Ambivalent shot of the day (or Goodbye Summer)

, originally uploaded by *jj*.

I've had this roll undeveloped in my bag for two weeks.

It had been exposed on my L35AF. Obviously, it was from my day at the beach. I met the gentleman above in my usual patrol of men doing odd things while half-naked.

He made the cut. His kids had covered him in the silty wash from low tide at Locarno Beach. I took two exposures.

I couldn't wait to get the roll developed but it took longer than I thought. I really thought this would be the shot of the summer. One to add as one of my favourites.

As it turns out, it's not. And I'm very disappointed. I only get one or two chances to add a photo to the series every summer. Now, Labour Day has come and gone.

He does have an interesting self-mocking smirk but the composition fails to move me.

I really wanted it to feel like this image:

Diane Arbus MD 1970

There are a zillion reasons why mine does approach what's going on in Arbus's Tattooed Man. But what jumps out the most is how the man has his arms spread.

Next year. Again.



  1. You might not be happy with Mud Man, but I think it's still a good portrait. I think you get surprisingly good shots with these cameras. Do you use the camera's flash to fill on these?


  2. all of them do use the fill flash. i've decided that's my thing. plus early on i always disliked shots with flashes. but - it's quite the challenge to make flashes, raw, not diffused, look good. i've always had a nostalgic bent, hence my attraction to black and white, but i'm trying to teach myself to use colour and flash. it has to do with my interest in vernacular photography and one of diane arbus last projects. she was commissioned to take family pictures for a (i think) a department store magnate. she used the full repertoire of family picture tricks, everyone on the couch, etc. and it was so interesting. it used the entire idiom of the snapshot photo language that family pictures have but they were different. that's what i want my pictures to be. personal. nothing special in terms of composition or other aesthetic tricks but they have to be pictures of somebody. sometimes I think what i'm doing is collecting faces and looks - nothing more.

    I blather.

    Never the less, thanks for the kinds words.

  3. ps thanks for giving the picture a title. that's how i think all good pictures should get their monnikers. by someone else calling it something. i think it's the art historian in me.


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