Untitled Fluidity: Wandering

Untitled Fluidity is an ongoing column that aims to give insight into the creative process I work through while shaping, defining and producing a long term photo essay. My principal intent is to offer the viewer both an educational resource and inspirational tool to motivate one's self to get out there and simply create. 

Let me start by stating that projects, in general, always begin with an idea. We all have ideas, both good and bad, but most of us never get off the couch or out from behind our desktop to get a move on and make them happen. As a photographer I'm just as guilty of this as anybody from any line of work. All too often I sit around with my homies and talk trash all day long about my next Magnum opus. Then I sleep...

Ah man, what to do? 

I'll tell you, grab your expensive geeked out photo-j camera with that new fancy fixed lens and sit back down on the couch. No, but really, grab your phone, no I mean camera, wait aren't they one in the same these days? Ok, whatever the case, grab your weapon of choice and get out the damn door. Don't wait to win the next highly coveted grant so you can spend the money you made from your last winnings, just get out that door. 

Ok, so hopefully you're not reading this anymore because you're now staring at your favorite dish of food at the local Mexican dive as you procrastinate to go start your opus. If you are staring at your plate go ahead and snap a photo with the latest photo app and post it on Instagram. This act will give you a head start in the race as your peers and other professional photo-j intellectuals will waste time debating if its ethical or not to use filters on news photos, blah, blah, bladidity blah blah. 


For me, Untitled Fluidity, is aptly named. Essentially it is my pet project and more than likely not my opus. Like a lot of my personal projects, once I get out the door I just start to wander around with no real purpose other than to have fun. Well that and to have a justifiable excuse to leave the dull glare of my 27'' iMac, iPad and Macbook Pro. Yeah, I'm a walking cliche of photo-geekdom - more of that another day. 

Anyway, yesterday I did just this. I started a new project. My goal is to hit the streets of Portsmouth, VA and meet my community. Let me back track here, I grew up for the most part in an area referred to by the locals as the Seven Cities. Of those seven I grew up in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. I never really knew much about Portsmouth. It's sort of always been treated like a step-child by the other six cities. It's an armpit of a town, at least in many eyes. Personally, I really don't know much about Portsmouth, hence my new project.  

Now that I'm a grown up and own a home in Portsmouth I thought it was about time I actually found out what this city was/is all about. Right now the goal is not so much about being an objective observer but more so about hunting and gathering visual information. I don't have the facts, I don't have any intent, I don't have anything, just me and my eyes. 

I like taking on projects in this manner. It's liberating and good wholesome living. 

Let me tell you a little about my time yesterday... I jumped in my truck and drove around (I prefer to walk but this town is not really all that walkable), after the first 30 minutes I was ready to give up. Yeah, self doubt is an ugly friend. However, I pushed on and in the next hour and half I met a wrinkled school building, an 80-year-old retiree Corin Canady who rode a lawn mower for transportation after his license was taken away from him, a mother of seven Manervia Simmons and her son Reverend P.C. 

The images below are from my first time out testing the waters. 

On a side note, I don't think that the images shot with the Hipstamatic application at Mrs. Simmons' home work. Why? Well, they're sloppy, soft, and lack the quality of images I aim to make. However, I'm posting them because I want to give a sense of my work flow and thought process. Initially I'll take a lot of sketches with my camera - since the Simmons family have given me an open door policy to come by whenever I like I know I can perfect the photos later. Of course, it's always ideal to get great photos from your first attempt but sometimes I take it easy on myself. 

Lastly, I should also mention that I do have a reason and intent for using two different cameras but I don't want to divulge that information yet. 

Enjoy, and feel free to bash my pictures or my ideas, its good for you and me to communicate. 

P.S. Click on the photograph to view it larger.