Well, drool is on some kind of roll lately: a few weeks
ago it was nominated in two categories for the Canadian
Weblog Award thingy and then this week WIRED magazine
named drool as one of their most favorite fotoblogs.
Being the egomaniac I am, that link takes you directly to
the bit about me. You can easily link to the other blogs
WIRED chose by clicking on the thumbnail portraits under
the (sorry about that) huge shot of me.
Thanks to Pete Brook and WIRED for including drool.
Last week I asked you droolers to comment on a particular shot.
Thanks to all who had an opinion and took the time to share it.
(If you don’t know what’s being discussed here just scroll down
to last week’s post.)
I’d like to respond to the comments. (And, to break the monotony
of words, I’ll post a few fotos of Dakota I shot in that room. I know
Dakota very well and have shot her on the street many, many times.
But, once again, working quietly in that room totally changed the
look and feel of the fotos, vis-a-vis USER.)
The general consensus was that the foto was a bit shocking, but,
as Kate wrote: “It’s painful to look at. But I for one do think
that’s outweighed by the intimacy and beauty“.
Dakota, as I found her
Quite a few commenters mentioned that the image under discussion
was, in fact, not the strongest of all those posted. And I have to agree
with that. Simon sez: “For me, the first image is too literal; too straight
documentary…..What draws me to an image isn’t necessarily what’s in
the photo but what isn’t in the photo, and for this reason I find the
second and third images much more powerful and far more compelling“.
Amen to that thought. I believe that the shot of Stephanie, just after the
needle came out, is one of the most beautiful fotos I’ve ever taken.
And, speaking of beauty, Patrick said: “I don’t find “beauty” in these
photographs Tony, I find incredible sadness“.
Yes, sad. But for me beauty and sadness aren’t mutually exclusive. In
fact, they often go hand in hand.
Angela wondered about the lyrics at the end of the post:
An electro cruiser coasted towards the exit
And turned on Peaceful Valley Boulevard
“People make the difference” read a bill board
Above a long line of idling cars
From Neil Young’s great new album: Le Noise.
She wondered about “People make the difference” and wanted to know,
“you to her, or her to you?”
Of course the answer to that particular question would be “both”. But it’s
the last line of that verse that means the most to me…..”Above a long line
of idling cars”.
People make the difference, but mostly we’re just stuck and pollute the
And that brings me to what David wrote in the comment section last week:
“this is what happens to people who have been abused….that is the
message…if you hurt someone, it lasts forever…”
AN ADDITIONAL THOUGHT
These past 4 years of shooting USER seem to be morphing into something
else, something similar but different. Some have called these new images
more provocative than USER and, yes, I suppose some of them might be.
I suppose, also, that one might question (as some did with USER) the balance
of power here, between these women I’m photographing and me.
I think Emily Falvey made a good point in her review of USER in CV Photo
when she wrote:
“The assumption that they did not actively participate in the construction
of these images – that they are not capable of this or any other form of
self-determination – is far more dehumanizing than are exploitative
But in the end what I want to tell you is this: The women I’m photographing
want you to see these images.
Will you look?
Here’s a shot of the briefcase the women gave me as a token of their appreciation.
Thank you very much.
LAURIE COMES TO VISIT
I probably photographed Laurie more than any other person
while I was shooting USER. Here are a few frames of her, shot
in 2007, 2008 and 2009…..
I last photographed her down on the corner about 4 months ago.
Here’s one of the shots from that time…..
Laurie, Ottawa, June, 2010
Shortly after I took that picture Laurie decided she had finally had enough
of the drugs, enough of that life, and decided to get straight.
She came to visit me a couple of weeks ago….I could hardly believe
my eyes. Laurie!!!
She’s got her own place and a puppy to care for. And she’s determined
to care for herself, too…..
Laurie, Ottawa, November, 2010
I don’t just fotograf addicts (and recovered addicts) you know. I
also shoot for the fabulous moolah. Lately I’ve been shooting a
ton of editorial.
Shot these fotos of Auditor General Sheila Fraser for The Walrus
Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada, Ottawa, 2010 (the image they ran)
Sheila Fraser, Auditor General of Canada, Ottawa, 2010 (outtake)