When I'm not out taking photographs chasing down copyright infringement monopolizes my time. On any given day I can find several new examples, sometimes dozens. The photos were either downloaded from my Flickr account that's been dead since 2007 or screen captured from my website. From those they get passed around the internet at an astounding rate. I've had people claim my photos as their own, used for magazine and album covers, placed on advertisements and retail websites, at the time of writing this they have illegally appeared on dozens of products for sale on Amazon. At the advice of a lawyer I began registering/copyrighting hundreds of my best photos. What this does is give you further protection by taking lawsuits to the Federal level (suing for $150,000 instead of $10,000). There are several big problems that can arise such as infringement from overseas and hiring a bad lawyer which are both things I've dealt with. The government process is lengthy to say the least. To register a single or batch of photos is $55 and the online application can be confusing sometimes. Depending on the subject of photos you're trying to register it can take 6 months to a year to receive your copyright certificate. While you can still be protected just under the DMCA this added protection can protect you from corporations with the exception of Amazon who can apparently do whatever they please. Over the last year and a half I've had hundreds of photos removed, reached small settlements with two businesses that were the same amount as if they licenced the photo to begin with but in the end this hasn't even made a small dent in the growing number out there. The photo below shows my photograph "Philadelphia 471" that was taken in 2012. This photo only shows about one third of internet postings for this one photo.
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
The internet has become a soapbox for photographers who are without imagination and made up of mostly gear junkies. Within this group they push the outdated idea of "rules" when it comes to street photography or for that matter any photography. They pixel peep, groan about cropping, boost about camera brand worship and yet most never share their own photography. Being a teenager in the 80's we had a word for people like this, it was "poser".
Monday, February 25, 2019
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Last Summer I wanted to try something a little different so I acquired a Yashica Mat124 medium format film camera. With my thoughts on the current state of street photography (see prior posts) I wanted a way to slow down and see differently, and while I was brought up on film photography this was the first time I've used a TLR camera. The results were fantastic for both the film and my attitude. Sometimes heading out with only 5 or 6 exposures left on a roll made me hunt more than usual and interact with the subject. I thoroughly enjoyed this process of taking days to finish one 12 exposure roll, waiting a few more for the lab to develop and scan it for me( lab has just closed ), and finally two days of editing. In this digital, connected, and immediate point in time this was a form of meditation. Sadly it didn't last for more than a few months because of camera problems. Keeping the Yashica working properly seemed impossible. I sent it out twice to be CLA'd (clean, lubricated, adjusted) but the problems quickly came back so I bought a second camera that developed the same problems that only got worse after someone hit the camera. I sold the two cameras and bought a third one that worked perfectly for two weeks when the same problems reared its head. At this point my enjoyment of this type of photography was squashed by the frustration of faulty cameras. I was heartbroken, I was enjoying street photography again and for the first time in 15 years I was seeing different. I can see myself continuing this portfolio of work if I could ever afford a working Rolleiflex but I don't see that happening in the near future. Photos from this portfolio can be seen on my website under "6X6".
Saturday, February 23, 2019
Sometimes other people's boredom can be interesting to others, especially photographers. Street photography is a mixed bag and to portray it accurately you have to be honest. That means everything whether it the people, structures or objects are treated equally. Today there's too much falsehood from newer street photographers, their narrative becomes utopian or humorous. Neither of those accurately portrays the streets in this country, specially in it's large cities. Most of it isn't pretty, ironic, safe or interesting. It's called life.
Friday, February 22, 2019
The amount of work it takes every day trying survive as an artist is lost on most people outside of the art world. Besides the creation aspect of it there's promotion, editing, storage, searching for opportunities, and basic daily survival. Most of us do it for the love of art alone, not to become wealthy or famous.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
To me nighttime in a diner is one of the most comforting places in urban life. One of the last truly democratic places where all walks of life can enjoy a good meal over conversation. Where the billionaire can sit next to a guy who sells umbrellas on the corner and talk about the topic of the day. A place where you can lose sense of time.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
When I'm out on the street I'm as interested in things as much as people. So when urban life began to hyper-sterilize I began thinking of everyday objects that could disappear. I still miss walk in phone booths, the outside of porno stores, and neon signs. Who knew that these objects that were around for almost a century could easily vanish. After a few false starts my first real typology project came the day they announced the end of the analog tv broadcast. TV antennas which at one point were on just about every rooftop in America began to vanish like the phone booth. So with that I began the first 75 photo typology in 2008. When it was finished I moved on and didn't think much about doing another typology until last year when I put together another 75 photo typology of signs the homeless use to draw attention. Speaking to every single person's sign I photographed was a humbling experience for me but I wasn't the first time I've worked with the homeless when it comes to photography. This years typology is shoes on wires which is proving more difficult than I originally thought. I would eventually like to have ten different typology subjects.
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
One of the rewards of street photography is meeting interesting people. Leroy Mickens the white gloved doorman at a downtown Philadelphia hotel grabbed my attention and we struck up a conversation. Before I knew it we talked for over an hour. The man has lead an interesting life.
Monday, February 18, 2019
I sometimes like a little juxtaposition in street photography but not to the point of the way it's used today by too many photographers. For some it's all they look for which makes for boring photos. I can't help but to think of the Benny Hill theme song when viewing their work. Personally I believe advertisers use certain types of ads that draws photographers in to take photos.
Sunday, February 17, 2019
I rarely keep RAW files after I convert photos to black & white. It's something I've done for 15 years now and I don't really regret doing it. I've only hung onto a few original files and this photo is one of them because I like both versions of the photo and it's the only photo where I've sold both versions. Actually this photo has sold equally between the color and b&w versions. Lately I've given thought to keeping raw files but I don't like the idea of having tens of thousands of RAW photos to search through, organise, and store. I'll think about it a little more.
Saturday, February 16, 2019
Over the last 15 years there hasn't been one day that I've had a camera with me and over that same period of time there's been only a handful of days where I didn't take any photos. The camera has become a part of me that I grab my camera before my keys when I leave the house.
Friday, February 15, 2019
No other color is disappearing faster from the urban landscape than the color yellow. Sadly along with that color goes the taxi. You couldn't walk down a city thoroughfare day or night without seeing a sea of yellow coming at you. The once a subject of just about every urban photographer is being replaced by the sterile car share services of Uber and Lyft. I could easily go into a 1000 word rant but I'll just end it here.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Going through photographs taken five years ago and the change in the way the city looked was very evident. While a fair amount of people had phones, a lot less were glued to them, their heads were up and they moved a lot faster on the sidewalk. Going back even farther, 10, 15 years and you would see people on their little Nokia or Motorola dumb phones, talking into them loud enough for everyone to hear....but their heads were up and they still moved like they had a purpose. By far the biggest change has happened over the last five years where humans have transformed into iZombies.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
I've always been in a personal battle with color photography. While I do have color portfolios that include Little Pete's and Graffiti Pier, I always found myself going back to black and white. Now because of the hyper-gentrification and the cleansing of anything that could be considered offensive, black and white for most urban photography feels disingenuous. By that I mean the act of making the city look gritty by the faux act of converting to black and white when there is no grit. The one exception to this is the die hard black and white film photographers. In this ever increasing beige world I think it's time I search out color.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Growing up in the 70s and 80s I've developed a hatred of the 21st century idea of what a city should be. No longer a place for all walks of life, 24 hour diners, and an unexpected existence, the city has become too curratted, too planned, too homogenized, too repetitive, too suburban. These very things have driven me from street photography. Being a retrograde I try to search out people, places and things that stand still in time and that remind me when the city was a true city. Every once in a while I feel the need to get back on the street... or under it, and try to find little things or moments of time that reminds of those more interesting times. Bouncing back a forth between Philadelphia and New York City it's become more difficult each passing day to find those moments. Right now I'm feeling that itch again and this Spring and Summer I might get back out there and see what I can find. Maybe even in color.
Monday, February 11, 2019
Over the last year I've given a great deal of thought about surviving as an artist in the age of social media and I've come to the conclusion that social media is not what it use to be. It's become anything but social and infested by scammers, selfie-whores, businesses, so called influencers, and friend/follow collectors. So with this I've greatly pulled back by deleting my facebook account last year and now fading away from my second Instagram account. Trying to live the art life on any of the social media platforms is a waste of time with too many detours into the politics of the day, advertisements, and "social media stars" who are given far too much attention. So with all of this I decided to concentrate on my website and this new blog which will be attached to my revamped site. I'm not interested in friend/follower numbers or going viral. All I'm interested in is taking photos, painting, discussing art and sharing these interests with other like minded people.
I always like the thought of collecting press photos. The idea of having the only known physical copy of a print is an exciting one. Yes so...