Three hundred and sixty-four

My second guest post is from the man who started my adventures into more serious photography.  I’ve always been a picture taker, but it was Mr. Will O’Hare who made me a photographer.  He helped me pick out and buy the camera I have now – my Canon Rebel T2i that I love.  He taught me a lot of technical skills.  But most importantly he has inspired me by his AMAZING photography (you must check out his work – his websites and daily photo blog are included below).  

Without further ado, Mr. Will O’Hare:

The Decisive Moment

The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.”
-Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Collector, NYC - Will O'Hare Photography

After living in Toronto for the past few years, I moved back to New York City about two months ago. The energy of New York is unlike any other place in the world, and it’s something you feel as you walk around the city, even late at night. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been trying to take my camera with me wherever I go so I can capture the vibrancy of this city and its streets. Of course, New York City offers so much to a photographer – the architecture, the streets, and of course, the people.  Street photography as a genre is something that I’ve been increasingly interested in exploring in my work for a little while now. Most of my work as a photographer consists of formal shots of people (portraits, headshots, and wedding photography), but I also love to shoot the regular, everyday life of people on a particular street or in a distinct neighborhood of a city. In Toronto, I loved to wander around Kensington Market and just discover all of the interesting people there. Inspired by the father of street photography, Henri Cartier-Bresson, who wrote about “the decisive moment” that makes for a great photograph, my goal is to catch the fleeting moments that almost go by unnoticed on any given day – to stop time and record the ordinary people that make up a city.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted “The Collector,” a photo I captured as I was walking through the Lower East Side. I came across a woman collecting cans to be recycled. Hoisting a large plastic bag over each shoulder, she was a striking subject – a person who is often overlooked in the city as people rush from destination to destination. I raised my camera and clicked three shots. As they began to click, she looked right at me, but she didn’t stop walking. She just briefly looked, and then carried on. When I looked at the shots later that day, I felt that the middle shot, the photo of her looking right at me was the “decisive moment” here.  I liked all three of them, but the one shot in the middle just spoke to me more than the other two. I’ve included the before and after shots as well for comparison. What do you think?

I feel like I’m just starting my exploration of the possibilities of street photography, and I’m certainly excited to be back in New York, with all that it has to offer.

Before - Will O'Hare Photography

After - Will O'Hare Photography

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Two hundred and eighty-eight

It’s 6:56 AM as I start this post.  I had just over three hours sleep.   I ‘supervisor’ closed at the pub last night – there was a private Christmas party I had to wait for to finish, and then I found a drunk girl passed out on the toilet in the men’s washroom as I was doing my check before locking up that I had to deal with, so I didn’t get home until 3:30 AM (remind me again why I work in a pub?).

One of my best friends is moving back to New York City (he’s originally from there, but has been in Toronto for a few years now) and I offered to drive him to the airport this morning.  His flight is at  11 AM-ish.  To pick him up and get there through traffic I figured I had to leave at 7:10 AM.  I didn’t expect to be at work so late, but either way I would have offered/insisted on giving him a ride.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person – especially if I’ve been working the night before – and that if I offer to do something for someone in the AM, it means they are pretty darn special in my life.  Even though it’s early, I wanted to make sure my friend got to the airport safe and save him a little money.  And it would be nice to see him once more before he left (I missed his going away party last night because I had to work… remind me again why I work in a pub?).

It’s 6:45 AM when I got the text: “Call me when you get this”.  I was drinking coffee and eating breakfast in semi-conscious state.  I hoped nothing was wrong.  “I’m on hold with Air Canada,” he said when I called him.  “I’m trying to change my flight to Saturday.  I have too much to do and I could use the extra time to get it done.  Oh, there they are.  Can I call you back?”

My initial reaction in my foggy brain: “are you kidding me?!”  As much as I’d love to have him stay longer in the country, I wish he could have figured that out before I got myself out of bed after three hours sleep!  But, alas, unforeseen circumstances: his computer crashed last night when he got home from his party and he lost three days worth of backing up of hard drives he’d been working on.  He didn’t get any sleep trying to re-pack all his computer equipment he figured he didn’t have to bring because he had consolidated them. He still has some immigration papers he needs to sort through and his room could use a clean before he moves out.  All valid reasons to stay longer.  I definitely understand what it’s like to move your whole life and try to fit all of your belongings in two suitcases to fit on a plane.  And who wouldn’t want to stay in Canada longer?

Happily he is staying a few extra days in Toronto. I still feel good for offering to drive him and getting myself moving in the morning for him, even if he doesn’t actually need the ride now.  If you talk about good deeds being sacrificing (like some people’s definition), I feel like I did plenty of that this morning.  But, I am happy he is happy, less stressed and has time now to sort out his life before moving.  A little of my sleep is worth sacrificing for a friend.

Now, back to bed…