blue header

closed perspective

This and some others come from an early morning shoot last week at the Brooklyn piers.

For every part of me that lives and dies with line, shape, and form — the part that obsesses first over the composition of the frame, then its re-composition (if necessary) in photoshop and color correction — there is the soft voice that grumbles that there is no person to look at, no story. This irreconcilable cleft between formal image-making and narrative is where I have planted myself squarely for reasons not altogether clear. For that, the zen of capturing an image like this is partly therapeutic, partly maddening.

A man came up to me that morning. He, like the group of men he was in, was dressed in a blue zip-up worksuit and headed into an adjacent garage area. Apart from the others, he carried a dustpan — the kind that hangs and swings from a broomstick.

“Put it here,” he said. I did not understand. His accent was heavy, Mexican probably. His skin was a caramel brown and oiled, textured and not without a history. The other men in the group were black mostly and spoke in the gravelly voices of the morning. In the second that I reassessed the man apart from his coworkers, the arroyos of his accent were just beginning to flatten themselves into english I understood. I realized that I was holding a banana peel.

“Put it here, ” he repeated. This time he pointed to the dustpan. I dropped the peel in it and thanked him. My next thought was that his skin glowed in the morning light, that it would look good in a photograph.

I could hear the sound of gravel under the boots of men as they assembled on the other side of the gate.