Friday, December 27, 2013

A Picture

It took me most of a year, off and on, to make this picture:

To be fair, the "work" involved was sitting around in a coffee shop drinking fancy coffee drinks, keeping my eyes open, and occasionally pressing a button.

It should be obvious, but this is about that moment when a pretty girl walks into a coffee shop. Men glance at her. Just for a moment, but there's a particular way that glance looks. Ultimately, I made this on my birthday when my birthday present was several hours to do with what I pleased. I was pleased go drink coffee. I made one exposure, without looking at the camera, in that 90 minutes of coffee shop time, and this is it.

It's a Winogrand street shot, complete with tilt, shot with the exact opposite of Winogrand's technique. It was possible, for me, because this is a moment that occurs over and over, every 10 or 20 or 30 minutes. The problem is where to sit, and when to press the button. The moment will happen again if you miss it.

So what?

This is a good picture, but it's useless to me. It's a single instance photograph, which is basically a copy of someone else's pictures. I can't do this sort of thing often enough to pull together a coherent portfolio, and having made this I don't feel any particular need to shoot any more street photography. Can I print this and hang it? It doesn't really fit in to my decor, such as it is. It's not clear it fits into anyone's decor. Could I sell it? Is it journalism?

I don't think it's any of those things. This is a picture without a home.

That's a shame, because it's a good picture. One of the better ones I've ever made.


  1. ...sure you can. Print it mount it and hang it up with a few other "one offs" that I am sure you have made over the years. Why not. That's what I do.

    1. It's not a print I want on my wall, though. It's a picture I am pleased to have made, but which literally seems to serve no purpose at all for me. I do realize that this is about me, not about the picture, but it makes the problem no less real!