STORIES

People have stories. Photographing people you get to hear some of those stories.
Sometimes the shoot itself gives you a story.

Here are two…….

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Mando

When I’m looking for people to photograph I’ll often go to places where folks hang out:
laundromats, car washes, gas stations, barbershops, garages, places like that.

I stopped by a garage in Westmoreland, California. Met Mando and his coworker. We
talked about the weather, the war and stuff like that. I was totally struck by Mando’s
face. I really wanted to take his picture. After a while I asked him if I could. He was
quite reserved, almost shy, and told me: “No”.

Now, usually when someone says no to my request to shoot them I say: “Fine, no biggie”,
or something along those lines. But I thought this guy’s face was too interesting for me
to give up so easily.

So I said to him: “That’s okay. I can’t help it if you’re a pussy”. I figured I’d either get
the shot or get a lug wrench upside the head.

He looked at me and said: “Okay, just let me go wash my face.”

I liked his face dirty but settled for what he offered. While he was in getting cleaned up
his coworker said to me: “You know why he’s letting you take his picture? Because you
called him a pussy”.

I said: “I know”.

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Lobie Tillis

Lobie lives in Panther Burn, Mississippi. By herself, in a trailer.

I asked her if she’s always lived in Panther Burn. She told me she was born there but moved
to Chicago with her husband, where they both worked for many years. She told me she moved
back to Panther Burn because her mother, who lived there, was sick.

Here’s Lobie: “I axed my husband to come back to Panther Boin (how she pronounced “Burn”)
with me, so’s I could look after my momma. He said to me he was gonna rest (stay) in Chicago,
weren’t gonna move back to Panther Boin. So I left him. I come back here. You can always get
another man, you ain’t got but one momma”.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Thanks Tobin for making me this groovy graffiti tag that I’m going to use in my e-mail signature.

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Tobin’s an ex-assistant of mine, now a photographer in Toronto. See his work at tobingrimshaw.com

FIRST FLY INSIDE + SHOOTING OUTSIDE

Must be Spring, the flies are coming out.

This is the first one that woke up in our house this year. I love the way
it’s color changes depending upon the angle it’s struck by light.

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Spring is also the beginning of being able to shoot outside without freezing
your ass off. I’m very happy that the great outdoors is now a viable option.
There’s way more outside than there is inside. That can really complicate
shoots in terms of possibilities, but I mostly believe that complications are
more fun than limitations.

The one thing I really hate about shooting outside, tho, is the bugs.

Bugs bug me.

I dug out a couple of pages from the Canadian Council on Substance
Abuse annual report. I shot these last summer in my back yard.

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BABY PICTURES + JUMPING ANNA

For a while there drool was full of me almost dying, wounded soldiers and banal waiting room shots.

I was trying to post some baby pictures to lighten the mood…..had to wait for client approval…..finally
got it. Worth the wait? Who knows.

Here are some out takes from a job I did for the Canadian Medical Association. They needed shots of a
baby and a jumping kid for a trade show booth and some posters.

I love being around kids. Like their energy and inherent sense of anarchy. Of course those qualities don’t
always make for the most relaxed shoots, but what else is new! If you ask me, very shoot should have
energy and bits of anarchy. It’s just that, with babies and kids, it’s a bit more difficult to control. The
energy and anarchy, that is. If controlling anarchy isn’t an oxymoron.

Having said that I must also say that both these little people were sweet to work with. The art director,
the assistant, the moms, the standers-by and yours truly all had some giggles and laughs.

Thanks to the folks at the ad agency for lining up the talent and help with kid wrangling.

If you click on each grid of pix you’ll see one of the shots blown up.

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