Talkin’ Photowalkin’

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In the crisp winter, between Scott Kelby’s two wussy Photowalks, a couple of flickr friends and I did our own… in the bleak midwinter.
Slideshow of that walk.

My set from Kelby’s WorldWide Photowalk.

Recently, though, members of two different local groups I am active with participated in Scott’s second World Wide Photowalk.

I entered the maximum two entries, and that’s done. I needed to choose between two different versions of a candid portrait of a man I met sitting on a mall bench on Fayetteville Street. Maybe I was the wuss that time; I chose the image that was the preferred treatment of the opportunity, based on a query I made of other photographers (all skill levels). Their preference was to use the simpler version, better isolated from the downtown environment around him, and filling the frame.
Robert Sings

I still can’t shake the feeling, though, that I find the other version preferable, in that it puts him in context, true to my impression of what a downtown photowalk might be. I like the fact that it includes the “distracting elements” found objectionable by those who responded to my query. It’s not a “better picture”, but it is a different picture –one which is an authentic impression of my time and place and interpretation of Photowalk Raleigh NC. Thus:
Robert Sings

Since I don’t mind being disagreed with, chime in, if you want.

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Wayne Upchurch

For years, as a “professional ogler” (a newspaper staff photographer), I simultaneously explored photography as craft/process/medium in its own right. The photojournalism work –credentials and mindset– got me into (and out of) places I would certainly never have had access to on my own. I was also practicing the discipline of getting a picture where there didn’t appear to be one and getting it Finished in a timely manner, to professional standards. I also learned to create imminently readable images despite poor reproduction in a small size. Though it took me several years to get this, the value of making photos that illustrated something already laid out in the story was suddenly Not Enough, and I began to make assignment pictures that added dimensions not already in the writing, or better Yet, raised questions so that the reader would go to the story for more answers. Having gained more than dreamt of, when starting out, I left to pursue my own personal photography, mounting exhibits along the way. I also worked with commercial photographer friends doing studio product photography, and making headshots for actors. Later, I also helmed a Public Radio “spacemusic” program, and acted in a Wilmington, NC drama company. I put the cameras away for a few years, to finish shedding the habit of self-limiting my identity as just “Photographer”, and can now pursue personal pleasure and expression through the freedom that digital imaging offers. Sharing photos on Flickr and participating locally in meetups and outings has renewed a passion for making new images and for sharing the process with others. For some time, I’ve found myself writing detailed comments on other people’s photos, as well as thoughts and pet ideas about photography, in general.

2 thoughts on “Talkin’ Photowalkin’”

  1. One thought: you get the impression that he’s in a cityscape in both photos–the only thing you lose in photo #1 is the height of the buildings. But it’s not like he looks like he’s in suburbia or something, so for me, context is not lost in photo #1. Second thought: in photo#2, for some reason the skyscrapers look incongruous with the man–I’m not sure if it’s because the “busyness” is simply distracting or whether in fact the context highlights him somehow.

  2. Thank you for your specific feedback, Kathryn. I think, too, I’m seduced by a couple of elements not particularly connected to the “portrait” aspect for Robert. I’ll hold off on saying what they are for the moment, and wait for any other input, before I lay them out, here.

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