I paid attention to life, though, that vast unsung reservoir of material which informs the photography of people and, for the lack of a better word, the street. So several years ago, in 2012, while talking to a friend at his work, the urge to buy a camera overcame me. I left and went to a local camera store and bought a simple DLSR. That was December. Several days later, on the the first of January, I went out and started taking photographs, and I haven't stopped since.
It was still for my own amusement at first, but when a friend of mine commented that my photographs were good enough to possibly earn a living at it, my commitment deepened and I began to look at what was then my hobby in an entirely new light. I'm a firm believer that you can learn anything if you can just find the right book. My interest took me to book stores and I started and studied a growing collection of books by famous photographers, primarily in the traditions of street photography and photojournalism. It was then that my journey really began.
Influences? Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Paul Strand (the three "Stuhs") were my first conscious influences after beginning to be serious with photography. For me, Stieglitz's The Terminal was an early example of street and fine art photography fused within a single image. It was art, not when seen in retrospect or out of nostalgia, but consciously and from the start, intentional. Then, I found the moody nighttime images by Brassai. Then later, I stumbled upon Louis Faurer's and Frank Paulin's photographs of urban streets at night. Of course there was Cartier-Bresson, but what got me about these night photographers was less about any decisive moment and much more about mood, and a real story in which a single frame must stand in for an entire story. An actual story, not a manufactured fiction. I tumbled.
This was not a world of amusing juxtapositions, of people simply walking down the street, or curious geometric forms. This was real life, and the actual fabric and profundity of it. The more I studied, the more I fell for this new/old perspective on what street photography once was and could be again. In addition to those earlier photographers, others who inspired me were Walker Evans, Vivian Maier, Robert Doisneau, each with their great humanism - and even the film director Josef Von Sternberg, his Streets Of New York set at night, and every frame a perfect composition. All these great visual artists have molded me with their great work, the intensity of their mission, their attention to mood, environment, and atmosphere.
And I'm falling still...