My original plan (circa 2008) was to document urban decay and industrial blight but over time I discovered my enthusiasm for this subject just wasn't there. Urban exploration is hard work, I'm not interested in stomping on rusty nails, playing hide-and-seek with security guards or climbing fences anymore.
In 2016, I attended a series of photography workshops in San Francisco with Mark de Paola, David Burnett, Harvey Stein and Eric Kim. I discovered street photography – specifically street portraits – to be a transcendent joy. I enjoyed wandering around San Francisco – in the Mission District and at SF Pride – asking folks if I could take their portrait for a class.
In one such class, Eric Kim sent us out into San Francisco's Mission District with these instructions: "Go out and ask people if you can take their portrait. When you get 5 'no' answers, come back." Instead of a series of quick rejections, I encountered hundreds of people who graciously agreed to pose for me. People invited me into their homes, showed me their art and some of their favorite things. Some asked to see their portrait and had me take another (and another and another) until they were satisfied with the result.
According to Adobe Lightroom, I've taken a little under 50,000 images since 2008. I've found that taking photo walks with co-workers and attending Meetup events really help to get out there. However, during the pandemic my output dropped to around 600 photographs per year.
Sometimes I can find humor in images too.
Sometimes I just get lucky!
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