Before I get into what has been in the works, tonight I wish I was in Vancouver for dinner and conversation. Dave, David, Mary and Sabrina are getting together to talk photography and have dinner. I was graced with an invitation which means a lot to me from this group of folks. Unfortunately due to a personal project and timing, I can’t make the journey; I really do wish I was there tonight. However this is one of the last two nights of shooting on the project in this location.
Personal projects, even the small ones, sometimes take on a life of their own.
After all the years of riding I know a lot of different people and from all sections of the biker world inculding a lot of guys in the Christian Crusaders MC. It’s a ministry that preaches to outlaw bikers and they move a tent meeting around the western US. About the time I was starting to work again on a series of portraits of guys who have been riding for 25 yrs or more, I found out the CC would be setting up a revival tent in my area for two weeks. I managed to call in a couple of favors and secured permission to shoot the whole time they were here, both in the tent meeting and in the camp they take with them wherever they go.
I am drawn to the faith-based images even if the work is in the east but to me, a revival meeting is as foreign as any celebration in India. Knowing some of these folks and a little about them, I sensed a lot of that same passion and power in these folks that I see in others’ images. My curiosity and need to see took over and away I went, looking for that kind of emotion and power. The color of a foreign land isn’t there but the rest is. Being the whole project is taking a somewhat photojournalist feel to it, the images take on a B&W feel to them that also fits with the folks and location.
Lots of white backgrounds and people who are focused on the sermon not on the photographer, is a real different feel than my normal way of working. It makes for a different aesthetic than I am used to and also drives home the fact that color and location don’t make a style, vision does. The expectations I had going in have all been thrown out the window and new ones replaced on a daily basis.
The plan is to put this whole mess into some sort of coherency as a book and couple of slide shows. So I will be updating the progress as it occurs along with a few here and there from the Rhody parades which I covered for four full days (that is a lot of parades). Wish I had more to say on all this but for me it is tough to describe the swamp when you are standing in the middle of it.
Also now is about time to thank Jeff, Mark and my darling Sabrina for the support and inspiration for this project, lots more gets done when you have friends that allow you to fail… or succeed. Few more images from the ton of them on Flickr. It has been an intense and productive week and I recommend that anyone who is serious about people photography, social photography or telling stories to take a look around you; there are as many as you would ever want to tell within reach.
It doesn’t always require a plane ticket to make a difference or find important images. The most important thing you can do is tell the story your neighbor or community needs told. In a lot of ways it is harder and more important to tell the story close to home, it prevents the familiar from becoming invisible. My current paying work involves images for a land trust and people getting into their first home. Real people with real needs and close to home, working to solve the problems around us so we can all help to solve the ones in other lands. Anything is possible if we take it one small step at a time. I want my images to matter more than just being something nice to look at and hope that these kinds of projects can help me to see more of what is important to others and tell their story. I may or may not agree with the stories I try to tell but they all deserve to have a voice and I might just learn something. Go make pictures that matter today.