Kaos

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.       


There

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.  


  


Thankful

I’m not a big Thanksgiving person.  I’m just not.  When I was a kid, the holiday felt like bullshit to me more often than not because I didn’t really get what I had to be thankful for.  I loved my family, but I was miserable most of the time after my parents got divorced. I didn’t eat turkey so I hated all the food except for the mashed potatoes.  The only thing that was nice about it was that I got a day or two off from school.  As I approached my teen years the whole concept started to feel even more rank.  You learn more about the systemic genocide of the native Americans and the whole concept of giving thanks feels so lopsided that just the thought of it started to make me feel ill.  Like you’re having a party at some guys house that you just slaughtered.   


Then I moved to Sweden and Thanksgiving wasn’t an issue anymore.  For almost 14 years or so I didn’t have to worry about this morally-corrupt, bullshit holiday and the whole thing slipped into memory almost for good.  Then we moved to Los Angeles and here it is, front and center again.  Some things have changed.  My family usually comes up from New Orleans which is lovely.  My mom and stepdad cook and I eat everything that gets put on the table now, but try to take it easy on the mashed potatoes.  I’m still thankful for the same things, my family siting atop that list but I’m also happy that I can provide for my them and that I’m able to be here for my children pretty much whenever they need me.  I’m thankful for my life, my small successes, for Anna Maria, for her patience and her love.    


Even all that still isn’t enough to close my eyes to the realities of our society and the gross injustices one can see on the daily.  When you see how poverty stricken so many people are in this city juxtaposed against the incredible wealth and excess of the upper echelon, it’s hard to feel like we as a nation are interested in doing anything other than lining the pockets of the rich capitalist corporations and those that run them.  We allow the market to succeed and grow while our own quality of life takes staggering hit after staggering hit all the while watching the wealth accumulate at the feet of those who could care less about society’s quality of life.  Capitalism is completely and utterly agnostic to humanity’s quality of life, it’s ability to be happy and whether or not it’s members lead successful productive lives with one single exception.  Capitalism needs us to consume and keep on consuming in order for it to grow and expand.  


It’s disgustingly ironic that Thanksgiving, a day when we’re supposed to genuinely focus on the aspects of our lives that we are truly thankful for–family and love and togetherness–is followed by a day we spend showing just how thankful we are at being slaves to capitalism and consume at the highest volumes of the entire year.  Happy Black Friday America! 


Are you thankful for anything dear reader?  I wonder if the guy in the picture is thankful for anything. 


LeicaM7, 35mm Cron, Kodak Tri-X +1 at the Icon.       

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