I haven’t shot for my [Muse]ums series in a while.  Things go in cycles and right now I’m thinking more about shooting some meaningful color work than I am about much of anything else.  Today I woke up fixated on black and white… or in this case grey.  Sadly that’s the way that I work as a human being.  I jokingly tell people that I have a focus that is about the same size as a quarter.  Inside the penumbra it burns with an intensity brighter than the sun, but outside in the shadow, things cease to exist.  

But in truth, this used to be a more accurate description of me a few years back than it is now.  The period at which my attention used to drift was that of a slow pendulum, gliding back and forth and from side to side on my circle of interest–my mind planted at the origin, the vector of my attention gliding around the edge.  But the older I’ve gotten the quicker the period has become and now I glide in and out of points of interest considerably faster and more fluid than I did even a five years ago.  The pace intensifies with each passing day in fact.  I’m wondering if I’ve got some form of degenerative attention deficit disorder, where the spans of cohesive focus are decreasing by milliseconds per day–some small amount not even perceptible, but that after a year or so I notice some small difference.  

But there’s something else I’ve started to realize through this strange process.  Looming behind the spotlight of my immediate consciousness, there is form and structure that I can just barely sense, looming silently in the background.  It’s in the shadow,  two stops underexposed and absolutely there.  I can start to make to make out it’s corners as the spot light swings around the circle and the faster the light swings, the cleaner the form starts to be.  Years ago I was just vaguely aware of this form’s existence. Today I feel I’m starting to understand pieces of it.  When I wrote “corners” that’s actually a pretty accurate analogy of how it feels.  These edges I can make out are a puzzle that I’m slowly filling in.  The faster the spotlight races across the surface the more acute the form becomes.  I’ve come to understand that my consciousness is creating a zoetrope.  I’ve also come to understand that the corners of the form rimmed with the increasingly frenetic swinging spotlight of my A.D.D. consciousness are actually the edges of me.  

The quicker my attention waxes and wanes the more light my consciousness casts on my form.  The faster the zoetrope spins the more in focus I become.  I can feel that I’m getting closer and closer and sharper and sharper but the centrifugal force is threatening to pull me out of orbit.  I need one more minute see through the light and into the vastness beyond, but I’m not there yet… 

Shot on my LeicaM7 at 35mm on Tri-X at 800.       



Another run and gun color image to keep your spirits up, dear purveyor of street photography.  Second verse, same as the first.  We were driving in Hollywood on our way back from here or from there–I can’t really seem to recall and it honestly doesn’t matter, when I see the outside of the Taschen gallery featuring work from Albert Watson.  Anna Maria shouts out “Chris, there’s your shot” and I see the guy in the image waking by the gallery, taking a left turn and heading towards the mural on the side of the building.  A mural of a chimp wearing a crown and his arm holding a gun.  Albert Watson is a genius.    

I jerk the car to the curb and jump out, almost losing a door and my life in the process thanks to a speeding car, make my way to the middle of the street and wait for a car to pass before framing up and making the first of three attempts I was to make of photographing this scene.  First attempt is a failure.  Fucking camera was off.  I make a mental note to sell the M7 and buy and MP for the millionth time, switch on the camera and frame.  My subject had stopped walking to look at the chimp for a moment and then he commenced to fiddling with his phone.  I had missed the moment when he was looking up and I wasn’t terribly interested in an image of him Facebooking or Tindering or whatever the hell he was doing on his phone in front of the Watson image, so maybe my chance had passed.  But then he starts walking again and I’m ready.  

I just have to wait for the asshole in the grey Prius to stop honking his horn and drive around me.  Once asshole-prius-douche realizes what’s going on he drives around me–not like I was standing in his way.  Whatever.  He’s a minor annoyance and I’m already waiting for the right moment to make attempt number two.  I breathe in as he plants his foot and he’s directly under the pistol now.  Click and I’m almost positive that is the winner, but I wait a beat for attempt number three, after cocking the camera.  I breathe out with his step and click. Attempt number three.  

I’m so in my own headspace I don’t realize that two more cars have stopped on the side of me and are letting me make my image.  Unlike asshole-Prius-driver, they are silent–perhaps annoyed but silent all the same and patient.  I wave to them thanking them.  Sorry for the chaos.  

Shot on my Leica M7 at 35mm on Portra400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.       


Time for something different.  I need to stop raging about the world for a few minutes and have a little bit of light-hearted, old fashioned enjoyment, if even only for a minute or two.  I may or may not have mentioned that I’m trying to shoot a little more color.  While I slowly but surely make my way through the gamut of film stocks, trying on each one (yet again) and seeing what fits and what doesn’t, I remember how difficult color really is.  In fact, I would venture to say that color is a fickle bitch in all honestly.  There are so few places I’ve found where I’m able to get the results that I want and even fewer still that I’m able to shoot when the light is good.  So rather than giving up I’ve resorted to another tactic.  If I’m driving somewhere and I see a color shot that I just have to have, I slam on the breaks while veering the car to the side of the road, jump out with my camera and I make that shit happen.  Easy peasy lemon-squeezy.    

It’s stupid.  Really stupid actually, given how insane people drive here in LA.  Most of the time you’re lucky if you don’t get killed walking down the sidewalk much less jumping out of a half-moving car and narrowly defying death as you frogger across LaBrea for an image of a pearlescent green VW bug parked in front of a banana yellow liquor store.  I’m pretty sure I need to examine my priorities, but at the same time color has reinvigorated me somewhat.  Images have an urgency–like I’m finally learning to see them and if I don’t act in that exact moment I’ll never see them again.  

That was the basic framework of the image above as well.  Seeing and acting.  The yellow sign and the blue sky and brown chair, all sitting there waiting for a story.  I jerked the car to a stop at the curb, grabbed my camera and ran to the opposite side of the intersection to see what I could make of it all. I framed the arrow to the pedestrian who I just couldn’t believe was there, walking by and shot few frames in quick succession.  Then I ran back to the car, jumped in the driver’s seat and sped away.  Another Noellert smash and grab.  

There shot on my Leica M7 with the 35mm Cron on Portra400 pushed to 800 at the Icon.  


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