The black and white “street portrait” is a staple in photographic expression. Many young photographers insist on moving to big cities so that they can wander the streets and try to capture poignant moments, unique portraits, weathered faces. Just like many of the textures I photograph, the object is to take the ‘everyday’ or ‘banal’ and figure out a way to transform it, through the camera lens, into something meaningful. With street portraiture, unlike photographing inanimate abstract details, the object is to try and tell a story, to find something emotional and authentic.
It’s not always easy. Life moves faster than one might initially think; put a camera to your face at the farmer’s market and try to make a good, candid photograph of even just one person. You’ll notice that everything around you is a whirlwind. Children run around, people walk into your frame, or people notice you and begin to behave differently (it doesn’t matter if they’re attracted to being photographed or repulsed).
This is probably my favorite portrait taken during this particular trip to Mexico.
My photographic method doesn’t change much, regardless of where I am. I try to approach every environment with curiosity, and my perspective has slowly evolved over the years, solidified. When I’m not photographing people, I’m always on the hunt for interesting textures and colors.
Traveling through Chihuahua, all of the old decaying adobe buildings and faded election campaign signs – painted on the sides of businesses and along walls – capture my attention. Everything here seems to be recycled, so it isn’t unusual to see 1980’s model cars and trucks, shops with a wide variety of VHS cassettes, and mountains of recycled clothing. Everything seems to carry some kind of story – some kind of history.
Nothing is polished and pristine and brand new. And I really like that.