One of the pleasures of photography for me is not knowing for certain if the picture I took will come out exactly how I had imagined it. Many people shy away from this, but I embrace the uncertainty because it keeps me on my toes and it always delivers the feeling of excitement when unrolling a developed roll of film. Sometimes you get duds, but in every failure, there's a lesson to be learned. From time to time there are also those special moments when the stars align and the photo gods deliver you a gem beyond your imagination
The way that this man is resting his hands clasped together reminded me of the same way my dad would stand when waiting on something. It also has the compositional elements that attracts me to a photograph. It is minimalistic, has strong graphic shape to it, and there is something that makes me feel (in this case, a human gesture). The lighting conditions was not favorable, but I knew it was a shot that I can creative work with in the darkroom. It wasn't until I made a test print and looked closely at it for a few days when I noticed something special.
Zoomed into his hands, there is something peculiar happening. With both his ring and his watch worn backwards, some questions arise. Was he in a hurry? Does he normally wear his jewelry in that manner? Why are his finger nails so long? The beauty of photography has always been the many stories that it can tell. The better photographs to me are the ones that allows me to make my own narratives with my own perceptions.
Coney Island has always held a place in my heart. Yes, the water is murky, the sand is littered with glass, and the neighborhood has some of the most dangerous housing projects in Brooklyn. But just outside the sandy path and on the boardwalk, you can find real "New York" culture spawning on every block. I never considered myself a "documentary street photographer", (though I have the deepest respect for that medium) so the below photo is a bit out of what I would normally photograph.
When my eyes saw a dog driving a car, my instinct was to quickly read the light and snap the photo. The window period was short but I think I got the best photo that could have possibly been made at that point. It is easy to get lost in this photo due to the unique subject and the busy background. But if you let your eyes wander a bit, you may find yourself a nice surprise.
On the bottom left corner, there was a detail on the car that read "New Yorker". It was like a stamp of approval. To me, the photo was a portrait of Coney Island and it's eccentricity. Coney Island is an iconic area of New York and has been photographed in a million cliche ways. But to me, Coney Island symbolized a melting pot of not only the diversity of ethnicities in New York, but the different characters in it. Strange things happen in Coney Island and to outsiders, it can feel a little overwhelming and intimidating.
I've always believed that one of the good qualities that I have is my attention to detail. (Yes, I listed that on my resume and meant it!) As I develop and grow as a photographer, I'm learning that it isn't the grand scheme of things that attract me, but rather the small details that always seem to be the cherry on top for me.
I have been receiving some interests for some of my prints recently and I am truly honored. If you are interested in purchasing a print, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly make one for you! All prints are silver gelatin prints on fiber based paper handmade in the darkroom in my studio in Brooklyn.
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