Photos taken 6/8/2013
I took a class Spring quarter called “The Camera’s Eye II”.
I struggled. The goal was to document Routes 5 and 20 along the northern tier of the finger lakes. And I didn’t have a car. I relied on rides, and it was hard to be out there with a group (Driver wanted to photograph this, I wanted to photograph this, etc, etc.) I made okay photos, but I didn’t do my best work by any means. We were assigned Leica M-4’s, which slowed us down. It was difficult. Near the end of the quarter, I got a car, but it was almost too late to do anything.
I was also in Elements of Advertising, the last of my foundation photo courses. My mediocre photos for Ad, along with my mediocre photos in Camera’s Eye, were draining my self confidence and desire to make images.
But some friends in Camera’s Eye went to Paradise Speedway, a dirt track speedway in Geneva, and brought back great photos. I knew that my first free Saturday this summer I needed to go out there.
The speedway is a Saturday staple for that area of New York. It is a community. My father would probably liken photographing there to “shooting fish in a barrel.”
I drove there yesterday afternoon and just wandered around and photographed for a couple of hours. I got to go out to the center of the track but only stayed for about 20 minutes because I nearly shat myself for being that close to the cars.
I haven’t gone out to shoot by myself in far too long. When I shoot with other people around, I get self conscious. I start comparing my photos to theirs and I just shut down and make really terrible images. Yesterday was a welcome change to my normal grind. I plan to go back throughout the summer.
Photos taken 3/26/2013
Meet Kathy Jans-Duffy, the collections manager at the Seneca Falls Historical Society. Kathy has worked for the historical society for just over ten years, but was a volunteer and member of the board of trustees even before that.
Born in Seneca Falls at the long gone Seneca Falls hospital, Kathy and her family moved to southern California when she was ten years old. However, after thirty years, Kathy decided to move back to Seneca Falls to escape the Los Angeles area, wich she described at materialistic and hurried. When she returned, she got involved with the historical society; baking cookies for social events and doing whatever needed to be done. Eventually she found herself on the board of trustees for six year, and when an opening popped up, an employee. Now, as collections manager, she catalogues and organizes all of the donated items.
A history major in college, Kathy has always loved history saying, “it’s like telling stories, theres always a neat story behind something and this area is just alive with history.”
She explained the history of Seneca Falls as manufacturing hub during the 19th century, and now as a bedroom community of small businesses and of commuters who work in Rochester and Syracuse.
I hope to go back and talk to Kathy again before this project is over.
I enrolled in a class this quarter called “The Camera’s Eye 2”, taught by W. Keith McManus. The purpose of the class is to document rural life along NY State route 5 and US Highway 20 between Avon, NY in the east and Seneca Falls, NY in the west. We have decided to call our project simply, The 5 and 20 Project. We are all shooting with Leica M-4’s and whatever other funky cameras we feel will lend character to the project. The end result will be a self published book and an audio CD of interviews we will collect along the way.
Yesterday, myself and my 8 other classmates went out shooting for the first time. Above are my preliminary scans from the first roll I shot while working on this project.
On this, my personal blog, I will provide project updates, maybe a few outtakes, iPhone photos, and, of course, many of the people and stories I find along the road. But I, and my classmates, will be blogging on our website and posting audio and photographs. So be sure to keep an eye on our blog as well.
A day in the life of Annemarie’s Dairy stand, a small business at Cleveland’s West Side Market.
Annemarie Geffert-Tapajna began working for the previous owners of her stand when she was 16. 17 years ago, after originally trying to buy the stand, the owners gave it back to the city and Annemarie acquired it. She now runs it with her mother, Barb. Annemarie is a vegetarian and besides selling an impressive collection of cheeses, she also sells tofu and other vegetarian/vegan options. She also sells milk from a family run dairy which comes in glass bottles and boasts of being chemical and hormone free as well as being non-homogenized.
This was my first time trying to do anything like this, and it was a great first experience. Early on, Annemarie told me that she had taken photography courses in high school and college and was always embarrassed about taking people’s pictures, a sentiment I wholeheartedly share, so she told me I could photograph anything and she would just let me do my thing. I had a great time getting to know Annemarie and her mother and many other people at the market yesterday, and I look forward to seeing them again soon.
I’ve been pretty miserable and uninspired in photo as of late. I posted a status on facebook a few weeks ago about how lost I’ve gotten in bureaucracy and fighting for my education daily in my liberal arts classes, and how some days I look around building 7 and wonder why I’m there. I barely feel like a photographer anymore because every day if I’m not in class, I’m at work, or I’m doing something administrative for NPPA. There are days i forget to eat and there are days I can barely get out of bed. Basically, the last few weeks have really sucked the life and the motivation out of me. However today, after what I felt was a good conversation in NPPA, I realized that I need to just MAKE THE TIME to shoot. So I finally bit the bullet and asked a friend how to get access to sporting events on campus. Turns out pretty much everything except for hockey is fair game. So I went to the men’s basketball game this evening and shot sports for the second time ever (my first time being professional baseball last summer during my time shadowing at The Plain Dealer).
I didn’t shoot it perfectly by any means and before even going through my take, I know none of them will make it into my portfolio. But damn, it felt really good to shoot. I could feel my reflexes quickening as the game progressed and my photos got better as well.
I’ve never really seen sports photography as something that could be fun or interesting, but right now, all I want to do is go to another game and do it better.
It feels really fucking good to feel like a photographer again.