Last week, after 2 days working on a video production in New York I had a couple free hours to explore the city and shoot pictures for myself. It sounds odd, but as a professional photographer I don't shoot that many pictures for me. It's a sad truth that I am working to change by allotting more time for personal work.
Personal work is the whole reason I became a photographer. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job! I enjoy all types of photography and am blessed by having the opportunity to shoot a wide variety of subject matter, but it has become a rare occasion that I make time to shoot without any preconceived intention. It seems silly, but this has become difficult for me. I'm constantly thinking, can I use this in my portfolio, for an epromo, etc? By thinking this way I allow myself to control my creativity instead of simply allowing it to flow freely.
The idea of a photo walk was originally introduced to me by a good friend, Ian Summers. For useful advice and inspiration check out his blog and artwork. Ian has been helping me define myself as a photographer and encouraging me to unleash my creativity. Ian defines a photo walk as "a photographic sketchbook – an exercise in seeing." A photo walk is to be without attachment to how the photographs will be used.
So, with that in mind I set out last Saturday with camera in hand and open eyes. After dropping my friend off in the meat packing district, I made my way toward the High Line based on his recommendation. It was a gorgeous day to be in NY and I found myself wandering around, looking at whatever interested me. I was walking for almost 3 hours and probably only covered about 1 mile. Slow and steady.
I found myself being drawn to textures and graphic compositions. I shot a total of 48 images or the equivalent of 2 rolls of film. I took my time, allowing subjects to present themselves. I didn't try to control the situation but rather waited for what Cartier-Bresson called the decisive moment.
This photo walk was therapeutic in the sense that I allowed myself to see whatever I wanted to see. There was no one but me deciding what to shoot. It felt great and after going back through what I shot I realized I had some images that I wanted to share. I'm not sure what they say about me as a photographer, but that's not the point. I think the point is that they represent one of the many ways in which I see the world. Below are three photos from this photo walk. If you want to see my 15 favorite, click HERE.