That’s my favorite picture I’ve taken in the last few weeks.
It’s not my most popular picture, not by a long shot. In fact, it’s only had a handful of views.
I’ve had an interesting week. One picture I took at this same event has pretty much went viral. That was a good picture of an awesome subject, but it’s nothing I would ever hang on my wall. This shot? This I would hang on my wall in a heartbeat. I love this picture.
I see it printed large, around 5 feet by 8 feet, with high quality matte and frame, hung on the worn brick walls in a trendy loft of an upcoming designer or architect, along with a couple European designed pieces of furniture and vintage lamps. Forget the rug, this is what really ties the room together.
For a long time now I’ve been focusing on automotive photography only. I used to try to do a solid mix of urban scenes, suburban observations, architecture, people whenever I could and other subjects that interested me. But, lately, nothing but cars. There are a couple reasons for that.
First is location. I live in Las Vegas, and I used to get a lot of my inspiration from Downtown Las Vegas. I’ve written about my relationship with Fremont Street and Downtown many times before, so there’s no need to rehash that now. Just know that, with all the changes that are happening, and how quickly change is happening, I have kind of lost my spark with Downtown. It is no longer a source of inspiration for me. The more upscale and popular it becomes, the more I lose interest in it. That and, well, you can only take so many pictures of trite, rehased hipster murals before you become bored.
Second is time. I’ve been dealing with some personal stuff lately, if you have been following me for a while, you will know. In short, I just don’t have the time right now to go hunting and exploring for good pictures. I like cars. I’m good at shooting cars. I know where cars will be most of the time, so I can just go and know that there will be at least something great I can work with.
Plus, cars have always interested me. As far back as I can remember, I have taken pictures of cars. I get this from my father. He worked much of his life in aviation, and would take rolls and rolls of airplane shots at every air show he ever went to. I’m not following some fad, or just starting this. I’ve been doing automotive photography for a long time, I just haven’t realized it.
And, lastly, I know I can get views with good shots of cars. It’s sort of a way of me selling out. Which isn’t as awful as it sounds. I’ve thrown away all my youthful idealism about being a starving artist. Seriously, I’ve done it. Lived it. Moving on. Sell Out? WHERE DO I SIGN?
French playwright Ferenc Molnár said, “Writing is like prostitution .. first you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money.” I feel the same about photography.
But, while I admit to focusing on one specific, popular subject matter to get more people interested in my photography, I have not compromised on my goal. My vision. My passion. I’m in it to make art. However pretentious and highfaluting that sounds. I see myself as an fine artist first, photography is just my medium at the moment. I am not the normal kind of shooter. I’m certainly not the normal kind of automotive photographer. I’m not interesting in documenting every car at every meet. I take sixty shots, I’ll post four. A car show happens on Saturday, I might not get to processing the pics for a week. Meanwhile, all the other shooters in this town have moved on.
That’s not a knock on the other photographers, not by a long shot. There are a lot of really great shooters out there. Especially here in Vegas. I know, I follow a lot of them. Almost every day I find myself looking at someone else’s photos and think, “Hot damn, that’s great.” Or, better, “Hot damn, why didn’t I take that shot?”
Because, again, that’s not what I’m about. If your hood is up, chances are I won’t take a picture of your ride. Raised hoods just ruin the lines for me. Nothing against your car, it’s still beautiful. But it will rarely make a great photograph. Which goes back to my previous point, I’m not in this to document your ride. I’m in this to make art. I love what everyone else is doing. Hopefully, though, I’m doing something different.