Thursday, May 15, 2008

George Kelly: What Was He Thinking?

1. L.A. bésbol

"I was wandering lost some place in West L.A. when I turned down an alley where a couple of kids were hitting a tennis ball with a broom handle. I like to take pictures of things that move, and I also like things bathed in sunlight so I stopped, without asking, and took a couple of pictures. It was only after I had developed the film that I noticed the parallel lines. Chance is the most important ingredient in a random photo taken from life. But if you're not out there pointing your camera at something luck won't happen."

2. Dr. WU

"I had parked my car to eat a sandwich. I think I parked there because of the tooth. The "Dr. Wu" reminded me of Steely Dan, whom I'm not really crazy about. It was a reference anyway. The lady staring around the corner is probably just checking to see if the bus is about to arrive. She looks as if she were spying on the guy down the street. Anyway, I took the picture with the shadow of my Subaru wishing I'd had a slightly longer lens on the camera.

It's fun to make a mundane occurrence take on a fictitious meaning. That's why I hate the practice of photojournalism. It does just that but pretends it doesn't."

3. Fire & Ambulance

"I like spot news. In a small town like Portland, things don't often happen right in front of you. So when I turned the corner and ran into this scene of a homeless man having a seizure, I walked right up and took a picture. Again chance played a huge role in this one. I always wonder what it would be like to live in a more bustling city. Probably just more chance of getting yelled at, chased or beaten up. The rescue workers and a nearby cop really laid into me for preying on this man in his moment of weakness. To me it's just a fiction."

4. Target Checkout

"Taking pictures of kids these days is dicy business. So is taking pictures in big corporate stores and shopping malls. I once got hauled into security at a local mall for taking a picture of a teenage girl. The head security officer screamed at me like a drill sergeant and 86ed me for five years. Anyway, I thought this mother with three little kids in tow epitomized the modern consumer family trying to buy cheap to make ends meet. I pulled my camera tight on its strap around my neck, zone focused and hoped something would turn out."

5. Sandy & 33rd

"Trying to adhere to a self-imposed rule (never pass up a potential opportunity, even if it means arriving somewhere late), I forced myself to circle back once I'd seen this odd event from my car. The lady was about ninety and was wearing a coarse wig. I couldn't figure out why she was sweeping up the windshield glass from the car that had demolished this pay phone. There was no residence or business anywhere near the site. Just someone trying to maintain order in a chaotic world."

6. Garage Fire

"The fire engine blocked my forward progress on this one-way street. By the time I realized it, there were already several cars behind me. Stuck for half an hour, I decided to get out and take a couple pictures with my car camera--a nikon that always sits on the floor of my back seat. There's really not much happening. I guess I kind of like the girl's shadow, and that of the political lawn sign hidden behind her."

7. High Rocks Hi-jinx

"This is one of those white trash spots where teens and ex-cons hang out and deposit their empty beer cans wherever they please. That's Interstate 205 passing over the bridge in the background. With my heart pounding out of my chest, I pointed the camera, took the picture and prayed that no one was looking for a fight. I over exposed the negative, which gives the picture a grainier quality than I would have liked, but I'm glad I recorded the moment. The girl's hand on her own breast is rather sexy."

8. Clark County Fair Neck Bite

"I have wandered many county fairs and taken many cliched boring photographs. So many photographers have done so much better with this subject matter. But for some reason I keep paying the admission fees and trying my luck. Thus photo isn't necessarily a carnival shot--it could be anywhere. It's just that the noise and the activity allowed me to take an intimate picture without being detected. This time (august 2007) I'm glad I spent the five bucks to get in."


Mezz Davies said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mezz Davies said...

(Whoops for the above!) What I was trying to say was: Excellent! Completely unpretentious and humble words making for a thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating read. I really like all these What Were they Thinkings. Thanks.

LUC RABAEY said...

Thanks. Kelly is a great unknown known now!