I'll always be thankful to Nikeva for giving me the chance to work with her on a spontaneous summer day a few years back because it was then that I first understood how much I enjoyed taking pictures of people in their everyday lives. Since then, we've kept in touch to work together when her schedule allows whenever she visits New York.
Similar to this article, I also ran into Anthony in Williamsburg, Brooklyn after finishing a photoshoot on a fairly muggy summer morning. Following a conversation with him, I discovered he has a passion for rollerblading, so we headed to the closest park to capture movement in his element.
They say that the oddest places can be a source of inspiration. Sometimes you don't have to be actively engaged in your own pastime to feel it's the only way you can genuinely advance in it either.
Between Anthony Bourdain's amusing anecdotes in his television shows and books, his self-deprecating humor, and his propensity for foul language, I like to think I've gleaned some unexpected photography lessons from watching the show.
I use the term "lessons on photography" very loosely because none of them focused on imparting technical knowledge; rather, they are more on the inspirational/enlightening side.
1. A warm meal shared with a person is more likely to give you a sense of a location than a travel guide or a book will.
2. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in desiring the lifestyle of a certain job that we forget that in order to make earning that title worthwhile in the first place, we need to have a life.
3. It’s never too late to start showing interest in anything. Tony dabbled in writing on occasion, but it wasn't until one of his phenomenally successful pieces appeared in The New Yorker that he recognized he was good at more than just standing for 12 hours in a kitchen, drinking, or getting high. I wouldn't say that I came to photography late, but even if I had, anyone can now start taking advantage of the wealth of resources available to them.
4. Don't take yourself too seriously or else you'll become fixated on the demand for perfection and, more likely than not, you won't produce anything or meet anyone. This has occurred numerous times in the past. I no longer believe that one flawless photo is enough to convince me that my outings are worthwhile. I like to photograph in a chronological order so that the majority of what I see and everyone I encounter contribute equally to the feeling of being somewhere.
5. It’s important for more of us to be awestruck since fear and ignorance rarely get us far. I was often perplexing and embarrassed to learn that acquaintances from out of town knew more about my city than I did. I don't know every inch of New York, but I'm far more aware of the places than I was before I started experimenting with photography.
6. It's not always about the money. I've declined photo gigs simply because they didn't fit with my interests or sense of style. An attitude of scarcity encourages compromise since it makes you feel forced to accept jobs solely for the money rather than you being genuinely pleased to share the end result. Bourdain disliked the notion that it was the standard path for any chef back then to build and expand their brand by coming out with cooking tools and appliances. He never saw that as an opportunity but as a way to blend in which is the opposite of standing out.
The 116th Street Festival has changed and expanded in size throughout time. What began as a little neighborhood gathering has grown into a famous festival that draws visitors from throughout the city and beyond. While remaining faithful to its roots and conserving the cultural legacy of the Hispanic population, it continues to develop while the primary highlights continue to be music, dance, and cuisine of the Hispanic community. We went to the festival and had an enjoyable time connecting with my wife while she proudly waved her Puerto Rican flag, and captured moments during the event with my trusty Leica Q2.
El Divino Salvador del Mundo, a well-known landmark with significant cultural and historical value, is situated in San Salvador, El Salvador.
In addition to being a religious icon, El Divino Salvador del Mundo is a landmark that has come to represent unity and pride in the country. It has evolved into a key feature of the city's skyline and acts as a hub for gatherings, celebrations, and protests. This significant landmark draws both tourists and residents because of its artistic beauty and spiritual significance. The space in which El Divino Salvador del Mundo is also a meeting spot for local skateboarders and on this particular evening, I happened to walk by to observe them practicing with the intention to capture the atmosphere with the Leica Q2.
Your goal as an artist is not to make perfect work. You goal as an artist, is to get to the point where your imperfection is seen by others, as perfect.
Tom Noske is a content creator and endurance athlete from Melbourne, Australia.I'm not really sure how I came across his Instagram, but his constant message, which talks to what it means to be both an artist and an individual, always resonates with me and makes me feel as like his statements are exactly what I need to hear at that particular time.
People aren't necessarily searching for someone who has more information, especially when it comes to fitness, they're looking for someone to make sense of it, and Stefanie Williams has precisely that with WeGlow.
I had the pleasure of contributing as the event photographer for WeGlow's Wellness Festival recently held in Miami. It was an incredible pleasure to be a part of it because it marked the start of even better things to come.
When I've mentioned that I've sometimes traveled alone, people have typically provided me with weird stares. The stares hasn't necessarily been on the destination, but rather on the fact that I am married and have two children; so how could I ever fathom going away with a camera for a week without them, especially when photography is not necessary my full-time profession. It's no secret that sometimes, being a photographer can be a solitary endeavor, therefore I will always be thankful for having a very understanding wife who supports my love for the craft.
As a photographer, I never think of traveling as a way to escape but rather as a way to better appreciate, document, and reflect. The truth is I’ve always found inspiration in stories of people's quests for introspection and self-discovery through travel. Stories that we commonly hear about everywhere and yet, somehow we rarely feel worthy enough to attempt anything similar ourselves because we categorize it as something “we just don’t do.”
The idea of solitude or being on your own is always depicted as being shameful. I've experienced some of my most interesting days traveling alone. If I wanted company, there were a lot of other travelers nearby, but I soon realized that I don't need constant company and that being alone was soul-satisfying and immediately gave me more time to exhale, eat as quickly or slowly as I please, surpass 12,000 steps without compromise, meet the sun as it rose or set, or spend time in my hotel room in the middle of the day to offload video and photos from my SD card.
Good things take time. As someone who frequently strolls around with a camera and whose main interest is people, there are very few days when admiring a portrait I took hasn't first involved spending time developing conversation with them. Chatting to them about their thoughts, perspective, or just listening to how passionately they articulated what they do, served as the impetus for approaching them in the first place. You’d be surprise how resilient, friendly, and eager people are to share their culture and craft with visitors. From the street vendors to the surf instructors, everyone I met had a story to tell and a smile to share.
By virtue of the camera, I am so inquisitive about people and places that, from afar, it may seem I am traveling alone, but when I’m peering through the viewfinder, I perceive things differently. It's like viewing a huge flock of birds glide through the air. My eagerness to view them up close is motivated more by curiosity than by the capabilities of my camera. I want to zoom in and find out what they’re all about and a lot of times, you have more freedom to do so at your own pace alone because not everyone is gong to understand that what you value as a photographer takes time. It’s not always as easy as “snap and go”.
As the late Anthony Bourdain once said, “Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind."
The sense of independence and personal growth I have earned from my solo trips may be its most important achievement. In new situations, I've learnt to trust my instincts and rely on myself, and this newfound assurance has permeated other aspects of my life as well. Books are an investment in yourself but so is travel. It helps you think more clearly, be kinder, see the bigger picture, and improve at the things that matter to you.
I've been to El Salvador a few times on my own and I've learned that no place or person stays the same over time and that going back may feel both familiar and foreign. While it's lovely to be able to share that experience with someone, there's nothing wrong with finding something profound on your own as well. A place takes on meaning based on what we bring to it, take from it, and leave behind.
Natalie Brown is a model and fashion designer based in New York whom I've had the opportunity to work amidst her busy scheduled. Pior to my solo adventure trip to El Salvador we met up once again to create.
It’s better to be lost and open to possibilities than it is to be so focused that you close yourself off to future opportunities. Having direction is beneficial, but closing your mind is f**king fatal.
We don't always require everything to be presented to us in life in a positive light. Sometimes we need something as brutal as the truth to help us realize that what we're doing might not always be the greatest course of action and if there’s anything that calls it like it us on a Tweet it’s Kyle Creek.
With social media being what it is, it's fascinating to learn that, in a time when we always strive to project the ideal image of ourselves, what others tend to gravitate to the most is usually the complete opposite of what we're trying to achieve.
There will always be a place and a time for those polished, well-lit videos of ourselves, but sometimes it's those very videos that we strive to create that discourage us from doing anything because they feel like such a challenge to produce. I love using my iPhone to create videos, and more importantly the videos in which I unwillingly speak to the camera because it's a skill that no one will be able to take away the more you develop the confidence in doing it. "Show up imperfectly as you are!"
In studio with Meghan Hayden in a Brooklyn studio. I became aware of Meghan back when she was a personal trainer at an upscale gym in New York City called Performix House and since then has gone on independent and continues to grow Take Off with Meg.