Several years ago, I began taking pictures of “Forensic Files” with the intent of publishing a book. I’ve seen every episode numerous times, and never tire of the show, which I’ve watched for eight years. I avoid corpses and gory scenes, with exceptions for narrative purposes.
It’s not a book about a TV show, but a work made with TV images. Japanese street photographer Daido Moriyama would say I’m making copies of copies. What interests me the most is the show’s blend of suspense, shock, mystery and documentary, its defining features. The images are a response to its eccentricities.
This February I celebrated my birthday in Puerto Rico. It had been five years since I had seen my family. I stayed with a close friend who made me feel at home. She lives near Calle Loiza, in Santurce, a working-class district, and I walked up and down that street every day, looking for new angles and things I may have overlooked. We went to Old San Juan, too, but stayed in Santurce most of the time. It’s a street photographer’s dream.
It was liberating to get away from the routine back home: going to the same places and yet not quite getting it right but tired of those places and going anyways.
I still think poetry surrounds us wherever we go, and if we’re poets, we’ll decipher it.
To capture it is another thing.
I took these images during a recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico. These were in Calle Loiza, Santurce.
This is my first post in a year. My passion for typewriters, books and fly-fishing hasn’t abated, but I have focused my energies on photography projects. Since my last post I have published five photography books: “300 X 200,” “Feeling My Way Toward The Door,” “Urban Poems,” “The Open-Air Bookstore” and “Fragments,” my latest collection, available on Blurb. I consider them attempts to capture the poetry of the mundane, the song of the commonplace. “300 X 200” takes place in a small parking lot and “The Open-Air Bookstore” in a recycling center, and the others are in large part street photography. In that genre are the images in “Fragments,” taken 12 years apart and shot primarily in the Southern California cities of Oceanside and Escondido. They are explorations of San Diego’s urbanscape. Here are some excerpts.
I’ll let you decide on my definition of poetry. The premise is that beauty, or at least traces of it, surrounds us in urbanscapes. Among concrete, asphalt and the fumes of cars, roots take hold as they are uprooted, recomposing our ways of seeing through their tenacity. What stays with us is redefined.
These were taken in a parking lot at the office building where I work. The restricted setting forced me to look at my surroundings in different ways.
Brooks Jensen, former editor of LensWork magazine, writes that the working photographer must keep his head in the game despite time constraints. One focuses on surroundings usually not of one’s choosing, instead of more obvious photo opportunities.
Upcoming are essays on trees in urban landscapes and a preview of a project on Forensic Files, the crime show.