Posts in Category: People

My week of shooting, 24 March 2019

Codename: Homeless Dancing Albinism

Photographically speaking, I had a great week. It was full of the brief but enriching encounters with people that drive home to me why I’m a photojournalist. Even in the most mundane places, and my life right now encompasses a LOT of mundane places, I observe instances of friendliness, open-heartedness, and joy that keep me hopeful that all of us just might be okay if we don’t burn it all down…

  • On St. Patrick’s Day, an affable homeless man and the dollar bill I’d just given him at a freeway off-ramp in San Francisco…

SF RAW 1343-5

  • Tuesday at my local grocery store I was on line with a lady and her dog, so I did what I do and photographed them both…

MidtownBrisbane 1421-4

  • On Friday while having a quick bite at Costco I shared a table with this little girl with albinism and her mother…

ChloeAndMom 1-3

MitchellBouyerMemorial 3-2

  • On Saturday it was a nosh at McDonald’s, and an encounter with this cool teenager who smiled despite the new braces on his teeth…

DanielBraces 1-1

That’s it for this week. Until next seek see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

My week of shooting, 03 March 2019

a.k.a. ‘My WEAK of shooting’…

In terms of photographing people, my week was frustrating. I felt like my reflexes and timing were off, my heart wasn’t completely into this work I love so dearly, and that my Nikon D90 is plotting against me in service to the vast global machine intelligence planning to overthrow its human masters. I’m hoping this is merely a very short phase I’m going through. I missed a lot of photos that would have been far better than the images below because I was too slow or too indifferent.

Anyway, here’s what I have for you this week…

  • On Monday in San Francisco I had breakfast at the WORST fucking diner in the world. At the Silver Crest Donut Shop it cost me almost $19 for a bottled Coke, cheeseburger, and fries. The fries tasted of stale motor oil and the burger tasted of mammals not native to our planet. It is a sad place I will never revisit…

Silver Crest Donut Shop, San Francisco

  • On Tuesday while my wife played with our cat Kuro-chan I photographed the scene from an unexpected angle. I photograph our cats constantly. See more of them here and here.

Woman plays with a Kitty

  • On Thursday I photographed this animated fellow and his dog at my local Grocery Outlet. He was very nice, the dog was friendly and cute…

GeorgeAndBuddy 3-2

  • A fellow Brisbane resident, who wears that propeller beanie everywhere he goes. He says it’s his trademark, and as a fashion statement I think he pulls it off quite nicely…

The propeller beanie is his fashion trademark...
Brisbane, California, March 2019

And that’s it for this week. Until next seek see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

My week of shooting, 24 February 2019

Codename: Pink Tuba Fire…

Welcome to the first installment of a new weekly feature here on Brisbane Graphic Arts Museum. It’s an ongoing showcase of photographs from my growing body of photojournalism and street photography work, featuring what I think are the best and/or most interesting photos I shot during a given week. I hope you enjoy my work, or get some value from it, and will come back here each week to see how I’ve been seeing our world.

Here we go…

  • On Tuesday I unintentionally unnerved this adorable little girl who was walking past my house with her grandmother…

AlexandraSasha 6-1

  • On Wednesday there was this kid in a shopping cart at a Japanese supermarket in San Mateo where my wife and I were getting some groceries…

RAW-SanMateo 36-2

  • On Thursday Brisbane’s only public house, the Brisbane Inn, caught fire on the top floor and burned for a while. See more photographs of the incident here.

Fire at the Brisbane Inn-5...
Brisbane, California, February 2019

  • On Saturday I encountered this fuzzy pink kid at the public unveiling of a raccoon statue in a small park here in Brisbane. You can also see this photo in this collection

The brilliant fuzzy pink...
Brisbane, California, February 2019

  • Also on Saturday, I came across tuba player rehearsing in a shopping center parking with his banda group for a gig they were playing later in the evening…

Brisbane RAW 2106-5

And that’s it for this week. Until next seek see my other work here and here.

Remember: people and the world are more beautiful, odd, and interesting than you think, you just have to stop and look long enough to notice.

Mother days

Yeah, I know, Mother’s Day is quasi-holiday that is way too commercialized. But that doesn’t mean we can’t legitimately set aside one day per year to honor our mums for bringing us into this world and then doing their best not to fuck everything up after that. Motherhood is hard work, a lifetime of it. It’s 24/7 for at least 18 years but really it’s from the day you’re born until the day one of you dies. And for the rest of their life whoever remains has to do whatever it takes to keep from falling completely apart emotionally.

It’s vicious, it’s cruel, it’s love, and it’s life itself. If asked I bet most mothers would say they wouldn’t trade one good, great, bad, or horrible second of raising their children for anything. I hope that includes your mom.

To celebrate this day of Eggs Benedict, mimosas, and fresh-cut flowers I present a small gallery of photographs I’ve taken in the past few years of moms and their kids. I hope you enjoy it, and see the beauty and edginess in these people who share a human bond like no other…

Brisbane RAW 327-1

Brisbane, California, July 2015

Akagi Shrine, Kagurazaka, Tokyo 2015 (Story: http://www.brisbanegraphicartsmuseum.com/?p=116)

Kagurazaka, Tokyo, Japan, November 2015

SPYC 212-3

Sierra Point Yacht Club, Brisbane, California, September 2016

SF RAW 800-4

Clarion Alley, San Francisco, March 2017

Cosplay2017 46-5

Nijiya Market, Japantown, San Francisco, July 2017

(Photographed in Tokyo, Japan, and Brisbane and San Francisco, California. See my other work here and here.)

How to knit a cell phone

There are no roses for us
but the ones we make
from Japanese paper
made in China, by the way,
that we buy in vast retail spaces
stocked with glue and glitter and ribbon
and blank books of impermanent quality
with which we build volumes
of memory and dreams.

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft store, Colma, California 2018

The dreams are for ourselves, supposedly.
The memory is for anthropologists, hopefully.
They’ll see how we were
then marvel at how dull it all was,
and wonder why we wasted our time
compiling scrapbooks,
seeing our children,
or writing poems.

And they will envy us that we tried,
goddamn we really tried,
and that we left behind for them
enough of a world to pity.

Calling occupants of interplanetary craft stores….

(Michaels, Colma, California, March 2018. See my other work here and here.)

Wheel chair blue

He had stationed himself in front of a Grocery Outlet discount supermarket on Bayshore Boulevard in San Francisco. I had just stopped by for some Dr Pepper. I’m addicted to Dr Pepper. As I walked toward him he asked me if I could help him out a little. A little was about all I had jangling loose in my pocket so I gave him all three bucks of it. He thanked me for the money and said he appreciated the help because he’d had two heart attacks and lost his job while recovering from the second one.

“That’s why I’m in this wheel chair pretty often,” he said.

“I can relate,” I said, “I had a heart attack myself fourteen years ago, three weeks shy of my 40th birthday.”

WheelChairBlue 2-1

That look people get when they think they’ve found a kindred spirit flashed across his face, and he started telling me details about his first heart attack. Frankly I had no desire to swap myocardial infarction stories. I still periodically suffer from PTSD because of mine and talking about it has never helped. That shit just gives me nightmares I don’t need. So I told him very apologetically that I really needed to get my shopping done and then went inside the store.

I was in and out of the supermarket with my Dr Pepper in less than five minutes, but when I emerged the man in the wheel chair was gone. And I felt bad about that, because I was going to give him three dollars change from the $10 bill I had just used to pay the clerk for my liquid fix. But I did feel good that our lives had intersected, even if minutes later they probably had diverged forever. I hope he felt the same way. It’s better to know people in a few fleeting minutes and let them enrich your life than to never know them at all.

And I wonder if he wheeled himself out of the grocery store parking lot or walked pushing the chair in front of him. I hope he walked.

(San Francisco, California, February 2018. See my other work here and here.)

A priestess of the check-out line

Life is balance, popcorn a paltry modern offering to Demeter and the famished New Microwave Gods…

African-American woman with microwave popcorn

(San Francisco, California, February 2018. See my other work here and here.)

The hope at the end of the year

I wish I could say
the end of the year
will erase all your pain,
make disgraces and crimes disappear,
kill the hatred on sale two-for-one at Safeway,

XMasTime2017-RoadTrip 80-1

flood the streets with winning lotto tickets,
give us the heart to be ourselves,
let us forego religion in favor of reason,
and install a second faucet
on everyone’s kitchen sink

HisNameIsAll 1-1

from which flows on demand
the finest Belgian chocolate sauce.
But that’s not going to happen.
America won’t get fixed,
won’t be America,

XMasTime2017-RoadTrip 104-1

won’t be great or even passable,
until people like these,
good people,
sweet people,
American people,

XMasTime2017-RoadTrip 120-1

are no longer sleeping on
concrete pillows on the streets,
seeing bullets and unicorns in their soup,
and eating manic-depressive tacos
from the labyrinths inside flaming dumpsters.

(Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California, December 2017. See my other work here and here.)

The decent thing on Ocean Avenue

A few weeks ago in San Francisco, I had just left my favorite comics shop and was in my car about to turn south onto Ocean Avenue when I saw an old lady had fallen to the concrete on the public transport platform in the middle of the street. Before I could pull my car over and jump out to help, a young man had already reached her. As I watched I knew I was witnessing newsworthy decency, and felt like I was seeing San Francisco write a song lyric about itself and the kindness built into the way this city moves.

And so from my car I saw the young man render aid to the fallen woman. He was gentle with her and handled her firmly but without aggravating her obviously fragile state…

SF RAW 1080-3

Then he helped the lady get her legs back under her, and reclaim the clearly-necessary cane that had somehow failed her in the first place. While this happened drivers passed by oblivious, not necessarily out of callousness but because San Francisco is a body and it’s sometimes hard or risky to step outside one’s place in its street-artery flow…

SF RAW 1082-2

When she got to her feet, the old lady checked her hands for injuries while the young man stood by to ensure her well-being. After a few moments the woman stopped trembling and stood firm but relaxed, which in turn caused the young man to relax. When I realized everything would be okay I started my car and finally turned south onto Ocean Avenue to continue my way home…

SF RAW 1085-1

All of this happened literally within the space of 15 seconds. I checked the time stamps on my photographs to be sure. It was a hell of a thing seeing the kind of small but powerful human episode I’ve only read about in the news or seen dramatized on TV. But this is the way we orbit each other, and sometimes need’s gravity pulls us closer together than we would ordinarily prefer because there’s a life to be saved or changed for the better.

It’s how we’re built, thankfully, and I’ll remember that and celebrate it even if this kind of decency never unfolds before my eyes again.

(On Ocean Avenue @ San Leandro Way, San Francisco, California, November 2017. See my other work here and here.)

Encounter at a taqueria

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