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The NY Shakes
If you visit my Flickr Photostream – http://flic.kr/walking-on – one thing you will come upon is my growing collection of salt & pepper shaker photographs. Why?, you make ask… Well, let me try to explain, as it sort of defines how I came to be the dude.walking.on and how I have approached photography to this point…
You see, about three years ago, I decided to get jump back into photography. I worked with film in the 90′s, with my trusty Nikon N80 and 50/1.8 in tow semi-regularly. But it never clicked for me – the workflow, the difficulty and expens of processing film, the learning curve of Photoshop… But a few years ago I picked up a Nikon D90 (quickly replaced by a Nikon D700). I also got my stable of lenses – all prime (85/1.4, 105/2.8 Micro, 24/2.8, 50/1.4 – in order of use of frequency, with my trusty 85 being used 90% of the time). And I dove into a digital workflow with Aperture and Nik Software’s entire suite of plug-ins. And then signed on to Flickr.
But I didn’t know what to photograph.
And then one day I found a photostream by a photograph on Flickr named Shades of Mediocrity. She had a number of interesting images, including some where she peeked into shop and eatery windows. And one of those photos included salt & pepper shakers. And I thought – huh, aren’t they just the perfect example of the worlds extreme, good vs evil, light vs dark, in its simplest form… And they can be found everywhere…
So I started walking through city streets, peeking into shop windows… and restaurant windows… and sidewalk eateries… and I began taking photographs. I now have hundreds of salt & pepper shaker photographs, taken in my own style, of course, with my sort-of signature abuse of depth-of-field and blur and skewed perspective. And people for some weird reason enjoy them, which is nice.
One of my first s&p photographs:
And I take them with my iPhone (why not?!?):
One of my favorites:
So, I still walk the streets and still take photographs of salt & pepper shakers regularly… But the best part of the shakers is that they gave me a focus, something I could do again and again, honing my skills in focus and depth-of-field and composition. Although I’ve clearly expanded beyond them, they still feel special to me, they’ve taken on a new importance to me, a symbol of what I love about photography and what I try to do with photography – Attempting to make something beautiful out of something so ordinary…