What are you shooting with and what would you like to shoot with?
Panasonic DMC-FZ18. It's compact enough to take anywhere easily, and has a badass 18x zoom, which allows me to take the compressed depth-of-field shots I like so much.
I'm really not a "gear" person at all, and have no idea about other cameras. I'm happy with this one. I'd never want anything bigger. I like to keep it relatively incognito.
If you could sum up your style in one photograph what photo would it be?
There is nothing
on earth that makes me happier than lining up a shot down the center of a street, with a solid building wall on both sides, and a pre-war highrise punctuating it at the end. Every city I go to, I'm looking for this shot.
Talk about your inspirations and influences.
The photographer David Plowden
got it all started. I saw a book of his at a Barnes & Noble in Paramus, New Jersey about 14 years ago and had to have it. Such stark, beautiful images of exotically mundane scenes in North Dakota, Upstate New York, and central Illinois. Camilo Jose Vergara
is another early influence. His incredible no-frills documentary style shows the grim beauty of the Rust Belt at it's grittiest.
I got my first camera in 2000, and started off basically imitating Vergara: shooting b&w film, and going to the grittiest areas of inner city New Jersey. When I got a car after college and moved back and forth across the country a few times, I had access to more cities and broadened what I shot, both geographically and subject-matter-wise.
I try for a stark, quiet feeling in my photos. I go out on cold, overcast days and try to keep pedestrians and moving cars out of my shots. It's all about stillness and old buildings. This often makes cities I shoot look more dead than they are, but I'm not selling real estate.
I started stalking SSP around 2005 or so. Although there are dozens of photographers on here whose work I have enjoyed, the earliest members I remember being impressed with were ColDay, Mr. Herodotus, and Seguin. Each has a very different style. Herodotus' orderly documentary-style and focus on housing stock is something I was happy to start imitating.
Where have you not been that you want to photograph?
St. Louis. When I lived in Chicago, I had no fewer than three planned excursions to the Arch City thwarted by things such as a 100-degree forecast or grandmotherly health issues. It's the only major Midwestern city I haven't been to. Also: Butte, Winnipeg, the Monongahela Valley, Syracuse, Denver, North Dakota, Bayonne, Wheeling, El Paso, and Enid, Oklahoma
I'm also very interested in UK cities outside of London: Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Bradford, Hull - I'd love to see them all.
Talk about your most popular (in your opinion) photothreads.
I did about 20-25 Chicago threads over the last two years that I lived there, and those got a very nice response. Chicago is a tremendous city to explore. My New England
and Pacific Northwest
compilations did well too.
Talk about your photothreads that didn't get the response you wanted.
This Chicago thread
from 2009 got a sad 6 responses. Not my best set, but it's got a few interesting angles on the skyline from a West Side rail yard. Perhaps people didn't' like the 1970's prog-rock reference in the title.
Any tips or personal wisdom you'd like to pass on to others?
The geographic diversity of members on our forum is a huge asset. Go out and shoot some of the other cities in your metro area. If you live in Seattle, go shoot Tacoma and Everett. If you live in Houston, show us Beaumont or Port Aurthur. I love seeing places we don't see as often. We've got some forumers, such as Expat, who are very good at this.
Explore your city! Go to neighborhoods you've never been to before. Try to find new angles on the skyline. Leave the city and take landscape shots. Don't worry about "selling" your city.
Who should we ask these questions of next?
I'm going to keep it Garden State and go with ifeeldope9779
. His sets on Jersey City and Newark were straight-up masterpieces of urban photography.
* * *
I'd like to thank Evergrey for choosing me. He's on of this site's most tireless and expert documenters of fascinating small places, and an early champion of my photos when I first started posting on here. Cheers.