Nick Turpin on the evolution of street photography

Photo by Wells Baum
> “You have to be physically and mentally present to recognize these things and be ready for them, to recognize that something special is happening on the street in front of you. That really is the skill. It’s almost more important than getting the photograph. It’s recognizing the significance of something.”

— Nick Turpin, How Our Changing Cities Are Transforming Street Photography

Our third eye, be it smartphone or standalone point and shoot camera, is only as good as the two we were born with.

Drinking in color

Image by Wells Baum

“I’ve never been able to take a picture after a drink. It just doesn’t work. Maybe — I don’t know what it is. It’s not like I’m too drunk to take a picture. I just — the whole idea of it just goes away after one or two drinks.”

— William Eggleston, the godfather of color photography

“Nothing is real until it’s on television”

Image by Wells Baum

“It’s such an American thing that nothing is real until it’s on television.”

Tom Nichols

As Charlie Brown says after looking into the dark sky: “Let’s go inside and watch television. I’m beginning to feel insignificant.”

Lacing the blogs 

Image via Mikhail Pavstyuk

I see blogs as projects for unique avenues of thinking.

This blog is my thinking blog. It focuses on what I’m reading and chewing on. It’s a collection provocative ideas and observations.

My music blog bombtune.com is like my music shelf. It’s an ongoing library of new music finds from the current year. The post art is just as significant as the music. I like to dig around on the artist sites and social networks to select images of the musician. The stream — whether it’s from Bandcamp or SoundCloud, contains the song/album art.

My fadesin.com blog focuses on creative ways to respond to prompts. WordPress does a great job in galvanizing its community by inspiring people to show their angle on a variety of topics and photography challenges. For the latter, rummage through my Google Photos to see what works.

Meanwhile, my Tumblr blog is more or less an aggregator. I cross-post there but also play natively within the platform by posting quotes and resharing cool GIFs from others. I also use my Instagram to dice up the array of posting.

Nevertheless, all of feeds tie together. They are ways of seeing, of which nothing becomes clear until I write it down and publish it.

“Blogs are like ham­mers. They are tools for building stuff.”

— Hugh MacLeod

Blogs permit me to show my work. The writing can be repetitive and thematic, which often means I’m trying to nail down the nugget or UBI (unifying big idea) of my approach. But at the end of the day, I want to say ‘this is what I made today.’

In short, blogging is another way to connect the dots on screen.

Business (un)usual 

One giant leap. (Image via Katie Chase)

Living on the edge is dangerous but that’s exactly why we pursue it: it makes us feel more alive.

Being a thrill-seeker goes beyond Nascar and rock climbing. Anything that fills you with both anxiety confidence can make you feel more alive, like delivering a public speech.

Sometimes it pays off to get our of your comfort zone, at least to remind us that we’re still awake, and can always do more than what we expected.

 

Now you see me, now you don’t 

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Image by Milada Vigerova

Identities are social. We don’t know who we are until we see how to fit in or stand out from others.

Before people owned mirrors, they saw themselves as extensions of their tribe and God. It wasn’t until the fifteenth century did the mirror introduce people to their individuality. Mirror owners then went on to have their portraits done to reinforce the importance of their self-worth.

Unless you’re a Narcissist, the mirror today is for making edits: to your hair, face, and to brush your teeth. The modern day mirror is the selfie, the results of having a mobile camera. We use our phones to project our identity onto the world.

Likes and comments are a validation of our uniqueness. Like portraits of past, Facebook and Instagram invite the viewer to “Look at me!” We all become quasi-celebrities. It’s hard to be a true individual, a purple cow, in an age of Internet ubiquity.

So how do you stand out? You don’t. You disconnect. The more unplugged you are, the more mysterious and different you seem to appear. The new individualism is again offline and mirrorless.

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