A little while ago I was assigned to photograph 2 cops.
Way back in 1984 they had responded to a suspicious activity tip at the Bayshore
Shopping Centre parking lot. Turned out a gang of armed robbers was going to
knock over a Brinks truck that contained about a million dollars cash.
Long story short…..all hell broke loose, big gun fight, one robber dead, the others
fled and both cops got shot. At this point their lives diverged.
Ralph Erfle, shot in the head, went on to recovery and back to active police duty.
Robin Easy, shot in the back of his neck, would never walk again.
I photographed Ralph first. Heâ€™s now a Superintendent with the Ottawa Police.
Fit, good posture, active and living the life.
A couple of days later I met Robin.
Iâ€™d known the story all along but must admit to an almost overwhealming sense of
saddness when I saw him. I think the contrast between the two men, who at one
time probably shared similar goals, just really brought home a fact of life.
The future is unwritten. Who knows what will happen tomorrow (or even later today).
(click on images to enlarge)
Every once in a while an acquaintance will ask me to do a portrait of them (or their kids).
Happens maybe two or three times a year.
I usually say: â€œYes, but only if I can do whatever I wantâ€.
You see, most of the people I photograph, Iâ€™m photographing for some other person
or entity. A magazine or advertising agency. An Art Director. Maybe a corporation.
I prefer this since it gives me (in a sense) way more freedom. I donâ€™t have to satisfy
the subject…I only need to make my client happy. (I try to make myself happy, too,
but thatâ€™s a whole different story.)
I canâ€™t count the times a subject has looked at a Polaroid or their image on the computer
during a shoot and said: â€œI look so fatâ€, or: â€œThatâ€™s horribleâ€. And so on. You get the idea.
Usually I just tell them to shut up, I say: â€œIâ€™m not playing that gameâ€. They seem to get that.
If they were the ones who were actually paying me, though, it would change the dynamic,
shift the power (at least a little bit, in my head).
So, the 2 or 3 times a year that I do â€œretail photographyâ€ I always make a point of telling the
folks right up front that Iâ€™ll only do it if I can have total freedom, just do what I want.
And they tell me: â€œThatâ€™s why we asked youâ€.
I like bridges.
Here are three shots/four bridges…..from the west coast, the middle and
the east coast of the U.S.A.
The Bay Bridge, San Francisco
Eads Bridge and The Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial Bridge, St Louis
The Brooklyn Bridge, N.Y.C.