Saturday, March 8, 2008

Jesse Marlow: What Was He Thinking?

"Wandering the streets with my camera is something I’ve done since I was a young kid. When I was 8 years old my uncle gave me a copy of a book called Subway Art. The book was a photographic documentation of the New York graffiti scene that exploded in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Inspired by the book and with the help of my mum who would drive me around from wall to wall, I would jump out with her old Minolta and photograph the brightly coloured walls that began appearing in Melbourne. I did this for the next 10 years and this led to my interest in being out on the street documenting what I saw. I think my parents were a lot happier that I was photographing graffiti than doing it myself."

"This is from 1999 and taken a year after photography school. I would walk around the Melbourne city grid on a daily basis looking for anything interesting to photograph. From a distance, I spotted these two elderly men sitting there having a chat. I shot about 2 frames from around 5 metres away and gradually inched closer trying to achieve a more symmetrical composition without imposing myself on the scene. I ended up shooting another 3 or 4 frames."

"This is one of my favourite street photos from the years that I shot B+W. The shop window had always caught my eye. It’s the Nike shop and is on the corner of Melbourne’s two busiest streets. An extra wide pavement here similar to the ones on Oxford Street, London gives great depth to street photos. It was early afternoon on a summer’s day and I was out shooting with my auto-focus Hexar (hence the one handed shooting style). I was drawn to the Andre Agassi poster and the reflections that were bouncing off the glass. I shot a few frames of people walking past the poster but needed something extra. All of a sudden the man in the wheelchair appeared and cruised through the frame. He didn’t stop but as he passed through he gave me a curious look as to what on earth I might be photographing."

"This photo was taken on a Sunday morning prior to Christmas in a square in Melbourne. I was out walking around taking pictures and noticed a queue of kids lining up to sit on Santa’s knee. I noticed this slightly older taller boy in the queue and I thought it seemed a bit odd. My instincts told me I should wait and see what happened when it was his turn. I remember that I felt a little bit uncomfortable and didn’t really want to be seen with a camera standing around a queue of young kids waiting to sit on Santa’s knee. Then it was the young boy's turn and his mother walked up with him. Like me, he wasn’t comfortable either and he reacted by planting his feet and resisting. It happened very quickly and I shot a few frames."

"I think this photo has a real ‘Melbourne’ feel to it. Melbourne can have a dark and gothic look and feel at times…. particularly in Autumn. Large piles of leaves had formed around the city and this photo was taken on a road with tall buildings on either side, causing a wind tunnel in certain spots. Naturally drawn by the magical look of leaves circling around and around, and having recently seen the film American Beauty, I still had the famous scene of the red plastic bag flying through the air on my mind."

"It was 2002 and I had just worked a 10 hour shift at The Age newspaper in Melbourne. Shooting mundane news stories, I couldn’t wait to get out of the office and shoot a few photos for myself. I walked out the door of the paper and at the same time a young woman was walking past with the head in her hands. I couldn’t believe it. I pulled out my Leica and walked slowly behind her shooting a few frames. The bus stop appeared out of nowhere and it was a bit of luck to have the sleeping face on the poster."

"This is one of the photos from my ‘Wounded’ book. I was completely obsessive while shooting this series. I shot the walking wounded as they went about their daily routines for over 2 years. I became an expert at spotting someone in a crowd with their arm a in sling. This is one of the last photos I shot in the series and was a bit of a gift from the photo gods. I had just had my morning coffee and as I walked out of the coffee shop noticed the person carrying the spine. I walked behind her keeping a good distance but still shooting a few frames, When she arrived at the intersection things came together. By chance the man on crutches appeared and walked through frame. I quickly took two frames, smiled to myself and walked off in the other direction."

Jesse Marlow is the author of the photobook Wounded. His work can be found online here and here.


Anonymous said...

Great photo's and background. I've always been interested in what the photographers from in-public are up to. In relation to the final photo, i really like the whole 'Wounded' concept and book.

Anonymous said...

Was the bag in American Beauty really red? "Look closer"... :)