Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top Forty Countdown

Favorite titles encountered in 2012:

Books read

1. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2004)
2. Manhunt, James L. Swanson (2007)
3. McGoorty, Robert Byrne (2004)
4. Wild, Cheryl Strayed (2012)
5. Starvation Heights, Gregg Olsen (2005)
6. Superstud, Paul Fieg (2005)
7. Blood Relation, Eric Koenigsberg (2006)
8. The Ledge, Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan (2011)
9. Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness, Alexandra Fuller (2011)
10. The Opposite Field, Jesse Katz (2009)

Photobooks acquired

1. 101 Tragedies, Enrique Metinides (2012)
2. Deformer, Ed Templeton (2008)
3. Warwick Mountain Series, Philip Perkis (1978)
4. Photographs 1954-1990, Leonard Freed (1992)
5. American Portraits 1979-1989, Leon Borensztein (2012)
6. Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard, Jeff Roshenheim and Waker Evans (2009)
7. American Surfaces, Stephen Shore (2005)
8. 509, Pamela Pecchio (2009)
9. To The Past, Nobuyoshi Araki (2012)
10. Color Correction, Ernst Haas (2011)
11. In Almost Every Picture #9: Black Dog (2010)
12. Animals That Saw Me, Ed Panar (2011)
13. Gidropark, Yelena Yemchuk (2011)
14. Foto Follies, Duane Michals (2007)
15. Light Sources, James Welling (2010)

Films seen

1. Martha Marcy May Marlene, Sean Durkin (2011)
2. Baghead, Jay and Mark Duplass (2008)
3. Melvin Goes to Dinner, Bob Odenkirk (2003)
4. Another Earth, Mike Cahill (2011)
5. The Puffy Chair, Jay and Mark Duplass (2005)

Albums discovered

1. Cut, The Slits (1979)
2. Baby, How Can it Be?, Various Artists (2010)
3. Big Lizard in My Backyard, Dead Milkmen (1985)
4. Items, Household (2011)
5. Striking It Rich, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks (1972)
6. Creation Rebel, Burning Spear (1976)
7. The Great Conch Train Robbery, Shel Silverstein (1979)
8. Tragic Songs of Life, The Louvin Brothers (1956)
9. Moon Over Madison, Hasil Adkins (1990)
10. Muswell Hillbillies, The Kinks (1971)

It's been a great year. I'm off for the next week. Catch you all in 2013...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

I had new business cards made recently by the good folks at Moo. They look great but I'm not really sure what to do with them. I rarely attend conventions or networking sessions, and I usually avoid meeting dressy types or anyone official or who looks like they might care about a business card.

But I wanna show people B is for real, so I've been leaving them here and there anonymously the way I leave workprints. Park benches. Phone booths. Etc. I'm a regular Johnny business-card-Seed. And I've got some extras. So if your name and phone number happen to be the same as mine get in touch and I'll send you some, and you too can puzzle over what to do with them.

Oh well. I suppose I should've thought about all of this before having them made. But that's just not how I roll. I've got a business card now. This shit's real. I'm living on the edge, yo, starting yesterday.

Also on the personal networking front, the Art Photo Index launched its huge website last week. I'm not sure if it has any practical use but it's very fun to browse just to see how photographers present themselves. My strategy was scattered. I chose six photos which had absolutely nothing to do with one another, then backed it up with text from one of those online Mad-Libs-style artist statement generators:
Ever since my early childhood career I have been fascinated by the essential unreality of relationships. My work explores the discordant hyperspace between Critical theory and divergent serendipitous sightings. With influences as diverse as Kierkegaard, Coltrane, and Andy Warhol, new tensions are crafted from both constructed and discovered dialogues, so that what starts out as contemplation soon becomes finessed into a hegemony of futility, leaving only a sense of failing and the dawn of a new order. For example, my untitled photograph tentatively titled (Untitled) #4598 embodies an idiosyncratic view of dominant recorded tropes, yet the familiar imagery allows for a connection between sidewalk, camera, and people's shoes, a recurring motif in my work. As intermittent derivatives become reconfigured through diligent and diverse practice, the viewer is left with an insight into the limits of our world.  
I currently divide my time between Berlin and the barn at the end of my driveway.

I have no idea what this says. But I feel that in itself expresses where I am today with my photography. Photography is a beautiful mystery bla bla bla, and all that stuff. You can't pin it down bla bla bla. Which I could write in an artist statement but it wouldn't make me laugh. It wouldn't make me feel young.

On the blog front, despite my mid-year abandonment it's been a good year for B. I've been running the numbers recently and they're very encouraging:

Forty-seven. Two. Nine-hundred-sixty. Pi. Several million and three. Zero. Eight. Fifty thousand. But probably the one which gives me the most hope moving forward is eighty-eight point one. And of course forty-four. That's how old I'll be tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Maier at Hallward

For me the most noteworthy facet of the current Vivian Maier exhibit at Powell's Basil Hallward Gallery (drawn from the Goldstein collection) has nothing to do with the images. It's the fact that they are silver gelatin photos. That's a relative rarity nowadays, especially with contemporary work. Since the millennium began just 12 short years ago darkroom printing has quickly transitioned from mainstream to outlier.  Certainly there was no sign of it in last year's Vivian Maier exhibition at The Chicago Cultural Center which took the country by storm. Those were inkjets from scans, made according to current fashion.

Yes, the era of darkrooms has faded. But that happened to be the era that in which Vivian Maier lived. If she'd printed her own work during her lifetime they would've been silver gelatin prints made in a darkroom. So I think there's some poetic justice in applying that process now to her work. 

A shadow of the mysterious Maier, from the Goldstein Collection

The smallish (12 x 12) prints at Basil Hallward are probably better than Maier could've made on her own. The print quality is quite extraordinary. A crack-team of experts was hired for the task including master printers Ron Gordon and Sarah Steinbrecher from Chicago. They've done a bangup job with these. I did not see the Maloof show last year at any of its various stops, but it's hard to imagine those prints matching the craft on display here. 

In fact I think that may been some of the motivation to go down the silver gelatin route with these, to distinguish this show from the other one. Battle lines have been drawn. The two collections (Maloof Collection, Ltd and The Jeffrey Goldstein CollectionPerhaps the Ron Slattery collection will join the fray soon?) are basically competing for the same eyeballs, and of course the same pile of money. So any characteristic which is perceived as putting one above the other will probably be emphasized in the sales pitch. 

Wait a minute. Sales pitch? Yeah, sorry. I don't mean to reduce the show to a naked money grab, but there is certainly a golden goose dynamic here. If Goldstein had discovered a federal minting machine at an estate sale which could print old currency, the fallout would be roughly similar: Limited editions touring widely. The Basil Hallward prints start at $1800 and go up from there as the edition approaches the limit of 15. The other option is to buy the Deluxe Clamshell Edition book with print for $850. The Maloof Collection is structured similarly. One can buy prints or a book, or there is the additional option of buying the occasional vintage print made by Maier, for who knows how much.

Vivan Maier Deluxe Clamshell Book/Print Package

I suppose I can't begrudge anyone attempting to sell photos, and $1800 is near the going rate for a nice selenium-toned print by a respected artist. But at least when you buy a print from a living photographer you have a sense of direct support. Maybe they'll use the money for film or equipment or next month's rent. Or at least that's a story you can tell yourself. In this case? Not so much. Maier is dead. She has no heirs. Any sales proceeds will funnel straight to her self-appointed curators.  

I'm not exactly complaining here. I'm very glad these photos have been rescued and presented publicly. And I'm not naive. I know that collectors shape photographic history as much as photographs do. Still, the whole enterprise leaves me with a funny taste in my mouth.

But what of the photos? The Hallward show is very good. Not spectacular, but definitely worth seeing. This is in contrast to the Maloof Collection, which I would qualify as extraordinary based on what I've seen online. Whether it's through more conscious editing or because Maloof got the lion's share of what was out there, I give that collection the nod over Goldstein for sheer jaw-dropping impact. 

The curatorial approach is different as well. In contrast to Maloof's scatter-shot exhibition, The Hallward show puts Maier's work on a timeline and provides supporting historical text. We recount Maier's life, her early work with 35 mm, her transition to candid street portraiture, then her later fascination with formal abstraction. And of course running throughout her life are her hundreds of self-portraits which formed the default mode for her self expression. At the end of the timeline, after we read of her death and posthumous rediscovery, is the option to open the wallet and buy a chunk of her. It's a nice personal history but for me it was missing any explosive fireworks. There were no images here which stopped me in my tracks. But it was wonderful to see an entire wall of silver gelatin prints.

Vivian Maier is a continuing source of fascination for me. I love her photos. I love her life story. I will probably always enjoy any show or book of her work. I've written about her many times including here, here, here, here, and of course here in the early days of her rediscovery. 

But I can't help wondering what she might think of all this fuss over her? Would she approve? Or shrug it off? Would she demand a slice of the pie? Or would she just ignore it all and take her Rollei on a walk downtown? 

Vivan Maier: Out of The Shadows is at Basil Hallward Gallery, 3rd floor of Powell's, 1005 w Burnside in Portland through December 2012. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Story

The evolution of Christmas correspondence:

Twelve page letter handwritten on parchment.

Five page handwritten letter with cabinet card photograph enclosed.

Postcard depicting holiday scene. Handwritten greeting on back.

Short handwritten personal letter with holiday snapshot enclosed.

Mass form letter recounting year's events, printed on computer and sent to friends and relatives, signed at bottom.

Mass form letter with text and photos combined on home computer, signed at bottom.

Formal portrait of kids, converted into holiday card at local drugstore, signed at bottom.

Snapshot of kids converted into holiday card via online service, unsigned.

Generic computer graphic sent digitally to friends and relatives via email or posted on Facebook, unsigned.

Blog post addressed to general public reposting someone else's animated tree gif, unsigned.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Under the Radar

Most of the annual best-of-2012 Photobook lists have come and gone. Below are some of my favorites from the past year which flew under the radar. I haven't seen these listed any place else so I want to give each a small shout out here just to make sure they aren't forgotten. All are recommended.

The Complete Contacts
Daido Moriyama

Printed by Aperture in conjunction with the abridged monograph Labyrinth, this special expanded edition takes a broader approach than its companion tome. While Labyrinth shows only 300 contact sheets, this 47 volume classic depicts the entire collection. For the first time, contacts of every roll ever shot by Moriyama are gathered in one publication. Moriyama has never been afraid to question traditional notions of editing or sequencing, and the Japanese master famously scoffs at any limitations on his prolific output. Following his cue, the book cleverly turns the tables on the author/reader relationship by transferring notions of production, filtering, and book storage strategies from publisher to viewer.

Photographs of Some Place Or Other
Robert Adams

Yet another round of nondescript photos of some place or other, or possibly another place entirely, all shot in the bland, disaffected style which has become the Adams trademark. Trees, rocks, wonderfully poignant leaves, the western frontier, maybe a path disappearing stage rear. Yeah, you get the idea. It has something to do with his walking and thinking about stuff. And he's got a PhD in English so you know his photos are literate and that if you don't always get them it's on you, not him. Because he went to some place or other and things got really heavy, and the resulting photos of some place or other prove it. And here's the book, or possibly another book entirely.

LBM Dispatch: Bumfuck
Alec Soth and Brad Zellar

For the latest installment of Alec Soth's continuing photographic study of regional Americana, Soth and writing partner Brad Zellar traveled to Bumfuck, Idunno, where they spent a week photographing and interviewing local residents. As with all of Soth's explorations to date, the residents of Bumfuck prove amazingly resilient and insightful, and make for wonderful photographic subjects. It's a bit cliche to call the local denizens salt-of-the-earth from Bumfuck. But the resulting portfolio, published tabloid style on newsprint, fulfills that label and more. It proves the universality of the term while confirming that in our heart of hearts, we all live in Bumfuck.

Family Album
Allison Youngblood

One of most exciting photographic trends in recent years has been the explosion of found and appropriated imagery. Photographers have used material from every source imaginable, recasting and recontextualizing the content while subjugating the original meaning. Allison Youngblood is among those leading the pack with two well received monographs Tour-Spiel and Found On The Bus. In Family Album, Youngblood used her parents' attic as source material. Appropriating images from an old family scrapbook, Youngblood recreated her own family history in a way which is virtually identical to, and in fact inseparable from, the past. Photos of distant relatives, friends, living rooms, and pets combine in the style of an old scrapbook and in identical sequence to the original, forming a perfect fascimile of her own family album. Youngblood's monograph cleverly revisits the lost era of the printed family snapshot, the personal scrapbook, and the re-familiarization with re-family.

A New American Picture, Part 2: The Suburbs
Doug Rickard

For the modern photographer living in a city, the suburbs have long been a dangerous no-go zone. The geography of endless shopping malls, cul-de-sacs, and peaceful uniformity is as awe inspiring as it is terrifying. Ironically these tracts exists in close proximity to most metropolitan safe havens, but until recently few photographers have dared venture into them. Until now the proper tools simply didn't exist. Until Google Street View. Now the doors have swung open. Photographers have begun to virtually explore the parking lots and power walkers occupying this mysterious land, all from the familiar safety of their favorite espresso shop or hip used record parlor. Doug Rickard is one of the best and most enterprising. Through careful editing of Street View, Rickard's appropriated imagery portrays the loneliness, despair, and crushing intellectual poverty of suburban life with directness and authority, while maintaining a tender, if somewhat paternalistic, tone.

Books on Books on Books #1: Errata's Atget
Various Editors

Following in the footsteps of the well-loved Errata Editions series of reconsidered photography monographs, the new Books on Books on Books series reexamines the Books on Books series from a contemporary point of view. Books on Books on Books #1: Errata's Atget looks at Errata Edition's Books on Books #1: Eugene Atget. Every page of the Books on Books #1 volume has been carefully scanned and reproduced at high resolution, while attempting to remain faithful to publisher Jeff Ladd's original intentions. The resulting book includes all material found in the original plus supplementary essays by Ed Grazda, Gerry Badger, and Anne Wilkes Tucker which consider Books on Books #1 from a variety of perspectives while providing historical context for the series. 

The Forgetmenauts
Christopher Middling

In the late 90s and early 2000s, thousands of emerging photographers from around the world engaged in a mad scramble for career ascendence. Hordes upon hordes attempted to lift themselves into an orbit resembling artistic self sufficiency, but for a variety of reasons most of them never achieved liftoff. These attempts were quickly forgotten and would've been buried in history were it not for the attention of Christopher Middling, who painstakingly recreated scenes from the effort and photographed them in his own unique fashion. With handwritten notes, graphs, and charts as well as photos, the resulting self-published book, The Forgetmenauts, is an unforgettable study of ambition, rocketry, and the urge to reach for the stars before disintegrating into the space dust which is everyone's eventual fate.

The Little Pamphlet of Profound Tweets
Colfax and Harbaugh

Since the advent of Twitter less than 5 short years ago, photographers have quickly adopted the platform as an essential component of everyday practice. But until now the approach has been decidedly scattershot. The vast universe of Twitter challenges the editing and management skills of the most astute online denizens. Which streams are worth following? Which are fluff? In late 2012, this handy 4 page pamphlet by Colfax and Harbaugh came to the rescue, collecting all 17 profound tweets that have stood the test of time and proven truly indispensable to photographers, and publishing them in a convenient pocket-sized pamphlet. Although the first edition quickly sold out (and is now only available to those with deep pockets), the second edition is widely available and sure to become an instant classic. Truly indispensable.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Antonis Damolis: What Was He Thinking?

Antonis Damolis, 32, is a photographer based in Iraklio, Crete, Greece. 

This photo was taken at the party of a wedding. I was very happy to get the official photographer's permission to move around and take some photos of my own. The combination of alcohol and music gave me a "floating" sensation and this was what I was after photographicaly. Usually during a dance, there are women throwing little baskets of flowers to the dancers, showing admiration for their skills and mystifying the whole act. I was very happy to catch these flowers all over my scene and the dancer during a spin. What made me really happy was the sudden appearance of the guy with the broom who was trying to sweep the floor. It gave me the chance to make an even more surreal photo out of this scene. It's one of these photos where you move around, dance with the people, make 30,40 clicks, and suddenly one of them pops up!

This photo reveals how many Greeks feel right now. The financial oppression, the Greek "experiment" has caused a feeling of guilt combined with depression in many levels of our society. The story behind the photo is not that important. This was a saleswoman in the airport of Athens. She was angry when she discovered that I was taking pictures of her, when I noticed the one I liked I deleted the others and showed her the picture, telling her that her face is not visible and she doesn't need to worry (and definitely doesn't need to call the police!). Later I thought that even her angry reaction matched the concept of the photo. Anyway, this is my personal comment on the times my country is going through.

This was taken in Bucharest, Romania. Bucharest is a city that I love because I spent 10 years there during my studies. I went there last June with the thought to try and make a set of photos as an homage to these 10 years. This is a park in front of the natural history museum. I noticed the man sitting still on a bench staring at the city traffic. I had already pictured the final photo (my aim was not to reveal the bench, serving the photographic "lie") with a headless giraffe and the human head appearing at the bottom of the frame out of nowhere. I passed by him 7, 8 times pretending to shoot the giraffe. All of the clicks revealed an expressionless man appart from this one. I don't know what he saw behind me. Maybe something was happening behind me, that I missed, but he saw. In any case he gave me this expression that immediately got me interested.

This is my all time personal favourite. A dead man. A man half absorbed by Mother Earth after reading something terrible in the newspaper.. Or maybe just another sunbather. I was with a friend walking up and down the beach trying to take photos. We spotted this guy and got close trying to correlate him with the other bathers. After many different clicks I had the idea to lift the camera and shoot from above. I use a prime lens so I know the frame more or less. When I saw the result I was more than happy! The dead man, the newspaper and towel, his hands, his head, all were in the right place.

In the summer I started visiting a tourist resort near my hometown called Malia. It's a well known place for beautiful beaches and a vibrant nightlife, where many British tourists come and have fun during their vacation. Ι walk the main road and I notice these two girls going in and out a hole in the wall. Various crowds are going by making fun of them, singing, drinking, shouting at them. I went and took some photos from up the stairs, from the side, trying to make a connection with the crowd. When I noticed that this particular girl was ready to get back in and the passers by had dissapeared I decided to go in front of the scene and isolate this surreal situation. The result was this with the viewer being free to make any sort of interpretation.

I was on a trip in Istanbul, visiting friends and taking photos, when I noticed this man relaxing under the sun. I moved around him trying to figure out my frame. Next to him was this cat lying down so I decided to use the tree to separate them and give each one their own privacy. I took 5 or 6 shots, but the one I was happy about popped up when the cat started licking her foot. It was a nice moment of privacy in a public space and I was quite happy about it.

This was shot during the same trip in Istanbul. I had observed many bald people with stains of blood on their heads walking the streets. I was wondering about them thinking they could be some sort of cult. When I decided to try and take a photo, I noticed these two, and when they came near me I took a photo of their faces. After that I followed them in order to take a shot that revealed their situation and somehow correlated with the environment. Since it was a public space with a huge crowd next to us, I decided to lower a bit and use that pole as an observer. At first I was angry because I failed to put the pole right between them, but then again I noticed the geometry of the image and the fact that my subject's situation was very clear and visible in the photo. After coming back home, someone told me that hair transplant operations have these symptoms on the skin of the head. 

This is a staged photo. I was drinking a beer with a friend when I asked him to simply smoke and I would try to make something out of it. The result is something I really enjoyed even though it's not candid. The position of the head and the frame were my choice and I was very happy to get the noir atmosphere I wanted in the first place, and to avoid the smoking man during the exhale of the smoke. It's another big favourite of mine.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Seasonal Silly

It's the season of giving. Maybe readers have noticed that theme arise in certain posts here over the past week? I didn't even notice it myself until just today, but there it was here, here, here, and here. Unplanned, I swear. 

Actually a season of giving is silly. It's a fine time to give things away any old day of the year. In 2012 I received photo related objects from many quarters (mostly books and prints, plus the occasional blow up doll), and I want to publicly acknowledge all of them here, in no particular order. Hopefully I haven't omitted anyone.

Bobby Abrahamson
Steve Rockoff
Ori Jauch
Tom Griggs
Theo Stroomer
George LeChat
Bryan Wolf
Zisis Kardianos
Bob Gervais
Missy Prince
George Kelly
Lyla Emery
Bill and Marilyn Andrews
Tabitha Soren
Lisa Gidley
Pete Brook
Jewel Mlnarik
Joe Reifer
Joscha Bruckett
Peter Evans
Jerry Jump
Faulkner Short
Chris Hoge
Bruce Hall
Portland Grid Project
The Postcard Collective
Nick Haymes (2012 Gift King)

Thank You All! I really appreciate and value all photos and books that come my way, and I look very carefully at everything. 

I encourage all photographers to make gifts of your work. I'm not talking about giving away every photo, or ceasing to earn a living. And I'm not talking about handing out keepsakes as a marketing tool or with any ulterior motive. But here and there once in a while it's fun to send out freebies. Don't keep that stuff in the closet. Give it to another photographer! 

And of course if you have anything especially valuable or easily convertible to cash this holiday season, I'm ready and willing to receive it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The trouble with people

John Gossage: ...One thing I’m very sparing with is photographing people. Once you insert a person into the work, he or she become the protagonist and a lot of my books are at such low intensity that it throws everything off. I want the viewer to be the protagonist in the book. Like in The Thirty-Two Inch Ruler – no people occur except for the viewer.

Lewis Baltz: I think this is one thing we have in common: that the subject of the work is the person looking at it. If you want to get a little more Zen about it, the subject is necessary for the completion of the work.


And the intellectual or imaginative engagement of the viewer is what makes the work finally a work. And if you interpose another human in the work, then he or she becomes the subject, which I think is too simplistic.

I think it’s to be used incredibly sparingly and delicately.

Do you see yourselves as the first protagonists when you take photos, so that you are actually the subjects of the work?

No. The work isn’t autobiographical, at least not intentionally.

That’s another ‘chasing the tail’ thing. In a sense everything you do is autobiographical, even the decision to be objective is subjective and so on. But if you place us next to any kind of work that’s ‘subjective’ or ‘autobiographical’ you see immediately that we’re not about that. It’s not about our journeys through the world; it’s about a universe we’re trying to look into.

--Excerpted from this interview

Sunday, December 16, 2012


I know Kickstarters are lame but...

Pretty much every Kickstarter pitch I've seen starts with that disclaimer, so I figured it was suitable here. The Helen Levitt movie Kickstarter expires in 12 hours (midnight 12/16). It's currently about $4,000 short of being funded.

Helen Levitt, from the book Slide Show
Honestly I have no idea who the people are behind this. Tanya Sleiman. Frazer Bradshaw. Kent Sparling. Strangers in cyberspace. They could be crooks or assholes or cyber aliases for all I know. But I have a feeling they're legit and that they're building something constructive.

Whatever. I can't control their end of things. All I can do is send money, which I've done, and which is rare for me. I don't fund many Kickstarters. The reason this one is different is that Helen Levitt's Photographs Kick Ass! Come on people. You know it's true. I know it's true. Her photos rule! I want to see a movie about them. Can you believe there isn't one already? Maybe this will help change that.

I know Kickstarters are lame but...

Give till it hurts. Good things will happen. Maybe.

(Addendum: 12/17: The film has been funded. Look for it in late 2013)

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christos Kapatos: What Was He Thinking?

Christos Kapatos is a photographer based in Athens, Greece. More of his work can be found here and here.

"This one is one of my favorites. It was taken last June in the center of Athens. I was commissioned by a local newspaper to create some images for their "summer in the city" issue. This one was caught when I was trying to create an image for the "heat wave" subject. During summer I use to go out for photo walks with my friend Costas who is the main character. I was desperate as I had 2 days left for my deadline but I thought I should relax this morning and make some shots for me. It was a very hot day and we got exhausted after an hour's walk. We stopped for some water and there it was. I usually have my flash on triggers or on wire when in the street. When I saw the scene, I just thought to frame him with the Asian tourist girls. He was so big and they were so little. Street Gods were kind enough to me to offer the color match of the cars and the clothes, the pole stuck in the man's brain and the weird creature with the sunglasses. I had a great street shot and a worthy one for my editorial. They finally rejected the picture though."

"Athens and Piraeus where I live have ugly buildings and too much optical noise. At the period I made this shot, I was looking for strange characters against the clear sky, giving them strange light with my flash. This is a friend of mine and we were walking together along with other friends in Piraeus in an industrial area with not many people walking around. There were those trees with low branches and I was 3 to 5 meters ahead of the others, trying to create urban landscapes framed with flashed leaves of the trees. As was framing this one, the other guys caught up with me but they stopped walking trying not to get in my frame. Keeping my eye in the camera and the flash low in my left hand, I said "Ok guys, go on" and this guy just popped into my frame unaware that he was the subject. The light pole is another gift. I never noticed it before viewing the images on my PC. "

"This is another favorite shot of mine. I was actually following the man on the suit,  walking by his side on the street but there were cars parked and I couldn't get anything out of it. When we got to the corner, the man gave the junkie the meanest look he could. He found his ID card on the pavement and started looking at it. The junkie had just dropped it but he couldn't find it. He had just sniffed some heroin and he was somewhere else. As he was holding himself from the pole I imagined that everything in this world must be wrong and that he was was trying to straighten everything by pulling the lever. That's why I tilted my frame. I wanted to show the junkie man straight and the world around him wrong."

"Another dull day in the city. There was no light, people were moody, we were walking for a couple of hours and nothing interesting had shown up until those guys just turned the corner. My reaction was instinct. I raised the camera to my eye and the left hand with the flash on wire and just hit it. The left guy bumped on my wire after the click and he apologized. I am not sure if the guys were identical twins or even brothers or just models that looked alike. The fact that I was late to see them, resulting in the chopped face was good after all. I love the mystery."

"This one belongs in a series I'm working on about people that work in the sex industry and the perception of them by their customers. I was at an erotic exhibition with girls walking and performing all around and the place was crowded with photographers. What struck my attention was the way men like carnivores were looking at the girls. The man in the background must be their "manager". His gaze could kill you and after the shot he asked me if I had shot him and if so, I had to erase the image. I had to go on preview and zoom a bit before showing him that I had only caught the girl's legs."

"I shot this during a wedding reception. I was assigned to capture the event on video. The wedding was held on the beautiful island of Hydra and in order to cut on my budget, I had arranged to leave the island on the first boat early next morning without renting a room for the night. So after finishing with my video shots at about 3 or 4 am, I got in the crowd with everybody dancing and started taking shots for fun using long exposure and hitting them with my flash pilot. That's what happened here. I went for the flying hat and when I lowered the camera I saw the ecstatic girl and flashed her just before the shutter closed. "

"This old lady was about 4 feet tall.  I always look through my viewfinder when I shoot and when I saw her she was smoking. Actually sucking the cigarette. I bent down and framed her in a second, but she saw me and turned away. I had to shoot instantly. She was blinded by her smoke and that's why she had her eyes half closed. This shot always intrigued me but I only showed it months after I shot it. I love how the street wires are above her and the traffic light red and the signs prohibiting left or right. She seems caught in the city madness but in her own majesty. "

"This was shot on a square in Athens where the buildings are not that ugly and they are far from the people allowing me to frame them with less optical noise. I rarely wait on a spot for something interesting to come by. If and when I do, it's never more than a couple of minutes. This lovely old man was so short but his body and movement drew my attention. I locked on his path, lowered, found my frame and just waited for him to come. He was so short that I had to be on my knees, and put my left hand with the flash on the ground. His open jacket, long neck and weird look made him look like a goose flying above the city. I just love him. When I took the shot he said 'Don't take my telephone'. He meant 'picture'."