always thought that the evolving canvas of these downtown buildings was beautiful. Here’s just one small little taste.

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April 26, 2017 – Under Construction

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“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.”
~Diane Arbus

I agree with this quote. In my experience, I think that I often photograph things that everybody sees – things that everybody sees all the time. I often photograph things that are so common, so banal, so boring that even though we see them all the time, we never notice them. My trick is to add focus and direction to how I photograph these subjects, so that people can see them anew.

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April 16, 2017 – Paint

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“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
~Edgar Degas

One man’s vandalism is another man’s art, I suppose. Not that I necessarily condone the act, but I’ve enjoyed finding and photographing all manner of graffiti throughout the years. By photographing these things, I have the opportunity to frame the image, manipulate the saturation and apply subtle edits, and make somebody else’s art into my own – photography is the appropriation of reality, which is alchemical in its own right, and I thoroughly enjoy the process.

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April 15, 2017 – The Grid

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“Not all doors open in the same direction and with the same effort.”
~Jasleen Kaur Gumber

One of my long-time fascinations – innocuous tin boxes, fuses, electrical meters, and other devices that track our consumption, gather data, and influence each and every one of our lives. These boxes are attached to every single structure with an outlet, and I find that both interesting (in an abstract sense) and prescient.

Like the ‘Red, White, And Blue’ compositions (see yesterday’s post), I think there’s something here. It’s been a tough nut to crack, but I think there’s something here that I’ll be expanding on.

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April 11, 2017 – No Parking (graffiti)

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“Of course, there will always be those who look only at technique, who ask ‘how’, while others of a more curious nature will ask ‘why’. Personally, I have always preferred inspiration to information.”
~Man Ray

I know that many young photographers – and many of the masters – are known for their portraits.
Street portraits, especially.

I have quite the collection of faces, to be sure, but I really enjoy documented the forgotten and ignored spaces, the things we tend to intentionally disregard. Man-made environments that man tends to rarely, if ever, wander. There’s a quality to these spaces that interests me.

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April 10, 2017 – Desert Graffiti

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“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
~Elliott Erwitt

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